--> Skip to main content


Basavarajiya is a 16th century encyclopedia-like work in Sanskrit. It is popularly known as Sivatattvaratnakara and covers diverse topics in verse on religion, culture, philosophy, art and scient. The author of Basavarajiya is Basavaphupala, also known as Basavappanayaka, ruled over the Keladi kingdom situated in the Karnataka region in South India. Basavaphupala was a well-read scholar, besides being a liberal patron of letters.

Basavarajiya, contains about 35,000 verses, presents instructions and lectures of the king to his son who was to reign after him. The work is divided into nine main sections called kallolas (tides) and sub-divided into 101 subsections called tarangas (waves).

The work provides an authentic history of the author’s family for about a hundred years from 1500 CE.

Basavarajiya offers substantial information on town planning, architecture, iconography, music, painting, dancing, astrology, geography and also on the training of horses, cows and elephants. Substantial matter taken from Shaiva Agamas and Puranas also find a place in this work.

The wealth of material found in the chapters dealing with music and dance testifies the depth of knowledge and scholarship that Basavabhupala possessed. The seventh, eight and ninth tarangas of the sixth kallola are devoted to the elucidation of many concepts of the music of South India.

Different types of medical drugs and their effects are also mentioned. The origin, nature, qualities, color and uses of metals, mica, pyrites, red chalk, red lead, arsenic, antimony, tawny, etc., are also dealt with.

Palmistry, yogashastra, pranayama (breathing exercises), magic and mesmerism are also included. The manufacture of swords and materials required in painting etc., are mentioned. Cookery is not left out. Precious stones like diamonds, pearls, rubies, blue stones, emeralds, quartz and topaz also have a place. It would seem that Bsavappanayaka tries to give an idea of all arts and sciences known during his time. Some of the works mentioned and authorities cited on varied branches of knowledge still remain to be discovered.

The tradition of training of the princes is very old in India. The would-be rulers were expected to know about everything that concerned a king. Hence special efforts were made for their education and proper training.