He was a great devotee of lord Shiva , also known as Kalahasteeshwara. He referred to his birthplace as part of Pottapi Nadu , named after an earlier Chola kingdom based from Pottapi in Cuddapah in his works. His works are to the praise of the God Shiva. He was known as Pedda Dhurjati Elder in Telugu as there were four other people from the same family line who went by the name of Dhurjati during the same period and after him.

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Although the classical poets of the Andhra region of India produced a body of work that can be ranked with the best Indian and world poetry, For the Lord of the Animals is the first presentation of that literature in an English that combines informed scholarship and literary skill. Instead he questions and probes as he reflects on the experience of his life. A short introduction provides the background required to draw the English-speaking reader directly to the poems.

Hank Heifetz has a Ph. He is a poet and novelist who is now writing and teaching in New York City. The walls themselves are massive, as befits the palace of the god and perhaps, at one time, the needs of defence for the temple.

The site, with its moderate elevation, is a natural place for a fortress overseeing the surrounding plains. The three animals are Sri, the spider; kala, the snake; and hasti, the elephant.

The spider hurls himself on the fire and tries to swallow it. With the spider at the point of death, Shiva intervenes and bestows upon him that perma- nent presence in the heaven of Shiva which 1s Shaivite liberation.

A snake in Indian legend and literature is always, unless otherwise indicated, a cobra and, according to myth, the cobra grows jewels in his hood. With these jewels, the snake decorates the lingam. The snake does this repeatedly and, once he has left, an elephant repeatedly sweeps aside the jewels with his trunk and bathes the lingam with water, after which he offers flowers, leaves, and lotus stems.

Each, ignorant of who the other may be, feels his own process of worship is being assaulted, and on the night of Mahasivaratri the snake lies in wait, while the elephant has also resolved to deal with his enemy. The battle that follows is characterized by the extreme violence that forms part of many Shaivite - devotional legends. Shiva then appears and takes them both into his heaven. A subsidiary legend, of almost equal importance and with the same violent tone, is that of the tribal hunter Tinnadu, who, after his act of devotion, becomes known as Kannappa, "the Man of the Eyes.

A brahmin who is also worshiping the lingam objects to the actions of the tribesman. The tribal tears out one of his own eyes to replace it and then repeats the act when the other eye of the lingam begins to water. Shiva then takes the tribesman to himself. At some time in the sixteenth century, perhaps while the kings of Vijayanagar, the last great Hindu empire, were still flourishing in Andhra, the poet Dhiurjati came to this temple.

Outside of what is evident in the works themselves, almost no definite information exists about his life. Legend counts him as one of the Eight Elephants of the Directions, the astadiggajas, a name from classical mythology applied to eight great poets who are supposed to have served at the court of Krishnadevaraya , greatest of the Vijayanagar kings and a famous patron of lit- erature. We do know, from his work and his own words in the colophon to his long, ornate poem, that he was a strongly sectartan Shaivite, a bhaviparanmukha, "opposed to those who are reborn" because they follow gods other than Shiva , and that his mother was named Singama Rama Narayana, his father Jakkaya Narayana, names which suggest though they do not necessarily prove a Vaishnavite lineage, raising the possibility that Dhirjati may at some time have become a convert to Shaivism.

He does not give his caste or any further family background, a characteristic of militant Shaivism, whose adherents rejected the formal, rigorously defining affiliations of Hindu kinship and considered themselves born directly into the lineage of Shiva. Satakamu literally means an anthology ofa hundred poems, but the number included in such a collection is usually somewhat greater, the auspicious number of being especially favored.

The work has never been critically edited, and editions vary as to the exact number of poems and sometimes in specific textual details. Taking various editions into account, we have omitted a small number of poems because they "Our rendering of the Kalahastifvara Satakamu is the first translation of this work or of any classical Telugu text into expressive English. Attempts have been made in Andhra to pro- duce English versions.

Though these translators have shown considerable energy and a genuine love for Telugu literature, their translations lack literary value. Telugu scholars have tried to construct an imaginary biography for Dhurjati based on the poems of this collection. Setting aside so speculative an effort, what we can say is that the anthology does seem to embody an emotional biography. In form, all the poems are statements, exhortations, or appeals to the god of the shrine at Kalahasti.

As such, they come under the category of bhakti, or devotional poetry. At its best, the bhakti poem is the closest thing in classical Indian literary tradition to the Western personal lyric, in contrast to more rigidly prescribed forms such as kavya, the ornate epic really an extended depersonal- ized lyric narrative which can, in the hands of a great poet like the Sanskrit writer Kalidasa, also communicate deeply felt emotion, but abstracted, aestheticized, consciously universalized.

Such a formalized aesthetic approach discourages realism. The bhakti approach encourages it. Released from the formal restraints involved in producing poetry for the courts, Dhirjati is free to fill his poems with the real world, with personal, social, and contemporary concerns. Why have you made us with these senses if our using them is a sin? What do you gain, O God of Kalahasti, by playing this game of illusions for your own amusement to while away the time?

Poem 67 The poems often record his fluctuating moods, in- cluding the dark fear of death and, for the Shaivite believer, grim birth after birth: When I look at myself, when [ think of my actions, terror descends upon me and darkness falls across time. Poem 73 He can also use the form for subjects less narrowly linked to the most essential limits of the human condition. In this collection as well there are some moments of elaborateness. The aesthetic comments, however, affirm a clear stylistic choice, which is also ideological in that it involves a rejection of the formal apparatus of institutionalized court poetry: How can you be praised in elaborate language, similes, conceits, overtones, secondary meanings, or textures of sound?

They cannot contain your form. Enough of them! More than enough. Can poetry hold out before the face of truth? Poem 62 Of great interest is the fact that he is a social poet, in some sense a "political" poet, an ancestor of the powerful strain in Telugu literature of socially con- scious, socially committed writing. Is there a reason why kings seem to be a growth from the worst seed? Poem 22 These poems, which address a god while dealing with many aspects of the human life cycle and condi- tion, have long been used in the Telugu country, among those who know them by heart, as means of focusing on their own emotions, in time of confusion, trouble, or joy.

They are poems which, through the intensity of their expression, have earned a status that 1s not merely literary; they have themselves taken part in countless lives. All these poems consist of four-line stanzas in long classical meters, each line of a set of four having the same number of syllables and metrical pattern. Instead, it is the custom in Telugu to chant the poems according to semantic units, so that poems which have the same overall meter may be pre- sented, according to their content, with a very different spacing of elements and general rhythm.

To read a poem merely by meter is considered to be reading "like a child. As a result, the lengths of the translations vary considerably, though in Telugu all the poems, in syllabic count, are very close to the same length. There is another factor which also affects their length in translation. Using this method, the poet could create rather intricate poems within the same metrical limitations as simpler poems consist- ing mostly of pure Telugu words.

These Sanskritic nominal compounds break down naturally into phrases in English and produce longer, more elaborate poems that are analogues of their structure in Telugu. We have tried, where possible, to convey some of this sense of changing tones. According to tradition, it refers, in this compound only, to the spider. For the Telugu reader or listener, the phrase provides an expected musical completion for the poem and is felt as a reference and address to the god of the shrine at Kalahasti, not as a continuous recall of the foundation legends which, etymologically, it expresses.

In translation, we have varied the placing of this vocative. Subscribe for Newsletters and Discounts. Be the first to receive our thoughtfully written religious articles and product discounts. Your interests Optional. This will help us make recommendations and send discounts and sale information at times. All products. Audio Video. By registering, you may receive account related information, our email newsletters and product updates, no more than twice a month.

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