INFLUENCE OF SANSKRIT ON
Sanskrit is often referred to as
the mother of all languages; the fact that Kannada is laden with a fair amount of Sanskrit words could lead to a
misconception that Kannada too must have been derived from Sanskrit. Linguistic researches have proved it beyond
doubt that the origin of Kannada has nothing to do with Sanskrit. Sanskrit is an Indo-Aryan language whereas
Kannada is a Dravidian language. The areas of their origin are far away from each other. Yet, Sanskrit has an
astounding influence on Kannada.
The prosody, poetics and grammar in Kannada are all
based on the models of Sanskrit. The traditional scholarship which was basically inclined towards Vedic
hegemony has brought out this situation. Early Kannada literature was independent of Sanskrit literature,
later on scholars and patronized poets themselves began to hold Sanskrit and Vedic texts in high
Kaviraajamaarga (the main pathway for a poet) the first available written text in Kannada
(9th century), appraises the works of Sanskrit writers such as Kalidasa, Baana, Bhatta
Narayana and Bharavi even before the works of contemporary Kannada writers. It calls upon the contemporary
Kannada writers to emulate the standards of Sanskrit writers. Pampa, Ponna and Ranna – one of the three earliest
known Kannada poets (940 AD- 990 AD) are referred to as Ratnatrayaru (the three jewels) of early Kannada literature. These poets are considered as pioneers
of early Kannada literature. Even though they produced a unique literature known as Champu form their works are
often based on earlier Sanskrit literature. Pampa’s Pampa Bhaaratha or Vikramaarjunavijayam and Aadipurana, Ponna’s Ramakathe, Ranna’s Gadhaayuddha are based on stories of the Ramayana and Mahabharata. We can see that many a great
Kannada literature was developed on the foundations of Sanskrit literature.
B M Srikantaiah(1884- 1946); noted scholar, writer and translator who is known as Kannada Kanva for his guardianship of Kannada had opined that Sanskrit literature is the source,
inspiration and teacher for Kannada literature. Not only ideologies and thoughts, many words are taken from
Vedic or Sanskrit literature, only to be used either in their original form or being Kannadised and used as
Kannada’s own words.