V P Madhava Rao (Part 3)

Generosity

There is yet another instance. Vidvān Brahmaśrī Chappalli Viśveśvara-śāstrī of Bangalore was a Sanskrit Scholar at Central College. He was an outstanding scholar of grammar and literary aesthetics. He was a person whose conduct and faith in traditions were worth being emulated by everyone. One day, he went to Dewan V P Madhava Rao to make a request. Rao received him with a lot of regard and asked him what the purpose of his visit was.

Viśveśvara-śāstrī explained the things on his mind (in the Telugu Language) – “I have two children. It has been many years since I have become a widower. Children haven’t yet come to a state of earning. Along with this, I am also carrying the burden of a loan. With the thought of owning a house, I became entangled in a painful loan due to some prārabdha-karma of mine. This is my plight. The elder of the two sons who had been to Poona to pursue engineering has returned clearing the LCE [Licentiate in Civil Engineering] examination. That is another reason for my taking a loan.”

Madhava Rao asked, “So, what may I do to convenience you?”

“If you could help my unemployed elder son to get salaried or if you could arrange for a scholarship to be granted to the younger one, who wishes to study something further, I will be relieved.”

“Oh Śāstrīji! You don’t even know how to make an appeal! Is this how you ask? Both shall happen! We will get both the things arranged for.” Thus assured Madhava Rao.

The Mentality of the Common People

This episode was narrated to me by Viśveśvara-śāstrī himself with his arms widened and waving with vigour. There’s another thing he said that is worth listening to.

In the year 1910–11, I was residing in a portion of Viśveśvara-śāstrī’s home. I also used to take lessons from him. The biography of Dewan Rungacharlu that I had written was published around the same time. It was reviewed by newspapers; and advertisements printed with letters six inches by eight inches had been pasted on every single wall on every single street. Viśveśvara-śāstrī was surprised at the sight of all these. One afternoon, he graced me by visiting my room and said thus (in Telugu) – “What is this commotion you are raking up? And that too about that terrible miser? What did Rungacharlu do? He merely reduced all the expenditures and tightly saved penny after penny. Is the Mahārāja writhing in abject poverty for him (Rungacharlu) to do so? This is intense greed and parsimony. Write about our V P Madhava Rao! His generosity is what generosity means! He gives away with his palms open.”

Thus he praised Madhava Rao and narrated the aforementioned anecdote to me. Nobody has to laugh at it though. That has been the typical mentality of the traditional Vaidikas of the past. They were simple people who sought the refuge of kings and patrons.

tanimnā śobhante galita-vibhavāś-cārthiṣu nṛpāḥ

“The kind of poverty that a king attains by
constantly giving to those who seek
will be a thing of glory in itself!”

That was the reminiscence of a great period. The kings were strong. The kingdom was trouble-free. ‘Kāle varṣati parjanyāḥ.’ [Loosely, ‘the kingdom gets timely rains.’] That is the reason kings were able to nurture knowledge and scholarship.

Madhava Rao’s Curiosity About Philosophy

Madhava Rao was greatly devoted to the Śriṅgeri Saṃsthānam. Both while going to Kalady and returning from there, Śrī Śivābhinava Nṛsiṃhabhāratī Svāmī camped at Madhava Rao’s Pāṭana Bhavana and graced thousands of his devotees daily with his darśana.

I met Madhava Rao at his bungalow Pāṭana Bhavana sometime around the year 1911, while he was leading a leisurely life after retirement. He was comfortably sitting in the verandah in front of his home. K Ramachandra Rao*, the Headmaster of the London Mission School, took me along and introduced me to him. Receiving me affectionately, Madhava Rao spoke to me for a couple of minutes. A minute or two before I met him, Madhava Rao was browsing through the popular English quarterly magazine, Hibbert Journal. That magazine used to be concerned with the most sophisticated and exceptional questions of religion, theology, and philosophy. Madhava Rao’s taste for such subjects can be observed as one of the attributes of his nature.

For anyone who wishes to be recognized as somebody competent in governance, it is necessary to have put efforts towards learning at least a little bit of philosophical matters. This is a faith that has remained deep rooted in both India and the West for ages. Whether or not it appears correct for people of today’s generation should be left to their respective judgments.

Śaṅkara-maṭha

A building of a maṭha belonging to the Śriṅgeri Saṃsthānam has remained in Bangalore for a very long time. This building has been there in the Pete region – towards the southern part of Chickpet, around the area which meets Mamulpet. However, sensing the need for a bigger building to accommodate ventures such as a pāṭhaśālā (school) to facilitate the promotion of dharma, V P Madhava Rao motivated and supported the guru-sannidhānam to take the necessary actions. The Śaṅkara-maṭha Ācārya-pīṭha was established around the years 1907–08. Like already mentioned, the Jagadguru’s retinue kindly agreed to grace Bangalore and camped at Madhava Rao’s Pāṭana Bhavana. Within a few weeks after the installation of the Ācārya (i.e., Śaṅkarācārya) in the temple, the construction work of the maṭha’s main building started. While the construction was progressing, V P Madhava Rao visited the site once every day at around nine or ten in the morning to inspect. Learning the time of his visit, many Vaidikas as well as men of the world would come. Chappalli Viśveśvara-śāstrī, Moṭagānahalli Śaṅkara-śāstrī and Rāmaśeṣa-śāstrī, Hoskoṭe Veṅkaṭarāma-śāstrī, Kānakānahalli Narasiṃha-śāstrī, Hariyappācārya, Śrīnivāsācārya, Nuggehalli Tirumalācārya, and Ānandāḷvār were the popular Vedic scholars who used to visit the site. Amongst the men of the world, Sir K P Puttanna Chetty, H Ramayya, Venkataramanayya of Channarayapatna, B V Lakshmana Rao, Chapatla Sitarama Rao, Chaubine Subba Rao, Anagondahalli Subbanna, Chaubine Timmappa, Sahukār Mariyappa, et al. were the most renowned. Typically, after arriving at the site, Madhava Rao used to propose a question either from the śāstras or from the Purāṇas, and thereafter the scholars would speak little by little. This used to be interesting for the onlookers. Occasionally, even the state of the worldly matters were discussed.

There is no doubt about the fact that Madhava Rao was a deep admirer of erudition. He had absolute faith and devotion towards Śaṅkara-bhagavatpāda. He had established an agrahāra by constructing eight to ten houses on the southeastern part of the maṭha for the residence of scholars.

V P Madhava Rao had developed friendship and harmony with people across all communities. After a very long time, around the year 1909, Chitradurga’s Jagadguru Śrī Murugharājendra Mahāsvāmi graced the city of Bangalore. He was paraded in a procession that traversed the most important roads of the city. He received this grand welcome during the tenure of V P Madhava Rao. This event obtained his (Madhava Rao’s) complete support and assistance. The Jagadguru’s retinue had camped at Thotadappa’s Choultry for some two to three months. Mahāmahopādhyāya Ra. Narasimhacharya delivered a lecture about the significance of the ‘Śivaśaraṇa’ literature in the august presence of the Jagadguru, I think.

To be concluded...

This is the third of a four-part English translation of the sixth chapter of D V Gundappa’s Jnapakachitrashaale – Vol. 4 – Mysurina Diwanaru. Edited by Hari Ravikumar.

 

* See the first episode of Art Gallery of Memories, Vol. 1.

Author(s)

About:

Devanahalli Venkataramanayya Gundappa (1887-1975) was a great visionary and polymath. He was a journalist, poet, art connoisseur, philosopher, political analyst, institution builder, social commentator, social worker, and activist.

Translator(s)

About:

Karthik Muralidharan is an entrepreneur, educator, and a motivational speaker. An MBA in Human Resource Management, Karthik currently runs businesses in Leadership Education, Training, and Wealth Management. He is deeply interested in prosody, philosophy, and literature.

Prekshaa Publications

The Mahābhārata is the greatest epic in the world both in magnitude and profundity. A veritable cultural compendium of Bhārata-varṣa, it is a product of the creative genius of Maharṣi Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsa. The epic captures the experiential wisdom of our civilization and all subsequent literary, artistic, and philosophical creations are indebted to it. To read the Mahābhārata is to...

Shiva Rama Krishna

சிவன். ராமன். கிருஷ்ணன்.
இந்திய பாரம்பரியத்தின் முப்பெரும் கதாநாயகர்கள்.
உயர் இந்தியாவில் தலைமுறைகள் பல கடந்தும் கடவுளர்களாக போற்றப்பட்டு வழிகாட்டிகளாக விளங்குபவர்கள்.
மனித ஒற்றுமை நூற்றாண்டுகால பரிணாம வளர்ச்சியின் பரிமாணம்.
தனிநபர்களாகவும், குடும்ப உறுப்பினர்களாகவும், சமுதாய பிரஜைகளாகவும் நாம் அனைவரும் பரிமளிக்கிறோம்.
சிவன் தனிமனித அடையாளமாக அமைகிறான்....

ऋतुभिः सह कवयः सदैव सम्बद्धाः। विशिष्य संस्कृतकवयः। यथा हि ऋतवः प्रतिसंवत्सरं प्रतिनवतामावहन्ति मानवेषु तथैव ऋतुवर्णनान्यपि काव्यरसिकेषु कामपि विच्छित्तिमातन्वते। ऋतुकल्याणं हि सत्यमिदमेव हृदि कृत्वा प्रवृत्तम्। नगरजीवनस्य यान्त्रिकतां मान्त्रिकतां च ध्वनदिदं चम्पूकाव्यं गद्यपद्यमिश्रितमिति सुव्यक्तमेव। ऐदम्पूर्वतया प्रायः पुरीपरिसरप्रसृतानाम् ऋतूनां विलासोऽत्र प्रपञ्चितः। बेङ्गलूरुनामके...

The Art and Science of Avadhānam in Sanskrit is a definitive work on Sāhityāvadhānam, a form of Indian classical art based on multitasking, lateral thinking, and extempore versification. Dotted throughout with tasteful examples, it expounds in great detail on the theory and practice of this unique performing art. It is as much a handbook of performance as it is an anthology of well-turned...

This anthology is a revised edition of the author's 1978 classic. This series of essays, containing his original research in various fields, throws light on the socio-cultural landscape of Tamil Nadu spanning several centuries. These compelling episodes will appeal to scholars and laymen alike.
“When superstitious mediaevalists mislead the country about its judicial past, we have to...

The cultural history of a nation, unlike the customary mainstream history, has a larger time-frame and encompasses the timeless ethos of a society undergirding the course of events and vicissitudes. A major key to the understanding of a society’s unique character is an appreciation of the far-reaching contributions by outstanding personalities of certain periods – especially in the realms of...

Prekṣaṇīyam is an anthology of essays on Indian classical dance and theatre authored by multifaceted scholar and creative genius, Śatāvadhāni Dr. R Ganesh. As a master of śāstra, a performing artiste (of the ancient art of Avadhānam), and a cultured rasika, he brings a unique, holistic perspective...

Yaugandharam

इदं किञ्चिद्यामलं काव्यं द्वयोः खण्डकाव्ययोः सङ्कलनरूपम्। रामानुरागानलं हि सीतापरित्यागाल्लक्ष्मणवियोगाच्च श्रीरामेणानुभूतं हृदयसङ्क्षोभं वर्णयति । वात्सल्यगोपालकं तु कदाचिद्भानूपरागसमये घटितं यशोदाश्रीकृष्णयोर्मेलनं वर्णयति । इदम्प्रथमतया संस्कृतसाहित्ये सम्पूर्णं काव्यं...

Vanitakavitotsavah

इदं खण्डकाव्यमान्तं मालिनीछन्दसोपनिबद्धं विलसति। मेनकाविश्वामित्रयोः समागमः, तत्फलतया शकुन्तलाया जननम्, मातापितृभ्यां त्यक्तस्य शिशोः कण्वमहर्षिणा परिपालनं चेति काव्यस्यास्येतिवृत्तसङ्क्षेपः।

Vaiphalyaphalam

इदं खण्डकाव्यमान्तं मालिनीछन्दसोपनिबद्धं विलसति। मेनकाविश्वामित्रयोः समागमः, तत्फलतया शकुन्तलाया जननम्, मातापितृभ्यां त्यक्तस्य शिशोः कण्वमहर्षिणा परिपालनं चेति काव्यस्यास्येतिवृत्तसङ्क्षेपः।

Nipunapraghunakam

इयं रचना दशसु रूपकेष्वन्यतमस्य भाणस्य निदर्शनतामुपैति। एकाङ्करूपकेऽस्मिन् शेखरकनामा चित्रोद्यमलेखकः केनापि हेतुना वियोगम् अनुभवतोश्चित्रलेखामिलिन्दकयोः समागमं सिसाधयिषुः कथामाकाशभाषणरूपेण निर्वहति।

Bharavatarastavah

अस्मिन् स्तोत्रकाव्ये भगवन्तं शिवं कविरभिष्टौति। वसन्ततिलकयोपनिबद्धस्य काव्यस्यास्य कविकृतम् उल्लाघनाभिधं व्याख्यानं च वर्तते।

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the third volume, some character sketches of great literary savants responsible for Kannada renaissance during the first half of the twentieth century. These remarkable...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the second volume, episodes from the lives of remarkable exponents of classical music and dance, traditional storytellers, thespians, and connoisseurs; as well as his...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the first volume, episodes from the lives of great writers, poets, literary aficionados, exemplars of public life, literary scholars, noble-hearted common folk, advocates...

Evolution of Mahabharata and Other Writings on the Epic is the English translation of S R Ramaswamy's 1972 Kannada classic 'Mahabharatada Belavanige' along with seven of his essays on the great epic. It tells the riveting...

Shiva-Rama-Krishna is an English adaptation of Śatāvadhāni Dr. R Ganesh's popular lecture series on the three great...

Bharatilochana

ಮಹಾಮಾಹೇಶ್ವರ ಅಭಿನವಗುಪ್ತ ಜಗತ್ತಿನ ವಿದ್ಯಾವಲಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಮರೆಯಲಾಗದ ಹೆಸರು. ಮುಖ್ಯವಾಗಿ ಶೈವದರ್ಶನ ಮತ್ತು ಸೌಂದರ್ಯಮೀಮಾಂಸೆಗಳ ಪರಮಾಚಾರ್ಯನಾಗಿ  ಸಾವಿರ ವರ್ಷಗಳಿಂದ ಇವನು ಜ್ಞಾನಪ್ರಪಂಚವನ್ನು ಪ್ರಭಾವಿಸುತ್ತಲೇ ಇದ್ದಾನೆ. ಭರತಮುನಿಯ ನಾಟ್ಯಶಾಸ್ತ್ರವನ್ನು ಅರ್ಥಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಇವನೊಬ್ಬನೇ ನಮಗಿರುವ ಆಲಂಬನ. ಇದೇ ರೀತಿ ರಸಧ್ವನಿಸಿದ್ಧಾಂತವನ್ನು...

Vagarthavismayasvadah

“वागर्थविस्मयास्वादः” प्रमुखतया साहित्यशास्त्रतत्त्वानि विमृशति । अत्र सौन्दर्यर्यशास्त्रीयमूलतत्त्वानि यथा रस-ध्वनि-वक्रता-औचित्यादीनि सुनिपुणं परामृष्टानि प्रतिनवे चिकित्सकप्रज्ञाप्रकाशे। तदन्तर एव संस्कृतवाङ्मयस्य सामर्थ्यसमाविष्कारोऽपि विहितः। क्वचिदिव च्छन्दोमीमांसा च...

The Best of Hiriyanna

The Best of Hiriyanna is a collection of forty-eight essays by Prof. M. Hiriyanna that sheds new light on Sanskrit Literature, Indian...

Stories Behind Verses

Stories Behind Verses is a remarkable collection of over a hundred anecdotes, each of which captures a story behind the composition of a Sanskrit verse. Collected over several years from...