1 జూన్, 2012

Dr. Puttaparthi: A Synthesis of Ages J. HANUMATH SASTRI -





             Dr. Puttaparthi: A Synthesis of Ages


The common original from 
which all the arts draw is life; 
all that constitutes the inward 
and essential activity of the Soul (Butcher’s commentary).

Sriman Puttaparthi Narayanacharyulu, 
popularly known as 
was one of the most popular 
and beloved of writers of Andhra Pradesh. 

His capacity for experiencing 
and his power for communicating 
were indistinguishable.

 His power of eloquence and grandeur of recitation 
had won him high esteem 
both in the circles of the learned scholars 
and the younger generation. 

He was a phenomenon on the contemporary Telugu scene. 

Sri Putaparthi was born on 
October 3, 1914 at Penugonda   
 which was once the seat of the later, Vijayanagar kings.

 Sri Puttaparthi 
was a descendant of Tirumala Tatacharyulu, 
the family priest of 
Sri Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagar. 

His father, 
Sri Puttaparthi Srinivasacharyulu, 
was a great exponent of the epics 
and classics and 
was a scholar of eminence in Sanskrit and Telugu. 

His mother, Smt. Kondamma, 
was a staunch devotee of Srinivasa 
and was a scholar in Sanskrit and Telugu. 

The boy Puttaparthi
 inherited the traditional scholarship 
of his father and the love for music from his step-mother.

Even as a mere lad of fourteen, 
poetry flowed from his lips 
in praise of his home-town Penugonda. 
An amusing literary irony 
was that the very collection of his boyhood poems 
known as “Penugonda Lakshmi” 
happened to be later prescribed as a text-book 
when Sri Narayanacharya 
himself took his Vidwan examination in Telugu.

While he was in the High School, 
he was attracted by Mrs. V. J. Pitt,
 wife of the Sub-Collector at Penugonda. 

His association with Mrs. Pitt 
who was a scholar in English inspired him 
to study the classics of English 
and he got by heart the works of Shakespeare and Milton. 

Milton, among the English poets, 
was much admired and appreciated by the Acharya. 
He had an amazing power of memory 
and could fluently recite the Sanskrit Kavyas verbatim. 

While studying for the Vidwan examination 
at the Oriental College, Tirupati, 
he developed his faculties in music, dance and drama. 
His unquenchable thirst for learning many languages 
made him a polyglot of fourteen languages. 

He studied Greek and Latin 
under the guidance of Sri Aurobindo at Pondicherry,
 whose Ashram gave shelter to the young poet. 

He roamed about the length and breadth of India 
in search of Truth. 
He learnt Russian and a little French. 
In spite of all these faculties, 
he still felt like Milton
 “All is, if I have grace to use it so, 
As even in my great Task-Master’s eye.”

During his ’Thirties, 
he came under the influence of Samarth Ramadas
 and other great saints of Maharashtra 
and started an Ashram known as Aravindashram 
on the banks of river Kundu
 at Chiyyapadu near Proddatur 
and led the life of an ascetic for some years. 

During that period
 he composed 7000 songs in praise of Lord Vittal 
and set 400 of them to music. 

He undertook a tour of Northern India 
and for sometime he remained at Rishikesh, 
the abode of Swami Sivananda. 
The Swamiji was much impressed with the scholarship 
and talents of 
Sri Puttaparthi and blessed him 
with the title “Saraswati­putra”.

He used to collect large audience 
for his recitation of Tulsi’s 
“Ramacharitamanas” and “Valmiki Ramayana.”

Sri Puttaparthi 
authored more than a hundred original works 
and translations for study in the degree 
and post-graduate classes of Madras, Madurai, 
Sri Venkateswara, Andhra and Mysore Universities. 

He was a great critic and a dispassionate thinker. 
His depth of knowledge 
was perceptible at every point. 
In his introduction to Puttaparthi’s 
“Prabandha Nayikalu” 
Sri Rallapalli Anantakrishna Sarma says, 
“His voice is firm with independent thinking, 
forcible ideas, unsubmissive opinions. 
It has all the attributes of an experienced.” 

He responds to the situation 
with all his faculties alive and active. 
He hardly approved anything inappropriate. 
Though a lover of “Sringaara” he hit back 
when it went beyond the limits of decency and modesty.

Puttaparthi made a deep study of the works of 
Bhattumurti and Srinatha. 
His lectures on 
reveal his great understanding 
of the poets mind and heart. 

He had always been a great believer in God. 
His devotion to great saints and poets like Tulsidas, 
the Tamil Alwars, Namdev, Kabir and Tyagaraja 
made him forget himself 
while speaking on “Bhagavatam” 
and the great poet Potana. 

He had brought out the greatness of 
Tenali Ramakrishna Kavi in his
 “Rama­krishnuni Rachana Vaikhari”. 
He was an authority on the works of the great poets 
of the court of Srikrishnadevaraya. 
His “Vijayanagara Saanghika Charitra” 
clearly shows his abilities of research and 
gift of narration in a graceful and charming manner. 

Before we try to understand a poem 
by knowing the meaning of every word, 
the music of the ideas must get into our minds, 
when the poem is read aloud. 

That is what happens in the case of his 
You read it aloud to any man, 
who knows little Telugu, 
but still he will listen to it, 
and not only that 
he will unconsciously experience the idea.

Puttaparthi’s magnum opus “Sivataandavam” is a song, 
the like of which was never sung 
in the tongue of musical Telugu. 
It is a song that presents 
before every mind the great cosmic dance of Lord Siva 
and in this Kriti the poet and the musician, 
the dancer and the devotee in the person of 
Sri Narayanacharya, 
mingles exquisitely to produce a masterpiece. 

Of “Sivataandavam”
 said Sivasankaraswami, 
the founder of Sahiti Samiti 
and a renowned poet of Andhra, 
“Here is the brightest jewel 
in the necklace of Andhra Saraswati. 
The imagery is extraordinary, 
the meaning deep as ocean and the idea noblest. 
In the modern Telugu literature this is a matchless lyric.” 

Dr. Viswanatha Satyanarayana 
praised this as the lyric par excellence
 in modern Telugu literature. 

Whenever Sri Puttaparthi addressed a gathering, 
the singing of his “Sivataandavam” had become a byword, 
and to see and to listen to him 
was an experience worth cherishing indeed.

He was a rebel 
among the orthodox-thinking poets 
and sophisticated among the modern poets. 

The multitudinous impressions
 gathered from his vivid, vital and discerning study 
of the works of poets of different languages 
made him a unique poet. 

“Literature is not merely a use of language, 
although it is inseparable from language. 
It, uses language for the expression of t
houghts and feelings 
which are rooted in a particular society 
at a particular stage in its history.” 

He grasped the timeless 
through a temporal medium, 
attained universal knowledge 
through concrete moments of experience. 

The impact of contemporary society 
was got lost upon him. 
His famous work
is based on the modern tale of the common man’s revolt 
against the social evils. 

 is a collection of verses 
by the poet and his wife, Smt. Kanakamma, 
who was well-versed in Telugu and Sanskrit.

Sri Puttaparthi’s popular work 
“Janapriya Ramayanam” 
is hailed by the people of Andhra. 

Now and then the extracts from that great work 
are broadcast by the All India Radio. 
His voluminous 
“Pandari Bhagavatam”
 contains nearly 24,000 couplets 
and this was serialised by the authorities of 
Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam, 
in their monthly journal. 

His composi­tions in Sanskrit, especially 
“Sivakarnamritam” and 
“Tyagaraya Suprabhatam”
 are appreciated for their charm of rhyme and rhythm. 

He was a prolific prose writer 
and in several respects an original critic.

Sri Narayanacharya 
had no formal English education. 
A remarkable collection of his English verses titled 
“Leaves in the Wind” 
was hailed by the celebrated 
Harindranath Chattopadhyaya. 

Sri Harin stated, 

“The volume of verses reveals the soul of the author 
as being one which responds to beauty. 
This collection gives us an insight into his soul. 
It is a book of sensitive poetry.”

When I see the limpid smile of a baby in a cradle
I would be reminded of God.
When I see the cold corpse on a bier
I would be reminded of God.
But these men alive
They force me to rebel
Against the very existence of God.
(From “The Leaves from the Wind”)

His play
 “The Hero” 
is an example for his grand style. 
Sri Puttaparthi started his career 
as a teacher of Sanskrit at Proddatur. 

For sometime he worked as a Telugu Pandit
 in the Municipal High School at Proddatur. 
He stepped into Govern­ment College at Anantapur 
as a Pandit and quit the job after an year, 
to take up the post of a Pandit 
in Sri Ramakrishna High School at Cuddapah.

The University of Kerala invited him 
to take up the work of the compilation 
of the Malayalam Lexicon. 
While working at Trivandrum, 
he translated 
Viswanatha Satyanarayana’s Telugu novel 
and a few of the late 
Dr. T. Gopichand’s stories into Malayalam
 and brought out a Telugu set of Malayalam plays. 

He worked for two years in the linguistic library a
ttached to the Central Sahitya Akademi. 
Without any thought for the morrow 
he resigned his job at Delhi 
as he did not like the red-tapism and the officialdom. 

He came back from Delhi 
to take his job as a school teacher at Cuddapah again.

He translated the poems of Kabir into Telugu 
at the request of the Sahitya Akademi. 
His translations of Dr. Kosambi’s 
“Bhagavan Buddha” 
from Marathi and “Saraswati Samahara” of Beechi 
from Kannada 
exhibit his command over languages. 

As a linguist 
he mentioned of the fundamental unity 
of all Indian languages and the vital integrating force 
of Indian culture. 

He represented 
the Telugus in many a seminar 
organised by the All India Writers’ Conference. 
He received numerous titles and honours. 

During 1968, 
 he received the national award as eminent teacher 
by the President of the Government of India. 

He was honoured with “Padmasri’ in 1972. 
Sri Venkateswara University 
conferred on him D. Litt. in 1975. 
He won the Central Sahitya Akademi Award 
for his “Janapriya Ramayana.” 
Sri Krishnadevaraya University, 
honoured him with Doctor of Literature
 (Honoriscausa) in 1987.

 He was the recipient 
of the Bharatiya Bhasha Samsthan Award of Calcutta 
in 1988. 
He was Professor Emeritus of All India Radio. 
He received in 1989 
the Gupta Foundation Award of Eluru. 
The T. T. Devasthanams honoured him 
during the Annamacharya Jayanti Celebrations
 with a gold medal in 1990.

Dr. Puttaparthi 

passed away on September 1, 1990 at Cuddapah.

Dr. Puttaparthi 
was essentially a man of independent views 
and outspoken in his expression. 
This brought him some enemies in the literary field. 
He was sincere and true to his convictions.
 He travelled all over India 
and has innumerable friends in many States 
of our country.

Dr. Puttaparthi 
was a golden synthesis between the epic age 
and the modern age.

Anecdotes from the Life of Puttaparthi- Dr. Y. HARE RAMA MURTHY-సేకరణ పుట్టపర్తి అనూరాధ


         Anecdotes from the Life of Puttaparthi

                      Dr. Y. HARE RAMA MURTHY

Dr.Puttaparthi Narayanacharyulu was a 
veteran literary giant for all times.
 A poet par excellence  
who composed poetry in half-a-dozen languages, 
with intimacy over more than half-a-dozen languages –      
some of them, 
of course, being obsolete. 

To his disciples and followers 
he had been a mobile lexicon 
and an encyclopaedia. 
Sundry thoughts, imagery, stylistics culled 
from various classics of South Indian languages 
were quoted by him often 
from the storehouse of his memory to people around him
 to enthuse them to a study of the translations at least. 

A knowledge of several languages, 
the subtleties and beauties of each, 
made him a great lover of languages 
with a wider outlook, 
a broader prospect and a catholicity of tastes 
and interests. 

To Puttaparthi, 
languages are like the 
offsprings of a single Motter, India.    
Hence language fanaticism had 
never flashed in his mind or heart. 

He had been an evergrowing student 
in pursuit of perennial knowledge. 
There has been throbbing of joy 
for him in learning things 
new from various languages, Indian and foreign.

I had an occasion to speak to 
Sriman Puttaparthi on the memorable events of his life, 
his indomitable will and courage, 
tireless perseverance and diligence 
which led him to heights of 
eminence unattainable to the contemporary poets. 

He was tuned to a mood 
to narrate the indelible,
 remarkable impressions and incidents 
and the following were some, of them to reckon with. 

Dr. Puttaparthi remembered with 
maudlin tears his better-­half Smt. Kanakamma  
(by herself a poetess in four languages) 
who had rendered yeoman service 
as a scribe to his extempore poetic utterances. 
 After the demise of his wife, 
he was at a loss for a scribe.

Dr. Puttaparthi opined that 
his liking for scholarship 
was greater than that for versification. 
He disliked exhibitionism, 
he was averse to “poetastry”. 
At times he was constrained to show his mettle as a poet.

Before reaching his teenage 
Dr. Puttaparthi as a boy-prodigy 
had produced “Penugonda Lakshmi”, 
a bonanza poem. 
When he was sixteen 
he attended an interview seeking admission to 
S. V. Oriental College, Tirupati. 
Kapisthalam Krishnamacharyulu, 
Principal of the College, 
refused Puttaparthi admission,
 for the latter had no certificate testifying his schooling. 

Disappointed Puttaparthi had uttered 
five or six Slokas offhand in chaste Sanskrit 
and walked out of the Principal’s chamber. 

Highly impressed by the poetic flow 
and accurate diction, the Principal called him back 
and listened to the Slokas again with rapt attention 
and was pleased to have such a prestigeous scholar 
in his institution. 

The Principal gave option for him 
to join in any course he desired. 
It was an irony that 
he had to study one of his own poems of his own works, 
 “Penugonda Lakshmi”
for his Vidwan Examination. 
It was, of course, a rare instance.

While in Tirupati prosecuting 
his studies in Vyakarana, 
Dr. Puttaparthi had a unique opportunity of meeting 
Sri Sri Sri Kamakoti Mutt Acharya 
during his visit. 

Dr Puttaparthi had performed 
Ashtavadhana in Sanskrit 
and was blessed by the  Swamiji. 
After 30 years 
again Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Swamiji had an occasion 
to bless Dr. Puttaparthi in Proddatur.

In his nineteenth year 
Puttaparthi wrote a critical essay on 
Sri Viwanatha Satyanarayana’s felicity of phrase. 
His statement that 
Sri Viswanatha could use Sanskrit phraseology 
with greater facility and not so much so in Telugu, 
raised a great controversy 
in Dharmavaram scholarly circles. 

On four days, 
mornings were engaged in arguments 
contradicting Putaparthi’s point of view 
and evenings were spent in 
establishing his standpoint. 

To justify his statements 
Puttaparthi had cited certain 
aspects from Prakrit languages. 
Viswanatha pleaded his lack of knowledge 
of Prakrit languages. 

In fine, Mrs. Kanakamma 
concluded the discussion 
declaring both of them equally great.

During his twentieth year 
Dr. Puttaparthi attended a literary meet 
which was conducted on a very grand scale 
with programmes spreading for five days in Alampur
on the banks of the Krishna near Kurnool. 

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan 
presided over the five days meet. 
Dr. Puttaparthi wanted to present a special dissertation 
on “The Influence of Kannada poet Pampa on Nannaya”. 

His poetic rivals scented this 
and tried by all means 
to deprive him of a chance to read his article 
as he would eclipse all other earlier scholars. 

This they could succeed partially 
and Puttaparthi was allowed at about 1-30 P. M. 
to read one or two pages only before lunch-break. 
He started reading the article; 
after completing two pages, 
he abruptly stopped reading 
as per the instructions given earlier 
by the President of the conference. 

The information in the few pages was so fascinating 
that it created a furore in the audience. 
Uproarious insistence on further continuation 
and completion, made the President permit him 
to resume his reading 
which lasted till 4-30 P. M. on that day. 

The audience was thrilled 
and spell-bound by the excellence of the i
nformation and the literary treatment.

Once an All India Oriental Conference 
was conducted in Cuddapah for three days. 
Dr. Puttaparthi could not attend the conference 
on the first two days. 
And the jealous lot took this opportunity 
to traduce his name alleging that 
he knew nothing of Kannada, 
nor of Malayalam, nor even of Telugu 
and propagated that 
Dr. Puttaparthi had disappeared at the crucial time 
to avoid humiliation. 
Just then Dr. Puttaparthi 
returned home from Kadiri town 
after a felicitation programme there. 

No sooner did he reach his house 
than he was surrounded by his zealots. 
They, in one voice entreated him 
to put an end to the opponents’ gossip
 by a fitting rejoinder from the platform. 

For the third day conference 
Dr. Puttaparthi prepared that night 
a special article entitled “Egoism in literature”. 
His lecture illustrated 
the part played by the obdurate pride of poets 
in different literatures. 

Later in concluding his lecture 
he threw an open challenge trenchantly that 
anyone could test his knowledge 
in any of the 14 languages he had mastered. 

And no one ventured to come forward. 
After the meeting 
those that criticized him vehemently went to him 
declaring that all their comments were for fun 
and merely to spur his admirers to irritation. 

They tried to please and appease him 
with the flattering words. 
“Swami, can anyone dare say 
you don’t know other languages?” 
That was the public trend, 
commented Dr. Puttaparthi.

As Dr. Puttaparthi 
had made an indepth study of the Vedas and Sastras, 
I queried 
whether anyone tested him in those philosophic classics.    
        With a beaming smile
Dr. Puttaparthi narrated that 
Sringeri Mutt Swamiji had once visited Cuddapah. 

No one introduced Puttaparthi to the Swamiji 
as the Brahmins around 
were austere and felt 
Puttaparthi unorthodox in style and appearance 
without a tuft and proper dressing. 
But the Correspondent of his school 
who was nearby introduced him to the Swamiji. 

On the spur of the moment 
Dr. Puttaparthi uttered 15 to 20 Slokas extempore. 
Then the Swamiji invited him
 to the place of his stay 
and had discussion on the first Brahmasutra 
“Athaato Brahma Jijnasa”. 

Dr. Puttaparthi harangued for two hours in Sanskrit. 
And the Swamiji 
who was highly impressed honoured him 
with a Zari-bordered Shawl. 

Dr. Puttaparthi expressed his disillusionment 
on a few occasions for his not experiencing t
he beatitude in spite of his everlasting chanting 
and Sadhana on Lord Krishna.

I was eager to know 
how the title “Saraswatiputra” 
was conferred on Dr. Puttaparthi. 

Dr. Puttaparti said that 
once he was confronted with several problems, 
domestic and spiritual. 
He ran away to Benares. 
There he participated in a meeting 
presided over by Govinda Malavya, 
son of Pandit Madanmohan Malavya. 

They received him very well 
for his scholarship in Sanskrit. 
Then he marched to Haridwar and Rishikesh. 
On the way between 
the banks of the Ganges and the foot of the Himalayas 
there was a long path 
whereon he found Swami Sivananda’s Ashram. 

The Swamiji was just then awake from his trance. 
He invited Dr. Puttaparthi into the hermitage. 
For a few months Puttaparthi stayed there. 

Finally the Swamiji tested him in all Sastras 
and endearingly called him 
“Saraswati­putra” with all his blessings. 
The Swamiji also gave a few rare books 
to the Saraswatiputra.

On several occasions
 the Saraswatiputra had to mingle with 
educationists and so on. 

The authorities of Travancore Lexicon Office 
were seeking for a polyglot, 
well­-versed in the Dravidian languages 
to carryon research work. 

All the South Indian universities 
recommended unanimously the Saraswatiputra 
as the fittest scholar for that onerous duty. 
He served that institution for three years.

Later Sri Krishna Kripalani, 
a multilingual scholar, 
the husband of 
Rabindranath Tagore’s grand-daughter,
 invited the Saraswatiputra to be Chief Librarian
 for a 19-language library. 

There the famous Malayalam poet 
Pandit Suranand Kunhan Pillai, 
an authority on ancient Malayalam literature 
and on Sanskrit, 
met the Saraswati­putra and spoke intimately 
stating that 
the Malayalees had recognized his greatness and worth. 
Sri Pillai had quoted that 
a diamond does not go seeking the buyer; 
only buyers 
who know the value go in search of precious diamonds – 
 that way ..
Dr. Puttaparthi was sought by 
Travancore Lexicon Office. 
And this comment moved Dr. Puttaparthi to joyous tears.

On another occasion 
Dr. Puttaparthi was introduced 
to Sri C. D. Deshmukh by the famous Hindi poet, 
During the conversation
 Sri C. D. Deshmukh recited a Hindi poem 
and asked him to translate it into Sanskrit 
which the Saraswatiputra had done instantly. 
And C. D. Deshmukh was highly elated 
by the translation piece.

Once the Saraswatiputra 
stayed in the Aurobindo Ashram 
and had learnt French, Greek and Latin languages. 

He also translated Aurobindo’s writings into Telugu. 
He had written in every literary form 
and completed more than one hundred books. 
Of them 
Pandaribhagavatam and 
Janapriya Ramayanam stand apart as masterpieces.

On several occasions
 Dr. Puttaparthi was suggesting to the Pandits, 
scholars and authorities that 
a very great deal of service was 
still to be done to Telugu 
and other Dravidian languages. 

He was of the firm conviction that 
without some study 
and familiarity of the Dravidian languages 
total mastery of Telugu would be incomplete as the people, 

Languages and cultures of these neighbouring States 
were interlinked in the Inner rhythm of their lives. 
He emphasized the need of prolific translation of all classics
 of the other Dravidian languages.
While commenting on the neglect of Telugu by the
         authorities, he grieved over the prevailing plight 
as the Andhras had not even translated 
the renowned Caldwell’s History of Philology  
(a book on South Indian languages). 

The Saraswatiputra always felt that 
the Government should regard poets 
on a par with the scientists. 
And Dr. Putta­parthi Narayanacharyulu remains 
as one of the brightest stars on the Andhra literary horizon.