(Last Updated on : 06/01/2009)
Pampa is a famous Kannada poet of 10th century AD. He was born in Vemulavada of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. He is contemporary of another two famous poet namely Ranna and Ponnna. There were together known as ''Ratna-Traya', which means three gems. He is regarded as one of the greatest poets of Kannada literature and is proudly remembered even today. Pampa was writing his works in Kannada when the Chalukyas of Badami were ruling in that area. Pampa is also popularly known as 'Adi Pampa'. It is believed that he was born in 902 AD.
Pampa was the poet in the court of the ruler named Arikesarin of Rashtrakuta factory. The two great compositions of Pampa are 'Adi Purana' and 'Vikramarjana-Vijaya', which is well known as 'Pampa Bharata' in 942 A.D. He wrote them when he was only thirty-nine years old. Pampa's father 'Abhiramaradevaraya' converted to Jainism from originally being a Brahman and thus Pampa continued to be a staunch follower of Jainism all through his life. According to his younger brother Jinavallabha's 'Gangadharam' inscription, his father was also known as 'Bheemappayya' and his mother's name was Abbanabbe, who hailed from Annigeri, a part of the Kannada country.
'Adi Purana' is a composition of Pampa, which describes about the history of the first of the twenty-four Jaina Tirthankaras named Rishabha (or Vrishabha). He is considered as the 'Adi Kavi' or 'first poet' of Kannada. The 'Pampa Bharata' is the composition by the poet Pampa, which got him the great recognition as a poet. This was a writing, which was based on the reduced version of the Vysa 'Mahabharata'. This writing of Pampa brought 'Mahabharata' within the reach of all people of ancient Karnataka area. Pampa also tried to immortalise his king Arikesarin in this work by identifying him with the hero of the epic 'Arjuna'. In this reduced form of 'Mahabharata', Pampa has not left out any major incident and has also brought the essential traits of all the characters of the epic in it. His 'Pampa Bharata' is not a mere translation but has much originality in it, which shows the imagination and talent of this versatile poet. In all his writing, the love for his homeland, the ancient Karnataka is quite visible. Pampa was also well enough in Sanskrit writings.