1 జూన్, 2012

Dr. Puttaparthi: A Synthesis of Ages J. HANUMATH SASTRI -

       

 

 

 

             Dr. Puttaparthi: A Synthesis of Ages

J. HANUMATH SASTRI


The common original from 
which all the arts draw is life; 
all that constitutes the inward 
and essential activity of the Soul (Butcher’s commentary).

Sriman Puttaparthi Narayanacharyulu, 
popularly known as 
“Puttaparthi”, 
was one of the most popular 
and beloved of writers of Andhra Pradesh. 

His capacity for experiencing 
and his power for communicating 
were indistinguishable.

 His power of eloquence and grandeur of recitation 
had won him high esteem 
both in the circles of the learned scholars 
and the younger generation. 

He was a phenomenon on the contemporary Telugu scene. 

Sri Putaparthi was born on 
October 3, 1914 at Penugonda   
 which was once the seat of the later, Vijayanagar kings.

 Sri Puttaparthi 
was a descendant of Tirumala Tatacharyulu, 
the family priest of 
Sri Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagar. 

His father, 
Sri Puttaparthi Srinivasacharyulu, 
was a great exponent of the epics 
and classics and 
was a scholar of eminence in Sanskrit and Telugu. 

His mother, Smt. Kondamma, 
was a staunch devotee of Srinivasa 
and was a scholar in Sanskrit and Telugu. 

The boy Puttaparthi
 inherited the traditional scholarship 
of his father and the love for music from his step-mother.

Even as a mere lad of fourteen, 
poetry flowed from his lips 
in praise of his home-town Penugonda. 
An amusing literary irony 
was that the very collection of his boyhood poems 
known as “Penugonda Lakshmi” 
happened to be later prescribed as a text-book 
when Sri Narayanacharya 
himself took his Vidwan examination in Telugu.

While he was in the High School, 
he was attracted by Mrs. V. J. Pitt,
 wife of the Sub-Collector at Penugonda. 

His association with Mrs. Pitt 
who was a scholar in English inspired him 
to study the classics of English 
and he got by heart the works of Shakespeare and Milton. 

Milton, among the English poets, 
was much admired and appreciated by the Acharya. 
He had an amazing power of memory 
and could fluently recite the Sanskrit Kavyas verbatim. 

While studying for the Vidwan examination 
at the Oriental College, Tirupati, 
he developed his faculties in music, dance and drama. 
His unquenchable thirst for learning many languages 
made him a polyglot of fourteen languages. 

He studied Greek and Latin 
under the guidance of Sri Aurobindo at Pondicherry,
 whose Ashram gave shelter to the young poet. 

He roamed about the length and breadth of India 
in search of Truth. 
He learnt Russian and a little French. 
In spite of all these faculties, 
he still felt like Milton
 “All is, if I have grace to use it so, 
As even in my great Task-Master’s eye.”

During his ’Thirties, 
he came under the influence of Samarth Ramadas
 and other great saints of Maharashtra 
and started an Ashram known as Aravindashram 
on the banks of river Kundu
 at Chiyyapadu near Proddatur 
and led the life of an ascetic for some years. 

During that period
 he composed 7000 songs in praise of Lord Vittal 
and set 400 of them to music. 

He undertook a tour of Northern India 
and for sometime he remained at Rishikesh, 
the abode of Swami Sivananda. 
The Swamiji was much impressed with the scholarship 
and talents of 
Sri Puttaparthi and blessed him 
with the title “Saraswati­putra”.

He used to collect large audience 
for his recitation of Tulsi’s 
“Ramacharitamanas” and “Valmiki Ramayana.”

Sri Puttaparthi 
authored more than a hundred original works 
and translations for study in the degree 
and post-graduate classes of Madras, Madurai, 
Sri Venkateswara, Andhra and Mysore Universities. 

He was a great critic and a dispassionate thinker. 
His depth of knowledge 
was perceptible at every point. 
In his introduction to Puttaparthi’s 
“Prabandha Nayikalu” 
Sri Rallapalli Anantakrishna Sarma says, 
“His voice is firm with independent thinking, 
forcible ideas, unsubmissive opinions. 
It has all the attributes of an experienced.” 

He responds to the situation 
with all his faculties alive and active. 
He hardly approved anything inappropriate. 
Though a lover of “Sringaara” he hit back 
when it went beyond the limits of decency and modesty.

Puttaparthi made a deep study of the works of 
Bhattumurti and Srinatha. 
His lectures on 
“Vasucharitramu” 
reveal his great understanding 
of the poets mind and heart. 

He had always been a great believer in God. 
His devotion to great saints and poets like Tulsidas, 
the Tamil Alwars, Namdev, Kabir and Tyagaraja 
made him forget himself 
while speaking on “Bhagavatam” 
and the great poet Potana. 

He had brought out the greatness of 
Tenali Ramakrishna Kavi in his
 “Rama­krishnuni Rachana Vaikhari”. 
He was an authority on the works of the great poets 
of the court of Srikrishnadevaraya. 
His “Vijayanagara Saanghika Charitra” 
clearly shows his abilities of research and 
gift of narration in a graceful and charming manner. 

Before we try to understand a poem 
by knowing the meaning of every word, 
the music of the ideas must get into our minds, 
when the poem is read aloud. 

That is what happens in the case of his 
“Sivataandavam”. 
You read it aloud to any man, 
who knows little Telugu, 
but still he will listen to it, 
and not only that 
he will unconsciously experience the idea.

Puttaparthi’s magnum opus “Sivataandavam” is a song, 
the like of which was never sung 
in the tongue of musical Telugu. 
It is a song that presents 
before every mind the great cosmic dance of Lord Siva 
and in this Kriti the poet and the musician, 
the dancer and the devotee in the person of 
Sri Narayanacharya, 
mingles exquisitely to produce a masterpiece. 

Of “Sivataandavam”
 said Sivasankaraswami, 
the founder of Sahiti Samiti 
and a renowned poet of Andhra, 
“Here is the brightest jewel 
in the necklace of Andhra Saraswati. 
The imagery is extraordinary, 
the meaning deep as ocean and the idea noblest. 
In the modern Telugu literature this is a matchless lyric.” 

Dr. Viswanatha Satyanarayana 
praised this as the lyric par excellence
 in modern Telugu literature. 

Whenever Sri Puttaparthi addressed a gathering, 
the singing of his “Sivataandavam” had become a byword, 
and to see and to listen to him 
was an experience worth cherishing indeed.

He was a rebel 
among the orthodox-thinking poets 
and sophisticated among the modern poets. 

The multitudinous impressions
 gathered from his vivid, vital and discerning study 
of the works of poets of different languages 
made him a unique poet. 

“Literature is not merely a use of language, 
although it is inseparable from language. 
It, uses language for the expression of t
houghts and feelings 
which are rooted in a particular society 
at a particular stage in its history.” 

He grasped the timeless 
through a temporal medium, 
attained universal knowledge 
through concrete moments of experience. 

The impact of contemporary society 
was got lost upon him. 
His famous work
 “Meghadutam” 
is based on the modern tale of the common man’s revolt 
against the social evils. 

“Agniveena”
 is a collection of verses 
by the poet and his wife, Smt. Kanakamma, 
who was well-versed in Telugu and Sanskrit.

Sri Puttaparthi’s popular work 
“Janapriya Ramayanam” 
is hailed by the people of Andhra. 

Now and then the extracts from that great work 
are broadcast by the All India Radio. 
His voluminous 
“Pandari Bhagavatam”
 contains nearly 24,000 couplets 
and this was serialised by the authorities of 
Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam, 
in their monthly journal. 

His composi­tions in Sanskrit, especially 
“Sivakarnamritam” and 
“Tyagaraya Suprabhatam”
 are appreciated for their charm of rhyme and rhythm. 

He was a prolific prose writer 
and in several respects an original critic.

Sri Narayanacharya 
had no formal English education. 
A remarkable collection of his English verses titled 
“Leaves in the Wind” 
was hailed by the celebrated 
Harindranath Chattopadhyaya. 

Sri Harin stated, 

“The volume of verses reveals the soul of the author 
as being one which responds to beauty. 
This collection gives us an insight into his soul. 
It is a book of sensitive poetry.”

When I see the limpid smile of a baby in a cradle
I would be reminded of God.
When I see the cold corpse on a bier
I would be reminded of God.
But these men alive
They force me to rebel
Against the very existence of God.
(From “The Leaves from the Wind”)

His play
 “The Hero” 
is an example for his grand style. 
Sri Puttaparthi started his career 
as a teacher of Sanskrit at Proddatur. 

For sometime he worked as a Telugu Pandit
 in the Municipal High School at Proddatur. 
He stepped into Govern­ment College at Anantapur 
as a Pandit and quit the job after an year, 
to take up the post of a Pandit 
in Sri Ramakrishna High School at Cuddapah.

The University of Kerala invited him 
to take up the work of the compilation 
of the Malayalam Lexicon. 
While working at Trivandrum, 
he translated 
Viswanatha Satyanarayana’s Telugu novel 
“Ekaveera” 
and a few of the late 
Dr. T. Gopichand’s stories into Malayalam
 and brought out a Telugu set of Malayalam plays. 

He worked for two years in the linguistic library a
ttached to the Central Sahitya Akademi. 
Without any thought for the morrow 
he resigned his job at Delhi 
as he did not like the red-tapism and the officialdom. 

He came back from Delhi 
to take his job as a school teacher at Cuddapah again.

He translated the poems of Kabir into Telugu 
at the request of the Sahitya Akademi. 
His translations of Dr. Kosambi’s 
“Bhagavan Buddha” 
from Marathi and “Saraswati Samahara” of Beechi 
from Kannada 
exhibit his command over languages. 

As a linguist 
he mentioned of the fundamental unity 
of all Indian languages and the vital integrating force 
of Indian culture. 

He represented 
the Telugus in many a seminar 
organised by the All India Writers’ Conference. 
He received numerous titles and honours. 

During 1968, 
 he received the national award as eminent teacher 
by the President of the Government of India. 

He was honoured with “Padmasri’ in 1972. 
Sri Venkateswara University 
conferred on him D. Litt. in 1975. 
He won the Central Sahitya Akademi Award 
for his “Janapriya Ramayana.” 
Sri Krishnadevaraya University, 
honoured him with Doctor of Literature
 (Honoriscausa) in 1987.

 He was the recipient 
of the Bharatiya Bhasha Samsthan Award of Calcutta 
in 1988. 
He was Professor Emeritus of All India Radio. 
He received in 1989 
the Gupta Foundation Award of Eluru. 
The T. T. Devasthanams honoured him 
during the Annamacharya Jayanti Celebrations
 with a gold medal in 1990.

Dr. Puttaparthi 

passed away on September 1, 1990 at Cuddapah.

Dr. Puttaparthi 
was essentially a man of independent views 
and outspoken in his expression. 
This brought him some enemies in the literary field. 
He was sincere and true to his convictions.
 He travelled all over India 
and has innumerable friends in many States 
of our country.

Dr. Puttaparthi 
was a golden synthesis between the epic age 
and the modern age.


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