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Sripada Krishnamurthy Sastry – Short Biography – Literary Works

Sripada Krishnamurthy Sastry (1866 – 1962 CE) was an outstanding Telugu poet and playwright. He was born in a remote village in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, India. Venkata Somidamma and Venkata Somayaji were his parents. He was a devotee of Goddess Bala Tripurasundari. He was a versatile genius, a poet, critic, translator, journalist, and avadhani (one who performs literary gymnastics where concentration is put to test), apart from being a great patriot. He was a famous scholar. He is the author of more than 100 works. Sriapada’s major poetical works are Sri Krishna Mahabharata, Sri Krishna Maha Bhagavata and Sri Krishna Ramayana.

Sripada Krishnamurthy Sastry was one of the eminent avadhanis of his time. He performed a number of avadhanas at various places. He was an ashtavadhani and a satavadhani. He performed avadhanas in Telugu and Sanskrit. Sripada was also a journalist. He maintained the Kalavati press at Chennai and then shifted it to Rajahmundry. He published several journals, like Gautami, Manavaseva, Vajrayudha and Vandemataram.

Sripada Krishnamurthy Sastry was not only an epic poet but also a great write of prabandhas (narrative prose or verse). His Vijayalakshmi Vilasam (1932 CE) narrates the story of Jada Bharatham, a peculiar character of Mahabhagavata. His other poetical works are Yekavali Parinayam, Savitricaritam, Gajanana Vijayam, Ganesha puranam and Canakya Satakam. His works on Kshetramahatmya are Gautami Mahatmya (1896) and kanakagiri Kriti (1898). His work Asthana Kavi (1950) reflects the tradition, history and culture of India from Vedic times. His style is characterized by Telugu idioms and proverbs.

He was a distinguished writer of dramas also. He wrote Bobbili Yuddha (1908), Gandhi Vijayadhvajam (1921) and Tilakamaharaya Natakam (1913). He translated Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night as Mohini Manoharam.

Sripada Krishnamurthy Sastry was also a critic. His Andhra Meghasandesam Vimarsanam, Andhra Vikramorvasiyam Vimarsanam, Andhra Sakuntala Nataka Vimarsanam, Bharatandhrikarana Vimarsanam, and Mahabharata Rahasya Vimarsanam occupy a prominent position in the field of Telugu criticism. His Panditabhiyogam contains arguments and counter arguments on Mahabharata Carita of Pendyala Subrahmanya Sastri.

Sripada Krishnamurthy Sastry wrote his autobiography, Sri Krishna Charitam (1959) in Sanskrit at first and then in Telugu. His other works are Srinada Kavirajiyam, Rajabhakti, Kalabhasini, Kalidasavilasam, Cellapillavari Ceralatam, Vikramarka Vijayam, Venisamharam and Samskrita Kavi Jivitamulu.

In 1932, the admirers of Sripada Krishnamurthy Sastry brought out a felicitation volume entitled Kavi Sarvabhaumabhyudayam. Anantapantula Ramalingaswami had written the biography of this great scholar and named it Krishna Jivitam.

Sripada Krishnamurthy Sastry was the second asthana kavi (State Poet) of Andhra Pradesh from 1950 to 1962.