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1880s photograph of cliff overlooking the Bhutanatha temple on the eastern end of the artificial lake in Badami. The Kappe Arabhatta inscription is carved on a cliff overlooking the northeast end.

Kappe Arabhatta (Kannada: ಕಪ್ಪೆ ಆರಭಟ್ಟ) was a Chalukya warrior[1] of the 8th century who is known from a Kannada verse inscription, dated to c. 700 CE, and carved on a cliff overlooking the northeast end of the artificial lake in Badami, Karnataka, India. The inscription consists of five stanzas written out in ten lines in the Kannada script. Stanza 2 (Lines 3 and 4) consists of a Sanskrit śloka.[2] Of the remaining stanzas, all except the first are in the tripadi,[3] a Kannada verse metre.[4]

Stanza 3 (lines 5 and 6), which consists of twelve words of which nine are Sanskrit loan-words in Kannada,[5] is well known in a condensed version,[6] and is sometimes cited as the earliest example of the tripadi metre in Kannada.[7] However, neither stanza 3 nor stanza 4 strictly conform to the precise rules of the tripadi metre; they each have more than 18 moras in line two, in excess of the allowed 17.[4]



According to Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency 1884, p. 558, the Kappe Arabhatta inscription overlooks the artificial lake (on the south-east corner) of Badami town, and:

Cut on the cliff, ten or twelve feet from the ground, on the north-west of the hamlet of Tattukoti, on the north-east corner of the lake, is an undated inscription of the sixth or seventh century. The way to the cliff is on the left going up from the reservoir by the rear or east ascent to the Bavanbande-kote or north fort and about half-way up to the shrine of Tattukoti Maruti. The writing covers a space of 3 feet 4½ inches high by 2 feet 10⅓ inches broad. The meaning is not clear, but it seems a record of Kappe Arabhatta, a saint of local fame. Below the inscription and covering a space of about 3 feet 7 inches is cut a round band with a floral device apparently a ten-leaved lotus inside it, and with what seems to be a fillet, with a ribbon crossed in a double loop, handing from it.

Kappe Arabhatta inscription textEdit

The 7th century Kappe Arabhatta inscription

The following is the text of the five lines written out in ten lines in the inscription.[8] The meanings of the words are provided in the footnotes below the text. Lines 3 and 4 consist of a Sanskrit sloka, and is not translated. Here | denotes the end of each line of the tripadi metre and || , the end of the stanza:

c. 700 A. D. Taṭṭukôṭi Inscription I. A. X. 61
1. (Kannada) Kappe1a-Arabhaṭṭan1b Śiṣṭajana1c priyan1c
2. kaṣṭajanavarjitan2a kaliyugaviparītan2b ||
3. (Sanskrit sloka:) varan-tējasvino mṛittyur na tu mānāvakhaṇḍanam-
4. Mṛttyus tatkṣaṇikō duḥkham mānabhamgam dinēdinē ||
5.(Kannada) Sādhuge5a Sādhu5b mādhuryange5c mādhuryam5d | bādhippa5e
6. kalige6a kaliyuga2b viparītan2b | mādhavan6b ītan6c peran6d alla6e ||
(Kannada) 7. oḷḷitta7a keyvōr7b ār7c polladum7d adaramte7e | ballittu7f kalige6a
8. viparītā2b purākṛtam8a | illi8b samdhikkum8c adu8d bamdu8e ||
(Kannada) 9. kaṭṭida9a Simghaman9b keṭṭodēnemag9c emdu9d | biṭṭavōl9e kalige6a vi-
10. parītamg2b ahitarkkaḷ10a | keṭṭar10b mēṇ10c Sattar10d avicāram10e ||

Dictionary for the inscriptionEdit

(Slw. stands for Sanskrit loan-word):

1a "Kappe," Kannada, "a frog; that which hops" and has cognates in related languages: Telugu "kappa - a frog;" Tulu "kappe - a frog, probably from 'kuppu' - to hop, or 'kappu' - to cover;"[9] 1b "Ara" and "bhaṭṭa" are both Prakrit words: the former means "virtue," the latter, itself derives from Sanskrit "bhartā."[9] 1c Śiṣṭajana priyan: Beloved of the good people. Slw. priya,[10]
2a kaṣṭajanavarjitan: avoided by evil people, adj. s. m. sg. nom. qualifying Kappe-Arabhattan. Slw. kaṣṭa, jana, varjita;[11] 2b kaliyugaviparita: an exceptional man in the kaliyuga. Sanskrit loan-word (Slw.), viparita adj. s. m. sg. nom qualifying Kappe-Arabhattan;[12]
5a sadhuge: to the good people. Sanskrit loan word (Slw.) sadhu, s. n.;[13] 5b sadhu: Good, kind, person. Slw. s. m.;[13] 5c madhuryamge: to the sweet. s. m. sg. dat Slw. madhurya-;[14] 5d madhuryam: sweetness. s. m. sg. nom. Sanskrit loan-word (Slw.);[14] 5e bādhippa: causing distress, fut. p. of badhisu - to cause distress, from Sanskrit bādh - to harass.[15]
6a kalige: to the kali age. s. m. sg. dat. Sanskrit loan word (Slw.) . kali-; kali - hero.;[12] 6b: Madhavan: Visnu, Slw. Madhava - s. m. sg. nom.;[14] 6c: ītan: this man, dem. pron. m. Telegu: ītadu - probably i + tān - this self (speaker) or ī + tan - this of mine;[16] 6d: peran: another. From pera - outer place; the outside. MK hera; NK hora; Tamil: piran - a stranger; Malayalam: piran - another; Telugu: pera - another;[17] 6e alla: is not, neg. pr. of intr. al (to be fit); Tamil al, alla-: no, not; Malayalam alla: no, not.[18]
7a oḷḷitta: what is good (adj. s. n.); 7b keyvōr: those who do; 7c ār: who (inter. pron.); 7d polladum: The evil also. adj. s. n. sg. nom. + um (NK holladu, hole)—Tamil: pol—to agree with, negative of this is pollā. Tamil: pollā, pollāda: bad, vicious (neg. of pon: to shine), Malayalam: pollā - to be bad, evil; pollu - hollow, vain, useless; Telegu: pollu - useless; Tulu: polle - slander, backbiting.[19] 7e adaramte - like that (adv.) (adara stem. pron.) amte: adv. p. of an: to speak.;[20] 7f ballittu: Strong adj. s. n.;
8a: purākṛtam: the ancient karma (Fleet); the deeds done in the past. Sanskrit loan-word;[21] 8b illi: here.[22] 8c: samdhikkum: 8d adu - it (pron);[23] 8e bamdu - having come (adv. pp. of bar - to come. Tamil vandu; Malayalam vandu; Telugu vacci;
9a kaṭṭida - bound pp. of kattu - to bind; Tamil: kaṭṭu, Malayalam: kaṭṭu; Tulu: kaṭṭu - to bind; 9b simghaman The lion. Slw. simgha-, s. n. sg.; 9c keṭṭodē: harmful thing; 9d en what (intl pron.) 9e biṭṭavōl: in the same way as releasing. adj.;
10a ahitarkkaḷ: the enemies (Slw. ahita- ); 10b keṭṭar : were ruined; 10c mēṇ: and (conjunction, Middle Kannada (MK) mēṇ and mēṇu: what is above, from mēl: above. Malayalam: mēṇ: what is abvove; superiority; menavan—a superior śudra (modern Malayalam mēnon), replaced by mattu in Modern Kannada. 10d sattar: died; past pl. of sā - to die. Tamil cā - to die, past. Sattān. Malayalam cā - to die; Telugu - caccu - to die; pp. caccina. Tulu sāy, sāi - to die, pp. satta-;[24] 10e avicāram: without foresight. (Fleet translates as "without doubt.") Slw. avicāra.[25]

Literal translationEdit

1 Kappe1a Arabhata,1b beloved of the good people1c
2 avoided by evil people,2a an exceptional man in Kaliyuga2b
5 To the good people,5a good;5b to the sweet,5c sweetness;5d | causing distress5e
6 to the kali age,6a an exceptional man in Kaliyuga,2b | Madhava (or Vishnu),6b this man6c another6d is not6e ||
7 What is good7a those who do7b who7c the evil7d like that7e | strong7f
8 exception to (or opposite)2b the ancient karma8a | here8b samdhikkum8c it8d having come8e ||
9 Bound9a the lion9b harmful thing9c what9d | in the same way as releasing9e (Translated in (Narasimhia 1941, p. 242), "In the same way as releasing the bound lion, saying 'What is the harm to us?'")
10 exception to or opposite2b the enemies10a | were ruined10b and10c died10d without foresight (or without doubt)10e || (Note: 10c, 10d, and 10e are translated in (Narasimhia 1941, p. 239) as "And they died undoubtedly (for want of foresight)")

Popular version of Stanza 3 in Kannada scriptEdit

A condensed version of Stanza 3 seems to be well known, both in the Kannada script:

Kannada: ಸಾಧುಗೆ ಸಾಧು
ಮಾಧುರ್ಯಂಗೆ ಮಾಧುರ್ಯಂ
ಬಾಧಿಪ್ಪ ಕಲಿಕೆ ಕಲಿಯುಗ ವಿಪರೀತನ್
ಮಾಧವನೀತಂ ಪೆರನಲ್ಲ!

and in the English poetic rendering:[6]

"Kind man to the kind,
Whose sweet to the sweet,
Very cruel to the cruel
He was nothing but God Vishnu in this regard"

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Narasimhia 1941, p. 355
  2. ^ Narasimhia 1941, p. 363
  3. ^ i.e. lines 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10
  4. ^ a b Narasimhia 1941, p. 358
  5. ^ Narasimhia 1941, pp. 346, 329, 323, 295, 286, 320, 278
  6. ^ a b Sahitya Akademi 1988, p. 1717
  7. ^ Sahitya Akademi 1988, Kamath 2001
  8. ^ Narasimhia 1941, p. 267
  9. ^ a b Narasimhia 1941, p. 294
  10. ^ Narasimhia 1941, p. 340
  11. ^ Narasimhia 1941, p. 296
  12. ^ a b Narasimhia 1941, p. 295
  13. ^ a b Narasimhia 1941, p. 346
  14. ^ a b c Narasimhia 1941, p. 329
  15. ^ Narasimhia 1941, p. 323
  16. ^ Narasimhia 1941, p. 286
  17. ^ Narasimhia 1941, p. 320
  18. ^ Narasimhia 1941, p. 278
  19. ^ Narasimhia 1941, p. 322
  20. ^ Narashimhia 1941, p. 274
  21. ^ Narasimhia 1941, p. 319
  22. ^ Narashimhia 1941, p. 104
  23. ^ Narasimhia 1941, p. 274
  24. ^ Narasimhia 1941, p. 343
  25. ^ Narasimhia 1941, p. 279


External linksEdit