Philosophy essential to produce great literature, says Bhyrappa

Mar 23, 2018

Mysuru: Study of philosophy is essential to producing a great work of literature, said celebrated Kannada novelist and recipient of the Saraswathi Samman award SL Bhyrappaon Thursday.
Bhyrappa, who spoke as part of the three-day national seminar on ‘Hundred Years of Philosophy at Mysore University – An Overview’, said that all writers needed a great theme to base their literary works on. “If an author wants his or her literary work to become great, he or she must have studied philosophy,” Bhyrappa said.

However, the novelist emphasised the need to study philosophy in one’s own mother tongue, while stressing the importance of Sanskrit to the understanding of Indian philosophy. “It is essential to learn Sanskrit to understand Indian philosophy. Whether it’s Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu or Hindi, one has to study philosophy in the mother tongue. Learning philosophy in English is meaningless,” said Bhyrappa.

Lamenting the relegation of Sanskrit to the margins of academic discourse, Bhyrappa said, “Sanskrit is essential to all fields, including science. I would not have been able to write in Kannada had I not studied Sanskrit. Even for learning Kannada, Sanskrit was offered as an additional paper through which one could attain mastery over the former.”

‘Buddha a product of the Upanishadic Age’

Going against the grain of the popular argument that the Buddha’s philosophy was premised on the refutation of the Upanishads, Bhyrappa argued that the former was very much a product of the Upanishadic Age. “Buddha was in search of the truth. He is wrongly portrayed as an individual who denounced the Upanishads,” said Bhyrappa, adding that the Vedas were the foundation blocks of Indian civilisation.

Bhyrappa said that it was his encounter with death at a tender age that led him down the path of philosophical enquiry. “When I was ten, my brother and sister, who were suffering from plague, succumbed to the disease in a span of two hours. Two years later, my mother breathed her last, also succumbing to plague. These incidents left me deeply upset. In my dreams, I would see my mother clad in a white sari, and when I tried holding her, I would wake up. My mother’s death haunted me for two years, which led me to probe death, which in turn, turned me towards philosophy,” he said.

University of Mysore’s in-charge vice-chancellor Prof. C Basavaraju, director, University for Potential With Excellence at the varsity, Prof. G Hemanth Kumar and visiting professor Sheshagiri Rao were in attendance for Bhyrappa’s lecture.