1 జూన్, 2012

Anecdotes from the Life of Puttaparthi- Dr. Y. HARE RAMA MURTHY-సేకరణ పుట్టపర్తి అనూరాధ


         Anecdotes from the Life of Puttaparthi

                      Dr. Y. HARE RAMA MURTHY

Dr.Puttaparthi Narayanacharyulu was a 
veteran literary giant for all times.
 A poet par excellence  
who composed poetry in half-a-dozen languages, 
with intimacy over more than half-a-dozen languages –      
some of them, 
of course, being obsolete. 

To his disciples and followers 
he had been a mobile lexicon 
and an encyclopaedia. 
Sundry thoughts, imagery, stylistics culled 
from various classics of South Indian languages 
were quoted by him often 
from the storehouse of his memory to people around him
 to enthuse them to a study of the translations at least. 

A knowledge of several languages, 
the subtleties and beauties of each, 
made him a great lover of languages 
with a wider outlook, 
a broader prospect and a catholicity of tastes 
and interests. 

To Puttaparthi, 
languages are like the 
offsprings of a single Motter, India.    
Hence language fanaticism had 
never flashed in his mind or heart. 

He had been an evergrowing student 
in pursuit of perennial knowledge. 
There has been throbbing of joy 
for him in learning things 
new from various languages, Indian and foreign.

I had an occasion to speak to 
Sriman Puttaparthi on the memorable events of his life, 
his indomitable will and courage, 
tireless perseverance and diligence 
which led him to heights of 
eminence unattainable to the contemporary poets. 

He was tuned to a mood 
to narrate the indelible,
 remarkable impressions and incidents 
and the following were some, of them to reckon with. 

Dr. Puttaparthi remembered with 
maudlin tears his better-­half Smt. Kanakamma  
(by herself a poetess in four languages) 
who had rendered yeoman service 
as a scribe to his extempore poetic utterances. 
 After the demise of his wife, 
he was at a loss for a scribe.

Dr. Puttaparthi opined that 
his liking for scholarship 
was greater than that for versification. 
He disliked exhibitionism, 
he was averse to “poetastry”. 
At times he was constrained to show his mettle as a poet.

Before reaching his teenage 
Dr. Puttaparthi as a boy-prodigy 
had produced “Penugonda Lakshmi”, 
a bonanza poem. 
When he was sixteen 
he attended an interview seeking admission to 
S. V. Oriental College, Tirupati. 
Kapisthalam Krishnamacharyulu, 
Principal of the College, 
refused Puttaparthi admission,
 for the latter had no certificate testifying his schooling. 

Disappointed Puttaparthi had uttered 
five or six Slokas offhand in chaste Sanskrit 
and walked out of the Principal’s chamber. 

Highly impressed by the poetic flow 
and accurate diction, the Principal called him back 
and listened to the Slokas again with rapt attention 
and was pleased to have such a prestigeous scholar 
in his institution. 

The Principal gave option for him 
to join in any course he desired. 
It was an irony that 
he had to study one of his own poems of his own works, 
 “Penugonda Lakshmi”
for his Vidwan Examination. 
It was, of course, a rare instance.

While in Tirupati prosecuting 
his studies in Vyakarana, 
Dr. Puttaparthi had a unique opportunity of meeting 
Sri Sri Sri Kamakoti Mutt Acharya 
during his visit. 

Dr Puttaparthi had performed 
Ashtavadhana in Sanskrit 
and was blessed by the  Swamiji. 
After 30 years 
again Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Swamiji had an occasion 
to bless Dr. Puttaparthi in Proddatur.

In his nineteenth year 
Puttaparthi wrote a critical essay on 
Sri Viwanatha Satyanarayana’s felicity of phrase. 
His statement that 
Sri Viswanatha could use Sanskrit phraseology 
with greater facility and not so much so in Telugu, 
raised a great controversy 
in Dharmavaram scholarly circles. 

On four days, 
mornings were engaged in arguments 
contradicting Putaparthi’s point of view 
and evenings were spent in 
establishing his standpoint. 

To justify his statements 
Puttaparthi had cited certain 
aspects from Prakrit languages. 
Viswanatha pleaded his lack of knowledge 
of Prakrit languages. 

In fine, Mrs. Kanakamma 
concluded the discussion 
declaring both of them equally great.

During his twentieth year 
Dr. Puttaparthi attended a literary meet 
which was conducted on a very grand scale 
with programmes spreading for five days in Alampur
on the banks of the Krishna near Kurnool. 

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan 
presided over the five days meet. 
Dr. Puttaparthi wanted to present a special dissertation 
on “The Influence of Kannada poet Pampa on Nannaya”. 

His poetic rivals scented this 
and tried by all means 
to deprive him of a chance to read his article 
as he would eclipse all other earlier scholars. 

This they could succeed partially 
and Puttaparthi was allowed at about 1-30 P. M. 
to read one or two pages only before lunch-break. 
He started reading the article; 
after completing two pages, 
he abruptly stopped reading 
as per the instructions given earlier 
by the President of the conference. 

The information in the few pages was so fascinating 
that it created a furore in the audience. 
Uproarious insistence on further continuation 
and completion, made the President permit him 
to resume his reading 
which lasted till 4-30 P. M. on that day. 

The audience was thrilled 
and spell-bound by the excellence of the i
nformation and the literary treatment.

Once an All India Oriental Conference 
was conducted in Cuddapah for three days. 
Dr. Puttaparthi could not attend the conference 
on the first two days. 
And the jealous lot took this opportunity 
to traduce his name alleging that 
he knew nothing of Kannada, 
nor of Malayalam, nor even of Telugu 
and propagated that 
Dr. Puttaparthi had disappeared at the crucial time 
to avoid humiliation. 
Just then Dr. Puttaparthi 
returned home from Kadiri town 
after a felicitation programme there. 

No sooner did he reach his house 
than he was surrounded by his zealots. 
They, in one voice entreated him 
to put an end to the opponents’ gossip
 by a fitting rejoinder from the platform. 

For the third day conference 
Dr. Puttaparthi prepared that night 
a special article entitled “Egoism in literature”. 
His lecture illustrated 
the part played by the obdurate pride of poets 
in different literatures. 

Later in concluding his lecture 
he threw an open challenge trenchantly that 
anyone could test his knowledge 
in any of the 14 languages he had mastered. 

And no one ventured to come forward. 
After the meeting 
those that criticized him vehemently went to him 
declaring that all their comments were for fun 
and merely to spur his admirers to irritation. 

They tried to please and appease him 
with the flattering words. 
“Swami, can anyone dare say 
you don’t know other languages?” 
That was the public trend, 
commented Dr. Puttaparthi.

As Dr. Puttaparthi 
had made an indepth study of the Vedas and Sastras, 
I queried 
whether anyone tested him in those philosophic classics.    
        With a beaming smile
Dr. Puttaparthi narrated that 
Sringeri Mutt Swamiji had once visited Cuddapah. 

No one introduced Puttaparthi to the Swamiji 
as the Brahmins around 
were austere and felt 
Puttaparthi unorthodox in style and appearance 
without a tuft and proper dressing. 
But the Correspondent of his school 
who was nearby introduced him to the Swamiji. 

On the spur of the moment 
Dr. Puttaparthi uttered 15 to 20 Slokas extempore. 
Then the Swamiji invited him
 to the place of his stay 
and had discussion on the first Brahmasutra 
“Athaato Brahma Jijnasa”. 

Dr. Puttaparthi harangued for two hours in Sanskrit. 
And the Swamiji 
who was highly impressed honoured him 
with a Zari-bordered Shawl. 

Dr. Puttaparthi expressed his disillusionment 
on a few occasions for his not experiencing t
he beatitude in spite of his everlasting chanting 
and Sadhana on Lord Krishna.

I was eager to know 
how the title “Saraswatiputra” 
was conferred on Dr. Puttaparthi. 

Dr. Puttaparti said that 
once he was confronted with several problems, 
domestic and spiritual. 
He ran away to Benares. 
There he participated in a meeting 
presided over by Govinda Malavya, 
son of Pandit Madanmohan Malavya. 

They received him very well 
for his scholarship in Sanskrit. 
Then he marched to Haridwar and Rishikesh. 
On the way between 
the banks of the Ganges and the foot of the Himalayas 
there was a long path 
whereon he found Swami Sivananda’s Ashram. 

The Swamiji was just then awake from his trance. 
He invited Dr. Puttaparthi into the hermitage. 
For a few months Puttaparthi stayed there. 

Finally the Swamiji tested him in all Sastras 
and endearingly called him 
“Saraswati­putra” with all his blessings. 
The Swamiji also gave a few rare books 
to the Saraswatiputra.

On several occasions
 the Saraswatiputra had to mingle with 
educationists and so on. 

The authorities of Travancore Lexicon Office 
were seeking for a polyglot, 
well­-versed in the Dravidian languages 
to carryon research work. 

All the South Indian universities 
recommended unanimously the Saraswatiputra 
as the fittest scholar for that onerous duty. 
He served that institution for three years.

Later Sri Krishna Kripalani, 
a multilingual scholar, 
the husband of 
Rabindranath Tagore’s grand-daughter,
 invited the Saraswatiputra to be Chief Librarian
 for a 19-language library. 

There the famous Malayalam poet 
Pandit Suranand Kunhan Pillai, 
an authority on ancient Malayalam literature 
and on Sanskrit, 
met the Saraswati­putra and spoke intimately 
stating that 
the Malayalees had recognized his greatness and worth. 
Sri Pillai had quoted that 
a diamond does not go seeking the buyer; 
only buyers 
who know the value go in search of precious diamonds – 
 that way ..
Dr. Puttaparthi was sought by 
Travancore Lexicon Office. 
And this comment moved Dr. Puttaparthi to joyous tears.

On another occasion 
Dr. Puttaparthi was introduced 
to Sri C. D. Deshmukh by the famous Hindi poet, 
During the conversation
 Sri C. D. Deshmukh recited a Hindi poem 
and asked him to translate it into Sanskrit 
which the Saraswatiputra had done instantly. 
And C. D. Deshmukh was highly elated 
by the translation piece.

Once the Saraswatiputra 
stayed in the Aurobindo Ashram 
and had learnt French, Greek and Latin languages. 

He also translated Aurobindo’s writings into Telugu. 
He had written in every literary form 
and completed more than one hundred books. 
Of them 
Pandaribhagavatam and 
Janapriya Ramayanam stand apart as masterpieces.

On several occasions
 Dr. Puttaparthi was suggesting to the Pandits, 
scholars and authorities that 
a very great deal of service was 
still to be done to Telugu 
and other Dravidian languages. 

He was of the firm conviction that 
without some study 
and familiarity of the Dravidian languages 
total mastery of Telugu would be incomplete as the people, 

Languages and cultures of these neighbouring States 
were interlinked in the Inner rhythm of their lives. 
He emphasized the need of prolific translation of all classics
 of the other Dravidian languages.
While commenting on the neglect of Telugu by the
         authorities, he grieved over the prevailing plight 
as the Andhras had not even translated 
the renowned Caldwell’s History of Philology  
(a book on South Indian languages). 

The Saraswatiputra always felt that 
the Government should regard poets 
on a par with the scientists. 
And Dr. Putta­parthi Narayanacharyulu remains 
as one of the brightest stars on the Andhra literary horizon.

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