Sondekoppa Srikanta Sastri, 5 November 1904 (Shaka-1826, Krodhinama Samvathsara - Hindu Calendar)-10 May 1974, was a great historian, Indologist and teacher who lived in the city of Mysore, south India. He was born in the small town of Nanjanagud near Mysore on 5th of November, 1904 to parents Seshamma (mother) and Ramaswamy Sastri (father) of Mulukanadu origins.
His ancestors migrated from Andhra Pradesh about 340 to 400 years
ago to present day Nelamangala Taluk of Karnataka. First of the migrants to settle in Nelamangala was Mudduvenkateshwara Somayaji around
17th Century A.D. The earliest settlers were placed in and around this region at places like Sondekoppa, Motaganahalli, Magadi, Tirumalapura, Berike (Bairanahalli), Prasthapura (Ballapura), Kakudgiri, Shivaganga, Srirangapatna and Dharmapuri. An exhaustive attempt at outlining the family tree was first carried out by late Subba Narasimha Sastri.
The lineage into which Dr S.Srikanta Sastri was born was a scholarly one. An ancestor on the father’s side-Yaghnam Bhatta or Yagnapathi Bhatta, who was court poet in Immadi Kempegowda’s court, received a donation
of few hundred acres of land at Sondekoppa village near Nelamangala
taluk in the 17th century, wherein they settled afterwards. The title deed
to the grant of land was till recently in the family’s possession in the form
of a stone inscription. As years passed by, all that was left of the land was about 13 acres situated at the villages of Iragenahalli and Mantanakurchi.
Dr S.Srikanta Sastri’s grandfather (father’s side) Sondekoppa Nanjunda Sastri’s brothers Narayana Sastri and Gangadhara Sastri were also
The ancestry on his mother’s side was equally illustrious. His mother
hailed from the Vellala Motaganahalli family and was daughter of Sambhasastri. An ancestor on the mother's side (name believed to be Umamaheshwara Sastri) was court poet in the court of King Devaraya
of the Vijayanagara Empire in the 15th century. This court poet's
eminent work "Bhagavata Champu" got him the title of
"Abhinava Kalidasa". Dr S.Srikanta Sastri’s grandfather's (mother's side) younger brothers Motaganahalli Mahadeva Sastri, Vidwan Ramshesha Sastri and Vidwan Shankara Sastri were court poets in the Mysore Palace.
Ramshesha Sastri was one of the
first to translate Bhagavata from the
original Sanskrit to Kannada
language, an endeavour which took nearly 20 years in the making. Incidentally, Dr S.Srikanta Sastri
would spend nearly three years (between 1932-1935) writing
afterword to all the 12 volumes
of the “Bhagavata”. Other works of Ramshesha Sastri include
poetical Kannada masterpieces
such as “Mudra Rakshaka”
and “Mukundananda Bhana”.
Vidwan Ramshesha Sastri had
been blessed with a melodious
voice and used to sing religious
hymns at Chamarajpet’s Shri Rameshwara Devalaya during
the year 1905.
He even scripted several dramas for famous drama troupes. One of
them was “Pandava Vijaya” which was later quoted by Gubbi Veeranna (legendary drama artist and drama troupe owner of yester years) in
“Kaleya Nataka” page 3. Vidwan Ramshesha Sastri even composed “Balika Gitavali” in 1921 and “Karnataka Hitopadesham”.
Asthan Vidwan Motaganahalli Ramashesha Sastri
Vidwan Shankara Sastri was proficient in “Sahitya Vedantanadi alankara”. Vidwan Shankara Sastri settled in Bangalore and taught at “Rao Bahadur Arcot Narayanswami Mudaliar Patashala” where he composed “Vedanta Panchadarshi” which was later quoted by D.V.G (D.V.Gundappa-famous Kannada writer). It was a tribute to the then pontiff at the Sringeri mutt.
5 November, 1904
10 May 1974
University of Mysore
B.A., M.A., D.Litt
Sources of Karnataka History, Vol I
Geopolitics of India and Greater India
Early Gangas of Talakad
Kannada Sahitya Parishta Award, 1970
Mythic Society Diamond Jubilee Honour
Honour by Governor of Karnataka Mohanlal Sukadia