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Tikkana – Telugu Literary Figure - Important Works – Mahabharata

Tikkana was a 13th century versatile Telugu literary figure. He was a poet, scholar and translator. That an age in Telugu literature has been named after Tikkana is proof of his greatness as a poet. As the pioneering trendsetter of a particular type of poetry, he has been hailed as yugakarta (yuga – age, karta – creator).

Tikkana was born to Kommana and Annama, who belonged to a family of poets and scholars. His grandfather, Bhaskara, was a minister in the court of the king of Guntur.
Tikkana worked as a minister in the court of Manumasiddhi, the ruler of Nellore kingdom, and soon became the poet-laureate. By virtue of his ministerial capabilities and poetic prowess, he was even able to help the king regain his lost kingdom. He performed Soma Yajna, a Vedic ritual, and thereafter was known as Tikkana Somayaji.

He was against religious rivalry within the Hindu fold. He dedicated his Mahabharata to Hari Haranatha, a deity combining Shiva and Vishnu. He always adhered to the philosophy of tolerance.

Literary Works of Tikkana

Some of the important works of Tikkan are:
  • Vijasenam
  • Krishnasatakam
  • Kavi Vagbandhanam (books on prosody)
  • Nirvacanottara Ramayana
  • Mahabharata
Vijasenam and Krishnasatakam are not available.

Kavi Vagbandhanam is not considered as the work of Tikkana by researchers. So only Nirvacanottara Ramayana and the Mahabharata are available in the name of Tikkana.

Nirvacanottara Ramayana was Tikkana’s first work, wherein he translated the Uttara Kanda of Ramayana in 10 chapters. It was written in poetic form and therefore the name Nirvacanottara, meaning “without prose”, and is dedicated to his beloved king, Manumasiddi.

Tikkana is one of the three very important poets of early Telugu literature, the other two being Nannya and Errana. He translated the Mahabharata from Sanskrit to Telugu, and he was the second to one in poetic style. Many titles are conferred on him, including Kavibrahma (Brahma among poets) and Ubhaya Kavi Mitra (friend of both classes of poets), one believing in the predominant usage of Telugu in their works, the other emphasizing use of Sanskrit.