Kavikokila Dr.V.Raghavan



Born in 1908 at Tiruvarur, Tanjore Distrct,graduated from Presidency College, Madras in 1930 with 3 College Prizes and 5 University Medals.

Took his M.A. in Sanskrit Language and Literature with Comparative Philology and four schools of Indian Philosophy under Mahamahopadhyaya Prof. S. Kuppuswamy Sastri; specialized in Alamkara and Natya Sastras and Sanskrit Aesthetics and earned his Doctorate in 1934-1935 from Profs. S. Levi, F.W. Thomas and A.B. Keith; studied Sanskrit on the traditional lines also and won medals and prizes for Sanskrit speaking and writing.

After a brief Superintendship of the Sarasvati Mahal Manuscript Library, joined the research department of his Alma Mater, Madras University where from the position of a Research Scholar, rose to that of Professor and was Head of the Department of Sanskrit till 1968; has been working from beginning on The New Catalogus Catalogorum(NCC), the major project of his official career; toured Europe in 1953-54 and besides attending International Conferences, prepared an inventory of 20,000 uncatalogued manuscripts there and a survey of Sanskrit and Indological studies in Europe; toured U.S.S.R. in 1958 and 1974; visited for lectures, conferences, study and examination of manuscripts collections, the Countries of East and South East Asia, Australia, Mauritius, Canada and Mexico and visited Nepal twice for manuscripts Study. The result of his three tours of U.S. is the book ‘Sanskrit and Indian Studies in U.S.”.

Member of the Government Sanskrit Commission; Member of the Central Sanskrit Board and Indology Committee; Chairman of the Central Publication Committee of the Rashthriya Sanskrit Samsthan, Education Ministry; Convener for Sanskrit, Sahitya Akademi; member, Sanskrit Advisory Board, National Book Trust; Member, Executive Committee, Sangeet Natak Akademi; sometime Special Advisor for Sanskrit, All India Radio; adviser for many manuscripts Libraries;Member, New Sanskrit Dictionary Board and Purana Editorial Board; Director / Secretary, Kuppuswami Sastri Research Institute and Secretary, Music Academy, Madras; edits the Journal of Oriental Research, the Journal of the Music Academy, Madras, the Samskrita Pratibha for the Sahitya Akademi, the Samskrita Ranga Annual, the Malaya Maruta and the Samskrita Vimarsa for the Education Ministry.

Secretary, All India Oriental Conference 1951-59; twice its Section President and General President of its 21st Session (1961); awarded the 1953 Kane Gold Medal by Asiatic Society, Bombay for distinguished research; conferred by Sri Kanchi Sankaracharya the title Kavi-Kokila for his poetic writings and Sakala-Kala-Kalapa for his versatile attainments; appointed by Government as Chairman, Central Sanskrit Institute; received from President of India the Republic Day distinction Padma Bhushan (1962); received Nehru Fellowship 1969-70; Chairman (Academic) of the First World Sanskrit Conference, Ministry of Education (1972); President, International Association of Sanskrit Studies; honoured by S. Sanskrit University, Varanasi with ‘Vacaspati’ (D. Litt.), and by U.P. and M.P. Governments with first awards for his original Sanskrit play, Anarkali.


Born on 22nd August, 1908
1930 M.A. I Class, First, in Sanskrit language and literature including Comparative Philology and Systems of Indian Philosophy. Took several University medals and prizes.
1934 – 35 Ph.D., Madras University.
1935 – 68 Sanskrit Department, Madras University, from which he retired in December 1968 as Professor and Head of the Department of Sanskrit.
1935 – 60 Was primarily engaged on the preparation of the New Catalogus Catalogorum of   Sanskrit and Allied Manuscripts as his official work in the University of Madras
1953 – 54 Toured 13 countries of Europe, visited University centres of Sanskrit and allied studies, Institutes, Museums, Libraries;  delivered lectures and also prepared a catalogue of 20,000 manuscripts of unsurveyed Sanskrit collections in Europe and also published a book called SANSKRIT AND ALLIED INDO-LOGICAL STUDIES IN EUROPE (1954) University of Madras.
1958 Visited U.S.S.R., sponsored by Government of India in an Indological Delegation; visited Oriental Institutes, Libraries and manuscript collections.
1962 - 63 Visited Nepal twice for work on manuscript collections in Kathmandu
1964 Toured United States on a leadership invitation of the U.S. State Department and visited University Centres, Libraries,etc., lectured and surveyed Sanskrit manuscript collections in U.S.
1964 Toured Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia; visited centres of Oriental studies and temple monuments and Museums.
1969 – 70   Fellowship of the Jawaharlal Nehru foundation, New Delhi, for preparing  an edition from manuscripts of ‘Bhoja’s Srngaraprakasa’.
1971  Attended the 28th International Congress of Orientalists in Canberra, Australia.
1971 April Attended a Seminar in East-West Centre, University of Hawaii and toured some University centres in U.S.
1971 May Visited some Universities in Canada on a lecture tour.
1971 May-June   Visited U.S.S.R. for the second time and also Bulgaria on a Government of India cultural exchange programme.
1971 – 74  Gave special courses of lectures at many Universities in India and inaugurated or participated in or presided over several Seminars and Conferences at different centres; was Chairman of a Committee for re-organising the Sanskrit College of Banaras Hindu University.
1971 – 1972   Chairman of the Academic Committee of the First World Sanskrit Conference of the Ministry of Education, New Delhi Produced its literature and steered the Conference in March 1972.
1973 July   Attended the 29th International Congress of Orientalists, Paris.
1973 July    Elected first President of the International Association of Sanskrit Studies set up in Paris.
1974 Visited for the second time Bangkok and Tokyo in connection with his work on Ramayana outside India.
1974  Participated in the International Conference on Sanskrit. Drama at the East-West Centre, University of Hawaii, Honolulu.
1974  Was Resident Professor at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, U.S.
1974  Visited U.S. and Canadian University Centres and gave lectures.
1974 August  Visited Indonesia (Java and Bali) for an International Conference of the Asian Historians and visited monuments in Central Java and Bali and studied the object of Ramayana in Indonesia.
1974 Visited Colombo, Ceylon.
1975 June   President and steered the Second World Sanskrit Conference at the University of Turin, Turin, Italy.
1975 July – August Visited Mauritius at the invitation of the Government of that Country to advise them on the development of Indian studies there.
1975  December Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the International Ramayan Conference, Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi and steered the Conference.
1976 June 9-11th Visited Paris for the 75th Anniversary of the EFEO and the International Conference on Historical Ecology in Paris.
1978 November Visited centres in Burma on a UNESCO project for Preserving and Cataloguing Pali manuscripts.


Bhoja’s Srngara Prakasa is the biggest work in the field of literary criticism and in the whole range of classical Sanskrit literature. In presenting and interpreting the contents of this encyclopedic work, Dr.V.Raghavan has, in his turn, produced the largest work in  Sanskrit literary criticism and aesthetics. Bhoja’s work is noteworthy not only for its new and unique theory of aesthetics, but also for a mass of data relating to all branches of Sanskrit literature and precious citations from many lost classics of great importance. In addition to the several chapters of Dr.V.Raghavan’s exposition being complete accounts of the history of the respective concepts of  Alamkara Sastra, the analysis and collation of the references and the reconstruction of views and works given here make the present work a thesaurus of information in the field of Sanskrit literature.

The Hindu, Madras:

“A great work sees the light………Dr.V.Raghavan has brought into a historical discussion the various theories on the philosophy of poetry ranging from Bharata to Anandavardhana and far later too……will be greatly valued as a kaleidoscopic representation of the masterminds of India’s poetical thoughts.”

Prof. M. Hiriyanna, Mysore:

“….is written in a simple and straightforward style; and though abounding in details, it is throughout quite interesting… This has necessitated in your surveying the whole range of Alamkara literature (sometimes, as in Chs. XV and XVI, the survey extends even beyond); and the result is not merely comprehensive but also exhaustive….is full of valuable information, and students of Sanskrit will ever feel grateful to you for publishing it. The publication will be an indispensable companion to those who undertake research work in the subject; and…….. will also serve as an excellent reference book.”

Prof. L. Renou, Paris:

“V. Raghavan whose works on poetics are authoritative…..his long study on the Srngara Prakasa of Bhoja in which he has revealed to us the most encyclopaedic Indian text on Sanskrit poetics”…….

Journal of Oriental Research, Madras:

“……..must be accepted on all hands as a great contribution to the thought on Sanskrit literary criticism………..”

In India, has been connected with several Universities, manuscripts libraries and Institutes and academics. Has been the convener of the Sanskrit Board of the Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi;  has been an active member of several bodies of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi.

Was elected fellow of the Sangeet Natak Akademi.

Was awarded the Sahitya Akademi prize for the best book in Sanskrit research 1964.

Was awarded the Kane Medal for distinguished research by the Asiatic Society, Bombay.

Was elected Honorary member of PPCO, Paris, the Austrian Academy of Sciences Vienna, and awarded the order of St. Martin, Austria.

Elected General President of the 21st session of the All India Oriental Conference, Srinagar, 1961.

Was a member of the Stearing Committee of the Delhi session of the International Congress of Orientalists.

Was a member of the Sanskrit Commission appointed by the Government of India; connected with all its bodies for the promotion of Sanskrit Studies in India; Is the President of the Publication Committee of the Central Sanskrit Board.

Was honoured by the President of India with the title of Padma Bhushan in the Republic Day honours, 1962.

Was awarded first prize for creative writing in Sanskrit by the Governments of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

Was given the Honorary Degree of D.Litt. by the Sanskrit University of Banaras in 1966, February.

Was elected Fellow of the Sahitya Akademi 1979.

Director / Secretary of Kuppuswami Sastri Research Institute.

Secretary / Editor, Music Academy, Madras and its publications:

President, Madras Samskrita Academy, President, Madras Natya Sangh/ President, Samskrita Ranga, Madras. Has been producing from time to time classical and modern Sanskrit plays on the stage.  Member of the Purana Department of the All India Kasi Raja Trust, Banaras. Had long been connected with the Sanskrit Dictionary project of Pune. Was Member for some time of the Arts Purchases Committee of the Ministry of Education; Was a member of the Music programmes committee of the All India Radio Delhi and for two years All India Adviser of the Sanskrit Programmes of A.I.R.

Was Member for some years of the Central Advisory Board of Archeology, Ministry of Education. Had been the Chairman of the Central Sanskrit Institute, Tirupati. Also a member of the Council and formerly of the Executive Committee of the Institute of Advance Studies, Simla.

Is the Author of about 120 works and over 1200 research papers in the fields of Sanskrit and Indological research. Some of the major publications are:

  1. 5 Volumes of New Catalogues Catalogorum.
  2. Bhoja’s Sringaraprakasa.
  3. The Indian Heritage – sponsored by the UNESCO.
  4. Patel Memorial Lectures in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, New Delhi. The Great Integrators – Saint Singers of India.
  5. The Number of Rasas.
  6. Some concepts of Alankara Sastra.
  7. Sanskrit and Allied Indological Studies in Europe.
  8. Sanskrit and Allied Indian Studies in U.S.
  9. Prayers, Praises and Psalms.
  10. Yantras or Mechanical Contrivances in Ancient India.
  11. The Social Play in Sanskrit.
  12. Love in the Poems and Plays of Kalidasa.
  13. Modern Sanskrit Writings.
  14. Srngaramajari of Akbarshah.
  15. Agamadambara of Jayanta.
  16. Natakalakshanaratnakosa of Sagaranandin (Translation with  Notes, jointly with Dr. Myles Dillon, Dublin and Dr. Murray Fowler, Wisconsin).
  17. Nrttaratnawali of Jayasenapati 13th Century Dance treatise education with critical Introduction and study; some old Lost Rama Plays
  18. Manuscripts, Catalogues, Editions.
  19. Indological Studies in India.
  20. Spiritual Heritage of Tyagaraja (Joint)
  21. Sources of Indian Tradition (Joint work), Columbia University, New York.Won the Wattmull prize.
  22. Sanskrit Commission Report (Joint work), Government of India.
  23. The Concept of Culture.
  24. Rtu (Seasons) in Sanskrit Literature.
  25. The Greater Ramayana (Madras University Lectures)
  26. Ramayana in Greater India (Surat University)
  27. Sanskrit Ramayanas other than Valmiki’s, Bombay University.
  28. Tagore and Sanskrit Literautre, Visva Bharati University.
  29. Festivals, Sports and Pastimes of Ancient India, B.J. Institute, Ahmedabad.
  30. Proceedings of the First World Sanskrit Conference, New Delhi (4 parts issue).  
    Sanskrit text of Bhoja’s Srngaraprakasa, Harvard Oriental Series.
    Further Volumes of the Proceedings of the First World Sanskrit Conference,
    New Delhi.
  • Special fields: Sanskrit and Indology, Manuscripts and Cataloguing, Indian
              Thought and Culture, Indian Arts and Aesthetics: Sanskrit Studies Abroad;
              Indian Culture and South East Asia.

Has also published many original poems and plays in Sanskrit and also stories and other Cultural Articles in Tamil.