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Palkuriki Somanatha


Palkuriki Somanatha or Palkuriki Somanna was one of the most noted Telugu language writers of the 12th/13th century. He was also an accomplished writer in the Kannada and Sanskrit languages and penned several classics in them. He was a Lingayat by faith and a follower of the 12th century social reformer Basavanna (also called Basaveshwara, Basava), and his writings were primarily intended to propagate this faith. He was a well acclaimed Lingayat poet. He was among the first to write in pure Telugu in the 12th/13th century.

Palkuriki Somanna was born in Warangal district, Andhra Pradesh. It is generally accepted that Somanatha was born into a Brahmin family and he later took to Lingayat (by Ishtalinga Deeksha).

Life Indication that he was not a Lingayat by birth comes from the fact that he mentions the names of his parents in his very first work, Basavapurana, violating a general practice of Shaiva writers who do not mention their real parents but rather consider the god as the father and mother. However, the scholar Bandaru Tammayya has argued that he was born a Jangama (devotee of the god Shiva). The scholar Seshayya places him in the late 13th to early 14th century and proposes that the writer lived during the reign of Kakatiya king Prataparudra II, whereas the Kannada scholar R. Narasimhacharya dates his writings to the 12th century and claims Somanatha was patronised by Kakatiya king Prataparudra I (1140–1196).

In Telugu language

Basavapurana, Paditaradhya charitra, Malamadevipuranamu and Somanatha Stava–in dwipada metre ("couplets"); Anubhavasara, Chennamallu Sisamalu, Vrishadhipa Shataka and Cheturvedasara–in verses; Basavodharana in verses and ragale metre (rhymed couplets in blank verse); and the Basavaragada.

In Kannada language

Basavaragada, Basavadhyaragada, Sadgururagada, Silasampadane, Sahasragananama, Pancharantna and several Vachana and ragale poems are his contributions to Kannada literature. Somanatha's Telugu Basavapurana was the inspiration for Vijayanagara poet Bhimkavi (c. 1369) who wrote a Kannada book by the same name. Somanatha was the protagonist of a 16th century Kannada purana ("religious text") written by the Vijayanagara poet Tontadarya.

In Sanskrit language

Somanathabhashya, Rudrabhashya, Vrishabhastaka, Basavodharana, Basavashtaka, Basava panchaka, Ashtottara satanama gadya, Panchaprakara gadya and Asharanka gadya are his contributions to Sanskrit literature.

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