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Lakshmidasa – 13th century Poet of Kerala

Lakshmidasa is the author of Sukasandesha, the earlier sandesha kavya from Kerala. Tradition makes him a member of the Namboodiri Brahmin family for Karinnempalli on the banks of Periyar River.

In the Sukasandesha, the heroine belonged to the community of Nannayar, her real name was Appilla, but her stage name was Rangalakshmi. A parrot is selected as a messenger by the hero, who is the poet himself.

The route described is from Rameshwaram to the heroine’s place, Trikkanamatilakam or Gunaka to the north of Kodungallur. The places in between include Rameshwaram, Manalur, Kanyakumari, Suchindram, Thiruvananthapuram, kollam, Thiruvalla, Mahodayapuram and Kodungallur.

The text is important in throwing light on the social conditions, customs and manners prevalent in Kerala during that period. Discounting the element of exaggeration, which is part of all pure literature, the poem adds to our knowledge of social conditions of the time.

Two line from the poem are quoted in the Malayalam work Unnirilisandesha, which contains reference to King Ravi Varma of Kollam. There is no reference to this king in Sukasandesha, so it is probable that Lakshmidasa lived before King Ravi Varma, during the second half of the 13th century AD.

The main rasa of the poem is Sringara of the vipralambha type (love in separation). The style is full of allusions and suggestions which need to be explained properly, but the treatment of love never comes down to the level of vulgarity. Bhakti is also suggested at places.

Source – Sukasandesha (1984)  Geetha Pattabhiraman – Higginbothams Limited Chennai
Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume VI page 235 - IHRF