Raghava Yadaviyam with English Translation

Raghava-yadaviyam by Venkatadhvari (17th cent.) is an “anuloma-viloma kavya” that narrates the story of Rama. But the Shlokas read in the reverse relate an adventure of Shri Krishna.

Given below is an extract on “Raghava Yadaviyam” from “Pride of India” published by Samskrita Bharati, Bangalore.

There is a recent work (17th century AD) of the name Raghava Yadaviyam. The name is intriguing. Raghava refers to the one born in Raghu-kula viz. Rama the protagonist of the epic Ramayana. Yadava refers to the one born in the Yadu-kula, Krishna, the protagonist of the other epic Mahabharata.

The 30 slokas in the work tell the story of Rama, obviously very briefly, justifying the first part of the name. Why the second part of the name – Yadaviyam? These slokas, if read in the reverse, letter by letter, narrate an episode from the life of Lord Krishna – of bringing parijata tree from the heavens to the earth.

This interesting though brief work

– shows that verbal ingenuity of the composer Arasanpalai Venkitacharya (also known as Venkatadhvari) and also

– proves the encryption capability of the Sanskrit language.

Here is a random sloka from the text.

वन्देऽहं देवं तं श्रीतं रन्तारं कालं भासा यः ।
रामो रामाधीराप्यागो लीलामारायोध्ये वासे ॥

“I pay my obeisance to Lord Shri Rama, who with his heart pining for Sita, travelled across the Sahyadri Hills and returned to Ayodhya after killing Ravana and sported with his consort, Sita, in Ayodhya for a long time.”

In reverse

सेवाध्येयो रामालाली गोप्याराधी मारामोरा ।
यस्साभालंकारं तारं तं श्रीतं वन्देहं देवं ॥

“I bow to Lord Shri Krishna, whose chest is the sporting resort of Shri Lakshmi;who is fit to be contemplated through penance and sacrifice, who fondles Rukmani and his other consorts and who is worshipped by the gopis, and who is decked with jewels radiating splendour.”



Raghava Yadaviyam with English Translation — 60 Comments

  1. Certainly not one-of-a-kind, no, even if we only look to Sūryadāsa’s Rāmakṛṣṇavilomakāvya.

    Māgha, Bhaṭṭi and Bhāravi have sections of such verses in their works, and similar long palindromic works are not unknown in other languages (look to early 20th century Russian, for example).

    • Isac,


      Thank you for enlightening me. In fact I have read only a few Kavyas of Kalidasa, that too not very deeply.

      Is “Ramakrishna Vilomakavya” available for online reading?

      • http://sanskritdocuments.org/all_pdf/raamakrshhna.pdf

        As far as I know it has been printed in two editions, one by K.N. Misra as Haridas Sanskrit Series 288 (Chowkhamba, 1970), the other, with translation, by S.B. Velankar (Bombay, Keshav Bhikaji Dhawale, 1977).

        There is an interesting paper by Christopher Minkowski, “On Sūryadāsa and the Invention of Bidirectional Poetry (vilomakāvya)” in the Journal of the American Oriental Society (2004, 124(2): 325-333).

  2. Pingback: राघवयादवीय़म् – एकं विलोमकाव्यं – A bi-directional poetry « Sanskrit Wisdom

  3. Isaac,

    Anuloma-Viloma-Kāvya is not same as Palindromic work. Palindrome essentially reads the same in both directions and therefore has the same meaning. While anuloma·viloma·kāvya is dvyarthī (having two meanings).


  4. Excellent,painstaking inspirational work
    from ancient texts. Needs tobe reprinted,
    explained and circulated for language-
    lovers of literary taste.

  5. Hidden nuggets of Sanskrit literature found by chance by an ignoramus like me…..makes me want to read more of this wonderful work.
    Is it available for download.

  6. sir, Namaste, I am a teacher. I want to teach chanting shlokas of this glorious poetry.I want cd of shloka chanting. what can I do?

  7. I came to know abt this when pujya murari bapu mentioned in his katha few minutes back at jamunotri. Amaging work.

  8. Really Sanskrit is a rich and amazing language. I am interested in knowing whether such anuloma viloma poems or verses have been written in any of our Indian languages. Can some one enlighten?

  9. I think there is some difference between different types of figurative poetry. It can be first two types-Camatkara kavya and citra kavya. citra kavya targets just the “bandha”or the structural aspect and the other, about the meaning. Camatkara kavya can be anulo-vilo where two types of different meanings can be read into twodifferent types of words when read in opposite directions. Dvyardi kavya actually means two meanings to be applied to the same word and is read in the same direction. An eg. would be Telugu raghavapandaveeyamu.A palindromic kavya sprouts one meaning only while can be read backwards. That way, it is only a citra kavya.Can anything else be read into this cetohari form of sanskrit literature?

  10. Not able to download-
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  11. Amazing, what a talent and knowledge by the writer and to realise by the reader. Need to be proud of being Indian and to know about it. Tnk u

  12. मैंने ‘कंकणाबद्ध रामायण’ के बारे में सुना हैकी एक बत्तीस अक्षरी संस्कृतश्लोक है . इस श्लोक की गोलाकार रचना है . पहले अक्षर से बत्तीसवे अक्षर तक एक श्लोक बनता है . दुसरे अक्षरसे बत्तीसवे अक्षर तक दुसरा श्लोक बनता है . इसी तरह बनते है बत्तीस श्लोक . इसी गोलाकार स्थिती में उलटे श्लोक बत्तीस बनते है .
    इन चौसष्ट श्लोक में संपूर्ण रामायण कथा बनती है .
    क्या ऐसा श्लोक या श्लोकपर पुस्तक है ?

  13. I have come across few thevaram songs of this category in Tamil. Few verses in PARIJATHAPAHARAM in Telugu prabhandha kavyam are like this.

    • Raghava Yadaviyam with Sanskrit commentary and English translation by Sudesh Narang was published by J.P. Publishing House, Delhi in 1993. Not sure if it is still available in print. You may find its copies in public libraries or University libraries.

  14. Has anybody translated this unique creation in Hindi poetry? I mean, not the translation in phrases, but in real poetry similar to the original one.

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