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Errapragada Erranna (Telugu: ఎఱ్రాప్రగడ) was a Telugu poet in the court of King Prolaya Vema Reddy (1325–1353). The surname of Erranna was Yerrapragada or Errapregada, which are epithets of the fair-skinned Sri Kumaraswami in the Telugu language, but became attached to his paternal family due its having notable members with fair or red-skinned complexions. He was honored with the title Prabandha Parameshwara ("Supreme Lord of Prabandha") and Shambudasudu.
Birth and Ancestors
Errapragada Erranna was born in the village of Gudlur, located in Pakanadu (presently Prakasam district), and lived in Chadalawada, Guntur district. He belonged to the Shrivatsa gotram and Apastambha sutram of the Brahmin caste. His father was Errapragada Suranna and mother was Errapragada Potamma. His grandfather was Errapragada Errapotanna whose name was given to him and his grandmother was Errapragada Peramma. His great-grandparents were Errapragada Bolanna and Errapragada Polamma and his great-great-grandfather was Errapragada Bhimanna. His family followed the Aradhya Shaivam sect of Sanatana Dharma. His teacher was Sriman Shankaraswami ‘Ayyagaru’, an orthodox Shaiva. Although Erranna was a devotee of Lord Sri Mahadeva and his family practised the Shaiva tradition, he also worshipped Lord Sri Vishnumurti.
The Sanskrit Mahabharata was translated into Telugu over a period of several centuries (from the 11th to 14th centuries CE). Erranna was one of the kavitrayam ("Trinity of Poets") who rendered the Mahabharatam from Sanskrit into Telugu. The other two poets were Nannaya and Tikkana of the Andhra Mahabharatam ("Andhra Mahabharat"). Tikkana translated the remaining books starting from the 4th, leaving the third book titled the Aranya Parvamu ("Book of the Forest") half-finished, for Erranna to complete. Tikkana did not touch this part because it was considered to be inauspicious to translate this book, which was left half-finished by Nannaya. Erranna started the remaining half of the Aranya Parvamu with the style of Nannaya and ended it with the style of Tikkana as a bridge between the parts translated by Nannaya and Tikkana. Just like Nannaya and Tikkanna, he used half Sanskrit and half Telugu in his Telugu translation of the Sanskrit Mahabharat. He translated the Harivamsamu and Ramayanamu from Sanskrit, dedicating both works to the founder of the Reddy Dynasty, King Prolaya Vemareddy.
Nrisimhapuranamu was his own independent work. Erranna received his inspiration for the Nrisimhapuranam from his grandfather Errapotanna. According to tradition, one day when Erranna was meditating, his grandfather appeared and advised him to write the Narisimhapuranamu. This work was based on the Brahmandapuranamu and the Vishnupuranamu.
According to the Vishnupuranamu, King Hiranyakasyapa was the powerful sovereign of Bharatavarsha (the mythological country that encompassed the entire Indian subcontinent) and was a contemporary of King Indra, the sovereign of Ilavritavarsha, also known as Swarga, which was located in the North of India. The subjects of Bharatavarsha were described as Manavas ("descendants of Manu"; "humans"). The subjects of King Indra were described as Devatas. King Hiranyakasyapa fought a war with King Indra and, having emerged victorious, occupied Ilavritavarsha. Under the rule of King Hiranyakasyapa, most of the Devatas either "converted to" or disguised themselves as Manavas for the fear of King Hiranyakasyapa. Another contemporary of King Hiranyakasyapa was the Gate Keeper of Lord Vishnu in previous life, who ruled the land beyond Ilavritavarsha in the Kshira Sagaram (the "Sea of Milk").