A story for a verse - Kāvyakaṇṭha Gaṇapati-muni and his concern for the nation

कुलीनः क्षुद्राय प्रवर इति धत्ते निजसुतां

अनार्यान् विज्ञाश्च प्रभव इति गायन्ति शतशः |

बलं बाह्वोर्लुप्तं हृतमपि च वाग्वीर्यमरिभिः

दशां देशस्यैतां प्रतिपदमयं ध्यायति जनः ||

Kāvyakaṇṭha Gaṇapati-muni was dear both to Bhagavān Ramaṇa Maharśi and to Sri Arubindo. He worked hard to bring out the essence of the Vedas. He had a powerful intellect and a generous heart. He educated people against the practice of untouchability and the ill effects of a rigid caste system. Gaṇapati-muni, a great patriot, was saddened by the state of pre-independent India. Once, when he was having a stroll on the beach in Chennai with his students, some of them observed that he had been silent for a long time and asked him the reason. As reply, he came up with the above verse in śikhariṇī,

‘A high-born person mistakes a worthless person to be a suitable bridegroom for his daughter. Even learned people praise foreigners as great rulers. Our men have lost their muscle power and the enemies have snatched away the power of speech too. [Sanskrit is being mis-interpreted by the perverted minds of the British. Freedom of speech is gone too, so is journalistic freedom]. I am worried about sorry state of the country.’

Even his concern for the nation found expression in the form of a beautiful verse.

Kāvyakaṇṭha Gaṇapati-muni had also written a work called Mahāsāmrājyanibandhanaṃ in Sanskrit, with the intention of making it like the constitution of free India. It was in the traditional form of sūtras and he had composed it even before India became independent. Thus, it was but natural for him to have such sincere concern for the nation, as seen in the above verse.


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



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.