(kappe arabhTTana shaasana, 700 A.D.)
Badami Inscription is well known because it celebrates the virtues of an unknown warrior of Karnataka with admirable qualities. This is a bi-lingual inscription using Kannada as well as Sanskrit. However the stanzas praising kappe arabhaTTa are composed in Kannada using Tripadi an ancient indigenous Kannada meter which can claim Dravidian ancestry. These are the earliest tripadis found in the language.
Kappe arabhaTTa has precious little to do with frog the English equivalent of ‘Kappe’. It is variously interpreted as kappeyara bhaTTa (T.N.Srikataiah) and Kappadi yara BhaTTa. . (M.M.Kalburgi) Both these etymologies are inspired by his family name.
The inscription may be summarised thus: ArabhaTTa is avoided by villainous persons and liked by good people. This warrior is good to those who are good to him and extremely cruel to those who inconvenience him. In this quality he is none other than Lord Vishnu. There are people who indulge in evil deeds consequent of their karma of the previous lives. These thoughtless people will die a miserable death like those who unwittingly release a caged lion.
This inscription is cut on a cliff ten to twelve feet above the ground, over looking the artificial lake on the south-east corner of the Badami town. The writing covers a space of 40 1/2 inches high and 34 1/3 inches broad. The meaning is not clear, but it seems to be a record of Kappe Arabhatta, a saint of local fame. Below the inscription and covering a space of about 3 feet 7 inches is cut a round band with a floral device apparently a ten-leaved lotus inside it, and with what seems to be a fillet, with a ribbon crossed in a double loop, hanging from it.
The Kannada used in this inscription points to a stage when ancient old Kannada was gradually making way to old Kannada. Some of the morphological and syntactic evidences bear ample testemony to this.
Hence Badami inscription is important for prosodic, lingustic and literary reasons.
THE TEXT OF THE INSCRIPTION IN KANNADA
ಕಪ್ಪೆ ಅರಭಟ್ಟನ್ ಶಿಷ್ಟಜನಪ್ರಿಯನ್ ಕಷ್ಟಜನವರ್ಜಿತನ್ ಕಲಿಯುಗ ವಿಪರೀತನ್ ವರನ್ತೇಜಸ್ವಿನೋ ಮೃತ್ತ್ಯರ್ನತು ಮಾನಾವಖಣ್ಡನಂ ಮೃತ್ತ್ಯುಸ್ತತ್ಕ್ಷಣಿಕೋ ದುಃಖಮ್ ಮಾನಭಂಗನ್ ದಿನೇದಿನೇ ಸಾಧುಗೆ ಸಾಧು ಮಾಧೂರ್ಯ್ಯಂಗೆ ಮಾಧೂರ್ಯ್ಯಂ ಬಾಧಿಪ್ಪ ಕಲಿಗೆ ವಿಪರೀತನ್ ಮಾಧವನೀತನ್ ಪೆರನಲ್ಲ ಒಳ್ಳಿತ್ತ ಕೆಯ್ವೊರ್ ಆರ್ ಪ್ಪೊಲ್ಲದುಮ್ ಅದರನ್ತೆ ಬಲ್ಲಿತ್ತು ಕಲಿಗೆ ವಿಪರೀತಾ ಪುರಾಕೃತಂ ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಸನ್ಧಿಕ್ಕುಂ ಅದು ಬಂದು ಕಟ್ಟಿದ ಸಿಂಘಮನ್ ಕೆಟ್ಟೊದ್ ಎಮಗೆನ್ದು ಬಿಟ್ಟವೊಲ್ ಕಲಿಗೆ ವಿರೀತ ಅಹಿತರ್ಕ್ಕಳ್ ಕೆಟ್ಟರ್ ಮೇಣ್ ಸತ್ತರ್ ಅವಿಚಾರಮ್
kappe arabhTTan shiSTajanapriyan kaShTajanavatjitan kaliyuga vipareetan varantEjasvinO mrutyu na tu mAnAvakhandanam mruttyustatkaNikO dukham mAnabhngan dinEdinE sAdhuge sAdhu mAdhUryyange mAdhUyyam bAdhippa kalige kaliyuga viparItan mAdhavan Itan peRanalla oLLitta keyvor Ar ppolladum adaRnte ballittu kalige viparItA purAkrutam illi sandhikkum adu bandu kaTTida singhaman keTTod En emagendu biTTavol kalige vi[p]arItan ahitarkkaL keTTar mEN sattar avicAram