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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Kanva, KaNva, Kanva

Kaṇva in Ṛgveda

‘Kaṇva’ was the name of many sages. Ṛgveda has a mention of one Kaṇva who was the son of Ghora. He has been mentioned as the author of 101 ṛks or Ṛgvedic mantras.

Kaṇva, Father of Śakuntalā

Sage Kaṇva was the foster-father of Śakuntalā. He not only brought her up but also took her to the king Duṣyanta, her husband. He was the son of another well-known sage Medhātithi.

Once he advised Duryodhana to make peace with the Pāṇḍavas. But the prince refused to listen and patted his thighs in arrogance. Hence Kaṇva cursed him that he would die with broken thighs.

His hermitage has been traced near the modern Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh. A smṛti known as Kanvasmrti has been attributed to the sage Kaṇva and quoted by certain works like Smrticandrikā of Āpadeva-mīmārhsaka (A. D. 1200).


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore