The Outstanding Reign of Chalukya Vikramaditya VI

Pre-eminent among the kings of Karnataka is the Kalyani Chalukya emperor, Vikramaditya VI. He was the son of Someshwara I. Fortunately, he had the poet Vidyapati Bilhana in his court and so his achievements have become immortal.

In his poetical work in eighteen cantos, Vikramankadevacharita, Bilhana records the life and achievements of Vikramaditya VI, who ruled for over fifty years and his long reign was marked by lasting peace. His son was Someshwara III who composed a unique work titled Rajamanasollasa. This is the first encyclopedia of Karnataka. Someshwara has asserted that a king must be knowledgeable in a hundred branches of learning. From this we learn that Indian kshaatra was not bloodthirsty, sectarian, and uncultured but rather a tradition that held as an ideal a collection of the wealth of knowledge and wisdom, aesthetic enjoyment and refined taste, rich mixture of emotions and intellect, as well as strength and strategy. This great treatise is a remarkable record of the cultural wealth that existed in Central India.

There are three great encyclopedias in Sanskrit:

(i) Brihatsamhita of Varahamihara (from the Gupta period)

(ii) Shivatattvaratnakara of Basavabhupala, the Keladi king

(iii) Rajamanasollasa (or Abhilashitarthachintamani) of Someshwara III. When his father Vikramaditya VI was ruling the empire for a long time and was occupied with administration, Someshwara III never made an attempt, although he was immensely capable, to usurp power like other treacherous princes who lust after the throne; instead, he set his mind on scholarly pursuits like composing this encyclopedia. This episode in our history shows the values of kshaatra upheld in our tradition.

Someshwara I, Vikramaditya's father, constantly battled the Pallavas and Cholas. He died during one such battle with them. But he had defeated even King Bhoja of Dharanagara! Vikramaditya did not have the support of his brothers. Even so, he expanded the Kalyani Chalukya empire all the way up to the River Narmada. He defeated several great emperors such as Karahata Bhoja,Chola Kulotthunga, and Hoysala Vishnuvardhana.

Further, he defeated royal lineages such as the Gangas, Kadambas, and Rashtrakutas, which had ruled over Karnataka for long periods. His wife Chandaladevi was a great scholar. Vijnaneshwara, the great dharmashastra expert who wrote the commentary Mitakshara on the Yajnavalkyasmriti lived in the court of Vikramaditya. His brother Kirtivarma wrote a treatise in Kannada titled Govaidya. Vikramaditya was not merely famous for his valour on the battlefield but also for being a great caretaker of his subjects. He helped his people in many ways and created a kingdom of peace and prosperity.

Vikramaditya's army general established the Itagi Mahadeva temple. Due to the beauty of its sculptures, this temple has been hailed as the 'emperor of all temples'!

At the fag end of his Mitakshara, Vijnaneshwara praises Kalyananagara and Vikramaditya VI in these words:

नासीदस्ति भविष्यति क्षितितले कल्याणकल्पं पुरम्।

नो दृष्टः श्रुत एव वा क्षितिपति श्रीविक्रमार्कोपमः॥

A town that epitomizes auspiciousness, Kalyananagara, never existed in the world before; it has no equal now and such a town will never exist in the future. Nobody had seen or heard of a king like Vikramaditya in the past.

It was during the reign of Vikramaditya VI that the war drums of Karnataka were heard in places as far away as Gujarat. That he never lost a war in his life has been recorded with great pride. He expanded his kingdom from Tiruchinapalli to the banks of the Narmada. That is half of modern-day Europe. There is a huge difference in the size of Vikramaditya's kingdom in comparison with that of Napoleon's or Hitler's. Yet, even in Karnataka, no great treatise has been written about him; and at the national level, he hasn't got the place he deserves in history. A country that ignores such a great kshatriya will never prosper.

Coins issued during Someshwara III reign

Unlike Pulakeshi II, Vikramaditya VI boldly faced all family feuds and squabbles, quelling them completely. When his father, with the thought 'वीरभोज्या वसुन्धरा' wanted to hand over the reins of the kingdom to him, Vikramaditya refused; instead he offered it to his brother Someshwara II out of respect for his age and seniority. But ultimately, seeing the cowardly attitude of his elder brother as well as his disdain towards security, his arrogance, and his constant mischief, Vikramaditya overpowered him and threw him aside.

Similarly, in spite of the love and respect he showed his younger brother Jayasimha, by offering him positions of power, the ungrateful wretch rebelled against the king. With his unmatched valour, Vikramaditya defeated his audacious brother and hurled him in prison. Later, out of compassion, not only did he spare his brother's life, he also handed over the position to his nephew (i.e. Jayasimha's son), thus displaying great magnanimity and foresight. Several kings deeply admired the personality of Vikramaditya VI, who was renowned for his wisdom, courage, magnanimity, and ever-helpful nature. Due to Vikramaditya's help, King Jagaddeva of Malavadesha got back his kingdom that he had lost in a family feud. Kings like Jaggadeva offered their kingdoms to Vikramaditya, moved to his capital city, and lived there like his children -- we find references to this. When we see all this, we cannot but be impressed with the personality of Vikramaditya and cannot but notice the true nature of kshaatra.

Hoysala Vishnuvardhana

Yet another great king in this tradition of kshaatra is the Hoysala emperor Bittideva Vishnuvardhana. He expanded his kingdom from Tiruchirapalli until the River Krishna. He too was victorious is many wars. He built several Shiva temples, Vishnu temples, and Jain temples. The extraordinary Belur-Halebidu temples with their exquisite architecture and sculptures were a result of his encouragement. Some people opine that he converted to Srivaishnavism. That is not factually right. Vishnuvardhana is his original name. The word 'vishnu' is synonymous with bitti and bittiga, which are merely the tadbhava forms. This is just like how 'krishna' became 'kitti' or 'kittu.' Therefore, the whole story of this Jain king by name Bittideva converting to Srivaishnavism and changing his name to Vishnuvardhana is baseless. However, it is true that Bittideva greatly respected and honoured Ramanujacharya, who was his contemporary.

With a lot of foresight, Bittideva ensured that the infrastructure in all the towns of his kingdom was well established. His greatest accomplishment is that he, albeit unknowingly, laid the foundation that was needed for the Vijayanagara empire that came afterwards. Even today we find hundreds of Hoysala temples. The Hoysalas supported the construction of temples and sacred centres of all schools of thought.

Sevunas of Devagiri

The great force that we see next is that of the Sevunas. They are also called the Devagiri Yadavas. The Sevunas ruled over the region of modern-day Maharashtra. They were Kannadigas and adhered to Sanatanadharma. They belonged to the caste of cowherds and shepherds. They came from an extremely socially disadvantaged position. In fact, it is such people who have stood strong in our history.

Of the Devagiri Yadavas, the one who stands out is Singhana II (13th century CE). Singhana means 'simharaja' or lion-like king. He was a valorous hero. He defeated Shilaharabhoja and thrashed the Islamic invaders. From Gujarat to Goa, the entire western coastline was under his rule. He expanded his kingdom until Shivamogga in the south and Kurnool-Kadapa in the east. His chief minister Hemadri composed the dharma-shastric treatise Chaturvargachintamani. In size, it is bigger than the Mahabharata of Vyasa! The various dharmashastra texts, sutras, smritis, puranas, commentaries, veda-samhitas, brahmana-aranyakas and their commentaries -- not a single reference is missing in this treatise of Hemadri, to the extent that if he has not mentioned it, perhaps such a work did not exist! He has composed many works modelled after an encyclopedia. He has written many scholarly and elaborate treatises on a number of subjects including Ayurveda, Alankarashastra (poetics), Vyakarana (grammar), Puranas, and Itihasas.

Hemadri was not only a prolific author, he was also responsible for the construction of wells, lakes, choultries, and so on. He established many new systems for land development, taxation, and collection of taxes. There are several legends about his magnanimity, compassion, and wisdom. The fondness that Singhana had for scholars and the splendour of Hemadri's genius gave Central India a glorious period in the post-classical era. These are excellent examples of the harmony between braahma and kshaatra. Bhaskaracharya's grandson Sharngadeva was also a member of Singhana's court. Apart from being a brilliant astronomer, he also composed seminal works on music, dance, literary compositions, and the study of musical instruments; after Bharata, it was he who has said many decisive things about these topics.

Until Singhana was alive, the Islamic forces could not go to the south of India. He stood like an impregnable fortress and protected the entire south of India. But the kings who came after him were weak and powerless.

Translated by Hari Ravikumar and Sandeep Balakrishna



Dr. Ganesh is a 'shatavadhani' and one of India’s foremost Sanskrit poets and scholars. He writes and lectures extensively on various subjects pertaining to India and Indian cultural heritage. He is a master of the ancient art of avadhana and is credited with reviving the art in Kannada. He is a recipient of the Badarayana-Vyasa Puraskar from the President of India for his contribution to the Sanskrit language.



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.


Hari is an author, translator, editor, designer, and violinist with a deep interest in philosophy, education pedagogy, literature, and films. He has (co-)written/translated and (co-)edited some forty books, mostly related to Indian culture.

Prekshaa Publications

Indian Perspective of Truth and Beauty in Homer’s Epics is a unique work on the comparative study of the Greek Epics Iliad and Odyssey with the Indian Epics – Rāmāyaṇa and Mahābhārata. Homer, who laid the foundations for the classical tradition of the West, occupies a stature similar to that occupied by the seer-poets Vālmīki and Vyāsa, who are synonymous with the Indian culture. The author...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the sixth volume of reminiscences character sketches of prominent public figures, liberals, and social workers. These remarkable personages hailing from different corners of South India are from a period that spans from the late nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. Written in Kannada in the 1970s, these memoirs go...

An Introduction to Hinduism based on Primary Sources

Authors: Śatāvadhānī Dr. R Ganesh, Hari Ravikumar

What is the philosophical basis for Sanātana-dharma, the ancient Indian way of life? What makes it the most inclusive and natural of all religio-philosophical systems in the world?

The Essential Sanātana-dharma serves as a handbook for anyone who wishes to grasp the...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the fifth volume, episodes from the lives of traditional savants responsible for upholding the Vedic culture. These memorable characters lived a life of opulence amidst poverty— theirs  was the wealth of the soul, far beyond money and gold. These vidvāns hailed from different corners of the erstwhile Mysore Kingdom and lived in...

Padma Bhushan Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam represents the quintessence of Sage Bharata’s art and Bhārata, the country that gave birth to the peerless seer of the Nāṭya-veda. Padma’s erudition in various streams of Indic knowledge, mastery over many classical arts, deep understanding of the nuances of Indian culture, creative genius, and sublime vision bolstered by the vedāntic and nationalistic...

Bhārata has been a land of plenty in many ways. We have had a timeless tradition of the twofold principle of Brāhma (spirit of wisdom) and Kṣāttra (spirit of valour) nourishing and protecting this sacred land. The Hindu civilisation, rooted in Sanātana-dharma, has constantly been enriched by brāhma and safeguarded by kṣāttra.
The renowned Sanskrit poet and scholar, Śatāvadhānī Dr. R...

ಛಂದೋವಿವೇಕವು ವರ್ಣವೃತ್ತ, ಮಾತ್ರಾಜಾತಿ ಮತ್ತು ಕರ್ಷಣಜಾತಿ ಎಂದು ವಿಭಕ್ತವಾದ ಎಲ್ಲ ಬಗೆಯ ಛಂದಸ್ಸುಗಳನ್ನೂ ವಿವೇಚಿಸುವ ಪ್ರಬಂಧಗಳ ಸಂಕಲನ. ಲೇಖಕರ ದೀರ್ಘಕಾಲಿಕ ಆಲೋಚನೆಯ ಸಾರವನ್ನು ಒಳಗೊಂಡ ಈ ಹೊತ್ತಗೆ ಪ್ರಧಾನವಾಗಿ ಛಂದಸ್ಸಿನ ಸೌಂದರ್ಯವನ್ನು ಲಕ್ಷಿಸುತ್ತದೆ. ತೌಲನಿಕ ವಿಶ್ಲೇಷಣೆ ಮತ್ತು ಅಂತಃಶಾಸ್ತ್ರೀಯ ಅಧ್ಯಯನಗಳ ತೆಕ್ಕೆಗೆ ಬರುವ ಬರೆಹಗಳೂ ಇಲ್ಲಿವೆ. ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರಕಾರನಿಗಲ್ಲದೆ ಸಿದ್ಧಹಸ್ತನಾದ ಕವಿಗೆ ಮಾತ್ರ ಸ್ಫುರಿಸಬಲ್ಲ ಎಷ್ಟೋ ಹೊಳಹುಗಳು ಕೃತಿಯ ಮೌಲಿಕತೆಯನ್ನು ಹೆಚ್ಚಿಸಿವೆ. ಈ...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the fourth volume, some character sketches of the Dewans of Mysore preceded by an account of the political framework of the State before Independence and followed by a review of the political conditions of the State after 1940. These remarkable leaders of Mysore lived in a period that spans from the mid-nineteenth century to the...

Bharatiya Kavya-mimamseya Hinnele is a monograph on Indian Aesthetics by Mahamahopadhyaya N. Ranganatha Sharma. The book discusses the history and significance of concepts pivotal to Indian literary theory. It is equally useful to the learned and the laity.

Sahitya-samhite is a collection of literary essays in Kannada. The book discusses aestheticians such as Ananda-vardhana and Rajashekhara; Sanskrit scholars such as Mena Ramakrishna Bhat, Sridhar Bhaskar Varnekar and K S Arjunwadkar; and Kannada litterateurs such as DVG, S L Bhyrappa and S R Ramaswamy. It has a foreword by Shatavadhani Dr. R Ganesh.

The Mahābhārata is the greatest epic in the world both in magnitude and profundity. A veritable cultural compendium of Bhārata-varṣa, it is a product of the creative genius of Maharṣi Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsa. The epic captures the experiential wisdom of our civilization and all subsequent literary, artistic, and philosophical creations are indebted to it. To read the Mahābhārata is to...

Shiva Rama Krishna

சிவன். ராமன். கிருஷ்ணன்.
இந்திய பாரம்பரியத்தின் முப்பெரும் கதாநாயகர்கள்.
உயர் இந்தியாவில் தலைமுறைகள் பல கடந்தும் கடவுளர்களாக போற்றப்பட்டு வழிகாட்டிகளாக விளங்குபவர்கள்.
மனித ஒற்றுமை நூற்றாண்டுகால பரிணாம வளர்ச்சியின் பரிமாணம்.
தனிநபர்களாகவும், குடும்ப உறுப்பினர்களாகவும், சமுதாய பிரஜைகளாகவும் நாம் அனைவரும் பரிமளிக்கிறோம்.
சிவன் தனிமனித அடையாளமாக அமைகிறான்....

ऋतुभिः सह कवयः सदैव सम्बद्धाः। विशिष्य संस्कृतकवयः। यथा हि ऋतवः प्रतिसंवत्सरं प्रतिनवतामावहन्ति मानवेषु तथैव ऋतुवर्णनान्यपि काव्यरसिकेषु कामपि विच्छित्तिमातन्वते। ऋतुकल्याणं हि सत्यमिदमेव हृदि कृत्वा प्रवृत्तम्। नगरजीवनस्य यान्त्रिकतां मान्त्रिकतां च ध्वनदिदं चम्पूकाव्यं गद्यपद्यमिश्रितमिति सुव्यक्तमेव। ऐदम्पूर्वतया प्रायः पुरीपरिसरप्रसृतानाम् ऋतूनां विलासोऽत्र प्रपञ्चितः। बेङ्गलूरुनामके...

The Art and Science of Avadhānam in Sanskrit is a definitive work on Sāhityāvadhānam, a form of Indian classical art based on multitasking, lateral thinking, and extempore versification. Dotted throughout with tasteful examples, it expounds in great detail on the theory and practice of this unique performing art. It is as much a handbook of performance as it is an anthology of well-turned...

This anthology is a revised edition of the author's 1978 classic. This series of essays, containing his original research in various fields, throws light on the socio-cultural landscape of Tamil Nadu spanning several centuries. These compelling episodes will appeal to scholars and laymen alike.
“When superstitious mediaevalists mislead the country about its judicial past, we have to...

The cultural history of a nation, unlike the customary mainstream history, has a larger time-frame and encompasses the timeless ethos of a society undergirding the course of events and vicissitudes. A major key to the understanding of a society’s unique character is an appreciation of the far-reaching contributions by outstanding personalities of certain periods – especially in the realms of...

Prekṣaṇīyam is an anthology of essays on Indian classical dance and theatre authored by multifaceted scholar and creative genius, Śatāvadhānī 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 to every discussion. These essays deal with the philosophy, history, aesthetics, and practice of...


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...