by Alexandra Song, BA
Annamayacharya was born in Andra Pradesh, and lived during the reign of Krishnadevarya. Annamayacharya's music is about both the pain and the bliss that a soul must undertake when awakening. He worships Venkateshawara, the Kali Yuga’s incarnation of Vishnu, quarrels with him, professes extreme doubt over his Guru’s presence and ultimately, surrenders, receiving enlightenment. This divine play between God and a devotee is captured in over 36,000 sankeertanas.
Annamayacharya is considered to be a treasure of the Telugu language. His work embodies the nuance and fragrance that distinguishes Telugu as a tool for channeling divine inspiration. Annamayacharya’s understanding of how Telugu connects to the nature brings a supernatural depth to his songs, which he considered to be floral offerings to Vishnu.
Annamayacharya was also revolutionary in understanding the illusions of caste and race in India that were prevalent during his era. He used his platform as a recognized poet to stand for the truth, teaching that the relationship between God and human is equal regardless of one’s position in life. “Brahmam okate Parabrahmam” a line from one of his songs, translates literally into “God is one. Supreme God is one.”