As I’ve said earlier, it is assumed that sādhanā—rigorous practice—is essential for this. Sādhanā is indeed tapas. This is crystal clear when we see the life of Tirukkodikaval Krishna Iyer. For the sādhaka, while he is undergoing sādhanā, as a result of his tireless efforts, new heartfelt feelings will blossom. Attuned to the new feelings, new rāgas and passages will emerge.
No Hatred Towards Sanskrit
Every creature felt happy. Everybody was intent on [performing] Dharma. Turning their eyes towards Rama alone, creatures did not kill [or inflict violence upon] one another.
While Rama ruled the kingdom, the conversations of the people centered round Rama, Rama and Rama. The whole world became Rama's world.
Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras were performing their respective duties, satisfied with their own work and bereft of any greed.
Vīṇā Sheshanna (1852–1926) and Tirukkodikaval Krishna Iyer (1857–1913) were great sādhakas (hard-workers, musicians who practiced a great deal), but sādhanā (diligent practice) is not the ultimate in music. It is neither the mother of music, not even in part. Music—just like poetry—has its origins in pratibhā (talent, creativity, genius) and kalpanā pratibhā (creative imagination).
A few poems from Srikantaiah’s “English Gītagaḻu” (meaning English Poems) were published at regular intervals in the monthly “Karnataka Granthamāle”. N.S. Subbarao liked the poems and had spoken to us about them. He had compiled the poems and had gotten it neatly bound with the title embossed in gilt. He had gotten the title written in beautiful golden letters. I felt a great sense of pride looking at it.
Love of Scholarship
On another occasion I was walking on the Shankara Matha street from the south of Shankarapuram. An assembly had gathered in the front verandah of the Shankara Matha. It was around 10 or 11 in the morning. Both Chappalli Visweshwara Sastri and Motaganahalli Shankara Sastri were present. I joined the gathering. Sri Chappalli Visweshwara Sastri said:
Among the yesteryear scholars of Kannada literature I know, the most extraordinary ones are S G Narasimhacharya, R Narasimhacharya, M A Ramanuja Iyengar, and Devashikhamani Alasingacharya.
I think I first saw S G Narasimhacharya in 1906–07. I knew him by name before I met him. I had read some of his writings in textbooks. His translations of segments of Kālidāsa’s Raghuvaṃśa into Kannada poems set to the śaṭpadi meter were exceedingly beautiful. I was mesmerized by the elegance of the words and the richness of emotions of many of his poems.
B.M. Srikantaiah was one of the members of the youth club of Srirangapattana. Other prominent members of the club were Vice Chancellor N.S. Subba Rao, Advocate M.G. Varadacharya, Professor Annaaji, Engineer Venkata Subba Rao and Forest Conservator Narasimhaiah.
There were two prominent features of that club: (1) Mutual friendship, (2) Admonishing any outsider who would oppose any member of the club.
Annaji: “Our Subbu’s writing is so articulate!”
Subbu: “I am nothing before Srikantaiah”
Srikantaiah: “Eloquence means M.G. Such a beautiful style!”
As lecturer of Sanskrit Literature at the Central College, Sri Chappalli Visweshwara Sastri earned the gratitude and respect of numerous students. His recitation of poetry didn’t have the sweetness of music because he didn’t have a melodious voice. But the style of his expository commentary was illuminative. He would split each word, explain its origin using examples and then drive home the intent and the feeling of the poet thereby. There’s no greater help to the student than this.