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Karnataka Bhagavadgite Of Nagarasa

Karnataka Bhagavadgite by Nagarasa (1650 CE) is a popular Kannada version of the Bhagavad Gita. He was the son of Vishveshwara and disciple of Sankaraguru. He was a devotee of Vitthal of Pandharpur in Maharashtra.

Nagarasa Kavi is the first poet to render into Kannada the Bhagavad Gita in its entirety. The work consists of 19 chapters with 737 stanzas. The entire work is composed in bhamini shatpadi (a six-lined stanza), a distinctive Kannada metrical form.

As a translation, Karnataka Bhagavadgite is highly successful. Each Sanskrit verse of the original Sanskrit work is faithfully rendered into one Kannada stanza. The style and language and the presentation is simple and straightforward.

Nagarasa Kavi has rendered the Bhagavad Gita in idiomatic Kannada without losing the spirit of the original work. The choice of Kannada words by the author is so appropriate that the original meaning is conveyed without distortion.

Karnataka Bhagavadgite belongs to the Bhakti period (16th to 18 century CE) in Karnataka when translations and adaptations of Sanskrit works like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata appeared. As in the case of Kumaravyasa, Nagarasa also was devoted to Krishna. He calls Krishna “the Father, Teacher and Friend to the whole creation.” The story of Vasudeva (Vasudevakatha), the poet held, brought happiness to every reader or listener.

The palm leaf manuscript of this book written in Bhamini Shatpadi meter by the author was first found in a bundle of such manuscripts in the house of Srinivasa Rao, an advocate in Madhugiri of Tumkur District, perhaps in the last decade of the 19th century CE. This was published in 1908 by Sosale Ayya Shastri, who was a scholar in the Mysore Royal Palace.

Like Kumaravyasa Bharata, Karnataka Bhagavadgite is also in Bhamini Shatpadi and easy to render. The beauty of Bhamini Shatpadi is the second letter in all the six lines would be the same and it remains to be so in the entire text.