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In an earlier post in this space, I had shared some well known samasya pooranam examples from samskrta and some more examples from Kannada poetry. Later, I had also shared some of my own solutions for samasya pooranam questions posted on Padyapaana. Since there were a few more such verses since the last post, I thought rounding them up here.
The next samasyapooranam is about the five arrows of the Love God, Manmatha. It is said that Manmatha carries a bow made of sugarcane, and has five arrows made of flowers. But the problem given here says that Manmatha carries 10 arrows, and not five.
ಮನಸಿಜನ ಬಳಿ ಹತ್ತು ಬಾಣಗಳಿರುವುದೇ ನಿಜವೈ!
Samasya pooranam involves lot of word play. So it is quite possible to turn one thing into another! I used a fact from Saint Tyagarja’s life to complete this verse. Composer Tyagaraja was an ardent devotee of Rama, but married twice in his life unlike Rama. If such a devotee should marry again after his first wife passed away, it should indeed be because the lord of Love should have had another set of arrows, thus making it ten in total!
ವಿನಯದಲಿ ಜಾನಕಿಯ ಪತಿಯನೆ
ಕನವರಿಕೆಯಲು ಭಕ್ತಿವೈರಾಗ್ಯದಲಿ ನೆನೆದಾತ;
ಕೊನೆಯುಸಿರೆಳೆಯೆ ಮಡದಿ ಪಾರ್ವತಿ
ಮನಸಿಜನ ಬಳಿ ಹತ್ತುಬಾಣಗಳಿರುವುದೇ ನಿಜವೈ!
It is quite possible to write multiple solutions to the same problem in Samasya Poornam. So here is one more solution to the same problem,where I changed the last line a bit keeping the same meaning.
The Love God Manmatha is said to visit Earth during the spring season , but as we know the spring occurs in different times in the northern and southern hemispheres, he then should have two sets of five arrows- and the following verse is written about these ten arrows of Manmatha.
ಚಿತ್ತಚೋರ ವಸಂತ ಕಾಲದ
ಲತ್ತ ಹೂಡುವನೈದು ಹೂವಿನ ಶರವ ಮುದದಿಂದ
ಮತ್ತೆ ಪೋಗುವ ದಕ್ಷಿಣದ ಕಡೆ
ಗತ್ತ ಪ್ರೀತಿಯ ಸೊದೆಯ ಹಂಚಲು!
ಹತ್ತುಬಾಣಗಳಿಹುದೆ ಸೈ ಮನ್ಮಥನ ಚೀಲದಲಿ !
After having spent arrows made of lotus, ashoka, mango, blue lily and jasmine flowers during the spring in the northern hemisphere, if Manmatha has to go to the southern hemisphere he must indeed have a second set of these love arrows!
Another problem given on Padyapaana was to complete a verse that ends in the phrase ಮಳೆಯು ಮುದವಾಯ್ತು. By the time I saw the problem, there were already a bunch of solutions. So I had to look for a different type of shower, a meteor shower in this case:
ಚಳಿಯ ತಡೆಯಲು ತೊಟ್ಟು ಟೊಪ್ಪಿಯಿ-
ರುಳಿನ ಮೂರನೆ ಜಾವಕೆನ್ನುತ ಕಾದು ಕುಳಿತಾಯ್ತು
ಇಳೆಯ ಹಾದಿಯ ಬಾಲಚಿಕ್ಕೆಯ
ಹೊಳೆಯುತಾಗಸ ತುಂಬಿ ಲಿಯೊನಿಡ್ಸ್ ಮಳೆಯು ಮುದವಾಯ್ತು!
Leonids meteor shower is seen during mid November every year, and the solution describes how waiting for the meteor shower in a chilly winter night was fruitful with a fabulous display of the meteors in the sky.
I will end with another samasya pooranam, set in Bhamini shatpadi. This was a question given to the audience in an Ashtavadhana in Puttur a few years ago. The line given was
ಹರುಷದಿಂದರ್ಜುನನು ಸಾರಥಿಯಾದ ಕೃಷ್ಣನಿಗೆ
We all know that Krishna was the charioteer for Arjuna during the Mahabharata war. However this line is stating otherwise – ” Happily, Arjuna became the charioteer for Krishna”. Quite interesting indeed.
I ended up writing more than 30 solutions to this question – some of them relating to the final battle of Karna and Arjuna are posted in this link, but will post a couple of lighthearted ones here:
ತುರಿದು ಕಾಯನು ಘಮಘಮೆನ್ನುತ
ಹುರಿದ ರವೆಯುಪ್ಪಿಟ್ಟು ಮಾಡುವೆ
ತರುವ ಸಮಯವು ಬಾಲಕೃಷ್ಣನ ಶಾಲೆಯಿಂದೆನಲು
ಹೊರಟನರ್ಜುನ ಪುಟ್ಟ ಮಗನನು
ಕರೆದು ಮಾರುತಿಯೊಳಗೆ ಕೂರಿಸಿ
ಹರುಷದಿ೦ದರ್ಜುನನು ಸಾರಥಿಯಾದ ಕೃಷ್ಣನಿಗೆ॥
ವಿರಸ ಬೇಡೆಲೆ ಮಾನಿನೀ ನಾ-
ಕರೆಯಬೇಡವೆ ಮಾಲಿಗೇ ಶಾಪಿಂಗ ನಾ ಮಾಣೆ ।
ಹೊರಡಬೇಕಿದೆ ಮಗನು ಟ್ಯೂಷನ್
ತರಗತಿಗೆ ತುಸು ಹೊತ್ತಿನಲೆನುತ
ಹರುಷದಿ೦ದರ್ಜುನನು ಸಾರಥಿಯಾದ ಕೃಷ್ಣನಿಗೆ॥
In the above contemporary solutions, Arjuna is the dad of a lad named Krishna, and drives the boy in his car. In the second one, he is also trying to avoid going shopping in the pretext of taking the child to a class. 🙂
Image courtesy: Manmatha Vijaya, on the ceiling of Virupaksha temple, Hampi; taken from http://iiacd.org/murals-south-india/#/hampi-virupaksha-temple-ceiling-paintings-interactive-plan
A few years ago, when I wrote about Samasya Pooranam here, and here, I had no clue one day I could try these word games too. But over the last year, thanks to the wonderful lessons and posters on Padyapaana, I did make some effort in this direction. And I thought of presenting a few of those in this post.
Samasysa Pooranam refers to the art of completing a verse in a specified meter when one line of the verse is given. The given line in isolation may often border on being meaningless or ridiculous. It is up to you to solve the puzzle, and bring sense into the senseless line in an effective way.
The open nature of the problem can result scores of interesting solutions. Here are some of my recent trials at Samasya Poorana:
Question: “ರಾಮಗಾಗದ ಕಾರ್ಯ ಕಪಿಗಳಗುಂಪಿಗತಿ ಸುಲಭ ” – “The task easy for a bunch of monkeys is impossible for Rama”
This is the 3/6 line of a verse in written in Bhamini shatpadi meter. How can the almighty Rama be inferior to a bunch of monkeys? Oh Well, hold on. Didn’t a bunch of monkeys build the bridge across the ocean during Ramayana? True, but then how about solving the question a little differently?
ನೇಮದಲಿ ಹಂಬಲಿಸೆ ಸೀತೆಯು
ಕಾಮ ವೈರಿಯ ಮಡದಿ ಮಂಗಳ
ಧಾಮೆ ಗೌರಿಯ ಲಕ್ಷ ಪೂಜೆಗೆ ವಾನರರ ಸೈನ್ಯ
ರಾಮದಲಿ ಹೂಗಳನು ಬಿಡಿಸಿರೆ
ರಾಮಗಾಗದ ಕಾರ್ಯ ಕಪಿಗಳಗುಂಪಿಗತಿ ಸುಲಭ!
When Seeta wanted to perform the Laksha Pooje for Mangala Gouri, who else but the monkey army could climb up trees and bushes and pick all those flowers? Certainly Rama could not have done it so fast. Right?
Since we’re on the topic of Ramayana, here is a related samasya poorana – this one in mattebhavikreedita meter:
ಪತಿಗಳ್ ಸೀತೆಗದೆಷ್ಟು ಮಂದಿ ಗಣಿಸಲ್ಕೇನೊರ್ವರೇ? ಇರ್ವರೇ?
Sounds on the border of being offensive – Right? This kind of talk definitely not befit Seeta, who is considered the epitome of virtue!
I had to send Seeta to her Physics classroom to solve this 🙂
ಹಿತದೊಳ್ ತೋರ್ಪೆನು ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರಪಾಠಗಳ ನಾಂ ನೀ ಬೇಗಬಾರೆಂದೆನ-
ಲ್ಕತಿಸಂತೋಷದಿ ಬಂದ ಸೀತೆ ಮುದದೊಳ್ ಕಣ್ಣಲ್ಲೆ ಕಣ್ಣಾಗಿ ಜಾ-
ಗೃತಿಯಿಂ ಪಟ್ಟಕಮಂ ತಳೆರ್ದಿರೆ ಮೊದಲ್ ಬಾನಲ್ಲಿ ಕಂಡರ್ ದಿವ-
ಸ್ಪತಿಗಳ್ ಸೀತೆಗದೆಷ್ಟು ಮಂದಿ! ಗಣಿಸಲ್ಕೇನೊರ್ವರೇಯಿರ್ವರೇ ?
What did Seeta see in her Physics class when she turned the kaleidoscope towards the sky? A hundred (or more) Suns! Definitely qualifies for the adjective “uncountable”!
(ಪಟ್ಟಕ = prism, but used here to mean a kaleidoscope ದಿವಸ್ಪತಿ = literally, the “lord of the day”, or the Sun)
OK, now let me move from Ramayana to Bharata, that is to India, more specifically today’s India. One of the samasya poorana lines given during the Shatavadhana in Dec 2012 was “ಭಾರತದಿ ದುಶ್ಯಾಸನನೆ ದ್ರೌಪದಿಯ ಸಖನಲ್ತೆ!” – “Truly, Dushyasana is a friend of Draupadi”.
Here is my solution, which unfortunately, is based on what happened in Delhi during Dec 2012:
ಲಾರು ಕೇಡಿಗ ದುರುಳರು ಬಲಾ-
ತ್ಕಾರಗೈದಿರೆ ಯಾರು ಕಾಯ್ದರು ರಾಜಧಾನಿಯಲಿ ?
ಭಾರತದಿ ದುಶ್ಯಾಸನನೆ ದ್ರೌಪದಿಯ ಸಖನಲ್ತೆ !
In one of my earlier posts on this subject here, I’d sort of mixed up two distinctly different puzzlers: Dattapadi and Samasya poorana. Let me not dwell into that, but suffice it to say that while Samasya Poorana refers to completing a verse when one of the lines is given, Dattapadi refers to composing a verse that includes set of given words are given, on a specified topic – Not unexpectedly, often the words totally unrelated to the topic are given.
Here is one such example – How would an experienced politician advice an upcoming politician to take the right ways to success ? Since this is the internet era, the solution must contain the words: e-mail, chat, phone and gram!
Here are two different solutions I came up with in the Bhamini shatpadi meter:
ಗ್ರಾಮ ಪಂಚಾಯ್ತಿಯಲಿ ಕಾಲಿ-
ಟ್ಟಾಮೆಯಂತೆಯೆ ಬೆಳೆಸು ಚರ್ಮವ!
ಸಾಮದಲ್ಲಿಯೆ ಗಳಿಸಿ ಫೋನಲಿ ಸೋನಿಯಳ ಕೃಪೆಯ!
ರಾಮನೇ ನೀ? ಬೇಡ ಸೇವೆಯ ಗೀಳು! ಹುಚ್ಚಾಟ!
ರಾಮರಾಜ್ಯದ ನೆಪದಿ ನೀಕು-
ಗ್ರಾಮದಲೆ ಮುಂದಾಳುವಾಗು! ನೋಡೈ
ನಾಮಹಾಕುತ ಜನಕೆ ಮಾಡುತಲಷ್ಟು ಕಿರುಚಾಟ!
ನೇಮವಿಡೆ ಮೇಲ್ನವರ ಫೋನಾ-
ರಾಮದಲ್ಲೇ ಹುದ್ದೆ ತರುವುದು!
ಗೇಮೆಯಲ್ಲೇ ಮೇಲಕೇರ್ವುದು ದಿಟದಿ ಬಲುಕಷ್ಟ!
And now, how about describing an outdated mode of transportation 😉 – such as a bird using some modern vehicles? The question here is to describe the well known story of Gajendra Moksha, using the words “Cycle”, “Van”,”Lorry” and “Car”.
Here is my attempt at answering the question in a pancha mAtrA choupadi – a traditional 4 lined meter:
ಅಸುವು ಹೋಗುತಲಿಹವು ವ್ಯಾನಾದಿ ಪಂಚಕವು
ತುಸು ನೀನು ಕರುಣಿಸೈ ಕಲ್ಲಾಗಿಸದೆ ಮನವ
ಎಸೆವ ಕಾರ್ಮುಗಿಲಿಂದ ಗರುಡವಾಹನ ಬಂದ!
Here is another small variation of the same question to describe Gajendra Moksha episode, using the words “Auto”, “Rickshaw”, “Volvo” and “Lorry”.
ಅಸುವ ಕಾಯೆಂಬ ಮೊರೆಗೆಲ್ಲಾರಿಗೂ ಮೊದಲು
ನಸುನಗುತ ಹರಿಯಂತರಿಕ್ಷದಲೆ ಪೊರೆದ!
But to really enjoy Samasya Poorna, Dattapadi and many more interesting poetic puzzles in Kannada, I must urge you to visit Padyapaana, a great resource of fun in learning prosody. I’m sure you’ll definitely be astounded by the variety of answers to each such puzzle on Padyapaana. I strongly encourage you to go and checkout a few posts here.
(Picture courtesy: Wikipedia; Gajendra Moksha sculpture on the walls of Dashaavataara temple, Deoghar)
Samasya Pooranam is a good pastime for saMskRuta lovers. By the way, that’s how I transliterate the name of the language more well known as Sanskrit (among the people who do not know that language 😉 very well! ) . However I prefer to use the transliteration scheme I am more used to ; replace it with your favourite transliteration scheme, if you prefer, whenever you see this word.
samasyA pUraNam literally means completing a riddle. You are given a sentence that does not make sense. Or one that seems very odd. Now you have to add a few lines to make it meaningful. Of course, I am not competent enough in saMskRuta , to do this. But I can at least appreciate the beauty of it!
There are a number of such samasyA pUraNa shlOkas. They go back t0 at least 10-15 centuries. The most famous might be “kamalE kamalOtpattiH” – Lotus born out of a lotus – (कमले कमलोत्पत्तिः) attributed to the famed poet kAlidAsa. Anyone who knows the name of kAlidAsa, probably knows this. And of course, whoever has seen our dear “annAvru” – Dr Rajkumar in the kannaDa movie ‘kaviratna kALidAsa’ can definitely recall this.
Here is the solution for this – said to have been given by kALidAsa.
kamalE kamalOtpattiH shrUyatE na cha dRushyatE
bAlE tava mukhAMbhOjE dRushyamindIvara dvayam!
कमले कमलोत्पत्तिः श्रूयते न च दृश्यते
बाले तव मुखाम्बोजे दृश्यमिंदीवर द्वयम्!
In simple English, this would be:
Who ever said you can’t see a lotus born of a lotus?
Oh girl, when there are two lotus eyes in your lotus face!
Actually there are several such samasyA pooraNa shlOkas supposed to have been solved by kALidAsa. But I suspect, most of them are the works of some other witty poets – not necessarily of kALidAsa. Another couple attributed to kALidAsa end with almost meaningless lines.
The first one reads : “ka kha ga gha” – क ख ग घ. While it seems too be devoid of any information to get a solution, here is one.
kA tvam bAlA?
kA tvA hastE
kA vA lEkhA?
ka kha ga gha.
का त्वम् बाला?
का त्वाम् हस्ते?
का वा लेखा?
क ख ग घ.
This is a conversation between an adult, and a school going child.
Who are you, Oh child?
My name is Kanchana mala.
Who is your mother?
Kanakalata is her name.
What is in your hand?
A slate to write.
What did you write in there?
ka kha ga gha.
The other is one that ends with even more meaningless “ThA Tham Tha Tham Tham Tha Tha Tham Tha Tam ThaH ” ( ठा ठं ठ ठं ठं ठ ठ ठं ठ ठं ठः) . The solution is of course, very ingenious.
hasthaachchyutho hEmaghaTo yuvathyaaH
sOpaanamAsAdya karOthi Sabdam
ThA Tham Tha Tham Tham Tha Tha Tham Tha Tam ThaH
हस्ताच्य्तो हेमघटो युवत्याः
सोपानमासाद्य करोति शब्दम्
ठा ठं ठ ठं ठं ठ ठ ठं ठ ठं ठः
While bringing water for the coronation of Sri Rama,
The golden pot falling from the hands of those girls,
On the steps on the riverbank, made this sound:
ThA Tham Tha Tham Tham Tha Tha Tham Tha Tam ThaH!
See how cleverly the meaningless line has been used to create a very nice sounding 😉 solution!
Many of these riddles have multiple, equally nice solutions. Let me move on from centuries old stuff to a more contemporary one, with multiple solutions. Dr Ganesh is a well known shatavadhAni. Samasya pooraNa is a part of shatAvadhAna. In one of the avadhAna sessions, he was given this one to solve.
gaurI pacati gOmAMsam
गौरी पचति गोमांसम्
gouri cooks beef.
Ridiculous? Sacrilageous? Not after you see the solution I bet !
Here is the solution given by Dr Ganesh
pancamO jArajO yatra pauSAsak tatra sarvadA
gaurI pacati gOmAMsam gaurO bhunktE bhubhukShitaH
पञ्चमो जारजो यत्र पौशासक् तत्र सर्वदा
गौरी पचति गोमांसम् गौरो भुङ्क्ते भुभुक्षितः
When King George the 5th ruled
The white lady (the queen) cooks beef.
The white man (husband) eats what she cooks!
If you know saMskRuta, you can not but miss the pun on the words panchama and jAraja 😉
In avadhAna, the person asking the question has to have an answer too. This was the answer proposed by the questioner (पृछ्चक) Sudheer.
gouDI tu pacati mInam drAviDI pacati shAkam
gourI pacati gOmAmsam nUnam lOkO bhinnaruciH
गौडी तु पचति मीनम् द्राविडी पचति शाकम्
गौरी पचति गोमांसम् नूनं लोको भिन्नरुचिः
The woman from gouDa (present bengal) cooks fish;
The woman from south cooks vegetables.
The white woman cooks beef.
It is true that tastes differ.
See how both the answers wittily use the literal meaning of the word गौरी (gourI), to mean the white woman, rather than the commonly understood meaning as Parvati, the wife of Shiva.
When I was discussing this with a few of my friends, they came up with some more impressive solutions:
trilOkajananI kA bhO? sUpakRt kim karOti bhO?
kim khAdanti turuShkAH bhO? gaurI pacati gOmAmsam
त्रिलोकजननी का भो? सूपक्ऱ्त् किम् करोति भो?
किम् खादन्ति तुरुष्काः भो? गौरी पचति गोमाम्सम्.
Who is the mother of three worlds?
What does a cook do ?
What to muslims eat?
gourI; Cooks; Beef.
This solution takes the form of 3 questions, followed by the answers to the questions in the last line, a commonly used technique in samasyA pooraNa. Also, this takes the common meaning of the word gourI.
Here is another very contemporary solution, proposed by another friend if mine!
mama gEhasamIpasthE mekDonAlD bhOjanAlayE|
gaurI pachati gOmAMsaM kRuShNastaM bhakShayiShyati||
मम गेहसमीपस्थे मॆक्डॊनाल्ड् भोजनालये|
गौरी पचति गोमांसं कृष्णस्तं भक्षयिष्यति||
At the McDonad’s, near my house,
a white woman cooks beef, and a black man eats it!
Note the clever use of words गौरी to mean white woman and कृष्ण as black man.
I can go on and on, but let me stop before you yawn 🙂