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Full text of "PALNATI VERA CHARITHRA"

PALANAATI VEERA C THRA 

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To 

THE SACRED MEMORY OF THE DEPARTED SOULS 

of 

SRI KOVVURI CANDRA REDDI VARU, 

SRI VYDYA RATNA PANDIT D. GOPALACARYULU 

SRI KOMARRAJU LAKSMANA RAO M.A., 

SRI DEWAN BAHADUR NEMALI PATTABH'I-^RAMA RAO B,.A., 
SRI JUSTICE T. V. SESAGIRI IYER AVL., 

As a token of reverence for their love of the advancement of 
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Preface to the 2nd Edition. 

Palnati Veeracharitra is the history of the fratricidal 
war, that took place during the latter part of the 42nd 
century Kali Era (12th century A. D.) between two princes 
of the Hyhaya family that had migrated into Palnad from 
Chedi, throwing side lights on the great socialistic move- 
ment led by Brahma Naidu, supposed to be the ancestor 
of the family of the Maharajah of Venkatagiri. The Chapa- 
kudu of Palnad heroes mentioned by the author of Kreeda- 
bhiramam may be taken as something like cosmopolitan 
-dinner of the present day. The army of Brahma Naidu 
includes people from all classes irrespective of caste, from 
Brahmin to Panchama. Kannama, a Panchama hero consi- 
dered as the son of Brahma Naidu, has a temple at Karatn- 
pudi even to this day. The ballad also gives an account of 
the heroism of our people of those ages and also their 
religious readiness to lay down even their lives at the call 
of what they considered their Dharma. The military 
prowess which shone with splendour in Brahma Naidu and 
Balachandra eight hundred years ago at Karyamapudi 
again manifested itself in their distant kinsmen, the Velama 
heroes of Bobbili like Vehgalaraya. 

Palnati Veera Cbaritra. 

Palnati Veera Charitra may be considered as an tm* 
portant, original Telugu work fulfilling a few of the condi- 
tions of an epic poem. <*im*} The subject matter 
viewed as a W hole from GurzaU Kodipor ,o <h . I * 
extensive and grand with some episodes, and * *^ 
also are to some extent varied in type. Malhdevaraj and 



2 PREFACE TO VEERA CHARITRA 

his opponent Nalagamaraj are inactive heroes like Chandra- 
gupta of Mudrarakshasa, and Indian literary critics name such 
a hero as RH^-dfefe: (one whose purpose is achieved by his 
assistants). Anapotu, Balachandra, Brahma Nayudu 3 Alaraju, 
Perneedu and Kommaraj are all noble heroes for whom 
life w'as not an end in itself but only a means to Dharma 
to which it could be sacrificed if necessary at any moment, 
Of them Brahma Nayudu is treated as an incarnation of 
Vishnu but his human side is more prominent throughout 
the poem. His rebuke of his son for having shown the 
back to the battlefied, is befitting a true Indian hero. The 
female characters also are chaste and heroic. Rekhamba's 
pursuasion of her daughter not to prevent Balachandra 
from marching to battlefield, and Manchala's blessing to 
her husband when handing over the sword to him, cannot 
but stand before us for all time as noble examples of 
Indian womanhood. Rathnala Peridevi, reproaching her 
father for his wicked act and performing Sahagamana with 
her husband shows the high phase of the life of a Hindu 
wife. Nayakuralu is the abode of evil like Satan in Paradise 
Lost, Ravana in Ramayana and Sakuni in Mahabharata, 
Inspite of her vicious nature, she is represented here and 
there as a thoughtful diplomat and her negotiations for 
peace before the commencement of war show her diplo- 
macy. It is the misfortune of great heroes to have a rival 
in women. Brahma Naidu had it. Bhishma actually 
withdrew from the field at the sight of Sikhandi* Brahma 
Naidu avoided Nayakural in battle in accordance with the 
Indian military traditions. In places of heroism the author 
rises to the occasion, and exhibits high fervour as in the 
dialogue between JMachandra and his parents and his 
other speeches, 



(TELUGtJ WOBKS AKD PALNATI 7EEBA CHARITBA 3 

He shows some tendency and also skill for portraying 
scenes of awe as Kannama's midnight visit to the battle 
field and the ecstasy of the devils during the night after 
the close of the war. In other situations he is quite 
common-place, and does not rise above the ordinary level. 
Setting aside the waste trash such as s&x, -ttixti, =>ctf, 
^csbg*, the narration is on the whole impressive and in some 
places vigorous. 

As in Mahabharata, the end is disastrous to both parties 
and the predominant Rasa may be taken as Shanta, the 
auxiliary Rasas being Veera, Karuna etc. Unlike other 
classics, Palnati Veera Charitra is written in one continuous 
Dwipadee metre and in one strain. 

Palnati Veera Charitra is deficient in graphic descrip- 
tions of even relevant naturesceneries .in their picture- 
squeness and grandeur as in Ramayana, Mahabharata, 
Kumarasambhava etc. It also lacks in conversational or 
non-conversational utterances of importance like Ajavilapa 
in Raghuvamsa. 

Palnati Veera Charitra cannot claim a very high 
place from a literary, point of view according to the 
canons of advanced literary criticism, When I say that, 
I do not mean that it is inferior to other Telugu works. 
It is as good as any other Telugu work. It is even superior 
to many of them. I only intend to point out that it not 
an exception to the general order of Telugu works, and 
does not exhibit any extraordinary high merit. 

Telugu works and Palnati Veera Oharitra. 

Before actually taking up Palnati Veera Charitra I 
.shall mention briefly some points about the genera *a* 
of Telugu works, Telugu literature b^n tntfa Puramc 



4 PEERAGE TO VEEJU CHARITRA 

briefs and other such things. Later, some other works of 
the Manu and Vasu Charitra type and similar productions 
sprang up. 

Translations are mutilated and deformed, and import- 
ant poetic details are left off. Srinadha's Nishadha belongs 
to the same group. Palnati Veera Charitra too as said 
before is not of high literary excellence. Either in bringing 
out striking situations or in expressing illuminating and 
lofty sentiments, its author does not generally* rise above 
the ordinary level. As will be shown presently, it was in- 
tended for the lower order of people as other Telugu 
works. Aswaghosha's Buddha Charitra, though history, is 
of a far superior poetic interest. 

in ancient and mediaeval times, Telugu was not the 
medium of instruction in the higher courses of study. All 
higher learning was received through Sanskrit, and Sanskrit 
was the cultural language of the country. Great scholars 
did not choose to write in Telugu on cultural subjects in 
several departments of knowledge, including literary criti- 
cisms. Telugu was thus relegated to an unimportant posi- 
tion, and had no place in academical courses. This back- 
ward position was not special to Telugu. It was common 
with all the Prakrit languages. The characters to whom 
Prakrit is allotted in Sanskrit Drama also to some extent 
indicate tfafc position which they held in the -academic 
circles. Perhaps, Pali, which;was raised to the dignity of 
cultural and religious language by Bhagavan Buddha, was 
an exception to the general order of Prakrits. It is truly 
said that Tamil holds the same place in Southern India as 
Pah in the North. But the champion, of Vedic culture had 
not recognised Buddha's step and had not allowed Pali to 

the pte of Sa nskri , Bven Tam! , wbich rose 



PRAKRITS 5 

a lly and not as an enemy was not looked upon with favour 
t>y them. Some of them went even a step further, and prohi- 
bited the adaptation ot Vernacular words into Sanskrit and 
denounced them as incorrect. So says Nagesa, the great 
Grammarian, in his Manjusha, 

~ T[ 



(Substantives formed according to the Vernaculars like 
<JECunchi' 'Manchi' and 'Apyakonda' are verily incorrect.) 

The progress of Pali stopped with the decay of 
Buddhism. The other non-religious Vernaculars of India 
were in their undeveloped condition, and Telugu was one 
of them. Leaving aside the departments of learning, in 
poetry, Prakrits made same mark, though mostly in love 
sentiment. Men of cultural attainments wrote original works 
In Prakrits some of which drew the attention of great 
scholars like Bana, and provided examples for the cele- 
brated literary critics like Anandavardhana in their treat- 
ment of poetic charm. 

As Prakrits were taken up by such eminent scholars, 
even original Prakrit dramas, transgressing in some details 
some of the Sanskrit Dramatic conventions, rose up like the 
Karpuramanjari of Rajasekhara which is now available. 
But even in -this field, Telugu did not emerge out of its 
infant state on account of the crudeness of its verse and 
also other causes which will be explained below. Telugu 
works were intended for people of a lower status who had 
not access to the treasures of Sanskrit lore- They were 
Intended to give^an idea of the Puranas to the lower order of 
people for the guidance of their social and religious con- 
duct. The leaving' out of Bhagavadgita and other important 
portions by the translators of Mahabharatha ; the avoidance 
of -writing Dramas, the highest form of poetry according to 



PREFACE TO VEERA CHARITRA 

Indian tradition and original poems and sastraic works in 
Telugu by famous scholars like Sreenatha, under the 
patronage of Ruling chiefs like Komati Vema Reddy, 
Kataya Vema and Kumaragiri Reddy who were themselves 
outstanding men of letters and commentators on classical 
works; and the very mutilated forms of translations- like 
Telugu Naishadha, seem definitely to point out to the above 
fact. I do not propose here to enter into a detailed dis- 
cussion on the additions and contractions in Mahabharata, 
writings of authors like Vemana and Pingali Suranna, 
the works of Manu and Vasu charitra type which do not 
generally present high thought or subtler feelings of 
human heart or relevant imagery of endless charam. I j 
do not also give a full account of how these Telugu works 
and poems are not useful even to the lower type of people 
and how they misguide the intermediate class of quacks. The 
misfortune of Telugu always stands strikingly before my 
eyes whenever I ponder over the fact that a person like 
Ahobala Pandita, deeply interested in Telugu, had to leave 
some of his extremely valuable writings in Sanskrit only. 

Perhaps such measures were the attempts, though un- 
successful of people like him to attract real scholars to 
Telugu. Whatever it may be, it is plain that Telugu was 
not the medium of higher culture, and that Telugu works 
were intended only for people of inferior order. Ahobala 
Panditha, the commentator of Andhrasabda Chinthamani, 
in his scholarly discussion on Telugu observes thus. 



(The Telugu Puranic works are essentially useful to 
budras etc., who aspire for liberation (Moksha) and who 



HIGHER CULTURE AND MEDIUM: OP INSTRUCTION" 7 

are not capable of reading Sanskrit Puranas and who are 
not anxious even to hear them) 

The situation has not altered after the advent of the 
Madras University. 

English has taken the place of Sanskrit. On the one 
hand, the majority of educated Telugus have been cut off 
from touch with Sanskrit in which the invaluable treasures 
of Indian culture are stored up. On the other hand, they 
have not been able to properly assimilate alien culture, the 
customs, traditions and sentiments being different in many 
respects, To-day the majority of educated people in the 
Telugu country receive higher education through English, 
and some still through Sanskrit. 

For further details on this topic my preface to Kavya- 
prakasa may be consulted. Then I come to scholars. 
Mature thinkers of the stamp of Sir S- Radhakrishna do 
not choose or try to express their thoughts in Telugu. 
This is evidently due to the fact that Telugu has no 
proper place in the realm of higher culture or 
thought at present. It is not the medium of higher educa- 
tion in collegiate courses in the Madras or Andhra 
University, and all higher knowledge is received, and im- 
parted through English and also Sanskrit though in a 
limited atmosphere. Our ancients though great scholars, 
did not give us valuable works in Telugu as they intended 
Telugu only for the lower order of people. Our present 
authors, equipped with the study of the trivial works of 
ancients, are capable only of producing similar or still more 
trivial works in Telugu. Perhaps the majority of our present 
Telugu writers are the worst sinners in India today in 
using quack Sanskrit. This guess language always reminds 
me of the famous story of the Sanskrit of the crack-bramed 
daughter-in-law of a Somapeethin- 



8 PREFACE TO VEERA CHABTTBA 

The works that have sprung up after the advent of the 
University education, from Lexicon down to the story books 
and ottier works that are prescribed for the University 
examinations, clearly point out to the above fact. Details 
are shown in the Telugu Preface. People study trivial 
works, and produce in their turn still more futile writings, 
Matters are thus moving in a vicious circle which ends no 
where unless the course of education is changed- It should 
be so modified that the Telugu youths would find their 
way to the original treasures of learning and not merely to 
the briefs and other similar works which alone Telugu now 
can offer. Under these circumstances, I think that the 
conferring of B, A. (Rons.), M.A,, and other degrees for 
the study of existing briefs and other such works in Telugu 
which have little cultural value does not serve any useful 
purpose at the present stage. This situation always re- 
minds me of the statement of Lord Macaulay in this 
connection. 

cc Had they (our ancestors) neglected the language of 
Cicero and Tacitus ; had they confined their attention to 
the old dialects of our own island; had they printed 
nothing and taught nothing at the Universities but chroni- 
cled in 'Anglo-saxon and romances in Norman- French, 
wotild England have been \vhat she now is ? " 

Now I ask this question following Lord Macaulay. 
Having neglected the works of Gautama, Kanada and 
Sankara etc , and having confined ourselves to the Puranic 
briefs and other works of similar type, what is the worth of 
our Vidwans, Bhashapravinas or Ubhayabhashapravinas ? 
Or what is the range and value of the oriental scholar- 
ship of our degree holders in Telugu ? 



HIGHER CULTURE AND SJBDIUM OP INSTRUCTION 9 

The memorable transition in the history of Telugu 
begins, in my opinf6h, on the day when it is made the 
compulsory medium -of examinations in all non-language 
subjects for Telugu students for arts and science degrees or 
at least Siromani and Vidya Fraveena titles. As a first step 
to this the University may transform the Telugu Research 
section, in which there is no adequate return for the ex- 
penditure incurred, inta.a translation department, and get 
as many outstanding works as possible translated into 
Telugu from English and Sanskrit at the present stage. 
As a step for this, the University should makp provision for 
the rise of scholars who, in addition to their proficiency in 
their special subjects and practice in Telugu composition, 
will be equipped with sufficient knowledge of ' Sanskrit in 
which the treasures of Indian culture are stored up and 
without a strong control over which, expression of scientific, 
abstract and subtle ideas in Telugu is almost impossible, 
I close this topic which has come up as a side issue, 
and proceed to the subject proper. I pointed out that Telugu 
was thus relegated to an inferior position and that Telugu 
writings were intended for people only of lower cultural 
status. There was no scope for wjorks of high 'order to 
arise, and Palnati Veera Charitra was no exception. More- 
Dver it does not belong to the section of Kavya or Rupaka, 
and therefore we cannot apply to it cannons of advanced 
literary criticism. 

When I say that we cannot expect high literary 
;xcellence as in Valmiki, Kalidas etc., I do not mean as 
dredy stated that it is inferior to other Telugu works. On 
he other hand it is far better than many of them. All 
hat I want to point out is that it is not of exceptional 
>oetic merit and is not an exceotion when the 



10 PREFACE TO VEEBA OHABITBA 

condition of Telugu works is taken into consideration, 
Palnati Veera Charitra is an umq'ue work in many 
respects in Telugu literature, The subject matter, unlike 
that of the general mass of Telugu works which are 
mostly Puranic briefs or Puranic fictions or stories, with 
some descriptions, is the history of local heroes. The 
prominent characters are indigenous and exhibit the 
valourous life of the Andhras of those times in its brightest 
form. The treatment of the subject matter also is different 
from that of others where futile word-profusion, with scanty 
meaning and mere story skeletons, is predominant or 
speculations based on mythological details and hereditary 
similies form the important poetic element. It is written in 
verse which is half free from trash resulting from letter 
adjustment (stt>, ^xs) which is cojnmon with almost all the 
Telugu verse ^productions. It is different from works of 
the Bobbilikatha type as it, unlike the latter, attempts to 
maintain classic touch here and there. 
Ballad Literature. 

Palnati Veera Charitra comes under the Veera Gita 
(Ballad) group. The ballad is a special branch of Telugu 
literature and I have no information whether such a branch 
exists in the other Vernaculars of India or not. Whatever 
may be the reason, such a branch does not evidently exist 
in Sanskrit altt^ugh episodes of Vatsaraja and Vikramarka 
etc,, are sufficiently inspiring. These ballads are recited 
before big audiences generally during moon-lit-nights with 
the necessary accompaniments and gestures and are semi- 
dramatic in nature. -They resemble the Vrittis mentioned 
by Bharata which may be considered as the germs of the 
.developed Indian drama. Generally the purpose of the 
ballads is to create mainly reverence and admiration to* 



BRIEF REVIEW OF SOME POINTS IN AL&Af IVEERA CHARITRA li 

wards the heroic souls by a sort of narration appealing to 
the popular imagination and emotions. It is why poetic 
sublimity of high thought cannot be expected in it. The 
function of the Ballad above mentioned, Palnati Veera 
Charitra amply fulfills in a manner in which few others of 
this class do. 

Brief review of some points in Palnativeeracharitra. 

It shows anxiety for the life of her son Balachandra 
and tries to prevent him from going to battle. This appears 
some what derogatory to the Indian Kshatra (Military) 
traditions. She stands in strong contrast to Kunti, who 
sends word through Sri Krishna to her sons to fight to the 
end. Perhaps the author wished to show here feminine 
weakness. Even Vyasa makes Kunti express once that 
life without sons would be distressing. 

Balachandra's visit to his damseL 

Under the pretence of taking her to battle field 
when he was about to start to Karempudi he meets 
his damsel in her house though he never took her 
there. This is somewhat repulsive to us of the present 
age. It was not so in ancient India. The Vesyas 
appear to be an important section of society in those 
days. All know how much Hindu mythology is interwoven 
with the stories of these damsels. The mother of the 
great Bharata race is the daughter of a divine damsel. 
Other episodes are too numerous to be mentioned. In 
spite of condemnation by thinkers like Bhartrihari they 
seem to have kept up their position even in historical 
times. Vatsyayana thinks that contact with a damsel is 
not sinful as it is neither enjoined nor prohibited in Dharma 
Sastras. Omen-experts state that the sight of a Vesya in 



12 PREFACE TO VEER A CHARITRA 

front for a man starting for some purpose is auspicous, 
Kautilya recognises conjugal contract with a damsel 
and imposes fine upon the intruder. The Literary 
theorists like Dhananjaya, while ignoring the widow men- 
tioned by* Vatsyayana as a fitting object for making love, 
recognised Vesya as a heroine in a poetical composition 
though as of lower type. 

If she is firm and constant in love like a duly wedded 
woman, she Certainly rises above the level of ordinary 
Vesyas and can find a place in a dignified literary composi- 
tion as Vasantasena in Mrichchakati. 

Perhaps Rajasekhara thought it a compliment to him- 
self when he declared as tradition goes, that he had love 
dealings with women of several parts of India. Some of 
these Vesyas were very rich. Some were learned especial- 
ly in fine arts and they were called Ganikas as different 
from other ordinary Vesyas. The Ganikas of Pataliputra 
are said to have deputed a scholar by name Dattaka to 
prepare a treatise for their guidance Vatsyayana devotes 
a special Adhikarana. in his Erotic Science to the affairs of 
these Vesyas. Even kings and men of status did not think 
it degrading to keep these Vesyas as their consorts, 
Vatsyayana refers to the amorous sports of a Chola (Tamil) 
king with his damsel Chitrasena. Though we thus see that 
intimacy with a Vesya was not considered a social stigma 
in those days, the whole of the damsel scene in Palnati 
Veeracharitra is quite irrelevant and the author ought to 
have omitted it at least for artistic considerations. It would 
have been different had he taken her to the battle field as 
Sri Krishna did Satyabhama. 

Harlot-Mother. 

It has been a practice with authors in our country to 
bring in the old harlot-mother where a Vfesya is concerned 
as in Nirankusopakhyana etc. 



BRIEF BEVIEW OF SOME POINTS IN PALNAT1VEERACHAR1TRA 13 

These damsel-mothers seem to be notorious from 
even early times. Vatsyayana lays down that the damsel 
should be under the guidance of either her old mother who 
is cruel and greedy or choose another woman in her 
absence possessing the above qualities to take her place. 
Kautilya also refers to the damsel-mother and provides 
compensation for her if any one forcibly meddles with her 
daughter. Literary critics also take note of this Vesyamata 
in prescribing the conduct of- the Vesya Heroine. 

Palnati Veera Charitra gives an interesting descrip- 
tion of the old, contemptible Vesyamata. 

Balachandra's indulgence with his wife. 

Balachandra, before going to war, meets his wife and 
takes her blessings as Bhimasena in Venisamhara. But he 
also engages himself in love affairs with his wife. Em- 
bracing or sporting in any other way with a woman when 
marching to battle field is certainly in-appropriate and 
implies a kind of laxity on the- part of the hero. That is 
why such a custom did not find favour with the famous 
heroes of ancient India. It is not said even of Ravana. 
Valmiki maintains it in the case of the ill-fated Vali. The 
author of Parijatapaharana, a Telugu work of the Vizaya- 
nagaram period, attributes it to Krishna's enemies who 
were going to be defeated. Bhatta Narayana presents a 
scene in Venisamhara in which the doomed Duryodhana 
amorously deals with his wife. Mammata, the author of 
Kavyaprakasa finds fault with Him even for that. Bala- 
chandra's love affairs with his wife, when marching to war 
ate not only out of place but also reflect upon his heroic 
character. If he did so as it was the first and the last time 
to meet her, it is no excuse for a he,ro who has to sacrifice 
everything for his noble purpose, especially when the -wife 



14 PREFACE TO VEEEA 

was also to follow him to the other world. If he did so 
under the advice of his mother, it must be stated that her 
anxiety for her son's wife was carried to the extreme. If 
it is merely a statement of the fact of history, then we 
must admit that Balachandra has no place in the 
galaxy of the noble type of Indian heroes to whom Kshatra 
Dharma was higher than anything else. The author for 
the sake of propriety, ought to have avoided this in the 
case of Balachandara, the prominent hero of the present 
portion of the ballad. 

Historical Importance of the Veeracharitra. 
The time of Palnati Veeracharitra seems to be an 
important period in Indian History. It was the time when 
Mohamed Ghori was creating great havoc besieging 
place after place in Northern India and the fate of the 
Hindu Royal dynasties was hanging in the balance, The 
influence of Ramanuja's preachings and Basaveswara's 
religious overhauling were being strongly felt and the 
cross currents of Veerasaivism. Vaishnavism, Jainism and 
Buddhism were causing agitation in Southern India. It is 
thus we find in Palnati Veeracharitra an interesting blend- 
ing of the heroic fervour of the military families of the 
North and the religious reformation of the spiritual precep- 
tors of the South. More over, Palnati Veeracharitra seems 
to be an important link in Indian History. Ifr throws light 
on the extinction of two ruling dyanasties Hyhaya;s and 
Western Chalukyas. Mr. Vincent Smith in his "Early 
History of India" observes thus. " The Kalachuri or 
Haihaya Rajas of Chedf are last mentioned in an inscription 
of the year 1181 A,D and the manner of their disappear- 
ance is not exactly known ; but there is, reason to believe 
that they were supplanted by the Bhugels ofJRewa." 



VEERA WORSHIP 15 

palnati Veeracharitra reveals how the Hyhayas 
migrated from Chedi to Palnad and settled there never to 
return to their original homes. The reason of their migra- 
tion is said to be somewhat religious in Palnati Veera- 
charitra. Perphaps the political incident was given a reli- 
gious colouring. The migration might most probably 
be due to the inroads of the Mahonjedan invaders or the 
pressure of the Bhugels of Rewa mentioned by Mr. Smith 
to be the successors of Hyhayas. Palnati Veera Charitra 
also shows how the Western Chalukya dynasty of Kalyan 
came to an end with the last prince dying in the Karem- 
pudi battle- 

Veera Cult of Palnad. 

To-day Palnad Heroes are worshipped as divinities 
and every year a big festival is held at Karempudi in their 
memory on the new moon day of Kartika roughly corres- 
ponding to November and important scenes of the 
episode are enacted there. There is no distinction of 
caste in the Veera cult and all have equal religious status. 
Balachandra's brothers come from different castes inclu- 
ding a barber, a washerman and a Brahmin. A Brahmin 
is the Acharya of the Veera group and a Panchama hero 
by name Kannama has a temple at Karampudi, . But as 
all non-vedic heterodoxical religions, Veera cult also 
yeilded to the Vedic influence. Followers of this Ailt 
return to their old religious ways after the festivities are 
over- 

Veera Worship. 

Veera worship is not new to India. In Rig Veda, Indra 
is addressed as Veera. AgnUs also called Veera. Veera 
hatya was looked upon as a great sin, and abandon- 
ing Agni was compared to hero murder, In some 



- 



16 PREFACE TO VBEBA OHARITEA 

places the word Veera was taken to mean a son. 
Perhaps there was a time when every male issue was a 
hero as in ancient Greece where weaklings were aban- 
doned and only strong and robust children were preserved 
by the state. In the latter literature Veera is referred to 
in many places and Veeratva was thought to be a precious 
quality. Janaka proclaims that his daughter is Veeryasulka. 
Kalidas repeats the same phrase in that connection. 

Patanjali, the author of Mahabhashya uses the word 
Veera in connection with Sastric treatise containing 
Mangala and mentions it in many places. The Yoga schools 
also took this into their fold and applied it to one of the 
yogic poses, the Veerasana. Tantrics also apply the word 
Veera to Sadhakas. 

Hero worship has been continuing in India from very 
early times. Of the Avatharas of Mahavishnu, the main- 
tainer of the Universe, half the number including Kalki are 
war heroes. Buddha is a hero of mercy. Of the above, Rama 
and Narasimha have regular temples of worship in our 
country. The Veerathva of Veera Bhadra, offspring of 
God Siva is well known. His followers still preserve a 
dance scene called Veeranga as a religious ceremony* Sree 
Rama is known,;also as Veeraraghava and Bhavabhuti 
made him famous , as Mahaveera, Viswanatha quotes a 
verse from Rajahsekhara's Balaramayana to illustrate 
the warrior heroism of Sree Rama. 

Since the time of the kings mentioned in the Puranas 
as Bhavishyadrajas I do not know of any other rulers except 
the Palnad heroes, raised to djvinity and worshipped in any 
part of India. The Hero-worship preached by Carlyle in 
Europe did not take any definite form. Even the religion 



BALLADS AND NATIONAL HEROISM 17 

of the Sikhs, the warlike people in India of to-day is not 
of the nature of the Yeera worship. The Moharam cele- 
brations of Mahammadans may be said to resemble it in 
some respects, 

Features of the Veera Worship. 

Although the Heroes themselves were Vaishnavites 
and Saivites, yet the Veera cult is neither Vaishnavism 
nor Saivism in their present form, It is socio-religious'in 
nature and has not got any Vedic ritual. It does not 
accept distinction of caste, and all have equal status in it, 
In the annual festival at Karempudi, people of all castes 
participate. The Acharya of the cult, a Brahmin, casting 
off his sacred thread and offering oblations of blood to the 
departed souls of heroes of all castes should |be a historic 
scene. In uniting the people under one banner and in 
exalting, to the dignity of a religion, heroism which was 
necessary to save the country in moments of aeed,, 
especially at a time when the Muhammadan conquerors 
were devouring place after place in the land, the foresight 
of the founders of the Veera cult is really worthy of our 

esteem. 

Ballads and National heroism. 

In chivalrous ages, Indian valour expressed itself in 
various forms. Andhras were second to none in the mani- 
festation of heroism. It became a religion with them. 
The Telugu Ballads breath the chivalrous life of Andhras 
in those ages. It is only a spark of the Kshatra fire 
kindled by the onrush of the Semitic conquerers ttoit 
blazed forth in the form of the fratricidal war in Palnad. 
As sources of original hisory and as records perpetuating 
the deeds of National heroism of Andhras, they deserve to 
be preserved and published in any suitable form. I cannot 
-close this topic without refering to Yakshaganas, the dance 
3 - 



20 PBEFACE 10 YEEEA C 



Temple is the stronghold of religion. Besides 
being the hall of the throne of religion and the 
suggested philosophy, an Indian temple always appears to 
me as the meeting place of art, beauty, music and poetry. 
The sum total of the prosperity and loveliness in 
the Universe being adored as Sree and Lakshmi, the 
nearest and dearest to the heart of Maha Vishnu, the Main- 
tainer of the Universe ; and the essence of all reverence, 
chastity and auspiciousness becoming part and parcel of 
Paramasiva, the Lord of Supreme Bliss, as Arya, Sati and 
Sarvamangala, cannot fail to appeal to our poetic fancy. 
Dhanurdasa finding the face of Maha Vishnu more charming 
than that of his wife and Andal (Goda), Vishnuchitta's 
daughter, falling in love with Maha Vishnu rejecting the 
form of human beings, give us a glimpse of the Vaishnavite 
conception of divine beauty. Saivites also have this and 
Siva is called Sundareswara in " the South. More 
details about this topic are given in the Telugu Preface. 
Not only this; we have the actual artistic beauty of 
sculpture and decoration at their best in temples. 
Experts in music thought it an honour to exhibit their skill 
at the feet of the deities. Kalidas refers to Narada as 
going to the temple of Siva at Gokarna on the West coast 
to sing there. Sri Harsha tells us in Nagananda that 
Malayavati, the heroine, was in the habit of singing at a 
temple on the same West coast. 

Idols of Sree Rama, Sita and others are only an illus- 
tration or symbolization of the portraiture by the poet 
Valmiki. Vasudeva; the giver of the Gita and the charioteer 
of Arjuua stands in the temple as depicted by the poet 
Vyasa, There are other temples which are conducive to 
the manifestation of Bhayanaka and Bibhatsa Rasas which 



RELIGION AND TEMPLE 21 

have their own part in elevating the human mind and 
turning it to the grim power controlling the Universe. 
Temples also appear to me as illustrations of the 
best divine poetry. 

I always look upon them as social centres. They 
admit almost all un-objectionable people of the country 
and induce them to sit and entertain higher thoughts 
at least for a while. Unlike the clubs of Western 
countries where admission is restricted by financial con- 
siderations, and where people gather for wordly sport 
and enjoyments, Indian temples afford also mirth, rejoicing 
and even appeasement of the tongue, all of course, con- 
secrated to the divinity, and thus rid of the grossness 
which is generally inseparable from such things. 

After the destruction of the Asramas by Yavanas as 
the author of Padmapurana regrets and after the Mi- 
mamsakas waned in their influence, the centres of culture 
and light were shifted from forests and Asramas to temples. 
The Puranic legends of Kasikhanda etc., amply illus- 
trate this truth. Some of the famous temples are 
associated with great thinkers and spiritual leaders of the 
country. Tradition connects the temple of Parthasaradhi 
at Triplicane with the birth of Sree Ramanujacharya, the 
great reformer who influenced the religious thought of the 
people of India in a manner in which few others have done, 
Udayanacharya the author of Kusumanjali is said to be a 
staunch devotee of Purushothanaaswami of Jagannatha 
temple. Great saints like Kulasekhara and Vishnuchitta are 
said to have spent the major part of their lives in the 
temples. The birth of Balachandra of the present work is 
attributed to the favour of Chennakesavaswamiat Macherla. 
Vaishnavite traditions and culture flourished in the 



22 PREFACE TO VEERA CHARItRA 

celebrated temples of Sreeranga and Sree Villi- 
puttor etc.. 

The healthy and prosperous condition of the temples 
indicates the strength of the religious life of the people. 
People that are indifferent to religion and to whom it is 
only an occasional ceremonial of not much importance, 
grow light hearted, timidly evil-minded and merely animal- 
like in the ways of living. I know that temples in the 
Telugu country in some places have actually become play 
grounds of boys and resorts of loafers. This condition 
may be to a great extent, due to the absence of great 
Acharyas like Kamanuja, Alwars, Nayanars in the South 
and Chaitanya and others in the North, who lived and 
worked among the people. Religious priests like the 
Kalamukha Saivacharyas brought in from Radha by the 
Andhra Queen Rudrama Devi and the Vaishnavite 
Acharyas sent by the Karnata Kings of Vizayanagar could 
not do the work to the necessary extent. The presence of 
a few devotees and religious people like Ramadoss was 
not sufficient. Whatever may be the reason for our 
present condition, we must wake up and open our eyes to 
the deplorable condition of our temples. Even the temple 
of Venkatachala which is within the limits of the Telugu 
country is in the hands of non-Andhra Mahants and it 
bears Tamil names as Tirumalai and Tirupati. Even 
the shrine of Sreesaila, which, besides being mentioned in 
Puranas, was referred to by the celebrated Indian poets 
like Bhavabhuti, Bana, and Sree-Harsha is not receiving 
sufficient attention and care which it properly deserves. 
Veera Charitra and History of Andhras. 

Since the decline of Pouranic Satavahanas, 
Andhras fell to the background. They were subjugated by 



VEERA OHARITA AND HISTOEY OF ANDHRAS 23 

Pallavas and Chalukyas. The A.ndhras seem to have de- 
graded to a great extent. When a Telugu author speaks of 
the Telugu armies as Rakshasas and their conqueror, the 
Chalukya King f as Vishnu, one can understand how much 
the people had gone down in the necessary national 
virtues. But the Andhra kings of Warangal tried to regain 
the lost supremacy. After the fall of Warangal conse- 
quent upon its capture by the Mahomedans, the Reddy 
generals of the Kakatiyas endeavoured to revive the 
Andhra Rule and set up independent states in the Country. 
It is during the time of these Andhra Kings, Kakatiyas and 
Reddies that great Scholars like Vidyanatha, Mallinatha I, 
Kumaraswamij the world famous Mallinatha IT, and Vema 
Reddies flourished in the Telugu Country. Biit the Keddi 
chiefs soon fell a prey to the Karnatic Kings of Vijaya- 
nagar. The Telugu Country was entirely subdued. It 
was added to and absorbed in the Karnatic Kingdom, and 
almost lost its individuality. Thus the final suppression of 
Andhras begun by Mahamadans was completed by the 
Karnatic Rulers of Vijayanagar, The eminent centres of 
culture and other activities like Kondavidu were subjected 
to decline and extinction. Outstanding persons like 
Nadendla Gopa-mantri and Salva Timma had to migrate 
to non- Andhra lands as there was not favourable atmos- 
phere for their abilities to thrive in their own country. 

The Hyhayas, 

The Hyhayas of Viracharitra from Chedi appeared on 
the -scene during the latter part of the 43rd century Kali 
Era (twelfth century, A. D,)- (1 may mention here, simply 
f6r the sake of information, that Tripuri, the site of the next 
Indian National Congress was the capital of Chedi.) By the 
time the Heroes came to Palnad, the Kakatiyas firmly esta- 
blished themselves as the paramount power iu the country. 



24 PREFACE TO VEERA CHARITRA 

That the Hyhayas did not meet with opposition either from 
the Kakatiyas or. from the other subordinate states only 
strengthens the fact that they had not come here as invaders 
but as expelled persons of the Royal family in search of 
refuge and places of suitable settlement. These they found 
without much difficulty as a result of their matrimonial 
alliances with some of the local chiefs, 
Srinatba and Palnad. 

Though the rest of the Telugu country is in up way 
better than Palnad in swallowing extravagant quanti- 
ties of chilly- powder etc., of which the . evil effects are 
obvious, Srinatha is said to have specially blamed its 
people as Bilhana did the Gujaraties in his Vikramanka- 
deva charita. Such verses are mentioned in the first 
preface. Perhaps the people there could not appreciate 
his scholarship and honour him befittingly. Some of them 
.may be interpolations. His denunciation of Zdnna and 
Sazza, the staple food of the people of Palnad, as 
coarse is out of place as it is highly nutritious making 
people sturdy and stalwart fit to protect the country in 
rimes of necessity. At any rate, we of the present age 
degenerating on account of polished mill-rice have no 
reason to find amusement in such deprecations. 

Palnad. 

Palnad is a place of historical interest in the Guntur 
District on the banks of the river Krishna. It Is adjoining to 
the extensive forest regions of Sf isaila referred to by Sana, 
Sree Harsha and Bhavabhuti in their works and included 
: by Saivites among the twelve sacred places of Siva worship 
such as Benares, Ujjaini, Setu and Kedara in the Himala- 
yas, etc. There is a place called Nagarjunakonda in Palnad 
which in all probability owes its name to Nagarjuna, the 



PALANAD 25 

celebrated Buddistic Acharya, mentioned in Kathasarit- 
sagara (Vide Telugu Preface). 

It is now under excavation by the Arcbaelogical 
Department of the Govt. of India and I learn that many 
valuable relics are found there. Pendota, the place of the 
Andhra architects as known from the utterances of the 
Runja people who are specially attached to the Yiswa 
Brahmanas is also in Palnad. Palnad which was once the 
abode of great heroes also gave birth in recent times to 
the heroine Lakshmi of Durgi whose husband reminds us of 
the Othello of Shakespeare. Having experienced the hard- 
ships of a daugter-in-law in a merciless family, she eagerly 
yearned for a kind touch of her husband's hand even when 
he was about to kill her. The birth place of this Lakshmi* 
heroine of Dharma, is Durgi in Palnad. She belongs to the 
Kamma Sect. Her father is Digumarti Musalappa Naidu. 
Her husband is Ohirumamilla Venka Naidu ofLinga- 
puram. Lakshmi, a venerable model of chastity and Indian 
woman-hood, is still worshipped in Palnad. Her episode 
is still sung in the villages by the itinerant bards- 

The publication of the remaining parts of the Ballad. 

The first edition of this was published nearly twenty- 
seven years ago. Not long after its publication, the late Sri 
Mokkapati Subbarayadu Varu, the then private Secretary 
to the present Maharaja of Pithapuram wrote to me that 
the regaining parts of the ballad might be published with 
the financial aid of the Maharaja. But the other parts by 
Srinatha were not available and the manuscripts which I 
secured are the works'^ome others and some of them are in 
loose language. Accordingly I intimated the matter to Sri 
Subbarayadu Varu. Sometime after,! understood that Sri 
JSyanti Eamiah Varu was going to publish the other parts 
of the ballad under the auspices of the Telugu Academy. 



26 PEEFACE TO VEEBA OHARITEA 

But I came to know that his manuscript was a copy of the 
same original from which my copy was prepared. I pub- 
lished a letter in the Andhrapatrika dated 14th May 1914 
and the matter stopped there. I once again mention that as 
original sources of our history and as records of our national 
heroism, they deserve to be published as they are, or 
re-written in prose, 

THE CONCLUSION. 

As was already said, Palnati Veera charitra was pub- 
lished for the first time in 1911. All the copies were ex- 
hausted by 1926, and copies could not be supplied. 
There was thus a clear necessity for the publication of 
the second edition. It was also prescribed for the part 
II of the B.A. degree examination of 1934 of the Madras 
University. Sree Vavilla Venkateswara Sastrulu Varu kindly 
proposed the second edition and undertook the printing 
of the work. For this I thank him heartily and express 
my feelings of gratefulness to him. The work was begun 
in my Kuja-period which started in 1931. There were many 
obstructions in the execution of the work at every step, 
which caused immense delay in returning the proofs. The 
printing of Kavyaprakas'a and Raghuvams'a, commenced 
in that period, is still unfinished. The obstructions were 
somehow got over by the grace of the Almighty and T 
have been now enabled to offer to the public the book in its' 
present form. Of my pupils that assisted me in the course 
of this work, special mention has to be made of Sreeman 
A. Krishnas.wamy.B-A., Sreeman K. Cbandrasekhara Mantri, 
and Sreeman M. Kamachandra Reddy B.A, (Hons). 1 regret 
very much that Sreeman Krishnaswamy passed away at an 
early age without seeing the completion of the work. He 



THE CONCLUSION 27 

is an enthusiastic student of Telugu with a knowledge of 
Sanskrit and also author of some works in Telugu. His 
translation of a portion of Haghuvamsa into Telugu verse 
is published in Lakshya Khanda compiled by Sreem^n 
Chandrasekhara Mantri. By his demise the country has 
lost one of its promising youngmen and sincere workers, 
in the cause of cultural renaisance. The perseverance 
and interest with which Sreeman Ramachandra Reddy 
copied the drafts and prepared the major part of the 
index will always be fresh in my memory. But for 
the assistance of these ardent lovers of culture and 
learning who were by my side even day and night on 
some occasions, especially during times of my ill-health, 
the work could not have seen the light of day even so late 
as this. In this connection I must also remember 
with pleasure the assistance rendered by Sreemans 
Seelam Madanagopal Naidu, Guna Bhushana B.A., 
Sudarsana Lai, Bhagavatula Chalapathi Rao and others. 
I take" this opportunity to express my gratitude to my other 
friends who aided me while carrying the work through the 
press. 

EDITOR 



tf %5 Q -^ 9 s^ 

^ 

"Unhappy the nation that has no history and happy 
the nation that can hear the ballads commemorating the 
adventures of her warriors sung with fervour and happy 
the country that can point with pride on the pages of history 
to patriots who wept for their countries' wrongs, stood 
againt the oppressor and the tyrant * * 
But such is not our lot and our heroes passed away 
with their deeds unsung and unrecorded. 



OtfcKw r*8 



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" I may mention that lead is found in considerabl 
quantities near Karempudi in the Palnad, but the mine 
are not now worked. Copper is found both in the Palna 
and Vinukonda Taluqs. " ** ****** -** **. 



^ Sx^ 
^ ^ 






8-36 ^3o$)io^ (Memoirs of the Geological Survey of 
India, Volume 8) erto Il0-s5 



" Along the eastern edge of the Tnmrukota Range, 
there are traces of old diamond workings, more decidedly 
around Mallavaram on the right bank of the Kistna where 
the limestones lapping round the base of the hill have 
been regularly undermined to get at the quartzite beneath 
them containing diamonds, Here there certainly seems 
good proof of the existence of a set of diamond bearing 
beds perfectly distinguishable from the qnartzites of which 
the rest of the Range is mainly made, for the debris and 
other evidence of the old workings are strictly confined to 
the edge of the limestones ........................ These works 

date from the Moghul rule. " (M G.) 









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Cl A more poetical derivation of Palnad is { Milk Land' 
from the light cream-coloured marble that abounds there." 



8 






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. 334>-s$ )kc&o atx> ^3^-&^so: "The Kalachuri or 
Haihaya Rajas of Chedi are last mentioned in an inscription 
of the year 1181 A D, and the manner of their disappe- 
arance is not exactly known (^&3be>? 

I 11 5*11 1181-3 tfosS^tf s-tftfsScotfc 



. 55b&3d&o 






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sr- 
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(Wilson) T^fib 

^ScrS( on G thousand miles) 
("Tchi-ki-to") 



u Tchi-ki-to"sb 



classical and Biblical) 



" (Atlas of Ancient Geography, 






(Colonel 

Yule) TT*& o^o-OT^sb. ^^T^cb ^a ^s^ ^3 a e?" s^o^aSri (Early 
History of India) && o$s&$ atx> ^&a : 

"And the extensive region to the south of Bandalkhand, 
which is now under the administration of the Chief Com- 
missionerof Central provinces nearly corresponds with the 
old Kingdom of Chedi.. 









18 









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1010 soil r 3Sa 1069 



11 TII 1Q69-5S sioll 

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1178- S5oO 



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1178, 1182 

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(Wilson) 7T*c& fc?5x5a^ abXra^ oxto ja^fcd6bo-sr^fio. <( Account 
of seven years war from 1080 A, D. to 1087, which was 
carried on by Brahma Nayudu and Twelve other land- 
holders and graziers against two towns, Gurzala and 
Macherla in the Palnad country and which originated in a 
dispute at a Cock-fight. In. Ant Vo. I. page 273 (1080 tfoti 

1087 Soil 



^0(^0 



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9 



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(Taylor) w 



r-u 1308 * 1386.55 



1178, ]182 



37 



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' 8 Tr-^. 

i8T*dioO wd3oo-dee 



(Early History of Indk) 
s. "The Kalachurior Haihaya Eajas 
of Chedl are last mentioned in an inscription of the year 
1181 A.D and the manner of their disappearance is not 
exactly known 5 but there is reason to believe that they 
were supplanted by the Bhugels of Rewa 

- 



11 ss tf ^^6o?^sioa ^Sa**. a 9 !ca 



fc fibaTfop So ^S^tfko S^r^l^oosSutfSr "Ss* d&tfotf &<<j 
cS&<&?6rn'a? 



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39 



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d&*> 



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1178, 1182 
a. SJ& 1 178-sS 



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1127 tfoll '2oD25ex) re a 1158 xSoll sSeeSS 
cxaogSSsSboo^ 



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39 



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tfoll cJ^c T^JSb&ga 



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(Eastern 

and Indian Architecture) wfc^c o^sfcotf s^?sb56^o^ c55ir.e>dass5MSo 
?6^o^ a*x> g-j&9. " According to an inscription on its walls 
the temple was erected in 1164 A. D. by Pratapa Rudra 
who, thoughnot exactly himself a Chalukya in blood, 
succeeded to their possessions and style. 77 



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1423 



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(Leslie Stephen) wb^c& er-a ^OcsbAT (George 
Eliot) rfsteajT &3er* <C A strong Imaginative genius is develo- 
ped early; it is an overmastering faculty which forces its 
possession into activity often before knowledge or serious 
thought has accumulated; draws romances, epic poems, 
and dramas from children in their teens; and suggests that 
.not only the material surroundings, but even the storage of 
intellectual accomplishments is but an accidental stimulus 
to the Innate creative power" 



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(Hamlet) 

(Polonius) -S^toTv- -^rs^ca&as (Shake 
speare) sS-Oo^rf 

41 .... ........ Beware 

of entrante ip a quao^l, but being In, 
Bear it that the oppossed may 



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(Aristotle) w& ^ssa-Bs^ox&cefofrtf b s 

. C Still more absurd would It be 



to mix different metres as was done by Charemon 






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fiA-0 



. 2 



INTRODUCTION- 



Ever since the evolution of man began from the 
brutal state, Great Persons have stepped into and passed 
away from this world leaving behind their marks in the 
annals of the progress of mankind. They are the light 
guiding and shaping men's thoughts and actions in their 
bewildering journey of life. They are the proclaimcrs of 
the unspeakable significance, the unreachable height* the 
immeasurable breadth and the unfathomable depth of the 
Infinite Power. By them the whole world moves ; in 
them the whole world rests ; for them the whole world 
longs. Thei history of the world is the history of these 
Great Men. Leaving the prehistorical periods, a little 
thoughtful mind can, from the dawn of documentary 
history down to modern times, perceive how the world 
has been affected by the appearance of the personage 
like Sri Rama, Buddha, Christ, Sankara, Kalidas and 
Shakespeare. These Great Men or Heroes, as they are 
justly called, are not confined to a certain country or to a 
certain age- They have been making their appearance in 
different corners in different ages. Wherever they 
appeared, whether in the meditative East or in the practi- 
cal West, they were received with divine honour, regarded 
wh|h admiration and adored with prostration. "Tke 
worship of a Hero" tmly says Carlyle, "is transcendent 

admiration of a Great Man No nobler feeling than 

this of admiration for oqe higher than himself dwells in the 
breast of man/ 1 Architects built temples an their honour; 



0* 

sculptors carved their pictures on wood and stone ' 
painters drew their figures in beautiful colours ; poets sang 
their heroic deeds. Sreenatha sang the valour of the 
Heroes of the Palnad and it is the history of these Palnad 
Heroes, depicted by Sreenatha that is found in the 
foll&wing pages of this book. These warriors had left 
their distant home on the banks of the Narmada, 
migrated for political reasons into the broad grand plains 
of the Palnad as a place of refuge and settled there 
settled never to return. They obtained rights in the 
country as a matrimonial gift and ever since Palnad has 
been called their home and they have been styled, "Palnad 
Heroes." They held undisputed sway over it and diffused 
their religion and civilization among the people. They 
built villages, made tanks, constructed anicuts, dug canals^ 
erected temples and raised fortresses in the Palnad and 
the surrounding country, traces of which remain to this 
day whispering in the listening ears, dumb as they are, 
various tales about the activities of of their makers in days 
gone -by. Fortunately or unfortunately, the country had 
their rule only for a short time. During that short period, 
they held a wonderful sway over the country. Their 
love for the subjects was unlimited. Their indomit- 
able valour was unparalleled. The chaotic battle-field 
was their sporting ground. The roar of the trumpets was 
their delightful sound. The bare flashing sword was their 
walking-stick. They were brave but not ferocious; they 
were valiant but not cruel. Timidity they did not know. 
Lawlessness they did not tolerate After ably governing the 
country for a short period, in a grea.t fratricidal war that 
ensued,they f sacrificing their lives in defence of their rights, 



85 

displayed astounding and superhuman prowess which, as 
was naturally the case in those ancient times, held them 
deified in the eyes -of the people dumb with awe and 
wonder. What with their humane government and what 
with their extraordinary character, they earned the love, 
respect and admiration of the people as no other 
ephemeral sovereign had done. Villages are named after 
them. Temples are dedicated to them. Their pictures 
are carved upon stones. Gorgeous processions are held 
in their honour. People vie with each other in paying 
their adoration irrespective of caste and creed. I cannot 
refrain from quoting in this connection the following lines 
of that famous archaeologist, Robert Sewell, concerning 
these Heroes : 

u It is a curious fact that, while the Palnad Heroes 
themselves worshipped indiscriminately Vishnu and Siva 
and while this mixture of worship is still largely observed 
in this out of the way part of the country, we have in this 
^Heroes' temple a sort of Mussalman coalition into the 
bargain. The Mussalmans take part in the anuual 
festival and pay their devotions to the souls of the 
Heroes ; and the "walls of the temple are discolored with 
the splashes of chunam water and red paint thrown on 
them by Muhammadan admirers." Lists of Ant. Vol. L 

The construction of the temple itself is attributed to 
a Mahamtnadan- whose grave is still to be seen within the 
precincts of the temple. Our admiration is all the more 
increased when we read the story of a female of Panta. 
Reddi family, who, as the leading figure one the side of 
Nalagama, made such wild charges, evinced such gigantic 
valour and fought with such stupendous courage as would 
excite the wonder of Nelsons and Nopoleans. Thousands 



of people flock together every year at Karempudi, the 
scene of the great battle, from almost all parts of the 
Telugu country. The people are very ardent in their 
faith in the Heroes. They worship them as Gods. In 
marriages and such like ceremonies, the symbols of the 
Heroes stand on the sacred altars in the houses of the 
people even to this day. It is really interesting to see 
how Veroism (Hero-worship) which resembles to some 
extent the Norse faith of Scandinavia and the Shintoism 
of Japan, originated in the Palnad and extended its 
influence throughout the Telugu country. This Hero 
worship has been continuing here for eight centuries and, 
though an orthodox religionist may coldly speak, a gloomy 
theologian may disapprove, and a haughty atheist may 
laugh at the idea, yet must continue as long as the Earth 
turns round the Sun. 

The author of this Ballad Sreenatha is a Vira Saivite 
for ceremony, but he seems to belong to the school o 
rational philosophers as they may be called* Though'we 
cannot claim for him subtler element! of social morality 
according to tradition, his movements aeem to be entirely 
in high society and he was one oi the most celebrated 
scholars of his age in the Telugu country. 



Palnati Veeracharitra, has been uupublished 
and unknown to the general public until this time. It, 
in the course of four hundred and more years through 
which it kept its ^existence, underwent many changes, 
though not radical, in its composition. Somehow or other 
the book, from very early times, has always been in the 
hands of the illiterate low caste beggars who sing the 
story to the people and receive something as reward from 



87 

them. These illiterate people who possess the book 
never like the Idea of publishing it thinking that, if 
published, every one would know those poems. Orthodox 
Brahmins, in general, think it madness to pay close 
attention to the singing of these beggars and disgrace to 
hold conversation with them. Moreover, this voluminous 
poem is not in one place with one person but portions of 
it are scattered throughout the Telugu country. Under 
such circumstances, the readers can imagine the awkward 
position in which I was when trying to get the book and 
the difficulties that would present themselves before 
. finally succeeding in the attempt. In a way, I have now 
published this part of the whole poem and eagerly' expect 
encouragement from the Telugu Public to bring out the 
remaining portions also within a short time. I have fixed 
the date of the war and the original home of the Heroes 
in my Telugu introduction with the light of the few 
historical accounts, Puranas and inscriptions I could have 
access to and if students of history kindly give their 
valuable suggestions upon the points, I shall feel highly 
grateful to them and acknowledge my indebtedness to 
them. Although the book had been given to the press nearly 
one year back, it could not be completed till now owing to 
the limited means and time that I could devote fbr it in 
the midst of other duties. My thanks are, however, 
due to Sri D. Kesava Row Pantulu Garn, Proprie- 
tor of the Vani Press, for the kind and timely help he 
rendered in many ways in bringing the book to its 
present form at least so early as this. I must express my 
feelings of gratitude to Sri Akkiraju Sankarayana Garu, 



Sri Challagundla Pichayya Garu, and Sri Janapati 
Venkatappayya Garu and Sri Unnava Lakshminarayana 
Pantulu Garu, for their kind aid in the publication of 
this work. 



BEZWADA, 
9th June,, 1911. ) 8g" THE EDITOR. 



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