The three-day ‘Shatavadhana’ was performed by Dr R. Ganesh, an exponent in the form, for the first time in Kannada. Over 3,000 people participated in the programme, in which 75 Prcchakas posed 100 questions.
The ancient scholarly art of Avadhana, a complex test of memory, intelligence and versification, was showcased in the city for the first time in Kannada by Dr R Ganesh at Mangala Mantapa, NMKRV College. Over 3000 audiences were left spell bounded by the immense knowledge and memory power showcased by Shatvadhani Ganesh. The three-day long event had five sessions and the Avadhani, the central character of the event answered all the challenges posed by quizzing scholars known as ‘Prcchakas’.
The first round of Shatavadhana began at 4 pm on November 30 and concluded at 9 pm. Scholars posed questions to Dr Ganesh which were answered in minutes. Few literary puzzles were solved on all three days phase by phase. The second round was held on December 1 from 10 am to 2 pm followed by the third round from 4pm to 8pm. The final day saw two sessions on December 2 from 10 am-2 pm and 4 pm to 8pm. All the verses, questions and puzzles put forth by the scholars were cracked beautifully and intelligently by Shatavadhani.
Anasuya, one of the audiences present at the Mangala Mantapa was all excited to be part of this event and said, “I was thrilled to attend Shatavadhana proceedings. As the auditorium was full on all three days, the organizers had made alternate arrangements for more people to watch the event. A shamiyana was put up in the open field just outside the auditorium, where additional 500 seats were arranged with a big screen. As it was a day-long event on all three days, food, coffee, tea and drinking water facilities were also available at the venue.”
Throwing more light on the event, she added, “The programme was educative and entertaining, especially for people like us who are interested in literature and poetry. Avadhana art helps to develop self and it is very fascinating.”
Though there are many varieties of Avadhanas, the most popular are ‘ashtavadhana’, where eight problems are simultaneously resolved, and ‘shatavadana’, where 100 problems are simultaneously solved.
‘Padyapaana’, a voluntary group working towards to revive the tradition of classical literature is organizing the event. The main objective of this event is to pay a grand tribute to the tradition of ‘Shatavadhaana’ that has a history of about 1000 years.
Shatavadhani Dr R Ganesh is a mechanical engineering and has done his post-graduation in Metallurgy from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. A polyglot, he can read, write and compose poetry in almost all major Indian languages and in classical Greek and Latin. He is also a prolific writer with several hundred essays and scholarly papers and several books on an astonishing range of subjects to his credit.
He performed his first Avadhaana when he was just 19 years old in 1981. Ever since, he has performed 955 Ashtaavadhaanas and four Shataavadhaanas in Sanskrit, Kannada and Telugu in various parts of the country. The Government of India conferred upon him the prestigious Badarayana Vyas Puraskar in 2003 for Outstanding Scholarship in Sanskrit.
What is Avadhana?
Avadhana is a literary performance popular from the very ancient days in India, cultivated by the Jains in India and revived by Telugu and Kannada poets in modern times. It involves the partial improvisation of poems using specific themes, metres, forms, or words. It requires immense memory power and tests a person’s capability of performing multiple tasks simultaneously.