Shatavadhani Ganesh

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Shatavadhani R. Ganesh
Shathavadhi R Ganesh
Shathavadhi R Ganesh
BornR. Ganesh
(1962-12-04) 4 December 1962 (age 60)
Kolar, Kolar district, Karnataka, India
OccupationAvadhana, author, extempore poet
SubjectSanskrit, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil

R. Ganesh (also known popularly as Shatavadhani Ganesh, born 4 December 1962[1]) is a practitioner of the art of avadhana, a polyglot, an author in Sanskrit and Kannada and an extempore poet in multiple languages. He has performed more than 1300 avadhanas, in Kannada, Sanskrit, Telugu and Prakrit.[2][3] He is known for extempore composition of poetry (āśukavita) during these performances, and even of chitrakavya.[1] He is the only Śatāvadhāni from Karnataka.[1][4][5] He once set a record by composing poetry for twenty-four hours continuously.[1] From 30 November 2012 to 2 December 2012, he performed the first ever Shatavadhana entirely in Kannada.[6][7][8][9] On 16 February 2014, in Bangalore, he performed his 1000th avadhāna.[3][10]

Childhood and education[edit]

Ganesh was born on 4 December 1962, in Kolar, Karnataka, to R. Shankar Narayan Aiyar and K. V. Alamelamma.[1] Ganesh picked up Tamil, Kannada and Telugu from his environment as a child.[11] Also in his childhood, he read Sanskrit and Kannada literature and was writing poetry at the age of sixteen.[11] He learned English at school, and he later learned several other languages like Prakrit, Pali, Tamil, Hindi, Marathi, Greek, Latin and Italian.[11] He has a B.E. degree in mechanical engineering from UVCE,[12] an MSc (Engineering) degree in metallurgy from IISc,[12][13] pursued research in materials science and metallurgy,[14] has an MA degree in Sanskrit, and a D. Litt in Kannada,[1][13] which was awarded by Hampi University[11] for his thesis on the art of Avadhana in Kannada.[14]


Ganesh at Bangalore Astavadhana, at Kuvempu Bhasha Pradhikara, 14 February 2021
Ganesh speaking in the felicitation program of S. L. Bhyrappa

Ganesh is well known for his performances of avadhana, in which he composes extempore solutions in metrical verse to problems posed in parallel by the pṛcchakas on stage, satisfying the constraints imposed by them, while simultaneously dealing with interruptions designed to break his concentration.[9][12] The performance tests poetic skill, creativity, memory, concentration, scholarship, and wit.[13] The main variants are the Aṣṭāvadhāna (eight pṛcchakas) and Śatāvadhāna (hundred pṛcchakas), both of which he performs.[12]

Although there are records of Bellave Narahari Sastry performing avadhana in Kannada during 1933–36 (having learnt it from Telugu's Pisupati Chidambara Shastri), there was no living tradition of avadhana in Kannada when Ganesh took it up; thus he is credited with reviving avadhana in Kannada.[12][13][15] In 1981, after seeing an avadhana performance for the first time, by Lepakshi Medavaram Mallikarjuna Sharma, he tried one himself in front of his friends.[12] He performed 13 astavadhana between 1981–1987.[12] In 1987, he gave a major astavadhana performance at Kolar in the centenary year of D. V. Gundappa, where thousands of people and several learned persons assembled.[12] His 100th and 200th astavadhanas were also performed at Kolar, his native place.[15] His astavadhanas became very popular and he gave hundreds of performances, some of which were viewed by people even in pouring rain.[12] He has performed avadhanas using eight languages, including Sanskrit, Kannada and Telugu.[12] He is also credited with introducing chitrakavya into avadhana, previously considered impossible to do in an avadhana.[12] He has given more than 20 avadhana performances in American and European countries.[15]

He performed his first Shatavadhana at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bangalore on 15 December 1991.[12] He did another one 15 days later, then one each again in 1992 and 1993, with his fifth, the first to be done entirely in Kannada, in 2012.[12][16][17]

In addition to his D. Litt thesis The Art of Avadhana in Kannada and the forthcoming Avadhana Sahasra, he has written books about the art of Avadhana to groom future avadhanis [12] including 'Shatavadhana Sharade, Shatavadhana Srividye and Sataavadhaana shaashvati. He has also started lectures on poetry composition, prosody and poetics on the website of "Padyapaana" organisation.[12]

Other work[edit]

He performed a shatavadhana in a single day in 1991[citation needed]. He also gives public lectures,[18] on dance (nāṭya śāstra), music,[19][20] art, culture, literature,[21] poetics, etc.[5] In his kAvya-chitra shows, he performs with painter B.K.S.Varma, composing poems while the latter paints.[22][23] He has also written lyrics and composed verses for dance performances.[12][24][25] He learned the performance art Yakshagana and conceived the idea of eka vyakthi yakshagana (single-person Yakshagana), of which several performances have been given by Mantapa Prabhakara Upadhyaya.[12] He has played the role of Horatio (dubbed Harshananda) in a Sanskrit production of Hamlet.[26] He has given multiple lectures on various topics in Gokhale Institute of Public affairs, most of which is published on Youtube.

Literary works[edit]

  • Kannadadalli Avadhanakale (The art of Avadhana in Kannada) (D. Litt thesis)[5]
  • Vitaana
  • Nityaneeti[1]
  • ShriChakreshwari Stavana
  • Sandhyadarshana
  • Shatavadhanasharade
  • Kavitegondu Kathe
  • Dhoomadhoota, a parody of Meghaduta[1]
  • Samaanyadharma[1]
  • Neelakanthadeekshitana Shatakatraya
  • Shaddarshana Sangraha
  • Vanitaakavitotsava
  • Kusumadevana Drishtantakalikaa Shataka mattu Neelakanthadeekshitana Shaantivilasa
  • Vibhootipurusha Vidyaranya
  • Human values in the code of Kautilya
  • Human values in Manusmriti
  • Human values in the Ramayana[27]
  • Human values in Telugu Literature
  • Subhashita Samputa
  • Alankaarashastra
  • Bharateeya Kshaatra Parampare
  • Brahmapuriya Bhikshuka[13]
  • Mannina Kanasu
Works in Sanskrit

Ganesh is considered one of the Sanskrit authors to have "carved a niche for themselves in twentieth century", and is credited with introducing new genres into Sanskrit literature.[1] His works include:

  • Anveṣaṇam, an allegorical one-act play (rūpaka), a satire on social evils (1984)[1][4][28]: 5 
  • Sāmbalaharī (khaṇḍakāvya) (1989)[28]: 280 
  • Śaṅkaravivekīyam, a poem with two readings (dvisandhānākavya)[1]
  • Antaḥkāntiḥ, a novel in blank verse, on the last days of Vivekananda[1]
  • Saugandhikā, a collection of sonnets in blank verse[1]
  • Citraculikā, an example of Chitrakavya.[1]
  • Śrīkṛṣṇa-laharī, 123 verses on Krishna[1]
  • Śrījāmba-laharī, 51 verses on Shiva[1]
  • Śṛṅgāra-laharī, 103 verses long[1]
  • Jātaśakuntalā, a 123-verse work on Shakuntala[1]
  • Ilākaivalyam, 154 verses in Vedic metre[1]
  • Evam api ṛtavaḥ, poem on the effects of the seasons on village life[1]
  • Cāṭucandrikā, 87 blank verses[1]
  • Śrīcandreśvarīstavanam (with Kannada translation)[1]
  • Madhusadma : a collection of Sanskrit poems 1st ed. R. Ganesh; with a foreword by K. Krishnamoorthy. Published 1989. Library of CongressPK3799.G29 M33 1989



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa S. Ranganath (2009), Modern Sanskrit Writings in Karnataka (PDF), New Delhi: Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, pp. iii, iv, viii, ix, 74–76
  2. ^ Over 600 as of 2009, see Modern Sanskrit Writings in Karnataka. Over 965 as of 2012, see Kannadaprabha 29 November 2012
  3. ^ a b ಆರ್ ಗಣೇಶ್ ಅವರ ಸಾವಿರದ ಅಷ್ಟಾವಧಾನ ಲೈವ್, 13 February 2014
  4. ^ a b Vashishtha Narayan Jha (2003), Sanskrit Writings in Independent India, Sahitya Akademi, p. 31, ISBN 9788126018123
  5. ^ a b c Rajesha Mundigesara (1 December 2012). "Sāvadhāna" (PDF). Kannada Prabha. p. 17. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 October 2013.
  6. ^ "Test of memory and verse, in Kannada", The Hindu, 30 November 2012
  7. ^ Padyapaana presents Shathaavadhaani, archived from the original on 19 November 2012
  8. ^ "Manadumbida Śatāvadhāna" (PDF). Kannada Prabha. 1 December 2012. p. 2.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ a b "Shatavadhanada Chakravyuha Bhedisida Ganesh". Vijaya Vani. 1 December 2012. p. 6. Archived from the original on 19 August 2014.
  10. ^ "ಕತ್ತಲಿಗಿಂತ ಬೆಳಕಿನ ಹಿಂದೆ ಓಡುವುದು ಒಳ್ಳೆಯದು: ಸಾವಿರದ ಅಷ್ಟಾವಧಾನದಲ್ಲಿ ಪಂಡಿತರ ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆಗಳಿಗೆ ಸರಾಗವಾಗಿ ಉತ್ತರಿಸಿದ ಅವಧಾನಿ ಡಾ. ಆರ್. ಗಣೇಶ್‌". Vijayavani. Bangalore. 17 February 2014. Archived from the original on 4 March 2014.
  11. ^ a b c d Visiting Faculty: Dr. R. Ganesh, Karnataka Sanskrit University, archived from the original on 24 February 2014
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Rajesha Mundigesara (Interview with R.Ganesh) (29 November 2012). "Avadhanavannu Janare Ulisuttare" (PDF). Kannada Prabha. p. 9. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 October 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g Pratap Simha (1 December 2012). "Śatāvadhāni Emba Vidvat Śikhara, Oḍalalli Mātṛ Prītiya Sāgara" (PDF). Kannada Prabha. p. 8.[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ a b Sangeetha Menon (2006), Consciousness, experience, and ways of knowing: perspectives from science, philosophy & the arts, Bangalore: National Institute of Advances Studies, p. 288, ISBN 9788187663614
  15. ^ a b c Pandit, Suryaprakash. "Shathavadhani R Ganesh". Cultural India Foundation. Archived from the original on 16 December 2014. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  16. ^ "Ganesh Śatāvadhānada Beragu" (PDF). Kannada Prabha. 3 December 2012. p. 3. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 August 2014. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
  17. ^ "Mūru Dinagaḷa Kāla Naḍeda Tuṃbugannaḍada Śatāvadhāna Bhānuvāra Samāropa". Vijaya Vani. 3 December 2012. p. 6. Archived from the original on 19 August 2014. Retrieved 9 December 2012. "Details". Archived from the original on 19 August 2014. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
  18. ^ For instance, he has spoken on 'Kaalidasana Kavyasamskruti' ([1], [2]), on "Science and Spirituality" ([3]), on "values" ([4]), etc.
  19. ^ "The anatomy of a raga", Deccan Herald, 6 August 2013
  20. ^ "'ರಾಗಾನುರಾಗ'ದ ಸಂಭ್ರಮದಲಿ...", Prajavani, 8 August 2013
  21. ^ "Bangalore Today". The Hindu. 2 May 2011. Retrieved 3 December 2012.
  22. ^ "Competitions, cultural programmes, mark Kala Utsav 2006", The Hindu, 19 December 2006, archived from the original on 6 January 2007
  23. ^ "Briefly", The Hindu, Chitradurga, 4 June 2004, archived from the original on 2 July 2004
  24. ^ Prabal Gupta (18 June 2010), "Brilliant aristry", The Hindu
  25. ^ "Brilliant choreography", The Hindu, 8 October 2010, archived from the original on 25 January 2013
  26. ^ D. A. Shankar (1999), Shakespeare in Indian languages, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, p. 74, ISBN 9788185952659
  27. ^ R. Ganesh (1998), Human values in the Ramayana, Gandhi Centre of Science and Human Values of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan
  28. ^ a b A Bibliography of Modern Sanskrit Writings (PDF), New Delhi: Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, 2012, archived from the original (PDF) on 2 May 2013, retrieved 24 November 2012
  29. ^ Radha Vallabh Tripathi, ed. (2012), संस्कृतविद्वत्परिचायिका: Inventory of Sanskrit Scholars (PDF), New Delhi: Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, p. 288, ISBN 978-93-86111-85-2
  30. ^ List of Awardees for Maharshi Badarayan Vyas Samman 2002–2009 (PDF), 21 October 2013, p. 1[permanent dead link]
  31. ^ "Udupi: Sediyapu Award for 'Shatavadhani' R Ganesh". Daijiworld. Udupi. 16 May 2010.
  32. ^ "Hegde, Sudha Murthy to be Conferred Honorary Doctorate", Outlook India, 1 March 2010, archived from the original on 31 January 2013
  33. ^ "ಶತಾವಧಾನಿ ಗಣೇಶ್‌ಗೆ 'ಚಿತ್ಪ್ರಭಾನಂದ' ಪ್ರಶಸ್ತಿ ಪ್ರದಾನ", Prajavani, Mysore, 19 July 2011[permanent dead link]
  34. ^ "Erya Award Conferred on Scholar Dr R Ganesh", Daijiworld Media Network – Mangalore, 3 January 2012
  35. ^ "Sahitya Akademi Prize for Translation 2021" (PDF). Retrieved 5 July 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

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