Sir K Seshadri Iyer (Part 7)

 Virūpākṣa-śāstrī

Everyone agreed to that [conditions laid down by Seshadri Iyer’s wife]. Seshadri Iyer himself, very cheerfully, agreed to all of it. According to the agreement, to deliver discourses on the Purāṇas, they appointed Hānagal Virūpākṣa-śāstrī. He had been a student of the Saṃskṛta Pāṭhaśālā during his early days and with the passage of time, rose to prominence as ‘Vidyānidhi’ and ‘Mahāmahopādhyāya.’

Every afternoon, while Virūpākṣa-śāstrī narrated episodes from the Purāṇas in the living room of Kumara Bhavana, Seshadri Iyer would come downstairs, sit down for around fifteen minutes or half an hour, and listen. After a few days of this routine, Seshadri Iyer wrote a glowing letter recommending Virūpākṣa-śāstrī to the Śṛṅgeri Sannidhānam, in which he mentioned that such a great scholar deserved the encouragement of the jagadguru’s proximity. The jagadguru approved it. This created an opportunity for Virūpākṣa-śāstrī, who had become, by then, an authority in Tarka-śāstra (Logic) and had earned the title ‘Tarka-pañcānana,’ to begin teaching Vedānta-śāstra in the guru-sannidhi (presence of the teacher).

Rājya Dhurandhara

The title that the Mahārāja bestowed upon Seshadri Iyer was, in reality, not a mere title but an actual fact. Just as the term ‘Rājya Dhurandhara’ is full of the sentiment of majesty and dignity, it is also a fitting tribute to Seshadri Iyer’s accomplishments in work. In the English language, there are three words in use that describe the standard of public servants – 1. Politician, 2. Administrator, and 3. Statesman.[1] Of the three, a politician is someone who dabbles in all kinds of political activities. He is not accountable to anyone. A politician takes on various avatars such as chanting slogans on the street, conspiring in a closed room, knowing the pains that have afflicted the hearts of the people, familiar with the stunts that can stir up the hearts of people, screams, ostentation, the façade of humility, strategy, threats, and so forth. For him, this is a mere vocation. The politician treads the path trodden by doctors and lawyers in their chosen professions to achieve personal gains – hustle, conspiracy, scheming, publicity, and so on. In a democracy, a politician’s vocation achieves prosperity. It is a kind of business.

An administrator is of a higher standard than the kind of person described previously. He has responsibilities that are clear and well-defined. He has people both above and below him. The officials above him would have made his duties clear. Getting those below him to perform those duties is the administrator’s responsibility. He has to discharge his duties within the rules and legislations of the State. If the State is a human body, he is like the bones. The heavy and significant parts are carried by him.

A statesman is of a higher grade than an administrator. The word ‘statesman’ is considered to have great weightage, and hence, it is used to describe only a handful of people who have successfully rendered public service. There are four distinct qualities of a statesman –

1. Amongst hundreds of actions a State would require, a statesman will make it clear to himself as to what is possible for him to undertake.

2. He will plan his duties based on an order of priorities. He never pushes a task of first priority to second place. And he does not bring a task that can wait for some time to first place. Gaining wisdom of such important and peripheral tasks is a challenge in itself.  

3. Even to perform the duties considered most necessary, he will think about the aptness of time. Are the time, place, and present situation suitable to begin the work? When is it appropriate to begin a certain task? What kind of place and situation are convenient? Without evaluating such criteria, one cannot take up a task on whim.

4. Practical Wisdom: He considers the availability of financial and human resources to accomplish a great project. How to strengthen something that is weak? How to stabilize over-enthusiasm? How to make the uninteresting exciting? How to bind your opponents so as to make sure they don’t open their mouths? Who should be unleashed against whom? How to earn what from where? Such clever and strategic thought process is at the heart of statesmanship.

Seshadri Iyer had all these four qualities. That was the reason he won the deep admiration of a critic as severe as Lord Curzon. In Europe, Bismarck[2] and Cavour[3] were the only two who had rose to fame as able statesmen. Just like Mysore, the states of Prussia and Naples were small provinces. However, those two States had the freedom to sign treaties or wage wars with other States. Making use of those opportunities, Bismarck and Cavour conspired with the neighboring states, expanded their kingdoms, and lifted them up. Had Mysore been given such an opportunity, Seshadri Iyer had the statesmanship enough to have used it for the welfare of the Kingdom of Mysore – this is an indisputable fact evident from history.

To be concluded...

This is the seventh part of an English translation of the third chapter of D V Gundappa’s Jnapakachitrashaale – Vol. 4 – Mysurina Diwanaru. Edited by Hari Ravikumar.

 
Footnotes

[1] DVG’s translation of the term ‘statesman’ as ‘rājya-kuśali’ or ‘rājya-vicakṣaṇa’ captures the essence of the word beautifully.

[2] Otto von Bismarck (1815–98) was a German statesman and diplomat who was the visionary behind the unification of Germany in 1871. He served as the first Chancellor of the German Empire (r. 1871–90).

[3] Camillo Paolo Filippo Giulio Benso (generally known as ‘Cavour’) (1810–61) was an Italian statesman who led the efforts at Italian unification. He served as the prime minister of the Kingdom of Piedmont–Sardinia and later as the prime minister of Italy.

Author(s)

About:

Devanahalli Venkataramanayya Gundappa (1887-1975) was a great visionary and polymath. He was a journalist, poet, art connoisseur, philosopher, political analyst, institution builder, social commentator, social worker, and activist.

Translator(s)

About:

Karthik Muralidharan is an entrepreneur, educator, and a motivational speaker. An MBA in Human Resource Management, Karthik currently runs businesses in Leadership Education, Training, and Wealth Management. He is deeply interested in prosody, philosophy, and literature.

Prekshaa Publications

The Mahābhārata is the greatest epic in the world both in magnitude and profundity. A veritable cultural compendium of Bhārata-varṣa, it is a product of the creative genius of Maharṣi Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsa. The epic captures the experiential wisdom of our civilization and all subsequent literary, artistic, and philosophical creations are indebted to it. To read the Mahābhārata is to...

Shiva Rama Krishna

சிவன். ராமன். கிருஷ்ணன்.
இந்திய பாரம்பரியத்தின் முப்பெரும் கதாநாயகர்கள்.
உயர் இந்தியாவில் தலைமுறைகள் பல கடந்தும் கடவுளர்களாக போற்றப்பட்டு வழிகாட்டிகளாக விளங்குபவர்கள்.
மனித ஒற்றுமை நூற்றாண்டுகால பரிணாம வளர்ச்சியின் பரிமாணம்.
தனிநபர்களாகவும், குடும்ப உறுப்பினர்களாகவும், சமுதாய பிரஜைகளாகவும் நாம் அனைவரும் பரிமளிக்கிறோம்.
சிவன் தனிமனித அடையாளமாக அமைகிறான்....

ऋतुभिः सह कवयः सदैव सम्बद्धाः। विशिष्य संस्कृतकवयः। यथा हि ऋतवः प्रतिसंवत्सरं प्रतिनवतामावहन्ति मानवेषु तथैव ऋतुवर्णनान्यपि काव्यरसिकेषु कामपि विच्छित्तिमातन्वते। ऋतुकल्याणं हि सत्यमिदमेव हृदि कृत्वा प्रवृत्तम्। नगरजीवनस्य यान्त्रिकतां मान्त्रिकतां च ध्वनदिदं चम्पूकाव्यं गद्यपद्यमिश्रितमिति सुव्यक्तमेव। ऐदम्पूर्वतया प्रायः पुरीपरिसरप्रसृतानाम् ऋतूनां विलासोऽत्र प्रपञ्चितः। बेङ्गलूरुनामके...

The Art and Science of Avadhānam in Sanskrit is a definitive work on Sāhityāvadhānam, a form of Indian classical art based on multitasking, lateral thinking, and extempore versification. Dotted throughout with tasteful examples, it expounds in great detail on the theory and practice of this unique performing art. It is as much a handbook of performance as it is an anthology of well-turned...

This anthology is a revised edition of the author's 1978 classic. This series of essays, containing his original research in various fields, throws light on the socio-cultural landscape of Tamil Nadu spanning several centuries. These compelling episodes will appeal to scholars and laymen alike.
“When superstitious mediaevalists mislead the country about its judicial past, we have to...

The cultural history of a nation, unlike the customary mainstream history, has a larger time-frame and encompasses the timeless ethos of a society undergirding the course of events and vicissitudes. A major key to the understanding of a society’s unique character is an appreciation of the far-reaching contributions by outstanding personalities of certain periods – especially in the realms of...

Prekṣaṇīyam is an anthology of essays on Indian classical dance and theatre authored by multifaceted scholar and creative genius, Śatāvadhāni Dr. R Ganesh. As a master of śāstra, a performing artiste (of the ancient art of Avadhānam), and a cultured rasika, he brings a unique, holistic perspective...

Yaugandharam

इदं किञ्चिद्यामलं काव्यं द्वयोः खण्डकाव्ययोः सङ्कलनरूपम्। रामानुरागानलं हि सीतापरित्यागाल्लक्ष्मणवियोगाच्च श्रीरामेणानुभूतं हृदयसङ्क्षोभं वर्णयति । वात्सल्यगोपालकं तु कदाचिद्भानूपरागसमये घटितं यशोदाश्रीकृष्णयोर्मेलनं वर्णयति । इदम्प्रथमतया संस्कृतसाहित्ये सम्पूर्णं काव्यं...

Vanitakavitotsavah

इदं खण्डकाव्यमान्तं मालिनीछन्दसोपनिबद्धं विलसति। मेनकाविश्वामित्रयोः समागमः, तत्फलतया शकुन्तलाया जननम्, मातापितृभ्यां त्यक्तस्य शिशोः कण्वमहर्षिणा परिपालनं चेति काव्यस्यास्येतिवृत्तसङ्क्षेपः।

Vaiphalyaphalam

इदं खण्डकाव्यमान्तं मालिनीछन्दसोपनिबद्धं विलसति। मेनकाविश्वामित्रयोः समागमः, तत्फलतया शकुन्तलाया जननम्, मातापितृभ्यां त्यक्तस्य शिशोः कण्वमहर्षिणा परिपालनं चेति काव्यस्यास्येतिवृत्तसङ्क्षेपः।

Nipunapraghunakam

इयं रचना दशसु रूपकेष्वन्यतमस्य भाणस्य निदर्शनतामुपैति। एकाङ्करूपकेऽस्मिन् शेखरकनामा चित्रोद्यमलेखकः केनापि हेतुना वियोगम् अनुभवतोश्चित्रलेखामिलिन्दकयोः समागमं सिसाधयिषुः कथामाकाशभाषणरूपेण निर्वहति।

Bharavatarastavah

अस्मिन् स्तोत्रकाव्ये भगवन्तं शिवं कविरभिष्टौति। वसन्ततिलकयोपनिबद्धस्य काव्यस्यास्य कविकृतम् उल्लाघनाभिधं व्याख्यानं च वर्तते।

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the third volume, some character sketches of great literary savants responsible for Kannada renaissance during the first half of the twentieth century. These remarkable...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the second volume, episodes from the lives of remarkable exponents of classical music and dance, traditional storytellers, thespians, and connoisseurs; as well as his...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the first volume, episodes from the lives of great writers, poets, literary aficionados, exemplars of public life, literary scholars, noble-hearted common folk, advocates...

Evolution of Mahabharata and Other Writings on the Epic is the English translation of S R Ramaswamy's 1972 Kannada classic 'Mahabharatada Belavanige' along with seven of his essays on the great epic. It tells the riveting...

Shiva-Rama-Krishna is an English adaptation of Śatāvadhāni Dr. R Ganesh's popular lecture series on the three great...

Bharatilochana

ಮಹಾಮಾಹೇಶ್ವರ ಅಭಿನವಗುಪ್ತ ಜಗತ್ತಿನ ವಿದ್ಯಾವಲಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಮರೆಯಲಾಗದ ಹೆಸರು. ಮುಖ್ಯವಾಗಿ ಶೈವದರ್ಶನ ಮತ್ತು ಸೌಂದರ್ಯಮೀಮಾಂಸೆಗಳ ಪರಮಾಚಾರ್ಯನಾಗಿ  ಸಾವಿರ ವರ್ಷಗಳಿಂದ ಇವನು ಜ್ಞಾನಪ್ರಪಂಚವನ್ನು ಪ್ರಭಾವಿಸುತ್ತಲೇ ಇದ್ದಾನೆ. ಭರತಮುನಿಯ ನಾಟ್ಯಶಾಸ್ತ್ರವನ್ನು ಅರ್ಥಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಇವನೊಬ್ಬನೇ ನಮಗಿರುವ ಆಲಂಬನ. ಇದೇ ರೀತಿ ರಸಧ್ವನಿಸಿದ್ಧಾಂತವನ್ನು...

Vagarthavismayasvadah

“वागर्थविस्मयास्वादः” प्रमुखतया साहित्यशास्त्रतत्त्वानि विमृशति । अत्र सौन्दर्यर्यशास्त्रीयमूलतत्त्वानि यथा रस-ध्वनि-वक्रता-औचित्यादीनि सुनिपुणं परामृष्टानि प्रतिनवे चिकित्सकप्रज्ञाप्रकाशे। तदन्तर एव संस्कृतवाङ्मयस्य सामर्थ्यसमाविष्कारोऽपि विहितः। क्वचिदिव च्छन्दोमीमांसा च...

The Best of Hiriyanna

The Best of Hiriyanna is a collection of forty-eight essays by Prof. M. Hiriyanna that sheds new light on Sanskrit Literature, Indian...

Stories Behind Verses

Stories Behind Verses is a remarkable collection of over a hundred anecdotes, each of which captures a story behind the composition of a Sanskrit verse. Collected over several years from...