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Excerpt: Dasama Skandha of Potana’s Bhagavata Purana II

The following Post continues our Series on Narasaraju garu’s Book on Bhagavatamu


Continuing our Series of Articles on the translation of Telugu Bhagavatam by Professor T.S.B. Narasaraju of Banaras Hindu University, is Excerpt II. Those interested in reading Excerpt I of our series can find it here.

This installment will cover the Author’s Preface, a brief intro on Pothana Mahakavi, and provide selections from the Original Work itself.

Publishers interested in printing or offering e-Publication of Narasaraju garu’s work can reach him via email at  shamraan@gmail.com

Click here to download Part I of the English Translation of Potana’s Bhagavata Purana (Dasama Skandha)

Part II can be found below at the end of the article and is also available for free.

       chetularanga sivuni pujimpadeni

       norunovvanga hari kirthi nuduvadeni

       dayayu satyambu lonuga talupadeni

        kaluganetiki tallula kadupuchetu

If Lord Siva is not worshipped by one with folded

hands till the hands ache, Lord Hari`s glory is not

sung in full throat till it chokes, kindness towards

others and righteousness are not cultivated by one,

giving such a birth is a curse to the mother

[Excerpt. Some emphasis ours.]

Copyright: T.S.B.Narasaraju. All rights reserved. 2017.

Preface

Bhagavata Purana is one among eighteen Puranas written by sage Vyasa in Sanskrit. Puranas are  accounts of births and deeds of Hindu gods.The literal definition of a Purana is that which remains new perennially.  Bhagavata Purana emphasizes the path of devotion to the lord by describing his sterling qualities and incarnations. It was first taught by Vyasa to his son, Suka. Being requested by Parikshit tormented by an impending death by the bite of a serpent, Suka recited Bhagavata Purana enabling Parikshit to attain salvation.

Being the most prominent among the Puranas, Bhagavata Purana underwent translations into several other languages. Its translation into Telugu by Potana is one such. It is believed that Potana was born and spent his life in a village called Bammera located in the present Telangana State during the fifteenth century. He wrote the work there motivated by the appearance and command of lord Rama of whom he was an ardent devotee.

Potana’s Bhagavata Purana continues to remain close to the hearts of Telugu-speaking people since the concept of Mathura Bhakti, one of several recommended methods of devotion to the lord, is competently illustrated by him in the work through simple and sweet vocabulary. His work has been embedded with a rhythmic and a delightful combination of vocabulary to make the readers recite its verses over and over again in a devotional ecstasy. Potana`s Bhagavata Purana continues to influence a large section of Telugu population to imbibe a spiritual thinking, a devotional involvement and a principled living.

It is believed that Telugu has been in use ever since the commencement of the Christian era. However, prominent literary works in Telugu emerged only from the middle of eleventh century C. E. The earliest significant work was a translation of Mahabharata from Sanskrit, like other works which followed. Consequently, this period of Telugu literature is known as Anuvada Yuga, an era of translations.

The mode of translation followed can be divided into three types: (i) Swatantra Anuvada or Kathanuvada, (ii) Bhava-anuvada and (iii) Yatha-tadha-anuvada.The first mode of translation was adopted by the famous Kavitraya, the three famous Telugu literary personalities, Nannaya,Tikkana and Yerrapragada in the translation of Mahabharata. Here the translator enjoys the liberty of additions and deletions of the original work adhering at the same time to the story of the original. In the second type followed by Srinatha, another towering Telugu literary personality of the distant past, in the translation of Nyshadha,written in Sanskrit by Harsha, only the essence of the original is reproduced.The third type, followed principally for the translation of dramas, is a true reproduction of the original including the usage of the same vocabulary, being a literal counterpart of the one used in the original. Potana followed a judicious combination of types (i) and (ii) being motivated by the Kavitraya and Srinatha. Being a strong devotee of the lord he elaborated extensively the devotional sequences departing from the original. Potana, in addition to his devotion to the lord, was a great scholar and a poet of exllence. His Bhagavata Purana contained stanzas of all categories of Telugu poetry.  It is mentioned by Potana in his Bhagavata Purana that he had a transcendental experience of the appearance of lord Rama and his consort Sita commanding him to translate Vyasa’s Bhagavata Purana into Telugu to free himself from the mundane terrestrial bonds to get salvation. That experience seemed to have transformed the natural poetic ability of Potana into an ecstatic state of mind which resulted in his version of Bhagavata Purana which makes a studious and devoted reader of the work wonder whether at all a human mind can attain such levels of excellence once again.

Potana`s literary prowess is believed to be a divine gift. He says that some among the likely readers of his work have a bias for Telugu while others have a liking for Sanskrit. He prefers to adopt a judicious combination of the two languages in his Bhagavata Purana, a luxury which he could afford because of his proficiency in both the languages. According to Potana`s philosophy activities devoid of devotion to god are totally futile.

The Dasama Skandha,Tenth Canto of Bhagavata Purana, is different from others, being a complete and a competent account of the different facets of Krishna Avatara,  an incarnation of lord Krishna. He is considered to be the primordial incarnation of lord Vishnu, who appeared in the form of other Avataras. Bhagavata Purana is considered to be an embodiment of lord Vishnu himself with its twelve cantos as the different organs of the lord.The significance of Dasama Skandha is evident from the fact that it is considered to be the face of the lord and is therefore distinct from the other cantos. It is the biggest among the cantos of Bhagavata Purana spreading over three thousand verses and pieces of prose.

The writer of the present translation of Dasama Skandha of Potana`s Bhagavata Purana into English has no pretensions about his competence to undertake the work since he spent a major part of his life of about eight decades in studying, teaching and guiding research in Chemistry at a couple of Central Universities, namely, Banaras Hindu University,Varanasi and North-Eastern Hill University, Shilling.A tenure of about four decades, his entire professional career, was consequently spent away from Andhra Pradesh as a Pravasa Andhra. He could thus realize the disadvantage inflicted by him on his son and daughter, as well as by his intimate Telugu colleagues on their children, by alienating them from an exposure to even rudimentary aspects of Telugu literature for no fault of the youngsters. The same sentiment is applicable to a big chunk of contemporary Telugu-speaking people scattered all over the globe consequent upon professional compulsions.

Being motivated probably by an over-ambitious feeling that he is capable of writing a comprehensible English, the author ventured to do Yadha-tadha anuvada into English of Dasama Skandha of Potana`s Bhagavata Purana which has been very close to his heart right from his days of higher secondary education  in Veeresalingam High School, Rajahmahendravaram, a place of Adi Kavi Nannaya. His audacity to attempt this work was to a large extent motivated by the fact that selected portions of Dasama Skandha of Potana`s Bhagavata Purana were taught to him by an illustrious Telugu literary personality of the recent past, namely the late Sri Madhunapantula Satyanarayana Sastri, the then member of the teaching staff of the high school in which the author studied, to whom the author wants to express his homage and gratitude. The present attempt is primarily intended to expose the Pravasa Andhra adolescents, not knowing written Telugu, who may read this work, to the nuances of Potana`s Bhagavata Purana, an opportunity denied to them by their parents, for which the youngsters are not to be blamed.

The author is not apologetic about his truncated level of comprehension of Bhagavata Purana since Potana himself says in his work that a complete understanding of the work is beyond the capability of any one. The greatness of this Purana is such that even a negligible level of understanding benefits the one who makes an attempt. In order to avoid inconvenience in typing, no transliteration is followed in the present work since the clientele is supposed to be familiar with pronunciation of the Sanskrit words of the work given in italics.The present translation has been divided into three parts to avoid unwieldiness. Part I consists of events ranging from Krishnavatara to lifting of Goverdhanagiri while Part II includes events ranging from Rasakrida to Rukmini Kalyana. The remaining events of Dasama Skandha ranging from Narakasuravadha to  Subhadra Parinaya come under Part III of the present work.

Miscellaneous short-comings of the author in understanding some of the usages of Potana are adequately compensated by referring to a few illustrious relevant publications of TTD Religious Publication Series, Tirupati, Potti Sriramulu Telugu Viswavidyalayam, Hyderabad, and of Geeta Press, Gorakhpur. In addition, an exposure to the spiritual discourses by illustrious personalities namely, Sri Swamy Chinmayananda, Sri Swamy Ranganathananda, Sri Jagadguru Kripaluji Maharaj, Sri Ganapat Sachchidananda Swamy, Sri Sukhbodhananda Swamy, Sri Sundarachaitnyananda Swamy, Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swamy, Sri Siddheswaraananda Bharathi Swamy and Sri Ravi Shankar and also of Sri Chaganti Koteswara Rao and Sri Samavedam Shanmukha Sarma, among others, transmitted through different TV channels of India, is of extensive  guidance to the author. The author desires to place on record his indebtedness and gratefulness to these organisations and personalities for rendering commendable service to the spiritually oriented sections of our community.

T.S.B. Narasaraju


 

(v) Potana`s Biography

Potana also known as Potaraju was born in a village Bammera located in the Warangal Taluk of the present Telangana State . While the exact year of his birth is not known, he is believed to have lived between 1400 and 1470 C. E. He was born in Kaundinyasa  Gotra as the second son of  Kesana and Lakkamamba. Their first son was Tippana. That Srinatha, the famous Telugu poet, was Potana`s brother-in-law, has no historical basis. There is evidence to show that Potana had a son by name Kesana  named after Potana`s father. Potana`s son seemed to have inherited literary prowess of the father to earn the title, Proudha Saraswati .  In fact the literary proficiency seemed to have percolated through the entire progeny of Potana. In addition to Bhagavata Purana,  Potana wrote Veerabhadra Vijaya, Bhogini Dandaka and Narayana Sataka.

(vi) Dedication of Potana`s Bhagavata Purana to Almighty

Bammera Potaraju decided to offer his version of Bhagavata Purana to lord Sri Hari for the good of all. By offering , instead , to kings of disrepute in return to gifts  such as  Dhanadhanya Vastuvahanas and Grihagramadulu, the author feels that he succumbs after death to  lord Yama`s punishments. The following is an account of the sentiments of Potana which prompted him to offer his work to the almighty :–

“A great man appeared before my eyes. He was with his consort and comparable to a blue cloud coupled with a lightning. His smile was as pleasant as the moon-light. He wore a bow comparable to the curvatures and beauty of a huge Ganuga tree entwined with creepers. He wore a crown as effulgent as the sun on top of a blue mountain. His eyes were as elegant as the petals of a lotus. He was a broad-chested prominent king of kings.”

He exhorted Potana to translate Vyasa`s Bhagavata Purana into Telugu.

“ What I am going to write is the most sacred Bhagavata Purana. The one who makes me write is Ramachandra Prabhu himself.This writing has the propensity to disentangle me from the family bonds. Therefore I decided to write it. Where is the need to write any other work?

When a complete comprehension of Bhagavata Purana transcends the abilities of even lord Siva and Brahma will it be possible to understand it for an ordinary man like me? Yet I make an attempt  to  write  what I heard about it from  scholars  and what is understood by me. Because of my good fortune great poets like Nannaya and Tikkana who translated many works from Sanskrit to Telugu left Bhagavata Purana.I translate it into Telugu to sanctify myself.

I offer my version of Bhagavata Purana to lord Gopalakrishna who wears beautiful effulgent garlands, resides in Nandagokula, steals  butter and ghee  from houses of shepherds, redeems the sorrows of devotees, wins the hearts of Gopakantas and  destroys  demons such as Trinavarta and Putana. My work is dedicated to Krishna, a lord of exemplary qualities endowed with the grace of lord Siva, a destroyer of demon Banasura, a savior of Gopagopikas from a hail-storm caused by Indra, by lifting the Govardhana mountain, a redeemer of a curse on Yakshas by uprooting a couple of huge trees, a protector of Varnasrama Dharma and a lord capable of obstructing sun`s rays through his Sudarsana Chakra.

I offer my work to the lord who is an embodiment of grace, a counsellor capable of averting the agony of Arjuna to revive his duty consciousness, a protector of the safety of all living beings and a benefactor of his devotees having the sense organs under their control. He could dance playfully on the hood of a serpent, Kaliya, and destroy the army of Jarasandha several times.

The version of Bhagavata Purana written by me is dedicated to the lord who reclines on a serpent, Adishesha, wearing yellow silken garments. He  follows justice   rigorously  in deciding the results of Karma of human beings, resurrects  lives of sons of a Brahmin , restores mental peace to an agitated Rukmini, gives happiness to all living beings, exhibits grace to righteous human beings, steals butter from the houses of Gopikas and creates the entire universe.

My Bhagavata Purana is offered to the almighty who is a skillful sole monarch of initiating creation, propagation, protection and destruction of the universe. He taught Vedas to Brahma. Remaining pure and effulgent, he spreads an illusion as a magician showing that the universe created by him engulfed in the Trigunas  is real, like the belief of existence of water in a mirage. I adore such a lord who is ever present in my thoughts.”


1.Introduction

Dasama Skandha of Bhagavata Purana is distinct from the other Skandhas since it contains a complete and competent account of the different facets of Krishnavatara. It is therefore considered as Sri Krishna Sarvaswa. Lord Krishna is considered to be the primordial incarnation of the lord who appeared in the form of the other Avataras. Although the appearance of lord Rama and his exhortation to translate Bhagavata Purana into Telugu to be dedicated to lord Rama motivated Potana to take up the sacred mission, he dedicated his work, instead, to lord Krishna conscious of the primordiality of the lord.

Bhagvata Purana is considered to be an embodiment of lord Vishnu, its twelve Chapters or Skandhas being considered as the organs of the lord. The significance of Dasama Skandha is evident from the fact that it is considered to be the face of the lord. Just as Krishnavatara is distinct from the remaining Avataras of the lord, Dasama Skandha is distinct from the other Chapters of Bhagavata Purana.

The story of Krishna is competently described in several other Sanskrit works, the principal among them being Jaya Deva`s Gita Govinda, Leela Suka`s Sri Krishna Karnamruta and Narayana Tirthulu`s Sri Krishna Leelatarangini, among others. An equally eloquent account of lord Krishna in Telugu is provided by Yarrana’s Hari Vamsa and Potana`s Dasama Skandha of his Bhagavata Purana, among others.

Dasama Skandha is the biggest among the Chapters of Bhagavata Purana spreading over three thousand verses and pieces of prose. It is divided into two parts known as Purva Bhaga and Uttara Bhaga. The Telugu titles of principal aspects of the Purva Bhaga are : (Part I): Krisnavatara Ghattam,   Kamsuni pampuna Putana yanu Rakshasi  Vrepalle ku Chanudenchuta, Sri Krishna Balaramula Balyakreedabhivarnana, Mryudbhakshana, Viswarupa Pradarshanabhivarnanamu, Sri Krishnudu Kaliyamardanamu Gavinchuta, Gopika Vastrapaharanamu, Sri Krishnudu Govardhana Parvatamunettut. (Part II):  Rasakreedabhivarnanamu, Kamsuni Pampuna Akrurudu Brindavanamunaku Chanudenchuta, Sri Krishnamurty Madhuranagara Prvesamu Cheyuta, Sri Krishna Balaramulu Chanura Mushtikulanu Vadhinchuta, Sri Krishnudu Kamsuni Vadhinchuta, Muchkunduni Purva Kathabhivarnanamu, Rukmini Kalyana  Katha Prarambhamu, and Sri Krishnudu Rukmini Devini Pendliyaduta.among others. The Uttara Bhaga of Bhagavata Purana  is constituted, among others, by the Telugu titles :  (Part III): Sri Krisnudu Satyabhamatokudanaragi Narakasuruni Vadhinchuta, Naradundu Sri Krishnunito Dharmaraju Rajasuyamu Neraverpumani Chepputa, Pandavulu Sri Krishnuni Yadurkoni Todkoni Povuta, Sri Krishnuni Sahayunduga Bhimundu  Jarasandhunito Yudhamu Seyuta, Dharmaraju Chesedi Rajasuyamunandu Sri Krishnudu Sisupaluni Vadhinchuta, Kuchelopakhyanamu, Subhadra Parinayamu, and Parikshittunaku Sukayogi Vishnuseva Prasastyambu Chepputa.

2.Krishna Bringing Nanda from City of Varuna

On a sacred Ekadasi-day Nanda observed fasting and performed Puja of Vishnu. Unmindful of the fact that it was time of demons, he got into river Yamuna to have Dwadasi-bath even before the day-break. Then demon Varuna`s servant took him away to the city of Varuna. Rest of the Gopakas got agitated since they could not find Nanda. They shouted loud to call Balarama and Krishna. The latter could know that his father was deceitfully kidnapped by the servant of Varuna to his land. He reached that land at once (953).

Varuna saw Madhava visiting his place, worshipped him hurriedly, and said obediently, “Oh! Lord! You are kind enough to visit my house. You make the learned happy. You are the lord who makes those rejoicing in your lotus-shaped feet tread a path unattainable to others. A visit by such a lord filled my heart with over-flowing joy. My desires are fulfilled. Obeisance to you makes my life sanctified (954, 955, 956). Oh! Mahatma! Maya, capable of engulfing all the Lokas, is incapable of conquering you and hence remains under your control, you being the lord of lords.Your effulgent form is the donor of good. You rejoice always in protecting the pious-minded. You are the emperor of those virtuous people who possess Tapas as their wealth. I am saluting to such a lord to free myself from the bodily turmoils (957).You are a role-model in devotion to one`s father ! Your devotees with  pure hearts  are dear to you ! Without even an iota of intelligence my servant  brought your father here. Kindly take back your father with you.Forget about the offence. Pardon me and my servant and show kindness to us. Forgiving the repentant  is a resplendent virtue in you (958).

Excusing the repentant Varuna, Hari returned along with his father. Nanda narrated to his relations the account of his son releasing him from Varuna`s city and bringing him back.They in return thought Krishna to be lord Iswara himself. He promised to fulfill their desires (959). He felt that people, in general, get entangled in mundane worldly activities experiencing pleasure and pain being engulfed in a mirage incapable of realizing his true form (960). With such thoughts  the kind-hearted lord manifested to the Gopakas his Loka which transcends Maya,which is effulgent, indescribable, real, blissful with realization, ultimate, eternal and seen only by those transcending the Trigunas (961). The lord showed to Nanda and others the Brahmaloka seen by Akrura earler. They felt delighted. They saw the divine form of Krishna, praised and worshipped him (962).

There was then the onset of autumn with nights illuminating all directions under full moon.These nights caused feast to the lotuses, difficult times to the love-lorn, favourable conditions for Cupid`s sojourns, enjoyable times to clusters of Chakora birds and times congenial for the wives to succumb to the enticements of their husbands (963).There was onset of Sarad Purnima which provides a clarification to the art of love-making, makes the lotuses blossom, provokes the desire for love-making, eliminates the tolerance of love-lorn, perturbs the Chakravaka birds and causes joy and good to the people, in general (964). Just as a lover applies Kumkum to the fore-head of his sweet-heart, moon, comparable to a lover beautified the east, comparable to his sweet-heart, by the red light, comparable to Kumkum, propagated at the time of his onset in the east (965). Circular, effulgently red and extra-ordinarily smooth  full moon emerged on the sky in the proximity of Udayagiri to the delight of clusters of Chakoras. It appeared as a golden Kalasam on the army-camp of Manmadha invading the soldiers of the love-mongers. It is like the weapon of the destroyer of demon Sambara intended to cut across the resistance of the love-lorn, comparable to the tender edges of a creeper. It is like a fire let loose by Manmadha to destroy the cofidence, comparable to a forest, of the lovers separated from their sweet-hearts. It is like a torch used by Manmadha to hunt the lovers tormented by the pangs of separation from their love-mates (966).

Click here to download Part II of the English Translation of Potana’s Bhagavata Purana (Dasama Skandha)


Disclaimer: This book represents the opinions of Author, and should not be considered a reflection of the views of Andhra Cultural Portal. The author is responsible for ensuring the factual veracity of the content, herein.

Copyright: T.S.B.Narasaraju. All rights reserved. 2017.

Excerpt: Dasama Skandha of Potana’s Bhagavata Purana

The following Post is based on the Translation of Professor T.S.B. Narasaraju garu


To inaugurate Andhra Cultural Portal’s Spotlight on Telugu Literature, is a wonderful work based on one of the most beloved texts in Telugu Poetry.

We are honored to present an excerpt of the Pothana Telugu Bhagatavam, translated into English by Professor T.S.B. Narasaraju.

Much as the Andhra Mahabharatamu is a classic of Telugu literature so too is the Andhra Maha Bhagavatamu another. But at a time when the word Andhra itself is being reduced in scope, what better work to unify all Telugus than the Telugu Bhagavatamu of Telangana’s Pothana.

For those of you who wish to read the Bhagavata Purana translated into contemporary Telugu, please refer to this excellent site: www.telugubhagavatam.org. However, many of our diasporic youth are unable to understand Telugu, let alone, read Telugu script. Therefore, Sri Narasaraju garu has embarked upon this tremendous effort on behalf of all Telugus, to translate key parts of the Mahabhagavatamu, into English. Here is his own selected quote from Pothana’s original to express the sentiment behind his effort to bring a classic to the current day.

kamalakshu narchinchu karamulu karamulu

srinadhuvarninchu jihva jihva

sura rakshakuni chuchu chudkulu chudkulu

seshasayi ki mrokku siramu siramu

Hands deserve to be called as hands only if they pray to the Lord. Tongue is worthy of being called as a tongue only if it praises and describes the Lord. Eyes can be called as eyes only when they see the Lord. Head deserves its name only if it salutes to the Lord

Author

T.S.B. Narasaraju garu is a much respected academic who taught Chemistry at Acharya Nagarjuna University (Guntur) and Banaras Hindu University. He is also learned in traditional Saastriya Telugu, and in his retirement, has embarked upon translating the Bhagavatamu into English for the benefit of our pravasandhra youth.

Professor Narasaraju has done a great service for our Telugu community and we are privileged to bring his work to you in a Series of Articles. These will feature excerpts from his Taatparyam of the Dasama Skandam of Telugu Bhagavatamu.

Publishers and other inquirers can reach Sri Narasaraju via email at:

shamraan@gmail.com

Book

Below we provide an excerpt from Part I of T.S.B. Narasaraju garu’s book:

Dasama Skandha of Potana’s Bhagavata Purana.

It is a translation into English of the 10th Canto of Pothana’s Telugu rendition of the Bhagavata Purana. On request of Professor Narasaraju, we have attached Part I of his 3 Part translation of the Dasama Skandhamu, which can be downloaded at the end of the article.

Without further ado, here are selected excerpts from the book.

[Excerpt. Some emphasis ours.]

Copyright: T.S.B.Narasaraju. All rights reserved. 2017.

DASAMA SKANDHA  OF POTANA`S  BHAGAVATA PURANA

                            A Literal Translation into English  (Part I)

Foreword

Life on earth is sustained by many essentials. The most important among them, to live with joy and enthusiasm, is love-divine. Although Sri Bhagavata Purana is the quintessence of Karma, Bhakti and Jnana, it primarily elicits love-divine which is transcendental in its experience. Blessed are those who drank the nectar of love! Blessed are the Gopikas who could taste it and got completely merged with Sri Krishna Chaitanyam!

There are many translations of Vyasa Bhagavata Purana into several Indian languages. Its translation into Telugu by Sri Bammera Potana of fourteenth century stands on a high pedestal both in its language and sweetness of Bhava. Its verses are sublime in thought, sweet to chant and easy to memorise. They bring out a vivid picture of stories and expressions of feelings of characters, especially the Leelas of Bhagawan Sri Krishna even to ordinary readers who wish to read them as stories.

Telugu literature with all its lofty thoughts and rich translations is being slowly forgotten by the masses in the din and roar of modern life and its various compulsions. The fact that Puranas, epics and Upanishads, among others, build the character of our nation is not remembered and replaced with a modern craze for standard of living leading to dangerous tendencies.Such a trend causes all kinds of unhealthy comparisons and hatred among people resulting in destruction. These great texts that build character among human beings are going out of reach. Efforts must be made to bring a fresh breeze of life through a revival of a desire for higher knowledge.

It is with this sincere and dedicated thought that Dasama Skandha of Potana`s Bhagavata Purana has been brilliantly translated by Sri T. S. B. Narasaraju into English for the benefit of many residing abroad who lost touch with their mother-tongue, Telugu. Sri Raju`s heart throbbed with enthusiasm to bring  Potana`s Bhagavata Purana to children of Telugu resulting in the form of this book.The author introduced the present work very well by giving necessary background in the form of a brief biographical account of Potana, style of his literary prowess, purpose behind the present translation and the sources of inspiration motivating  the completion of the present work. In the beginning of the work itself the author brought out the difference between Puranas and Itihasas. This sets the tone of the text and surges the reader ahead with ease in mind and clarity in intellect. His translation is lucid and deep in its flavour. Without losing the essence of the original he brought out the translation in an exemplary manner using simple and effective language. The work is inspiring and holds the reader`s mind with inquisitiveness to read further. It is lucid in style and flows with beauty of expression. The content is absorbing.

The work begins with an invocation seeking the blessings of all those inspiring Sri Raju to grasp the core essence of Srimad Bhagavata Purana. In his Introduction Sri Raju wonderfully described how Potana got motivated by Lord Sri Ramachandra to translate Bhagavata Purana into Telugu from Sanskrit. It was, however, dedicated to Sri Krishna, a Purna Avatara and a Supreme Lord manifesting himself with all his powers unconcealed unlike other incarnations of Lord Vishnu.

It is not an easy task to bring out expressions from Potana`s verses into English. Sri Raju achieved this because of his devotion to the Lord, sincere self-application and taking up the work as a Tapas. I am sure that this work reaches the hands of many inspiring them to read, understand and cultivate the great ideals of Rishis of yore getting motivated to live as beacons of light to many around their lives.

May Lord Sri Krishna bless one and all!

Hari Om!

Swami Chidrupananda


PRELIMINARY ASPECTS

(i) Potana`s Prayers

Sri Krishna, the lord who is a  saviour of mankind, skilled in showing grace to his devotees, a destroyer of demons, a creator of several universes by  a mere twinkling of his eyes in a playful way and a son of king Nanda and Yasoda is being worshipped to get salvation.

I salute to lord Vighneswara, a recipient of  maternal love of Himagirinandini, a  cleanser of the sins of Kaliyuga, a source of pleasure to his devotees, a  destroyer of impediments  of those worshipping him, a centre of joy through his sweet talk to those praying to him and one who relishes Modakas being seated on a Mooshika Vahana.

I pray by prostrating with devotion to lord Siva, the destroyer of  pride of Manmadha. He  holds a spear in hand, wears a  garland of skulls and  a crescent moon on head, makes the lotus-like face of Parvati blossom like the sun  making the lotuses blossom  and resides in the hearts of  great ascetics like Narada. Engrossed in a playful dance, he is  kind to his devotees like an ocean of grace.

I serve with attention and devotion  lord Brahma, a skillful creator of the universe, a donor of happiness to goddess Saraswati, a codifier of the Vedas, a leader to rescue the Devatas, a conqueror of sins, a saviour of devotees and a well-wisher of ascetics.

Touching the floor with my forehead, I salute with devotion to goddess Saraswati having beautiful black locks of hair and carrying a garland of Rudrakshas, a parrot, a lotus and a book in her hands. Having won the heart of lord Brahma, Oh! goddess Saraswati! You are a mother full of condescension.  I venture to write Bhagavata Purana  in spite of the fact that I do not have the proficiency of any one among Valmiki, Kumara Swamy, Vyasa and Kalidasa, among others. Please grant me adequate competence to fulfill my objective.

I pray to goddess Durga Bhavani to grant me the fortune of a poetic ability of distinction.  She is the mother of all mothers being the primordial mother of the three famous mothers, goddesses Lakshmi. Parvati and Saraswati. She is a destroyer of the demons and is the greatest among the mothers. The Devatas have implicit faith in her and hence she stays in the minds of their mothers. Such a goddess Durga is my mother.

May goddess Lakshmi grant us perennial fortunes! She is the empress of lord Sri Hari, an abode of fortunes, a treasure of wealth and prosperity and a sister of the moon god Chandra. Tender as a flower and comparable to a bunch of lotuses she is the play-mate of goddesses Vani and Sarvani and is being worshipped in all the three Lokas. She is a destroyer of poverty through her effulgent looks.

If lord Siva is not worshipped by one with folded hands, lord Hari`s glory is not sung  in full throat till it is choked, kindness  towards others and righteous living  are not cultivated by one,   giving such a human birth is a curse to  the mother.

(ii) Puranas and Itihasas

Purana is defined as one among a collection of Sanskrit writings not included in the Vedas . Puranas give an account of births  and deeds of Hindu gods as well as of creation and destruction of universe. The literal meaning of a Purana is that which remains perennially new in spite of its ancient origin. Its primary objective is to teach methods of righteous living through a medium of stories. An Itihasa, on the other hand, is an account of historical events which literally happened.

Mahabharata and Ramayana are two famous Itihasas, the latter also being considered to be a Kavya.They are rated to be next only to the Vedas in importance, the Puranas collectively are valued as the fifth Veda. Recent findings established the Puranas, also like Itihasas,to be indispensable sources for establishing authentic Indian history. Puranas are important store-houses to unravel ancient Indian political, religious, social, spiritual and cultural aspects.

In Sanskrit there are eighteen principal Puranas known as Mahapuranas and another eighteen subsidiary Puranas known as Upapuranas. The Mahapuranas are classified into three principal categories based respectively on Siva, Vishnu and Sakti. These originated independently from different pilgrim centers,being places usually heavily crowded and hence amenable for wide publicity.

Vedic literature is difficult to read and understand, a full life-span being inadequate for the purpose for mundane spiritual aspirants. The Puranas provided a suitable milieu as alternatives and hence became popular. It is believed that all the Mahapuranas are written by Vyasa in an easily comprehensible Sanskrit. They function as sources of Dharma and promote  principled living ensuring human enlightenment.

The following lines enable one to remember the names of all the eighteen Mahapuranas :-

Bha-dwayam  ma-dwayam chaiva bhra-trayam  vaa-chatushtayam                                                                                   

Anaapalinga kooskaani puraanaani prachakshate

Bha-dwayam   (two starting with Bha-):  1. Bhagavata Purana, 2. Bhavishyapurana

Ma-dwayam  (two starting with Ma-) :   3. Markandeyapurana , 4 .  Matsyapurana

Bhra-trayam  (three starting with Bhra-) :      5. Bhramhapurana, 6. Bhrahmandapurana , 7 .  Bhrahmavyvartapurana

Vaa-chatushtayam  (four starting with Vi/ Vaa) :   8. Vamanapurana , 9 .  Varahapurana, 10. Vayupurana,, 11 .Vishnupurana

Anaapalinga12. (A) Agnipurana, 13. (Naa) Naradapurana, 14. (Pa) Padmapurana, 15. (Lin) Lingapurana 16.(Ga) Garudapurana

Kooskani : 17. (Koo) Koormapurana and 18. (Ska) Skaandapurana

(“Bha-Bha-Ma-Ma-Bhra-Bhra-Bhra-Va-Va-Va-Vi-Ana-pa-linga-ku-skani” is

another acronym  to remember)

(iii) Bhagavata Purana

Sage Vyasa became Veda Vyasa by classifying the unified  form of Vedas into four parts known as Rigveda, Yajurveda,Sama Veda and Adharvana Veda. In addition, Vyasa  gave the principles of righteous living through his works. Since reading of Vedas was prohibited to some sections of the population in those days, Vyasa was feeling sad that he could not write  something for the benefit of such in their quest for god.

Sage Narada  came to the agitated Vyasa. He praised the divine qualities of Vyasa and wanted to know the reasons for Vyasa`s sorrow.Vyasa in return praised Narada`s qualities  of uninterrupted devotion to the lord motivating others in all parts of the universe to do the same. Since Narada is omniscient Vyasa requested him  to  diagnose the reason for Vyasa`s mental agony and to suggest a remedy.

Narada said  that though the works of Vyasa were eloquent in establishing the different facets of Dharma, there was no mention of the stories of the lord  emphasizing  his divine qualities.That, according to Narada, was the reason for the mental agony of Vyasa. According to Narada no literary work,  however  well- written,  was worth the effort without a mention of the lord.  Narada said that,  on the contrary, even a sub-standard literary work had a sanctifying effect on the reader if it mentioned about the lord. Narada exhorted Vyasa to come out with Bhagavata Purana emphasizing the path of devotion to the lord, praising Hari`s sterling qualities and giving an account of Hari`s incarnations since they were missing in his earlier works. Narada said  that listening, thinking  and meditating about the almighty supplemented by praising the lord and  singing about his glory  were the only  means for human salvation which transcendeds even  proficient learning and rendering  of Vedas,Vedanta and Bhagavatgita.

Being thus provoked by Narada and having realized the importance of inculcating the concept of Bhakti, Vyasa wrote Bhagavata Purana meant for universal good and taught it first to his illustrious son Suka. Being requested by king Parikshit tormented by an impending death by the bite of a serpent Takshaka, sage Suka enabled the king to attain Moksha in seven days through the milieu of listening to Bhagavata Purana recited by him. This account describes the genesis of Bhagavata Purana. The origin of Bhagavata Purana is thus the Veda, an abode of all boons. It is delivered by sage Suka as nectar to be relished by the desirous to attain Moksha which is a merger of the human soul with the almighty. Bhagavata Purana is considered to be the most prominent among the Puranas being equivalent to the entire collection of Upanishads. Attainment of Moksha is easier through a devotional and concentrated study of Bhagavata Purana than by reading the entire gamut of Vedas. It is an established fact that the worldly pleasures are temporary. Moksha is permanent and is the ultimate goal of human birth. It is achieved only through the grace of god. One is qualified to get divine grace only through devotion to god adopting Bhakti, knowledge and renunciation.

(iv) Dasaavataras and Importance of Krishnavatara

The Dasavataras, the ten principal incarnations of the lord Vyshnavism are Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Narasimha, Vamana, Rama, Parasurama, Krishna, Budha and Kaliki. These are given in the following Sloka :-

Matsyaha kurmo varahasche narasimhasche vamanaha

ramoramasche budhaha kalikirevacha

There is no mention of Krishna in this verse. The reason for this is that Krishna transcends the Trimurtys. He is an embodiment of Parabrahma and is considered to be the primordial form of all Avataras.

The following abbreviation in Telugu enables one to remember the names of the ten incarnations and their serial order :- (Ma-Ku-Va-Na,Va-Ri Pelli-Ki-Ba-Ka) : 1. Ma = Matsya , 2. Ku = Kurma, 3. Va = Varaha, 4. Na = Narasimha , 5.Va = Vamana , 6. (R)i = Rama, 7.(P)elli = Parasurama , 8. (Ki)  = Krishna, 9. (Ba)  = Budha, and 10.  Ka = Kalki. (The abbreviation means in Telugu: Makuvana “Rain for us” and Varipelliki Baka “Trumpet for their marriage”)

(vii) Literary Aspects of Potana`s Bhagavata Purana

Bhagavata Purana remains close to the hearts of Telugu-speaking people, particularly the descriptions of Krishna Leelas due to the fact that these aspects were competently described by Potana in his Bhagavata Purana,  promoting Madhura Bhakti through selection of simple and sweet vocabulary. It has been emphasized in the scriptures of Hindu religion that realization of god can be through paths of Jnana, Karma and Bhakti.The path of Jnana is difficult and is achieved principally by Rishis and that too only in the form of Nirakara or Nirguna Brahma. The path of Karma is also of restricted utility since it is dependent on gender, caste and age of the devotee. The path of Bhakti is capable of transcending all these obstacles since it has been successfully adopted by the learned, common folk, male and female as well as young and old. Through Mathura Bhakti it is easier to get the Akara or Saguna Brahma. Bhagavata Purana has been playing a significant role in propagating the concept of Navavidha Bhakti, the nine established forms of Bhakti.  These are : 1. Sravana (Listening), 2. Sankeertana (Praising), 3. Smarana (Remembering), 4. Paricharya (Praying to lord`s feet), 5. Archana (Worshipping), 6. Vandana (Prostrating), 7. Dasya (Serving), 8. Sakhya (Befriending) and 9. Atma Nivedana (Surrendering). It is the dominance of Mathura Bhakti which distinguishes the Dasama Skandha of Bhagavata Purana from others.

In addition, Potana gave appropriate importance to other Rasas depending upon the context of the work. Even abusive language used by the enemies of Krishna has been dexterously handled  by Potana adopting Vyangya Rachana , giving a double meaning,  without hurting the sentiments of Krishna`s  devotees , himself being one among them.

His work has been embedded with a rhythmic and a meaningful combination of vocabulary to make the readers recite its verses over and over again in a devotional ecstasy. Even today Potana`s Bhagavata Purana is able to influence a large section of Telugu population to imbibe a spiritual thinking, a devotional involvement and a  principled living.

Telugu language seemed to have been in use ever since the commencement of the Christian era. Prominent literary works in Telugu emerged only from the middle of the eleventh century A.D. and the earliest significant work was Mahabharata, a translation from a Sanskrit  work like other works which followed. Consequently, this period of Telugu literature is known as Anuvada Yuga, an era of translation. The mode of translation followed was divided into three types: (i) Swatantra-anuvada or Katha-anuvada, (ii) Bhava-anuvada and (iii) Yatha-tatha-anuvada .The first mode of translation was adopted by the famous Kavitraya, Nannaya, Tikkana and Yerrapragada, in the translation of Mahabharata. Here the translator enjoys the liberty of additions and deletions of the original work adhering at the same time to  the story of the original. In the second type, followed by Srinatha in the translation of Nyshadha, written in Sanskrit by Harsha, the essence of the original is scrupulously reproduced in the translation. The third type followed principally for the translation of dramas is a true reproduction of the original including the usage of the same vocabulary, being a literal counterpart of the one used in the original.

In the translation of Vyasa`s Bhagavata Purana into Telugu,  Potana followed a judicious combination of types one and two being motivated by the Kavitraya as well as by Srinatha . Being a strong devotee of the lord, he elaborated extensively the Bhakti-oriented sequences departing from the original. Potana was a great scholar and a great poet. His Bhagavata Purana contained stanzas spread over all categories of verses of Telugu Chandas such as Kanda, Ataveladi, Tetagiti, Utpala Mala, Champaka Mala, Mattakokila and Seesam.

As mentioned earlier, Potana had a transcendental experience of the appearance of lord Rama exhorting him to translate Bhagavata Purana of Vyasa into Telugu to free himself from the mundane terrestrial bonds to get sanctified. That experience  transformed  the natural poetic proficiency of Potana into an ecstatic state of mind  which resulted in Potana`s version of Bhagavata Purana which makes a studious reader of the work wonder whether at all a human mind can attain  such levels of excellence once again.

By Potana`s time Telugu language blossomed into a sweet and mature mother tongue for Telugu people. The language became a great milieu for lullabies, humour, and abusive vocabulary and for blessings, among others. The language thus became a potential medium for delicate expressions spread over all the Nava Rasas. Potana says that some among the likely readers of his work have a bias for Telugu, while others have a liking for Sanskrit. Potana prefers to adopt a judicious combination of the two languages, a luxury which he could afford because of his proficiency in both the languages. Potana`s Bhagavata Purana contains in totality a higher proportion of words of Sanskrit than of Telugu.

Potana pays homage to Vyasa,Valmiki, Bana, Kalidasa, Mayura, Bharavi and the Kavitraya, among others. A testimony that he read their works was indicated by the fact that his Bhagavata Purana contained occasionally their influence on his style of translation. Potana had descriptive sequences in his work both in poetry and prose and his literary prowess was established by the fact that his descriptions have been exquisitely picturesque.

Potana`s literary prowess is known to be a divine gift. It has been established that Potana`s parents and sister were staunch devotees of lord Siva. Motivated by this family tradition Potana strove at every opportunity in his Bhagavata Purana to establish the indistinguishability of Hari and Hara. At the very threshold of his work in the context of his prayers to the almighty he mentions, as indicated in this write-up earlier, that if one fails to do puja to Hara till the hands are tired and does not sing in praise of Hari till the voice chokes his birth is futile and a curse to his mother .While describing the child-hood pranks of lord Krishna, Potana uses his intuitive literary proficiency to establish a parallelism between the highly contrasting Balakrishna and Siva.

Potana sanctified his life by listening to sacred words from scholars of his time. According to Potana`s philosophy activities devoid of devotion to god are totally futile. Potana`s Bhagavata Purana has been exerting a many-faceted influence on the cultural life of Telugu-speaking people. The stamp of Potana`s Bhagavata Purana is evident on many recent and contemporary literary works in Telugu.

Click here to download Part I of the English Translation of Potana’s Bhagavata Purana (Dasama Skandha)


Disclaimer: This book represents the opinions of Author, and should not be considered a reflection of the views of Andhra Cultural Portal. The author is responsible for ensuring the factual veracity of the content, herein.

Copyright: T.S.B.Narasaraju. All rights reserved. 2017.

Personalities: Prolaya Vema Reddi

ProlyaVemaReddi

Those of you following us on twitter would have read our tweets on the Reddi Kings (storified for you here: Reddi Rajyam — Romantic Age of Andhra). This dynasty of rulers has a special place in the heart of Telugus. It was an era of romance, of great kings feuding, and chivalrous knights clashing, and it truly was an age of romantic poetry.

It was the mighty personality of Prolaya Vema Reddi who made this all possible. The title he took is emblematic of the spirit of Andhra he embodied ‘Mlechchhabdi Kumbhodbhava’ (Agastya to the Ocean of the Mlechchhas)“. He proved a successful successor to the Legacy of Saka-pallava-yavana-nisudhana.

Gautamiputra Satakarni of the Satavahana dynasty would similarly defend Andhra when faced with foreign invasions. Both the rulers of Amaravati and Addanki respectively would preside over a cultural flowering as well. While the Satavahanas would become veritable all-India emperors, the Reddi kings of the coast are notable for a different type of emperor they produced—a Kavi Sarvabhauma named Srinatha. And it all began with Prolaya Vema Reddi, one of our Great Andhra Personalities.

Background

Malampalli Somesekhara Sarma garu provides the following etymology for the Reddis. Noting their erstwhile connection with the Rashtrakutas or Rattas, he writes that the term Desati was a form of Desarattodi. This word is found in the copper grants of the Eastern Chalukya king Ammaraja Vijayaditya VI. Rattodi then became Rattadi, Ratti and Raddi. Desarattodi in turn transformed to Desarattadi, Desaratti and Desatti. [3, 56] Reddi nobles are considered to have come from towns like Simhavikramapuri (Nellore), Duvooru, and Gandavaram.

During the rule of the Kakatiya dynasty, Reddis became administrators and even mahasamantas, governing tracts of the Telugu desa. The Kondaveeti Dandakavile and the kaifiyat intimate that Donti was the family name of this particular clan of Reddis, or atleast one of its affiliate branches. They are said to have found a treasure and then migrated to Hanumakonda, the preceding capital of the Kakatiyas.[3, 53] Elsewhere, specifically in the Kasikhandam and Bhimesvara Puranam of Srinatha, we find the surname Desati attached to them. Nevertheless, this family  became influential in the united Andhra desa.

One of the 77 Nayaks of Mahamandalesvara Prataparudra Kakatiya II was Prolaya Reddi (his wife was Annemamba). Prolaya’s father Vema was the Vamsakarta and his grandfather was Kaamabhupa. [3, 48 ] Members of this clan were also noted for their service under the Telugu Chodas of Nellore. This connection would become important when the dynasty rose to power. But it is his son who would become the most famous of the dynasty: Prolaya Vema Reddi, whose leadership ran from 1325-1353.

ReddiRajyamGenealogy
[4, 215]
The Fall of Warangal in 1323 led to terrible consequences. Not only did the Kakatiya dynasty end, but all of united Andhra desa, from Telangana to Rayalaseema to Kosta suffered under the depredations of the Delhi Turks. The Tughluqs committed terrible atrocities, creating the conditions for the successful Andhra Liberation War. While Prolaya Vema Reddi may have revolted as early as 1325, in 1326, a council of Nayaks was convened, and Musunuri Prola Nayaka led the cause, with his cousin Kapaya successfully retaking Warangal just a few short years following its fall. After Andhradesadeesvara, Musunuri Kapaneedu, died in battle at Bhimesvaram, Reddi asserted independence and established his rule in Guntur, Prakasam, Nellore, and Kurnool. Addanki (Ongole District) became his capital, and his kingdom soon stretched from Srisailam and Ahobilam to the borders of Tirupati.

It came into existence as the custodian of Hindu dharma and culture, and to revive the old Vedic traditions and ritual which suffered a death blow and became almost extinct under an alien rule. [3]

Prolaya Vema was the son of Prolaya Reddi, and was among the 75 subordinates of Musunuri Prola and Kapaneedu (Krishna), who successively served as Overlords of the Andhra Nayak Confederacy. Prolaya Vema as the middle of five brothers. His younger brother Malla became ruler of the subordinate branch at Kandakooru. This branch would successfully face off against Alauddin Bahman Shah, who invaded shortly after his reign began. [3, 77]

Malla Reddi, the commander of the Reddi forces drove them away after inflicting a severe defeat on the Bahmani Sultan, Ala-ud-din, and protected the Reddi kingdom. [3, 78]

Malla would go on to conquer the great Kakatiya Port of Motupalli. Prolaya Vema would strengthen his position by giving his daughter in marriage to Choda Bhima (son of Bhaktiraja.”The Reddis regarded themselves as masters of the south-eastern portion of the Kakatiya dominion extending from Srisailam in the Nandikotkur taluk of Kurnool district to the east coast.” [3, 78]This dynasty controlled 84 forts, including the legendary Kondaveedu, along with Vinukonda, Kondapalli, Bellamkonda, and Dharanikota. They also had a famous rivalry with the Recharlas of Rachakonda, traitors of Andhra who betrayed the Musunuri Nayaks and allied with the Bahmanis. While some claim the fall of Krishna Nayak’s prestige led to the Nayaks of Korukonda and the Reddis to declare sovereignty, records from the Reddi kingdom itself tell a different story.

The Kaluvaceru grant of Anitalli, dated Saka 1345 (1423 A.D.) gives a different account of Vema’s assumption of independent rule. It says that Vema, originally one of the seventy five subordinate chiefs of Kapaya Nayaka, began to rule the territory independently only after the death of his overlord. [3, 80]

In any event, the leader of the Panta Reddi clan would thus go on to establish a powerful kingdom that would culturally revive the Andhras of the Coast, and protect them from Turk depredations for a century.

Achievements

A staunch Hindu devoted to Dharma, Prolaya Vema patronised the Hindu religion as well as the Telugu language. After liberating coastal Andhra from the criminal regime of the Tughluq Turks, he restored Agraharas to Brahmanas and re-consecrated Temples desecrated by the Delhi sultans. Prolaya’s patronage extended to the famous Errana (Erra Pragada) who finally completed that masterpiece of Telugu literature, Andhra Mahabharatamu.

A dutiful and considerate ruler, Prolaya was also known for planting trees on the edges of roads and digging wells for the benefit of journeymen.

Kondaveedu

  • Revolted against Delhi Turks. Became one of the Commanders who liberated Andhra
  • Founded the Reddi Kingdom
  • Built or renovated 84 forts according to tradition
  • Constructed the great Fortress of Kondaveedu, which would later serve as capital
  • Gave 44 Agraharas to Brahmins who had been dispossessed by Tughluq Turks
  • Built temples and constructed tanks and replenished treasuries
  • Set up feeding houses and drinking water sheds.
  • He also planted numerous flower and fruit gardens for the public.

Legacy

ReddyRajyam

The Panta clan of Reddis would set up and rule three different kingdoms at Kondaveedu, Rajamahendravaram, and Kandookuru. There were three main families, with Prolaya Vema’s being the senior one, but Allaya Reddi’s (Donti family) and Kataya Vema Reddi‘s also being influential. These would all inter-marry, along with the Suryavamsa Kshatriya family of Choda Bhaktiraja (relations of the once Telugu Choda Kings of Nellore).

Vema ruled his new principality very ably and justly. He strove hard to relieve the brahman and the peasant from their miserable plight and to give them protection and every facility to follow their own pursuits and professions, unmolested by foreign aggression and internal disorders. He thereby rightly earned the title dharmapratishtanaguru, the revered that established the dharma. [3, 87]

He generously spent his resources to give patronage to brahmanas, as they were repositories of knowledge and custodians of Vedic rites and rituals. He is said to have given as many as 44 agraharas during his reign. Such a notable yajamana was he that he was called anavarata-purohita-krta-somapana, one who cause the purohits to take the Soma juice incessantly. [3, 88]

Interestingly, neither he nor his overlord Musunuri Kapaneedu took the traditional Royal title Mahamandalesvara, as the Kakatiyas Kings did, and as the Vijayanagara Emperors did from the beginning. Prolaya Vema Reddi contented himself with the title Srimathu.

Prolaya Vema I had three sons, Anavota I, Anamaacha, and Anavema and two daughters.  One daughter Doddamba, who married Kata Reddi II, and the other daughter married Choda Bhima, who was the son of Bhaktiraja. Anamaacha appears to have died young.

The celebrated poet Erra Pragada himself sketches an image of his patron, Prolaya Vema. The Court Poet of the first Reddi King wrote in his Harivamsam that the ruler was an expert bow-man and a great warrior. Prolaya Vema was humble and god-fearing, and a disciple of Ghodeyaraya Gangeyadeva.

Ghoderaya Gangayadeva

Members of the Ghoderaya family exercised over the Reddi kings much influence as their gurus throughout their political career.” [3, 65]

As spiritual guides and preceptors, the Ghoderayas  would have encouraged the commitment of the Reddi kings to traditional Hindu Dharma, and to the restoration of the ancient Vedic rites and rituals. Gangayadeva was considered an honest and able administrator, who himself undertook many charitable works. Nevertheless, Prolaya Vema Reddi was very much his own man.

Kondaveeti Kota Srimathu

Kondaveedu-Fort

Perhaps nothing embodied the contributions of Prolaya Vema Reddi more than the great fortress of Kondaveedu. Though Addanki was the first capital, Prolaya Vema showed great strategic foresight in recognising the need for strong fortifications from which to resist the murderous attacks of the cavalry archer Turks (Tughluq or Bahmani). Kondaveedu was the stone citadel that would be celebrated by later generations in both story and song. Truly, it was the home of the Kondaveeti Rajas.

Thus, his legacy extends from Addanki to Kondaveedu to Kandukooru to Rajamahendravaram. Coastal Andhra and even parts of Telangana and Rayalaseema saw the force of arms from this Reddi King and his successors. Some accounts assert he successfully campaigned as far as Odisha.

The valuable assistance rendered by his maternal uncles Potaya, Nagaya, and Chittaya, along with that of his brothers, showed the value of family and community unity in forging state unity. [3, 77] Each building block was a force-multiplier to the other (as Shivaji would later show in setting the stage for national unity).

Thus, the legacy of Prolaya Vema Reddi is one that extends from the great Andhra Liberation War, to the establishment of the 100 year Reddi Kingdom of Coastal Andhra, to the Cultural Revival of Andhra. Truly a great personality and a great king.

 

References:

  1. P. Ragunadha Rao. History and Culture of Andhra Pradesh.Sterling: Delhi.18
  2. Prasad, Durga. History of the Andhras. Don Bosco Press: Guntur. 1988
  3. Malampalli, Somasekhara Sarma. History of the Reddi Kingdoms.Delhi:Facsimile Publ. 2015
  4. Chitnis, Krishnaji Nageshrao. Medieval Indian History. New Delhi: Atlantic Publ. p.215