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Cherusseri Namboothiri 107
Born c. 1375
Kaanathoor village, Kolathunadu, Kannur
Died c. 1475
Occupation Poet
Language Malayalam
Subject poems
Notable works Krishna Gatha
Notable awards Veerasrimkhala

Cherusseri Namboothiri (c. 1375 to 1475 AD) is the author of Krishna Gatha, a poem which is used in India for daily recitation as an act of worship of Krishna during the Malayalam month Chingam (August - September) by devout Keralites.


Cherussery Namboodiri is believed to have lived between 1375 and 1475 AD. Cherussery 586 the name of his ancestral Illam (home). He was born in Kaanathoor village in Kolathunadu in Kannur Dist. in north Malabar. Many scholars think he is none other than Punathil Namboodiri.He was a court poet and dependent of Udayavarma Raja of Kolathunadu. His masterpiece is "Krishnagaathha" a long poem of epical dimensions written at the behest of the Raja. It is the first "Mahaakaavyam" in Malayalam. Udayavarma rewarded him with "Veerasrinkhala" and other honours. Some scholars think that he also wrote "Cherussery Bhaaratham". Cherussery is the originator of the "Gaathha" style of poetry in Malayalam. "Krishnagaathha" is the detailed description of the boyhood pranks of Lord Krishna based on the 10th canto of "Srimad Bhaagavatham". Cherusseri was known as king of poems .. The poem is considered a landmark in the development of Malayalam literature, . It describes the story of Lord krishna based on the Bhagavatham, an early Puranic text. Cherusseri was inspired by a lullaby and he followed its pattern for the composition of Krishna Gadha. Some scholars believe that he also wrote cherusserite Cherusseri Bharatham. But now it is proved that it was not written by the great .

His famous krishna gatha has 1600 lines which are devotional . The whole of this poem was written in the ' vritham ' Manjari .He was the court poet in the palace of the King Udayavarman of Kolathiri Desam.He wrote the poem according to the instruction of the king. This is the story where there is a lot of descriptions about Krishna's life after Mahabharata to the end of the life of yadavar who where the citizens of the kingdom dhawaraka.

Cherusseri Namboothiri (1500 AD) is the author of Krishnagatha, which is used for daily recitation as an act of worship of Krishna during the Malayalam month Chingam (August - September) by the devout Keralites, especially women. The sonorous poetry Krishnagatha depicts the exploits of Lord Krishna. It is said that the author was inspired by a lullaby sung by a mother to put her child to sleep. He followed the same metrical pattern for his composition. It is in Krishna Gatha, that we see a diction, which is similar to that of the present day. The theme deals with the story of Lord Krishna. The sweet and tender aspects of maternal love are wonderfully portrayed in this work. This work has been respected by the people of Kerala similar to Ezhuttacchan’s Adyatma Ramayana (Ezhuttacchan is known as the father of modern Malayalam literature). Cherusseri’s importance lies in his clear inclination towards native tongue, by which his poetry became popular among the people of Kerala. The author of ‘Krishna Gaatha’, Cherusseri Namboothiri - is well known to Keralites. It is presumed, hailing from the Namboothiri illam (residence of Namboothiri community) known as Cherusseri or Punam in Kurumbranaatu Taluk in Northern Kerala, he lived there sometime around the year 650 in Malayalam calendar. There aren’t much details recorded in history about the life of this poet. But if his ‘Krishna Gaatha’ is studied carefully we cannot ignore the fact that Cherusseri was a poet of deep aesthetic sense. More than that, few lines in the opening stanzas clarify that he was a court poet in the palace of the king Udayavarman, who then ruled the Kolaththiri Dhesam: “ Paalaazhi maaruthan paalichchu porunna Kolathu Nathan Udhayavarman Aajnaye cholliyaal ajnanaayullava njaan Praajnaayingane bhaavichchappol”. (When the king who rules the Kolath dhesam commands, the ignorant me pretend to be a talented one…) Doesn’t these lines proclaim his position as the court poet? Cherusseri Namboothiri’s living period has been decided based on the historical record of King Udayavarman’s period of reign. Other than ‘Krishna Gaatha’, ‘Bhaaratha Gaatha’ is also considered to be Cherusseri’s composition. ‘Krishna Gaatha’ is written in a melodious metre known as ‘manjari’. As there are lengthy beautiful descriptions with lavish use of adjectives throughout the poetical work, the composition is quite interesting and enjoyable. Feelings of passion, devotion, humor, and warmth are all discovered in a superior level, singly in natural style and with equal measure. Based on ‘Bhaagavatha Puraana’, it is inexplicable as to how well the entire life of Krishna including his attainment of heaven is discussed with so much devotion in this composition. It was not with as much boldness in language, but with gentleness in language that Cherusseri won the heart of Keralites and became the pride of the soil of Kerala. Shri.Chirakkal Balakrishnan Nair had made valuable contributions in the research works regarding Cherussery Namboothiri and his works. Chirakkal Balakrishnan Nair is considered as an authoritative source in the studies on Cherussery. Chirakkal's articles has been published by Kerala Sahitya Academy, Thrissur.

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