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The Siribhoovalaya (Kannada: ಸಿರಿಭೂವಲಯ) is a unique work of multi-lingual literature written by Kumudendu Muni, a Jain monk. The work is unique in that it employs not alphabets, but is composed entirely in Kannada numerals. The Saangathya metre of Kannada poetry is employed in the work. It uses numerals 1 through 64 and employs various patterns or bandhas in a frame of 729 (27×27) squares to represent alphabets in nearly 18 scripts and over 700 languages. Some of the patterns used include the Chakrabandha, Hamsabandha, Varapadmabandha, Sagarabandha, Sarasabandha, Kruanchabandha, Mayurabandha, Ramapadabandha, Nakhabandha, etc. As each of these patterns are identified and decoded, the contents can be read.
The work is said to have around 600,000 verses, nearly 6 times as big as the ancient Indian epic Mahabharata. Totally there are 26 chapters constituting it a big volume of which only three have been decoded.The author expounds that many philosophies which existed in the Jain classics are eloquently and skillfully interpreted in the work. It is also claimed to consist of works in several languages including Sanskrit, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Prakrit, etc., apart from Kannada. Different languages can be realised by assigning different alphabets to different numbers. All the major works in Sanskrit like the Ramayana, Mahabharata, the Vedas and the Upanishads are said to be present in the text and can be unravelled with further deciphering of the code.
It is also believed to contain valuable information about various sciences including mathematics, chemistry, physics, astronomy, medicine, history, space travel, etc. Karlamangalam Srikantaiah, the editor of the first edition, has claimed that the work contains instructions for travel in water and space travel. It is also said that the work contains information about the production of modern weapons.
Though written in Kannada its numerical enunciation enables the people of other languages to comprehend it in a lucid manner. It is said that all arts, literature are entwined in a total of 718 languages enmeshed in a mathematical and scientific canvas thus regarding the work as highly magnificent and amazing.
Early in the 20th century, Yellappa Shastri, an Ayurvedic pandit, learned of ancient manuscripts in the possession of a certain Jain Vidwan Dharnendra of Yalava, a town situated between Nandidurga and Chikballapura (see Kolar district). Overcome by curiosity, and in a bid to get closer to the manuscripts, Yellappa Shastri married Dharnendra Pandis's niece. Upon the pandit's death, his children put up all his belongings for sale. Yellappa Shastri immediately pawned his wife's bangles and salvaged the manuscripts for himself.
The contents of the manuscript, which ran into over 1200 pages, baffled Yellappa Shastri. However, after 30 long years of arduous research, he succeeded in deciphering it partially and proceeded to publish the first volume of the book in 1953.
The work is attributed to Jain monk Kumudendu Muni. He claims that he was guru of amoghavarsha of Manyakheta and a disciple of virasena and jinasena of Dhavala. However, not much is known about this monk. Scholars are divided about when he lived. Karlamangalam Srikantaiah, the editor of the first edition, claims that the work may have been composed around 800 AD. Dr Venkatachala Sastry, however, dates him and his work to the 15th century. He also claims that Kumudendu Muni belonged to a village called Yalavalli near Nandidurga in Chikkaballapura Taluk in Kolar district. He further dates the work to around the 1550-1600 period and suggests it might be even more recent.
The work was first published in 1953 by the Yugantara press in Bengaluru. It was authored and edited by Yellappa Shastry (an Ayurvedic pandit), Karlamangalam Srikantiah (a freedom fighter) and Anantha Subbarao (who invented the Kannada typewriter). It was released under the aegis of the Kannada Sahitya Parishat, Bengaluru.
The second and most recent edition of the book was released on March 9, 2003, by Pustaka Shakti publications in the presence of the Governor of Karnataka, Mr T N Chaturvedi, and other eminent personalities like Dr S S Marulayya, writer Vyasaraya Ballal and Prof S K Ramachandra Rao. It has been edited by T. V. Venkatachala Sastry and Dharmapal, the son of Yellappa Shastri.
Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India, called it one of the 'wonders of the world'. Giants of Kannada literature like Kuvempu, DVG, Pu Ti Na, Masti Venkatesha Iyengar and Dr S. Srikanta Sastri, among others, evinced keen interest in the book when it was first released. Prof Suniti Kumar Chatterji is said to have exclaimed that the work deserved a doctorate by several universities.
|“||This work is of great importance in the study of Kannada language and Literature and the literatures of Sanskrit, Prakritha, Tamil and Telugu. It throws light on the history of India and the history of Karnataka. This is an important source for the study of Indian Mathematics. It is helpful in the study of the development of Physics, Chemistry and the Life Sciences in India. It helps in the study of sculpture and iconography. If the versions of the Ramayana, the Mahabharatha, the Bhagavadgita, the Rig Veda and other ancient texts can be decoded, a comparison of those versions with the present day versions would be rewarding. Some Jain works which have been lost may be recovered from this work.||”|
There are 16,000 chakras in all. Out of which only 1,270 chakras are available. There are 9 kahnda"s in all. The available 1270 chakra"s belong to Prathama khanda (I)called Mangala Prabhruta. (This is only a syllabus of the Siri Bhoovalaya which contains 59 chapters). Remaining 8 Khanda's work not available. The number of letters (in the form numerals) used are 14 lakhs. It has been claimed that it is possible to decipher 6 lakh Shlokas or verses.
Since no contemporary pandit is conversant with the esoteric metres employed in the work, the work of deciphering is being done with the help of computers. The whereabouts of remaining chakra's (16,000 - 1,270) = 14,730 are not known. Yet to be traced.
- "Introduction to Siribhoovalaya, from Deccan Herald". Retrieved 2007-03-07.
- "Usage of Saangathya and frame of 729, from The Hindu newspaper". Retrieved 2007-03-07.
- Deccan Herald.
- Sastri, S. Srikanta. "Scholarly opinion of "Siribhoovalaya" by Dr S. Srikanta Sastri". Book review. Sarvarthasiddhi Sangha, Bangalore. Retrieved 6 November 2013.