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Parijatapaharanamu – Poem Of Nandi Timmana – Based On Sri Krishna And Parijata Tree

Nandi Timmana, a popular Telugu poet, belonged to the early 16th century CE and was one of the eight prominent poets who adorned the court of Sri Krishnadevaraya, emperor of Vijayanagara. The only extant work of Nandi Timmana is Parijatapaharanamu (stealing of Parijata, the Divine Flower), a poem in about 500 verses.

Timmana was a follower of Bhagavan Shiva (a Saivite), being the disciple of Aghora Sivacharya. Though a devotee of Shiva (Sivaparadhinamati), he enjoyed the patronage of Sri Krishnadevaraya, a staunch follower of the Vishnu tradition. Hence the poet chose a theme dealing with the valorous deeds of Bhagavan Vishnu incarnating as Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

Parijatapaharanamu describes how Sri Krishna brings down to earth the mythological tree, Parijata, from Heaven to please his beloved wife, Satyabhama, after defeating Indra, the king of Devas or demigods. The story contains many significant inner meanings.

The love of Bhagavan Sri Krishna for Satyabhama signifies that there is nothing that God does not grant to his devotees.

The defeat of Indra signifies that there is no person or power that can stand against the wishes of the Almighty, that no one can claim the ownership of anything or property, and that everything belongs to God only.

A rare and highly valuable thing should not be kept as the personal property of a single individual. Once can only keep it as a trustee and share the fruits of it with other people. Though Parijata was planted in the garden of Satyabhama, she voluntarily shared the flowers with other people.

God is not offended by the liberties taken by his devotees. Satyabhama got angry with Sri Krishna as she felt ignored and insulted by him, and spurned his head with her left food when he placed it at her feet to pacify her. Bhagavan Krishna did not feel angry with her action.

Satyabhama ties up Sri Krishna to the Parijata tree with a rope as a part of religious rites. This indicates that God is fettered by love and devotion.

Satyabhama then gives away Sri Krishna to Narada as charity. Narada playfully extracts menial services from Sri Krishna. This signifies that God serves his devotees as a servant.

Nandi Timmana took the core of the story partly from Vishnu Purana and partly from Harivamsam, amalgamated it with his original contribution, and produced an enchanting poem. This set a model for the second-generation poets who produced scores of Parijatapaharanas appearing in Telugu, Kannada and Tamil.

In the poem, Parijatapaharanamu, Satyabhama is portrayed as a personification of beauty, love, suspicion, jealousy, self-esteem, pride, insolence, haughtiness, rage, valor, and tenderness, all rolled into one. The dance-drama in the Kuchipudi style, with Satyabhama as the heroine, is popular in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.