Poets have wondered about the mystical nature of the notes on KrishNa's flute. In "Mohana MuraLi," M. GopalakrishNa Adiga asks :
"Yaava Mohana MuraLi kareyiTu Doora Teerake ninnanu?
Yaava brindaavanavu seLeyiTu ninna maNNina kaNNanu?"
"Which are those beautiful notes on flute
that beckon you to the distant shores?
Which brindAvana has cast its spell
on your earthen eyes?''
When this poem first appeared, it charmed the Kannada literary world. The metaphor "maNNina kaNNu" was so novel to Kannada language. The poem is not as "navya" as Adiga's later poems are, but it made waves. There were several interpretations of the same poem. Interestingly, poet "puTina" thought it was a lament of a courtesan woman whose lover has abandoned her! Now, after more than 25 years since the poem appeared, it is common to interpret the poem as a soliloquy of a person who has had his first mystical experience and finds his earthly possessions, which he once valued more than anything else, somehow pallid. "maNNina kaNNU" refers to the eye which beholds only the earthly wealth.
"iruLu, haasige, chandra, chandana, baahubandhana chumbana ... ishte saakenDiDDeyallo, inDu EniDu besara?"
A second interpretation of Adiga's poem is about his own dissatisfaction about the kind of poetry he and other contemporary poets had been writing. The "navoDaya" period of Kannada literature had seen its best days and poetry had reached a point of stagnation. Enough had been written about "chandra" "chandana" "baahubandhana" and "chumbana"! The poet was beginning to feel that it was time to move on. "nadeDu banDa Daariya kaDege Tirugi nOda bEda!" Adiga wrote in another of his landmark poems. Along with other contemporary writers -- Narasimha Swamy, Nissar Ahmad, Anantha Murthy, Ramanujan, Lankesh, SumaTeenda Naadig and several others -- Adiga was able to maneuver Kannada poetry into the "navya" period.
indu kendAvareya daLadaLisi dAriyali
gandhadhoutana hOgi baruva janake
mandamArutanirali maridhumbi(??) irali
Anandavide athitigaLa kareyabeke
nagutalide nIru hombisilu kachaguLi idalu
dumbigaLu olavanE gunjisiralu
nAchi tale bAgisitu kamala
dUrada bAna dAriyali (?)
blah blah blah (?)
tanna kai kaiyoLu olavu balegaLaniTTu
maimareturApadma paramegaLa parivAra (?)
manjAgi karagittu suttamutta
iruva dumbiya bittu baruva nesara karege(?)
Ogottu A nannna kendAvareyE (?)
baruva bALina kanasu raviyAgi bahudEnu
kAyabEkO adakke ellivarege
My Lotus Red
Kannada Poem by M. Gopalakrishna Adiga
Translated by C.P. Ravikumar
A bright red lotus has bloomed today
To passers-by, what a fragrant Entree!
The wind, the bees, or the gentle spray:
Who needs an invitation to a party, eh?
The water trembled gleefully,
Tickled by the golden rays.
In how many ways do I love thee?
The bee's busy counting the ways ...
The lotus blushed;
And turned scarlet in face:
Look! His chariot of seven horses
Race through the eastern skyways ...
In every one of his million hands
He carries a tangled web of love.
The lotus was charmed. The buzzing of the bees
Waned; it seemed pale somehow.
She ignores the bees around
And waits for the sun, my lotus red.
Will morrow's dream take the form of sun?