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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mankuthimmana Kagga transformed my life!

Recently, my friend Dr.S.Raghunath, a professor in BMSCE, said that he planned to spend the next two or three years in studying Dr.DVG’s “Mankuthimmana Kagga”. I could only appreciate Raghu’s interest in this literary master-piece acclaimed as “the modern Bhagavad Geeta” penned by the great Kannada poet “the Kannada Geetacharya”, Dr.D.V.Gundappa (17/03/1887 to 7/10/1975). Dr.DVG’s Kagga has mesmerized, humbled and inspired millions over the decades of it’s benevolent existence.
Mankuthimmana Kagga is a collection of 945 four-liner verses of profound intellectual content written by Dr.DVG. Kagga was written in verse form over a period of several years and finally published in 1943. Kagga has seen numerous re-prints, the maximum for any literary work in Kannada! There are numerous commentaries (in writing and as lecture series) on Kagga by learned men. Some scholarly commentaries include the ones by Shataavadhaani Dr.R.Ganesh, Chinmaya Mission, Prof.H.S. Lakshminarayana Bhatta, Dr.Gururaj Karajagi and many more. Prof.H.S. Lakshminarayana Bhatta has written a unique treatise titled “Thimmaguru Darshana” (or Gundopanishat). Srikanth has written a well researched reference manual called “Mankuthimmana Kagga - Thaatparya” with foreword by Sri.Nittur Srinivas Rao. Interestingly, Dr.DVG has dedicated Kagga to his close friends – Sri.T.S.Venkannaiah (01/10/1885 to 24/02/1939) and Sri.Mokshagundam Krishna Murthy (04/06/1884 to 02/03/1940).

I asked Dr.DVG’s pupil, Sri.S.R.Ramaswamy (who is now managing the functioning of Gokhale Institute of Public Affairs which was set up by Dr.DVG himself) as to why Kagga contained only 945 verses – neither more nor less. Sri.Ramaswamy stated that the number had no significance. It just so happened that out of the numerous verses that Dr.DVG had penned, these 945 stanzas were selected by Dr.DVG for publication. The charm of these four-lined verses lies in the vastness of insight and understanding of the God, universe, world, life, humans and their materialistic compulsions, morality etc. The simplicity of the last line in each verse carrying an intrinsic moral message while enshrining the essence of the whole verse makes every verse a treasure-trove of wisdom. The most-quoted verses (apart from those of Sarvajna and Basavanna) by everybody in any speech or writing are from Mankuthimmana Kagga! Kagga has also been translated into English, a stupendous task considering the complicated hybrid words coined by Dr.DVG. My favorite translation of Kagga has been “THUS SANG MANKUTHIMMA” by Sri.A.Narasimha Bhat of Kasargod. This work has retained the lyrical quality, the ingrained message and the character of the original Kannada version although some compromises are inevitable in a complicated translation of this nature.

DVG himself was a great thinker and a multi-faceted personality. He is described as a poet, philosopher, social worker, journalist, politician and a philanthropist. His writings show him as a man of immense knowledge and wisdom gained through hard work, dedication, determination and conviction. On the occasion of the 100th birth anniversary (1987) of this great literary icon, the Department of Kannada and Culture, Government of Karnataka brought out a 11 volume compilation of all of Dr.DVG’s published works called “DVG Kriti Shreni” which is surely a collector’s item! Unfortunately, only some of these volumes are available.

Mankuthimmana Kagga (and Dr.S.L Bhyrappa’s autobiography “Bhitti”) changed my thinking, outlook and my view of life and has made me a better human being!


  1. Excellently written. I wish I was an adeptin Kannada to understand the deep wisdom of these verses. Having missed out in learning Kannada adequately, I also miss out on the native wisdom of wise people around us, and as a consequence, I tend to devalue our own importance and only look for wisdom from outside India.

    At the same time I wish I don't become smug about our own greatness and remark as someone has done while visiting the U.S.A - "What has your country got to offer to our country?"

    Every country has its own greatness, as I learnt in a very attractive dance program called - The Hungarian Rhapsody organised recently at JSS Auditorium.

    But Bhanu, your prose is very attractive and flows easily. Congratulations.

  2. Dear Deepak,
    Thank you for your compliments!
    I can give you the English translation of Kagga (by Sri.A.Narasimha Bhat) and also a CD of recitation and commentary by Prof.HS lakshminarayana Bhatta.

  3. Namskara,

    While I still remember one or two poems from my school days, I've missed out on a large number of poems.I heard the english translation by Narasimha Bhat is out of print, couldn't find it in Sapna as well, Will be glad if you can share the same in the form of e-book if you have one, or please let me know from where I can buy it.

  4. Hi Bhanu,

    Can you please give me the (to take xerox) of "Thus sang Mankuthimma" book.
    I stay in bangalore.

  5. I am interested in the English translation of Kagga. I made extensive search and enquiries about its availability in Tamil; but they proved futile.
    Can you kindly provide me with the English version? I shall be very grateful.
    S. Krishnamoorthy
    Chennai 600086

  6. Very nice post. I was lucky to meet Sri. Narasimha Bhat on the occasion of 125th B'day celeberation of Sri.DVG this year.

    Both his translation work on kagga namely "Thus Sang Mankutimma" and "Thus Sang Marula Muniya" are available at Gokhale Institute. I totally agree with Bhanu as I too find this translation work as the best so far.

    I have been posting daily verses of Kagga at "Todayskagga" google group and also at

    There is also a facebook community called "DV Gundappa" where these kaggas are getting posted.

  7. To all those who are unable to get the English translation of Kagga by Sri.A.Narasimha Bhat, please contact me on 094483 88838. I have some spare copies (not for sale) which I can give if you assure me that you will spread the awareness about Kagga amongst all your friends and relatives!
    That is the thankful gratitude and respects we can pay to Dr.DVG and also Sri.Narasimha Bhat.

  8. Hi Bhanu,

    Is there any Kannada Audio CD for manku thimmmana kagga, can you please share the details

  9. The English translation by Mr.Narasimha bhat is available with mr.bhat himself.

    So if anyone is interested please contact mr.narasimha bhat,

    Ashirvad, kotekani road, Kasargod, Kerala.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. my dad has also started translating it into English. I will post the blog address here once i have the first 100 poems uploaded to the website.


  11. mr mysore bharat you can contact me for my translations.i have mentioned my email address in
    my comment.

  12. my email address;
    well i thank Mr bhanu for introducing my books to electronic media. you can follow me on my blog that is

  13. @maddie : There are several audio CDs in Kannada (commentaries by Dr.Gururaja Karajagi, Prof.HS Lakshminarayana Bhatta, Dr.R.Ganesh, Chinmaya Mission etc.) and all of them are available in Gokhale Institute of Public Affairs, Basavanagudi, Bangalore 560 004.

    @S.Krishnamurthy, Chennai - Sir, you can now contact Sri.Narasimha Bhat whose contact details are available above and obtain the Englsih version of MTK.

    @Sri.Narasimha bhat - Sir, I would like to meet you. A close friend of mine who stays in Kumble, Kasargod helped me in getting "Thus Sang Manku Thimma" and I have taken the liberty of distributing your book to several of those readers who expressed keen interest in MTK but who were constrained due to the Kannada barrier!
    I shall keep in touch with you on email.
    Please accept my respectful pranaams,

  14. Most of us have admired and saluted Dr. DVG for his inspiring literary masterpiece of wisdom - Mankuthimmana Kagga. Over the past seventy years, MTK has stood high like a beacon of light and has mentored, tutored and taught generations about ethical and moral values. MTK has provided succor and guidance to those in distress or dilemma. Many learned writers have penned helpful commentaries on MTK. Latest addition to this vast repertory of knowledge is "Kagga Rasadhaare" written by my friend Ravi Tirumalai. The first volume of the book containing Ravi Tirumalai's prose on a layman's understanding of MTK (the first 200 verses out of the total 945) was released at Kannada Saahitya Parishath on 17th March 2013 (Dr.DVG's birth anniversary).
    The book "Kagga Rasadhaare" is available for all discerning readers. Those interested may contact Ravi Tirumalai on 09632246255 (landline 080-22451417).

    Ravi Tirumalai says "what started off as a crazy idea (writing about MTK is mind-boggling) has turned into an adventure and is now a continuing enlightening learning experience". Ravi is ready to publish the second volume (the next 200 stanzas).

  15. Very good blog!
    It is true that kagga is bhagavadgita and DVG is geethacharya.,
    If anyone interested to listen to speeches about kagga, visit kannada discourse section!
    It gives clarity, makes us pure, leads towards truth!!

  16. Bhanu,

    While randomly switching channels on my TV this afternoon, I happened on a talk on MTK by Prof H S LakshmiNarayan Bhatt on Sri Shnakara Channel, a station I hardly tune into, and I sat at rapt attention, completely absorbed by the profound knowledge and wisdom being described. I have spent the evening finding more information on MTK as well as Prof HSLNB and came across your blog. Could you please inform me where I can buy a copy of " Thimma Guru Darshana" ? Deeply appreciate your reply.

  17. Please speak to Prof.HSLN Bhatta 08023224910