Shivakotiacharya a writer of the 9th-10th century, is considered the author of didactic Kannada language
Kannada language
Kannada or , is a language spoken in India predominantly in the state of Karnataka. Kannada, whose native speakers are called Kannadigas and number roughly 50 million, is one of the 30 most spoken languages in the world...

Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

 text Vaddaradhane
Vaddaradhane by Shivakotiacharya is the earliest extant prose work in Kannada. It is a didactic work consisting of nineteen stories and is based on Harisena's Brhatkathakosa. It gives a detailed description of the life of Bhadrabahu of Shravanabelagola. The work is dated to the 9th century but...

(lit, "Worship of elders", ca. 900). A prose narrative written in pre-Old-Kannada (Purva Halegannada), Vaddaradhane is considered the earliest extant
Extant literature
Extant literature refers to texts that have survived from the past to the present time. Extant literature can be divided into extant original manuscripts, copies of original manuscripts, quotations and paraphrases of passages of non-extant texts contained in other works, translations of non-extant...

 work in the prose genre in the Kannada language. Scholars are however still divided about when exactly the text was written, with claims ranging from before the 6th century to the 10th century.


The dating of the work and its authorship has been debated. According to the scholar R.S. Mugali, experts are not unanimous whether the prose piece was written before Kavirajamarga
Kavirajamarga is the earliest available writing on rhetoric, poetics and grammar in the Kannada language. It was written by the famous Rashtrakuta King "Nripatunga" Amoghavarsha I and some say that it is based partly on an earlier Sanskrit writing, Kavyadarsa...

(ca. 850) or after. According to modern Kannada poet and scholar M. Govinda Pai
M. Govinda Pai
Manjeshwar Govinda Pai , also known as Rastrakavi Govinda Pai, was a Kannada poet. He was awarded the Rashtrakavi title by the Madras Government...

, the Vaddaradhane dates much further back. Based on his studies of the text and some pre-2nd century inscriptions from Shravanabelagola
Shravana Belgola is a city located in the Hassan district in the Indian state of Karnataka and is 158 km from Bangalore. The statue of Gommateshvara Bahubali at Śravaṇa Beḷgoḷa is one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in Jainism, one that reached a peak in architectural and sculptural...

, Pai authored two scholarly publications in 1960: Kannada Sahityada Halame ("Antiquity of Kannada literature") and Kannada Sahityada Prachinate (also meaning "Antiquity of Kannada literature"), in which he argued the writing more accurately dates to the pre-6th century period. However, the scholar D.L. Narasimhachar opines that the writing is from around c. 920. Professor Upadhye dates the writing to the post-9th century period while A.R. Naronakar dates it to the 9th century.

There is an opinion that Shivakoti was not the author of the work, and that his Prakrit
Prakrit is the name for a group of Middle Indic, Indo-Aryan languages, derived from Old Indic dialects. The word itself has a flexible definition, being defined sometimes as, "original, natural, artless, normal, ordinary, usual", or "vernacular", in contrast to the literary and religious...

 work Bhagavati Aaradhane may have been the inspiration for this Kannada writing. However, it has been pointed out that the author's name appears in the concluding section of every story in the writing, and that the Prakrit writer, also named Shivakoti, lived in the 2nd or 3rd century A.D. and was a disciple of the saint Samantha Bhadra. Another name, Revakotiacharya, also appears in some places in the Kannada text. Historian Jyotsna Kamat is of the opinion that the didactic work comprising 19 stories dates to the 10th century and was inspired by the Sanskrit writing Brihatkatha-Khosa.


According to the scholar R.S. Mugali, Vaddaradhane is one of the finest pieces of Jain
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

 literature, which stands out by itself in all of Kannada literature
Kannada literature
Kannada literature is the corpus of written forms of the Kannada language, a member of the Dravidian family spoken mainly in the Indian state of Karnataka and written in the Kannada script....

. In addition to religious content describing the lives of Jain saints (Jainas), it treats on Jain tenets regarding the torments of flesh and spirit, interpretations of fate (karma
Karma in Indian religions is the concept of "action" or "deed", understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect originating in ancient India and treated in Hindu, Jain, Buddhist and Sikh philosophies....

), rebirth
Reincarnation best describes the concept where the soul or spirit, after the death of the body, is believed to return to live in a new human body, or, in some traditions, either as a human being, animal or plant...

 and the plight of humans on earth. The text gives useful information about contemporary society including education, trade and commerce, magic and superstitions, the caste system
Caste is an elaborate and complex social system that combines elements of endogamy, occupation, culture, social class, tribal affiliation and political power. It should not be confused with race or social class, e.g. members of different castes in one society may belong to the same race, as in India...

 and untouchability, and position of women in society. The text provides details on contemporary urban and rural society: towns with majestic buildings and multi-storied houses; temples (devalaya); a street for the courtesan
A courtesan was originally a female courtier, which means a person who attends the court of a monarch or other powerful person.In feudal society, the court was the centre of government as well as the residence of the monarch, and social and political life were often completely mixed together...

s (sulegeri); palaces; streets with people, horses and elephants; homes of cloth merchants (dusigar); homes of diamond merchants (baccara); feudatories (samanta); royal officials (niyogi); grain markets and traders; and various types of settlements such as villages (grama) and towns (nagara). The text dwells on the evils of Kali Yuga
Kali Yuga
Kali Yuga is the last of the four stages that the world goes through as part of the cycle of yugas described in the Indian scriptures. The other ages are Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga and Dvapara Yuga...

including miscegenation
Miscegenation is the mixing of different racial groups through marriage, cohabitation, sexual relations, and procreation....

 and takes a critical look at contemporary Brahmin
Brahmin Brahman, Brahma and Brahmin.Brahman, Brahmin and Brahma have different meanings. Brahman refers to the Supreme Self...

practices. It mentions fierce warriors, royal retainers (velevali) who were under oath to lay down their life for the king and royalty.
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