Bellave Venkatanaranappa - An Epitome of Gentleness and Sincerity

Career as a Teacher


John Cook, who was impressed with Venkatanaranappa’s dedication to studies and his ethical outlook, appointed him as a lecturer soon after he procured his BA degree. The following is an incident that took place when he worked as a lecturer.

B V Rama Iyengar was a student of Venkatanaranappa and he later happened to be the Chief Forest Officer. One day, during one of his lectures, Venkatanaranapa spotted Rama Iyengar chatting with his classmates under his breath and stealthily exchanging gestures with them. He called out Rama Iyengar by name and asked him to solve the problem he had written on the blackboard. Rama Iyengar had paid no attention to the lesson that day and he stood confused. Venkatanaranappa was enraged. He picked up the cloth that was used to dust the board and pushed it into Rama Iyengar’s face. The student, who had a charming face with a slightly fair-complexion, was covered with chalk-dust. His eyes turned red and started watering too. Venkatanaranappa was taken aback as the situation turned adverse – something that he had not foreseen. He stopped the class immediately and rushed to the market. He quickly bought bananas, sugar cubes, grapes, and dates and went to Rama Iyengar’s house.

Venkatapati Iyengar, Rama Iyengar’s father, was one of the founding members of the Council of Education in Mysore. He was well known for his good nature, humility, and empathy for people in need. People of the city lit lamps in Venkatapati Iyengar’s name and offered a few morsels of rice to the deity as a sign of their gratitude to him. He lived in Venkatarama Shetty’s house in Alasur with his large family. There were many people who lived under his care.

Venkatanaranappa resided in the same locality back then. Venkatanaranappa and Venkatapati Iyengar were good friends and lived in the same neighbourhood.

On the day this incident took place, Venkatapati Iyengar was seated in the open veranda of his house as Venkatanaranappa hurried towards his house. The teacher wanted to console the student before the news caught the father’s ears. He was trying to discreetly enter the house through one of the side doors. Venkatapati Iyengar, who noticed this from where he was seated, called out for him: “Venkatanaranappa! Come, come. He deserved a few more thrashings, the idiot. You’ve brought snacks to pacify him – all for his mischief!” He took the bananas and sugar cubes from Venkatanaranappa’s hands and started eating them. He praised Venkatanaranappa’s method of teaching and making the students work hard.

Venkatanaranappa was a natural teacher and a kind-hearted human being. He had never beaten up any student but had only pretended to do so under different occasions.



Venkatanaranappa had appointed an attendant by name Venkata for assistance in his laboratory. He also helped in the activities of the [Kannada Sahitya] Parishad. He was often fondly addressed as ‘Clever Rascal’ by Venkatanaranappa, who also pretended to hit him with the book(s) he carried. Venkata would laugh and Venkatanaranappa often exclaimed: “You are a rascal! Just wait and watch, I will beat you up!” This would only add to his laughter. Venkatanaranappa was harsh only in his speech but never in his action.

One evening, there was a fire accident in the house of one of his friends. His friend’s wife was pregnant. Her clothes had caught fire as she was giving herself some heat by burning firewood. The family members and their doctor thought of taking her to a hospital. Venkatanaranappa was the first one to visit them and help them in their difficult times. Their five-year-old son was crying because he thought that his mother was in great danger. Venkatanaranappa’s eyes were also wet but he wiped off his tears before he went to the little boy.

“Why are you crying, boy? What is the reason?” he asked with an angry voice. Even so, why was Venkatanaranappa shedding tears when he asked this question to the young boy?

Vajrādapi kaṭhorāṇi, Mṛdūni kusumādapi” – Harder than the diamond, softer than a flower. (Such is the nature of great men)


MA Degree

John Cook insisted that Venkatanaranappa should appear for the MA (Master of Arts) examination and procure the degree. Venkatanaranappa requested for leave for a couple of months and went to Madras for a detailed study. Unfortunately, he fell sick there. The MA examinations were weighing on his mind and he didn’t know what to do. This news fell on the ears of Subbayya who lived in Halasurupete and through him, Mahāmahopādhyāya Sivashankara Shastri came to learn of this. He was good at mantra-śāstra (‘incantations/ spells’ which are believed to have some required effect on the individual). He sent some enchanted vibhūti (sacred ash) and kunkuma (vermilion) to Venkatanaranappa, which filled him with confidence and courage. He finally passed the MA exam.


My Acquaintance with Venkatanaranappa

I got acquainted with Venkatanaranappa towards the end of 1912. Back then, I had plans of starting an English bi-weekly called Karṇāṭaka and was close to actually starting it. Some of my friends suggested that I take the guidance of Venkatanaranappa in this matter. When I visited his house, he got me seated and pulled out about two or three booklets from his cupboard. He placed them in front of me and asked, “You wrote these, didn’t you?” I was embarrassed when he said that. He said, “Why haven’t you mentioned your full name here?”

I replied, “This is no great writing. It’s quite juvenile. I thought of this plan so that no one discovers my foolishness!”

He said, “Well, my dear – you eat onions and want to mask its smell?”

We laughed out loud. He continued. “You’ve done a good job and you don’t have to be apologetic about it. You really must be proud of your work!”

I explained to him the reason for my visit. He did not accept my proposal at all.

“You are not rich. You will lose the two pennies that you might acquire as a loan or through someone else’s donation. Those who are supporting you today will not even cast a glance at you later on. You say you’re doing this for the country. Who needs a country now? It seems like anyone who thinks about the nation will need to join asylum. If you will listen to me, pray, give up such thoughts!”

My enthusiasm was curbed by his words. Nevertheless, I did not completely give up my passion. I started the magazine in March-April 1913. In about two years, Venkatanaranappa’s words were put to the test. It was probably during Yugādi of 1914-15. Venkatanaranappa came to my house the night before Yugādi, conveyed his best wishes for a new year, forced a packet into my hands and hurried away from my house without giving me a chance to respond. The packet contained a cheque. He had given it as his lifetime contribution and subscription to the magazine. It was about two hundred or two-hundred-and-fifty rupees. I don’t remember the exact amount.



One of the aspects that has made Venaktanaranappa highly revered in the minds of people is his sincerity. He displayed sincerity in every aspect of his life. This nature, at times, made him a laughing stock.

It was during the First World War, in about 1914-15. To raise funds for the war, the British Government had come up with a scheme called “War Loan Bond”. They had prepared loan sheets and had requested the Mysore State to help them in distribution of the bond papers among the people. There were gatherings at several places in the city to discuss this issue. One of the main meetings related to the topic took place in Bangalore and was chaired by Sir M Vishweshwarayya.  The meeting appointed different people to go around different parts of the city to distribute the bond papers and to get customers who would co-operate with us. Venkatanaranappa was allotted Basavanagudi and was made the head of the wing. There were about two or three others in the wing and I was one among them. Venkatanaranappa was of the opinion that we were to first approach renowned people in the locality and if they bought the bond papers, it would convince the other people too.. He insisted this again and again but I displayed some lackadaisical attitude towards the matter. “Who will buy the papers looking at our faces, sir? Whoever is desirous of money will buy the bond papers on their own accord for the want of earning interest. They will not need any convincing by us and we don’t need to put any efforts there. Do you think we should go to the doors of the poor and insist that they buy the papers?” – I argued.

Venkatanaranappa said – “If this was your opinion, why did you agree to be a part of the committee? You will need to act once you have agreed to be a part of it!” His words chocked my voice-box. I still was unsure but headed out with him one afternoon. After visiting a couple of houses, Venkatanaranappa’s enthusiasm too got killed. We went further ahead and landed in the house of Sri. K.L. Datta, CSI. He lived in a house towards the South-East corner of the Krishna Rao park. Datta was a prominent Bengali, was rich and belonged to one of the top rungs in the financial ministry of the Indian Government. He had come to reside in Bangalore upon the request of Sir. M. Vishweshwarayya who had sought his guidance and support for managing finances of the Mysore province. He worked alongside with Sir. M.N. Krishna Rao.

Sri Datta welcomed us with a smiling face. There was hope rekindled in Venkatanaranappa’s heart. He thought that he might fetch a good amount here.

Datta laughed out loud as soon as we told him the reason for our visit.  He asked – “Why are you taking so much trouble? The war will happen anyway. The British won’t stop the war just because they don’t get those meagre pennies from you. There is ‘a great Indian’, here in your city who is struggling to help the country in some way. Let the pennies earned by your people remain in the treasury of the Mysore State. It will be of use for the Mysore state. Don’t you feel like helping Vishweshwarayya who is working so hard for the betterment of the Mysore State”

Venkatanaranappa was lost for words when he heard this argument, which was certainly justified. The person who was saying this was not against the British at all. Venkatanaranappa was actually convinced with his argument. He conveyed his heartfelt appreciation to Datta and left. There was no bitterness on his face.

To be continued ...

This is the seventeeth essay in D V Gundappa’s magnum-opus Jnapakachitrashaale (Volume 3) – Sahityopasakaru. Thanks to Hari Ravikumar for his thorough review



Devanahalli Venkataramanayya Gundappa (1887-1975) was a great visionary and polymath. He was a journalist, poet, art connoisseur, philosopher, political analyst, institution builder, social commentator, social worker, and activist.



Arjun is a writer, translator, engineer, and enjoys composing poems. He is well-versed in Sanskrit, Kannada, English, Greek, and German languages. His research interests lie in comparative aesthetics of classical Greek and Sanskrit literature. He has deep interest in the theatre arts and music. Arjun has (co-) translated the works of AR Krishna Shastri, DV Gundappa, Dr. SL Bhyrappa, Dr. SR Ramaswamy and Shatavadhani Dr. R Ganesh

Prekshaa Publications

Indian Perspective of Truth and Beauty in Homer’s Epics is a unique work on the comparative study of the Greek Epics Iliad and Odyssey with the Indian Epics – Rāmāyaṇa and Mahābhārata. Homer, who laid the foundations for the classical tradition of the West, occupies a stature similar to that occupied by the seer-poets Vālmīki and Vyāsa, who are synonymous with the Indian culture. The author...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the sixth volume of reminiscences character sketches of prominent public figures, liberals, and social workers. These remarkable personages hailing from different corners of South India are from a period that spans from the late nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. Written in Kannada in the 1970s, these memoirs go...

An Introduction to Hinduism based on Primary Sources

Authors: Śatāvadhānī Dr. R Ganesh, Hari Ravikumar

What is the philosophical basis for Sanātana-dharma, the ancient Indian way of life? What makes it the most inclusive and natural of all religio-philosophical systems in the world?

The Essential Sanātana-dharma serves as a handbook for anyone who wishes to grasp the...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the fifth volume, episodes from the lives of traditional savants responsible for upholding the Vedic culture. These memorable characters lived a life of opulence amidst poverty— theirs  was the wealth of the soul, far beyond money and gold. These vidvāns hailed from different corners of the erstwhile Mysore Kingdom and lived in...

Padma Bhushan Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam represents the quintessence of Sage Bharata’s art and Bhārata, the country that gave birth to the peerless seer of the Nāṭya-veda. Padma’s erudition in various streams of Indic knowledge, mastery over many classical arts, deep understanding of the nuances of Indian culture, creative genius, and sublime vision bolstered by the vedāntic and nationalistic...

Bhārata has been a land of plenty in many ways. We have had a timeless tradition of the twofold principle of Brāhma (spirit of wisdom) and Kṣāttra (spirit of valour) nourishing and protecting this sacred land. The Hindu civilisation, rooted in Sanātana-dharma, has constantly been enriched by brāhma and safeguarded by kṣāttra.
The renowned Sanskrit poet and scholar, Śatāvadhānī Dr. R...

ಛಂದೋವಿವೇಕವು ವರ್ಣವೃತ್ತ, ಮಾತ್ರಾಜಾತಿ ಮತ್ತು ಕರ್ಷಣಜಾತಿ ಎಂದು ವಿಭಕ್ತವಾದ ಎಲ್ಲ ಬಗೆಯ ಛಂದಸ್ಸುಗಳನ್ನೂ ವಿವೇಚಿಸುವ ಪ್ರಬಂಧಗಳ ಸಂಕಲನ. ಲೇಖಕರ ದೀರ್ಘಕಾಲಿಕ ಆಲೋಚನೆಯ ಸಾರವನ್ನು ಒಳಗೊಂಡ ಈ ಹೊತ್ತಗೆ ಪ್ರಧಾನವಾಗಿ ಛಂದಸ್ಸಿನ ಸೌಂದರ್ಯವನ್ನು ಲಕ್ಷಿಸುತ್ತದೆ. ತೌಲನಿಕ ವಿಶ್ಲೇಷಣೆ ಮತ್ತು ಅಂತಃಶಾಸ್ತ್ರೀಯ ಅಧ್ಯಯನಗಳ ತೆಕ್ಕೆಗೆ ಬರುವ ಬರೆಹಗಳೂ ಇಲ್ಲಿವೆ. ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರಕಾರನಿಗಲ್ಲದೆ ಸಿದ್ಧಹಸ್ತನಾದ ಕವಿಗೆ ಮಾತ್ರ ಸ್ಫುರಿಸಬಲ್ಲ ಎಷ್ಟೋ ಹೊಳಹುಗಳು ಕೃತಿಯ ಮೌಲಿಕತೆಯನ್ನು ಹೆಚ್ಚಿಸಿವೆ. ಈ...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the fourth volume, some character sketches of the Dewans of Mysore preceded by an account of the political framework of the State before Independence and followed by a review of the political conditions of the State after 1940. These remarkable leaders of Mysore lived in a period that spans from the mid-nineteenth century to the...

Bharatiya Kavya-mimamseya Hinnele is a monograph on Indian Aesthetics by Mahamahopadhyaya N. Ranganatha Sharma. The book discusses the history and significance of concepts pivotal to Indian literary theory. It is equally useful to the learned and the laity.

Sahitya-samhite is a collection of literary essays in Kannada. The book discusses aestheticians such as Ananda-vardhana and Rajashekhara; Sanskrit scholars such as Mena Ramakrishna Bhat, Sridhar Bhaskar Varnekar and K S Arjunwadkar; and Kannada litterateurs such as DVG, S L Bhyrappa and S R Ramaswamy. It has a foreword by Shatavadhani Dr. R Ganesh.

The Mahābhārata is the greatest epic in the world both in magnitude and profundity. A veritable cultural compendium of Bhārata-varṣa, it is a product of the creative genius of Maharṣi Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsa. The epic captures the experiential wisdom of our civilization and all subsequent literary, artistic, and philosophical creations are indebted to it. To read the Mahābhārata is to...

Shiva Rama Krishna

சிவன். ராமன். கிருஷ்ணன்.
இந்திய பாரம்பரியத்தின் முப்பெரும் கதாநாயகர்கள்.
உயர் இந்தியாவில் தலைமுறைகள் பல கடந்தும் கடவுளர்களாக போற்றப்பட்டு வழிகாட்டிகளாக விளங்குபவர்கள்.
மனித ஒற்றுமை நூற்றாண்டுகால பரிணாம வளர்ச்சியின் பரிமாணம்.
தனிநபர்களாகவும், குடும்ப உறுப்பினர்களாகவும், சமுதாய பிரஜைகளாகவும் நாம் அனைவரும் பரிமளிக்கிறோம்.
சிவன் தனிமனித அடையாளமாக அமைகிறான்....

ऋतुभिः सह कवयः सदैव सम्बद्धाः। विशिष्य संस्कृतकवयः। यथा हि ऋतवः प्रतिसंवत्सरं प्रतिनवतामावहन्ति मानवेषु तथैव ऋतुवर्णनान्यपि काव्यरसिकेषु कामपि विच्छित्तिमातन्वते। ऋतुकल्याणं हि सत्यमिदमेव हृदि कृत्वा प्रवृत्तम्। नगरजीवनस्य यान्त्रिकतां मान्त्रिकतां च ध्वनदिदं चम्पूकाव्यं गद्यपद्यमिश्रितमिति सुव्यक्तमेव। ऐदम्पूर्वतया प्रायः पुरीपरिसरप्रसृतानाम् ऋतूनां विलासोऽत्र प्रपञ्चितः। बेङ्गलूरुनामके...

The Art and Science of Avadhānam in Sanskrit is a definitive work on Sāhityāvadhānam, a form of Indian classical art based on multitasking, lateral thinking, and extempore versification. Dotted throughout with tasteful examples, it expounds in great detail on the theory and practice of this unique performing art. It is as much a handbook of performance as it is an anthology of well-turned...

This anthology is a revised edition of the author's 1978 classic. This series of essays, containing his original research in various fields, throws light on the socio-cultural landscape of Tamil Nadu spanning several centuries. These compelling episodes will appeal to scholars and laymen alike.
“When superstitious mediaevalists mislead the country about its judicial past, we have to...

The cultural history of a nation, unlike the customary mainstream history, has a larger time-frame and encompasses the timeless ethos of a society undergirding the course of events and vicissitudes. A major key to the understanding of a society’s unique character is an appreciation of the far-reaching contributions by outstanding personalities of certain periods – especially in the realms of...

Prekṣaṇīyam is an anthology of essays on Indian classical dance and theatre authored by multifaceted scholar and creative genius, Śatāvadhānī Dr. R Ganesh. As a master of śāstra, a performing artiste (of the ancient art of Avadhānam), and a cultured rasika, he brings a unique, holistic perspective to every discussion. These essays deal with the philosophy, history, aesthetics, and practice of...


इदं किञ्चिद्यामलं काव्यं द्वयोः खण्डकाव्ययोः सङ्कलनरूपम्। रामानुरागानलं हि सीतापरित्यागाल्लक्ष्मणवियोगाच्च श्रीरामेणानुभूतं हृदयसङ्क्षोभं वर्णयति । वात्सल्यगोपालकं तु कदाचिद्भानूपरागसमये घटितं यशोदाश्रीकृष्णयोर्मेलनं वर्णयति । इदम्प्रथमतया संस्कृतसाहित्ये सम्पूर्णं काव्यं...


इदं खण्डकाव्यमान्तं मालिनीछन्दसोपनिबद्धं विलसति। मेनकाविश्वामित्रयोः समागमः, तत्फलतया शकुन्तलाया जननम्, मातापितृभ्यां त्यक्तस्य शिशोः कण्वमहर्षिणा परिपालनं चेति काव्यस्यास्येतिवृत्तसङ्क्षेपः।


इदं खण्डकाव्यमान्तं मालिनीछन्दसोपनिबद्धं विलसति। मेनकाविश्वामित्रयोः समागमः, तत्फलतया शकुन्तलाया जननम्, मातापितृभ्यां त्यक्तस्य शिशोः कण्वमहर्षिणा परिपालनं चेति काव्यस्यास्येतिवृत्तसङ्क्षेपः।


इयं रचना दशसु रूपकेष्वन्यतमस्य भाणस्य निदर्शनतामुपैति। एकाङ्करूपकेऽस्मिन् शेखरकनामा चित्रोद्यमलेखकः केनापि हेतुना वियोगम् अनुभवतोश्चित्रलेखामिलिन्दकयोः समागमं सिसाधयिषुः कथामाकाशभाषणरूपेण निर्वहति।


अस्मिन् स्तोत्रकाव्ये भगवन्तं शिवं कविरभिष्टौति। वसन्ततिलकयोपनिबद्धस्य काव्यस्यास्य कविकृतम् उल्लाघनाभिधं व्याख्यानं च वर्तते।

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the third volume, some character sketches of great literary savants responsible for Kannada renaissance during the first half of the twentieth century. These remarkable...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the second volume, episodes from the lives of remarkable exponents of classical music and dance, traditional storytellers, thespians, and connoisseurs; as well as his...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the first volume, episodes from the lives of great writers, poets, literary aficionados, exemplars of public life, literary scholars, noble-hearted common folk, advocates...

Evolution of Mahabharata and Other Writings on the Epic is the English translation of S R Ramaswamy's 1972 Kannada classic 'Mahabharatada Belavanige' along with seven of his essays on the great epic. It tells the riveting...

Shiva-Rama-Krishna is an English adaptation of Śatāvadhāni Dr. R Ganesh's popular lecture series on the three great...


ಮಹಾಮಾಹೇಶ್ವರ ಅಭಿನವಗುಪ್ತ ಜಗತ್ತಿನ ವಿದ್ಯಾವಲಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಮರೆಯಲಾಗದ ಹೆಸರು. ಮುಖ್ಯವಾಗಿ ಶೈವದರ್ಶನ ಮತ್ತು ಸೌಂದರ್ಯಮೀಮಾಂಸೆಗಳ ಪರಮಾಚಾರ್ಯನಾಗಿ  ಸಾವಿರ ವರ್ಷಗಳಿಂದ ಇವನು ಜ್ಞಾನಪ್ರಪಂಚವನ್ನು ಪ್ರಭಾವಿಸುತ್ತಲೇ ಇದ್ದಾನೆ. ಭರತಮುನಿಯ ನಾಟ್ಯಶಾಸ್ತ್ರವನ್ನು ಅರ್ಥಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಇವನೊಬ್ಬನೇ ನಮಗಿರುವ ಆಲಂಬನ. ಇದೇ ರೀತಿ ರಸಧ್ವನಿಸಿದ್ಧಾಂತವನ್ನು...


“वागर्थविस्मयास्वादः” प्रमुखतया साहित्यशास्त्रतत्त्वानि विमृशति । अत्र सौन्दर्यर्यशास्त्रीयमूलतत्त्वानि यथा रस-ध्वनि-वक्रता-औचित्यादीनि सुनिपुणं परामृष्टानि प्रतिनवे चिकित्सकप्रज्ञाप्रकाशे। तदन्तर एव संस्कृतवाङ्मयस्य सामर्थ्यसमाविष्कारोऽपि विहितः। क्वचिदिव च्छन्दोमीमांसा च...

The Best of Hiriyanna

The Best of Hiriyanna is a collection of forty-eight essays by Prof. M. Hiriyanna that sheds new light on Sanskrit Literature, Indian...

Stories Behind Verses

Stories Behind Verses is a remarkable collection of over a hundred anecdotes, each of which captures a story behind the composition of a Sanskrit verse. Collected over several years from...