Dr. S. Srikanta Sastri





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'INTRODUCTION' by S. Srikanta Sastri to The Varalakshmi Academies of Fine Arts - Publication Bulletin No 1 (1954)


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courtesy: K.G.Somshekhar

Dr S.Srikanta Sastri

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Sondekoppa Srikanta Sastri, 5 November 1904 (Shaka-1826, Krodhinama Samvathsara - Hindu Calendar)-10 May 1974, was a great historian, Indologist and teacher who lived in the city of Mysore, south India. He was born in the small town of Nanjanagud near Mysore on 5th of November, 1904 to parents Seshamma (mother) and Ramaswamy Sastri (father) of Mulukanadu origins.


His ancestors migrated from Andhra Pradesh about 340 to 400 years

ago to present day Nelamangala Taluk of Karnataka. First of the migrants to settle in Nelamangala was Mudduvenkateshwara Somayaji around

17th Century A.D. The earliest settlers were placed in and around this region at places like Sondekoppa, Motaganahalli, Magadi, Tirumalapura, Berike (Bairanahalli), Prasthapura (Ballapura), Kakudgiri, Shivaganga, Srirangapatna and Dharmapuri. An exhaustive attempt at outlining the family tree was first carried out by late Subba Narasimha Sastri.

The lineage into which Dr S.Srikanta Sastri was born was a scholarly one. An ancestor on the father’s side-Yaghnam Bhatta or Yagnapathi Bhatta, who was court poet in Immadi Kempegowda’s court, received a donation

of few hundred acres of land at Sondekoppa village near Nelamangala

taluk in the 17th century, wherein they settled afterwards. The title deed

to the grant of land was till recently in the family’s possession in the form

of a stone inscription. As years passed by, all that was left of the land was about 13 acres situated at the villages of Iragenahalli and Mantanakurchi.

Dr S.Srikanta Sastri’s grandfather (father’s side) Sondekoppa Nanjunda Sastri’s brothers Narayana Sastri and Gangadhara Sastri were also

great pundits.

The ancestry on his mother’s side was equally illustrious. His mother

hailed from the Vellala Motaganahalli family and was daughter of Sambhasastri. An ancestor on the mother's side (name believed to be Umamaheshwara Sastri) was court poet in the court of King Devaraya

of the Vijayanagara Empire  in the 15th century. This court poet's

eminent work "Bhagavata Champu" got him the title of

"Abhinava Kalidasa". Dr S.Srikanta Sastri’s grandfather's (mother's side) younger brothers Motaganahalli Mahadeva Sastri, Vidwan Ramshesha Sastri and Vidwan Shankara Sastri were court poets in the  Mysore Palace.

Ramshesha Sastri was one of the

first to translate Bhagavata from the

original Sanskrit to Kannada

language, an endeavour which took nearly 20 years in the making. Incidentally, Dr S.Srikanta Sastri

would spend nearly three years (between 1932-1935) writing

afterword to all the 12 volumes

of the “Bhagavata”. Other works of Ramshesha Sastri include

poetical Kannada masterpieces

such as “Mudra Rakshaka”

and “Mukundananda Bhana”.

Vidwan Ramshesha Sastri had

been blessed with a melodious

voice and used to sing religious

hymns at Chamarajpet’s Shri Rameshwara Devalaya during

the year 1905.  





He even scripted several dramas for famous drama troupes. One of

them was “Pandava Vijaya” which was later quoted by Gubbi Veeranna (legendary drama artist and drama troupe owner of yester years)  in

“Kaleya Nataka” page 3.  Vidwan Ramshesha Sastri even composed “Balika Gitavali”  in 1921 and “Karnataka Hitopadesham”.

Asthan Vidwan Motaganahalli Ramashesha Sastri

Vidwan Shankara Sastri was proficient in “Sahitya Vedantanadi alankara”. Vidwan Shankara Sastri settled in Bangalore and taught at “Rao Bahadur Arcot Narayanswami Mudaliar Patashala” where he composed “Vedanta Panchadarshi” which was later quoted by D.V.G (D.V.Gundappa-famous Kannada writer). It was a tribute to the then pontiff at the Sringeri mutt.










Alma mater


























5 November, 1904

Nanjanagud, Mysore

British India


10 May 1974


Independent India



University of Mysore



B.A., M.A., D.Litt



Bharathiya Samskruthi


Purathatva Shodhane


Sources of Karnataka History, Vol I


Geopolitics of India and Greater India


Early Gangas of Talakad





Mysore, India




Srikanthika-Felicitation Volume


Kannada Sahitya Parishta Award, 1970


Mythic Society Diamond Jubilee Honour


Honour by Governor of Karnataka Mohanlal Sukadia

2 Dr S. Srikanta Sastri - 2 (K. G. Somashekhar) Asthan Vidwan Motaganahalli Ramashesha Sastri