Kavya Kantha Vasistha Ganapati Muni

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

Ayyala Somayajula Ganapati Sastri (1878-1936), popularly known as Kāvyakānta Vasistha Ganapati Muni was a Practitioner-Scholar of traditional Hinduism.

Life

Ganapati Muni was born on 17th November 1878, in Kalavarayi near Bobbili in Andhra Pradesh to Śri Narasimha Sastry and Narasamamba, a devoted Brahmin Family. Brought up in a deeply religious family, he was traditionally trained in several subjects. Along with scholarship his focus remained on spiritual seeking, first devotion being Lord Siva[1].

Views and Reforms

Ganapati Muni had a rare combination of traditional scholarship, reformatory zeal, patriotism, spiritual sadhana and original thinking. Arguably he was one of the greatest personalities of his times[2][3].

Ganapati Muni strongly opposed untouchability. Pancama Mīmāmsa and Pancajana Carca are his works devoted to a critique of categorizing people as untouchables and pancamas (fifth varna). Being a scholar and spiritual seeker himself, he had initiated thousands of Hindus from all communities into Mantradhana. Pleased with his initiatives and contributions, the Ādi Hindu Society, a Dalit Hindu community conferred on him the title Muni. He demonstrated through his life and works that amity between sections of society can and should to be achieved through constructive reforms, and not through group campaigns that further deepen the divide.

Contrary to the mainstream view of traditional scholars, Ganapati Muni also was against the notion of Veda as Apaurusheya and believed that Veda must be regarded as man-made and identified as the work of seers. His works Mahā Vartikam and śabdaPramāna Carca substantiate his views.

Ganapati Muni's original contributions include his correlation of Reṇukā (mother of Paraśurāma and wife of Riṣi Jamadagni) story of Purāna with Chinnamasta a Śakta Mahāvidya[4].

His Bharata Caritra Mīmāmsa is a seminal work that proposes Mahābhārata to be contemporary with one phase of the Vedic period, and traces Mahābhārata characters in the Veda-Purāna literature right from Rig Veda.

Titles/Awards

  • For his scholarship and poetry, Ganapati Sastry was awarded the title Kāvyakānta (Voice of Poetry) in 1900[5].
  • He was conferred the title Muni (seer) by Ādi Hindu Society in Hyderabad[6].

Disciples

Ganapati Muni had many disciples, whose lineages continue till date in south India. A few prominent names are below -

  • TV Kapali Sastry the author of Siddhānjana. He later joined Śri Aurobindo as his disciple.
  • Daivarata the author of Chando-Darsana

Works

In contrast to the noted writers of his time like Śri Aurobindo and Dr. Ananda Kumaraswamy, most of Ganapati Muni's works are in Sanskrit[7]. This is one of the primary reasons for his limited fame, in spite of his progressive views on several issues concerning the society such as caste discrimination, and untouchability.

Hymns (Stotra granta)

Ganapati Muni composed several stotras or prayers to several Devatās -

  • Śri Guru Stuti (prayer to the Teacher)
  • Herambopasthanam (prayer to Ganapati)
  • Umā Trisati (three hundred verses in praise of Goddess Umā)
  • Umā Satakam (hundred verses in praise of Goddess Umā)
  • Umā Aksharamala (the prayer to Goddess Umā with the alphabet garland)
  • Umā Sahasram (thousand verse prayer to Goddess Umā)
  • Devi Stotra Manjari (prayer to Mother Goddess)
  • Śri Tripura Sundari Gītam (song in praise of Goddess Tripura Sundari)
  • Amrutāmba Pancaratnam (five verse prayer to Amrutamba)
  • Saundaryāmba Nirvāna Śatkam (six verse prayer to Saundaryāmba)
  • Renukā Śatkam (six verse prayer to Goddess Renukā)
  • Renukā Saptakam (seven verse prayer to Goddess Renukā)
  • Indrāni Saptasati (seven hundred verses in praise of Goddess Indrāni, the consort of Indra)
  • Pracanda Candi Trisati (three hundred verses in praise of Goddess Pracanda Candi/Vajra Vairocani/Chinnamasta)
  • Mangala Gauri Stotram (prayer to Goddess Mangala Gauri)
  • Śri Ramana Catvarimsati (forty verses in praise of Ramana Maharshi)
  • Śiva Śatakam (hundred verses in praise of Lord Śiva)
  • Śiva Stava Raja (prayer to Lord Śiva)
  • Śiva Saptati Nāma Stotram (seven verses in praise of Lord Śiva)
  • Indra Sahasranāma Stotram (prayer with thousand names of God Indra)
  • Indra Sahasre Prathaman Śatakam (hundred verses from the Indra Sahasra)
  • Indra Sahasre Katākśa Stabaka (the "grace" section from Indra Sahasra)
  • Indra Vimsati (twenty verses in praise of God Indra)
  • Indra Saptakam (seven verses in praise of God Indra)
  • Śri Pavanāstakam (eight verses in praise of God Pavana)
  • Śri Narasimha Pancaratnam (five verses in praise of God Narasimha)
  • Śri Yoga Ānjaneya Pancaratnam (five verses in praise of God Yoga Ānjaneya)
  • Śri Tāraka Rāmanāma Stuti (praise of name Rāma)
  • Śri Krishna Akshara Mālika (letter garland in praise of Śri Krishna)
  • Rāma Gīta (words of Rāma)
  • Gīta Māla (garland of songs in praise of ten different Gods)
  • Siva Gītam (song in praise of Lord Siva)
  • Ramana Gītam (song of Ramana Maharshi)

Analysis (Tatva grantha)

Following is the list of Ganapati Muni's works on principles of existence

  • Sadācāra Bodhini (knowing the righteous conduct)
  • Tattvaghanta Satakam (hundred verses explaining spiritual principles)
  • Tantra Hridaya (Secrets of Tantra Śastra), an incomplete work
  • Aksharavāli (sequence of letters), depicting the divine manifestations of each letter of the Sanskrit alphabet - similar to a beeja nighantu
  • Śri Ramana Gīta (Summary of Teachings of Śri Ramana Maharshi)
  • Saddarśanam (translation of Ramana Maharshi's Tamil Work Ulladu Napardu)
  • Vishwa Mīmāmsa (Analysis of the Universe), an encyclopedic work on Indian Spiritual Philosophy but incomplete in parts
  • Dharmānusāsanam (righteous conduct)

Aphorisms (Sūtra grantha)

Here is a list of the Muni's works in the sūtra/aphorism form -

  • Mahāvidya Sūtram, the aphorisms on the celebrated Daśa Mahā Vidyas of Śakta Tantra. In these Ganapati Muni establishes the continuity between Vedic Mantra Śastra, Upanishad Vidyas and the Śakta Tantra.
  • Rājayoga Sāra Sūtram, essentials of Rāja yoga
  • Indreśvara abheda Sūtram, proposing Indra as the Iśvara
  • Caturvyuha Sūtram, explaining the four vyuhas of Vaiṣnavas
  • Rudrakutumba Sūtram, explaining the Rudra family of Devatās
  • Śrusti Sūtram, explaining the creation theory
  • Iśvara Mīmāmsa, analysis of Iśvara
  • Kriya Śakti Sūtram, explaining the active energy (one of the three forms of energy as per Śakta - will, knowledge and action)
  • Siddhānta sāra Sūtram, explaining four-fold grace of Indra
  • Manisha sangraham, analysis of self
  • Atha Śanti Tapo Bodhanam Phala Nirupanam, explaining the result of austerity, peace, knowledge
  • Gāyatri Vyākhyanam, commentary on Gāyatri Vidya
  • Yoga Vyākhyanam, interpretation of Yoga Śaṣtra
  • Sita Vyākhyanam, about Sita of Ramayana
  • Krishna Vyākhyanam, about Śri Krishna
  • Tattva Sāmānya Mīmāmsa, analysis of common principles
  • Tattva Mīmāmsa, analysis of essential principles
  • Pramāna Pariksha, analysis of epistemology
  • Samavaya Pariksha, analysis of matter-attribute inseparability
  • Abhava Pariksha, examining the concept of nonexistence
  • Pancjana Carca, a critique of untouchability
  • Gotra Pravara Nirnaya, on the determinism of vedic lineage and family divisions
  • Vivāha dharma Sūtram, analysis of marriage rite
  • Śabdapramāna Carca, analysis of Śabda Pramāna
  • Pancama Mīmāmsa, critique of creating a fifth division of society (apart from four varnas)
  • Darśana Māla, on causation theory
  • Ganapati Darśanam, on Lord Ganapati
  • Śakti Darśanam, on Mother Goddess
  • Sāmrājya Nibandhanam, a proposition of code of governance for the country (India)
  • Viswa Mīmāmsa, an encyclopedic work on metaphysics
  • Tattvānusāsana Sūtram, a survey of different forms of Yoga Vidyas
  • Dharmānusāsanam, an encyclopedic work on natural righteous order
  • Devata Mīmāmsa, analysis of the concept of Devata
  • Vasiṣṭha Darśanam and Sarvārtha Darśanam, analysis of Sānkhya's three pramanas (incomplete)
  • Ādi Sastrartha Sūtram, analysis of the approach/philosophy of Vedic Seers
  • Vasistha Kāma Sūtram, analysis of erotica and sexuality
  • Mahā Vartikam, analysis of the concept of impersonal origin of ṣruti

Commentaries(Bhāṣya Grantha)

Here is a list of the commentaries written by the Muni. Most of these are incomplete works.

  • Rigveda Laghu Bhāṣyam, a brief commentary and method of interpretation of Rig Veda
  • Rigveda Bhāṣyam, commentary of Rigveda
  • Viśva Mīmāmsa, on word and eternity
  • Indra Nāma Nirvācana, on the name Indra
  • Aindra Sahasranāma Bhāṣyam, commentary of his own Indra Sahasranāma Stotra
  • Jaiminiya Sūtra Bhāṣyam, commentary of Jaimini Mīmāmsa Sūtras
  • Iṣopaniṣad Bhāṣyam, commentary of Iṣa Upaniṣad
  • Upadeśa Sāra Bhāṣyam, commentary of Ramana Maharṣi's Upadeśa Sāra
  • Gurumantra Bhāṣyam, commentary of Guru Mantra to invoke Ramana Maharṣi
  • Agnercatuśto Vibhutāyah, analysis of four forms of Agni
  • Daivārata Darśanam, analysis of Daivārata's Chando Darśana
  • Mātru Tattva Prakāśika, Sanskrit translation of Śri Aurobindo's work "The Mother"
  • Śāriraka Mīmāmsa Tippani, critique of Ādi Śankara's Brahma Sūtra Bhāshya
  • Vaidika Padanam Arthah, enlisting the meanings of over a hundred Vedic words

Other Works

  • Bharata Caritra Mīmāmsa, an exhaustive analysis of the historicity of Mahabharata and its characters, surveying evidence from classical literature starting with Rig Veda
  • Pūrna, a historic novel woven around the story of Satyasena and Pradyodana the rulers of Anga and Magadha

Āyurveda -

  • Cikitsa Anuṣāṣanam
  • Prāna Tośanam

Jyotiṣa -

  • Hora Nirnaya Samgraham
  • Śodasa Śloki
  • Tribhāva Phala Candrika
  • Ganaka Kāntābharaṇam

Biographies

1. Nayana in Telugu written by Gunturu Lakshmikantamu 2. Biography in Telugu written by Poluri Hanumad Janaki Rama Sarma, published by Saishyam Trust (2005), Nandyal, Andhra Pradesh

References

  1. Nayana by Gunturu Lakshmikantamu, reprint 1998
  2. M P Pandit, Adoration of the Divine Mother
  3. T V Kapali Sastry, "The Maharshi"
  4. Nayana, P250
  5. Nayana, P54
  6. Nayana, P326
  7. Collected Works of Vasiṣṭha Kāvyakānta Ganapati Muni, Ramanāshramam, Tiruvannamalai