Oruganti Venkata Krishanyya (1904-1981) was a staunch devotee of Sri Bhagavan. He was a lawyer and a government official. He was a frequent visitor to Sri Ramanasramam right from the early 1930s.
In 1936 he published Ramana Leela in Telugu assuming the name Krishna Bhikshu. This was one of the three biographies of Sri Bhagavan published during his bodily lifetime. The other two are Self-Realization in English by B.V. Narasimha Swamy and Sri Raman Vijayam in Tamil by Shuddananada Bharati. Krishna Bhikshu later revised his work as Sri Bhagavan himself found some errors pertaining to certain incidents in his life in the first three editions. In April 1949, Krishna Bhikshu sat before Bhagavan and read the book. Bhagavan made several corrections in the text. After this Krishna Bhikshu brought out the fourth edition in 1957. Ramana Leela, therefore, is the only biography of Sri Bhagavan that has been seen and corrected by him and hence authentic. There are many rare incidents in this work that are not to be found in the other biographies.
Sri Ramansaramam is pleased to bring this book in English. The translation was done by Pingali Sundaram, a devotee from Hyderabad.
Sri Bhagavan's ways are inscrutable. Just at a time when I thought that my brief foray into the literary world had come to an end after a little over a decade, I got a long-distance call from the President of Sri Ramanasramam, Sri V.S.Ramanan, asking me to undertake an English translation of Sri Krishna Bhikshu's Telugu biography of Sri Ramana Maharshi, Sri Ramana Leela. I took this as a command of Sri Bhagavan and immediately agreed to take up the assignment, though I was aware that it was a formidable task. I was secure in the belief that Sri Bhagavan would ensure the completion of the job.
A little before this assignment came my way I attempted to read this very book and gave it up as being too tough for me. Sri Krishna Bhikshu's book, first published in 1936 and subsequently revised, is written in a highly classical and Sanskritised style preferred by scholars and pandits of his time. It is replete with several passages which to me appeared to be abstruse and convoluted. Also at several places, the narration does not proceed in a smooth and logical manner. This style of writing has largely gone into disuse.
In attempting to translate the book I was faced with many difficult choices and finally concluded that what I should attempt is not a literal translation but one which is closely faithful to the original. For this purpose I had to paraphrase many passages, re-arrange certain paragraphs and generally make the book readable. It is for the readers to judge whether I have succeeded or not.
In this endeavour I have received generous help from Prof Mohan Ramanan, of the Department of English, University of Hyderabad and my daughter, Dr. P. Sailaja, of the same Department. Neither of them has gone through the Telugu original and the numerous useful suggestions they gave after going through the manuscript have provided an invaluable input. Also, the original abounds in Sanskrit quotations which were explained to me by Dr. Poranki Dakshinamurty, former Deputy Director, Telugu Academy, Hyderabad. My grateful thanks to all of them. I also wish to thank Sri V.S. Ramanan who has given me this opportunity in the first place. May Sri Bhagavan shower them with His grace.
This book is the result of Sri Bhagavan's anugraha. In all humility, I offer it to Him with all its blemishes, confident that with His characteristic graciousness, kindness and indulgence He will deign to accept it.
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