--> Skip to main content

Somesvara Sataka

Somesvara Sataka is a poem of 100 verses in Kannada, composed by poet Soma (16th century CE). Soma is from Puligere, the present Kshemeshvara, in the Dharwad district of Karnataka. Somesvara Sataka belongs to the genre of sataka (century of verses), which is quite popular in Sanskrit literature, especially for niti (ethics), subhasita (didatics) and stotra (hymns). Poems of this type contain one or more centuries of one hundred verses each. Each verse would be self-contained and restricted to expounding a single idea, and there would be no continuity between two consecutive verses. Among the more important poems of this type in Sanskrit are – Niti Sataka, Vairagya Satakam and Sringara Satakam of Bhartrhari; Anyapadesha Sataka of Nilakantha Dikshita; Saundarya Lahari of Shankaracharya; Mukapancasati of poet Muka; Surya Satakam of Maura; and Candi-sataka of Bana. The Dravidian languages, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam, have also adopted the sataka type of composition, enriching their literature. Somesvara sataka represents Kannada.

All the verses of Somesvara Sataka end with the words ‘Hara Hara Canna Somesvara’ and are composed in the Sanskrit meter mattebhavikridita. Each verse refers to some exemplary act or other of the noble characters in the epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, for the reciters of the poem to follow. Teachings from the philosophies, particularly Saivism and Vedanta are also referred to. The deeds of gods and great men are cited. In the concluding verse, the poet expresses his hope that his citations would benefit the readers by improving their speech, thought and conduct.