Connecting the literary dots
Express News Service
HYDERABAD: Venkat Garikapati is on a mission — to convey to the world the true meaning behind the golden words that Padakavita Pitamaha Tallapaka Annamacharya vocalised on how we should live and how the world can perennially blossom like a Vasudhaika Kutumbam through his 32,000 Sankeertanas.
As part of this, Venkat, a veteran writer who has penned nearly a dozen books on Annamacharya Sankeertanas in his writing journey of over 30 years, now puts the spotlight on what the 14th century Telugu poet said via his verses on Lord Krishna.
This famous Hyderabadi recently released ‘Annamayya Srikrishna Sammohanam’ (published by Venkat Arts Academy, priced at Rs 150, 220 pages) where he discusses and comments on 58 rare Srikrishna Sankeertanas and their inner meaning. A banker by day and a writer by night, Venkat elaborates about his new book. “Annamayya wrote about Lord Venkateswara in his avatar as Lord Krishna. He has written gems of verses about the concept of Madhura Bhakti, which is considered to be one of the purest forms of devotion to the Lord.
He has explored this form of flawless and unconditional devotion between Krishna and his consorts. I am fascinated by Annamacharya’s unique worldly perspectives and have tried to convey the same to the reader through this work,” he said. It took him about six months to write this book. Venkat writes and decodes the huge variety of sankeertanas of the legendary saint poet. He seems to have taken a slight detour this time to explore these 58 rare gems that talk about Krishna in various stages of life and in his various avatars — as a prankster, an ardent lover, a philosopher and a guide, as the Geethacharya and more.
The book dwells on how each of Krishna’s pranks has been thoroughly helpful for the welfare of the world — rightly denoted as Loka Kalyanaardham. Whether it was the killing of Shakatasura who disguised himself as a cart, Trinavarta who took the form of a hurricane, Vatsasura in the form of demon calf, Bakasura with a sharp beak, Putana, the maid who feeds him poisoned milk, each of these episodes is not just heroic in its flavour and extol the Lord, but also connect the dots to the wellbeing of the universe, emphasises Venkat.
When he is not busy handling Stressed Assets at State Bank of India, Venkat’s linguistic fervour gets him into his element post-dinner and before midnight. “I am in my zone when I relish the Sankeerthanas of Annamayya which celebrate the purpose of life, the romance for life and celebrate the world. However, reading more about what Annamayya has written about Krishna is in a league of its own. The fulcrum of his writings has been to visualise Lord Venkateshwara in all the forms,” says Venkat.
The writer who finds bliss in putting pen to paper says that his only plea to the Almighty is to give him the opportunity every day to be able to relish this nectar of literature penned by Annamayya.
The writer’s unbridled enthusiasm for all things Annamacharya often makes him turn into a segment host or a researcher for shows such as Annamayya Pataki Pattabhishem on SVBC channel and for shows like Telugu Velugu on ETV. He is seen rubbing shoulders with devotional singers where they often reach out to him for one last-minute dharma sandeham about a particular word or a syntax. Needless to say, he revels in the role. “Today, the concepts we talk about on public daises such as unity in diversity, community service, crowd funding, hunger mitigation etc. were addressed by Annamayya centuries ago. He was so futuristic in his writings.
He also said that none of us needs anything more than three square meals when aliveand a six-foot grave when we die. My attempts are just to introduce more and more people to his writings which are relevant even today,” he adds in a beaming tone. Venkat, who is also called Vyakhyana Visharada, has so far written 13 books which include, 11 books on Annamacharya Sankeertanas, one on personality development and spirituality and one a compilation of his own poems/anthology.
Every year, he ensures that he releases two books to mark the birth and death anniversary of Annamayya and this year will be no different. “This year, April 8 is his vardhanti and May 25 is his birthday. I plan to bring out two books — one on the verses on Goddess Alamelumanga and one would be a mixture of sankeertanas penned by Annamayya — for these two occasions,” he says. And we can only say, wow, bring it on!
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