Biographical Sketches of Dekkan Poets/Laksmenarraya Napa

LAKSHMENARRAYA NAPPA

Was a native of Magudi, and son of Ventatappa, he was. by cast a Neyogi bramin, and dwelt in the Karnata country for a considerable time; he flourished in the 18th century, and was contemporary with the Mysore prince, Nandarajah Wadyar, at whose court he had an official situation. This poet made himself master of the Karnata language, and afterwards studied Sanscrit in the school of Magodi. He was possessed of a fine genius, and as he had perused nearly all the best poems extant, he composed some very nice hymns and songs on different Gods. These effusions were generally admired, and coming to the notice of Nandarajah that prince sent for the poet, and after presenting him with robes, jewels, and other valuable presents, appointed him to the post of Sastri of the Court. At the command of this king, Lakshananarraya Nappa composed an epic poem, entitled Nanda Rajan Yaso, Bhushana, which being interpreted, means the ornamental fame of Nanda Raja, this was a very elaborate work, for every verse of it bears a double signification, one way alluding to the king's domestic concerns, and in another sense to that monarch's public transactions. This work consists of five cantos, the whole of which was completed in the course of one year, and dedicated to his Sovereign. For this performance Lakshmenarraya received from the king the grant of a tract of land in the district of Magodi, besides the "salary he regularly enjoyed. After this, he devoted his leisure hours to write dramas, on subjects selected from the Mahabarat. When he was thirty years of age, he proceeded to the annual festival of Nanjunda, and wrote a poem on it, which he called Nagunda Natak, in which a very fine description is given of the procession of the God in his car, and all the ceremonies of the feast, from the beginning to the end. It is said, that Lakshmenarraya finished this poem in five days. He wrote other poems, severally called "Uttara Gograhana Nataka," which is a relation of the seizure of the cattle of Verat Raya, by Duryodhan's army. "Saradasombhavam" respecting the birth of that prince. "Rhamba Nataka," the dance of celestial nymphs in the Court of Indra, this work consisted of one hundred verses. "Iravata Vejaya," the victories of the Elephant of Indra, and many other works. This poet acquired large sums of money by his compositions, part of which he applied in digging a large square tank, with flights of stone steps to it, and had cocoanut trees planted round it. Lakshananarraya had a fine library of books, principally in the Sanscrit dialect, and a few in the Canada language. He had many scholars, whom he instructed in the rules of prosody and the students of Kalyanadrug, Royadrug, Gutti, Ratnagiri, Madyagiri, and Nanganagod hearing the fame of his abilities, came under his tuition, and it is said, that in a short time they became proficient from the able lessons he gave them, and were soon enabled to compose books themselves. The poet in question wrote on various subjects till the last hour of his life, and his works are numerously dispersed in the southern and western quarter of the peninsula. Lakshmenaraya died in the sixty first year of his age, at Magodi, and bequeathed his library to Ms son Surappa.