फलाधिक्यं स्पृहेद्भिषक् |
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)