Sri Tallapaka Annamacharya (1408-1503) was the earliest composer of kirtanas in Telugu in south India
and the father of th...
to music, poetry and bhajan sampradaya. among his poetical works, mention may be made of the dvipadi
ramayana in the dvipa...
being. Annamacharya believes Brahman to be the conscious supporter of all things, all quarters and the
whole universal egg...
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Sri Tallapaka Annamacharya History - Tirupati Package


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Sri Tallapaka Annamacharya (1408-1503) was the earliest composer of kirtanas in Telugu in south India and the father of the bhajana paddhati.

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Sri Tallapaka Annamacharya History - Tirupati Package

  1. 1. Sri Tallapaka Annamacharya (1408-1503) was the earliest composer of kirtanas in Telugu in south India and the father of the bhajana paddhati. The kirthana, in its rudimentary form, had ahead appeared in Kannada at the time of sri padaraja (1422-1480) and sri vyasaraja (1447-1539 (who was contemporary of annamacharya but their compositions were known as padas. Practically nothing was known about annamacharya till 1949. Even a knowledge musicologist like subbarama Dikshitar wrote only a short account in1904 about one tallapakam chinnayya, a Telugu Brahmin of tirupati who founded the utsava sampradata tradition. This chinnayya was in fact tallapakam chinnanna, the grandson of annamacharya , who wrote the ” Annamacharya Charitham” in Telugu in the Dvipadi Metre. Annamacharya was born in the village of tallapakam in the rajampet taluk of cuddapah district under the vaishaka constellation in the month of vaishaka which incidentally happens to be the birth day of nammalvar. He belonged to the nandavarika sect of smartha brahmins. His original name appears to have been annamaya and he became annamacharya after he was converted to sri vaishnavism at tirupati by a jeeyar who belonged to the vadagalai sect. It is said he had a momentary vision of lord venkateswara in his sixteenth year and commenced his composing career with a song “ippudi kalaganti”. soon after, he left house without the knowledge of his parents and climbed the tirumala hills describing their enchanting beauty in many kriti he had married twi wives and after leading the life of a householder leading the life of a house holder for some years, he renounced the world and proceeded to ahobilam where he spent most of his time studying visishtadvaita at the feet of adivan sathakopa yatindra, the founder of the ahobila mutt. he also studied divya prabhandham in depth. the pasurams of alvars had considerably influenced the kiritis of annamayya and many of his sankirtanas echo the devotional sentiments expressed by these twelve minstrels of tamilnadu. At the request of saluva narasimh, annamacharya visited vijayanagar. the ruler appreciated the rapturous rendering of his compositions and hailed the saint composer as a reincarnation of tumbura and narada. however, when annamaya refused to indite a poem in praise of the king, he got angry and sent him to prison. the king later repented his rash act and released the saint. According to tradition, annamacharya returned to tallapakka but became a victim of the po litical turmoil in the area. It was during this tumultuous period, he lost the idols this tumultuous period, he lost the idols so dear to him and expressed his anguish in the song ‘Indira ramanunchi. In-spite of his unsettled life, Annamacharya made significant contributions
  2. 2. to music, poetry and bhajan sampradaya. among his poetical works, mention may be made of the dvipadi ramayana in the dvipadimetre, 12 satakams in Telugu and ‘venkatachala mahatmayam’ in Sanskrit. As a composer, he wrote 32,000 kirtanas ranging from classical pieces to fold songs . He was hailed in his own life-time as ‘padakavita pitamaha’, Sankirtanachary’ and ‘harikirtanacharya’ The sankirtanas of annamaya fall under two categories. Srinagara sankirtaanas and adhyatma sankirtanas . He sanjirtanas with the nayaka nayaki motif coupled with the lilavibhuti of lord venkateswara elucidate the path ways to salvation. the adhyatma sankirtanas on ther hand, Extol the glory of bhakti in a style that is both sublime and elegant. “srinagara manajari’ of annamaya is a telugu dvipada poetry composed in manjari metre. the work which depicts the love stories of lord venkateswara is sweet in respect of its language and emotic quality. It is said annamacharya had the Gracie blessings of the lord after the completion of this work. “sri venkateswara satakam’ composed by tallapaka annamacharya contains one hundred poems set in utpalamala and champakamala meters, According to the vaikhansa tradition , Sri and sreesa cannot be differentiated. the entire the validity of this divine principle. Apart of the classical compositions of the saint poet, he has also indited several hymns in folk style which are remarkable for their rustic charm, simplicity and his creative genius in conveying even the most subtle metaphysical ideas in language which is graceful and sonorous, There are a number of compositions based on folk traditions like suvi dampulla, ela kolattam, jejara and drawn from other folk dance forms. his songs are full of literary eauties like yati, prasa, sabdalankara and yamaka as well as homely similes, metaphors and proverbs, There is no bhajan which annamacharya had not mastered. He made several bhajans that can be sung by one and all. Though annamacharya was proficient in using highly classical style, yet he preferred to adopt colloquial style in his padas. some of the words used by annamayya are not in vogue now. Annamacharya Philosophy : For annamacharya brahman is no bare entity devoid of attributes. Like Ramnuja, he strongly believes that god is the center of all auspicious qualities. he also refutes the theory of advaitins hat Brahmans is formless on empirical grounds. In one song annamayaa pokes fun at the advaitins thus God is offered adoration and yet is believed to have no eyes to see the act of adoration. He is offered prayers and yet is thought to have no ears to hear them, He is offered anything as naivedayam and yet is believed to have no mouth to eat it and He is offered incense and yet is said to have no nose to smell it . Annamayya’s description of brahman’s all-pervasive virat form is characterized by anthropomorphism in that Brahman is spoken as having physical body various organs as it is done with reference to human
  3. 3. being. Annamacharya believes Brahman to be the conscious supporter of all things, all quarters and the whole universal egg is supported by it speaking of everything physical and conscious static and dynamic celestial and moral as having its supported in god. The saint say, In the alone is everything. Though art the supporter all these. To know thee is equal to knowing everything. To worship, thee is equal to pleasing all these. The supreme quality of the god head i.e, easy accessibility is reiterated in many of his compositions annamacharya often extols god as dayanidhi, karunanilaya, karunabharana, karunarasa and kripasagara. While exalting the glory of the lord he attributes the characteristic of not being crooked(akutila mahimala anantudu ) and while glorifying god’s nature of grace, he ascribes to it the characteristic of being taint less (akajanjamaina dayanidhi). The lord protects his devotees, pardons their mistakes and showers his unlimited grace on then owing to his being self-sufficient (avipta sakala kama), According to annamacharya, the basic of bondage is ignorance which lies in forgetting the supremacy of god and mistaking that the material world for final goal of life. It is ignorance that makes man do all sorts of karma and pulls him into the interminable cycle of transmigration. In one of his sankirthanas, annamacharya clearly distinguishs ignorance from knowledge that man should accept either knowledge or ignorance, Annamacharya worships the lord in his various attributes and forms. The saint extols god as having no equal respect of beauty, richness, prowess, manliness, antiquity and generosity. The lord of tirumala is invested with inexhaustible and incomprehensible glory. He is the import of all mantras when annamayya dwells upon his magnificence, he is awestruck by his over-powering personality and grandeur. The saint composer feels himself the humblest of the humble while describing the lord. We are dasas,kinkaras, children of hari, he says in one of his sankirtanas. He piously acknowledges that he cannot give anything in return to what god has graciously bestowed on him. The mystic yearnings of the poet are best reflected in his sringara sankirtanas where the union of the supreme soul with the jiva is emphasized in the most lyrical way. Annamayya love is not the infatuation of a finite human being but the timeless love of the soul towards god which leads to blessedness.