Kunigal Sri Rama Sastri[i] had once embarked on a pilgrimage to Rameshwaram. Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar III had made all the necessary arrangements for the same. A team of chefs and servants, a palanquin and strongmen to carry it—this entire family accompanied him.
Diwan Gundopanth Road[i] in Bangalore lies to the north of City Market when we traverse from Arcot Srinivasacharlu Road towards Doddapet. The word “Diwan” has been in vogue in the Kannada language for a really long period. I’m unware of the root language from which this was borrowed into Kannada. The word is prevalent even in Marathi and Hindi.
Among the Sanskrit Vidwans whose patronage I sought, it was Sri Motaganahalli Sankara Sastri who showered me with love and affection. There was no other Vidwan with whom I enjoyed the kind of liberty that I enjoyed with him. From the beginning he regarded me as one of his own and displayed great warmth. I had developed immense respect towards him much before I even went to him in person. The reasons were twofold:
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.