Vemana’s poems on Morals and Ethics – 1

Vemana is great Telugu philosopher and poet born in mid 17th c AD. Vemana’s poems are filled with facts and provide practical guidance to life.

1. Ornaments are required for those who qualify for it.

Mondivaanikela munjeti kadiyaalu
Torrivaanikela karrapandlu |
Gaadidalaku nela gaddamul meesamul
Vishwadaabhiraama vinura Vemaa ||

Mondivaadu means handless mean miser who does not give any to anyone. Why he needs bracelet for his hands?
Torrivaadu mean toothless – means who do not stand on his words, why he needs artificial teeth? Why beard and mustache for donkeys. Donkey means rogues who roam around.

2. Make promises only when you can keep them

Modata naasapetti tudaledu pommana
Parama lobhulaina paapulakunu |
Vaariyusuru daaki vagachedi povaraa
Vishwadaabhiraama vinura Vemaa ||

One should not promise, when promised it should not be denied. It carries bad curse to those who promised and they get spoiled.

3. Intelligence without pride makes you less recognized.  

Appuleni vaade adhika sampannudu
Tappuleni vaadu Dharanu ledu |
Goppaleni buddhi komchamai povuraa
Vishwadaabhiraama vinura Vemaa ||

In this world – Who do not borrow, do not have loans is rich man. There is no one in this world without mistakes. Intelligence without pride makes you less recognized.

4. Beware of wrong person in disguise among learned people.

Vidhyaleni vaadu vidwansula kadanu
Vundagaane pandithundu gaadu |
Kolani hamsalakada kokkera yunnattlu
Vishwadaabhiraama vinura Vemaa ||

A fool even when stay with Pandits/learned persons will not be a learned person. Like a crane/bill in flock of swans in a lake who will never be called as swan

5. Right solution for a problem is required

Vyaadhi kaligeneni vaidyuni chetanu
Mandu dinaka kaani maana dendu |
Chenta deepamidaka cheekati paayunaa
Vishwadaabhiraama vinura Vemaa ||

Vyadhi kaligite vaidyunicheata mandu puchukonte taggutundi. Alage deepam lekunda cheekati potunda?

When not well need to consult doctor and take medicine for cure. Without lighting lamp, how will surrounding dark will go away?
Right solution for right problem is required for issue resolution.

6. Be careful in giving shelter to low character person as he can harm you.

HeenaguNamu vaani nilusera nichhina
Enta vaanikaina niduma galugu |
Eega kadupu jochhi ittattu seyadaa
Vishwadaabhiraama vinura Vemaa ||

Heenudu, cheddavaadinini aadariste evarikaina ibbandi tappadu. Eega kadupulo kelite adi pette bhada cheppalenidi.

When low character person is given shelter he will trouble you. Like a fly entered in stomach will create chaos.

7. God is not in idols but in you. Drop superstitions, illogical traditions and rituals

Hrudayamandu nunna eeshuni deliyaka
Shilala kella mrokku jeevulaara |
Shilala nemi yundu jeevulande gaaka
Vishwadaabhiraama vinura Vemaa ||

Prajalu shilalalu mokkutaru korikau teeradam kosam kaani shiva tanalone unnadani telusukodu. Shilala lo emi vuntundi jeevulalo lenidi?

There is Shiva in one inner-self, and in all the creatures. Without knowing this – What is the use in doing prayers to stones. What will be in stones which is not in living creatures.

8. Feeding hungry is superior to all Offerings.
Parents and Guru are great among all.

Annidaanamulanu annadaaname goppa
Kannavaari kante ghanulu leru |
Enna Guruvu kante ekkuva lerayaa
Vishwadaabhiraama vinura Vemaa ||

Anna daanam/feeding hungry is superior to all daanams/offerings. Parents are great among all. There is no one greater than guru.

Since origin of this society – all our struggle is for feeding stomach / worry less square meals. There should not be any one in this world with hunger. Giving food to anyone who ask for it is the greatest daanam of all.

Having riches and status will not help if one is without food when in need. Every one else will take second position to parents and parents are the real god who gave birth to you and you should respect them every time. Never blame them for not having done anything to you or gave you wealth. Every one struggles to have better living and accumulate in this world but bounded by limitations. Show your capability to win this world and make your parents feel proud of you.

Of course if they have done good – never hesitate to praise them anywhere that makes them happy. Guru is one who taught you to the skills and knowledge to lead successful life in this world. He takes next position to parents of course parents are the first gurus .

Respect parents, gurus, elders

9. Fasting and showoffs will not give salvation

Koodu bettakunna kukshilo jhatharaagni
BhakshaNambu seyu kukshi malamu |
Koodu vidichi malamu guduchuraa vupavaasi
Vishwadaabhiraama vinura Vemaa ||

If you don’t feed stomach, it will eat/digest waste in stomach. When fasting it harms your body and not get philosophy.  Harming body, wearing extra show offs, performing unwanted rituals will not give true knowledge.

10. Great person will have more patience and endurance than the less character person.

Ganga paaruchundu kadalani gatithoda
Muriki kaalva paaru mota thoda |
Adhiku dorchunatlu adhamu dorvagaledu
Vishwadaabhiraama vinura Vemaa ||

Ganga flows smoothly/steadily. Sewer drain flows with roaring noise. Great person will have more patience and endurance than the less character person.


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