Nannaya, the poets’ poet in Telugu (2)

Nannaya Bhattaraka’s efforts to translate the Sanskrit Mahabharata into Telugu could not go beyond the first two parvas i.e., Aadi parva and Sabha parva and in the third Aranya parva upto 2 adhyaaya and 142 poems due to reasons not known until date.  Thus, his benefactor king Raja Raja Narendra died in the year 1061 AD, his dream of getting the epic translated into Telugu language during his lifetime unfulfilled.  Nothing is known till date regarding Nannaya Bhattaraka’s death after his benefactor king’s demise either. This was also the case with his other personal details such as his date of birth, details regarding his parents, their place of domicile etc., due to the simple reason that Nannaya did not care to record those details any where in his work, the Andhra Mahabharatamu. It might have been that he simply thought that his work would speak for him and whatever it would speak would be sufficient.

True to his simplistic loyalty and imaginative greatness, his assessment turned out to be correct and it was his work that had remained as the one which shown the way to ‘write’ poetry in Telugu language to generations that followed.  His efforts to transform Telugu words into poetic expressions, making them parts of systematically formulated metrical compositions adopted from already established ‘vRtta’ of Sanskrit language, ‘jaati’ and ‘upajaati’ of Telugu language, duly reforming them to suit the metrical requirements wherever required, had made him the ‘Sabda SaaSana’ or ‘vaaganu SaaSana’ which mean the master who commanded the poetic language of Telugu classical literature.

In one of the introductory verses (1-1-26) of the Andhra Mahabhaaratamu Nannaya explained his stand and his intentions towards the work on hand.  He recorded therein that he, who considered himself as the live repository of plenty of worthy stories, applied himself to the extraordinary task of ‘writing’ the Mahabhaarata samhita in Telugu, in such a fashion that his work should be praised by the best of the best of poets for the qualitative wit and grace of the stories told in it  and by the other lesser poets, ordinary people it should be praised even for the charm and the beauty of the words.


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