A story for a verse - Gaṇapati-muni and tāmbūla

 

सुधाधिक्यं स्पृहेच्छत्रुः

फलाधिक्यं स्पृहेद्भिषक् |

पत्राधिक्यं स्पृहेज्जाया

माता तु त्रितयं स्पृहेत् ||

Kāvyakaṇṭha Gaṇapati-muni performed several aṣṭāvadhānas in the Madras region in 1904. Many youngsters, who were impressed by his inimitable memory and creative power, came to meet him. After lunch, when everyone was enjoying tāmbūla (betel leaves), Gaṇapati-muni did not have his share of tāmbūla. The youngsters asked him the reason for his abstinance from tāmbūla. He replied that eating tāmbūla was a bad habit, and that he did not indulge in it. The youngsters then asked him to compose a verse in praise of tāmbūla and he came up with the above verse spontaneously.

‘A foe seeks a large quantity of lime (to burn his rival’s mouth), a doctor seeks a large quantity of betel-nuts (eating excess of betel-nuts causes sickness; which means more  patients for the doctor, and hence more income), a wife tends to favour an excess of betel leaves (to help her husband increase his potency; betel leaf is aphrodisiac) and a mother seeks an excess of all the three (The combination of the three, when given to a son, facilitates digestion, thereby giving him good health)’

Gaṇapati-muni displayed his knowledge of āyurveda and his worldly wisdom. He could compose verses even on things that he did not like.

 

Adapted from Kannada by Arjun Bharadwaj
(The original article is from the anthology Kavitegondu Kathe)

Author(s)

About:

Dr. Ganesh is a 'shatavadhani' and one of India’s foremost Sanskrit poets and scholars. He writes and lectures extensively on various subjects pertaining to India and Indian cultural heritage. He is a master of the ancient art of avadhana and is credited with reviving the art in Kannada. He is a recipient of the Badarayana-Vyasa Puraskar from the President of India for his contribution to the Sanskrit language.

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