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Poonthanam Namboothiri

"Kandu kandangirikkum janathine
kandillennu varthunnathum bhavaan
Maalika mukla eriya mannante
Tholil maraappu kettunnathum bhavaan"

These are lines well known to most malayalees, as a simple and succint description of destiny. These lines feature in the brief, simple, devotional poem by the renownwd Poonthaanam Namboothiri. Although the lines and the poem, Jnanappana, in which they figure are famous, very little factual detail is known about the auhtor. Some of the other works by the same poet are Santhaanagopalam Paana, Bhasha Karnamritam. But Jnanappana is the best known and the best like dof his works.

It is fairly well accepted that he lived during the times of Melpathoor Bhattathippad, the author of Naraayaneayam. Melpathoor in turn is believed to have lived sometime during 1550-1630, some authorities are more specific, and mention 1559-1632 as the period of Melpathur. Thunchath Ezhuthachan, the author of Kilippaattu Raamaayaanam. was another literary luminary of this period. The works of Ezhuthachan towers above those of his contemporaries. But the simple devotion and one might say, a no-nonsense approach to bhakthi, characterises, Jnanappaana. Maybe that is the reason why it survives to this day.

Anecdotes about Poonthaanam Namboothiri will be added later.