Shri Annamacharya, who is also known as Sankeertanacharya and Pada Kavita Pitamah (Grandfather of word poetry), is one of the great Vaishnav devotee Saints of South India who had spent all his life in devotion of Lord Balaji. He used to write only bhajans (songs in praise of God) and sing them in different and sweet tunes and spend all his time reciting Bhagwan’s name.
Shri Annamacharya was born on 9th May 1408 (some people believe it to be 1414) in a village named Thallapaka in Kadapa district of 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 Balaji and after this; he started writing and singing bhajans in His name. After this day, whatever he would say for Bhagwan would become a bhajan and whatever he would sing would become melodious.
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 barefoot as this mountain was made of Shaligram stone.
Pleased with this divine glimpse of Mata, Shri Annamacharya was delighted and wrote 100 stanzas in praise of Devi Mata just as he woke up which later became famous in the name of “Shri Venkateshwara Shatakamu”. After this, he climbed the mountain barefoot and after taking bath in Pushakarini, visited Lord Venkateshwar/Balaji. 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 Bhagwan but at that time the temple was closed. He started singing prayer for Bhagwan and requested God to give him a darshan. Surprisingly, with the prayers of Shri Annamacharya, the gates of the temple opened on its own and Shri Annamacharya entered the temple and finished his pooja.While he was at Tirumala, Shri Annamacharya ceremoniously accepted Vaishanv tradition 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. After some time, he went back to Tirupati where he wrote devoted songs based on Valmiki Ramayan. After his marriage, he wrote many bhajans which became famous in the name of “Shringar Sankirthanalu”.
Slowly and gradually, Annamacharya’s fame extended in all directions. Influenced with this, 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. 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.
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 32000 bhajans in praise of Lord Venkateshwar. That time his bhajans were preserved for generations to come by inscibing them on copper plates. When Shri 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 Annamacharya had also written in Sanskrit language apart from Telugu.
In 1503, on the 12th day of Phalguna, Shri Annamacharya left his physical body and left for his heavenly abode. Many years have passed after Shri Annamacharya left this world but even today people sing bhajans written by him.
Leave a Reply