Bhattakalanka Deva

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Bhattakalanka Deva (also Bhattakalanka) was the third and the last of the notable Kannada grammarians from the medieval period. In 1604 CE, he authored a comprehensive text on old-Kannada grammar called Karnataka Sabdanusasana in 592 Sanskrit sutras (a literary form written for concision) with glossary (vritti) and commentary (vyakhya). The work contains useful references to prior poets and writers of Kannada literature and is considered a valuable asset to the student of old-Kannada language.[1] A native of South Canara and a student of the Haduvalli monastery, the Jain grammarian was learned in six languages including Kannada, Sanskrit, Prakrit and Magadhi.[2][3]

Karnataka Sabdanusasana[edit]

It is believed that Bhattakalanka Deva may have undertaken the work of writing exhaustively on old-Kannada grammar in response to contempt from Sanskrit scholars of the day toward Kannada language, despite its rich literary tradition.[3] His writing is the third authoritative grammar on old-Kannada, the first of which was authored by Nagavarma  II in the mid-12th century[4] and the second by Keshiraja in the mid-13th century.[5] The grammar containing 592 sutras is divided into four chapters (padas) and each sutra has a glossary and a lengthy commentary. The authorship of entire work has been settled with the full credit going to Bhattakalanka Deva.[3]

The Karnataka Sabdanusasana is modelled mostly on the earlier Sanskrit grammars written by Pāṇini, Sakatayana, Saravarma, Pujyapada and others, though some sutras have been borrowed from earlier Kannada grammatical works; one or two sutras from the Karnataka Bhashabhushana by Nagavarma II and about fifteen from Shabdamanidarpana by Kesiraja.[3] The first chapter (up to 101 sutras) consists of euphonic combinations, technical words, signs of nouns and verbs, numbers and indeclinables. The second chapter (101–299 sutras) consists of gender classification of indigenous Kannada nouns and those inherited from Sanskrit (tadbhava–naturalised and samasamaskrita–non-naturalised). The third chapter (291–441 sutras) consists of compound words and the fourth chapter (442–592 sutras) focusses on verbal roots and verbal nouns.[3]


  1. ^ Sastri (1955), pp. 355–356
  2. ^ Rice E.P. (1921), p. 83
  3. ^ a b c d e Sahitya Akademi (1987), p. 476
  4. ^ Sastri (1955), p. 358
  5. ^ Sastri (1955), p. 359


  • Various (1987) [1987]. Encyclopaedia of Indian literature - vol 1. Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 81-260-1803-8. 
  • Rice, E.P. (1982) [1921]. Kannada Literature. New Delhi: Asian Educational Services. ISBN 81-206-0063-0. 
  • Sastri, K.A. Nilakanta (2002) [1955]. A history of South India from prehistoric times to the fall of Vijayanagar. New Delhi: Indian Branch, Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-560686-8. 

See also[edit]