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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Sunday, March 29, 2015

'Sulakas and Mulakas' by Dr S. Srikanta Sastri

Prominent Mulukanadu Personalities 
The identification of Sulakas with Cholikas put forward by Rev. Mr. Heras seems to me untenable. Mere word resemblances unsupported by other facts, cannot be accepted as conclusive. As instances of this deceptive method we can put forward the resemblances between Sulakas and Salikis, Salkis etc. Salki, Chalukya, Salikya etc., are used as variants of the same word Chalukya e.g. the Bezwada inscription of Yuddhamalla; speculations as to the origin and exact connotation of the term mulaka as found in the name of an Andhra community “Mulaka Nadu”, are too numerous to mention. Reference might be made to two of such theories put forward to show the futility of such linguistic gymnastics. One theory is that it derives its name from “Mulks”, Ibrahim Mulk and his descendents; the other is that it ought to be Munikula Nadu, Both of these, to put it mildly, are fanciful.

Mulaka is mentioned in the Jatakas along with Assaka. The Assakas again must be
Fr. Heras
differentiated from Aswakas, a term sometimes applied to the western Kshatrapas as Skandasishya is said to have taken the Ghatika of Kanchi from one Satyasena an Assaka. Asmaka was one of the eighteen earliest Janapadas mentioned in Buddhist literature. Panini mentions Asmaka (iv. 1. 173). In the Baveru Jataka, we are told that the disciples started from the Asmaka country to Mahissati, Ujjeni, Paithana of Mulaka country, Gonaddha, Vidisa, Vanasa, Havya, Kosambi, Saketa, Savatthi, Setavya, Kapilavatho, Kusinara, Pava, Vesali, and finally to Asmaka Chetya where the Buddha was residing. Avanti was evidently North of Assaka as they are spoken of together in Anguttara Nikaya and Sona Nanda Jataka. To the south there was the Mulaka country. Assaka and Mulaka like Kasi and Kosala were probably tribal names which gradually became identified with the country the tribes occupied from time to time. At the time of Alexander’s invasion, the Assakeni were to be found in the North-west also.

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

'The Votary of Truth' - Transcript of Interview with Dr S. Srikanta Sastri by Prof S. Ananthanarayan (1973)

A Personal Note:
L - R: Prof S. Ananthanarayan, Dr. S. Srikanta Sastri
In Sanskrit there is the word (SanskritEkasandigrahi) which denotes a learner who takes in everything at the very first hearing and reading. Such people, though rare, have been always there. Dr. S. Srikantha Sastry belongs to this category of people blessed with a mind that grasps everything worthwhile even at first sight. He has a phenomenal memory which enables him to remember and quote passages after passages without a single mistake or moment’s hesitation. “My memory feeds me and sustains me in my life’s work” is what he said to me once. Genius is said to consist of very hard work. Dr. Sastry works very hard and has an emotional and imaginative understanding of what he works on. Added to his unique memory and capacity to take in all material at the first glance, it has given him a vast range of achievement. The wide sweep of knowledge reaped by him is astounding. Knowing more than 15 languages in and out, contributing more than 400 research papers on a wide and varied range of subjects and the writing of a score of scholarly books on History, Archaeology, Music, Literature and such other subjects is really monumental. Dr. Sastry’s work is the greatest monument to Dr. Sastry’s own life.

I have been twice blessed that I have known Dr. Srikantha Sastry ever since 1941 and he has showered his affection on me all these sears. In those days when we lived in the same street in Mysore, near the college, I had just joined the Maharaja’s College as a student. I used to see him—with a graphite grey coat, check trousers, whitish round face slightly pock-marked and short hair parted in the middle. He always wore brown canvas shoes and it appeared as if he dragged his left foot as he walked rather fast even for us.

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Monday, January 12, 2015

Prof D. Javare Gowda on Dr S. Srikanta Sastri (1973)

D. Javare Gowda
The greatness of a University is gauged not by its quantitative strength in terms of buildings, teachers and students, but by the quality of research work done and the intellectual pursuits attained by the research scholars and teachers. From this point of view the Mysore University can proudly claim a place of distinction among many other Universities in India. The devout votaries of knowledge and the intellectual luminaries like Dr. S. Srikanta Sastri are mainly instrumental for the reputation of this great University. Scholarship is nothing but intellectual ability coupled with industry and devotion to duty. Srikanta Sastri has been really the embodiment of these qualities. His whole life has been dedicated to the pursuit of truth and the acquisition of knowledge.

Even before I entered the Maharaja’s College as a student of the Honours Class in the year 1938 Srikanta Sastri had reached the pinnacle of glory as a great scholar. His knowledge of History was phenomenal and encyclopædic in character. A good number of books both in English and Kannada and as many as four hundred articles on Indian History, Culture, Language and Literature bear ample testimony to his varied interest, profound scholarship and recondite erudition. He treaded the entire gamut of Karnataka
Maharaja College, Mysore
history and culture like a colossus. Sincerity, honesty and truthfulness are the hallmark of his scholarship. One may reverentially disagree with the views expressed by him, as, for example, on the original home of the Aryans, the Aryan Civilisation and even on Purandaradasa. Nobody disputes his intellectual abilities or sincerity of purpose. His scholarship is neither a shadow nor an imitation of some great personality. He is undisputedly an original thinker and a meticulous and austere seeker of truth.

Though he is a person who shuns publicity he permits anybody without any reservation to unlock the store-house of his vast knowledge. Nobody returns from him disappointed. He has a ready answer to any doubt lurking in the minds of scholars or students. If a person needing solutions to his problems happens to be far away from him he need only spend twenty five naya paise for a stamp. The reply is there within three or four days. This is my experience too.

It is really very fitting that a man of his stature who has spent the long years of his life at the
At Felicitation Function
altar of the Goddess Saraswati should be honoured by presenting a Commemoration Volume. I am extremely happy to find that all the articles published in this volume relate to Karnataka History and Culture which are very dear to Prof. Srikanta Sastri. All the articles are decidedly the result of deep study, long research and fieldwork. They present a very useful material for the research worker as well as the student of History. In a way it can be said that it is an encyclopædia of Karnataka History. I should congratulate the editors and the contributors for having taken lot of pains to bring forth this volume in as short a period as possible.

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