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All set for the unveiling

Poet Sarvajna`s Manuscript

© K.L. Kamat/Kamat’s Potpourri
Poet Sarvajna`s Manuscript
Original Manuscript of Kannada Poet Sarvajna
18th Century, Keladi Museum Collection, Keladi

Staff Reporter

Sarvajna statue: Yeddyurappa to do the honours in Chennai

Colour and pomp: A child holding the Kannada flag at
Jeeva Park in Ayanavaram, Chennai,where the Sarvajna statue (in the
background) is installed.

CHENNAI: The stage is all set for the unveiling of Kannada poet Sarvajna’s statue at Jeeva Park in Ayanavaram here on Thursday.

The nine-foot panchaloha sculpture will be unveiled by Karnataka
Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa in the presence of Tamil Nadu Chief
Minister M. Karunanidhi and a host of Ministers and officials from both
the States. The ceremony, organised by the Tamil Nadu Government, will
be held at RPF Grounds in Integral Coach Factory, which is nearly a
kilometre away from the Jeeva Park as there is no open space around the

The park itself is located opposite to Kannada Krupa that houses
Kannada Sangha Nursery and Primary School. The 750 kg statue, sculpted
by Promodhini Deshpande from Yelwala near Mysore, stands on an 11-foot
pedestal in the 760 sq mt. park. The area around the triangular park is
festooned with several banners in Kannada, Tamil and English, put up by
various Kannada organisations and political parties. The traditional
red and yellow Kannada flags flutter colourfully on the railings.

Nearly 200 tonnes of stone from the Koira quarry near Devanahalli
has been used to refurbish the park. Some 40 sculptors have been
working night and day to get the park ready in time for the
inauguration. The Kolar Division of the Public Works Department took 20
days to renovate the park at an estimated cost of Rs. 60 lakh. Among
the works undertaken are the installation of focus lights, decorative
lights, landscaping and grill makeover.

Attavar Ramdas, president of the Kannada Sneha Sangha, said seating
arrangements have been made for 10,000 people. Members from eight
Chennai-based Kannada Sanghas will take part in the function.

Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin will be felicitated for his role
in allotting the park for installation of the statue in 1997. Ms.
Deshpande and her team will also be felicitated.

On the occasion, Sarvajna’s vachanas, that have been translated to
Tamil by the International Institute of Tamil Studies, will be
distributed. The Neyveli Kannada Sangha members will sing Kannada

SARVAGNA KAVI: Biographical notes

The time of Sarvagna cannot be placed definitively. Research based on
the early references to his work and his usage of script some of which
became extinct later, one can place him to be in the early seventeenth
century. According to Sarvagna (which is a pen name), his real name was
Pushpadatta. His father was a Shaivaite Brahmin and his mother was a
Shudra widow named Mali. His father met his mother at a place in
present day Dharwar district in Karnataka on his way to Benares on a
pilgrimage. Sarvagna grew up as a wandering monk. About a thousand
verses are attributed to him, all in the meter Tripadi or three line
stanzas. His poems deal with religion, morals, customs, astrology,
weather-lores and even riddles. His Vachanas or sayings are often
quoted by scholars and common folks alike. No two books of his work are
alike and it is probable that several verses attributed to him were
composed by imitators.

Stanza 1: Sarvagna was made of the same stuff as everyone.
However, by learning one word of wisdom from each, he became a mountain
of knowledge.

Stanza 2: While borrowing it is like eating a meal of milk and
honey. When the loan is due to be paid, it feels as if the bones in the
body are broken (This is a warning to credit card debts in particular!)

Stanza 3: A drunkard is like a pig. The poor pig, however, is helpful. The drunk is worse and useless.

Stanza 4: What is the use of circling round the temple without
any feeling? It is like the ox which circles round the oil crusher.
(Note: In old times oil was extracted in little ox pulled crushers).

Stanza 5: What use is giving advice to a fool a hundred times?
It is like raining on a rock for hundred years. Will it ever soak in?

Stanza 6:One who has control over his pants, hand and mouth is
like Vishnu and Brahma. He has nothing to worry. (Note: control over
sexual conduct, behaviour and speech is what Sarvagna is talking about)

Stanza 7: If fools claim that they jumped over six mountains, agree to it. It is not worth fighting over.

Stanza 8: For one who knows how to speak, it is like water
pouring out of Eta from a well. For one who does not know, it is just
the rope hanging down. (Note: Eta is a device to draw water from a
well. It is a pot tied to a rope).

Stanza 9:Learn somethings from those who know; Watch somethings from those who do; Learn otherthings by self experience.

Stanza 10: Offering food (to the hungry), telling the truth and putting others above oneself is a happy way to heaven.

Stanza 11: A wife who keeps the home warm, watches expenses,
knows what is on your mind and acts accordingly is everything. Who
cares if the heavens catch fire!

Stanza 12: One who gives (alms) without advertising is
superior. One who gives and talks about it is medium. Only a knave
talks much and gives nothing.

Stanza 13: The company of good men (women also) is like
enjoying sweet honey. The company of evil men is like the stinking
stuff in the sewer.

Stanza 14: By wearing a mark of ash (Note: orthodox Hindus wear
such marks on their forehead and other parts of the body during
religious rituals.) one were to reach heaven, a donkey (that rolls in
ash) should reach there surely.

Stanza 15: By dipping in the river everyday ( Note: baths in
holy rivers are parts of Hindu rituals.) a Brahmin were to jump to
heaven, the frog which is born and lives in water should surely go to

Stanza 16: By dabbing sandalwood paste on the forehead one were
to reach heaven, the stone used to grind the paste should be first to
go there.

Stanza 17: No one knows everything. The learned are few. There
is no guarantee that the smart bring wisdom. Knowledge is not available
for all.

Stanza 18: A service without flowers, the king without a horse
and friendship with one who does not know the language (one who cannot
carry an intelligent conversation) are a waste.

            If one is not greedy for material
things, then one’s

Spiritual life can
rise to a higher level. The Buddha satisfied

His hunger with
sesame and wheat; the honoured

Mahakasyapa dwelled
amid graves; Master niaoke lived in a

nest in a tree; Damei
Fachang wore clothes made of lotus

leaves and ate pine
nuts; the Sixty Patriarch ate only

vegetables; Amid the
mountains and forests, they ate one

meal a day and
possessed nothing but the clothes on their backs

and their alms bowls.
With such freedom and carefree minds,

Could you call them
poor? By contrast, can you call those who

live in high-rise
apartments, drive luxury automobiles, and have

servants but who
spend their days in the pursuit of money

and constantly worry
about fluctuating of the stock

market rich? Can you
say that those who possess loads

of cash and acres of
good land but who are stingy and never

satisfied rich?
Therefore, those who are rich in material goods

are not necessarily
rich, and those who lack such wealth are not determined

by money or material
goods. (To be Contd.)



Prince Goodspeaker and the Water

[Rebirth of the Bodhisatta]

Once upon a time,
there was a very righteous king. He had a lovely queen who gave birth
to a beautiful baby. This made the king very happy. He decided to
give his son a name that might help him in later life. So he called
him Prince Goodspeaker.

It just so happened
that the prince was no ordinary baby. This was not his first life
or his first birth. Millions of years before, he had been a follower
of a long-forgotten teaching ‘Buddha’ - a fully ‘Awakened One’.
He had wished with all his heart to become a Buddha just like his
beloved master.

He was reborn
in many lives - sometimes as poor animals, sometimes as long-living
gods and sometimes as human beings. He always tried to learn from
his mistakes and develop the ‘Ten Perfections’. This was so he could
purify his mind and remove the three root causes of unwholesomeness
- the poisons of craving, anger and the delusion of a separate self.
By using the Perfections, he would someday be able to replace the
poisons with the three purities - nonattachment, loving-kindness and

This ‘Great Being’ had been a humble follower of the forgotten Buddha.
His goal was to gain the same awaken-ness of a Buddha - the experience
of complete Truth. So people call him ‘Bodhisatta’, which means ‘Enlightenment
Being’. No one really knows about the millions of lives lived by this
great hero. But many stories have been told - including this one about
a prince called Goodspeaker. After many more rebirths, he became the
Buddha who is remembered and loved in all the world today.

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