Somanaadhudu Paalkuriki Taallapaaka Annamayya: The Tallapaka family of poets, music composers and scholars in Telugu and Sankrit popularized the Srivaishnava faith in Andhra Pradesh in the 15th and 16th centuries. Annamacharya, the greatest of them, it is said, had a vision of Lord Venkateswara when he was 16 and then spent the rest of his life composing kirtanas and padams on him, which totalled 32, Of these only 14, are available now engraved on copper plates which were hidden for centuries in a niche of Sri Venkateswara temple at Tirumala.
Annamayya was born in A. Born with a gift for poetry and song, the boy Annamayya would improvise songs on Venkateswara and was always preoccupied by him. He ran away to Tirupati and fell asleep on a rock after and exhausting climb of the first steep hill at Tirumala. He dreamt of alamelumanga and composed a Shataka in her praise. Upon reaching the lord of Seven Hills he burst into a song of ecstatic praise. He lived in Tirumala for some time and was initiated into Sri Vaishnava faith. Sometime later his people sought him out and took him home where he was married.
His marriage did not interfere with his spiritual interests and he became a disciple of the saint Shathakopayati of Ahobalam and studied all the sacred texts. Although he propitiated other deities like Rama, Krishna, Narasimha and Vitthala, he viewed them as forms of Venkateswara, the Ultimate Reality. He spent the rest of his life in his service and devoting his time between Tallapaka and Tirumala. Annamayya breathed his last in Nannaya is acclaimed as the Adi Kavi or the first poet of Telugu literature.
Most of Telugu literature begins with this massive epic transcreated by these three great sage-scholars Gonabudda Reddy 13th century: Gonabudda Reddy is known for his Ranganatha Ramayanam which is a pioneering work on the theme of Ramayana in Telugu. The whole work comprises seven khandas parts. The work has become a part of the Andhra cultural life and is also used by puppeteers for their shows Srinathudu 14th century: Sreenaadhudu AD was a born poet.
He began a new era that broke away from the translation era in Telugu literature. Sreenaadhudu had authored several independent works in Telugu. Most of his works are very sensual.
He worshipped sex and enjoyed life with wine and women. Maruttaratcharitra, Salivaahanasaptasati, Panditaaraadhyacharitra, Sringaaranaishadhamu, Haravilaasamu, Bheemakhanda Kaashikhandamulu, Kreedaabhiraamamu, Sivaraatrimahaatmyamu and Palnaativeeracharitramu are his works. Among these, Maruttaratcharitra, Salivaahanasaptasati, and Panditaaraadhyacharitra are not available. Sringaaranaishadhamu was a translation of Sanskrit Naishadha kaavya written by Sreeharsha.
In this work Sreenaadha described the sensual story of marriage of King Nala and Damayanti. In Kreedabhiraamamu drama the authorship of this work is disputed , he described the contemporary society as observed by two Aryan friends, one belonging to the Brahmin tribe and the other belonging to a Komati tribe, during their one-day visit to the Ekasilanagaram Warangal city the capital city of Kakatiya kingdom. Their visit includes various parts of the city including the red-light area township of prostitutes.
This drama gives a clear picture of the Telugu society and the culture in 14th century. In this drama, Sreenaadhudu described the vocations, tribes castes , classes, games, Telugu cuisine and restaurants, and the culture of Telugu people during the reign of Kakatiya dynasty. Similar to modern cities like New York or Mumbai, in which ghettos and slums are common, the capital city of Kakatiya kingdom also had rich neighborhoods and poor neighborhoods with ghettos.
Prostitution was a respected vocation with rules and regulations of the art. Brothel courts resolved the disputes among the prostitutes. Gambling, cockfights, ram fights etc. Heroic stories of Telugu heroes like warriors of Palnadu, stories of Ekaveera goddess, Parasurama, etc were very popular ballads and songs.
Popular religions were Ekaveera worship, Mailaradeva worship, Bhairava worship, Chamadeswari worship, Moosanamma worship, Kumaaraswaami worship, Pandava worship, Macherla Chenna worship and so on. Telugus were interested in painting and other arts. Women used to wear red cheeralu saries with borders. He also described the Telugu superstitions. For example, Telugus believed that the cry of an owl in the east was auspicious; Early morning was considered auspicious time to start any new venture.
In Palnaativeeracharitra the history of warriors of Palnaadu is the first ballad in Telugu literature. The authorship of this work is also disputed. This is a historical ballad based on the events that happened during AD. During that time Vaishnavism and Shaivism were dominant rival religions. However, both religions attempted to attract various tribes castes and fought against tribalism.
This story is popularly known as Palanti Bhaaratam. This ballad has lot of similarities to the North Indian Aryan story Mahabharat and is respected by Telugus as much as Mahabharat is respected. Sreenaadhudu was the Chief Education Officer in the court of king Pedakomati Vemareddi of Kondaveeti kingdom and enjoyed rich sensual and worldly pleasures for eighteen years.
He traveled in the Telugu Nation and attained several awards and titles from various kings. Sreenadhudu was certainly the beginner of a new era in the Telugu literature. Bammera Potana 15th century: Bammera Potana was born in Bammera, a village twenty miles away from Warangal, into a Niyogi Brahmin family.
His father was Kesanna and his mother was Lakkasanamma. He was considered to be a natural scholar sahaja panditha without a teacher. Potana was a very polite gentleman. He was an agriculturist by occupation.
Though he was a great scholar, he never hesitated to work in the agricultural fields. This was his first poetic venture which had the seeds of his great poetic talents. The main theme was the destruction of a yagna performed in absence of Lord Shiva by Daksha Prajapathi. As a young man, he was a devotee of Lord Shiva. Later, Potana became a devotee of Lord Rama and more interested in salvation.
His conversion from Shaivism to Vaishnavism was triggered by an incident. One early morning during a lunar eclipse, on the banks of river Godavari, Potana was meditating on Lord Shiva. At that auspicious moment, Lord Rama appeared dressed like a king and requested Potana to translate Bhagavatam into Telugu and dedicate it to him. He was quite fond of using rhythm and repetition of sounds giving a majestic grace to the style of writing.
He was very skilful in using alankaras figures of speech like similes and metaphors. Potana imparted the knowledge of the divine to the Telugu people along with lessons in ethics and politics through Andhra Maha Bhagavatamu. Andhra people are greatly indebted to the most beloved poet Bammera Potana. Sri Krishnadevaraya 16th century: The whole work of Amukta Malyada has a grand poetic style and the work blends the eternal and the temporal in a masterly fashion even as it unfolds an interesting tale.
Pingali Sooranna 16th century: Soorana was a pioneering figure in the field of Telugu classical poetry of the medieaval age. He has to his credit mainly three works Raghavapandaviyam a dyvarthi-kavya, Kalapurnodayam Full Blooming of Art and Prabhavati Pradyumnam. Kalapurnodayam has been hailed as the first original poetic novel in Telugu literature.
Paravastu Chinnayya Soori Who does not know Sri Chinnayasoori among us? He was one of the most famous pandits of the 19th century. He was born in in Perambur of Chengalpattu distt. He was a Saivaite. Sri Cninnayasoori was a Telugu pandit in the Govt. He dedicated his entire life to the progress and promotion of Telugu language and literature. Sri Chinnayasoori wrote the baala vyaakaranamu in a new style after doing extensive research on "Andhra Grammar" which is the greatest gift to all of us.
One can not come across any one who has not studied his grammar on the entire Andhra soil. Other well-known writings by Chinnayasoori are: Chinnayasoori translated Mitra labham and Mitra Bedham from the sanskrit "panchatantram" as "neeti chandrika".
Later, Veeresa lingam translated Sandhi and Vigraham. No one translated the fifth tantram, viz. Chinnayasoori's writing style is the most classical one. Several writers tried to follow his style of writing Telugu but failed desperately.
The stylistic elegance in his prose is unparallel to any other known, even today. Sri Kandukuri Viresalingam and Sri Kokkonda Venkataratnam followed Chinnayasoori's style of prose writing and wrote Vigrahamu and Sandhi in a different pattern. But, they were unable to provide the depth of style of Chinnayasoori's prose writing to the readers.
Many of us might have read the Neetichandrika as the text book at the high school level. Those who do not have good command over the Telugu language will also be enthusiastic to read the Neetichandrika. Chinnayasoori's intention in writing the Neetichandrika was not only to translate the honey of morals into telugu but to enlighten the readers with the cool rays of Telugu language which is ever glowing.
Balanagayyasetti was fortunate to publish this famous classic, the Neetichandrika, and above all we are more fortunate to read it.