Remembering Vavilikolanu Subba Rao The Vaasu Daasa Swami Who Developed Vontimitta Temple

Remembering Vavilikolanu Subba Rao The Andhra Valmiki Who Developed Vontimitta Temple - Sakshi Post

YSR KADAPA: The annual Brahmotsavams of Sri Kodanda Rama Swamy temple at Vontimitta in YSR Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh, which is also known as the Andhra Bhadradri commenced on April 10 and will end on the 18th of this year. The 16th-century temple is built in the Vijayanagara architectural style and the famous Sri Kodanda Rama Swamy varu is the presiding deity. The Rama Navami celebrations which were earlier celebrated in Bhadrachalam in the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh were shifted to Telangana after the bifurcation. The Vontimitta Kodandarama Swamy Temple was chosen as the alternative venue for the official celebrations in 2015 and is under the administrative control of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam Board. The Andhra Pradesh Government has declared the Vontimitta Lord Rama as its official deity.

At this juncture, one should remember the efforts of Vavilikolanu Subba Rao or Andhra Valmiki or Vaasu Daasa Swami, a Sanskrit scholar because of whose efforts the temple was restored in the early 20th century.

Subba Rao was a renowned Telugu poet known by the epithet Andhra Valmiki. He was the first Telugu scholar to translate the Sanskrit version of Valmiki Ramayana into Telugu titled as "Mandaram" and dedicated it to Lord Rama at Vontimitta.

He was born on January 23, 1863, in Jammalamadugu to Ramachandra Rao and Kanakamba, and his wife’s name was Ranganayakamma. In 1883 he joined the Proddatur Taluka office as a clerk and was promoted to Revenue Inspector and served in the Revenue Department till 1900. In 1904 he joined Madras Presidency College as Lecturer in Telugu. After retiring from his teaching job at Chennai in 1920, he moved back to Vontimitta.

He is said to have had a dream while staying at a choultry in Ghatikachalam where he was told to renovate the  Lord Ram temple at Vontimitta . The Kodandaramalayam came to a state of despair after the hundreds of acres of lands donated for the welfare of the Rama temple by the earlier kings were slowly usurped. Because of this at one point offering the naivedya to Lord Rama in the temple had become very difficult.

Subba Rao then took up the issue and decided to uplift the temple’s prospects all by himself. It is said that he had begged from door-to-door across the state with a coconut shell as a begging bowl to collect funds for the temple. Using those funds he restored the Vontimitta Temple to its former glory and kept nothing for himself and gave the whole amount for the development of the Rama temple.

He took Sanyasa deeksha in 1920s and under the name of Vasudaasa Swami. Subba Rao breathed his last on 1 August 1936 in Chennai and his house was also donated to the Vontimitta Rama temple.

He has also written many works like Ramayana, Sri Krishnalilamritham, Dwipada Bhagavad Gita, Andhra Vijayam, Dandakatrayam, Tenkayachippa Shatakam, Potana Nikethana Charcha, Sriramanuthi, Kausalya Parinayam. In a meeting presided over by Bellary Raghava, Telugu scholars conferred the title of Andhra Valmiki on Vavilikolanu Subba Rao.

Telugu poet Bammera Potana also stayed in Vontimitta and wrote his magnum opus Maha Bhagavatham and dedicated it to Rama. The saint-poet Tallapaka Annamacharya is said to have visited the temple and composed songs in praise of Rama here.

Also Read: Vontimitta Sri Sita Rama Kalyanam: CM YS Jagan To Present Silk Clothes On Behalf of AP Govt

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