Featured: M. Hiriyanna Page 1 of 3
Mysuru Hiriyanna, was born on 7 May 1871 in Mysore to parents Nanjundaiah and Lakshmidevi. They belonged to the ‘Uluchukamma’ sub sect of Brahmins – a community which had migrated from Andhra Pradesh centuries ago and included the likes of Vidyaranya who was the founder of Vijayanagar Empire. They hailed from the hamlet of Barigehalli near Chikkanayakanahalli in Tumkur district. Hiriyanna was the sixth child and his younger brother (eighth child) was M. N. Krishna Rao – who would later go on to become the Diwan (Acting) of Mysore under HH Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar in 1941.
M. Hiriyanna was formally trained in Sanskrit in Mysore under the tutelage of Perisamy Tirumalacharya (founder of Sadvidya Patashala) and Kashi Sesharama Sastry. He then went to Madras to complete his B. A. and M. A. at Madras Christian College.
University of Madras
Sanskrit Language & Literature, Philosophy, Aesthetics.
Oriental Research Institute, Mysore
Maharaja College, Mysore
Outlines of Indian Philosophy
Essentials of Indian Philosophy
Ishtasiddhi – Vimukthathman
Vedantasara – Sadananda
Indian Philosophy of Values
M. Hiriyanna's Kannada Handwriting Sample.
From his work
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan's Farewell from University of Mysore - Also seen are A. R. Wadia and Prof M. Hiriyanna
Mrs Lakshmidevamma (M. Hiriyanna's wife) and Rukamma (M. Hiriyanna's daughter)
He was married at a young age to Lakshmidevamma and the couple had one daughter by name Rukamma. Hiriyanna started work as a Librarian at Oriental Research Library, Mysore in 1891. Here, he took up the work of curating about 1653 printed works and 1358 manuscripts (Kannada & Sanskrit). He then took up a government job in the office of Education Department at Bangalore and served there for the next three years. Hiriyanna always nursed an ambition to ‘teach’ and to this end embarked on securing an L. T. Qualification from Teacher’s College at Madras. This additional qualification allowed him to apply for posts where he could now formally teach. He came back to Mysore and joined Government Normal School as a teacher in 1896. He was eventually promoted to the post of Head Master by 1907. During these years, he penned his
first book, incidentally in Kannada titled “Bodhana Krama” which was a small treatise on the ‘art of teaching’.
He joined Maharaja College as a Lecturer in Sanskrit in 1912. T. Denham was the Principal of Maharaja College during this time and was succeeded by B. M. Srikantayya. Denham, Srikantayya and H. J. Babha were all amply aware of Hiriyanna’s scholarship and considered him a valuable asset to the institution. In fact, Hiriyanna’s reputation as a great scholar and teacher preceded him and led H. V. Nanjundaiah (the first Vice-Chancellor of University of Mysore) to appoint him to the post of Lecturer in the University. Two years later, he became an Assistant Professor. Hiriyanna was a successor to such Sanskrit scholars as Perisamy Tirumalacharya (his teacher and founder of Sadvidya Patashala), Asthan Vidwan Kaviratna Mandikallu Ramasastri (former headmaster at Sarada Vilas High School), Kasturi Ranga Iyengar and Ventakarama Sastri among others.
The services of M. Hiriyanna were requested by Prof A. R. Wadia – Head of the Department of Philosophy at Maharaja College, to come and teach Indian Philosophy to students. By this time, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was also on the faculty of this department. S. Radhakrishnan requested M. Hiriyanna to engage his Philosophy classes as he was busy writing his book on “Indian Philosophy”. The class room lectures of M. Hiriyanna were so excellent, S. Radhakrishnan recommended these lectures to be published by Allen & Unwin in book form titled as “Outlines of Indian Philosophy”, which became a best-seller in the West.
M. Hiriyanna with
Prof A. R. Wadia
In 1919 Hiriyanna was appointed as a Professor of Sanskrit. S. Srikanta Sastri, who was a student of Maharaja College at that time, read a paper in Sanskrit Association on “Dwani Theory” in 1923. This Seminar was presided by Prof M. Hiriyanna, who appreciated it very much and his colleague Narasimha Sastry also discussed it with the students on that occassion. Prof M. Hiriyanna after an illustrious teaching career retired from the University of Mysore in 1927 at the age of 56 years.
M. Hiriyanna got involved in writing several books on Indian Philosophy and aesthetics, which are considered today as classics. By this time, he had already translated numerous Upanishads into English. He received a number of invitations from Universities across the country to grace their Sanskrit and Philosophy departments. He declined every one of these requests. He was content to delve deep into his studies spending his time at the house he had built on Diwan’s road (House No. 962) in Mysore in 1910.