Wednesday, June 18, 2008

VeyiPadagalu -- A review

VeyiPadagalu a Review:
Veyipadagalau can be viewed as another Dharma Sastra. I cannot call it abridged Dharma Sastra as it is a huge volume and is larger in size. It may be a practical guide to Dharma Sastra.
Characters:
It is impossible to list down all the characters in Veyi padagalu. I will list down few.
Dharma Rao:
He is the key character around whom story revolves. He is a Brahmin and son Rama Sastry (who acted as minister to Jamindar family). Dharma Rao is an embodiment of Dharma. He is a scholar and follows dharma in it spirit. He loses his father when he is young and studies with assistance of old Jamindar Krishnama Naidu. After Naidu’s death his studies were sponsored by Naidu’s Wife. Naidu’s Son Ranga Rao assumes imaginary rivalry with Dharma Rao and defies tradition by not appointing Dharma Rao as his minister. Dharma Rao studies well and works as lecturer in local college. He enlightens many of his students like Harappa Naidu, Girika, Mangamma and Kumara Swamy. He fights with many like Radhapathi by upholding traditional values.
Arundhati:
She is wife of Dharma Rao. She learns some knowledge from Dharma Rao. Dharma Rao and Arundhati pair show by practice how wife and husband should be with each other. She supports Dharma Rao in his times of trouble and provides him a friend, mother, guide and a wife in a single body.
Ranga Rao:
He is the Jamindar heir who defies the authority of the Brahmin family who laid foundation for their history. He assumes rivalry with Dharma Rao and does not help him in his problems. Evne though he did not create any problems for Dharma Rao he by ignoring his duties of King hurts Dharma Rao. He appoints all unfit people in his court and thus ruins him self as well the Zameen. He remarries two English ladies after wife’s death and when he falls ill all those around his betray him. He realizes in the end about greatness of Dharma Rao. Only good deed he does that helps in his transformation is to let his son Harappa Naidu taught by Dharma Rao. He quotes "Harappa is Rama and Dharma Rao is Apara Vasista"
Harappa Naidu:
He is is son of Ranga Rao. If Dharma Rao is Krishna then Harappa is Arjuna. Harappa lives for a short duration he takes over the responsibility when Ranga Rao falls ill and does revival of old glory. His main ambition was to revive the tradition by performing marriage of Lord Venugopala and he dies soon after he achieves it. Ranga Rao quotes about his son after his death that "I am not his father, he is my father"
He helps in transformation of Ranga Rao by impeaching all evil fellows those surround his father. Dharma Rao’s aim of revival of traditions is achieved through Harappa Naidu.
Girika:
Dharma Rao’s sister. Even though not born to same mother; father is same for her, Dharma Rao, Rama Raju and Pasirika. Dharma Rao has great affection for her and used to teach her glories of Lord even though she belongs to devadasi caste. It is through her he achieves the second aim ie., development of Bhakti and she attains Moksha by devoting herself to Lord Venugopala.
Rameswaram:
Evil fellow who develops hatred towards Dharma Rao and tries to ruin him. The evil deeds of him were unlimited. He is primarily responsible for depletion of Dharma during Ranga Rao’s regime. He develops sexual feelings towards Girika and when Dharma Rao protects her he develops rivalry with him. He ruins wife of a school teacher named Mangamma by bribing her for money and taking her innocence to his advantage.
He is also responsible for death of innocent husband of Mangamma. He creates all sorts of problems to Dharma Rao including Financial problems. Ultimately he gets deserved punishment when he was caught for unlawful printing of currency notes and betrayal from Mangamma. Writer portrays here that evil may enjoy success for sometime but it gets deserved punishment in the end.
Mangamma:
An innocent Brahmin wife who falls for money and ruins life herself. She snatches all wealth from Ramanatham and betrays him in the end. She then stays with another evil fellow named Radhapathi. She tranforms herself in the end by the learnings she had from Dharma Rao. She gives all her wealth to Kumara Swamy. She meets a tragic Manghamma’s story depicts the karma philosophy of Hinduism. Karma Philosophy states that you will get the fruits of your actions sooner or later. Mangamma cheated her husband and is indirectly responsible for his death. Even though she transforms herself into a good human being after her association with kumara swamy and Dharma Rao, she still had to face a miserable death as a fruit of bad deeds she has done.
The Snake:
The snake is one key character in the novel. It is a snake with thousand heads and novel gets its name from the same. With disruption of each and every dharma snakes loses all its heads and finally has only two heads. Only Dharma Rao was able to see the real snake. Once Ranga Rao sees the snake in a dream in furious mood and bites him. Most part of novel snake remains with two heads each representing Dharma Rao and Arundhati. In the end Dharma Rao says inviting his new wife Arundhati into his life "This is the strength of my nation/race" Here he alludes to marriage is the only institution that has remained in the end even after all the other dharma’s are tarnished. I guess Writer has the intention to portray that despite all these transformations in the society at least marriage is remaining in full strength.
Kumara Swamy:
He is a student of Dharma Rao and who imbibes all traits of his teacher. He is a pet child of Magamma and inherits her property as well after her death. His wife Syamala is a good partner and the pair supplies good humor to the novel.
Jr. Rama Satry and Jr. Harappa:
Jr Rama Sastry is son of Dharma Rao and has same name a s his Grand Father। He is a smart kid and impresses Ranga Rao better than his father. Ranga Rao quotes "I don’t know about Dharma Rao but I know about his son. His son will grow up to become a better man than his father." Ranga Rao after transformation adopts a kid and names him as a Harappa (name of his deceased son) and get them education by having Kumara Swamy as teacher.

A great work always differentiates itself from ordinary by the impression it makes on the reader. I left my writing vocation after reading Veyipadagalu as I felt any book that is not worth the same class as Veyi padagalu is a waste of reader’s time. On a second thought I felt like a book should not only convey entertainment but it should convey knowledge. The reader should become a better man after reading the book. In order to do this I need to learn lot of things before writing. A complete novel of class Veyipadagalu was dictated by Viswanatha while playing cards and in 28 days he completed 1000 full pages. (This is the only occasion I felt playing cards is not a bad vocation) Lectures given by Dharma Rao are doses of knowledge for the reader. I think Dharma Rao embodies Viswanatha himself. He is so called Kavi Samrat. (King of all poets)

17 comments:

Neti Kalam (Pen of Present Day) said...

I googled Veyi Padagalu and finally ended at your blog, review is apt. I suggest you no leave writing (literature) it is something which is sharpened by every article/story. Also, it makes you think more and more.... good luck

Anonymous said...

I need this book badly, let me know whether I can get a soft copy? If not you can mail(post) me.

Thanks,
raaj471@yahoo.com

sunil kumar said...

Can you please send me the softcopy too if you have it?

Thanks,
sunilsomavarapu@gmail.com

sandhya said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sandhya said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sandhya said...

Krishna Gaaru,

This is an exquisite exposition of the masterpiece of Sri Vishwanatha Satyanarayana.I recollect from your blog the serial version of the novel.If my memory doesn't prove me wrong, Ganaachaari,is also an equally significant character.Zamindar,Brahmin,Devadaasi,Ganaachaari form the four legs of the DharmaPeetham.The character of Ganaachari used to send shudder down my spine whenever I used to watch the serial.I have been looking for a copy of the novel or atleast a review on net. your write-up helped me greatly.Can you please elucidate on the character Ganaachaari and the theme line.I will be grateful

Shark said...

Sandhya Garu,

You are very much true. Ganachary is a very important character I missed in the narration. At the outset the character might look like a representation of moodachara (what the "pratyaksha pramana" school goers might callit). In reality Ganachary is a representative of God, signaling mortals through her what he likes and what he doesnt and also what is in the offing

Hindu philosophy is based on two parameters Satya and Dharma. Satyam Vada (speak truth)
Dharmam Chara (Follow Dharma)
It gets redefinted in today's (Kali) context as
Satyam Vadha (kill the truth)
Dharmam Chera (Imprison Dharma)

Ganachary seems to know everything through Lord Subramanya. Novel starts with Ganachary singing that zamindar was bitten by a snake. It happens in RanagaRao's dream and except if Ganachary is a representative of God, there is no way in which she would know it.


As per interpretation of Dr. Bhumayya (who has done research on Veyipaagalu subject), Ganachary is a representation of kala (time) and Dharama Rao is a representation of Dharma. People keep changing with time and after sometime people become accustomed to change so much that they forget that they have changed. Ganachary keeps signaling people every time change is bad for Sanatana Dharma. She signal at the time of establishment of Purapalaka sangha and she gives a warning too when the cenema hall is started. People ignored her warnings. SHe became angry and dropped neem leaves in the village. When she becomes angry it is GOd who is angry. Immediately some natural calamity has come, either in the form of fire accident or village got submerged in water due to flood.

Ganachary is a signal from God and symbol of time. thanks for raising this point.

sandhya said...

simply superb!

You just caught my pulse.Is thEre anyway that I can get the novel? I am convinced with the explanation.Thank you

Shark said...

If you are staying in India, it is not very difficult to get the novel. Vishalandrta Publications outlets do have them in stock most often. Even if they run out of stock, they can fetch the book on order basis.

If you are outside India, I am not too sure how to procure the book. Softcopy of the book is not available as far as I know.

These days it is very difficult to lay hands on Viswanatha's books. It became incresingly difficult after the sudden death of his writer son Viswanatha Pavani Sastry. I found couple of his books like Nepala/Kashmira rajavamsiya kadhalu in Koti/Hyderabad.

I am seraching for his book named Cheliyali Katta. Cheliyali Katta stands for the limit which the sea never crosses. If the sea crosses that limit, world would be submerged. It is written to counter noted writer Chalam's Maidanam. In Maidanam Chalam depicts a frustrated wife who crosses her limit and preaches that it is upto us. Sri Viswanatha, a strong advocate of sanatana Dharma, written this novel to counter Chalam's logic. HE created a character named Mukunda Rao who is more like Viswanatah himself and drives the point home. I have read it in college but to my immature mind, it did not make quite a complete impression. Want to read it now again, but am finding difficulty in locating the book.

Anonymous said...

dear mr sarath krishna. the whole set of viswanadha s novels numbering to 57 are available in 50 books costing some 4000 indian rupees.publisher s address-sri viswanadha publications,viswanadhapuram,marutinagar,vijawada520004.phone nos-91 40 65886145,and 91 94404 91995.year of publication oct 06.you will get the set in any good book store in a.p.either readily or on order.the reason why i am suggesting viswanadha s all novels is that they give fairly exhaustive knowledge about bharateeya culture in all its essential facets with its contemporary relevance.nowhere else do we, the english educated, can get such valuable information in an inimitable style and language. with regards.satyadeva.

Samhita said...

wt's the price and where can i get the book?

Shark said...

The book is available with Vishalandra Publishing house. Costs approx 500 bucks for normal and library edition costs around 750 Rs.

Full collection of Viswanatha's novels is available for 4500 Rs. (I purchased it a month ago)

రాధేశ్యాం said...

శరత్ గారూ,
’వేయి పడగల’ మీద మీ సమీక్షల లింకులు నా బ్లాగులొ వుంచాను. వీలు చేసుకొని చూడగలరు.
'వేయి పడగలు' చదివేశానోచ్...!(http://radhemadhavi.blogspot.com/)

అభినందనలతో,
- రాధేశ్యామ్
సొంతఘోష

Anonymous said...

sorry for suggesting correction.

Name of the character is Rameshwaram (Not ramanatham as quoted).

nadellaprasad said...

great work by you sir, i want to buy the book and read
thanks
prasad n

Anonymous said...

Dear Sarath sir! your review is really impressive but something I can't pinpoint is missing; may be the spirit with which the great author created it is not thoroughly reflected in your write up. But l thank you sincerely for your analysis of the characters. lt has relived me of the the pain that l've not read the commentaries of the others' We can expect more reviews on classics from you,cant'we?

Shark said...

I dont disagree. I wrote this blog as soon as I am done with reading the book fully. Its almost when I didn't give adequate time for the assimilation of what I read. I felt too emotional and wanted to write about the book immediately. I was thinking as I am writing which is clearly evident from the blog post. Due to these two aspects (emotion and thinking while writing) , I evidently missed few things abt the book.