25 అక్టో, 2011




A fall bespectacled giant of a man dressed in flowing Khaddar Jubba and Dhoti worn in Andhra fashion with the neatly folded Angavastram on his left shoulder, his left arm holding a bundle of books clutched together, his right hand holding the corner seam of the frontal pleats of his Dhoti and walking with a longish stride – that was “Puttaparthi”, an affectionate short for Puttaparthi Narayanacharyulu, who passed away on September 1, 1990 at the age of 76.

He happens to be one of the more famous trio who put the affluent town of Proddatur, no, the entire Rayalaseema districts, on the literary map of Andhra, the other two being Durbhaka Rajasekhara Satavadhani and Gadiyaram Venkata Sesha Sastry. Much loved as a teacher and with a lot of admiration from his students, Puttaparthi’s career was mostly at Proddatur and Cuddapah. For a while he worked in the then Government Arts College, Anantapur. He had a stint at Trivandrum for a short while. He worked at the Central Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, too as an Assistant Librarian or so. It was his thirst for knowledge that drove him to some of those uncongenial places from where he retreated as soon as he realised the futility of his own exercise.

Puttaparthi was a giant not merely in physical stature but in learning too. He was a linguist and cultivated not less than 14 languages, a poet and critic of a high calibre, a Vageyakara, a musician and knew dance too. His works are many and some of them are in languages other than Telugu. “Leaves in the Wind” is the collection of his English poems. “Bhaktanche Gathe” is his Marathi work. He rendered the famous Telugu novel “Ekaveera” (of Viswanatha Satyanarayana) into Malayalam. “Siva Sahasram” is his Sanskrit work. Later about his Telugu works.

Born in a Srivaishnava family, he inherited, along with Visishtaadvaita philosophy, an enormous element of lyrical aestheticism and spirituality. Though born a Srivaishnava one could see him circumambulating at the Agastyeswara temple, Proddatur, during the ’Forties and ’Fifties. His inimitable “Sivataandavam” is not only a great work of lyrical beauty couched in terms of Natya Sastra but a standing testimony to his spirituality surpassing the barriers of denominational culture. He was a nationalist all through his life. His elegy “Gandhiji Mahaprasthanam” is a moving work. While Telugu and Kannada came to him naturally (he hailed from Penugonda area in Anantapur district, a bilingual place) his religion brought to him Tamil, while his devotional nature egged him on to learn Marathi and Gujarati, if only to study the Sant Sahitya. Hindi was his much-loved language. All the members of his family know “Ramcharitamanas” of Tulasidas by rote, and Parayanam of this work was a feature in his family. 

His wife Puttaparthi Kanakamma was a great scholar and poetess in her own right. Her recitational powers of Valmiki’s Ramayana (a Saranagati Veda for Vaishnavites) was such that she could recite all the six Kandas in 24 hours and do her Udyapana. In Sanskrit Rajasekhara is known to quote his wife regarding literary matters in his Kavyamimamsa. Jayadeva, the composer of Gitagovinda, speaks of his wife Padmavati; calls himself “Padmavaticharanachaaranachakravarti”. Puttaparthi Narayanacharyulu and Kanakamma were such rare couple in modern Telugu. He respected her and her views greatly, though they never allowed any publicity to this aspect of their literary life.

For all his greatness Puttaparthi had no formal academic qualifications. He was only a “Vidwan” in Telugu from Madras University. And thereby hangs a story. He was already a poet and author when he reached his 14th year. He had published his “Penugonda Lakshmi” a work of fervour, imagination and plasticity of expression. This was a prescribed text for the Vidwan Examination. Puttaparthi took the examination in his 14th year and ironically enough, failed! While “Penugonda Lakshmi” reminisces about the past glories of the one-time capital of the falling Vijayanagar empire (to whose kings the ancestors of Puttaparthi happened to be religious preceptors). “Paadyamu” is an outpouring of his soul at the feet of the Lord. “Saakshaat­kaaramu” is a poetic delineation of the life of Tulasidas. The technic, the form and content of this work projects the transparent personality of not only Tulasidas but that of the author too. 

While his “Pandari Bhagavata” is in run-on Dvipada metre fit for uninterrupted singing by the devout, his “Janapriya Ramayana” is written in “doha” style as an experiment. His last great poetical work happens to be “Srinivasa Prabandham” written in ornate classical style of torrential verbal exuberance. This was composed in honour of the Lord of the Seven Hills of Tirumala. He had studied, in his boyhood days, in the Sanskrit College at Tirupati. These are his major poetical works. His lectures on Bhagavata, his study of Vyasa’s Mahabharata are gems of scholarly study. He studied the history of Vijayanagar empire in great earnestness out of his personal predilection. His “Meghadutam” and “Agniveena” are the results of his impatient leftist stances. “Shall I finger the strings of this lyre of Fire, shall I, till the edges of the directions reverbarate, till the flames of the nascent fire start hissing out” sings the poet in “Agniveena.”

One unknown aspect of his life was his interest in Tantra and Yoga. He was well up with the Theosophical literature and equally at home with Aurobindo’s Divine Life. He did some Tantric Sadhanas and himself told this writer how he sometimes suffered. One could always see the silent quivering of his lips in Japa as his pulsating heart meditated supervised by the vibrant soul.

A man of childlike simplicity he was not of the cultivating type and could not acquire the trappings of a successful life. Most of the time he lived in want and it was his devoted students and friends that generally stood by him. Sometimes his naivete brought him only losses and difficulties.

Though some of his books like “Prabandha Naayikalu” (a work of literary criticism) were prescribed as detailed texts for the degree classes in the erstwhile composite Madras State, it never helped him financially. His sustenance was his reputation. No doubt he was honoured by the Government of India with a “Padmasri” and he enjoyed possessing many titles like “Saraswati­putra”, “Mahakavi”, etc. Still, those who know him feel that he did not get what he deserved both by way of a good living as well as recognition. Well, one would think his own reluctance to cultivate people who mattered in mundane life and his reluctance to build up a school of his own and following were responsible, for his comparative languishing. He remained a solitary reaper in the field of poesy all his life. Still there is no doubt that he will be remembered for a long time for what he has written for us, much longer than the more popular media-projected poetasters and scholars. The light of his writing, though without any ideological labels, is the innate sincerity and wisdom born out of knowledge, and not empty emotional tintinabulation.

This writer has two eminent reasons for calling this a memoir. This writer has had the benefit of being taught in the High School by this great scholar-poet and he has known him for not less than 47 years.

It is that effulgent ray of humanity that dwells in this writer that has tried to reflect or even refract the inherent sense of gratitude to one whose benign love has dispelled at least a thin veil of darkness from the murky corners of his soul.

“Dheenaam avitryavatu”

Puttaparthi’s ‘Leaves in the Wind’
An Appreciation


Sri Puttaparthi Narayanacharyulu was one of the literary luminaries of India. A fourteen language polyglot, he was a versatile genius and great poet. His muse is multi-dexterous, capable of weaving poetry in many languages. His literary fecundity and erudition are amazing. In recognition of his multi-faceted genius, the Government has decorated him with “Padmasri”, while Sri Venkateswara University has conferred on him an honorary doctorate.

As early as 1952 he composed a book of free verse in English entitled “Leaves in the Wind”. It is a work of a sensitive soul. The book contains forty-seven lyrics in all, and each lyric is an “objective correlative” to “the secrecies of inner agony” of the poet concerning one aspect or the other of life and human nature. Puttaparthi’s poetic themes and poetic diction as seen from this work lean towards the “romantic”. Romanticism is, according to Victor Hugo, “liberalism in literature”. It is the expression of life as seen by imagination rather than by prosaic common sense. Some of the salient features of romanticism are protest against the bondage of rules, love of nature and intense sympathy for the toilers of the world. Romantic literature reflects all that is spontaneous and unaffected in nature and man. The spirit of romanticism is free to follow its own fancy in its own way. The romantic poet invests the common life of nature and the souls of common men and women with glorious significance. Like Wordsworth, Puttaparthi chooses incidents and situations from common life and throws over them a certain colouring of imagination, thus presenting ordinary things in an unusual light.

With a wealth of perception and freshness of expression, Puttaparthi writes intensely and inventively. Endowed with a delicate sensibility and keen creative imagination, he is able to see beneath both beauty and ugliness, to see the boredom, and the horror, and the glory. “Leaves in the Wind” shows on every page the poet’s intense sympathy for the toilers of the world. He is keenly alive to the “sighs of empty hands” and the “flamy tongues” of poverty. He very sensitively evokes the pity of hunger and the pity of poverty of the masses. See how he describes a blind beggar-woman:

“Her hair was dishevelled and dust-laden
Her frame a set of bones
Her life a desert.”

Her shrill voice “Can’t you pity the blind beggar?” melts the poet’s heart. He sees in her heart-rending cry the purity of Ganges:

“All the purity of Ganges was speaking through her voice.
It led me into read-out pages of our history.”

To the poet it is not the beggar that is blind, but it is the country gloating over its past glory that is blind. Seeing a woman coolie, he exclaims in another verse “What beauty in poverty.” Puttaparthi is a champion of the underdog. His sympathy for the unfortunate and the distressed, writ large on almost every page of the book, reminds us of Goldsmith, Cowper and Burns, the poets of the unlettered human heart. Puttaparthi may even be described as an angry poet, intolerant of the inhuman laws and philistine ways which masquerade in the mask of culture and civilization. His awareness of hunger around him is such that he makes stones also conscious of it. In the poem “Speak to me Thou Queen of Beauty”, he tells a beautiful statue that it must have life.

The statue coolie replies:

“My friend, your world is czarist
If we take a human form we will die of hunger
As you do.”

The poet seems to say that it is preferable to be a beautiful stone rather than a set of starved bones. Filled with infinite pity for the poor and the needy, he calls religious culture a vulture, God, the God of the wealthy.

The cut-throat competition, the commercialism, the selfishness, the paltry-mindedness, the deceit and cunning of people make him feel at times like an atheist:

“When I see the limpid smile of a babe 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.”

Once he seems to succumb to a passing wave of pessimism and calls the world’s wide apartment of tears. In “Weep Not My Child”, he tells a child that in this world.

“You cannot fly like a bird,
Swim like a fish, live like a flower!”

But his atheism and pessimism are only a passing phase He believes in God and declares,

“The light divine is in thyself.”

Though he is not very happy about the technological advancement, he is not a poet without a vision. In his declaration, “Man is evolving. He has evolved”, Puttaparthi seems to believe in the possible evolution of mankind towards what Aurobindo in “The Human Cycle” calls the Supermind. He regards man as “son of nectareous Brahman”. He looks forward to utopia where he wishes to have

“Man to man, a free affinity and love,
One race, one world,
One God and plenty of food”.

According to him religion should be a help, not a cause of strife and destruction. Religions that fan the flames of division are in his view irreligious. His is the religion of large-hearted humanity. He says he dreads to have in him, the element of cunning;

“I dread to have the politic that plots
To ruffle the air for his own ends
I am a poet, if you please,
A human man.”

His is the religion of sympathy.

“God, if you are
Give me this boon!
Give me this boon!
Make me a poor man,
But never poor of heart.
You may give me a life,
But never to live among the heartless.

Never make my life a toy of their devilism
Make me crystal clear
Make me human.”

To him people without ‘milk of human kindness,’ without compassion are ‘visible walking ghosts’. He does not believe in the distinctions of caste and creed. He means that the lowborn are the favourites of God:

“He messed with a paraiah
He is a sinner,”
Complained a petulant Brahmin.
He smiled at him.
“He is married to a savage girl,
A scamp”, cried another of scant study.
He smiled at him.
“He goes to church,
A scar on religion”,
Growled intolerance.
He smiled again.
He died
And became a diadem of God.

“Leaves in the Wind” contains some verses also on nature, love and the anguish of separation experienced by lovers. His scenic pictures with their rhythmic facilities reveal his peculiar power of actualising sound and its converse silence:

“My heart sings and sinks into silence
And searches for re-echo
On hearing the bridal song of the cuckoo
Walking to the love of morn;
On hearing the symphony of withered leaves
Kissed by the rhythmic feet of running deer;
And the flowery murmurs of vernal beauties,
And the melting melodies of mountain streams
Running to unknown goals.”

Puttaparthi as a nature poet is fully alive to the witchery of sound. Like Wordsworth he is a poet of the ear. His love verses are full of tender sentiments. In one song the lover tells his love,

“You and I, my love! let us mingle
like song and sentiment
On the strings of lyre.”

Max Eastman regards poetry as a “pure effort to heighten consciousness.” A journey through this book does heighten our consciousness. We can cull a fund of wisdom from these verses.

An individualist, Puttaparthi hates insincere yesmanship. He was a lover of liberty, sincerity and child-like innocence.

What is Puttaparthi’s idea of poetic composition? In his view poetry is a product of inspiration:

“Poetry is vital turned towards
By an unknown chemist in an unknown laboratory
As the strings of a lyre
Responding to the kisses of the winds
Some heart with some mood
Might grasp the unhidden treasures.”

What Robert Browning makes Andrea del Sarto say of Raphael’s art is true of Puttaparthi’s English verse in “Leaves in the Wind”:

That arm is wrongly put – and there again
A fault to pardon in the drawing’s lines,
Its body, so to speak: its soul is right,
He means right – that, a child may understand.

Yes. Composed in free verse in the early ’Fifties, the lyrics in “Leaves in the Wind” have the soul of great poetry, though here a leg or there an arm is wrongly put. With a careful revision the poems may gain the inevitability of a classic, the memorableness and the competency of great literature. Some of the lyrics – ‘Days are Ahead’, ‘The King is Sleeping in the Grave’, ‘The Moghul Emperor was on his Throne’. ‘When I see the Limpid smile of a Babe in a Cradle”, ‘He messed with a Paraiah’ are already worth prescribing to Intermediate Classes. They have simplicity and clarity of expression and profundity of thought. Once Tennyson said of himself, “They will read me in schools and they will call me that horrible Tennyson”. Puttaparthi need not have this Tennysonion anxiety. They will read him in schools and colleges and call him that lovable Puttaparthi. It is because the poet has the power to bounce the reader into accepting what he says. He achieves what is called the ideal aesthetic distance in these verses.

Harindranath Chattopadhyaya in his preface to “Leaves in the Wind” says that it is a book of sensitive poetry, in spite of an unripeness of style and expression. Notwithstanding this lack, the poet displays an abundant native gift for poetic expres­sion. He is sufficiently a master of evocative, connotative and metaphorical exploitation of language. Such phases as ‘unfatho­mable oratory of silence’ ‘moonlit smiles of stony rocks’, ‘flowery murmurs of vernal beauties’, ‘naked buds meditating upon creation’ do reveal the nature of his poetic style. It is language charged with meaning.


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

Dr. Puttaparthi: A Synthesis of Ages


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 thoughts 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 attached 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.



Translated from Telugu by

[Saraswatiputra, Kalaaprapurna, Padmasri Dr. Puttaparthi Narayanacharyulu was an eminent and renowned poet of Andhra Pradesh. He was a polyglot well versed in 14 languages and was able to write poetry in 8 languages, including English. He was a phenomenon on the contemporary Telugu literary scene. His passing away in September last is an irreparable loss to Telugu literature. The following is the first part of his great literary piece, Sivataandavam, rendered into English. –Editor]

What an exhilaration
On this planet earth!
–now in vigorous abandon
and now in delicate elegance,
’tis the virulent dance of Siva!
Siva’s graceful measured step!

like surging billows of muscle and marrow
like precious dreams of a golden halo,
like birds of coral feathers,
unravelling clouds of varying rim,
lo, Siva’s dance of destruction,
and the dance of creation!

is it a horde of astral damsels
in the guise of rain-bearing ravishers
comes down to witness Siva’s dance?

what an orb of bliss on this earth
the revelations of ancient wisdom
that the winged prophets declaim
imitating as though the jingling syncope
on the anklets of dancing Hyma!

have the branches of trees with mirthfulness
been moved from the core of their hearts to dance
jostling their heads, and dropping on the earth
bunches of flowers in intermittent earth showers.

should every dropping blossom
smile as it were to become conspicuous
in the floral decoration of the mountain princess!
“jham jham taka tari kita jham jham” in
patterns of varying rhythmic hum-drum
when the Lord of the universe–
erect in a peacock’s pose, starts dancing
is it to provide the sonorous drone
that the bees ebriated of honey start flipping
their buzzing appurtenances!

On whose intimation but the Supreme’s daylong dance
do the virgins, as it were, of hill streams
run along with pride
as their encircling shirts
get disentangled from feet!
oho ho! ho! it is beyond one’s fancy
this mirthfulness and joy on this planet of the earth!

Oh dame of evening twilight
what’s all this flurry about?
why this bashfully sweet, straight, oblique side-long glance?
in your swinging waist of coquetish curvature–
oh bashful beauty, why does your zone, just like you
not make a wee bit of noise?
against whom do you don this haughty indifference?
is it all for the worship of Siva? O dame,
who has narrated you this tale, could it be the earth?

They say the Lord of the cosmos is dancing aloft;
why don’t you tarry, oh jewel of the day?
do you run in a hurry to narrate the whole tale
to the people living in the other hemisphere?

Why do the animals shed tears off their eyes?
the sacred water could it be for the feet of the Lord of universe?
What is it about, the lendershoots in the folliage
prattle with delight in low-tone-muttering
what else ’tis but about the world’s keeper’s dance!
Oho! ’tis beyond anybody’s comprehension
the mirth and joy on this globe of the earth!




“Love thy nation,
The soul of thy motherland is dearer
Than thy blood,”
Cried a nationalist.

Why should I love the nation?
Birth is an accident.
In the cycle of births,
Today an Indian, tomorrow an Italian,
A Greek perhaps yesterday,
The man’s words did not mean
Anything to me.

“This is true philosophy” roared an atheist,
“Love, love is the only philosophy.”

Love is not enforced. It is natural.
So too is philosophy. The, logic of birth and death
Is as natural as the, smile of the day.

I shall love myself. Being one man is every man
I will be equal to a thousand patriots.
Temple of Knowledge continues to flourish | Telugu Bloggers


19 Mar 2007 – KADAPA: From time immemorial a library is considered as storehouse of information. ... Not only of literature, but books on engineering and medicines have also found place ... orginal handwritten manuscripts of Puttaparthi Narayanacharyulu, ... In 2005, CP Brown Library was handed over to the State ...
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MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2007
Temple of Knowledge continues to flourish
KADAPA: From time immemorial a library is considered as storehouse of information.

Name a topic and a reference to it will be available at these temples of knowledge.

There are some libraries, which stand as a memorial to great deeds of some great people and one such library is CP Brown Library in Kadapa. Brown's contribution to Telugu literature is immense and he was responsible for not only bringing out Telugu Dictionary but was also responsible for conserving Yogi Vemana literary works and several precious manuscripts of Telugu literature.

But, the man behind CP Brown Library, now considered as an important land mark in Kadapa is Janumadhi Hanumathsastry, a noted scholar and academician.

It was his relentless struggle that saw the emergence of CP Brown Memorial Trust, which is behind the development of CP Brown Library. In 1976, noted literary personality Arudra identified the place in Kadapa, where CP Brown used to live and work. A suggestion was made to the then collector of Kadapa P L Sanjeeva Reddy for setting up a library in memory of CP Brown, but only after a decade, that is in 1986, the first foundation for the library was made. CP Brown Memorial Trust with C R Sampath Kumar as its president and Janumandhi Hanumathsastry as secretary was formed. District Collector was its chief patron.

CP Brown had sold the estate in Kadapa, when he left the country and returned to London. Later it came into possession of C R Krishna Swamy, father of C R Sampath Kumar. Sampath Kumar donated 20 cents of the 15 acre land to the trust for setting up the library.

The then collector J Hari Narayana sanctioned Rs 3.5 lakh for the construction of the library, while leading lawyer and president of Kadapa Town Development Association G Krishnamurth y donated Rs 43,000. Chandana Khan, A K Farad and other bureaucrats, who worked in Kadapa also donated for the cause. School students in Kadapa and Proddatur had donated Rs 25,000.

But it was the contribution of Rs 10 by a casual labourer in Bastar district of Madhya Pradesh, which stands out. Inspired by an article written in �Andhra Prabha� weekly by Janumadhi, he had made the donation. On January 2, 1987, foundation stone for CP Brown Library was laid and the construction was completed in 1995. Prominent freedom fighter Vavilala Gopalakrishnaiah in presence of the then Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu inaugurated the library.

Several scholars and academicians in the country had donated valuable books to the library. Collections in the library include works of G Krishna Murthy, Aurobindo, books on Buddhism, Vivekananda, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. Not only of literature, but books on engineering and medicines have also found place in the shelves of CP Brown library.

It has 32 rarest books, which were microfilmed by American Library Congress. They are not available elsewhere in the world.

The three volumes of original manuscripts of CP Brown Telugu dictionary, 60 books on Vemana literature, orginal handwritten manuscripts of Puttaparthi Narayanacharyulu, Janamanchi Sheshadri Sharma, Diwakarla Venkatavadhani and others are also among the collections of the library.

On Sunday, the library has 32,000 books, one of the best collection in the State. In 2005, CP Brown Library was handed over to the State Government and Sri Venkateswara University and later Yogi Vemana University were entrusted with the task of maintaining it continues to flourish CP Brown Library in Kadapa Janumadhi Hanumathsastry.

India Network Foundation - Telugu

Nannaya, Tikkana & Errana

Gonabudda Reddy


Bammera Potana

Sri Krishnadevaraya

Pingaliu Soorana

Gurajada Venkata Appa Rao

Unnava Lakshminarayana

Rayaprolu Subba Rao

Yogi Vemana

Madhurantakam Rajaram Viswanatha Satyanarayan

Nori Narasimha Sastry

Tripuraneni Gopichand

Kodavatiganti Kutumba Rao

Srirangam Srinivasarao

Puttaparthi Narayanacharya

Baliwada Kantharao

Vasireddy Seethadevi

Chilakamarthi Lakshminarasimham

Paravastu Chinnayya Soori

Nannaya, Tikkana & Errana (11th - 14th century): Known as the Kavya Traya or the 'Trinity of Telugu Literature' these three poets are the composers of the Andhra Mahabharata, a replica of the Sanskrit Mahabharata. 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): A poet of immense calabre Srinathudu lived in the 14th century. His poetic works include Marutarat-charitra (Tale of King Marutta),Saalivahana Sapta Sati (100 tales of Saalivahana), Palanaati Veera Charitra (Tale of Heroes of Palnatu), Kasi Khandam (Legends of Kasi), Bheema Khandam and Hara Vilasam (The Glory of Lord Shiva) which is considered to be an outstanding piece of literature.

Bammera Potana (15th century): Potana, who lived in the later part of the 15th century is believed to be the author of Narayana Satakamu (The Hundred Verses of Narayana), Veerabhadra Vijayamu (Tale of Victoroius Veerabhadra), Bhogini Dandakamu (The Poem of Bhogini) and also the great classic Andhra Mahabhagavathamu (The Mahabhagvatam of Andhra). It is a Telugu rendering of the Srimad Bhagvatam of Ved Vyasa. This book of Potana is known for its excellent narrative style and the art of versification.

Sri Krishnadevaraya (16th century): A renowned emperor of the famous Vijaynagar kingdom, Sri Krishnadevaraya is also known for his great epic Amukta Malyada (A Garland Dedicated to the Lord). 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.

Pingaliu Soorana (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 (1807-1861) Who does not know Sri Chinnayasoori among us? He was one of the most famous pandits of the 19th century. He was born in 1807 in Perambur of Chengalpattu distt. and died in 1861. He was a Saivaite. Sri Cninnayasoori was a Telugu pandit in the Govt. college of Madras. 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: (1) Neetichandrika (2) Sootandhra Vyaakaranamu (3) Andhra Dhatumoola and (4) Neeti Sangrahamu.

Chinnayasoori translated Mitra labham and Mitra Bedham from the sanskrit "panchatantram" as "neeti chandrika". Moonlight of Morals is the English meaning of the Telugu word Neeti Chandrika. Later, Veeresa lingam translated Sandhi and Vigraham . No one translated the fifth tantram, viz., kakolukeyam.

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. Sri T. Balanagayyasetti was fortunate to publish this famous classic, the Neetichandrika, and above all we are more fortunate to read it. (based on Vidwan Dandipalli Venkatasubbasastri's preface from Neetichandrika in Telugu. Posted in Soc.culture.indian.telugu by PALANA.)

Gurajada Venkata Appa Rao (1862-1915): Hailed as the father of Modern Telugu literature, G.V.Appa Rao blazed a new ttail in play-writing as also in poetry and short story Kanyasulkam (Bride-Price) is one of his outstanding plays. It was the harbringer of modernism of Telugu literature.

Sri Gurajada Apparao was a social reformer, poet, writer, philosopher, and a friend. He was born in 1863 in Rayavaram of Visakhapatnam distt.. He graduated from the Maharaja's College (MR COLLEGE) of Vizianagaram, the so called VIDYANAGARAM of ANDHRA where he synthesized de novo the greatest of his writings which are superb, unforgettable, and immortal. "dESamanTE maTTika'dOy - dESamanTE manushulOy" has had been shacking the hearts of every Telugu soul, whether literate or illiterate.

The style of Gurajada's poetry, neither pedantic nor enigmatic, but was the purest, crystal clear, lucid, and vivaceous. His poems awaken the weeklings even and energize them. Gurajada's intellectual creativity gave us a keepsake, historical landmark, and a precious literary diamond - "KANYASULKAM" play.

It is one and the only book in Telugu in which dedication and preface were written in English (there may be others in existence, but they mushroomed afterwards). On the 13th of August, 1992, "Kanyasulkam" celebrated its 100th birthday, eversince it was staged for the first time.

"Kanyasulkam" centenary celebrations were held at Gurajada's residence in Vizianagaram. Poets and writers from various places in Andhra held literary discourses on Gurajada's works. On the 76th death anniversary of Sri Gurajada, Sri Jonnalagadda Somayajulu and his party performed the "Kanyasulkam" play. Sri Jonnalagadda Ramanamurty, well known for his Girisam role in the play, was honored.

Sri Gurajada wrote the "Kanyasulkam" in 1869 for an excellent cause - social reformism. Girls at ten years of age were married to men of 65 years of age or older in return the girls' parents used to receive a sum of Rs 1000/- or more. This unfortunate act of selling young girls who did not either attain mental maturity or puberty to men (ready to be buried under 6 feet of mud) performed by their ignorant parents can be envisioned in this play, even now. No where in this entire world, a play like this or similar to this, was ever written.

One will be surprised to know that the era of Modern Telugu Literature was born from Gurajada's pen and his "Kanyasulkam". "Kanyasulkam" was performed for the first time by the "Jagannadha Vilasini Sabha" of Vizianagaram in 1892. (Contributed by Palana)

Unnava Lakshminarayana (1877-1959): Known for his famous novel Mala Palli (The Harijan Colony), Lakshminarayana was also an ardent freedom fighter who launched a crusade against untouchability. The novel combines within itself both social realism and spiritual idealism, a rare combination to be found in a single novel.

Rayaprolu Subba Rao (1892-1984): Rayaprolu is hailed as one of the pioneers of modern Telugu literature.Lalitha, Andhravali, Truna Kankanam (Grass Bracelet), Kashta Kamala (Kamala in Distress), Ramyalokam (Aesthetic Perception) and Jadakutchulu (Braid Ornaments) are some of his principal works. Andhravali si considered as the watershad in Telugu literature for its modernity of themes such as naturalism, rural life, platonic love, a sense of history and fierce nationalism.

Viswanatha Satyanarayan (1895-1976): Won the Jnanpith award for his Ramayana Kalpa Vriksham and is the author of more than a 100 works. He won the Sahitya Academy Award for his Madhyakkaras and also was conferred the title of Padma Bushan..His Veyi Padagalu (A Thousand Hoods) is the most outstanding of his novels.

Nori Narasimha Sastry (1900-1980): N.N Sastry was a poet, novelist, dramatist, essayist, critic and translator. A versatile and prolific writer, he laid his hands on all the literary genres, but it was the novel and particularly the historical novel which brought him fame and popularity. Narayanabattu, Rudramadevi and Mallareddiare are the major novels penned by him. The uniqueness of his novels is that each novel has a great poet as its central character.

Kodavatiganti Kutumba Rao (1909): A prolific story writer, Rao produced 400 stories..His principal works are Chadvvu, Braduku Bhayam, Kalalushastriya Vijnanam, Kalabhairavudu and Karunyam.

Tripuraneni Gopichand (1910-1962): Telugu novelist, short story writer, editor, essayist, playwright and film director, Gopichand's writings are ramarkable for an interplay of values, ideas and 'isms' -- materialism, rationalism, existentialism, realism and humanism. He is celebrated for his second novel Asamardhuni Javayatra (The Incompetent's Life Journey).This is the first psychological novel in Telugu literature.

Srirangam Srinivasarao (1910-1983): Known for the landmark anthology Mahaprasthanam (The Great March), Srinivasarao was a pioneer of the progressive poetry in Telugu. His poetry took an amazing leap and astounding depth when he wrote the Desa Charitralu (History of Nations). He was acknowkedged as Mahakavi of the New Proletarian Age.

Puttaparthi Narayanacharya (1914-1990): Narayanacharya was a front-ranking classical poet, literary critic, composer, musicologist, translator and polyglot. He has about 50 works of poetry to his credit.. Considered an authority on the history and literature of the Vijaynagar period, he has written in Telugu extensively on Sanskrit, Prakrit, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam literatures..He has about 3000 musical compositions in Telugu and Sanskrit to his credit and 200 of them have been notated by himself. He had the unique and ironic experience of having written a poetic work called Penugonda Lakshmi at the age of 14, prescribed as a text when he took the Vidwan examination in his thirtees. Shivathandavam (The Cosmic Dance of Shiva) is the most representative of his genius.

Baliwada Kantharao (1927): Kantharao is the author of many works including Vamsadhara and Daga Padina Tammudu (The betrayed Younger Brother) and also hundreds of stories.

Vasireddy Seethadevi (1933): Seetahdevi is an acclaimed writer in Telugu. She has published around 40 novels and 10 short story collections. Mattimanishi (Son of Mother Earth) is one of her best novels. The novel is a landmark in modern Telugu fiction.

Yogi Vemana

Of Vemana's history, little is known. He was not a Brahmin but a capoo, or a farmer; a native of Cuddapah district and born, I believe, in the neighborhood of Gandicotta. He lived in the beginning of the eighteenth century. It is said that in a verse he has fixed the date of birth which is believed to have been his own. This date coincides with A.D. 1652. The date is given in the cycle of sixty years; but which cycle is intended is unknown. Many verses, however, prove satisfactorily that he wrote in the latter part of the 17th century when the Mohamedans were governors of that part of India. His family was powerful, but that he renounced the world and became a sanyasee or ascetic. He calls himself a yogee.

The verses communicate hardly any idea of his history or connections, and like all solitary ascetics (sanyasees or yogees) he has dropped his family name - calling himself simply "Vemana" or "Vema" at pleasure. This solitary life has led him to address all the verses to himself, which, if this be not recollected, certainly looks like the grossest egotism. This practice is far indeed from being peculiar to Vemana.

The names Vema and Vemana do not appear to be used by the Telugus of the present day. Vema or Vemana in Sanskrit signify a loom. I believe these names to have been practical titles alone, without a definite meaning. Thus it is well known that the titles or names of Dante and Hafiz were not original names of those poets; the first of whom was named Durante or Durando and the second Muhammed Shemsuddin.

These poems have attained very great popularity and parts are found translated into Tamil, Malayalam, and Kannada. Their terse closeness of expression sometimes renders them difficult to translate with elegance, but such passages exemplify the manly force of a language that in the common dialect is often weak and verbose.

Of his aphorisms many have become common proverbs. Parts of them are evidently close translations from Sanskrit works, particularly the Hitopadesa and Bhagavat Gita. In a few of thes every word is pure Sanskrit.

Vemana was evidently, in philosophy, of the Vedanta school, a disciple of VYASA, whom Sir William Jones has (in the Asiatic Researches, Vol. I) entitled the Plato of India. With the mystic tents of Plato, those of Vemana closely correspond while his moral doctrines as closely answer to those of DEMOCRITUS.

------C.P. Brown, 1824 manuscript

Vallampati Venkata Subbaiah in Chicago

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

Sahiti Mitrulu of Greater Chicago area held an event to honor the renowned Telugu writer Sri Vallampati Venkata Subbaiah in Chicago, on July 10th 2004. Sahiti Mitrulu is a literary organization formed by Jayadev Mettupalli, Ravi Reddy, Damaraju Lakshmi, Usha Anand and Prakash Timmapuram. This is the first event hosted by this group.

The event was hosted at Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago (HTGC) at Lemont, Illinois. HTGC co-honored Vallampati at the event. While Dr. JL Reddy of Delhi University introduced Vallampati, and Rajender Pampati honored the eminent writer. KV Reddy President of HTGS, Prasanna Reddy and Bhima Reddy of HTGC also attended the vent along with over 50 people.

Vallampati spoke of the works of Puttaparthi Narayanacharyulu, with special reference to Siva Tandavam. I was and the audiences were thrilled at the stories and recital. It is truly wonderful to hear this great man speak of another great man and his works. I quickly read one of his books last night called Lajja, which he translated from Hindi, and was written by Taslima Nasrin. The book was about religious strife. I am going to find the rest of the books and translations written by Vallampati and read them.

Vallampati is a Kendriya Sahitya Academy Awardee. He is soft spoken, and in my short conversation very witty and very approachable. He was born on March 15th 1937.

Literary work includes:

Fiction in Telugu
1. Indra Dhanussu (a novel)-1962 awarded Second Prize in �Andhra Prabha� novel contest
2. Doora Theeraalu (a novel)-1964
3. Mamathalu-Manchutheralu (a novel) -1972
4. Jaanaki Pelli (a novel) �1974 about 60 stories published in various reputed Telugu journals.
Literary Criticism in Telugu
1. Naati Kavulu � (Biographies of ancient Telugu poets)-1963
2. Anuseelana - (A collection of critical articles)-1985
3. Navalaa Silpam - (A study of the craft of the novel)-1995
4. Kathaa Silpam - (A study of the craft of the short story)-1996
5. Vallampati Saahitya Vyaasaalu - (A collection of literary criticism on modern literature)-1997
6. Vimarsaa Silpam � (A study of the literary theory) -2002
Translations into Telugu
1. Cheritra Ante Emeti - A translation of E. H. Carr�s �What is Hstory-1983
2. Ceritralo Emi Zarigindi - A translation of Gordon Childe�s �What Happened in History�-1985
3. Prapancha Charitra - A translation of Chris Brazier�s �World History�-1986
4. Pracheena Bharata Desamulo Pragathi, Sampradaaya Vaadam- A translation of S.G. Sardesai� s � Progress and Conservatism in Ancient India� - 1998
5. Pracheena Bharatha Desa Charita-A translation of R. S. Sharma�s �Ancient India-2002
6. Navala � Prajalu - A translation of Ralph Fox�s �Novel and the People�-1992
7. Batukantaa - A translation of Devanuru Mahadeva�s Kannada Novelette
8. Lazza - A translation of Taslima Nesreen�s �Lazza�-1996

Literary Criticism in English
1. About 15 papers on English and Indo � Anglican literatures and comparative aesthetics published in journals like �Literary Criterion �, �Literary Endeavor�,
Literary Half yearly�, Indian Review� and �Indian Literature�.
2. About a dozen Telugu stories into English.


1. Aapi Dharma Rao Award, Hyderabad-1993
2. Kondepudi Sahitya Satkaaram, Guntur-1995
3. Telugu University Award, Hyderabad-1997
5. Saahitya Akademi Award, New Delhi

Work in Progress: A Major U.G.C. Research Project Subject: � A Socio-economic Analysis of Modern Telugu Literature in Raayalaseema�

My congratulations to Sahiti Mitrulu and wishing them success in bringing more literary personalities into our community.

Reporter�s notes form attending the July 10, 2004 event.