Professor Mysore Hiriyanna Booklist

Professor Mysore Hiriyanna (1871–1950) was a renowned scholar of Sanskrit and Indian Philosophy and one of the foremost exponents of Indian thought, values, and aesthetics in English. Hiriyanna’s writings on Indian philosophy are unique, for he wrote not merely with erudition but with the backing of experience. In his essay titled The Message of India Philosophy M Hiriyanna writes, “But whichever be the doctrine chosen, it is absolutely necessary that its teaching should, as a whole, be properly assimilated, if it is to have effective influence on everyday conduct. It is not enough to think and know; one must also feel and experience.”[1]

The learned professor’s writings serve as a classic example to the motto of Mallinatha Suri, “nāmūlaṃ likhyate kiñcit nānapekṣitam ucyate,” – [I] won’t write a single line without evidence and won’t utter a useless word. The eminent Harvard professor Daniel H H Ingalls, in the Journal of American Oriental Studies, said something similar of Professor Hiriyanna – “…this great scholar of whom it might be said that he never wrote a useless word.”[2]  The brevity of Hiriyanna’s style, clarity of his thought, intensity of words, and incisive insights make his writings eminently worth studying.

Will Durant writes these poignant words in The Story of Philosophy while speaking about an ancient Greek Philosopher – “And last are the few whose delight is in meditation and understanding; who yearn not for goods, nor for victory, but for knowledge; who leave both market and battle-field to lose themselves in the quiet clarity of secluded thought; whose will is a light rather than fire, whose haven is not power but truth: these are the men of wisdom, who stand aside unused by the world.”[3]

The above words may aptly describe the life and writings of Prof. Hiriyanna.

‘Experience: First and Final’[4]

For Hiriyanna, experience was first and final, as can be gleaned from this charming incident narrated by D V Gundappa.

Hiriyanna believed that in philosophy, experience was more important than knowledge gained by reading books. He once told me, "I’ve heard many people complain that I have not done justice to aspects of Dvaita philosophy in the Outlines[5] owing to prejudice. I will tell you the reason behind it. I lack experience in that philosophy. I have, for a long time, wanted to learn it from someone who can help me gain the experience of it. If you know of such Dvaita scholars, I will be happy to befriend them.”

I told him a few names who had taught Sāṅkhya and Tarka and who were respected in the Mādhva circles. Hiriyanna immediately asked, “Do they teach from their knowledge of books or from experience?”

I did not have an answer for that. A couple of months later I learnt from A.R. Krishna Sastri that Hiriyanna had found an elderly Mādhva scholar and used to visit him frequently.[6]

Just knowing about a gem like Hiriyanna is as thrilling and educative as reading his works. It is almost impossible to separate Hiriyanna, the person; Prof. M Hiriyanna, the scholar; and the writings of M Hiriyanna.

The amount of information available about the life of Prof. Hiriyanna—both in Kannada and English—is rather limited. The present booklist is a small attempt to make a close-to-exhaustive list of writings on Hiriyanna in order that it may kindle interest in aspirants, inspire them to read about the professor, and most importantly, read him.

Biographies and Monographs on Prof. Hiriyanna

1. M. Hiriyanna by T P Ramachandran (New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, 2001)

This biography, published under ‘The Builders of Indian Philosophy Series’ elucidates and highlights the contribution of Prof. Hiriyanna to Indian philosophy and thought. With numerous quotes and references from the works of Hiriyanna, the book sheds light on his interpretations of Indian philosophy, metaphysics, and thought.

2. ಆರ್ದ್ರಜ್ಯೋತಿ by Śatāvadhāni Dr. R Ganesh (Bangalore: V. Si. Sampada, 2008)

This is a Kannada monograph on the life, works, contributions, and achievements of M Hiriyanna presented in a succinct manner, focussing on the essential aspects of the professor’s life and writings. It is the only such work in Kannada.

3. ಎಂ. ಹಿರಿಯಣ್ಣ by L S Sheshagiri Rao (Bangalore: Rashtrotthana Sahitya, 1976)

It is a brief life-sketch of M Hiriyanna written for children, published under the ‘ಭಾರತ-ಭಾರತಿ ಪುಸ್ತಕಮಾಲೆ.’

Essays on Prof. Hiriyanna, his Life, and Works

1. ಹಿರಿಯಣ್ಣನವರ ಪರಿಶುದ್ಧ ಪಾಂಡಿತ್ಯ (Hiriyanna’s Pure Scholarship) – the first chapter (pp. 9–30) in ಹೃದಯಸಂಪನ್ನರು, the seventh volume of ಜ್ಞಾಪಕ ಚಿತ್ರಶಾಲೆ by D V Gundappa (Mysore: Kavyalaya Prakashaa, 1974)

This essay, by the great D V Gundappa, a junior contemporary and a friend of the professor, is arguably the best essay on Hiriyanna. With intimate anecdotes and compelling imagery, it culls out his personality and his deep learning. It is a moving essay that brings the reader in touch with the great human and the scholar he was.

(This essay has been translated into English by H Y Sharada Prasad. It appears under the title ‘Hiriyanna: An Appreciation’ in the special edition of Hiriyanna’s Art Experience, published in 1997 by Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi.)

2. Introductory essay of Śatāvadhāni Dr. R Ganesh for the book The Best of Hiriyanna (Bengaluru: W.I.S.E. Words and Prekshaa Pratishtana, 2018)

This is a masterful introduction to the life and works of Prof. Hiriyanna with reviews of his works in the backdrop of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The book is an anthology of forty-eight of the best essays by the professor on Indian philosophy, aesthetics, and Sanskrit literature. If there is one book of Hiriyanna one must read, it is this.

3. Professor M. Hiriyanna (1871–1950) – an introductory essay by N Sivarama Sastry that appears in the Prof. M. Hiriyanna Commemoration Volume edited by N Sivarama Sastry and G Hanumantha Rao (Mysore: M. Hiriyanna Commemoration Volume Committee, 1952)

The essay is a brief critique of Hiriyanna’s life and his profound scholarship. N Sivarama Sastry has also prepared an extremely useful and an exhaustive bibliography of the professor’s writings – both books and articles. Dr. S Radhakrishnan has written a foreword to the volume in appreciation of Prof. Hiriyanna and his works. The volume is a collection of articles on Indian philosophy, Sanskrit literature, and Indian thought by eminent scholars.

4. ಪ್ರೊ. ಎಂ. ಹಿರಿಯಣ್ಣ – the third chapter in the book ಹಿರಿಯರು-ಗೆಳೆಯರು by V Sitaramiah (Mysore: Geeta Book House, 1980)

Through this impressionistic pen portrait of Prof. Hiriyanna, V Sitaramiah sketches the personality, scholarship, and teaching methods of the professor with brief reviews and background of some of Hiriyanna’s works.

The same essay also appears as the seventh chapter in V Sitaramiah’s ವ್ಯಕ್ತಿಚಿತ್ರ ಸಂಪುಟ (ಭಾಗ ೧) published by V Si Sampada, Bangalore, 1996.

5. ಗುರು ಸ್ಮರಣೆ, appearing in the book ನಂಟರು by T N Sreekantaiya (Mysore: Kavyalaya Publishers, 1963)

This essay is mainly about Prof. Hiriyanna as a teacher, his conduct at the workplace, his demeanour in public, and the high respect he gained from all. The author recalls some of the immortal lines that Prof. Hiriyanna would utter during his classes – ”Art should not have a moral aim, but should have a moral view,” “Dhvani is a failure that succeeds,” and so forth.

The same essay has also been published in ತೀ. ನಂ. ಶ್ರೀ ಸಮಗ್ರ ಗದ್ಯ—the complete prose works of T N Sreekantaiya —under the same title, published by ಕನ್ನಡ ಪುಸ್ತಕ ಪ್ರಾಧಿಕಾರ, ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು, 2006.

(The book ನಂಟರು been translated into English as Relatives by T S Nagabhushana and published in 2014.)

6. Professor M. Hiriyanna Birth Centenary Commemoration Volume (1871 –1971) edited by V Raghavan and G Marulasiddaiah (Mysore: Prasaranga, University of Mysore, 1972)

The volume is a collection of essays on philosophy and Sanskrit by eminent scholars. The volume also includes a few brilliant essays, reminiscences and pen portrays on M. Hiriyanna, his life, works, achievements, and contributions. They are:
- Professor Hiriyanna by V Sitaramiah
- An Unassuming Scholar by K Chandrasekharan
- Prof. Hiriyanna – Personality and Works by B K Shivaramaiah
- His Last Pupil by G Marulasiddaiah (under the name ‘Siddhanta’)
- Works Edited by Prof. M. Hiriyanna by R S Shivaganesha Murthy
- Those Days are Gone by A R Badarinarayan
- Hiriyanna: A Tribute by D V Gundappa
- Gurupranaam by P T Narasimhachar
- Bibliography of Prof. Hiriyanna’s Writings by N Sivarama Sastry

7. The Mysore Orientalist, Volume 5, Edited by G Marulasiddaiah and R S Sivaganesamurti (Mysore: Oriental Research Institute, 1974)

This volume contains the papers read at the Seminar on Professor M. Hiriyanna: His Life and Works held in December 1972 as part of his birth centenary celebrations. It includes essays such as –
- Prof. Hiriyanna: A Model of Learning and Modesty by A N Upadhye
- Prof. Hiriyanna’s Contributions by G Hanumantha Rao
- Prof. Hiriyanna: His Contributions by R R Ambardekar
- Prof. Hiriyanna on Theistic Vedanta by K Sheshadri
- Prof. Hiriyanna on Pūrva-Mīmāṃsā by K T Pandurangi
- Prof. M. Hiriyanna as an Exponent of Mīmāṃsā by G V Devasthali
- Karma, its place in the Bhagavadgita and Prof. Hiriyanna’s observations on it by C Ramanathan
- Hiriyanna on the Philosophy of Values by S Venkitasubramonia Iyer
- Prof. M Hiriyanna’s Philosophy of Values by A G Javadekar
- Prof. Hiriyanna on Art and Morality by E R Sreekrishna Sarma
- Hiriyanna’s Contribution to Indian Ethical ThoughtAn Assessment by P B Vidyarthi
- Prof. Hiriyanna’s Contributions to Ethical Thought by G A Jalihal

8. ಕಾಲೇಜ್ ದಿನಗಳು by V Sitaramiah (Bangalore: IBH Prakashana, 1971)

The book contains reminiscences of V. Sitaramiah’s college days at Maharaja’s College, Mysore, where he was a student of Prof. Hiriyanna. The book has a few references to Prof. Hiriyanna, mainly about his teachings and personality as well as how he conducted himself inside and outside the college and how attending his classes was a source of pure delight.

9. The Late Professor M. Hiriyanna by H L Hariyappa (Pune: Annals of Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Vol. 31, 1950)

This is an obituary of Professor M Hiriyanna.

10. ಪ್ರೊ. ಹಿರಿಯಣ್ಣನವರು – appears in the book ಸಾಹಿತಿಗಳ ಸಂಗದಲ್ಲಿ by De Javaregowda (Bangalore: Ankita Pustaka, 1999)

This is a brief biography of M Hiriyanna with minor details of his life.


Foreword by V Raghavan to Reviews, a collection of 122 reviews, that Prof. Hiriyanna wrote to various newspapers, periodicals and journals of prestigious research institutions and universities (Mysore: Kavyalaya Publishers, 1970)

Foreword by S R Ramaswamy to the new edition of Indian Conception of Values published as part of The Mysore Hiriyanna Library (Bengaluru: W.I.S.E. Words and Prekshaa Pratishtana, 2018)

Foreword by Kapila Vatsyayan to the special edition of Art Experience (New Delhi: Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, 1997)


The author wishes to express his heartfelt thanks to Śatāvadhāni Dr. R Ganesh and Hari Ravikumar for their valuable inputs. Edited by Hari Ravikumar.


[1] Hiriyanna, M. The Quest After Perfection, Mysore: Kavyalaya Publishers, 1952. p. 43

[2] Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 73, No. 3 (July-September 1953), p. 171

[3] Durant, Will. The Story of Philosophy. New York: Garden City Publishing, 1938. p. 30

[4] This is title of the last essay of Prof. Hiriyanna’s critically acclaimed anthology Art Experience (1954)

[5] Hiriyanna, M. Outlines of Indian Philosophy. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1932

[6] Taken from the well-known essay by D V Gundappa on Prof. Hiriyanna titled ಹಿರಿಯಣ್ಣನವರ ಪರಿಶುದ್ಧ ಪಾಂಡಿತ್ಯ (Hiriyannanavara Parishuddha Panditya). See the later part of the article for details


Appendix – M Hiriyanna’s Writings

In the early part of his career Prof. M Hiriyanna wrote a few books on education. D V Gundappa, in his essay on M Hiriyanna mentions that Hiriyanna had published two works in Kannada titled ‘ಬೋಧನಕ್ರಮ’ and ‘ಸ್ಮೃತಿಶಕ್ತಿ’ for the benefit of students and teachers.

Apart from the works mentioned here, Prof. Hiriyanna wrote innumerable essays, articles, and reviews to journals of learned research institutions, prestigious universities, reputed papers, and periodicals. He also wrote forewords for a few books.

The following list is reproduced (with a few additions) from T P Ramachandran’s book M. Hiryanna (The Builders of Indian Philosophy Series). New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 2001. pp. 262–63.

Īśāvāsyopaniṣad with the commentary of Śrī Śaṅkarācārya, translated into English with Introduction and Notes (Srirangam: Sri Vani Vilas Press, 1911)

Kenopaniṣad with the commentary of Śrī Śaṅkarācārya, translated into English with Introduction and Notes (Srirangam: Sri Vani Vilas Press, 1912)

Kaṭhopaniṣad with the commentary of Śrī Śaṅkarācārya, translated into English with Introduction and Notes (Srirangam: Sri Vani Vilas Press, 1915)

Bṛhadāraṇyakopaniṣad, Part I, Sections 1–3, with the commentary of Śrī Śaṅkarācārya, translated into English with Introduction and Notes (Srirangam: Sri Vani Vilas Press, 1919)

Tales from the Sanskrit Dramatists (with S K De, Kunhan Raja, P S Subramania Sastri, G I Somayaji, T L Krishnaswami Aiyar, and Kamala Satthianadhan), with a Foreword by Sir C V Kumaraswami Sastri (Madras: G A Natesan & Co., 1924)

The Naiṣkarmyasiddhi of Sureśvarācārya with the Candrikā of Jñānottama. Introduction and Explanatory Notes (Poona: Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, 1925; Bombay Sanskrit and Prakrit Series No. 38)

Vedāntasāra, a work on Vedānta Philosophy by Sadānanda, edited with Introduction, Translation, and Explanatory Notes (Poona: Oriental Book Agency, 1929)

Outlines of Indian Philosophy (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1932)

(This work has been translated into Kannada titled ಭಾರತೀಯ ತತ್ವಶಾಸ್ತ್ರದ ರೂಪು ರೇಖೆಗಳು by Prabhu Shankara. Mysore: Prasaranga, University of Mysore, 1973)

Iṣṭasiddhi of Vimuktātman with extracts from Vivaraṇa of Jñānottama, critically edited with Introduction and Notes (Baroda: Oriental Institute, 1933; Gaekwad’s Oriental Series No. 65)

The Essentials of Indian Philosophy (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1949)

(This work has been translated into Kannada titled ಭಾರತೀಯ ತತ್ವಶಾಸ್ತ್ರದ ಮೂಲಾಂಶಗಳು by K B Ramakrishna Rao. Mysore: Prasaranga, University of Mysore, 1971)

Popular Essays in Indian Philosophy (Mysore: Kavyalaya Publishers, 1952)

The Quest After Perfection (Mysore: Kavyalaya Publishers, 1952)

Art Experience (Mysore: Kavyalaya Publishers, 1954)

Sanskrit Studies (Mysore: Kavyalaya Publishers, 1954)

Indian Philosophical Studies (Mysore: Kavyalaya Publishers, 1957)

The Mission of Philosophy (Mysore: Kavyalaya Publishers, 1960)

Reviews, with a Foreword by V Raghavan (Mysore: Kavyalaya Publishers, 1970)

Indian Philosophical Studies – 2 (Mysore: Kavyalaya Publishers, 1972)

Indian Conception of Values (Mysore: Kavyalaya Publishers, 1975)

Apart from the above mentioned independent works, M Hiriyanna was on the Editorial Board (along with W R Inge, L P Jacks, E A Burtt, and P T Raju) in bringing out Radhakrishnan: Comparative Studies in Philosophy Presented in Honour of his Sixtieth Birthday (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1951). This special volume was brought out in the honour of S Radhakrishnan, eminent scholar of Indian philosophy, a junior contemporary and a friend of M Hiriyanna, who rose to the office of the Vice-President of India and later President of India.



Jayasimha currently works as part of a think tank under the Government of India. Previously he worked as a journalist with The Hindu. Prior to that he was a 'Legislative Assistants to Members of Parliament' (LAMP) Fellow at PRS Legislative Research, New Delhi. His interests include literature, philosophy, history, politics, and polity.

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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...