(Following article is extracted from the work : THE LIFE OF SRI VYASARAJA, A Champu Kavya in Sanskrit
BY POET SOMANATHA (a Contemporary) With a Historical Introduction in English

by B. Venkoba Rao, B.A. (Mysore Civil Service)
Published in : 1926
Published by : Mrs. M.Srinivas Murthy, 'Chandrika', Basvanagudi, Banglore.)

New light has been thrown on Vijayanagar History by a palm leaf manuscript in
Nagri characters which was found with the family of a Brahman priest of the
Madhwa community who worships at Tirumakudlu in Mysore District at the Brindavana
of Sesha Chandrikacharya who was a Swami of Sri Vyasaraya Mutt, the present
headquarters of which is at Sosale in the Mysore District near Tirumakudlu. It
was known for a long time that the manuscript was there, but as it is the only
manuscript of the work so far known, the family who had possession of it was
unwilling to part with it. Recently however it became possible for me through
the exertions of Mr. M.Srinivasmurthi, Sarvadhikari of Sri Vyasaraya Mutt,
to obtain the manuscript for examination. The manuscript being not in the
Devanagari but in the Nagari characters which are rather unfamiliar now-a-days,
I had obtained a skilled reader to read the manuscript. As the style us highly
ornate and descriptive like the style of Bana and as the incidents described
are not familiar, I had to devote my scanty leisure for many days in a period
of over a month personally to examine the historical references in the
book. Luckily my labours were richly rewarded and the manuscript

(If any readers of this book can secure other copies of the work they are
requested kindly to send them to the publisher who will arrange to get the
manuscripts used for purposes of collation and supply printed copies to the
owners of the manuscripts.)

is now in the hands of Mr. M.Srinivasmurthi, the Sarvadhikari of Sri Vyasarayaswami
Mutt, who is making arrangments to publish it.

2. The manuscript is entitled "Vyasayogi Charitram" i.e. "The Life of Vyasayogi"
and consists of six Ucchavasas or chapters. It is a work in Champu style and is in
both prose and verse. In the first chapter, the author makes obeisance in verse
to the ten Avatars of Vishnu, praises Kalidasa and Bana and says that he is attempting
to write the life of Vyasayogi according to his capacity only, as it is impossible
for him to do full justice to a life full of incident of a scholar whose learning
was of encyclopaedic range. The story beings by narrating how Devas go to Vedavyasa
and ask for succour, as real knowledge has disappeared from the world. Vedavyasa promises
to send Madhwacharya again to the world. In the second chapter, a Brahman couple of
Bannur in the Mysore District are described. They feel keenly the absence of children and
pray to God. Vedavyasa in a dream offers progeny to the lady giving her a gold plate full
of light and points a sage Brahmanya Tirtha as the person through whom the desire for
children would be gratified. Soon after, the ascetic Brahmanya Tirtha desires the last
son to be given to himself and returns in due course to Channapatna, near which place
his hermitage lies.

3. In the third chapter, the birth and education of the hero of this biography are
described. Brahmanya Tirtha claims and obtains this boy in due course. The boy who
is well educated in all the humanities of the time studies under Brahmanya Tirtha
for some time more. Brahmanya Tirtha seeing the intellect of the boy and considering
that he is fit to be ordained and to fight and win over unbelievers gives him Sanyasa
and confers on him the appellation of Vyasa.

4. In the fourth chapter, Vyasa, after remaining with his Guru Brahmanya Tirtha for
some time, starts on a tour. He visits many places in India and comes to Kanchi. Then
he goes to Mulbagal and stays there a long time studying under the teacher Lakshminarayana
Muni otherwise known as Sripadaraya. Sripadraya then advises the Vyasatirtha to go to
the Court of Narasa who had then recently begun to rule the Penugonda kingdom. Sripadaraya
advises Vyasatirtha that in the interests of the good of country, Sanyasis may live in the
capitals of kings. Vyasatirtha takes the advice of his Guru and goes to Penugonda
(Mahachalapuri). King Narasa is very cordial. Vyasatirtha spends a long time in Penugonda
expounding philosophy.

5. The fifth chapter begins with a description of Vijayanagar. When the emperor Narasa
enters Vijaynagar, he pays homage to Vyasatirtha. All the learned men of India come and
hold a disputation and Vyasatirtha comes out victorious. He is honoured by the emperor
Narasa and himself honours learned men with valuable gifts. The emperor Viranarasimha,
the son of Narasa, succeeds Narasa and treats Vyasaraya with reverence as Rama treated
Vashishta, the Guru of Dasharatha. Vyasatirtha composes the works Tatparya Chandrika,
Nyayamrita and Tarka Tandava. Then the Emperor Krishna Devaraya succeeds Viranarasimha.
A fully deserved eulogy of Krishna Devaraya is given. King Prataparudra of Kalinga sends
a work on philosophy for criticism to the Emperor Krishna Devaraya. Krishna Devaraya gives
it Vyasatirtha and is agreeably surprised at the quick and sound criticism offered by

In the sixth chapter, Krishna Devaraya seats Vyasaraya on a golden throne and makes
an 'abhisheka' to him with all kinds of precious stones. After this bath, Vyasaraya
makes to the learned men present profuse gifts of the gems showered on him. The spectators
observe that Krishnaraya was indeed the worthy son of Narasa who had done a similar
'abhisheka' before for Vyasaraya.

Krishna Devaraya after being purged of his sins by the abhisheka is highly successful.
He confers a village on Vyasaraya where the latter builds the famous Vyasasamudra tank.
The tank is in the Madras Presidency close to the border of the Kolar District.

6. Krishna Devaraya then takes the blessings of Sri Vyasaraya and departs to heaven. Achuta
Devaraya, the brother of Krishna Devarya, succeeds. Vyasaraya continues in Vijaynagar holding
discourse with many learned men. Narayana Yati of Kudli Akshobhya Tirtha Mutt introduces
Somanatha, the author of the present work, to Vyasaraya and Vyasaraya says in Sanskrit :
"My dear boy, poet Somanatha, are you in unbroken prosperity by the the grace of the Lord
of Lakshmi ?" Somanatha remains in the Mutt of Vyasaraya and shows his writings which are
admired. Somanatha describes himself as belonging to the Vatsa Gotra. He belonged to the
family of Yajva Bhaskara. Yajva Bhaskara's son was Devaraja Somapithi; Devaraja
Somapithi's son was Bhatta Gayamurti Bhaskara. This Bhaskara had several gifts from the kings
Bukka and Harihara. Somanatha described himself as one versed in the four kinds of versification
and one capable of keeping eightyfour pens working at the same time.

7. Vyasaraya is known to have sat on the throne of Vijayanagar; yet the vivid description of
the sixth chapter of this book is a revelation. All the available historical particulars will
be discussed in the Introduction to the Vyasayogi Charita when it is published. But it may be
stated that the evidence fairly points to the following conclusions := (1) That the Kuhuyoga
during which Vyasaraya sat on the throne of Vijayanagar according to tradition, corresponds
to the period that ended with the Raichur battle fought on 19th May, 1520 A.D. according to
Sewell; (2) that the priviledge of displaying the green flag on a camel which the Vyasaraya
Mutt even now enjoys originated in the Hindu-Moslem amity that followed the great battle of
Raichur, and (3) that Vyasaraya was the head of what was practically a Hindu University in
Penugonda and Vijayanagar for a period of about fifty years from about 1487 A.D. to 1539 A.D.
when Vyasaraya entered Brindavana on the island in the Tungabhadra.

8. Brahmanya Tirtha transferred his Mutt to Vyasatirtha in the year Sarvajut according to
accepted tradition and Vyasatirtha then went on piligrimage. A few years later Brahmanya Tirtha
departed from this life about the years 1475 A.D. after a great famine leaving his Brindavana
to the care of Sridhara Tirtha from whom the Brahmanya Tirtha Mata at Abbur is descended.
Sripadaraya must have entered Brindavana before the end of the fifteenth century before his
student Vyasaraya sat in state in Vijayanagar in Narasa's time.

9. Krishna Devaraya, the greatest emperor of Vijayanagar, is to this day remembered with
affectionate pride in the Telugu country and the works of the Telugu poets whom he patronized
keep his memory green there. We in Mysore have no less reason to be proud of him. He was a
Kannada Sovereign. HE was a son-in-law of a Prince of Mysore and he was the disciple of
the great Guru Vyasaraya of the Mysore country who achieved a continental fame and whose
works are still a living fount of thought and inspiration to students of Indian Philosophy.

10. The influence of Vyasaraya at Vijaynagar and on Hindu thought in the whole of India was
not less than that of Vidyaranya who died about a century before Vyasaraya sat in the state
in Vijayanagar and received the homage of King Narasa. Vallabhacharya and Chaitanya were
younger contemporaries of Vyasaraya. Chaitanya took Sanyasa from an ascetic of Vyasaraya's
line. Vallabhacharya was honoured in Krishna Devarya's Court in an assembly in which
Vyasaraya presided. Kavi KArnapura of Bengal refers in his 'Gouranganidesa Dipika' to the
works of Vyasaraya as the Vishnu Samhita. Vyasaraya was the Guru of a distinguished galaxy
of students Vijayendra, Vadiraja, Lakshmikanta and others, who, by their works and students,
kept bright the firmament of Indian philosophical thought for a long time after he himself
disappeared. Till the middle of the seventeenth century and so long as the last kings of
the Vijaynagar line adn their feudatories of Tanjore and Madura ruled and the old order of
things still continued, support and criticism of Vyasaraya's works continued to be the
occupation of the learned in philosophy. Madhusudana Sarasvati, Appaya Dikshita, Vijayendra
Swami, Tarangini Ramacharya, Bramhananda Sarasvati and Vanamali Mishra are scholars famous
in this field of thought.

11. By the time that the last traces of the Vijayanagar empire were disappearing, Shahji by
his conquests and by the aid of his principal minister, Naro Pant Hanumante, a Madhwa scholar
and financier trained in the school of Mallikamber, connected Tanjore in thought and outlook
with Maharashtra and with the neighbourhood of Banglore in the Mysore State. Shivaji then came
into prominence and Raghavendra Tirtha who has commented on Vyasaraya's works and live to-day
in the love and reverence of people, remained for a long time in Kolhapur in the centre of
Mahratta thought and influence. Raghunatha Narain Hanumante, the son of Naro Pant, became the
Amat Pradhan of Shivaji and it was he who, by his negotiations in the Golkonda kingdom, made
it possible for Shivaji to undertake the tour of piligrimage in Southern India after his
coronation. Shivaji returned through Banglore to Maharashtra in this tour. Janardana Pant
Hanumante, was the Samant Pradhan of Shivaji. After the death of Raghunatha Narain Hanumante,
Shambhaji advanced his brother Janaradana Pant Hanumante to the position of Amat Pradhan.
Janaradana Pant Hanumante was in the council which declared Rajaram regent in A.D. 1689. After
Janardana Pant Hanumante died, his son Thimmoji Raghunatha Hanumante was raised by Rajaram to
the rank of Pratinidhi. Grant Duff fives further particulars in his History of the Mahrattas.

12. The Mahratta power rose and declined as the Vijaynagar power had risen and declined; and
the centre of Indian philosophical thought which accompanied the centre of Hindu political
influence shifted, especially after the fall of Seringapatam and still more after the fall of
the Peishwas, the Mysore where the headquarters of all the principal Mutts are located. His
Highness Krishnaraja Wodeyar III and Dewan Purnaiya were teh patrons of the Indian learning
of their time. The thinkers and pontiffs of Madhwa school of thought which believes in the
reality of the world and of effort and progress, moved their headquarters from the time of
Madhwacharya in the thirteenth century from country to country in India as conditions changed,
receiving support even from the adherents of alien faiths on account of the love and reverence
they commanded in the country from the mass of the people. The history of these thinkers and
pontiffs is a history of culture and thought of later India in the South including Maharashtra.
If we have to understand the problems of modern India aright in this sphere of culture and
thought, we have to study the history of these pontiffs and the works they have left behind,
because these pontiffs lived and moved among the people and won their respect and love in
transition times and they live even to this day in the realm of Indian philosophical thought;
and the problems of society, culture and thought which they had to solve are not, after all,
far different from the problems of our transition time to-day. This history has yet to be
explored and studied in detail.