Sunday, June 08, 2008

#098 Lakshmana- Give the balladeers thousand carts filled with corn

2-32-18, 2-32-19, 2-32-20 SANSKRIT Verses
Pashukaabhikachha sarvaabhirgavaam dashashatena cha
ye cheme kathakaalaapaa bahavoo dan`d`amaan`avaaha
nityasvaadhyaayashiilatvaannaanyatkurvanti kimchana
alasaaha svaadukaamaashcha mahataam chaapi sammataaha
shaali vaaha sahasram ca dvee shatee bhadrakaams tathaa
vyanjana artham ca saumitree goo sahasram upaakuru

Rama was getting ready to go to forests. He was gifting away his belongings. He asks Lakshmana to bestow gifts to balladeers.

Oh Lakshmana! Here are the balladeers of kathaa and kalaapa (stories and dramas) carrying staffs. Engaged in daily studies, they do not do anything else. They seek sweets. Give them 1000 carts filled with corn; two hundred bullocks used for cultivation and a thousand cows for their food.

CRITICAL REMARKS: Kathaa (stories), kalaapa (drama) some translators treated the people as singers of Yajur Veda. Kathaa Kalaapa tradition exists even today in India. Originally, they were entrusted the work of singing the praises of the king and his dynastic histories. Ramayana, Raghu Vamsa, Maha Bharata and similar ballads fall in the category of songs spread by the katha kalaapa singers. This tradition of kings patronising and feeding the balladeers continued for thousands of years. Even when Sultans and Britishers ruled India, smaller native kings continued the tradition of ballad singers praising and spreading the dynastic stories. Ramayana is a dynastic story of the Sun clan. For example, many Rajput Kings of Rajasthan, particularly Rathores claimed to be successors of the Sun Dynasty and revered Rama. The balladeers sang Ramayana in villages, with royal patronage for their livelihood. By their very nature, they extol virtues and overlook ugly incidents. They magnify the good qualities of the king’s siens and the bad qualities of rivals who failed to succeed to the throne.

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