GANAPATHY SHASTRY


         During the period when Badaje Keshava was the priest of Sharavu Mahaganapathy temple, there lived one Ganesh Kekunnaya in Padmunnur village, near Nandavar, along with his wife and children. He was awfully poor, and was an ardent worshipper of Lord Ganapathy. He was engaged in tapas of Lord Ganapathy with a view to getting rid of his extreme poverty. One day, Lord Ganapathy appeared in Ganesh Kekunnaya's dream and instructed him to go to Sharavu Mahaganapathy temple and take charge of the right of Lord Ganapathy's worship from Badaje Keshava, the next day. The Lord also appeared in the dream of Badaje Keshava, at the same time, and instructed him to hand over the right of worship, along with his house and other possessions, to Ganesh Kekunnaya. Accordingly, Ganesh Kekunnaya took charge of the right of worship of the temple from Badaje Keshava, and came to be called Ganesh Bhatta, thereafter. While handing over charge of the temple, Badaje Keshava told Ganesh Kekunnaya that he (Ganesh Kekunnaya) and his descendants, alone, had the right to worship the Mahaganapathy and, no one else, without their consent, could worship the deity. In case, the right of worship was granted to any other person, their progeny would be wiped out.

        As per court documents, Sharavu Krishna Bhatta died in 1820 A.D. He had two sons, viz., Narna Bhatta and Ganapathy Bhatta. Ganapathy Bhatta had a wife by name Venkamma, and did not have any children. He was a great scholar in Sanskrit and well-versed in scriptures. He had written several manuscripts in Tulu script on palm-leaves, which are now in the possession of Sharavu Ramakrishna Shastry's family. As Sharavu Ganapathy Bhatta was a great scholar, once he was called to the court of Mummadi Srikrishnaraya, king of Mysore, for seeking his considered opinion on a ticklish issue. During that period, there was a hot debate going on between Shaivites and Vaishnavites (followers of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu respectively) as to who was superior between them. Sharavu Ganapathy Bhatta went to the king's court, as requested by the king, and addressing the scholars assembled there, put forth his views thus: " Though there is only one God, we worship Him in different names and forms. It is only to fulfil our different desires. However, since time immemorial, it has been the tradition to pay obeisance to Lord Ganapathy flanked by Siddhilakshmi, at the outset, before invoking the blessings of any other gods for fulfilling our desires. This holds true even in the case of conducting any ' yajna', or any other ritual worship of gods. That is why even Tippu Sultan, though a follower of Muslim faith, became a devotee of Lord Mahaganapathy. Hence, it is not right on our part to discriminate one god from another. We should consider all gods as One and, before worshipping any god, should, invariably, pay obeisance to Lord Ganapathy." The above explanation offered by Ganapathy Bhatta convinced the scholars present in the court, about the futility of the ongoing debate among them as to which god is superior to which. The Maharaja (king) of Mysore was very much pleased with the explanation of Ganapathy Bhatta, and he honoured him with the title 'Shastry' and presented him with a gold ring, bearing the emblem of Maharaja, a shawl and 80 gold coins. From then onwards, Ganapathy Bhatta came to be known as 'Ganapathy Shastry', and this title is, still, being suffixed to the names of his descendants, even now. Ganapathy Shastry died in 1836 A.D.

(Yajna - a sacrifice)

II OM SRI MAHAGANAPATHAYE NAMAHA II