Scholar, discourser Bannanje Govindacharya passes way


Well-known Sanskrit scholar and eminent discourser Bannanje Govindacharya passed away at his residence at Ambalpady in Udupi on Sunday. He was 84, and is survived by four daughters and a son. Mr. Govindacharya had lost his other son 12 days ago.

A Padma Shri awardee, he edited the weekly magazine of Kannada daily Udayavani for nearly three decades from the 1970s.

He presented a number of discourses on varied topics in different parts of the country and abroad. His commentaries on Vishnu Sahasranama are well known. With his strong command over English, he was able to reach out to people abroad and make them understand the essence of the Bhagavad Gita and other great Sanskrit works through a series of lectures.

He wrote several books on the Sanskrit language, literature, culture, and philosophy which have a wide subject base and design. The scholar also wrote Sanskrit commentary to several works of Madhwacharya, propounder of the Dwaita philosophy, and Anandamala, Vayustuti, and Vishnustuti. He translated works such as Madhwaramayana and Mangalashtaka into Kannada. Also, beginning from Purushasukta and Srisukta, he published several writings on the Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita, as well as essays on various philosophical texts.

Mr. Govindacharya was writing interpretative essays on each sloka in the 18 chapters of the Bhagavad Gita in Kannada invoking the doctrines promulgated by Shankaracharya, Ramanujacharya, and Madhwacharya. He had completed eight of the chapters, but with his demise the work has come to a standstill.

With his in-depth knowledge of ancient literature, he was able to speak authoritatively on Dwaita, Advaita, Vishishtadvaita, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Christianity, and Islam.

The late seer of Udupi Pejawar Mutt Vishwesha Tirtha taught Mr. Govindacharya the Vedic scriptures in the initial stage. Mr. Govindacharya had the proven capacity to solve the doubts of intriguing minds in the traditional knowledge branches such as Veda, Upanishads, Brahmasutra, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Purana, and Kavya.

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Modi condoles death

Condoling Mr. Govindacharya’s death, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that the scholar would be remembered for his great contributions to literature. “His passion towards Sanskrit and Kannada were admirable. His works will continue influencing the future generations. Pained by his demise. Condolences to his family,” Mr. Modi said.

The seer of Udupi Paryaya Adamar Mutt, Eeshapriya Tirtha, said Mr. Govindacharya’s death had created a void. The seer’s guru Vibhudesha Tirtha and Mr. Govindacharya used to discuss many scholarly matters. The late Vibhudesha Tirtha had conferred on Mr. Govindacharya the title of Vidya Vachaspati.

BJP State president Nalin Kumar Kateel said the country had lost a great scholar whose contributions to creating awareness among the youth about Indian culture were worth remembering.

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Sagar Biswas

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