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pandit venkatakrishna sharma

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Pandit Venkatakrishna Sharma
Pandit Venkatakrishna Sharma
Pandit Venkata Krishna Sharma receiving honour from Bharathiya Vidya Bhavan

Venkata Krishna Sharma alias Bellur Puttanayya or Pandit B. S. Venkatakrishna Sharma was born on 3rd of October, 1927 in Bellur village in the south of Karnataka. His date of birth according to official government records is 7 May 1929. His father was Sanjeevayya Dixit who was a teacher at the local school. Venkatakrishna Sharma was the eldest child.  The Dixit family traces its history in and around Bellur village to at least 125 years. They were essentially a family of Vedic scholars. Bellur village located in Nagamangala taluk, Mandya district is roughly 110 kms from Bangalore city. It was also called Rajatapura once upon a time and has been famous for the Adhi Madhavarayaswamy temple built there by the Hoysala dynasty. It is believed that, at one point of time, there were about sixty brahmin families in the village, engaging themselves mainly in the priestly activities of the temple in addition to offering vedic rituals for various festivals and religious functions of the villagers. The senior Dixit couple – Krishna Dixit and Kaveramma had twelve children – six boys and six girls. The Dixit family had substantial lands in and around the village which sufficed their monetary needs for a long time. These are some of Venkatakrishna Sharma’s siblings – Hiriyannayya, Madhava Sharma, Sreenivasa Dixit, Ramaswamy Dixit, Aswathnarayana Dixit, Bhagirathi, Kaveramma, Lakshmi Devi, Nagalakshmi. Venkatakrishna Sharma attended the local government school and these are few of the teachers there whom he remembered with fondness - Padmarajayya, Lakshmana Gowda, Lakshmi Narasimhayya, Narasimhayya. Among other topics he was also taught Agriculture and Irrigation at this government school!


He learnt Veda first from Sri Krishna Sastri at Bellur – following which he started accompanying his father from age of ten for all of his ritualistic vocations. In all he was schooled for seven years. He however did not continue further education at the school. Venkatakrishna Sharma had his brahminical initiation ceremony at Vaddarahalli. Sadly, he missed his entrance exam for his government high school seat as he was in Bangalore for his Upakarma. These sequence of events meant that Sharma eventually strayed away from formal education and found himself veering towards the traditional age old vedic tradition of Guru (teacher) and Shishya (student) relationship. He shifted from Bellur to Bangalore in 1943 at the age of 16 yrs. for his further schooling in Sanskrit and Vedic studies. As luck would have it, Sharma landed in Bangalore a month late for that year’s academic class at Karnikar Patashaala! So, he was left with no option but to wait for a year to enroll in the next year’s academic batch. During this interval he survived on Varadanna (Weekly lunch each week in a different house) in various people’s houses. He thus started his three year training in vedic and Sanskrit studies at Karnikar Patashaala from the following year. He came under the tutelage of teachers like Harike Krishna Bhatta, Puttanarasimha Sastry, Shyama Sastry and Venkatakrishna Avadhani among others.  Here he learnt Sanskrit, Veda Mantra, Purvapara Prayoga and Panchanga – Hindu astral calendar. To earn some spending money during these three years, Pandit Venkata Krishna Sharma was officiating vedic rituals at various houses near Karnikar Patashaala on the weekends.


One of these houses was that of H. S. Narayan Rao – here he officiated Hindu rituals and daily prayers for nearly three years. Once, on his way to the temple, he was bitten by a stray dog in the street. In pain, Sharma continued to limp his way to Narayan Rao’s house and then persisted in performing the puja as usual – Narayan Rao observed the wound and immediately got him medical attention at Victoria Hospital, Bangalore (roughly 14 injections!!). Seeing this boy’s plight, Narayana Rao eventually persuaded Venkatakrishna Sharma to shift his residence, once and for all and stay with their family’s new house at Jayanagar 2nd Block, Bangalore. This was welcome news as far as Sharma’s daily needs were concerned, however this also had the regrettable effect that he had to discontinue his four year tenure at Karnikar Patashaale in its third year itself. Yet again, Sharma’s education had suffered a discontinuity of sorts. He did not receive any degree certificate from the Patashaala. The year was 1947.


At this juncture, he wrote an entrance exam to gain entry to Chamarajendra Sanskrit Maha Patashaale – he stood first in this exam and joined the school. This paved the way for his Sanskrit education to resume. He studied here for ten years and learnt Sanskrit poetry, literature, sat for his vidwat exams and also took his Alankar Madhyama. His teachers here included Lakshminarayana Sastry, Narasimhachar, Chakravarthi Sreenivasa Rajagopalachar, K. P. Narayan Sastry and K. P. Sankara Sastry. Students scholarships during these years helped him greatly with his financial obligations. He also participated in a lot of dramas during these years (1957). Once, when he had to cycle to Gaali Anjaneya Swamy temple on Mysore Road (Bangalore), he felt like cycling further onwards to Kengeri after which he felt like cycling onwards to Ramanagara. At this point, he decided to return back to Bangalore – a total distance of nearly 100 kms! Such was his stamina.
His first son Venkatesh murthy was born in 1957. In the September of the same year, Venkatakrishna Sharma got a Government job at “Chamarajendra Sanskrit Mahapatashaale” in Chamarajpet, Bangalore as Assistant Professor in “Advaita Alankara Sastra” (Study of aesthetics in Advaita philosophy). In the June of 1957, he lost his father who was just 55 years of age. This meant Venkatakrishna Sharma ended up inheriting all the family responsibilities.


Venkatakrishna Sharma was a fine teacher. During his service at Chamarajendra Sanskrit Mahapatashaale, his contemporaries included Sri Anantanarayana, Sri Anantakrishna Sharma, Kikkeri Sri Subbaraya Sastry, Sri Ranganatha Sharma, Sri Bhima Bhat, Sri Jaggu Sudarshanachar, Sri N. T. Srinivasa Iyengar, Sri Basappa, Ganapati Sri Narasimha Moorthy, Sri Jayaramachar, Sri Channaveeraswamy, Sri Nilakanta Aradhya. It was Principal of the Sanskrit College Sri Dharanendrayya, who was instrumental in persuading the Education department to bring together teachers of Sanskrit and Vedic studies under one roof. This changed the way students grasped both the studies. He was popularly known as B. S. V. in academic circles (Bellur Sanjeevayya Dixit Venkatakrishna Sharma).


He had his second son in 1959. He continued to perform Puja at Narayan Rao’s house till 1961. He always used to cycle to college on time. He participated in a refresher course in Sanskrit Education in a Central Government sponsored program at Tirupati in 1963 and 1964 and received a citation from them. Some of his remembered students are Sri Ramachandra Tyagali, Sri Mahabali Sharma, Sri Ananta Sharma Bhuvanagiri, Sri Ranganatha Joyis and Dr. S. Ranganath. From 1967 – 1969 he taught Sanskrit at Ayurvedic Medical Sciences College (Jayanagar). He stayed for eleven years at the rented house at Chikkanna Gardens (Bengaluru) and during these years took tuition classes for students who wished to learn Sanskrit. Among these students was Balagangadaranatha Swamiji of Adichunchanagiri Mutt. He used to ferry his two children around Bangalore (to Lalbagh and other places) on his bicycle. Then moved his house to Basavanagudi in 1972 where he stayed for six years – here he came in contact with Sri Ramaswamy Sastry – Chief Priest of Rama Temple who in turn helped Venkata Krishna Sharma appear as a priest in a Kannada movie starring Anant Nag by the name of “Premajwale”.


He delivered lectures at Sankara School of Culture, Basavanagudi on “Vedanta”, at Sri Sankara Krupa - Jayanagar 3rd block Bangalore on Adi Sankaracarya’s “Viveka Chudamani” from 1970 – 1985 (15 years) and on “Advaita Siddanta” on Sankara Jayanti days (birth anniversaries of Adi Sankaracarya) at various locations.


Venkata Krishna Sharma built a house in Basaveshwara Nagar, Bangalore in 1979. He retired from service at 55 years of age as In-Charge Principal. His first son married in 1982 and his second son married in 1984. Sadly, Sharma lost his mother in 1988 at the age of 79 years. Venkatakrishna Sharma sold his house in 1993 and moved to Sahakaranagar, Bangalore to be with his first son. He was excellent in telling Mahasankalpa, Gotrapravara and Ashirvada. For next 25 years, he stayed at Sahakaranagar where he conducted Veda classes. He has the rare distinction of reciting Aruna Prasna for 55 years at the Bellur Sri Adi Madhavaraya Swamy Brahma Rathothsava since 1958.


Recognition
2000 Jan 19 – Vidwat Samman (Government of Karnataka)
•Presented by Adichunchanagiri Pontiff Balagangadaranatha Swamiji in the august presence of Sri Thontadarya Siddalinga Swamy and the then Education Minister.


2000 Mar 19 – Vidwat Samman (Govt of India)
•Presented by Minister Muralidhar Manohar Joshi in New Delhi

 

  1. H A L Brahmin’s Trust

  2. Veda Samvardhini Sabha

  3. S. J. C. I. T. Chickaballapur,

  4. Veda Students’ Union – Mandya

  5. Nagamangala Brahmin Society,

  6. Honnehalli Brahmin Society

  7. Kempegowda Youth Associ., Bellur,

  8. Adi Chunchanagiri Mahasamsthana

  9. Yedathore Yoganandeeshwara Maha Saraswathi Mutt K. R. Nagara

  10. Veda Poshanee Sabha, Mysore,

  11. Sankara Krupa, Bangalore

  12. Sankara School of Culture, Bangalore,

  13. B. M. Sri Prathishtana

  14. Nittooru Dasappa Trust, Bengaluru,

  15. Ragigudda Sri Prasanna Veeranjaneya Swamy Temple Bhakta Mandali,

  16. Bharathiya Vidya Bhavan & Jyoti Charitable Trust, Bangalore

  17. Vidwan R. K. Srikantan Trust, Bangalore – Presented by Former President Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

  18. Sri Bala Ramamandira Seva Samithi, Bellur

  19. Sri Ganapati Seva Mandali, Bellur

  20. Amruthuru Tammanna Bhatta Trust, Bengaluru

  21. Sanskrith Adhyayana Kendra, Surana College, Bengaluru

  22. Sri Charan Co-operative Bank Limited, Bengaluru

  23. Sri Gayatri Vipra Vrinda, Sahakaranagar


He had his Sahasrachandra Darshana in 2009. He lost his wife in 2003 at 67 years of age. Venkatakrishna Sharma passed away on 3 January, 2020 at the age of 94 yrs after suffering a fatal heart attack.