Classical Telugu Poetry: An Anthology

By Velcheru Narayana Rao; David Shulman | Go to book overview

TWENTY-THREE
Samukhamu
Veṅkaṭakṛṣṇappa Nāyaka

Late seventeenth to early eighteenth centuries

This poet, a commander of the king's army, was a product of the Madurai Nāyaka court during the rule of Vijaya-ranga Cŏkkanātha (1706–1732). His major work is the Ahalyā-sankrandanamu, telling of the love between Indra, king of the gods, and Ahalyā, wife of the sage Gautama; this tale of sexual violation is typical of the themes favored by Nāyaka poets.1 Veṅkaṭakṛṣṇappa Nāyaka also composed a prose work, the Jaimini-bhāratamu, a Telugu version of the “counter-Mahābhārata” ascribed to Jaimini (previously represented in Telugu by a kāvya work of Pillalamarri Vīrabhadra-kavi).


THE LOVE OF INDRA AND AHALYĀ2

[When Brahmā created Ahalyā, the most beautiful woman in the cosmos, Indra, king of the gods, saw her and fell in love, but Brahmā married her to the crusty old sage Gautama. Ahalyā, for her part, also dreamed of the king of the gods.]

One day a Yogini, who could make impossible things happen, came to see Ahalyā. Bowing to her, Ahalyā seated her and asked: “Where are you going, and where do you live? What brought you here?”

____________________
1
See discussion of this and similar works in Velcheru Narayana Rao, David Shulman, and Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Symbols of Substance: Court and State in Nāyaka Period Tamilnadu (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1992), 112–68.
2
Samukhamu Veṅkaṭakṛṣṇappa Nāyaka, Ahalyā-saṅkrandanamu, ed. Bommakanti Venkata Singaracarya and Balantrapu Nalinikanta Ravu (Madras: Emesco, 1971), 3 [selected verses].

-279-

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