Annamacharya #12 – Married Life in Tallapaka

by Sahadev Komaragiri

Out of his love for his new life in Tirumala, Annamayya may have forgotten his home and his family, but his parents Narayana Suri and Lakkamamba did not give up their search for their son. Their son was a blessing of Lord Venkateswara. They knew that he would be safe. Their search eventually focused on Tirumala Tirupati. They decided to travel the whole distance and either find their son there or petition to the Lord to find their son for them. The parents arrived in Tirupati and they were extremely pleased to know that their son was in the safe hands of Lord Venkateswara and applying himself to singing His praise.

This is the twelfth article in my series of articles on Annamacharya. Life in Tirumala is the previous article in the series. Royal Patronage is the next article in the series.


We do not know how many years passed before the parents got reunited with their lost son. Lakkamamba, the ever loving mother that she was, insisted that her son must return to Tallapaka. Annamayya for obvious reasons refused to go back. There was no easy way to settle this.  Annamayya’s guru intervened at this point and suggested that Annamayya must return with his parents. In his efforts to convince Annamayya to return with his parents, the guru blessed him with various divine discourses. He announced his prediction that Annamayya’s children will acquire great fame. With a heavy heart Annamayya decided to leave Tirumala and followed his parents back to Tallapaka.

While in Tirumala, Annamayya was under the patronage of the Vaishnavites. We do not clearly know who his guru was during this period. It was perhaps Ghana Vishnu who introduced Annamayya to Vaishnavism or someone appointed by Ghana Vishnu.

Marriage to Timmakka and Akkalamma

Once he arrived in Tallapaka, his mother wasted no time in finding a suitable bride for him. She was, perhaps, concerned about his son returning to Tirumala. Marital bondage was the only hope of grounding him in Tallapaka. Although there was some concern about finding the right match for someone who spends most of his time in devotional singing, Lakkamamba found not one but two women, Timmalkka and Akkalamma, who were willing to get married to Annamayya. The marriage was performed dutifully. This life changing event has certainly grounded Annamayya in Tallapaka for a considerable amount of time.

His single minded devotion to Lord Venkateswara never faded in spite of the marriage. In fact it allowed him to expand his creativity in his compositions to new levels. Every family situation that he encountered, he related it to his favorite Lord. He created problem situations along with the solutions dramatizing incidents on how the divine couple would solve their own problems. In one such case he advises the Lord on why he should not be angry with the lady on the Lotus, Laxmi Devi, in the composition alukalu chellavu hari purushottama. In another situation, he visualized an exchange between a mother and her daughter-in-law and immediately composed raave kodala rattadi kodala, pove pove attayya pondulu neeto chaalunu, a song on an exchange between Goddess Laxmi and her daughter-in-law Goddess Saraswati Devi.

When it was the time for toddlers to roam around the house, he composed several lullabies to put them to sleep. The most famous of all of them is jo achyutananda jo jo mukunda. He wrote several more to describe their naughty behavior in the form of compositions on Lord Krishna such as muddugare yasodha, chinni sisuvu, itti mudduladu baludedavadu, yedutanunnadu veede ee baludu and satulala choodare sraavana bahulaashtami. All these songs are extremely popular. After Lord Venkateswara, the most celebrated deity in his compositions is Sri Krishna. In the song yedutanunnadu veede ee baludu Annamayya freely expresses some of the doubts that we all have when it comes to the Sri Krishna avatar of Sri Maha Vishnu. How is it possible for Lord Vishnu to both be a parama purusha as well as a cowherd? How can he be both the source of all Vedas as well as a stealer of butter? How can he be father of Brahma and then be son of Yashoda? You may listen to this composition from the control below:

If the above control does not work, click here

There is hardly any situation in Annamayya’s married life that he did not relate to Lord Venkateswara.  His married life led him to write romantic compositions which outnumber devotional compositions by more than 5 to 1. For the uninitiated, the romantic compositions are difficult to comprehend. For many out there romance and devotion are mutually exclusive. They don’t mix. That leads us to the discussion on madhura bhakti.

Madhura Bhakti

Madhura bhakti, although seems very simple in its conception, is the most difficult one to comprehend. These compositions are sometimes referred to as erotic compositions in view of their content.  When one hears and understands the literal meaning of these compositions it almost feels like if the author is not the same one who could have written other intensely devotional and philosophical songs.  But, one has to transcend the boundaries of the mundane physical attributes and understand the deeper significance of such compositions. As you listen to these compositions, it will be immediately evident how much Annamayya respected his God and His consort Alimelumanga.

This is a very complex and difficult topic to deal with, but I will try and introduce it with some background. Bhakti or devotion is of six popular varieties. In shantha bhakti, the devotee aims to be balanced and peaceful. The relationship with God is established through brotherly love or friendship in sakhya bhakti. In daasya bhakti the devotee becomes a servant of God. The love of a mother is expressed in vaathsalya bhakti; a number of compositions on Krishna are of this type. A deep affection for God is experienced in anuraga bhakti. Finally it is the Madhura Bhakti that transcends all relationships when a devotee is completely overcome a supreme love eager to merge in the Lord. Annamacharya expressed his bhakti in all these forms. Of these, Vaishnava tradition considers madhura bhakti to be the most important one. Annamacharya mastered compositions on this type of devotion that was extremely popular throughout India during his time. It is in madhura bhakti that Annamacharya has composed over 70% of his sankeertanas in the form of sringara or romantic compositions.  We must remember that the classification of the compositions into Adhyatma and Sringara kinds was decided at the time of writing of inscriptions on the copper plates.

Let us consider an example here. Paluku tenela talli pavalinchenu kaliki tanamuna vibhuni kalasinadhi gaana is one such composition that describes the beauty of Alivelumanga as she sleeps long into the day from the exhaustion of the previous night spent with the Lord. In romantic compositions of this kind references are made to the Lord and his relationship with his wife. You may listen to the composition paluku tenela talli using the control below:

If the above control does not work, click here

As can be seen from this composition, romantic feelings are expressed freely and without any inhibition, however one will not find any traces of vulgarity in these compositions. If you noticed, such a highly charged up romantic song is about none other than the mother (paluku tenela talli) and consort of his beloved Lord Venkateswara.

I am not competent enough to touch this topic that was most popular during his time, but least understood these days. I must admit that I am entirely helpless when it comes to understanding and comprehending a vast majority of his romantic compositions.

Tutelage of Satakopayati

During this time Annamayya visited various sacred sites especially Ahobhalam. He spent considerable amount of time in Ahobhalam under the tutelage of Adivan Satakopayati. According to the Ahobila Mutt sources , Adivan Satakopayati was the first Jeeyar of the Sri Ahobila Mutt. Under this guru he is said to have learnt the Vedas and a number of other important scriptures. He is perhaps the only guru Annamacharya praised in one of his compositions choodo dindhariki shulabudu hari. I am not able to find an audio version of this song, but a very good translation of this composition may be found here. Annamayya composed a number of songs on Narasimha Swami of Ahobhalam. It is at Ahobhalam that Sri Maha Vishnu descended as the Narasimha Avatar to kill Hiranya Kasipu. The Bhakti of Prahlada, the antagonist son of demon Hiranya Kasipu, is a perpetual source of inspiration for many of the devotees of Lord Vishnu. Here is one composition of Annamacharya that is in praise of the Narasimha Avatar. You may listen to this composition using the control below:

If the above control does not work, click here

It is also during this time that he is supposed to have composed the entire Ramayana in a series of compositions. It is a big loss if these are permanently lost. However, there are many existing compositions that have references to the stories of the Ramayana.

Annamayya during this stage of life composed thousands of songs. His popularity in the region was growing by leaps and bounds. This naturally attracted the attention of the rulers of the region. What happens during this stage of royal patronage must wait until we get to the next post!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

manoj kumar ganadi January 15, 2014 at 1:31 pm

thank you for ur kind information about annamachari,we are happy to read this.


aryan May 26, 2018 at 5:42 am

you all think annamaya is expired but for me he is alive in my heart ………………


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