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Literary Works by dhUrjaTi

  • indumatee pariNayamu (authorship doubtful)



Back Ground

dhUrjaTi was one of the preeminent poets of medieval telugu literature. He was a member of the great group of poets popularly dubbed as aShTadiggajamulu. He was a staunch devotee of Siva.

dhUrjaTi lived during the middle of the sixteenth century (CE 1480-1545?) and was a native of the southern telugu town of Sree kALahasti in the present day Chittoor district. He referred to this area as pottapinADu after the earlier cOLa kingdom based at pottapi in Cuddapah Dt. (trivia: Before that, for more than a thousand years Cuddapah and some parts of Chittoor area were known as hiraNya rAShTram and other parts of Chittoor area were known as vengO rAShTram). His parents were singama ramA nArAyaNa (?) and jakkaya nArAyaNa. The names indicate that he could have been a vaiShNava before he became a strong Saiva. He was a major poet in a galaxy of poets in the court of the emperor Sree Krishna Deva Raya. He wrote two important works, viz., SreekALahasti mAhAtmyamu, a Bhakti prabandham and SreekALahasteeSwara Satakamu, a Saiva Satakam. These two are perhaps the best within their genres. Many cAtuvu poems in popular lore were said to have been written by him or about him. In a famous praise of dhUrjaTi, emperor kRShNa dEva rAya wondered "stutamatiyaina yAndhra kavi dhUrjaTi palkula kEla galgenO yatulita mAdhuree mahima?" True to the praise, dhUrjaTi is unique in bringing out incomparable (atulita) sweetness (mAdhuryam) in both his poetic works. Of course the same extempore (cATuvu) poem attributed to tenAli rAma kRShNa impishly describes (hA! telisen^!… "Bhuvanaika mOha nOddhata sukumAra janatA Ghana tApa hAri saMtata madhurAdharOdita sudhA rasa dhArala grOluTaMjumee!") that dhUrjaTi’s poems are so sweet because of all the sweet honey he drank from the lips of many bold and beautiful vAra kAntas (courtesans)!

dhUrjaTi is also sometimes credited with writing indumatee vivAhamu (or indumatee pariNayamu). But this appears to be in some dispute. It is now generally agreed to have been more likely written by his grandson vEnkaTarAya alias kumAra dhUrjaTi.

Sree viSvanAtha satyanArAyaNa says about dhUrjaTi's SreekALahasti mAhAtmyamu:

"kALahasti mAhAtmyamu vamTi gramthamu telugulO mari yokaTi lEdu.... A padyamulemta ramaNeeyamugA numDunO cadivina vArikE teliyunu....ee yEnugu, pAmu, tinnaDi kathalu cadivi Anamdimcani telugu vAni janma yemdulaku? vADu tAnoka sAhitee vEttananukonnacO vAni sAhitya memtaTidi ?"


dhUrjaTi’s works are available from several sources. These include:

EMESCO - A low price edition - 1970 & 1990, with Viswanatha Satyanarayana’s introduction.

A.P. Sahitya Academy - 1968.

Venkatrama & Co. (Venkatrama Grantha Mala)-1967, with Vemparala Satyanarayana Sastry’s laGhu Teeka.

Vavilla Ramaswami & Sons - 1966, with Bulusu Venkata Ramanayya's laGhu Teeka.

There is a nice (fictional) biographical novel on dhUrjaTi by nOri narasimha Sastri. It tries to put in context the background for his early life of worldly pleasures, his deeply religious personality, his criticism of the royalty of his day and his aversion to the ways of the world. Though there is a considerable amount of kalpana (UhAgAnam), it makes good reading. For example, the book uses a reference in his Satakam to a Bhakta who worshipped Siva by invoking him in to a woman’s breast (the village Achanta in West Godavari Dt. derives its name from this incident).

A highly acclaimed English translation of SreekALahasteeSwara Satakamu was rendered by Hank Heifetz and Velcheru Narayana Rao [Heifetz, H., and Narayana Rao, V., 1987. "For the Lord of the Animals-Poems from the Telugu: The Kalahastisvara Satakamu of Dhurjati," University of California Press, Berkeley]. Other translations to the Satakamu are also available. See bulusu vEnkaTa subbArAvu, "The voice of dhUrjaTi," Andhra University Press (1977) and peesapATi kRShNamUrti, "SreekALahasteeSwara Satakamu - AnglAnuvAdamu," (published by the author, Hyderabad, 1973).



Seshu Madhava Rao Adluri
First posted: Jan. 1998.
Suggestions, additions and corrections to the above will be gratefully appreciated.
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