Aṇṇamācārya

Saints and mystics who have propagated the cult of devotion to God have played a significant role in the Hindu society. Practically, there is no area or province or section of the Hindu world which does not exult in a saint of its own. The province of Āndhra (present Andhra Pradesh) is one such.

Aṇṇamācārya (A. D. 1424—1503) of Tāḷḷapākam village in the Cuddapah district of Andhra Pradesh is one such saint who was not only a great scholar in Sanskrit and Telugu languages but also an inspired composer of devotional poetry. Born to Nārāyaṇa Sūri and Lakṣmamma in an orthodox brāhmaṇa family, he settled down at Tirupati, a renowned place of pilgrimage, even in early youth. Having taken initiation in the Śrīvaiṣṇava tradition from one Viṣṇusvāmin he then studied Vedānta under the then pontiff of the Ahobila Maṭha, Śrī Śaṭhagopa Yatīndra. He also gained mastery over the Tamil Prabandhams. He had great devotion to Lord Veṅkaṭeśvara, the presiding deity of Tirupati. It is said that he used to sing everyday in the early morning before the deity. Even on the last day of his life he did so and then got merged in Him.

According to some popular lores, Purandara Dāsa (A. D. 1484-1564), the musician-saint of Karnataka, is said to have met him at Tirupati and got inspiration from him to compose songs in the vernacular as exercises in music lessons.

Aṇṇamācārya’s compositions had been inscribed on copper plates and preserved in the temple of Veṅkaṭeśvara for posterity.

Among his works in Sanskrit are Veṅkaṭācala-māhātmyam and Saṅkīrtana-lakṣaṇam. The Telugu works include Dvipada-Rāmāyaṇa, Śṛṅgāramañjarī and Veṅkaṭeśa-śataka, apart from about 12,000 kīrtanas or songs.