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Sarvajña statue at Kudalasangama
Born 16th Century
Abalur, Hirekerur Taluq, Haveri District
Occupation Poet, Pragmatist, philosopher, Monk

Sarvajña (Sanskrit for "all-knowing", Kannada: ಸರ್ವಜ್ಞ) was a Kannada poet, pragmatist and philosopher. He is famous for his pithy three-lined poems which are called tripadis, "with three padas, three-liners", a form of Vachanas. He is also referred as Sarvagna in modern translation.

Early life[edit]

The period of Sarvajña's life[1] has not been determined accurately, and very little is known about his personal life. Based on studies of his literary style and the references of later writers, historians estimate that he may have lived during the first half of the 16th century. Some references in his works indicate that his real name was Pushpadatta - Sarvajña appears to have been his pseudonym. His father was a Shaivaite Brahmin and his mother was a Shudra widow named Mali. His father met his mother at a place in present day Dharwar district in Karnataka on his way to Benares on a pilgrimage.He always upheld the wisdom of pastoral life in rural areas and tried to persuade villagers to give up superstition, meaningless customs and traditions.


Sarvagna grew up as a wandering monk creating the Tripadis,the famous three liners. In all, about 2000 three-liners are attributed to Sarvajna. Popular because of their alliterative structure and simplicity, they deal mainly with social, ethical and religious issues. A number of riddles are also attributed to Sarvajna.

Channappa Uttangi was awarded the Kannada Sahitya Sammelana prize in 1949 for his groundbreaking work on Sarvajna.[2]

Some examples[edit]

  • Being a monk, he says how he became an omniscient in one of his tripadi.[3]
ಸರ್ವಜ್ಞನೆ೦ಬುವನು ಗರ್ವದಿ೦ದಾದವನೇ?
ಸರ್ವರೊಳು ಒಂದೊಂದು ನುಡಿಗಲಿತು
ವಿದ್ಯೆಯ ಪರ್ವತವೆ ಆದ ಸರ್ವಜ್ಞ.
Sarvajnanembuvanu garvadindaadavane?
Sarvarolu ondondu nudigalitu
Vidhyeya parvatave aada Sarvajna
Translation : Sarvagna did not become an omniscient by his pride. However, by learning one word of wisdom from each, he became a mountain of knowledge.
  • ಮೂರ್ಖಂಗೆ ಬುದ್ಧಿಯನು ನೂರ್ಕಾಲ ಪೇಳಿದರು
ಗೋರ್ಕಲ್ಲಮೇಲೆ ಮಳೆಗರೆದರೆ
ಆಕಲ್ಲು ನೀರುಕುಡಿವುದೆ ಸರ್ವಜ್ಞ?
Moorkhange budhiyanu noorkaala helidaru
Gorkallamele malegaredare
aakallu neerukudivude Sarvajna
Translation : Giving advice to a fool for hundred years is as useless as a heavy rain pouring on a stone. The stone never drinks the water.
  • ಸಾಲವನು ಕೊಂಬಾಗ ಹಾಲೋಗರುಂಡಂತೆ
ಸಾಲಿಗರು ಕೊಂಡು ಎಳೆವಾಗ
ಕಿಬ್ಬದಿಯ ಕೀಲು ಮುರಿದಂತೆ ಸರ್ವಜ್ಞ.
Saalavanu kombaaga haalogarundante
Saaligaru kone elevaga
Kibbadiya keelu muridante Sarvajna
Translation : While borrowing loan it feels like eating desserts. When the loan is due for payment, it feels as painful as a broken rib cage.
  • ಏಳು ಕೋಟಿಯೆ ಕೋಟಿ, ಏಳು ಲಕ್ಷವೆe ಲಕ್ಷ
ಏಳು ಸಾವಿರದ ಎಪ್ಪತ್ತು ವಚನಗಳ
ಹೇಳಿದನು ಕೇಳ ಸರ್ವಜ್ಞ."
Elu kotiye koti, elu lakshave laksha
Elu saaviradha eppatthu vachanagala
Helidanu kela Sarvajna
Translation : Saravajna has preached 7,07,07,070 vachanas (Tripadi) overall"
  • ಮಜ್ಜಿಗೆ ಇಲ್ಲದ ಊಟ
ಮಜ್ಜನವ ಕಾಣದಾ ಲಜ್ಜೆಗೆಟ್ಟ
ಹೆಣ್ಣಂತೆ ಸರ್ವಜ್ಞ.
Majjige illada oota
Majjanava kaanida lajjegetta
Hennanthe Sarvajna
Translation : Dinner without butter milk (yogurt) is like a dirty woman without bath.


  • Medieval Indian Literature: An Anthology By K. Ayyappapanicker, Sahitya Akademi
  • Gandham Appa Rao, Vemana and Sarvajña, Progressive Literature (1982).
  • Anthology of Sarvajna's sayings, Kannada Sahitya Parishat (1978).
  • K. B Prabhu Prasad, Sarvajna, Sahitya Akademi (1987), reprint 1994 ISBN 81-7201-404-X.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sarvagna and his vachanna". web.missouri. Retrieved 2010. 
  2. ^ Channappa Uttangi
  3. ^ Poems

External links[edit]