Monday, January 27, 2020

Pandit Venkatakrishna Sharma - a brief biography

Pt. Venkatakrishna Sharma
Venkata Krishna Sharma alias Bellur Puttanayya or Pandit B. S. Venkatakrishna Sharma was born on 3rd of October, 1927 in Bellur village in the south of Karnataka. His date of birth according to official government records is 7 May 1929. His father was Sanjeevayya Dixit who was a teacher at the local school. Venkatakrishna Sharma was the eldest child.  The Dixit family traces its history in and around Bellur village to at least 125 years. They were essentially a family of Vedic scholars. Bellur village located in Nagamangala taluk, Mandya district is roughly 110 kms from Bangalore city. It was also called Rajatapura once upon a time and has been famous for the Adhi Madhavarayaswamy temple built there by the Hoysala dynasty. It is believed that, at one point of time, there were about sixty brahmin families in the village, engaging themselves mainly in the priestly activities of the temple in addition to offering vedic rituals for various festivals and religious functions of the villagers. The senior Dixit couple – Krishna Dixit and Kaveramma had twelve children – six boys and six girls. The Dixit family had substantial lands in and around the village which sufficed their monetary needs for a long time. These are some of Venkatakrishna Sharma’s siblings – Hiriyannayya, Madhava Sharma, Sreenivasa Dixit, Ramaswamy Dixit, Aswathnarayana Dixit, Bhagirathi, Kaveramma, Lakshmi Devi, Nagalakshmi. Venkatakrishna Sharma attended the local government school and these are few of the teachers there whom he remembered with fondness - Padmarajayya, Lakshmana Gowda, Lakshmi Narasimhayya, Narasimhayya. Among other topics he was also taught Agriculture and Irrigation at this government school!

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Saturday, January 11, 2020

“Gommaṭa Rāya” by Dr S. Srikanta Sastri (1953)

The ancient sacred place of the Jainas in South India, sometimes called Jaina Badari, was the Kaṭavapra or Kalbappu giri, later called Sravana Belagola or Sramana Belagola and Sukla Tirtha in the Jaina scriptures. Even as early as the Mauryan age its fame had spread in Northern India and tradition asserts that the great emperor Chandragupta Maurya and his preceptor Bhadrabahu Srutakevali came and resided here for twelve years. Chandragupta is said to have passed away here and a cave at Sravanabelagola is named after him. Regarding the historicity of this episode, Fleet and others were skeptical. That the tradition is at least as old as the 7th century A. D. is proved by the Sravanabelagola inscriptions and literary works. Therefore there is nothing inherently improbable in the tradition and much stronger evidence must be produced before we can endorse Fleet’s opinion that it was Ekangadhara Bhadrabahu and Guptigupta of about the first century A. D. who were associated with Sravanabelagola.

Through the succeeding early centuries of the Christian Era, Kaṭavapra was the sacred Tirtha attracting Jaina Sadhus of different Sakhas and different parts of India. The inscriptions of about 700 A. D. mention the names of several saints who ended their days here. The surnames Kirti, Sena, Deva, Nandi which distinguish the four sakhas of Mula Samgha, Konda Kundanvaya were of already prevalent from the beginning of the seventh century.

To read the complete article, Click Here