Maharshi Vidyaranya, Kanchi Paramacharya and DVG

This article is part 13 of 24 in the series DVG Profile by S.R. Ramaswamy

DVG’s Sri Ramaparikshanam has attempted to examine and analyse the various strands of difficult questions related to Dharma by creating imaginary conversations that Sri Rama has between Ahalya, Sita, Lakshmana and other important characters. Although Sri Rama is a Puranic person, he is placed in the human world and his various accomplishments and sorrows are brought out in this work.

The gentleness in honouring all life |
The method of enjoying the riches of the earth without the taint of greed||
The attitude of always turning towards the Supreme|
The feature of Rama’s Kingdom is one of Dharma||

Twenty-five years after he wrote Sri Ramaparikshanam, DVG brought out the Sri Krishnaparikshanam work in 1970. This work analyses the life of Sri Krishna in the form of a musical drama. Along with it, the work also contains a detailed essay that philosophically explores such difficult episodes as Sri Krishna’s dalliances with the Gopikas. From one perspective, it was far more challenging to write about Sri Krishna’s life.

This work gave a special sense of elation to DVG when it was completed. He said the following when the work was published: “I have put in lots of efforts over several years in political writing. However, I didn’t get the kind of satisfaction from all that work which I derived from writing this book.”

The series of books that DVG published on Maharshi Vidyaranya as early as in the decades of 1920-30 counts as first rate scholarship. For example, the renowned historical scholar, Prof. G.S. Dikshit says the following about the remnants of an inscription that is found in the Vararaja Temple at Kanchipuram: “Those who read this inscription before DVG have not properly understood the meaning of its lost portion. It is only DVG who read it in a fashion that brings out its accurate meaning”… “Vidyaranya was a Kannadiga. That is the reason he made Karnataka as the land of his work. This is the first of the findings unearthed by DVG.” In the perspective of some people, the Vijayanagara Empire was founded under the leadership of Sri Vidyatirtha. However, DVG marshalled a vast amount of internal evidences and on this basis, correctly established the fact that Sri Vidyatirtha was largely inward looking and that Vidyaranya who was keenly interested in worldly matters took the initiative and became responsible for establishing the Vijayanagara Empire. DVG memorably and vividly sketched the series of the pervasive cultural rejuvenation work that was accomplished by the efforts of Sayana – Madhava.

DVG also wrote about the lives and contributions of numerous contemporaries of Vidyaranya. He also had made plans to write about several other such contemporaries: Angirasa Madhava, Kriyashaktyacharya, et al. However, his attention was focused in other directions after the 1930 decade. And so, the aforementioned research work took a backseat.

The Kanchi Paramacharya repeatedly insisted that DVG should bring out a comprehensive volume on Maharshi Vidyaranya. However, that did not materialize.

But DVG completed another order that the Paramacharya had given him. When DVG had crossed 80 years, the Paramacharya told him to bring out a work propounding the essence of Vedanta based on experience. Accordingly, DVG made a Sankalpa within himself and delivered a long discourse on it and got it written down a few days before he passed away.

On the occasion of remembering the Paramacharya’s Shatabhishekha, an endowment was established in his name. The first discourse that was delivered under the aegis of this endowment was the aforementioned work of DVG. This discourse was read in the presence of Prof P. Shankaranarayanan, Ranganath Diwakar and others at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Madras, some time after DVG’s death (7 October 1975).


DVG’s body of work comprise poems, songs, philosophical commentaries, and thoughts on politics and other matters. At the time he began his literary endeavours, there was paucity in Kannada in various literary genres. For this reason, DVG had to devote his intellectual faculties to create works in different genres like other luminaries of this era of renaissance. Thus, DVG wrote drama and a few stories for children. A good portion of his work is inspired by the contemporary social conditions.

The Bhagavad-Gita is not a work that preaches only Sanyasa; it is a work that inspires respect for worldly life and infuses enthusiasm in discharging one’s duty—this is what DVG propagated in his discourses on the Gita (Srimad Bhagavad-Gita Tatparya – Jivanadharmayoga: 1966). An earlier essay has narrated the backdrop to this study of the Gita.

The debates regarding differences in various sects are largely semantic and that it is both feasible and essential to have harmony among sects—this was the stand of DVG.

To be continued 



Dr. S R Ramaswamy is a renowned journalist, writer, art critic, environmentalist, and social activist. He has authored over fifty books and thousands of articles. He was a close associate of greats like D. V. Gundappa and Rallapalli Anantakrishna Sharma. He is currently the honorary Editor-in-Chief of Utthana and the Honorary Secretary of the Gokhale Institute of Public Affairs.



Sandeep Balakrishna is a writer, author, translator, and socio-political-cultural analyst. He is the author of "Tipu Sultan: The Tyrant of Mysore" and "The Madurai Sultanate: A Concise History." He translated Dr. S L Bhyrappa's magnum opus "Avarana" into English.

Prekshaa Publications

Prekṣaṇīyam is an anthology of essays on Indian classical dance and theatre authored by multifaceted scholar and creative genius, Śatāvadhāni Dr. R Ganesh. As a master of śāstra, a performing artiste (of the ancient art of Avadhānam), and a cultured rasika, he brings a unique, holistic perspective...


इदं किञ्चिद्यामलं काव्यं द्वयोः खण्डकाव्ययोः सङ्कलनरूपम्। रामानुरागानलं हि सीतापरित्यागाल्लक्ष्मणवियोगाच्च श्रीरामेणानुभूतं हृदयसङ्क्षोभं वर्णयति । वात्सल्यगोपालकं तु कदाचिद्भानूपरागसमये घटितं यशोदाश्रीकृष्णयोर्मेलनं वर्णयति । इदम्प्रथमतया संस्कृतसाहित्ये सम्पूर्णं काव्यं...


इदं खण्डकाव्यमान्तं मालिनीछन्दसोपनिबद्धं विलसति। मेनकाविश्वामित्रयोः समागमः, तत्फलतया शकुन्तलाया जननम्, मातापितृभ्यां त्यक्तस्य शिशोः कण्वमहर्षिणा परिपालनं चेति काव्यस्यास्येतिवृत्तसङ्क्षेपः।


इदं खण्डकाव्यमान्तं मालिनीछन्दसोपनिबद्धं विलसति। मेनकाविश्वामित्रयोः समागमः, तत्फलतया शकुन्तलाया जननम्, मातापितृभ्यां त्यक्तस्य शिशोः कण्वमहर्षिणा परिपालनं चेति काव्यस्यास्येतिवृत्तसङ्क्षेपः।


इयं रचना दशसु रूपकेष्वन्यतमस्य भाणस्य निदर्शनतामुपैति। एकाङ्करूपकेऽस्मिन् शेखरकनामा चित्रोद्यमलेखकः केनापि हेतुना वियोगम् अनुभवतोश्चित्रलेखामिलिन्दकयोः समागमं सिसाधयिषुः कथामाकाशभाषणरूपेण निर्वहति।


अस्मिन् स्तोत्रकाव्ये भगवन्तं शिवं कविरभिष्टौति। वसन्ततिलकयोपनिबद्धस्य काव्यस्यास्य कविकृतम् उल्लाघनाभिधं व्याख्यानं च वर्तते।

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the third volume, some character sketches of great literary savants responsible for Kannada renaissance during the first half of the twentieth century. These remarkable...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the second volume, episodes from the lives of remarkable exponents of classical music and dance, traditional storytellers, thespians, and connoisseurs; as well as his...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the first volume, episodes from the lives of great writers, poets, literary aficionados, exemplars of public life, literary scholars, noble-hearted common folk, advocates...

Evolution of Mahabharata and Other Writings on the Epic is the English translation of S R Ramaswamy's 1972 Kannada classic 'Mahabharatada Belavanige' along with seven of his essays on the great epic. It tells the riveting...

Shiva-Rama-Krishna is an English adaptation of Śatāvadhāni Dr. R Ganesh's popular lecture series on the three great...


ಮಹಾಮಾಹೇಶ್ವರ ಅಭಿನವಗುಪ್ತ ಜಗತ್ತಿನ ವಿದ್ಯಾವಲಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಮರೆಯಲಾಗದ ಹೆಸರು. ಮುಖ್ಯವಾಗಿ ಶೈವದರ್ಶನ ಮತ್ತು ಸೌಂದರ್ಯಮೀಮಾಂಸೆಗಳ ಪರಮಾಚಾರ್ಯನಾಗಿ  ಸಾವಿರ ವರ್ಷಗಳಿಂದ ಇವನು ಜ್ಞಾನಪ್ರಪಂಚವನ್ನು ಪ್ರಭಾವಿಸುತ್ತಲೇ ಇದ್ದಾನೆ. ಭರತಮುನಿಯ ನಾಟ್ಯಶಾಸ್ತ್ರವನ್ನು ಅರ್ಥಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಇವನೊಬ್ಬನೇ ನಮಗಿರುವ ಆಲಂಬನ. ಇದೇ ರೀತಿ ರಸಧ್ವನಿಸಿದ್ಧಾಂತವನ್ನು...


“वागर्थविस्मयास्वादः” प्रमुखतया साहित्यशास्त्रतत्त्वानि विमृशति । अत्र सौन्दर्यर्यशास्त्रीयमूलतत्त्वानि यथा रस-ध्वनि-वक्रता-औचित्यादीनि सुनिपुणं परामृष्टानि प्रतिनवे चिकित्सकप्रज्ञाप्रकाशे। तदन्तर एव संस्कृतवाङ्मयस्य सामर्थ्यसमाविष्कारोऽपि विहितः। क्वचिदिव च्छन्दोमीमांसा च...

The Best of Hiriyanna

The Best of Hiriyanna is a collection of forty-eight essays by Prof. M. Hiriyanna that sheds new light on Sanskrit Literature, Indian...

Stories Behind Verses

Stories Behind Verses is a remarkable collection of over a hundred anecdotes, each of which captures a story behind the composition of a Sanskrit verse. Collected over several years from...