July 2019

Narmada Shiva Linga
The true root and heart of Mandra is located in the music of Raja Saheb and his small Mahadeva Temple overlooking the perennial, gurgling currents of Narmada River amid the dense jungle he has specially grown. In less than ten pages, Dr. Bhyrappa unveils a majestic opulence that at once encompasses the highest and the best traditions of Indian music, its underlying philosophy, its aesthetic goal and its ultimate ideal. He serves us a multi-...
The story of the Mahābhārata is gigantic. It is thus divided into eighteen parvas. These divisions are called kāṇḍas in the Rāmāyaṇa. What is termed as ‘sandhi’ in later works such as Jaiminī-bhārata corresponds to an adhyāya. Several adhyāyas together constitute a parva. The word ‘parva’ means a span between two nodes of a sugarcane. Just like the span between nodes in a sugarcane stalk, so also is the role played by the parvas in the...
Bhartṛhari begins his Vairāgya-śatakam with a verse on Śiva:             चूडोत्तंसितचारुचन्द्रकलिकाचञ्चच्छिकाभास्वरो लीलादग्धविलोलकामशलभः श्रेयोदशाग्रे स्फुरन्। अन्तःस्फूर्जदपारमोहतिमिरप्राग्भारमुच्चाटयं- श्चेतःसद्मनि योगिनां विजयते ज्ञानप्रदीपो हरः॥ Victory to Hara, the lamp of knowledge shining bright in the hearts of Yogis! It is radiant with the flickering flame of the moon that adorns his head. It effortlessly reduced to ashes the...
On the fourth day of the war, Bhīmasena totally destroyed Duryodhana’s elephant division and killed eight of the Kaurava brothers including Jalasandha and Suṣeṇa. Bhagadatta climbed onto a huge elephant in rut and fought relentlessly with Bhīmasena; he shot a flood of arrows and made Bhīma faint. At that point Ghaṭotkaca came forward and struck a severe blow to Bhagadatta’s elephant. Listening to the elephant howling in pain, Bhīṣma and others...
Ask a random student of Sanskrit to recite a poem—chances are you will hear a verse from Bhartṛhari’s Nīti-śatakam. Go to an Acharya seeking wise counsel—chances are you will hear a verse from Bhartṛhari’s Vairāgya-śatakam. Suppose you are interested in love as it is depicted in Sanskrit literature and consult a book—chances are you will come across a verse from Bhartṛhari’s Śṛṅgāra-śatakam. Such is our poet’s popularity. Despite this,...
Beginning of Bhārata-vācana This group of literary and musical connoisseurs made it a routine to take turns and meet in one of the houses every day after work, once they freshened up. H Nagesh Rao was a tenant at Mirmira Rama Rao’s house on Arcot Srinivasacharya Road. I’ve been a part of this group meeting many times. Venkatakrishnappa would usually sing something. Someone else would chant a Śloka. Bindu Rao would recite the Bhārata. I still...
Editing Texts Bellave Venkatanaranappa was overly enthusiastic about impossible tasks. One such task that he always thought of undertaking was ironing out the printing mistakes in Kannada books. Bellave Somanathayya, one of his relatives had written a work called Rājaśekhara-carita. Somanathayya was an honest scholar and had a strong analytical mind. He authored several other works in Kannada including Śankaracarita-kāla-vicāra. His work...
Mandra
Introduction In the corpus of Dr. S.L. Bhyrappa’s twenty-three novels, seven stand out as Himalayan peaks in the order of their publication: Vamsha Vruksha, Daatu, Parva, Sakshi, Tantu, Sartha and Mandra. Of these, two share a basic and apparent similarity in the sense that they are the fine artistic and literary specimens of Dr. Bhyrappa’s profound meditations over nearly half a lifetime. These are Sakshi (1986) and Mandra (2002). It is...
The culture of Greater India has its roots in śruti, smṛti, itihāsa, and purāṇa. Śruti means ‘Vedas.’ The Upaniṣads, which form a part of the Vedas, are the basis of Vedānta and other darśanas. Smṛti refers to dharma-śāstras. Rāmāyaṇa and Mahābhārata are together called ‘itihāsa.’ Matysa-purāṇa, Kūrma-purāṇa, Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa, and other such literary works fall under the category of ‘purāṇa.’ The Purāṇas primarily deal with the importance and...
After Sir K Seshadri Iyer, Rayalu Arokiaswamy Thumboo Chetty of Tiruchirapalli (Trichinopoly) became the Diwan of Mysore. His tenure as Diwan was for a mere seven-month-period. Rājadharmapravīṇa[1] T R A Thumboo Chetty was a Christian of the Roman Catholic denomination. He was a person well-known for his integrity and non-deceitful nature. I have heard many people praise his benevolence and upright character. Starting his career from an ordinary...