She was born in a potters' family in Nellore. She was the second poet in Telugu only after Tallapaka Timmakka, wife of Annamacharya. Despite being a woman and from a lower caste potter's family, She translated Sanskrit Ramayana, story of God Rama into Telugu.
Her father Kesana was a potter of Gopavaram, a village in Kovur Mandal, a few miles north of Nellore in Andhra Pradesh state. He was a Shivite and devotee of Mallikarjuna(an incarnation of Shiva) of Srisailam. He gave her daughter name Molla, that means Jasmine, favourite flower to God, and also called with nickname, Basavi in the respect of Basaveswara(another incarnation of Shiva).
Molla, herself in her book, said that she was the daughter of a potter and claimed Lord Shiva as Guru. It is believed that she had inspiration from Potana, who wrote Bhagavata Purana in telugu. Like him, she was Shivite, but wrote the story of Rama (an incarnation of Vishnu) and also refused to dedicate her Ramayan to any king according to general practice for poets.
According to Varadarajn's book, "Study of Vaishnav Literature", as the news of her popularity was spread, she was invited to Royal court and got an oppurtunity to recite Ramayana in front of Krishnadevaraya and his poets. She spent her old age at Srisailam in the presence of Lord Mallikarjuna.
Her works and Style
Her work is known as Molla Ramayana and is still one of the simplest of many Ramayanas written in Telugu.
She had used simple Telugu and used Sanskrit words very rarely. Any person who knows to read telugu can understand it. Poets earlier to her like Tikkana and Potana used Sanskrit words freely in their works.
She was humble and claimed her knowledge of the earlier scholars who had written the Ramayana in her book. The opening poem says - "Ramayana had been written many times. Does someone stop taking food because it has been taken every day? So is the story of Rama and one can write, read and love it as many number of times as possible."
She added fiction and stories to original story and removed some portions from original story. Earlier Sanskrit to Telugu translation works followed the exact story sequences in the original work. She was contemporary to Srinatha and poets of Vijayanagara Empire, who created Prabhandas which are known for adding fictions.