The compositions have nuances of Adhyatma or philosophy and Srungara or madhurabhakthi or eroticism. A careful observation reveals that nearly three-fourths of Annamayya’s compositions were built around the srungararasa where the nayikaavastha was the predominant theme. This meant that the nayika or the devotee took on different roles in the songs. These included role plays such as that of the Lord wife Alamelmanga, her father who marries her to the Lord or Alamelmanaga’s sakhi or friend who guides and advises her. He overlaid spirituality on eroticism with a touch of folk setting in his compositions.
Pallavi: Why on her tender lips there is musk smudged all over?
Could it be a letter by this lady to Her divine lover?
When the corners of Her chakora like eyes turned red as rubies
Wonder how that beauty is? Companions!
It may be, Her looks which penetrated deep into Her beloved
When forcefully drawn out, are blood smeared
When the beauty of Her breasts is growing beyond the veil
How is it so? You find out friends!
With unsated passion, Her Lord left crescent moon nail indent marks,
And it may be from them, the summer moon light is glowing!
When from the edges of this lovable lady’s cheeks there is this draggle of pearls,
Wonder how it is? O Companions!
Tiru Venkatapathi in His amorous passion, must have smeared on Her lotus face,
The Beauty of the sweat drops of love making! Is it not?!
Annamayya was different from most other composers of his time. While he was a saint, he was not a hermit. He was a progressive thinker who was dedicated to social causes and brought those themes into his writings. His topics from philosophy and environment to women empowerment and eternal cosmic energy shed a light on his long sightedness. Remember that this was during the 15th century – a time when women were oppressed and were not allowed into the limelight often. In his writings, he believed that the Lord and Lakshmi were equal partners and that women can rule the world. He encouraged women to be educated and this was evident from his personal life as well. His wife Timmakka was one of the first poetess (Vidushis). The brilliant literary work of Subhadrakalyanam is attributed to her. All these are themes that the current generation can imbibe and gain inspiration from. Their relevance to modern day is one of the major reasons why Rao feels that the compositions should gain more accessibility and prominence.