Annamacharya was regarded as the 'Telugu pada kavita pitaamaha' (Grand old man of simple poetry). He was a devoted to Lord Venkateswara of Tiruptai, Andhra Pradesh. He composed more than 32, 000 Carnatic krithis in the Carnatic music tradition. These were hidden for centuries in the Sri Venkateswara temple at Tirumala and were discovered in the engraved from on copper plates. But many of them are lost now.
The compositions of Annamacharya were like floral offerings to God. He used to praise Lord Venkateswara in his poems by expressing his love for him. He also used to argue, quarrel and confess his failures and at the end surrender to Venkateswara. The songs composed by Annamacharya can be divided into two categories namely 'Adhyaatama' and 'Sringaara samkirtanaas'. He was also the pioneer of the 'Bhajana' tradition. He architected a major compositional form, the kirtana with its threefold division of 'pallavi', 'anupallavi' and 'charanas'. Annamacharya's wife Thimmakka was also a poet and had written 'Subhadra Kalyana' and considered as the first Telugu women poet.
In his later life, Annamacharya was influenced by the founder of the Sri Ahobila Math, Sri Adivan Sathakopa. He has paid his homage to his spiritual teacher Adivan in his composition 'Chududu' in 'Bhairavi'. Many important facts about Annamacharya's life and works were gathered from the 'Annatnacbarya Cbaritramu', a biography written in Telugu, by his grandson Chinna Tiruvengalanatha. Now, few of his works recovered include almost 12000 'sankirtanas' classified as 'Adbyatma' (with a spiritual import), 'sriti/fara' (those that portray divine love), a 'Satakam' (hundred verses) on Lord Venkates-vara, Srinjjara Manjari and the Venkatacbala Mahatmyam in Sanskrit. The original musical piece, the 'Sankirtana Lakshanam' (in Sanskrit) by Annamacharya was lost. But the Telugu translation of it by his grandson Chinna Tirumalacharya is still available.
The terms like 'kriti' and 'mudra' are seen first time in Annamacharya's his writings. He named the first part of his sankirtana 'pallavamn' and 'Pallavi'. His songs had a Pallavi and three charanas whereas the 'anupallavi' are rarely used. He was aware with several historic works on music, the 'Gita Govinda' of Jayadeva and he also had knowledge of several languages. The important features of his compositions were the variety he used in them. He composed different variety of musical forms from the classical to folk, in a range of ragas, from the popular to the obscure and also composed based on a host of deities. The use of various names of Lord Venkatesvara was his unique style of composition.
Annamacharya was also in close association with the worships performed at the Sri Venkatesvara temple. Once he carried out the 'Kalyanotsava' (marriage ceremony) of the goddess Alarmel-manga with the Lord, assuming the position of the bride's father.
The composition list of Annamacharya has songs on almost every festival associated with the Tirumala temple. He has also donated land to the temple. Now in present days, the Lord of the temple wakes up everyday to a song of Annamacharya and during the 'Ekanta seva', the popular lullaby of Annamacharya 'Jo Achyutananda' is sung.
The life and works of Annamacharya influenced even the modern day filmmakers. Director K Raghavendra Rao made a film on the poet, which was released in 1997. The lead role in the film was played by Akkineni Nagarjuna and he won 'Golden Nandi Puraskaram' for this role. The film, which used Annamacharya' kirtans songs became a major box office hit. Annamacharya passed away in the year 'Dhundhubhi' on February 23, 1503 at the age of 95 years. But he became immortal by his works, especially through the 'Sankirtana'.
(Last Updated on : 20-02-2013)
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