Tallapaka Annamacarya's Sankeertana Shasti
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Tallapaka Annamacarya's Sankeertana Shasti

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Item Code: NAX131
Author: B. Rajanikianta Rao
Publisher: Dravidian University Campus
Language: Tamil and English
Edition: 2006
Pages: 138
Other Details 7.00 X 5.00 inch
Weight 130 gm

Out of 30,000 lyrics of Annamaachrya only around 15,000 came out in print; out of these around 4000 are "aahydtma sankirtanalu" or spiritual lyrics. Nearly 10,000 or more predominate in Sungararasa which means erotic element.

Originally, Annamayya, seems to have started composing lyrics when he was "‘sweet sixteen", when he was fascinated by his devotion to Lord Venkteswara. This devotion is called mathurabhakti because it is "God love" in which the devotee is the beloved or préyasi or J ivatma and the "Lerd God" is the supreme hero or paramatma.

alamélumanga and Sri Venkateswara represent Raadha and Krishna in Vaishnava parlance and they stand for "prakiti and purusa’"’ in "sankhyao" terminology where as the same divine pair represent sakti and siva in "saiva parlance". In the yoga tantra, the human body is the miniature universe starting from muladhara caka of kundolini represent prakdti or jivatma and sahasra cakra representing the purusa or paramatma .

This path of love or ‘"‘pranayamGiga"’ which has its beginning in some prehistoric ages having roots in folk arts like Rajasthaani paintings enveloped the literature, arts and architecture entirely covering both marga (classical) as well as desi varieties of creative arts.

Gradually the tantra systems of Saivism Jainism, Buddhism and Yoga formulated a particular type of cultural ethos, bringing out a profuse production of forms of arts, architecture and literature like "Khajuraho" and "padavali", like gitagdvinda consisting of lyrics (asthapadi). There you find as the out-come of yogatantra of middle ages the forms of surasundari, ditinayika, apsarasa and salabhanjika which have carried the God love or madhurabhakti.

brahmavaivartapurana called this ideal image of beloved as auf, messenger-maid, or guru the teacher.

However, there having arisen a profusion of Sakti pitas, Saint poets participated in what is called "auti-yaga" a rite full of lyric, music and dance and there was a proliferation of ‘padavaili’ composers, both in the north and south.

After the saivait noyanmars of 7th century and vaisnavait alvars (between 7th and 12th centuries) we have ‘annamacarya’ the earliest prolific composer of lyrics in Telugu as "sanikirtandearya"" and "padakavita pitamaha"’ in the 15th century.

Whether it be alvars of 7th to 12th century, or jayadéva of 11th century, chandidas, vidyapati or annamayya, they all followed composing lyrics of god love with predominance of sex in their composition of lyrics and had a dési (folk) milieu but received no reproof from any quarter at any time!

I feel those were the "limits of permissiveness" as ovserved by the literati, painters and architects as part of Indian ethos of the middle ages. Suffice to say that not only the great commentator abhinavaguptapada but also his guru mahésvara bhatta of Kaashmir were all well known adherents of kaulo-tantra, a variant of Saiviiam/ saktjiam in which duuti and dutiyagare identified with prakruti or Mother Goddess.

It is earnestly expected that this small introduction will benefit the discerning reader with the necessary discipline and equanimity to enter into the devotion with which annamacarya composed these lyrics super imposing spirituality on eroticism.


The University, right from its inception, has been focusing upon the important objective of promoting inter- linguistic integration. Emphasis on the inter-lingual activity is doubled during the last one year by starting independent departments of all the four major Dravidian languages with emphasis on Translation Studies.

In furtherance of one of its chief objectives, the University has started two important wings-inter-related but independent in character and function- Prasaranga and anusruJana. While Prasaranga is the general publication and extension services wing, anusruJana is designed not as a Department but as a Bureau of Translation with the chief motto of introducing the genius of one language speakers to the others involving all the professionals and senior translators in all the Dravidian languages both at home and abroad.

Annamayya (1424-1503) is now a household name, thanks to the missionary zeal of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams in popularizing Annamayya’s lyrical contribution among all sections of Telugu people by encouraging several scholars to undertake research and supporting renowned artists to spread the glory of Annamayya’s lyrics through their mellifluous voice. It all started with Sri Veturi Prabhakara Sastry and Sriman Rallapalli Ananthakrishna Sarma and Sri Gouripeddi Subba Rama Sarma some seven decades ago as the TTD entrusted them with the work of editing the large corpus of Annamayya’s Padams inscribed over several thousands of copper plates and preserved separately in the temple premises. They have done excellent work and laid foundations for textual criticism relating to the editing of the great lyrical heritage of the Telugus. Sriman Rallapalli Anantakrishna Sarma who has equal authority over literature and music gave tunes to several Krutis like ‘Brahma Kadigina padamu’ etc. Though stalwarts like Padma Bhushan Sri Mangalampalli Bala Murali Krishna participated in the ‘Yagna’ of popularizing the lyrical heritage of Annamayya, it is the immortal voice of Subbalaxmi whose name is synonymous with Bhakti in performance that made Annamayya’s lyrics reach the common man, closely followed by Annamacharya’s Project singers in multiple ways. Sri Mallik, Sri Rajaneekanta Rao and a host of other singers have given further shape to the rendering of Annamayya Padams.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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