‘Shiva Tattva Ratnakara’ is a huge compendium containing an astonishing amount of knowledge and information culled from various knowledge based and literary texts. The author has made extensive references to Works on fine arts such as painting sculpture and music. Many books used by him have now moved in to oblivion.
This work contains nine chapters called ‘kallOla’ and each of these contains many subdivisions aptly named as ‘taranga’s. In all, there are 108 tarangas in this work. The number of shlokas in the volume is 35000. This is a veritable source book of traditional and region specific knowledge. It deals with all fields of knowledge prevalent during his times such as philosophy, economy, royal administration, warfare, agriculture, history, geography, astrology, astronomy, erotics, sculpture, drama, construction of gardens, divination of water and hydrology, musicology, dance etc in detail. It also contains, possibly by way of introduction a detailed history of the Keladi dynasty. The whole work is written in the form of a dialogue. Somashekhara, a son of the king asks questions and the answers are provided by the king. This conversational mode awakens and perpetuates the interest and intellectual curiosity of the readers.
The information provided by this work on the topics of music, construction of a dancing hall and hydrology are particularly illuminating. For instance, he says that ‘white and yellow clouds bring only sparse rain where as black and red clouds yield good rains. A good scientist is capable of understanding the formation of clouds at least fifteen days earlier and he should guide the people. He treats lightning as the eyes of the clouds.’
These are just samplings from the monumental work. The sections on music and dance are particularly illuminating.
8. References: a. ‘Musical Aspects in the ‘SIVATATTVA RATNAKARA’ BY BASAVA BHUPALA-A STUDY’ by E.R. Saraswathi Venkateswaran.
(An important article by Dr R.Nagaswami on the topics of musicology in ‘Shivatattva Ratnakara’)
c. ‘History of Keladi based on “Shivatattva Ratnakara’ by
d. ‘News Today (Another article by Sri V.Sundaram)
9. The Ocean of Beneficial Knowledge. (‘Shiva’ also means beneficial, helpful)