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Featured: Pandit Venkatakrishna Sharma Page 1 of 2
Venkata Krishna Sharma alias Bellur Puttanayya or Pandit B. S. Venkatakrishna Sharma was born on 3rd of October, 1927 in Bellur village in the south of Karnataka. His date of birth according to official government records is 7 May 1929. His father was Sanjeevayya Dixit who was a teacher at the local school. Venkatakrishna Sharma was the eldest child. The Dixit family traces its history in and around Bellur village to at least 125 years. They were essentially a family of Vedic scholars. Bellur village located in Nagamangala taluk, Mandya district is roughly 110 kms from Bangalore city. It was also called Rajatapura once upon a time and has been famous for the Adhi Madhavarayaswamy temple built there by the Hoysala dynasty. It is believed that, at one point of time, there were about sixty brahmin families in the village, engaging themselves mainly in the priestly activities of the temple in addition to offering vedic rituals for various festivals and religious functions of the villagers. The senior Dixit couple – Krishna Dixit and Kaveramma had twelve children – six boys and six girls. The Dixit family had substantial lands in and around the village which sufficed their monetary needs for a long time. These are some of Venkatakrishna Sharma’s siblings – Hiriyannayya, Madhava Sharma, Sreenivasa Dixit, Ramaswamy Dixit, Aswathnarayana Dixit, Bhagirathi, Kaveramma, Lakshmi Devi, Nagalakshmi. Venkatakrishna Sharma attended the local government school and these are few of the teachers there whom he remembered with fondness - Padmarajayya, Lakshmana Gowda, Lakshmi Narasimhayya, Narasimhayya. Among other topics he was also taught Agriculture and Irrigation at this government school!
He learnt Veda first from Sri Krishna Sastri at Bellur – following which he started accompanying his father from age of ten for all of his ritualistic vocations. In all he was schooled for seven years. He however did not continue further education at the school. Venkatakrishna Sharma had his brahminical initiation ceremony at Vaddarahalli. Sadly, he missed his entrance exam for his government high school seat as he was in Bangalore for his Upakarma. These sequence of events meant that Sharma eventually strayed away from formal education and found himself veering towards the traditional age old vedic tradition of Guru (teacher) and Shishya (student) relationship. He shifted from Bellur to Bangalore in 1943 at the age of 16 yrs. for his further schooling in Sanskrit and Vedic studies. As luck would have it, Sharma landed in Bangalore a month late for that year’s academic class at Karnikar Patashaala! So, he was left with no option but to wait for a year to enroll in the next year’s academic batch. During this interval he survived on Varadanna (Weekly lunch each week in a different house) in various people’s houses. He thus started his three year training in vedic and Sanskrit studies at Karnikar Patashaala from the following year. He came under the tutelage of teachers like Harike Krishna Bhatta, Puttanarasimha Sastry, Shyama Sastry and Venkatakrishna Avadhani among others. Here he learnt Sanskrit, Veda Mantra, Purvapara Prayoga and Panchanga – Hindu astral calendar. To earn some spending money during these three years, Pandit Venkata Krishna Sharma was officiating vedic rituals at various houses near Karnikar Patashaala on the weekends.
One of these houses was that of H. S. Narayan Rao – here he officiated Hindu rituals and daily prayers for nearly three years. Once, on his way to the temple, he was bitten by a stray dog in the street. In pain, Sharma continued to limp his way to Narayan Rao’s house and then persisted in performing the puja as usual – Narayan Rao observed the wound and immediately got him medical attention at Victoria Hospital, Bangalore (roughly 14 injections!!). Seeing this boy’s plight, Narayana Rao eventually persuaded Venkatakrishna Sharma to shift his residence, once and for all and stay with their family’s new house at Jayanagar 2nd Block, Bangalore. This was welcome news as far as Sharma’s daily needs were concerned, however this also had the regrettable effect that he had to discontinue his four year tenure at Karnikar Patashaale in its third year itself. Yet again, Sharma’s education had suffered a discontinuity of sorts. He did not receive any degree certificate from the Patashaala. The year was 1947.
At this juncture, he wrote an entrance exam to gain entry to Chamarajendra Sanskrit Maha Patashaale – he stood first in this exam and joined the school. This paved the way for his Sanskrit education to resume. He studied here for ten years and learnt Sanskrit poetry, literature, sat for his vidwat exams and also took his Alankar Madhyama. His teachers here included Lakshminarayana Sastry, Narasimhachar, Chakravarthi Sreenivasa Rajagopalachar, K. P. Narayan Sastry and K. P. Sankara Sastry. Students scholarships during these years helped him greatly with his financial obligations. He also participated in a lot of dramas during these years (1957). Once, when he had to cycle to Gaali Anjaneya Swamy temple on Mysore Road (Bangalore), he felt like cycling further onwards to Kengeri after which he felt like cycling onwards to Ramanagara. At this point, he decided to return back to Bangalore – a total distance of nearly 100 kms! Such was his stamina.
03 Oct 1927
03 Jan 2020
Karnikar Patashaale, Chamarajendra Sanskrit Mahapatashaale, Ayurvedic Medical Sciences College, Sankara School of Culture, Sri Sankara Krupa - Jayanagar
Knowledge of Vedas, Knowledge of Sanskrit, Mahasankalpa, Gotrapravara and Ashirvada
Advaita, Vedas, Alankara Sastra
Vidwat Samman (Govt. of Karnataka)
Vidwat Samman (Govt of India)
Vidwan R. K. Srikantan Trust, Bangalore – Presented by Former President Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
Bharathiya Vidya Bhavan & Jyoti Charitable Trust, Bangalore
Pandit Venkata Krishna Sharma receiving honour from Bharathiya VIdya Bhavan
Pandit Venkatakrishna Sharma with cine actor Anant Nag
Pandit Venkatakrishna Sharma reciting the Aruna Prasna
Pandit Venkatakrishna Sharma receiving Bharathiya Vidya Bhavan Award and Taittereya Recital