Somadeva Suri

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Not to be confused with Somadeva, author of Kathasaritsagara.

Somadeva Suri was a south Indian Jain monk of the 10th century CE (fl. 959-66, possibly born in Bengal region about 920), author of a work known as "Upasakadyayana" "chapter on lay followers (upasakas)", a central work of Digambara shravakacara literature, i.e. instructions and prescriptions for shravakas or Jain followers.[1]

"Upasakadyayana" is a section of the champu text Yashastilaka. Girish Karnad's play Bali is based on Yashastilaka.[2]

Somadeva Suri also wrote the Nitivakyamrtam "Nectar of the Science of Polity" (ed. Sundaralala Sastri 1976, Menta 1987), a treatise on statecraft. The text of the Nitivakyamrtam mentions that Somadeva was also the author of a literary work called Yashastilaka (see Kavyamala, 70).

He is sometimes regarded as a "revolutionary thinker of early medieval India", in his works he discusses the vices (pratyuhasamuha) which brought to the country the conquest of the Tajikas.[3] It is notable that he describes the use of hydraulics for irrigating a garden.[4]


Somadeva was a disciple of Acharya Nemideva of Devasangha section of Mula Sangh (associated with Akalankadeva). Somadeva composed Yashstilaka in the domain of Vagaraj, a feudatory of Rashtrakuta Krishna III. He is mentioned in copperplate and an inscription of the Chalukya clan.

Vadiraj, author of Yashodhara-charita, and Pushpasena, (the teacher of Vadibhasimha, author of Gadyachintamani, were both disciples of Somadeva Suri.[5]


  1. ^ Mukund Lath, Somadeva Suri and the question of jain Identiry, Michael Carrithers, Caroline Humphrey, The Assembly of listeners: Jains in society, Cambridge University Press, 1991, ISBN 978-0-521-36505-5, chapter 3.
  2. ^ Outlook, 2002, Volume 42, Issues 21-29, p. 162
  3. ^ Nationalism: Its Theory and Principles in India, Parmanand Parashar, Sarup & Sons, 1996 p. 119
  4. ^ Science and Civilisation in China: Volume 4, Physics and Physical Technology, Part 2, Mechanical Engineering, Volume 4 of Physics & Physical Technology PT. 2, Joseph Needham, Cambridge University Press, 1965, p. 362
  5. ^ A History of Indian Literature: Buddhist literature and Jaina literature, Volume 2, Maurice Winternitz, Motilal Banarsidass Publisher, 1993 p. 515