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Viveka Chintamani in Kannada By Nijaguna Shivayogi

Viveka Chintamani is the first encyclopedia in Kannada, written by Nijaguna Shivayogi. The author was a minor rule of the territory around Sambulinga Hilss near Yelandur, in Kollegal Taluq Mysore district of Karnataka.

The exact date of Nijaguna is not known. However, he is dated to the 15th century CE. Later he became a Shiva Yogi (ascetic). He was a prolific write, well known for his lucidity, while at the same time employing the different styles of meters.

Viveka Chintamani has ten chapters dealing with 765 topics to various themes. Since the author was well versed in various musical instruments, the work has a lot of information of varied aspects of music like shruti, swara, alankara, as well as the different musical instruments.

The other topics cover astrology, geography, religion and moral aspects. Shaiva Agamas are dealt with in great detail.

In the 16th century, Shantalinga Shivayogi translated the encyclopedia into Marathi while Shivaprakasar made the Tamil translation in the 17th century CE and Lingaraja rendered it in Sanskrit in the 18th century CE. This indicated the popularity of Nijaguna Shivayogi’s composition.

Apart from Viveka Chintamani, he wrote four other works. Paramarthagita is a translation of the Sanskrit work Shiva-Yoga-Pradipika into Kannada, meant for those who cannot read Sanskrit and desire emancipation. This work shows the author’s thorough understanding of Upanishads. The book is in a form of dialogue between Sage Yajnavalkya and his wife, Maitreyi.

The other works are Kaivalya Paddhati, Paramanubhava Bodha and Paramartha Prakasika.