I had heard the name of Sri. H V Nanjundaiah when I was still a student. I was told in my hometown about this legend – he had passed his M.A. (Master of Arts) and M.L. (Master of Law) by seeking alms and studying under street lights. I later learnt that it was just a story. It’s true that Nanjundaiah was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth but the remaining details of the story were the result of wishful imagination of some noble soul to preach to people like me.
Earlier in this series, I had written about my maternal grandmother Sakamma. Naranappa was her husband.
I’m unaware of how he was transferred to the Mulubagilu region or where he was employed prior to arriving here. He was appointed as the Sheikhdar of the Baikur Hobli, Mulubagilu Taluk. It appears that in those days, the elders of my family didn’t know he hailed from my own community.
Sri Ananta Sastri had distinguished himself as one of the most prominent (Classical) musicians of Bangalore. He possessed an extremely manly voice in both singing and teaching music. I listened to his music for the first time in 1904. He was in his youth back then. That particular concert was attended by quite a large number of Vidwans belonging to the older generation.
Srinivasa Murthy was a born rasika (connoisseur). Being a rasika presupposes a penchant to search for splendour in every aspect of life and to enjoy the splendour present in them. This natural quality in Murthy blossomed in the field of literature on the one hand and on the other, it pervaded his daily life.
ಅಸಮದಲಿ ಸಮತೆಯನು ವಿಷಮದಲಿ ಮೈತ್ರಿಯನು ।
ಅಸಮಂಜಸದಿ ಸಮನ್ವಯ ಸೂತ್ರ ನಯವ ॥
ವೆಸನಮಯ ಸಂಸಾರದಲಿ ವಿನೋದವ ಕಾಣ್ಬ ।
ರಸಿಕತೆಯೆ ಯೋಗವಲೊ - ಮಂಕುತಿಮ್ಮ ॥
To find equality in disparity, harmony in oddities,
A gentle strand of reconciling strife,
To find joy in the melancholy of worldly existence –
This attitude of refined taste verily is Yoga – Mankutimma
Dharmaprakasha Sajjan Rao's [i] home named, “Lakshmi Nivasa” is located opposite the North East side of the Venkataramana Swamy Temple at the Bangalore Fort. The verandah of that house sported the photographs of some Sadhus and Sants. Among these photographs was that of an Avadhoota[ii] named Mahadeva Sastri.
Extracts from the Preface
The profiles and lives of all the people portrayed in this volume deserve our respect at all times. My attempt here is to show how the people of an era in our country’s history lived, as well as the ideals they believed in. There’s the renowned verse from the Ishwara’s mouth in the Bhagavadgita:
Sri Virupaksha Shastri would conduct himself like he epitomized the Shraddha or conviction in the Shastras, Karma, and virtue. Puja thrice everyday in his home. The Ekadashavara RudrAbhishekam was performed every Monday and Suryanamaskaram on Sundays. Numerous Vratas. Given this, he would mostly eat only once a day.
The India Government awarded the Mahamahopadhyaya title to Sri Virupaksha Shastri. Our [Mysore] Maharaja awarded him the Vidyanidhi honorific.
And so, in order to express our joy at this, we constituted an Award Committee. B.V. Lakshman Rao (who has been mentioned earlier) was prominent in this Committee. The Award ceremony was fixed at five in the afternoon on a Sunday.
As instructed by K Ramachandra Rao, I went to meet K A Krishnaswamy Iyer. During those days, he lived in his own house on 5th Cross, Basavanagudi (behind the house named ‘Chidvilaasa’). I went to his house at around three in the afternoon. Soon after I knocked the door, he opened it himself and ushered me inside. The room was sparsely furnished without a hint of ostentation. A bookshelf, two floor mats, a couple of cushions, and a violin – this is all I saw.