Western Chalukya literature in Kannada


A massive body of Western Chalukya literature in the Kannada language was created throughout the reign of the Western Chalukya Empire (973–1200 CE) in what’s now southern Asian nation. This dynasty, that dominated most of the western Deccan in South India, is usually referred to as the Kalyani Chalukya folk when its royal capital at Kalyani (now Basavakalyan), and sometimes called the Later Chalukya folk for its theoretical relationship to the 6th-century Chalukya dynasty of Badami.[1] For a quick amount (1162–1183), the Kalachuris of Kalyani, a dynasty of kings who had earlier migrated to the Karnataka region from central India and served as vassals for many generations, exploited the growing weakness of their overlords and annexed the Kalyani.[2][3] Around 1183, the last Chalukya scion, Someshvara IV, overthrew the Kalachuris to regain management of the royal city. however his efforts were in vain, as alternative outstanding Chalukya vassals within the Deccan, the Hoysalas, the Kakatiyas and the Seunas destroyed the remnants of the Chalukya power.[4]

Kannada literature from this era is typically classified into the linguistic part referred to as Old-Kannada. It recognised the majority of the Chalukya courts matter production and pertained largely to writings about the socio-religious development of the Jain faith.[5][6] The earliest well-known writers happiness to the Shaiva faith are from this period.[7] Under the patronage of Kalachuri King Bijjala II, whose prime minister was the well-known South Dravidian author and social reformer Basavanna, a native type of poetic literature called Vachana literature (lit “utterance”, “saying” or “sentence”) proliferated.[8][9] The beginnings of the Vachana poetic tradition in the Kannada-speaking region trace back to the early 11th century.[10] Kannada literature written in the champu metre, composed of prose and verse, was popularised by the Chalukyan court poets. However, with the advent of the Veerashaiva (lit, “brave devotees of the god Shiva”) religious movement in the mid-12th century, poets favoured the native tripadi (three-line verse composed of eleven ganas or prosodic units), hadugabba (song-poem) and free verse metres for their poems.[11][12]

Important literary contributions in Kannada were made not only by court poets, noblemen, royalty, ascetics and saints who wrote in the marga (mainstream) style,[13] but also by commoners and artisans, including cobblers, weavers, cowherds and shepherds who wrote in the desi (folk) style.[14] These Vachana poets (called Vachanakaras) revolutionised South Dravidian literature, rejecting ancient themes that eulogised kings and noblemen, and writing didactical poems that were nearer to the spoken and sung kind of the language. additionally to many male poets, over thirty feminine poets are recorded, a number of whom wrote together with their husbands.[15][16]



Political developments[edit]

Dominance of Jainist pious writings,in champu metre[5]973–1150
Early profane writings by Jain authors[17]1000–1100
Early Vachana poems by Veerashaivas,in native metres[18]1040–1120
Consolidation of South Dravidian grammar[19]1042 or 1145
Veerashaiva movement Associate in Nursingd theproliferation of Vachana literature[20][21]1150–1183
Jain–Veerashaiva literarycompetition[22]1150–1200

Towards the tip of the tenth century, a new Karnataka dynasty, referred to as the Western Chalukyas, had come back to power by overthrowing the Rashtrakuta Empire of Manyakheta (modern Malkhed in the Gulbarga district, Karnataka). Their earliest inscription is dated to c. 957 and is ascribed to a subordinate ruler, Tailapa II of Tardavadi, later to become the initiation king of the empire, in the Bijapur district, Karnataka.[23][24] An inscription from c. 967 suggests that an unsuccessful rebellion was staged by Chattideva, an area king happiness to the Chalukya family, with the assistance of the Kadamba chief from the temple town Banavasi.[25] These events, however, paved the approach for Tailapa II to launch a flourishing rebellion against the Rashtrakuta King Karka II with the assistance of the Kadamba chief of Hangal.[26]

A century before these political developments, the age of nice Indo-Aryan Associate in NursingPrakrit epics and classics had come back to an end. This productive amount had made offered an enormous corpus of literature that might be expressed within the native language of Kannada.[27] Kannada, that had flourished each as a language of political discourse and literature in the Rashtrakuta court, found zealous support from the Chalukya kings. The important Jains, who in keeping with historiographer A.S. Altekar could have comprised thirty p.c of the population, not solely dominated the cultural landscape of 9th and 10th century Karnataka, but were also eager to encourage literature in the local language.[28] According to Professor S.N. Sen, a research fellow at the Indian council of historical research, Kannada literature under the Chalukyas reached a “perfection of form”.[29][30] Scholars Sheldon Pollock and Jan Houben have claimed that 90 percent of the Chalukyan royal inscriptions are in Kannada, a virtual displacement of Sanskrit as the language of courtly discourse.[31][32]

Mainstream literature[edit]

For a few centuries after Kavirajamarga (“Royal path for poets”, c. 850), the earliest available Kannada literary work, Jain writings had adhered to Sanskritic models that had been recognised by the state because the path for future South Dravidian writers, whereas empowerment native poetic forms (compositions such as Chattana and Bedande)[33] to subordinate status.[34] The stranglehold that the Sanskritic models had over Kannada literature is best exemplified by Rannas lexicon Rannakanda (990), wherever native day-after-day Kannada words had been translated into Sanskrit. This implicit that the pure kind of the native language wasn’t viewed as up to Sanskrit, from the cosmopolitan viewpoint.[35] Kannada writings by Jainist authors therefore used spectacular Sanskrit-derived verses interspersed with prose to proclaim the virtues of their patron kings, who were typically compared to heroes from the Hindu epics. While Adikavi Pampa (Pampa Bharata, 941) compared his patron, the feudatory Chalukya King Arikesari, to Pandava prince Arjuna, in Vikramarjuna Vijaya, his version of the Hindu epic MahabharataRanna (983) found it appropriate to check his patron, King Satyashraya, to Pandava prince Bhima.[36]

Folk literature[edit]

Inscribed handwriting of author Ranna (c. 982) reads Kavi Ratna (gem among poets) in Shravanabelagola

The thought literary vogue was to lose quality throughout the mid-12th century Kalachuri rule, thanks to the increase of revolutionary notions regarding the social and cultural order. The Veerashaivas, acting in protest, used the pure kind of South Dravidian language in their poems; moreover, they inspired writers from lower castes to participate and fully eliminated themes that had been thought of formal by the king and therefore the monastery.[37] Thus, written in native metres, in a language close to the spoken form of Kannada, the Vachana poems gained mass appeal.[38] A new religious faith was thereby propagated by the Veerashaivas whose ascendancy is called the “Veerashaiva movement” and their communicative genre, the Vachana.[39] While the Vachana poetry is generally categorised as a part of the pan-Indian Bhakti (devotional) literature, such generalisations tend to disguise the very esoteric and anti-bhakti positions taken by many Vachanakaras.[40] The origin of the Veerashaiva ideology and the beginnings of their poetry is unclear. According to D.R. Nagaraj, a scholar on literary cultures in history, modern scholars tend to favour two broad views: integrationist and indigenist. The integrationists, reminiscent of L. Basavaraju, trace the supply of Vachana poetic tradition to the Sanskrit Upanishad scriptures and the Agama doctrine, although this doesn’t justify why the movement failed to blossom earlier or within the neighbouring Telugu-speaking region wherever radical Shaiva sects were famed to be active. The indigenists, such as Chidananda Murthy, M.M. Kalaburgi and G.S. Shivarudrappa, propose a native state origin of the poetry, though they’re nonetheless to completely explain its distinctive nature.[40]

Other developments[edit]

Inscribed handwriting of Chavundaraya (c. 978), Western Ganga minister and South Dravidian prose writer, on Chandragiri hill in Shravanabelagola

At regarding this time, adding to pressure from the recognition of the Vachana canon in the northern communicative region,[41] the noted Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana (1108–1152) of the southern communicative region born-again from Jainism to the Hindu sect of Vaishnavism. the recognition of Ramanujacharyas philosophy had unfold within the Hoysala lands and Srivaishnavism, a sub-sect of Vaishnavism, was in the ascendant.[42] By the late thirteenth century, the Veerashaiva writers, who were by currently writing representative inscriptions and biographies of famous Vachanakaras of the twelfth century, were in stiff competition with the Jains. The earliest tries by the Jains to veer far from traditional puranic (philosophical) themes of renunciation are seen in the writings of Hoysala writers Nemichandra and AndayyaLilavati Prabhandam, a completely unique written by Nemichandra (1170) on the subject of love, erotica, and of the victory of Kamadeva (god of love) over his arch-rival Shiva, is the first among such writings. It was followed by Kabbigara Kava (“Poets defender”, 1215–1237) by Andayya, also a work depicting a war between Kamadeva and the god Shiva.[43] Despite these efforts, the Jain literary influence was to recede in the coming decades and centuries, being relegated mostly to the coastal Kannada-speaking region.[44] Works of enduring quality were still produced by maverick authors such as Ratnakaravarni (1557), though their numbers were fewer.[45][46]

Contemporaneous to these developments, Nagavarma II wrote his Kannada grammar Karnataka bhashabhushana (“Ornament of Karnataka language”, 1042 or 1145). A milestone in the history of Kannada literature, it helped consolidate the language as challenger to established languages such as Sanskrit and Prakrit, transportation the native language within the realm of literary cosmopolitanism.[47] Writing a South Dravidian synchronic linguistics in Indo-Aryan language was essential to Nagavarma II, a delicate rebuttal to Sanskritic students of the day who could have thought of Kannada a language of the commoner and its grammar as underdeveloped.[48] In addition to the Chalukya patronage, Kannada poets and writers of this era were in style within the courts of close kingdoms of the western Deccan. The Hoysalas, the southern Kalachuris, the Seunas, the Gangas and the Silharas are a number of the ruling families who sky-high used Kannada in inscriptions and promoted its literature.[49][50][51]

Kannada writings[edit]

Jain Court literature[edit]

Age of Ranna[edit]

Noted South Dravidian poets and writers in Western Chalukya Empire(973-1200 CE)
Manasija10th c.
Chandrabhatta10th c.
Madiraja10th c.
Kavitavilasa10th c.
Kannamayya10th c.
Chavundaraya II1025
Nagavarma II1042
Narayana Deva11th c.
Kondugoli Keshiraja1120
Prince Kirtivarma1125
Jagaddala Somanatha1150
Some noted Kannada Vachana poets (from over 300)(11th-12th c. CE)
Madara Chennaiah11th c.
Dohara Kakkaiah11th c.
Devara Dasimaiah1040
Allama Prabhu1160
Akka Mahadevi1160
Madivala Machayya1160
Ambigere Chowdiah1160
Madara Dhooliah1160
Hendada Mariah1160
Turugahi Ramanna1160
Kannadi Remmitande1160
Revanna Siddha1160
Urilinga Peddi1180
Bahuroopi Chowdaiah11-12th c.
Amuge Rayamma1160
Kadive Remavva1160
Princess Bonta Devi1160

The late tenth century was a amount of consolidation for the fledgling empire. initiation King Tailapa II and his successor, King Satyashraya, warred against their neighbours: the Shilharas of south Konkan, the Chaulukyas of Gujarat, the Paramara of central Asian nation and the Chola Dynasty of Tanjore.[24] Unaffected by these political developments, Kannada literature continued to flourish in the royal court. The foremost writer of this period was Ranna, who was born to a family of bangle sellers in the town of Mudhol. Ranna is considered by historians K.A. Nilakanta Sastri and Sailendra Nath Sen as one of the “three gems of Kannada literature” along with his seniors, Adikavi Pampa and Sri Ponna. Ranna became the court poet of King Tailapa II and King Satyashraya. In his early days, he was also patronised by the well-known Ganga minister Chavundaraya.[29][52][53][54] Ranna is famous for writing Ajitha purana (993), which recounts the life of the second Jain tirthankar Ajitanatha. However, it is in his magnum opus, the work Sahasa Bhima Vijaya (“Victory of bold Bhima”, also called Gada Yudda or “Conflict of Clubs”, 982) that he reaches his zenith of poetic grace while describing the conflict between Pandava Bhima and Kaurava prince Duryodhana in his Jain version of the Hindu epic Mahabharata.[55][56]

Unlike Pampa who glorifies Arjuna and Karna in his writing, Ranna eulogises his patron King Satyashraya and favourably compares him to Bhima, whom he crowns at the end of the Mahabharata war. He calls Bhimas adversary Duryodhana mahanubhava (“a great person”). The work contains some of the earliest examples of elegiac verses (called shoka gita or charama gita) in the Kannada language, noted among which is one piece that describes the heart-rending lamentation (called karuna rasa or “sentiment of pathos”) of Duryodhana on seeing the slain bodies of his brother Duhshasana, his inseparable friend in joy and sorrow, Karna, and Arjunas valorous son Abhimanyu.[57] The effect given to the writing, the language, the diction and the style maintained throughout the narration has earned Ranna a place among the most notable authors of Kannada literature.[56] Ascribed also to Ranna is the earliest available dictionary in Kannada language called the Rannakanda (990), of which only eleven verses still exist.[58] His other notable writings were the Chakeresvaracharita and the Parashuramacharitha. According to historian Suryanath Kamath, the latter work, which is now lost, may have been a eulogy of Chavundaraya, whom the poet admired.[59] For his literary contributions, the title Kavi Chakravathi (“Emperor among poets”) was bestowed upon Ranna by his patron king.[60]

Another notable writer from the close of the 10th century, Nemichandra, wrote the Kaviraja kunjara and Lilavati (c. 990) with Prince Kavdarpa Deva of Jayantipura (modern Banavasi, Karnataka) and Princess Lilavati as the protagonists of the latter poem.[61] Other writers from the close of the 10th century whose works are now lost but have been praised by the Chalukya minister Durgasimha (1031) are Kavitavilasa (patronised by King Jayasimha II), Madiraja, Chadrabhatta, Kannamayya and Manasija.[62][63][64] Inscriptions such as the Kuppatur and Haveri records eulogize popular writers such as Harivarma (1070) and Narayana Deva respectively.[65]

Early secular writings[edit]

According to Kannada scholar R. Narasimhacharya, despite the production of some important secular writings, repeated Chola invasions into Kannada lands in the 11th century may have adversely affected literary production.[62] This situation was brought about by intense competition between the Western Chalukyas and their arch-rivals, the Cholas of Tanjore.[66] Among notable writings, Chandrarajas Madanatilaka (“Forehead ornament of passion”, 1025), written in the champu metre, is the earliest available work on erotica in the Kannada language and an adaptation of the Sanskrit Kamasutra by Vatsyayana. The narration is a dialogue between the patron and his wife in posakannada, the most modern South Dravidian in usage at the time.[67][68] He was beneath the patronage of Machiraja, feudatory of King Jayasimha II (also referred to as Jagadekamalla I).[69] Shridharacharya, a Jain Brahmin patronised by King Someshvara I (also called Ahvamalla or Trailokyamalla) showed his ability to put in writing on scientific subjects in Jatakatilaka (1049), the earliest offered writing on astrology in Kannada, citing the Sanskrit astronomer Aryabhata. His alternative work is that the lost Chandraprabha Charite, on belles-lettres.[68][69]

Chavundaraya II, a Shaiva Brahmin (Brahmin follower of the god Shiva) by religion and a receiver of King Jayasimha II, wrote Lokopakara (c. 1025) in the champu metre. it’s the earliest available encyclopaedia in the Kannada language, written now and then with a poetic touch. It includes twelve chapters and has found popularity in later references as well. The work is on numerous topics reminiscent of daily life, astronomy, star divination and prediction of events supported the Indian calendar (panchanga phala), sculpture, construction of buildings (vastu vichara) and reservoirs (udakargala), omens, divination of water, preparation of drugs from herbs and plants (vrikshayurveda), medicine (vaidya), perfumery, preparation and pharmacology (vishavaidya).[64][68] Mentioned during this book is that the in style South Indian dish Idli and its preparation by soaking Urad dal (black gram) in butter milk, grinding it to a fine paste, and compounding with spices and therefore the clear water of curd.[70]

Durgasimha, the Sandhi Vigrahi (minister of war and peace) of King Jayasimha II wrote the well-known Panchatantra (“The five stratagems”, 1031) in champu style, basing it on Gunadhyas Paishachi language original Brihatkatha. This fable is the first adaptation of the original into a vernacular language of India. Containing sixty fables in all, thirteen of which are original, each is summarised by an ethical moral based on a Jain tenet.[71] Durgasimha also authored the Karnataka Banachatantra, the earliest available commentary in the Kannada language, giving a brief commentary on all the Sanskrit verses he quoted in the Panchatantra.[71] Around this time, Jayakirti (c. 1000–1050), a Kannada language theorist, who considered the rules of prosody to be the same for Sanskrit and Kannada, wrote the Chandonusasana [72][73]

There were other notable writers from the latter part of the 11th century. Shantinatha, patronised by King Someshvara II, wrote the poem Sukumaracharita in c. 1068.[62] Nagavarmacharya, a Brahmin Advaita saint of Balligavi, who was patronised by King Udayatidya, a vassal of Chalukya King Someshvara II, wrote Chandrachudamani sataka (c. 1070) in the sataka (hundred-line verse) metre. In this centum of verses, where each ends with the term “Chandrachudamani” as another name of the god Shiva, the author treats on viragya (ethics of renunciation).[68][74][75] Other writers whose works are considered lost but have been referenced in contemporary writings are Gunachandra and Gunavarma. Gunachandra, who was admired by King Someshvara II (also called Bhuvanaika Malla), wrote Parsvabhyudaya and Maghanadisvara.[76] Gunavarma, who earned the honorific Bhuvanaika Vira, a title appropriate a mortal instead of a poet, is mentioned by grammarian Keshiraja (c. 1260) because the author of Harivamsa. His title identifies him with a Ganga blue blood referred to as Udayaditya who was a minister and general beneath Chalukya King Someshvara II. alternative writings ascribed to the author are Pushpadanta Purana and Devachandra Prabha Stotra.[76]

Vikrama era[edit]

The twelfth century publicized an age of peace and prosperity. Cultural and literary developments received impetus throughout the rule of King Vikramaditya VI, a patron of the fine arts. The king, who ascended the throne in 1076 and dominated for 50 years occupies a pride of place in the history of Karnataka. His reign marks the end of the use of Saka Varsha (Indian calendar, the “Saka era“) in Chalukya inscriptions and the start of Vikrama Varsha (“Vikrama era”).[77] His court was adorned with some of the most well-known writers of Kannada and Sanskrit literature.[78] Nayasena, whose writings are dated by the scholars D.R. Nagaraj and Sheldon Pollock to the 10th century, and by E.P. Rice and R. Narasimhacharya to c. 1112,[79][80] wrote the Dharmamritha, a book containing fifteen stories that belong to the genre of fable and parable. Well known among these stories teaching about Jain tenets are “Yajnadatta and the mongoose”, “Kapalika and the young elephant” and “Serpent, tiger, monkey and the goldsmith who had fallen in the old well”.[81] The writing is one of intense self-interrogation where the author criticises the beliefs of all contemporaneous religions while decrying the contamination in the original Jain beliefs due to external cultural influences, such as the practice of violent and bloody rituals and the caste system.[80]


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