The moment I think of R Narasimhacharya, C Vasudevaiah’s name floats up to the surface of my memories. Both of them would come together to social events. They usually sat next to each other. There was an abundance of affection and respect between them. Their professions were quite dissimilar. Vasudevaiah had retired as the office manager of the Department of Educational Outreach. Even in their scholarship of śāstras such as grammar, they differed. Yet it never seemed like Narasimhacharya remembered any of these differences; not even for a split second.
Sri Mahadeva Sastri was the elder brother of Motaganahalli Sri Sankara Sastri. Even he was highly accomplished in music and literature. Every Ekadashi a Bhajan programme would be organized in his home. In this case, the word “bhajan” must be understood as music.
As far as I know, there were three eminent vaiṇikas (musicians who play the vīṇā) in Bangalore. Of them, the seniormost was an Iyengar. If I remember right, his full name was either Rangaswami Iyengar or Krishnaswami Iyengar. His house was on the street leading to Chikka Lalbagh from Balepet – in the locality of Purnaiah’s satra (rest-house).
The Muzrai Amendment
Sometime around 1910, my article in English about Diwan Rangacharlu’s governance was published in Indian Review, a Madras-based monthly. With that, I not only received the remuneration that I was in need of, but also got introduced to a few great men. Two of the best outcomes of the article were: the letter of appreciation written by Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya, who at that time was the Chief Engineer of Mysore and the head of a branch of the Economic Conference; the other was the words of admiration by Arcot Srinivasacharya (alternatively ‘Srinivasacharlu’).
Dakshinamurti Shastri hailed from Kollegal. He was a vaidika from birth; a person who was absorbed in the study of the Vedas. He was also one who deeply engaged in the study of Sanskrit poetry. Therefore when he uttered a Sanskrit word (or phrase), the pronunciation of the letters and the division of the words would manifest itself clearly.
He was a short man with a nice ivory skin colour. He was also well-versed in Tamil and Telugu.
Soorappa was a clerk at the Government Printing Press. This is the last thing that should be said about him. What should be mentioned first is that he may be counted as one among the noble people.
In Akkipete, we find the Sri Lakshminarayanaswamy temple. Beside this temple the Sri Lakshminarasimha Bhajana Mandira is situated. I have heard that a rich landlord residing in that area is the patron of the institute. Soorappa oversees the work of that Bhajana Mandira.
Ill-will between the Mathas
I’ve already mentioned that there were two Madhva Mathas in Mulabagal. There arose a cause for ill-will between the two.
I’ve also mentioned that the Swami of the Majjigehalli Matha didn’t reside in Mulabagal but merely visited it once every few years. That Swami was magnanimous, he was a Rasika, a connoisseur. Not only did he have elephants and horses in his Matha, he displayed enormous affection towards them.
We have recounted in an earlier episode[i] that the Madhva Brahmanas of Mulabagal depended on the land grants given to them in the ancient times for their livelihood. Their only cash earnings emanated from the sale of the pulses and grains that they cultivated. To supplement these earnings, a new arrangement was made. This was the scholastic honorarium given to Vidwans by the Sriman Madhvasiddhantonnahini Sabha (Assembly for the Development of the Madhva Philosophy).
Translator’s Note: In this essay, Sri D.V. Gundappa recalls the lives and times of some renowned Vidwans in the Chamarajapet locality in Bangalore. The Vidwans described in this essay were his elder contemporaries with whom he had regular interactions.