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.
The Raichur Conference
In the history of Kannada revival, Panje Mangesha Rao (Maṅgeśarāya in Kannada) must be definitely remembered as an important scholar and a noble person. His zest in literature, his gentle behaviour, and his genuinely friendly nature, makes him unforgettable. Long before I met him, I had heard about him from B M Srikantaiah. Towards Panje, Srikantaiah had deep respect and unwavering pride. Srikantaiah had shown me, with profuse admiration, the many poems that Panje had written under the pseudonym ‘Kaviśiṣya’ (student-poet). Thus I was eager to meet with him.
Whenever I recall the name of S G Narasimhacharya, I’m also reminded of Mandayam Aji Ramanuja Iyengar. SGN (S G Narasimhacharya), RN (R Narasimhacharya), and MAR (M A Ramanuja Iyengar) – these three were a group. The three of them were relatives and they all worked passionately in the area of classical Kannada literature.