(Last Updated on : 03-01-2009)
South India has a great contribution towards the Sanskrit literature through various native poets and composers. Since the time of Pallavas around 700 AD, South India has provided several scholars and pundits of Sanskrit and they have composed great literatures in Sanskrit.
Sayana, a minister of the Vijayanagar Empire of South India, was the first one to write a commentary on all the four Vedas. Many rich Sanskrit 'kavyas' or poems were written by different Southern poets. The South Indian involvement in Sanskrit includes Pallava ruler, Simhavishnu Pallava, who patronised the Sanskrit composer 'Bharavi'. He wrote the excellent mahakavya 'Kiratarjuniyut'.
Another South Indian poet named Vedanta Desika, who belonged to Kanchi, wrote the 'Tadavabyndaya', the lyrics of 'Hamsasandesa' and also the devotional poem, 'Padukasahasra'. The 'Chakrakavi' of South India is the author of five 'champus' in Sanskrit, all dealing with celestial weddings.
'Adi Sankara', a composer from Kerala had given many wonderful devotional lyrics. 'Mukundamala' of Kulasekhara and Mukapanchasati of Mukakavi were also great Sanskrit composers. Few other devotional lyrics writer of South India includes well known composition 'Narayaniya' of Narayana Bhatta of Kerala and 'Sivalilarnava' of Nilakanta Dikshita. The 'Nitidvisastika' is a Sanskrit collection of moralising verses by Sundara Pandya of Madurai. But there are not many prose works in Sanskrit. 'Dasakumaracharita' and 'Avantisundarikatha' are two Sanskrit prose works of Dandin who flourished under the Pallavas. The Sanskrit prose composed by Chakrakavi and 'Nilakantavijaya champu' of Nilakanta Dikshita are also worth mentioning.
Since very early period, there have been works on Sanskrit languages in South India. Dandin's 'Kavyadarsa' is placed next in importance to the famous 'Natya Sastra'.
The creative Sanskrit writer of South India Appayya Dikshita had composed three works on languages. These are the Kuvalayananda, Chitramimamsa and Vrittivartika. The texts on grammar in 'Siddhantakaumudi' had outshined highly after Panini. It was written by Bhattoji Dikshita, the most well known disciple of Appayya Dikshita.
The South Indians had also made great contributions in scientific literature especially in astronomy. Bhaskaracharya was one of the greatest astronomer and mathematicians, who belonged to Bijapur in Karnataka, a state of South India. He wrote them in Sanskrit also. His 'Siddhantasiromani' has the first two chapters devoted to arithmetic and algebra. There were many astronomers like Parameswara and Madhava in another South India state Kerala.
The South Indians had contributed a lot in Sanskrit music also. A Chalukya prince named Manasollasa of Someswara was involved with music and musical instruments. Vemabhupala, a Reddy prince composed the 'Sangitachintamanis', an original treatise on music. Govinda Dikshita of Tanjavur wrote the 'Sangita Sudha' a music treatise in Sanskrit. The three great propounders of Vedanta also belonged to South India. These are 'Dvaita' popularized by Madhvacharya, 'Advaita' by Adi Sankara and 'Visistadvaita' by Ramanujacharya. Three of them have written several works on religion. They have also written commentaries on almost all religious texts starting from the Vedas.