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Tallapaka Annamacharya 

 

Annamacharya, Annamayya, pada kavita pitamaha

 

Period: 14th century

 

Annamayya Statue

Annamayya Statue

Shri Tallapaka Annamacharya, who is also known as Sankeertanacharya and “Andhra Pada Kavita Pitamah” (Godfather of Telugu song-writing), is one of the great Vaishnav devotee Saints of South India who had spent all his life in devotion of Lord Venkateshwara. He used to write only bhajans (songs in praise of God) and sing them in different melodious tunes otheriwise he would spend the rest of his time reciting god’s name.

Shri Tallapaka Annamacharya was born on 9th May 1408 (some people believe it to be 1414) in a village named Thallapaka of Kadapa district in Andhra Pradesh. His father’s name was Narayan Suri and mother’s name was Lakkamamba. He was very spiritual since childhood and always prayed at the temple of Lord Keshav in the village. At the age of sixteen, he had a darshan of Lord Venkateshwar and after this; he started writing and singing bhajans for Lord Venkateshwar. After this day, whatever he would say for God would become a bhajan and whatever he would sing would become melodious.

Shri Annamacharya, who is also known as Sankeertanacharya and “Andhra Pada Kavita Pitamah” (Godfather of Telegu song-writing)

Once, Shri Annamacharya went walking to Tirupati without informing his family members. On reaching Tirupati, due to lack of information, he started climbing the mountain with his shoes on. On the way, he went off to sleep, as he was tired. Mata Alamelmanga gave him darshan in his sleep and told him to climb the Tirumala Mountain barefooted as this mountain was made of Shaligram stone.

Tirumala Mountain Posters

Tirumala Mountain Posters

Pleased with this divine glimpse of Mata, just as he woke up Shri Annamacharya was delighted and wrote 100 stanzas in praise of Devi Mata which later became famous in the name of “Shri Venkateshwara Shatakamu”. After this, he climbed the mountain barefooted and after taking bath in Pushakarini, visited Lord Venkateshwar. After this, he visited pilgrimages like Gogarbham, Akashganga, Papavinasanamu and after taking bath at each place he wrote 100 padas in praise of Lord Venkateshwar. Once he came to temple for darshan of lord but at that time the temple was closed. He started singing prayer for lord and requested God to give him a darshan. Surprisingly, with the prayers of Shri Tallapaka Annamacharya, the gates of the temple opened on its own and Shri Tallapaka Annamacharya entered the temple and finished his pooja.

Annamacharya was delighted and wrote 100 stanzas in praise of Devi Mata which later became famous in the name of “Shri Venkateshwara Shatakamu”.

 

Tallapaka Annamacharya painting

Tallapaka Annamacharya painting

While he was at Tirumala, Shri Annamacharya ceremoniously accepted Vaishnav religion and became the disciple of Adhi Van Sathkopa Jiyyar. After few days, Shri Annamacharya’s mother reached Tirumala, searching for him and persisted him to return home. Shri Annamacharya did not want to go back but because of his guru’s order, he went back with his mother.

 

 

His parents got him married in the village and while living a householder’s life, he started doing pooja and praying lord. After some time, he went back to Tirupati where he wrote devotional songs based on Valmiki Ramayan. After his marriage, he wrote many bhajans, which became famous in the name of “Shringar Sankirthanalu”.

While he was at Tirumala, Shri Annamacharya ceremoniously accepted Vaishnav religion and became the disciple of Adhi Van Sathkopa Jiyyar.

Balaji Temple. Tirumala Tirupati Canvas Painting

Balaji Temple. Tirumala Tirupati Canvas Painting

Slowly and gradually, Annamacharya’s fame extended in all four directions. Influenced with his writings, Penukonda’s King Salua Narsimha invited him with great hospitality. Annamacharya used to create bhajans for Lord Venkateshwar and sing for the King. Once, impressed with his poetic talent, King Narsimha asked Shri Annamacharya to write a poem in his praise but Shri Annamacharya refused saying that he only wrote in praise of God and could not write anything for a human being.  Hearing this, the King got very angry and got him tied up with chains and put him in jail. In the jail, Shri Annamacharya started singing a new song in praise of God and his chains opened up on its own. Hearing this, King called him in front of him and once again tied him up with chain and asked him to sing. As soon as he started singing, once again the chains opened up and fell down. Seeing this, the King bowed down at his feet and apologized to him. Shri Annamacharya forgave him with his heart and once again they became friends. After some time, Shri Annamacharya permanently started living in Tirumala and started living life happily.

Slowly and gradually, Annamacharya’s fame extended in all four directions. Influenced with his writings, Penukonda’s King Salua Narsimha invited him with great hospitality.

Shri Annamacharya Posters

Shri Annamacharya Posters

After the darshan of lord at the age of sixteen, Shri Annamacharya started writing a poem each day in praise of God. He had written 32,000 bhajans in praise of Lord Venkateshwar. That time his bhajans were secured by writing them on copper plates. When Shri Tallapaka Annamcharya became old, Karnataka’s great devotee Purandar Dass had come to see him. He had considered him to be the incarnation of Lord Venkateshwar. Shri Tallapaka Annamacharya had also written in Sanskrit language apart from Telugu.

 In the year 1503, at a ripe age of 94 years, on the twelfth day of Phalguna, Shri Tallapaka Annamacharya left his physical body for his heavenly abode. Many years have passed after Shri Tallapaka Annamacharya left this world but even today people sing bhajans written by him.

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