1. Raghavanka (ರಾಘವಾಂಕ)
  2. rAGavAnka
  3. 13th Century, 1225 A.D. (Approx.)
  4. Hampi, Bellary dist., Karnataka. Visited Vaarangallu in Andhrapradesh.
  5. Veerashaiva (Disciple of Harihara, Shankaraprabhu, Madiraja and Mahadeva all from Hampi)
  6. Devaraja the King of Hampi
  7. Ubhayakavisharabhabherunda, Ubhayakavikamalaravi.
  8. Raghavanka is an important poet in the context of Kannada poetry because of issues connected with thematic choices and concerns connected with literary merit. His literary genius is beyond doubt as manifest by the enduring popularity of his ‘Harishchandra Kavya’ which appeals lay men as well as scholars. Raghavanka was living at a time when Veerashaiva religion set in motion by Basavanna and his contemporaries was getting a formal shape and an exclusive set of rituals and theological apparatus. Harihara a mentor of Raghavanka had actually extended the non-communal basis of Veerashaivism by writing about the Nayanaras of Chola Kingdom of the yore. Harihara’s work was complementary to the professed and practiced philosophy of Shivashranas. But the case of Raghavanka was slightly different. He chooses first to write about Harishchandra who was essentially a mythological character dating back to the Vedic period. In this work the commitment of the protagonist to truth as well as the concept of ‘Kula’ comes to the foreground and the precepts of Shivasharanas move on to the backburners. The treatment meted out to the dancers is in direct variance to the teachings of the new found religion. Even the later works such as ‘Veeresha Charite’ and ‘Somanatha Charitra’ one mythological and another historical the poet gives importance to the militant aspects of his religion. Adayya and Veerabhadra represent the attitudes developed by the new religion towards Jainism and Vaidic religion in its later incarnations. Raghavanka chooses to write about Siddarama rather than the main protagonists of the movement. Actually Siddarama’s tryst with the Vachana movement is only transient. There is a carry over of this attitude in the formal choices made by this gifted poet. Harihara moves from Old Kannada to medieval Kannada and makes himself more accessible. As a matter of fact, he is inspired by the Dravdian culture in more ways than one. Raghavanka is the pioneer in using the Shatpadi meter and does it remarkably well. However the style is a combination of scholarly Sanskrit and chaste Kannada. Of course he is truly capable of using the conversational Kannada of his times to great effect as shown in all his works. Still there is a touch of the erudite court poet in his works.

But many of his works transcend all these personal choices and continue to be of contemporary relevance because of their complex themes and poetic merit. Problems of Harishchandra, struggles of Siddarama and the adventures of Adayya appeal to us because they are all too human and it is easy for us to put ourselves in their shoes. The works of Raghavanka are much more complex and pluralistic than the poet himself. Raghavanka has created many characters that linger in the memory of the Kannada community. Nakshatraka, Veerabahuka, Chandramathi and Rohitashva of Harishchandra Kavya, Billesha Bommayya and Siddarama of ‘SiddaramaCharitra’ and ‘Padmavati’ and Parisa Shetty’ of ‘Somanataha Charita’ are a few among them. Ranna and Raghavanka are two poets who had the ability to suffuse their work with great dramatic qualities. This quality was a result of their ability to create powerful dramatic situations and their command over the spoken language. The manner in which Raghvanka builds up a conversation within the confines of a single shatpadi is truly inimitable. So much so his works have been a part of the Kannada psyche for centuries reaching rural interiors of the country. This ability to communicate is the hall mark of a great poet.

  1. a. Harishchandra Kavya

b. Siddaramacharitra

c. Veereshacharithe

d. Somanthacharitra

e. Sharabhacharitra ------------------------ Not found

f. Harihara Mahatva ------------------------ Not found

10. References and Criticism: 1. Mahakavi Raghavanka, Kavi Kavya Vimarshe by R.C. Hiremath, 1966, Sharadamandira, Mysore .

2. Samgra Gadya, Part 1, by G.S.Shivarudrappa, 1993, Bangalore .

11. Translations and Links:

1.      Raghavanka by Narasimhamurthy K.

(Ancient Indian Literature volume 2, Ed. T.R.S. Sharma, Sahitya Academy , 2000)

2. Raghavanka -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia

3. Harishchandra Kavya Samskritika Mukhamukhi, Ed. by Shivananda Viraktamatha, Kannada University , Hampi.


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