प्रीतिं ददाति विपुलां श्रियमातनोति
निर्माति नूत्नसमयं दुरितं धुनोति |
आर्द्रीकरोति हृदयान्यपि देवतानां
कस्मै शुभाय न भवेत्कविता विदोषा ||
Kāvyakaṇṭha Gaṇapati-muni had given up performing avadhāna-s by the year 1907, as it involved a lot of mental strain. From then on, he spent most of his time reading and contemplating the Vedas, yoga and vedānta. Once, one of his students asked to him to perform a literary feat like he used to during the avadhāna-s in the past. Gaṇapati-muni agreed and requested the scholar from Andhra, who was present there, to give him a challenge. The scholar asked him to compose a verse on poetry in the vasantatilakā metre. Gaṇapati-muni composed the above verse in the uddiṣṭākṣarī style:
"A poem not only gives love and wealth, but it wards away evils. It helps Gods to develop magnanimity and friendliness. (It melts the hearts of Gods, making them benevolent). Whom indeed does a faultless poem not benefit? More than anything else, a poem lays the foundation for a new culture/ tradition."
It is said that Gaṇapati-muni came up with the verse uber-extempore, but took just a little time to bring in the word ‘नूत्नसमयं’.
Note: Uddiṣṭākṣarī is one of the more difficult aspects of an avadhāna. The vṛtta (metre) is chosen based on the question posed by the pṛcchaka (the ones who ask the questions and impose the constraints). A matrix is drawn on a separate display board with rows and columns corresponding to the number of letters of the metre. In the current case, for example, the metre vasantatilakā has four lines and fourteen letters in each line – a total of 56 letters. The matrix will thus consist of four rows and fourteen columns with empty squares. During the avadhāna, the pṛcchaka interrupts the avadhāni and asks him to name the letter that should be entered in a randomly chosen square.. All the letters are furnished by the avadhāni in this manner, by the time the avadhāna comes to an end. The avadhāni needs to make sure that the verse has no grammatical mistakes, and that it is meaningful as well. He will have to explain the meaning of the verse at the end of the avadhāna.
Adapted from Kannada by Arjun Bharadwaj
(The original article is from the anthology Kavitegondu Kathe)