Tenali Ramakrishna, The Humorous Poet:
Tenali Ramakrishna is popularly known as Tenali Rama and Vikata Kavi. He was a court-poet of the Vijaya Nagar Empire in the 16th century CE during Krishnadevaraya period. The Vijaya Nagar Empire has a prominent place in the Indian History and also flourished the culture and heritage of India. Sri Krishna Deva Rayalu the great rulers of the Vijaya Nagar Kingdom, has transformed his regime into a Golden Era in the entire Indian History. Tenali Ramakrishna was one of the Ashtadiggajas who patrons of Krishna Deva Raya. The Historians believe that there is a lot of similarity between Akbar – Birbal and Krishnadeva Rayalu – Ramalinga.
The Ashtadiggajas in Krishnadevaraya Court:
Astadiggajas is the collective title given to the eight Telugu poets in the court of the emperor Sri Krishnadevaraya. During his reign, Telugu literature and culture reached peak stage in Telugu literature history. The age of Astadiggajas also called Prabhanda Age (1540 AD to 1600). All of the Astadiggajalu had composed at least one Prabandha Kavyamu. The Astadiggajas were (1) Allasani Peddana, (2) Nandi Thimmana, (3) Madayyagari Mallana, (4) Dhurjati, (5) Ayyalaraju Ramambhadrudu, (6) Pingali Surana, (7) Ramarajabhushanudu, and (8) Tenali Ramakrishnudu.
Differences in research
Though the above list of eight poets is widely regarded as the Ashtadiggajas, there some differences of opinion as to who exactly constituted the Ashtadiggajas and if the composition of this body changed over time. Some literary works mention the name of BhattuMurthi in place of Ramarajabhushanudu and some accounts mention Pingali Surana and Tenali Ramakrishna also as members of the later kings. From the stone inscriptions of that time, it has been inferred that the village of Thippalur in the present-day Cuddapah district has been gifted to the Ashtadiggajas from the king.
Biography of Tenali Ramakrishna:
Tenali Ramakrishna born in Tumuluru near Tenali in Guntur District. Tenali is an important town in coastal Andhra Pradesh at present and also famous as ‘Andhra Paris’. He also called in Vijayanagara Court as Tenali Ramalinga because he came from Tenali. Ramalinga is a Shaiva name, some believe that he later converted to Vaishnavism.
Some Scholars and Historians dispute that he was a contemporary of Krishna Deva Rayalu. Because Tenali Ramakrishna dedicated his most famous work, Panduranga Mahatyam to Krishna Deva Rayalu’s grandson. He known for wit and a large volume of poetry written in the Telugu language.
Tenali Ramakrishna works:
Tenali Ramakrishna wrote many books among Panduranga Mahatyam as one among the Pancha Kavyas, the five great books of Telugu Literature. He had dedicated Panduranga Mahatyam to Viruri Vedadri. The theme of the book is about the Pundarika Kshetram on the banks of river Bhaimi and its legend. His other books Udbhataradhya Charitram on the story of Udbhata, story of a monk. Another one Ghatikachala Mahatyam about the history and glory of Ghatikachalam, a place of worship for God Narasimha near Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India.
Writing Skills of Tenali Ramakrishna:
He wrote his books in Prabhanda style. He adopted the theme for Panduranga Mahatyam from the Skanda Purana and elaborated it with many stories about the devotees of God Vittala. His style and performance were very brilliance and wit made the other poets and personalities admired him. His other creation work and a celebrated character called Nigama Sarma akka and a story revolve around her without giving her a name. He also famous for ‘vikata kavi’, which means clown-jester-poet.
Ramalinga not only wrote the books and impressed the king with his wit activities but also protected the Kingdom according to some records of History. According to one popular story among how Ramalinga protected the Vijaya Nagar Empire from getting into the clutches of Delhi Sultans through his timely wit interlaced with a perfect strategy.
There are many popular stories among Krishnadevarayalu and Tenali Ramakrishna. These are spreads the message of intellect, time tuning, and strategic stroking besides lively wit and humor.