A Story for a Verse - Mallinatha

इत्यर्थ-क्वथितं चैवा-
प्येतिभावाख्य-तेमनम् ।
सज्जीकृते सुभुक्त्यर्थं
तुष्यताद्भवदाशयः ॥

We have seen that Mallinatha, lost in his scholarly activities, didn’t spend quality time with his wife. Studying difficult works of shastra was his favourite pastime. This was, in a way, not unreasonable: In order to write commentaries on the works of prodigious scholar-poets like Kalidasa, Bharavi, Magha and Sriharsha, ordinary scholarship is insufficient. The onus is on the commentator to upgrade his knowledge of various shastras. Mallinatha was an ideal commentator, and hence his head was always buried in books.

His wife took care of the house. This enabled Mallinatha to dive more deeply into his work. In the course of explaining a poem, words like ityarthah (this is its meaning) iti bhavah (this is the underlying emotion here / the import) are commonly employed. Mallinatha, it seems, used the same words while talking to his wife. Once, ready to have lunch, he asked his wife, “What’s for lunch?” She said:

I have prepared a sambar called ‘ityarthah’
‘iti bhavah’ is another spicy yogurt dish.
Savour these and be content

 This is a perfect retort to the sarcastic verse we saw in the previous story. Now the scores were even. Intelligence mixed with humour never fails to impress.

Translated from Kannada by Shashi Kiran B. N.
(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.