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Chatu Vittalanatha

Chatu Vittalanatha, a famous Kannada poet, was the translator of the 11th skandha of the original Sanskrit Srimad Bhagavad Purana to Kannada. His real name is said to be Sadanandamuni. He was also called by several other names – Nityatma Shivayogi, Nityatmanantha and Nirvananatha.

The Kannada Bhagavata, composed in satpadi (six-lined) meter, is larger in size than the popular Karnataka Bharata Kathamanjari of Kumara Vyasa. The translator inspires the readers with bhakti to Hari. The author himself mentions that the composition consists of harigunastuti (recitation of the qualities of Hari), haripadambiya bhakti (the devotion at the feet of Bhagavan Hari), etc. At the same time, the author humbly appeals to the readers not to disparage or overlook the importance of this devotional composition just because it is being written in the Kannada language. He says that the work is nothing but a real image reflected in a mirror.

The credit of bringing out a compendium of the Kannada renderings of other translators who translated different chapters of the Srimad Bhagavata Purana lies with Chatu Vittalanath.

The poet also composed an independent work, the Mahabharata; the significance of this work is that two chapters namely, Pouloma and Astika, which are not included in Kumara Vyasa’s magnum opus, have been included in this composition. The influence of Kumara Vyasa is clearly visible in his work. However, the high imagination and versatility found in Kumara Vyasa’s classical word cannot be expected in this work.

The poet in his Bhagavata pays obeisance to his preceptor Acyutarayayati and then mentions the names of Sri Krishnadevaraya and Achyutaraya,the famous kings of the Vijayanagar empire.