A story for a verse - Manorama Tampuratti

यस्य षष्टी चतुर्थी च विहस्य च विहाय च |

अहं चापि द्वितीया स्याद्द्वितीया स्यामहं कथम् ||

Manoramā Taṃpurāṭṭi was a great grammarian who lived in Kerala in the 18th century. She had earned the title ‘Manoramā’ because of her mastery over the ‘Prauḍamanoramā’ of Bhaṭṭoji-dīkṣita. Mādhavan Aṭitiri, who wrote the ‘Uttaranaiṣadhacaritam’ as a continuation of the scholarly work ‘Naiṣadhīyacaritam’ of Śrīharṣa, was her student. After her first husband Rāma Varma passed away, she entered into a live-in relationship with another person. This second husband was a blockhead. His name was Pākkaṭṭu Bhaṭṭatiri. He did not know any Sanskrit grammar other than the declension* of the noun ‘Rāma’. The lady, who was tired of living with such a stupid husband uttered this verse to herself.

“To him, who thinks विहस्य and विहाय are the sixth and the fourth cases respectively, and thinks that ‘अहं’ (I) is the second case, how can I be the second (the better-half, i.e., wife)”

(विहस्य and विहाय are in fact ‘avyayas’ (particles) which are independent of gender, case and number - liṅga, vibhakti and vacana)

What is funny here is that the stupid man who only knew the ‘Rāma’ śabda, correlated विहस्य with रामस्य, विहाय with रामाय and अहं with रामं, as they have similar endings.

This verse is quite well known among traditional scholars in Kerala.

 

(*The declension of each noun in the Sanskrit language is tabulated for different cases and numbers, i.e., vibhakti and vacana. ‘Rāma’ is a noun with the vowel ‘a’ as its last syllable).

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

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