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Shadaksharadeva – Kannada – Sanskrit Poet – 17th Century CE

Shadaksharadeva, a literary prodigy, was a poet in classical Sanskrit and Kannada literature. He was born in 1636 CE in a village called Dhanuguru (Mandya district, Karnataka). He belonged to the Aradhya family; he was chief of the monastery of Lingayat or Virasaiva religion. He became a profound scholar at a young age. He studied under Cikkaviradesika.

The region where he flourished was known as Hadinadu, ruled over by King Muddu Raja between 1659 and 1673 CE. The poet was invited to the town Yalanduru Matah (center). In course of time, he was also honored as ‘Rajaguru’ (teacher to the king) of the samsthana.

King Chikkadevaraja (1673 – 1704 CE); King Shivappa Nayaka (ruling Keladi, 1630-61 CE), and King Somashekara Nayaka (1664 – 1771 CE), ruling Ikkeri or Bidanuru – all invited the poet and honored him.

He had mastery over the twenty-eight Sivagamas (from Kamika to Vatula). He composed the epic Rajasekhara Vilasam Vrishabhendra Vijayam in Kannada. He composed the Sanskrit epic Kavikarnarasayanam in a novel form. It has been mentioned that at least four poets with the same name were known around the same period, but this epic poet alone was a great personality.

He is known to have written twenty-three works in all (three Kannada and twenty in Sanskrit). He was a perfect combination of a poet and a philosopher.