1        1. Nijaguna Shivayogi (ನಿಜಗುಣ ಶಿವಯೋಗಿ)

2        nijaguNa shivayOgi

3        16th Century

4        Galipura, Shmabhulingana Betta, Chilukavadi Village , Kollegala Talluk, Chamarajanagara District

5        Veerashaiva, A disciple of Jiguni Marularya

6        Titles: Nil

7        Medieval Karnataka has created many personalities who have made unique contributions to their culture both by their teachings and life style. Nijaguna Shivayogi the philosopher saint of sixteenth century was one such person. He did not create poetry of great merit but the sum total of his work is much more meaningful than that of a poet. He played a crucial role in giving a knowledge base to the Veerashaiva religion, along with many of his contemporaries. Veerashaivism had moved to the south Karnataka and important monasteries were springing by the dozen. Tumakur, Yedeyur, Yelandur and many more places housed mutts like this. Nijaguna must have lived a life which was full of rich experiences of the material world, before he took up to ascetic life. He was a bilingual writer in Sanskrit and Kannada. Some of his works are translations and some are adaptations. But most of them are original works. A brief introduction to his major works is provided here:

1. purAtanara trividhi: This short work is a collection of seventy seven stanzas composed in the Tripadi meter. The sixty three saints from Choladesha who are celebrated in the Tamil work ‘Periya Purana’ are praised in these poems, starting from Tiruneelakatha to Karikalamme. These sixty three poems are preceded by nine introductory poems and succeeded by five poems that conclude the eulogy. Each poem gives a brief summary of the life of the relevant saint. Some of the introductory poems are quite lyrical. For instance the oneness of Shiva is compared to the union of the fragrance and the flower, moon light and the coolness.

2. kaivalya paddhati: This is a collection of fifty nine songs which are set to different raagas of Karnataka music. They have ‘Shambhulinga’ as their ‘Ankita’. It is divided in to five parts namely ‘Shivakarunya Sthala’, ‘Jeeva Sambodhana Sthala’, Neethikriyaacharyasthala, Yogapratipadanaasthala’ and Jnaanapratipadanasthala’. These five can be connected to ‘Shat Sthala’ of Veerashaiva theology. These songs combine ‘Bhakti’, ‘Jnana’ and ‘Anubhaava’ in an inimitable way. These songs continue the tradition of ‘Tatvada Pada’ (Philosophical Songs) in their own way. Many of them contain beautiful images and various figures of speech.

3. parmAnuBva bOdha: this is another work which runs to more than one hundred and fifty pages. It is divided in to twenty two chapters. Actually the author turns away from the proper Veerashaiva texts and turns towards Upanishads. This work is a translation of the philosophical discussion that takes place between Yajnavalkya and Maitryee. This book contains six Sandhis, 122 sutras and 985 poems composed in the ‘Sangatya’ which again is musical. Nijaguna has tried to adapt the teachings of Upanishads and Agamas so as to suit the tenets of Veerashaivism. This is acknowledged by scholars like Dr L. Basavaraju.

4. Paramartha Geethe: This is a work consisting of eleven sections each section containing eleven ‘ragale’s. Paramartha Geethe is composed in the form of a dialogue between a master and his disciple. This is a simple and lucid summary of the Sanskrit book, ‘Yoga Vasishta’.

5. Anubhavasara: This is again construed in the form of question and answers. It contains summary and explicatory remarks about the ten important Upanishats. This is composed in the ‘Tripadi’ meter.

6. Viveka Chintamani: This is a popular encyclopedia containing ten sections. The author has made use of many sources in Sanskrit and Kannada. The first three chapters delineate Vedas, Upanishats, Shaiva agamas and the nature of the universe. The fourth chapter covers the earth, poetry and its antecedents, sexology and fine arts. Next two chapters discuss the ocean and disciplines such as astronomy and astrology. The last chapters focus on religious matters. Essentially this is an encyclopedia that deals more with philosophy and religion rather than the matters pertaining to our world.

7. Paaramartha Prakashike: This is a Kannada translation of ‘Shivayoga Pradeepike’ written in Sanskrit by Chenna Sadashivayogi. This contains five chapters and is a simple primer on the discipline of Yoga. There is a detailed presentation of Hatayoga and Tarakayoga in this work.

8. Svaroopa Siddhi Teeke: This is a commentary on ‘Anubhavamukura’ written by Paranjyothi Yathi. Each poem gets a detailed explanation. The commentator goes to the Sanskrit originals wherever necessary.

8        Work: Poetry: 1. purAtanara trividhi 2. kaivalya paddhati 3. paramAnubBvabOdhe 4. paramarthageete 5. anuBvasAra

Prose: 1. vivEka cintAmaNi 2. pAramArtha prakAshike 3. svarUpasiddhi TIke.

9        References: 1. ‘Nijagunara Samagra Kruthigalu’ (Two volumes) Edited by Dr S.Vidyashankara, 1995, Directorate of Kannada and Culture, Bangalore .

2. ‘Nijaguna Shivayogi’, H.Gangadharan, 1984.

3. ‘Nijaguna Shivayogiya Tattvadarshana’ (A simple translation of six important works of Nijaguna Shivayogi, with a scholarly introduction) by Dr L.Basavaraju,

4.’Kaivalya Koustubha’, A Commemoration Volume.

5. ‘Nijaguna Shivayogi’, H. Tipperudraswamy, D.V.K.Murthy Prakashana, Mysore



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