Monday, May 4, 2015

Jaina Traditions in Rajavali Katha

Jaina Goddess Ambika
Rajavali Katha of Devachandra is a work completed in 1841 A.D. and its value lies in the traditions about Jainism, its history in Karnataka, the literature in Samskrit and Kannada, incidental references to ruling dynasties and contemporary religions. Its historical extremely open to doubt, but it furnishes a starting point for further research and hence cannot be dismissed as entirely fanciful.

Devachandra and his elder brothers Chandayya and Padmaraja were the descendants of a Jaina Brahmana Bommanna, an accountant of Giripura.

Devachandra was born in 1770 A.D, and from his Fourteenth year he began to write poems. In his 22nd year (1772 4.1) he wrote Pujyapada Charita in Kannada. Since his elder brother Padmaraja is also said to have written that work, both brothers must have co-operated in the production. Since Devachandra presented the Rajavali Kathe to Mummudi Krishna Raja Wodeyar in 1841 he must have lived for more than 70 years. Rajavali Kathe was his last work and before that he wrote Ramakathavatara, Sumeru Sataka, Bhaktisara, Satakatraya, Sastrasara, Laghu Vritti, Pravachana Siddhanta, Dravya Samgraha Dvadasanupreksha Katha, Dhyana Samrajya, Dvadasanupreksha Katha, Dhyana Samrajya, Adhyatma Vichara, Karnataka Samskrta Balanudi, etc. He says that when Mackenzie with Sardar Lakshman Rao came to Kankagiri, he asked for local records, Devachandra showed him his pujyapada charita. Mackenzie took the poet along with him from Kamaraballi to Nagavala and giving him 25 Rupees asked him to send a written account of all the old traditions. Devachandra began his Rajavali Katha in 1804 and completed it in 1838 A.D. Therefore he took nearly 35 years in compiling it. In 1841 Deviramba, Queena of Chamaraja heard of the work and asked the author to complete it by adding the history of the Mysore Kings. Perhaps this was submitted to Krishna Raja Wodeyar III in 1841-42.

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