Polepalli Chinnaswamy Shetty

I have heard that Chinnaswamy Shetty is the son-in-law of a wealthy landlord of Polepalli[1]. I may have gotten to know him around 1910-11. I was in need of some loan. I brought it up with my close friend, Dr K. Shesha Iyer.

Shesha Iyer came from a place close to my native called Devarayasamudra[2]. He was a Sanskrit scholar. He was an Ayurveda[3] practitioner too. He had joined the Theosophical society and worked with Annie Besant, Sir S. Subramanya Iyer and others. He was a parama-sāttvika[4]. Around that time, he was running a commercial enterprise called Indian Swadeshi Store.  There was a huge bookstore run by Gaṇappa, third or fourth store north of Tuppada Anjaneyaswamy lane, off Avenue road. I have bought many books from that store in the past. Shesha Iyer was a Swadeshi Vratastha[5].


In his swadeshi store, Shesha Iyer along with his friend Dr. Rama Rao, prepared the lēhya and halwa[7] and stored it in bottles. One day, our friend Advocate A.R. Nageshwara Iyer made his way to the store. He used to frequently visit the store. That day, Nageshwara Iyer pointed at one of the bottles and asked Shesha Iyer what was it.

Shesha Iyer: “That is kūṣmāṇḍa-lēhya

Nageshwara Iyer: “What is that for?”

Shesha Iyer: “It is to strengthen the body. It is good to consume in small quantities everyday”


Immediately, Nageshwara Iyer placed one bottle in his vehicle and proceeded towards the court. This happened in the morning around 10-11am.

He came back to the swadeshi store around 2pm.

“You gave me that bottle right, give me one more of it.”

Upon taking another bottle, Nageshwara Iyer came back at 5pm and asked for one more bottle again. Shesha Iyer was present at the same time. He asked,

“You already took these bottles, right? what did you do with them?”

“What would I do? I ate it. It was good. I emptied the second one too. Now if you give one more, it will be good for the night.”

Shesha Iyer grew anxious.

“I will not give this bottle to you. By God’s grace, it will be good fortune if you spend the rest of the night without any untoward incident. Just because the lēhya is tasty, does anyone eat the entire bottle? You should eat just a tiny portion at a time. Tiny portion, two or three times a day is sufficient”

Nageshwara Iyer was laughing. Even we were amused when we learnt about the incident. Since the topic of Shesha Iyer’s medical practice came up, this incident came to my mind.

Chinnaswamy Shetty’s helping nature

Shesha Iyer set up a meeting and introduced me to Chinnaswamy Shetty. I received the necessary help. By God’s grace, I was also able to repay the loan over the course of time. 

In over four-five years’ time, when I was a member of the municipal council, Chinnaswamy Shetty was also a co-member, that’s when I learnt about his good nature, alertness, and wisdom.

He was well-known for his helpful nature from a long time. Specifically, he was known to have helped the student community. He whole-heartedly helped college students, and youngsters who were attempting to set up businesses in law and other professions. It is true that he gave money as loan. But it is also true that, he ensured that the borrowers were not burdened, by handing out discounts and exemptions.

During those times, this was of utmost help to those students. By then, institutions like Mysore Bank and others did not exist. I have known youngsters who earned B.A, B.L and other educational degrees and prospered with the support and confidence bestowed by Chinnaswamy Shetty. Among them were my close friends. They used to recollect Chinnaswamy Shetty’s name with utmost gratitude, regularly.

When Chinnaswamy Shetty was constructing a house in Basavanagudi, one day, we had a small argument. I said:

“Vaiśya’s[8] splurging on house, on fanfare, and on materialistic pleasures has been increasing of late.”

Chi: “Who is getting hurt by it, Sir? Are they not supposed to be happy”?

Me: “I didn't say that they are not entitled to happiness. My opinion is that they should not splurge money into something that does not give any rewards”

Chi: “Are others allowed to do it? Aren’t brahmins doing it?”

Me: “According to me, no one should do it. It is everyone’s duty to limit the spending for pleasures. But it is a very important duty of a Vaiśya. Vaiśyas are supposed to be the caretakers of the society, they need to be like trustees. It is their duty to enhance the wealth of the society, foster it, and utilize it for the betterment of the society. Vaiśyas are the ones who should save. For whom should they save? They should save for the people in the society. If the very people who are supposed to save, start wasting, what will happen to the society?”

Chi: “I agree to what you say, Sir. Isn’t it your opinion that I have been unnecessary spending in building the house? To build this house, I have invested a part of money into a profitable business. By this business, I am able to raise some profits from time to time. I only spend the profit. You said that, money should be spent in helping with the needs of common people, right? That is what I am doing now. Carpenters, masons, construction workers - aren’t they being benefited from this? Is it not helping the people?” 

This is how our argument turned up. At last, our opinions are not mutually conflicting, they are the same -- we convinced ourselves.

Essence of Vaiśya-dharma

One day on the way to Lalbagh through his house, and there was a housewarming ceremony of my respectable friend Dr K. Shrinivasa Acharya. Even I had been there. I was returning, carrying the gaṅdha[9], flowers, fruits, and tāmbūla[10], as I reached the streetlight (having five bulbs) near the national college, I saw Chinnaswamy Shetty was walking from the opposite side. We stood there, after greeting each other. In the excitement of conversation, I dropped a piece of areca nut from the tāmbūla onto the ground. I just ignored it. Chinnaswamy Shetty saw my face, himself picked up the piece of areca nut, first blew it to remove the dust, later cleaned it up by brushing through his fingers, and then once again cleaned it up using the rear end of his dhoti that he was wearing and placed it in my hands, and said (in Telugu):

“Manaku vaddakuṇṭe evvarikainā pyāda sādala cēta vēste nōṭilō vēsukoṇṭāru svāmi.”

(“If we don’t want it, then if given to the needy people, they may consume it, sir”)

This is the essence of vaiśya-dharma. Grandeur in richness and grandeur also in the respect shown towards the money.

This is the English translation of the Third essay in D V Gundappa’s magnum-opus Jnapakachitrashaale (Volume 7) – Hrudaya Sampannaru. Edited by G S Raghavendra.


[1] Polepalli is a small village in Andhra Pradesh.

[2] A small place between Bangalore and Kolar.

[3] Ayurveda means “science of life”, which is one of the oldest systems of medicine mostly practised in India.

[4] A person who is an absolute gentleman, a person who is genuine, virtuous and without any ill-intentions.

[5] observance of vow to use only swadeshi products

[6] A pumpkin based ayurvedic medicine that is eaten by licking

[7] Halwa and lēhya are types of medicines (usually ayurvedic), which are consumed by licking it.

[8] Vaiśya is the business community.

[9] Fragrance filled water or (sandalwood) paste. It is used as a part of any auspicious celebration.

[10] Collection of betel leaves, areca nut and lime. It is together consumed after a heavy meal, as a part of the auspicious occasion and also distributed to the invited guests.



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.



Varuni KS has a masters degree in Electrical Engineering and is currently based out of Chicago, IL. She is trained in South Indian classical (Carnatic) music and has an abiding interest in Kannada literature.


Prekshaa Publications

Indian Perspective of Truth and Beauty in Homer’s Epics is a unique work on the comparative study of the Greek Epics Iliad and Odyssey with the Indian Epics – Rāmāyaṇa and Mahābhārata. Homer, who laid the foundations for the classical tradition of the West, occupies a stature similar to that occupied by the seer-poets Vālmīki and Vyāsa, who are synonymous with the Indian culture. The author...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the sixth volume of reminiscences character sketches of prominent public figures, liberals, and social workers. These remarkable personages hailing from different corners of South India are from a period that spans from the late nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. Written in Kannada in the 1970s, these memoirs go...

An Introduction to Hinduism based on Primary Sources

Authors: Śatāvadhānī Dr. R Ganesh, Hari Ravikumar

What is the philosophical basis for Sanātana-dharma, the ancient Indian way of life? What makes it the most inclusive and natural of all religio-philosophical systems in the world?

The Essential Sanātana-dharma serves as a handbook for anyone who wishes to grasp the...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the fifth volume, episodes from the lives of traditional savants responsible for upholding the Vedic culture. These memorable characters lived a life of opulence amidst poverty— theirs  was the wealth of the soul, far beyond money and gold. These vidvāns hailed from different corners of the erstwhile Mysore Kingdom and lived in...

Padma Bhushan Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam represents the quintessence of Sage Bharata’s art and Bhārata, the country that gave birth to the peerless seer of the Nāṭya-veda. Padma’s erudition in various streams of Indic knowledge, mastery over many classical arts, deep understanding of the nuances of Indian culture, creative genius, and sublime vision bolstered by the vedāntic and nationalistic...

Bhārata has been a land of plenty in many ways. We have had a timeless tradition of the twofold principle of Brāhma (spirit of wisdom) and Kṣāttra (spirit of valour) nourishing and protecting this sacred land. The Hindu civilisation, rooted in Sanātana-dharma, has constantly been enriched by brāhma and safeguarded by kṣāttra.
The renowned Sanskrit poet and scholar, Śatāvadhānī Dr. R...

ಛಂದೋವಿವೇಕವು ವರ್ಣವೃತ್ತ, ಮಾತ್ರಾಜಾತಿ ಮತ್ತು ಕರ್ಷಣಜಾತಿ ಎಂದು ವಿಭಕ್ತವಾದ ಎಲ್ಲ ಬಗೆಯ ಛಂದಸ್ಸುಗಳನ್ನೂ ವಿವೇಚಿಸುವ ಪ್ರಬಂಧಗಳ ಸಂಕಲನ. ಲೇಖಕರ ದೀರ್ಘಕಾಲಿಕ ಆಲೋಚನೆಯ ಸಾರವನ್ನು ಒಳಗೊಂಡ ಈ ಹೊತ್ತಗೆ ಪ್ರಧಾನವಾಗಿ ಛಂದಸ್ಸಿನ ಸೌಂದರ್ಯವನ್ನು ಲಕ್ಷಿಸುತ್ತದೆ. ತೌಲನಿಕ ವಿಶ್ಲೇಷಣೆ ಮತ್ತು ಅಂತಃಶಾಸ್ತ್ರೀಯ ಅಧ್ಯಯನಗಳ ತೆಕ್ಕೆಗೆ ಬರುವ ಬರೆಹಗಳೂ ಇಲ್ಲಿವೆ. ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರಕಾರನಿಗಲ್ಲದೆ ಸಿದ್ಧಹಸ್ತನಾದ ಕವಿಗೆ ಮಾತ್ರ ಸ್ಫುರಿಸಬಲ್ಲ ಎಷ್ಟೋ ಹೊಳಹುಗಳು ಕೃತಿಯ ಮೌಲಿಕತೆಯನ್ನು ಹೆಚ್ಚಿಸಿವೆ. ಈ...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the fourth volume, some character sketches of the Dewans of Mysore preceded by an account of the political framework of the State before Independence and followed by a review of the political conditions of the State after 1940. These remarkable leaders of Mysore lived in a period that spans from the mid-nineteenth century to the...

Bharatiya Kavya-mimamseya Hinnele is a monograph on Indian Aesthetics by Mahamahopadhyaya N. Ranganatha Sharma. The book discusses the history and significance of concepts pivotal to Indian literary theory. It is equally useful to the learned and the laity.

Sahitya-samhite is a collection of literary essays in Kannada. The book discusses aestheticians such as Ananda-vardhana and Rajashekhara; Sanskrit scholars such as Mena Ramakrishna Bhat, Sridhar Bhaskar Varnekar and K S Arjunwadkar; and Kannada litterateurs such as DVG, S L Bhyrappa and S R Ramaswamy. It has a foreword by Shatavadhani Dr. R Ganesh.

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, Śatāvadhānī 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 to every discussion. These essays deal with the philosophy, history, aesthetics, and practice of...


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


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


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


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


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...


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...


“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...