A story for a verse - Sosale Garaḻapuriśāstri

अनाघ्रातव्यङ्ग्यैरपरिचितशब्दार्थरचनै

रबुद्धालङ्कारैरनवगतभावोज्ज्वलरसैः |

यशोमात्रं कूजन्नवनवदुराशैः कुकविभि

र्दुरध्वे व्याकृष्टा भगवति विपन्नासि कविते ||

Sosale Garaḻapuriśāstri was a scholar in the court of the king Mummaḍi Śrī Kṛṣṇarāja Wodeyar and an erudite poet. Basavappaśāstri, who was known as ‘abhinava-kāḻidāsa’, was his student. He was an extempore poet (āśukavi) and was known for his poetic marvel. He lived in a village called Sosale before he moved to Mysore. Once, a pundit visited the famous Vyāsarāya-maṭha in the town and showed his rather mediocre poem to the head-monk and other scholars there. No one there said a word against the poem, mainly out of courtesy and respect for the pundit. The head-monk, too, honoured him and saw him off. The young Garaḻapuriśāstri was saddened at this. He wrote the above verse in the śikariṇī meter on the wall of a shrine, which the head-monk walked past daily on his way to the river for his bath:

“With no fragrance of suggestion (dhvani), with a mismatch of sound and sense, bereft of all figures of speech (alaṅkāra) and with no play of rasa-bhāva, dear Poetry, you are being driven on a rough path by bad poets who are only after money and fame. How you suffer in their hands”.

The next morning, the head-monk noticed the poem and enquired about its author. He came to know that it was Garaḻapuriśāstri. He congratulated Garaḻapuriśāstri on the fine verse, its lucidity and fine suggestiveness.

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

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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.

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