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Sri Krsnadevaraya's Amuktamalyada (The Damsel Who Wore The Garlands Herself First And Then Offered Them To The Lord)

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Item Code: NAR440
Author: C. V. Ramachandra Rao
Publisher: Sahithya Akademi, Chennai
Language: English
Edition: 2018
ISBN: 9788126031450
Pages: 420
Other Details 9.00 X 5.50 inch
Weight 620 gm
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Book Description
About the Book

Sri Krishnadevaraya, author of the Indian poetic classic (Mafia Prabamdha) in Telugu, the Amuktamalyada, was emperor of Vijayanagar from A.D. 1509-1529.

As author of the Amuktamalyada, Sri Krishnadevaraya, establishes himself as a royal poet, an emperor-poet, a poets' poet and a people's poet. He is a scholar-poet of rare merit in Sanskrit and in Telugu.

Kirshnadevaraya's five poetic works in Sanskrit and of delicious flavour (madhura kavya) are mentioned in a verse in the Amuktamalyada (1.13) though, unfortunately, none of them is traced so far. Raya's elegant Sanskrit play, the Jambavatiparinayam was published by the A.P. Sahitya Akademi, Hyderabad.

In the Amuktamalyada, Sri Krishnadevaraya presents a poetic narration of the story of Goda Devi and of her foster-father Vishnuchitta. Among the twelve Alwars ('Pannidddaru Alvar') of Tamil Srivaishnava hagiology, Goda Devi and Vishnuchitta are the most well-known. Goda is periphrastically called `Amuktamalyda', the damsel who wore the garlands herself first and then offered them to the LORD. As such, she also becomes the eponymous heroine of Sri Krishnadevaraya's poetic work, the Amuktamalyada. Vishnuchitta is known as the 'Periyalvar (The great Alwar), because, in a beatific vision that he had of the Lord, he blessed the Lord, conceiving Him to be a child, instead of his getting blessed by Him.

Besides the main theme of the story of Goda and Vishnuchitta, the Raya also presents poetic narrations of a few 'associate' stories and episodes, such as the story of the `rnaladasarr (a pariah devotee) and the 'Khandikya - Kesiddhvaja Samvada', a discussion on soteriology (moksha sastra).

The Amuktamalyada is an Indian poetic classic in the sense that its literary rhetoric, poetic graces and cultural ethos are of pan-Indian literary characteristic and intrinsicality.

Sri Krishnadevaraya makes the Amuktamalyada a mosaic and kaleidoscope of dramatic discourse, in varied verse forms and in a language linguistically rich and sumptuous in its native Telugu idiom and significant in its Sanskrit (tatsama) phrasing. The poem is couched in diction distinguished for its uniquely defying inimitableness.

If Indian poetic literature is mountain Himalaya with literary peaks of varied heights, the Amuktamalyada stands as one among its very lofty peaks. Any reader, familiar with poetic classics in his own mother tongue, will easily appreciate the exquisite, gorgeous literary beauty that Amuktamalyada is, -even in its English garb.

C.V. Ramachandra Rao, with sincerity as his main scholarly virtue, has undertaken the daunting and awesome task of translating the Amuktamalyada as a tour de force. It is now for the connoisseur reader to appreciate and judge the merits of the translation.

About the Author

C.V. Ramachandra Rao holds the degrees of M.A. Ph.D., (History) and Ma. In English and Indology.

For about four decades, he taught students, post-graduate, and under - graduate, English literature for a few years and History for three decades and more. His particular interests are belles --Ilettres, literary criticism (English & Telugu) Indian Culture, Andhra history and culture and Vijayanagar history and culture.

About a hundred contributions of his as seminar papers, research articles, essays, in magazines of repute such as the Modem Review, The Indian Review, The Bhavan's Journal etc have been published.

A few of Prof. Roa's significant published works include.

English: 1. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy- An Inspirer of Renaissance and Other Cultural Causerie (1980); 2. Siva-Mahesa Murti of Bhairavakona-An Iconographical Study (1988); 3. The Suryavamsa Gajapatis of Kalingotkala (1988); 4. The Kavali Brothers, Col. Colin Mackenzie and the Reconstruction of South Indian History and Curtural Resurgence in South India (2003)

Telugu: 5. (Ed.) Ketana: Vijnanesvaramu- The earliest Smriti work in Telugu (1977); 6. Mana Nadulu, Krishna Godavarulu (Our Rivers, Krishna & Godavari) (1982); 7. Brihadbharatamu (Greater India) (1984); 8. Asoka Dharmasasanalu (Asokan Edicts) - Telugu Translation (1989); Etcetera...

Prof. Rao was a Member on the Executive Board of A.P. Sahitya Akademi, Hyderabad (1978-1983). Rayavacakamu (1982), Krishnaraya Vijayamu (1981) and Pratapacarithra (1984) which are source works for Vijayanagar history and Kakatiya history were edited by him for A.P. Sahitya Akademi and published.

He was resource person for Telugu literature for the Sahitya Akademi (New Delhi)'s History of Indian Literature, Vol.VII.

In 1990, Prof. Rao was awarded the A.P Government Best Teacher Award for University and College Teachers. He had been a Fellow of prestigious Academic Institutions such as Indian Council of Historical Research. New Delhi, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Simla etc., He is a life member of the A.P. History Congress, had been on its Executive and presided over the Medieval History section of its Annual session in 1990.

On a rotary Cultural Exchange programme, in 1994 April-May, Prof. Rao visited the U.S.A and delivered lectures on aspects of Indian Culture.


It may be a 'just' coincidence, but a very happy and welcome coincidence, and marks a celebration, that the English translation of a great Indian poetic classic in Telugu, the :4muktamalyada of Emperor-poet Sri Krsnadevaraya (1509-1529), of Vijayanagar, is being released by the National Academy of Letters, the Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, as its imprint, in the 500th coronation celebration year [August 2009 - September 2010] of that great emperor.

It is a knowledgeable scholarly verdict that among the Indian vernaculars (bhasas), Telugu is the most mellifluous and melodious, a verdict which the poet of the iTmuktamalyada made Lord Visnu (Andhra Visnu of §rikakulam) pronounce it in verse No. I. 15 (desg bhasalamdu Telugu lessa). It is noticing this lyrical musicality of Telugu language that the Western cognoscenti referred to it as the 'Italian of the East'.

The Amuktamalyada is an Indian poetic classic in the sense that its literary rhetoric, poetic graces and cultural ethos are of pan-Indian literary characteristic and intrinsicality. If Indian (poetic) literature is mountain Himalaya with literary peaks of varied heights, the ,Tmuktainglyada stands as one among its very lofty peaks. Any reader, interested in the study of poetic classics in his own mother tongue, will easily appreciate the exquisite, gorgeous literary beauty that iTmuktamalyada is, even in its English garb.

In the 'Exordium' and in the 'Introduction' for this translation, to the best of my abilities, I have presented the personality and the reputation of Sri Krsnadevaraya, both from a historical perspective and a liteary perspective. I have explained at some length, the literary graces and architectonic features of the poem. I have also dwelt on the hagiological perspectives in respect of Visnucitta, the 'Periyalvar', the protagonist of the poem and of GOdd Devi, the periphrastic 'Amuktamdlyada', the eponymous heroine of the poem. A long literary tradition in Andhrade§a mentions the iTmuktamalyada as one of the five great Telugu poetic classics, a study of which is a must for one who aspires to become a scholar in Telugu. The iTmuktamalyada is often referred to as 'Vidvadausadham', a healthy potion for scholars.

To have a grasp of the translation and to let the translation have a hold on them, I request the readers to go through the 'Exordium' and the 'Introduction' before they peruse the translation.

This translation is 'Blessed' in that it is blessed with a 'Foreword' by Prema Nandakumar, a scholar of great repute, a polyglot and a polymath. Much more she is steeped in the devotion of §rivaisnavism and the Visistadvaita philosphy, of which the iTmuktamalyada is spoken of, by scholars, as a poetic exemplification. Prema Nandakumar's intimacy with the ilmuktainglyada in Telugu original makes her the best critic and appreciator of this translation. My cordial thanks to Prema Nandakumar for her perceptive 'Foreword'.

I offer my special thanks to Professor S. Subramanian 'Vishnupriya' of the Hindi Hridaya, Chennai-600 041. He is a Multifaceted scholar, a reputed author and connoisseur. It is through his kind, good offices that the DTP work of this translation is well arranged and accomplished. I also thank Sri Bhawani Gangadhar, who has done the DTP work well.

I am greatly obliged to all the authors and their works listed under the 'Bibliography' (at the end of the 'Introduction') for all the information and enlightenment comprehended under the heads, 'Exordium', 'Introduction', 'Annotation', 'Comment', 'Notes' etc.


I. Sri Krsnadevaraya - Author of the Amuktamalyada: A Versatile Scholar-poet in Sanskrt and Telugu - His Qualities of Head and the Heart : Comparison with the Gupta Emperor, Samudragupta.

Sri Krsnadevaraya, author of the Amuktamalyada is a royal-poet, an emperor-poet. He is a scholar-poet of rare merit in Sanskrt and Telugu.

Sri Krsnadevaraya ruled the Vijaynagar empire, which embraced the entire South India, south of the river Krsna, from A. D. 1509 to 1529. As a 'vijigisuT or conqueror, as a dauntless victor of many wars, as an erudite and versatile scholar, as a poet, playwright and author in Sanskrt and Telugu in his own right, as one of the greatest patrons of poets and scholars, as a patron and promoter of fine arts, and as a preserver, promoter and defender of the Sanatana Dharma (Philosophic Perennis) and the Hindu faith, Sri Krsnadevaraya invites comparison with the great and mighty Gupta emperor Samudragupta (C. A. D. 340 - 380).

Samudragupta's military prowess and his many qualities of head and heart are well-expressed in the Allahabad Pillar Pra§asti Inscription, and also in the legends that are found on the several types of gold coins issued by him. The legend on one of the gold coins of Samudragupta, viz., 'the unconquered conqueror of unconquered kings is victorious', (English translation) applies equally to Emperor Sri Krsnadevaraya. Krsnadeva, in his many a war with many a mighty enemy, such as the Muslim Sultans of the Dekkan, never knew a defeat. Harisena, the author of the Allahabad Pragati, specifically states that Samudragupta 'established his title of king of poets by various poetical compositions that were fit to be the means of subsistence of learned people.' There are also other references to his poetic works and poetic style. Harisena lays special emphasis upon Samudragupta's learning and wisdom, sharp and polished intellect, and above all his poetical and musical talents. The Allahabad record also describes Samudragupta as 'a god dwelling on earth, being a mortal only in celebrating the rites of the observances of mankind'. The Allahabad Pra§asti also refers to the handsome figure of Samudragupta (sobhasamudayopacita lantatara varsmanah), which accords with his figure on the coins. All these attributes by which Harisena refers to emperor Samudragupta apply in an equal measure to emperor Sri Krsnadevaraya.

i) Poetic Talent and Patronage of Poets.

There are any numbers of epithets by which the court-poets of Sri Krsnadevaraya refer to his learning, wisdom, to his patronage of poets and scholars and of fine arts, to his musical talents and last but not the least to his superb skill in the composition of poetry.

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