बिंदुद्वन्द्वतरङ्गिताग्रसरणिः कर्ता शिरोर्बिन्दुकं
कर्मेति क्रमशिक्षितान्वयकला ये केऽपि तेभ्योऽञ्जलिः ।
ये तु ग्रन्थसहस्रशाणकषणत्रुट्यत्कलङ्कैर्गिरां
उल्लासैः कवयन्ति बिल्हणकविस्तेष्वेव संनह्यति ॥
We have seen that Bilhana, the great poet from Kashmir, travelled the entire country. He visited many places like Vidharbha, Malava and Vanga, and finally came to Kalyanakataka in Karnataka, which was then ruled by Vikramaditya (the sixth), one of the greatest emperors of the Chalukya dynasty. True to his name, he gained respect in the country because of his gallantry.
Bilhana faced immense difficulty in gaining entry to Vikramaditya’s court. The situation was further worsened by jealous poets and scholars, and he had to resort to compose a witty, vulgar verse to enter the palace. The king, after exchanging pleasantries, enquired about his background. He also planned to arrange a poetry competition and wanted Bilhana to participate in it. When asked whether he’s willing to challenge the resident poets, Bilhana said:
There are people who recognize subject-words by visarga at the end,
And object-words by anusvara on top. My pranams to them.
There are others poets who have their words whetted
Against numerous unblemished books,
And sing verses merrily.
I wish to debate with such people only.
In Sanskrit, the kartr-pada (subject-word) usually has a visarga (‘:’) at the end, and the karma-pada (object-word) has anusvara (‘.’) on top. This fantastic satirical verse pokes fun at people who go by this general trend and think that in a sentence, the word with visarga is the subject, and the one with anusvara is the object. These dunces learn language mechanically, without bothering to understand.
Translated from Kannada by Shashi Kiran B. N.
(The original article is from the anthology Kavitegondu Kathe.)