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Harikatha Pitamah Adibhtatla Dhruva: 1864-1945

Multi-skill devotional performer, maestro

Known South India-wide, especially in Telugu and Kannada regions as Azzada, a small village near Bobbili in the erst while Visakhapatnam District, Dasugaru. Adibhatla Narayanadas carved a niche of the greatest among the unforgettable. Right from the age of five he astounded those he came across. He won the prize of Shrimad Bhagavatam from a book seller by telling him that he could not only read but expedite the content of the sacred work. As a little boy in a zamindari house he heard a harikatha by the famous Kuppuswami Naidu Bhagavatar’s Harikatha on Dhruvacharitram. The next day in a temple of Si Venugopala Swami he gave a performance with tinkling bells on his anklets. He learnt to play on the veena from the veena specialist of Bobbili, Vaasa Sambayya. The young lad was recognised as an immediate, extraordinary, quick learner.

As he grew to be a young man, he wrote scholarly shatakas {Hundred short stanzas in verse) both in Sanskrit and Telugu, He wrote both in ordinary Telugu and achcha Telugu (the purest version). He brought out a book on the grammar of that achcha Telugu as TARAKAM. He gave his teacher a work of Kalidasa shaking hands with Shakespeare as Navarasa rangini. He translated Omar Khayyam’s work into both Sanskrit and achacha Telugu. His musical renditions took the listeners by admirable surprise. He was appointed the Principal of the Music School started by the Maharajah of Vizianagaram. When it was upgraded as a college, he was the first Principal. The Maharaja used to play cards with this music wizard. For any performance a place is reserved for the Maharajah when Dasugaru gave musical multiskilled performance, a devotional praise of the Supreme Lord, HARIKATHA. Dasu garu used to play jokes with the Maharajah who used to break into laughter merrily.

The Harikatha Pitamah had many other fields of high renown. He was an adept in winning the deserved accolades: in ashtavadhana, dictating to thirty to thirty scribes questions for each, counting flowers, obeying the rules of writing certain letters, reading different purana setting them to music in different ragaas. These are all very difficult things to be held in memory. Dasugaru was honoured with titles of Avadhana Bharati and Harikatha Saraswati. Professor S V Joga Rao, of Andhra University was an ardent devotee of Dasugaru. Among the greatest of the honours of the great man are the highest from Madras and Mysore. Mysore Maharaja honoured with Gajarohanam. At the age of thirty, his biography was published the1300 page book as Sri Adibhatla Narayanadasa Saarawsati Neerajanam. At Guntur Dr KVK Sanskrit brought out the magnum opus on the occasion of the Dasugari’s demise. Innumerable were the titles awarded to Dasugaru. To list a few they are: Laya Brahma, Sringara Sarwajna, Sangeeta Sahitya Sarvabhauma, Aata - Paataa -- Maata – Meetala – Meti are some. A genius in singing, the Mother Deity of Music, Saraswatidevi blessed him with all Her grace. While walking he used to say SHAMBO devoutly People wlking used to stop looking at him with great adoration.

At Dasu gari’s sense of humour is exuberant. Once the Maharaja of Mysore was playing cards with him. The Rajah asked him why he would not join his durbar? Came the instantaneous reply that he would not serve any who is subject to death. Dasugaru recorded this in his own biography “Naa yeruka” had three Aces and our her had three kings.

Once Maharaja Ananda Gajapati was playing card with Adibhatla. The king had three aces and Dasugaru only three kings. The Rajah said that e cannot win. Came a quick reply when three kings are with me the aces cannot do anything. Dasugaru referred the Maharajas of Vizianagaram, the Ganapathi’s.

Once an admirer praising Dasugaru stated that after him there would be nothing, Came the reply firmly: There are the three letters in my name: Adibhatla Narayana Das. (AND) One can go on and on listing the great winnings and achievements of this unforgettable maestro.

One of the surprising facts is that the two exemplaries, multi-pronged exemplars died on the same thithi: pushya bahula panchami (days in the almanac): Thyagabrahma Thyagaraja swami and Adibhatla Narayana Das though in different years.

Courtesy Dr. A. Gopala Rao, Shri Adibhatla, Frontline Services, Vizianagaram, 2020


More by :  Dr. Rama Rao Vadapalli V.B.

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