grandeur of avadhAnam

I was listening to pravachanams on Andhra mahAbharatam by Sri. Dr. garikapATi narasimhA rao gAru. In one of the episodes on vishNu-sahasra-nAma of apaamnidhi, he mentioned the grandeur of pANDityam that too in avadhAnam, i.e. realtime expression of one’s excellence.

Sri. pisupATi chidambara SAStry is an erstwhile legend in samskRtAvadhAnam. In one of his programs, one of the pRchchakAs gave him a line for samasyA pooraNam. The line was: “अम्भोधिः जलधिः पयोधिः उदधिः वारान्निधिः वारिधिः ” This line has 6 words, which are all synonyms of samudra (sea). Now see how well he composed the poem keeping this line, and showing his excellence in pANDityam, purANam and common sense.

And if you don’t know avadhAnam, here is a brief explanation of the prakriya. there are various real-time questions posed by each prichchaka (participant) and the avadhAni has to answer them composing one line at a time for each one of them in sequence and come back and continue with composition of second line in sequence for all of them and so on. Meanwhile, there are other distractions such as: 1) one rings a bell once in a while and the avadhAni should keep counting them and tell the count while he is busy composing poems for all others one line at a time for each participant. 2) aprastuta-prasangi is one who brings up some irrelevant question in trying to distract him and the avadhAni can’t disregard him; he should be engaged with him as well in answering his irrelevant questions while continuing with his real-time compostion of peoms. samasyA-pUraNam is one of the multiple challenges posed to an avadhAni, where in he is given one line or phrase or a few irrelevant or often contradictory words and asked to compose a poem using those words.

So, the context of his poem composition is pArvati’s envy of Siva keeping gangA on his head even after repeated complaints by her. So, she asks her son, ShaNmukha who is a vidwAn to convince his father to get rid of gangA. In this context, this poem is a conversation between shaNmukha and Siva. The poem is as follows:

अम्बा कुप्यति तात, मूर्ध्नि विहिता गङ्गेयं उत्सृज्यताम् |
विद्वन्षाण्मुख का गतिर्मयि चिरं  तस्यास्स्थितायाः वद | 
रोषोत्कर्षवशात् अशेषवदनैः प्रत्युत्तरं दत्तवान् |
अम्बोधिः जलधिः पयोधिः उदधिः वारान्निधिः वारिधिः ||
ShaNmukha tells his father Siva, the first line of the poem. The meaning of the first line is: तात (O father!) अम्बा कुप्यति (mother is angry) मूर्ध्नि (on the top of your head) विहिता (living) गङ्गेयं(the gangA) उत्सृज्यताम् (may you give up);
“O Father, mother is angry and so you may give up gangA who is living on the top of your head.”
Siva replies in the second line saying विद्वन्षाण्मुख (O knowledgeable ShaNmukha) वद (Please say) का गति: (what will be the way) तस्या: (of her) स्स्थितायाः (who is present) र्मयि (on me) चिरं (for so long?);
“O wise ShaNmukha, tell me what will be the way for her who has been living on my head for so long?”
Here as a standard answer leading to the fourth line, we have a standard saying “नदीनां सागरो गतिः” hence, ShaNmukha’s answer can be sAgaraH. but how to get it six times?
So, in the third line, the poet narrates:
रोषोत्कर्षवशात् (out of fury and anger) अशेषवदनैः (by several, i.e six faces) प्रत्युत्तरं (reply) दत्तवान् (gave); out of fury and anger, ShaNmukha replied through his six furious faces, the six synonyms of sea, such as अम्बोधिः, जलधिः, पयोधिः, उदधिः, वारान्निधिः, वारिधिः
Even we when we are angry we repeat the same word couple times; since we are not good at synonyms, we change a consonant and repeat the same word, for example, “paisA vaisA”. Like wise, however since shaNmukha is a wise person, he instead of repeating same sAgaraH six times, he mentioned six synonyms of it, one from each face.
if you also got elated and delighted and filled with joy after reading this, like I did, please comment with your expression of that joy.

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