Balakrishna Rao

Shankaranarayana Rao’s name brings to mind a close associate of his, namely S.R Balakrishna Rao. Their friendship and affection for each other was so deep that many people considered them as the twins of Shivamogga.

Tiger's Mouth

Tiger’s Mouth

Let’s now return to the marriage hall. It was a festival of five or six days. Whether he went to the marriage hall or to the temple, Sri Chappalli Visweshwara Sastri mixed with great ease and was patient with everybody. He was soft-spoken. A majority of the numerous Vidwans who met him were Madhva Brahmanas. It appears that several episodes related to our Sastras were brought up for discussion. But I couldn’t spot the Tiger’s Mouth even once. I was astonished: where was the famed Tiger’s Mouth? Where was the lion?

After this Arjuna told Uttara to take his chariot to where Droṇa was standing; offering his salutations to Droṇa, he said in a serene voice, “Ācārya, we took up the forest exile only after contemplating about our response; you must not get angry with us; I have decided not to fight with you and therefore I request you to make that happen.” Immediately, Droṇa sent out twenty arrows in Arjuna’s direction. Arjuna intercepted all of them midway and tore them apart. In this manner, the teacher and student were locked in single combat.

ಭಟ್ಟರು ಪ್ರತಿಭೆಯನ್ನು ವಿವೇಚಿಸುತ್ತ ಇದು ವಿಶ್ಲೇಷಣೆಗೆ ಎಟುಕದೆ ನಿಲ್ಲುವುದೇ ಭಾರತೀಯಸೌಂದರ್ಯಮೀಮಾಂಸೆಯ ಒಂದು ಸ್ವಾರಸ್ಯಕರಾಂಶವೆಂದು ಗುರುತಿಸಿರುವುದು ಮೆಚ್ಚುವಂತಿದೆ (ಪು. ೧೪೨). ಹೀಗೆಯೇ ನಮ್ಮ ವಿವಿಧಶಾಸ್ತ್ರಕಾರರು ಸೌಂದರ್ಯ ಮತ್ತು ಸೌಂದರ್ಯಮೀಮಾಂಸೆಗಳನ್ನು ಉಪೇಕ್ಷಿಸಿದರೂ ಸೌಂದರ್ಯಮೀಮಾಂಸಕರು ಮಾತ್ರ ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರಗಳನ್ನು ಉಪೇಕ್ಷಿಸಲಿಲ್ಲವೆಂದು ಹೇಳಿರುವುದು ಬೆಲೆಯುಳ್ಳ ಮಾತು (ಪು. ೧೪೩). ಅಂತೆಯೇ ಅಭಿಧಾ-ಲಕ್ಷಣಾ-ವ್ಯಂಜನಾವೃತ್ತಿಗಳನ್ನು ಸ್ಥೂಲ-ಸೂಕ್ಷ್ಮ-ಸುಂದರಗಳೆಂದು ಗುರುತಿಸಿರುವುದು ಬೋಧಪ್ರದ.

Complexity of Characters

This selfsame impulse is visible in the characters of Duryodhana and such others in a tangential fashion. Nobody regards Duryodhana and Dusshyasana as fools. There is no dearth of “analysts” or critics who regard Duryodhana as a tragic hero based on the premise that his behavior and actions are natural to his basic character. The dense intensity of blind attachment that pervades a person who is driven by desire and anger is depicted in the Mahabharata in an eye-arresting manner.

K Shankaranarayana Rao, an epitome of positive values, is one of my favourite people. I first met him when he was an advocate in Shivamogga. He was not only an excellent lawyer, but was also well known in social circles. In those days, Shivamogga was one of the administrative centres of the Mysore Presidency. All diplomats went there because it was one of the major headquarters after Mysore and Bangalore. People of Shivamogga had a Nagara-sabhā and carried out their political discussions under that banner.

Sometime in 1898-99, my Sanskrit Guru, Sri Kashi Raghavendracharya addressed about four or five of his disciples thus:

நம் வாழ்வில் மாற்றமொன்றே மாறாதது.

உடலளவில், உணர்ச்சிப் பெருக்கத்தில், மன ரீதியில், பிறரோடு உறவைப் பேணுவதில், சமூக அந்தஸ்தில் – இன்னும் வாழ்வின் பற்பல நிலைகளிலும் நமது நிலைபாடு வாழ்வின் ஒவ்வொரு கட்டத்திலும் மாறிக்கொண்டே வருகிறது.

Aśvatthāma said, “O Karṇa! We have not yet won the cows that we’ve captured, we’ve not crossed the borders, we haven’t returned to Hastināpura; and you’ve already begun a bout of self-praise! Warriors who have won numerous wars, attained great wealth and prosperity, and conquered the earth speak not about their courage and valour even a little. Without the slightest noise, fire boils things; the sun shines his light in silence; the earth bears the animate and inanimate beings without uttering a word.