Monday, November 22, 2010

Annamayya Pada Mandaakini

Annamayya Pada Mandaakini

Book Review

Commendable presentation

Saint-poet Annamacharya was a supreme master of ‘Pada Kavitha,’ his devotional fervour being his main spring of motive. Though there is no single term to define the profundity with which he exercised his power over metaphorical imagination draped in the sheer beauty of Telugu idiom, one can say that Annamacharya remains unsurpassed in the word craft by which his sankirtanas leave a great devout effect on us.

This book entitled “Annamayya Pada Mandaakini” offers transliteration, Telugu commentary and English explanation for 108 Sankirtanas composed by Annamacharya. The number 108 has great significance in Hindu philosophy. For instance, 108 Gopis {consorts} of Lord Krishna, 108 Holy places for Vaishnavas, 108 beads on Japamaala (rosary), 108 Upanishads, 108 Divyadeshas (sacred places) throughout India and Nepal, and 108 sacred water taps in Muktinath, Nepal.

The credits for this book are:
Concept and Compilation: Mahidhara Seeta Rama Sarma
Telugu Commentry: G.B. Shankara Rao
English Connotation: Raneekumar
Transliteration: Kiranmaie
Composer: Sattiraju Venumadhav

The sankirtanas chosen for this compilation are not too well known to common devotees and music lovers, hence are very novel and new to read and enjoy their meaning. It is clearly understood that one’s felicity of expression will be greater in one’s mother tongue – G.B.Shankara Rao’s explanation in Telugu is an example for that. The creative artistry and technique with which he gave the commentary and exegesis of the sankiratans are commendable. The command over language coupled with extensive knowledge on the subject made him give fine comments, observations and underlying esoteric meanings.

Ranee Kumar’s English explanation / connotation is easy and smooth, without too much of frills. She has stuck to the point diligently and offered clear-cut perspective. She being a student of music and dance, seems to have enjoyed the work and it reflects very clearly.
Apart from literary value, this book has musical value too as it comes along with an audio CD. Classical singer and composer Sathiraju Venumadhav had not only set the 108 sankirtanas to music in 108 different ragas, but he had also rendered them. A humongous task, but well handled. Kudos to him for this divine offering. The music rendition by Venu Madhav is dulcet and harmonious, though at some places sankirtanas sound monotonous probably because of the close similarities in the ragas chosen.

The exquisite beauty of Annamacharya’s sankiratans cannot be totally carried into any translation or explanation but it is important that the Sankirtanas by Saint-Poet Annamacharaya are translated into/ explained in English and are made accessible to pan -Indian readers as well as International readers. They represent our vast archival work of great importance.

Works such as these make our heritage more worthy and timeless. Annamayya’s sankirtanas deserve to be read and revered not only in one particular state or one country, but by the global community of readers spread all over the world. Translation is the only means by which something so important can happen.

Literary activities such as these are imperative for promoting global culture and universal brotherhood transcending national boundaries and ideological boundaries. One of the easy ways to promote national integration and to combat sub-national insularity is to get the representative literary works translated from one language to another at national and international levels.

This is a commendable presentation, an important compilation. The aesthetic appeal is well taken care of in the production. Mahidhara Seeta Rama Sarma must be congratulated for conceptualizing and coordinating this impressive venture.

Mahidhara Seeta Rama Sarma (Compiler)
Annamayya Pada Mandaakini
(Commentary for 108 Sankeerthanas )
Hyderabad : Sujana Ranjani, Sanathnagar.
Pages- 224. Price Rs.400/ (CD included). $ 25 US Dollars.

With 25%discount Rs.300/- from above address

(For copies contact - Sujana Ranjani, SRT 922, Sanathnagar,

Hyderabad -500018 Phone – 040 23705440)

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