Biographical Sketches of Dekkan Poets/Allasani Peddana


This poet was born about the year 1430 of Salivahana, and flourished during the reigns of Nrisimha Roya and Krishna Deva: a village called Daranala, which is situated in the district called Dupad, in the ceded provinces, claims the honor of being his birth place. Allasani Peddana in his infancy studied the Sanscrit and Telugu languages, in due time, obtained a critical knowledge of those tongues, and was able to compose verses either of them his abilities procured him the situation of Court poet to Nrisimha Roya, on which monarch he wrote several panegyrics. After the death of the above-named King, his son and successor Krishna Roya, patronized our poet, and appointed him as one of his "Asta Diggajas," or eight celebrated Court pundits, in allusion to the eight elephants which support the earth, according to the mythology of the Hindus.

Allasani Peddana was a votary of Rama,and his poems in the Telugu language are much esteemed for their harmony. He composed an elaborate work, entitled "Swarachisha Manu Charitra," in four books. The following are the contents of the poem in question:—A religious bramin, by name Pravarakhya, and an inhabitant of Mayapure fet an ardent desire to visit the sum mit of the Himalaya mountain, and as it was impossible to proceed there by human means, he was anxious by some supernatural process to effect his wish, he in consequence stopt every ascetic and traveller, that he saw journeying thither, that he might obtain from them the secret, by which they were able to surmount all difficulties, and attain the top of the mountain—he was in the habits of inviting these people to his house, and courteously to entertain them in hopes to obtain from them the secret. One day, a devotee came to his dwelling, and as his manner was more than usually complaisant, the bramin strenuously beseeched him to furnish him with the means of proceeding to the top of the Himalaya mountain, the devotee yielded to his request, and furnished him with the juice of a plant, which he rubbed on his feet, and desired him to fly away, repeating the name of the goddess. Pravarakhya at once flew away to the top of Himalaya mountain, without thinking to ask, how he should return again to his dwelling: when the juice on his feet was dried up, Pravarakhya lost the power of flying, and wandered about the delightful gardens on the top of the mountain, while he was thus strolling about, the sound of soft music saluted his ears, and proceeding towards it, he saw a beautiful female Gundharva, he went up to her and besought her to direct him in the right road. As the bramin was of a very comely person, and the female Gundharva had never before beheld a man, she fell in love with him, but was resolved to behave with reserve, so that he might not discover her real sentiments—she therefore reprimanded him for entering her hower without permission, and told him to find out the road as well as he could himself. Pravarakhya discouraged at the harsh tone, in which the female Gundharva spoke, made a precipitate retreat and making his way to a neighbouring grove, performed intense devotions to the god of fire, who, it is said, appeared to him under the semblance of a bramin and conveyed him to his own dwelling house, in the mean time the female Gundharva was inconsolable at his loss, and had no idea that her behaviour to the bramin would have ended in this manner, she expressed her grief by the most extravagant actions by dashing her head on the ground and rolling on the floor, and various other deeds that shewed the poignancy of her affliction. A male Gundharva disguised himself like the bramin and coming to the female Gundharva passed himself off for Pravarakhya and enjoyed her: she discovered the trick when too late, but was determined to be revenged. The female Gundharva became pregnant, and was in due time delivered, and the child waxed great and became Swarachisha-manu the sovereign of Jambudweep. In the introduction to this work the poet takes an opportunity of expatiating on the valour of Krishna Roya, and describing his victories over his enemies, especially the Mahomedans.

Allasani Peddana composed another work called Ramastava Rajeyam, consistipg principally of the praises of Rama. In the fifty-fifth year of his age, he wrote a philosophical work entitled Adwaita Sedhantam, this work was written in the Telugu language. When Allasani Peddana was sixty years old he experienced a severe misfortune in the loss of his Royal Patron Krishna Deva Maha Rajah—the poet wrote a very pathetic elegy on the occasion, and lamented the loss of the King in strains the more touching as they were really felt. The sorrow that Allasani Peddana expressed was unfeigned on his part as the munificence of his Royal Master, on many occasions created in our poet sentiments of the most fervent gratitude. Allasani did not long outlive his Royal Patron, for he died a few months after Krishna Deva, at his own residence at Doranala. The heir and successor of Krishna Deva, Rama Roynloo shewed great kindness to our poet, who enjoyed great reputation. His works are disseminated in every province where the Telugu language is spoken and understood, and few poets have existed who gained more popularity during his life time and was esteemed by posterity than Allasani Peddana.