Dr. R. Ganesh was born on the 4th of December, 1962, in Kolar town of Karnataka. His parents were R.Shankar Narayan Aiyar and K.V.Alamelamma; his ancestors hailed from Devarayasamudram. His primary and middle school education was at Bangalore city and high school education in Gowribidanur. A graduate of Mechanical Engineering from the Vishweshwaraiah college of Engineering, Bangalore, Dr.Ganesh holds an M.Sc degree in Material Science and Metallurgy from the well-known Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. He also holds a Masters’ in Sanskrit from the Mysore University.
From the young age of ten, Dr.Ganesh cultivated a passion for literature and studied in detail the great works of ancient poets in Sanskrit and Kannada. By the age of Sixteen, he blossomed into a poet of high merit, introducing the classicalities of Meter, Rhyme, Grammatical precision and traditionality into his style. He also mastered the unique art of ‘Ashukavitva’- a style of reciting poems ‘extempore’ on any given topic. Detailed and deep study of the various branches of Indian literature, arts and poetics further enriched his inherent talent and style. At the age of Nineteen, he incidentally witnessed a session of Sanskrit Avadhana, which inspired him to try the art himself. This was a landmark not only in his life, but also in the history of ‘Avadhana’. The very next day, amongst a group of friends, he successfully ventured to perform a complete ‘Ashtavadhana’ !
This was his glorious entry into the field; he set out to perform hundreds of such Avadhanas, capturing the hearts and admiration of the public. Ever since, he has been a perennial source of entertainment, fascination and pride to lovers of art and literature. The first formal public Avadhana of Dr.Ganesh was held at Kolar. Incidentally, his Hundredth and Two Hundredth Avadhanas were also held there. So far he has successfully accomplished more than 400 Ashtavadhanas and three Shatavadhanas on various prestigious platforms at the state and national levels. He has also performed in the American and European continents, giving the world a taste of Indian brilliance and talent.
For Dr.Ganesh, Avadhana has never been merely an occupation or passion, but verily a sacred penance; each feat of ‘Avadhana’ is a sacred worship where the onlookers are the Gods themselves, whom he wishes to appease. His devotion and dignified attitude has added special charm and sophistication to his performances. His vast knowledge, experience, extraordinary talent, wit and wisdom amazes the audience.
There are usually Eight parts in an Ashtavadhana and some extra ones are added according to the performers’ capabilities, the number sometimes soaring to 10, 13, 100 or even 1000 ! The parts of Avadhana of Dr.Ganesh are many and varied – Classical Poetry, Extempore (Atyaashudhaara), scholastic discussions of various scriptures, arts and sciences, vivid commentaries are a few additions alongside the usual parts of Ashtavadhana. His performances are marked with a wonderful sense of timing, healthy humour and interesting discussions. Dr.Ganesh is one of the very few Avadhanis who is extremely innovative adding new dimensions and aspects into his Avadhanas time and again. Thus the list of parts in his Avadhanas grow on. ‘Chitra Kavitha’ is one of the toughest and most challenging forms of Indian classical poetry, which has never been dared before in any Avadhana. Dr.Ganesh is the one and only Avadhani to have performed this, that too extempore, on stage in his Avadhanas ! This single feat perhaps explains his genius and mastery over the art.
Dr.Ganesh preforms complete ‘Avadhana’ not only in Kannada but also in Sanskrit and Telugu and is rightly known as ‘Tribhashavadhani’. He is also an ‘Ashtabhashavadhani’, and can manage the programme in eight languages simultaneously ! Some of his Avadhanas are sometimes based on single topics, such as ‘Ramayanavadhana’. ‘Rashtravadhana’, which he performed for the Kargil martyrs was a unique tribute to the war heroes and greatly inspired patriotic sentiments among the listeners. Dr.Ganesh has been the first and only ‘Shatavadhani’ of Karnataka. He created a record in 1991 by performing a complete ‘Shatavadhana’ in a single day, which in normal course would take 3-4 days. He achieved it composing 108 classic pieces of poetry and in eight languages ! This was indeed an unheard of glorious adventure in the intellectual world.
He has also dared to perform the ‘Ashtavadhana’ within half an hour ! Another landmark in the field of Avadhana is his ‘Yugalavadhana’ performance – a simultaneous ‘Avadhana’ in both Sanskrit and Kannada languages !
Dr.Ganesh has not only mastered Sanskrit, Kannada, Telugu and English languages, but is also proficient in Prakrit, Pali, Tamil, Hindi and Marathi. Ancient languages of Greek, Latin and Italian have added to the treasure of his knowledge. He has to his credit the study and knowledge of Greek Literature in its original textual form.
Dr.Ganesh has a deep and intimate knowledge of various forms of Indian classical music, dance, sculpture, paintings and other fine arts. His views and commentaries on these subjects are rich with deep introspective wisdom and unfold valuable information and ideas to performing artists and lovers of art. He is well versed in various subjects like prosody (ChandasShastra-to do with the Meter form), poetics (KavyaShastra), Veda, Vedantic scriptures, DharmaShastras, History, Aesthetics, Grammar, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Technology etc. to name a few. His knowledge of past and current affairs in various fields is indeed commendable. Research and innovation are two fields where his contributions are everlasting.
His masterely thesis on the art of Avadhana in Kannada has been honoured with a D.Litt by the Hampi University of Karnataka. All praise for this great work, Mahamahopadhyaya N.Ranganatha Sharma exclaimed – ‘This is a priceless contribution to Kannada Literature’. Applauding his knowledge and mastery over prosody, the great scholar Sediyapu Krishna Bhatta said – “Dr.Ganesh is the only poet who has understood my prosody (Chandas) to its depths”. This goes to say how difficult it is to find a poet, who in these days has mastered the charm and substance of Prosody like Dr. Ganesh has.
Dr.Ganesh’s knowledge of Aesthetics (Alankara Shastra) is extraordinarily vast. Complimenting one of his masterly essays on Alankaras, Dr.K.Krishnamurthy, a scholar of international repute exclaimed-”This single essay itself deserves a doctorate degree !”. Another great scholar opined of Dr.Ganesh’s genius thus-”With half the intelligence of Dr.Ganesh, I would have perhaps ruled over the intellectual world of the whole of South India !”.
Dr.Ganesh has presented hundreds of research papers and his valuable views on various subjects in Sanskrit, English and Kannada languages in prestigious National and International seminars. His lectures and writings have impressed and educated all classes of people; he has been successfully pioneering the spread of knowledge and culture. Logical precision, clarity of subject, intuitive wisdom, vast knowledge of various subjects, comprehendable and practical illustrations and examples, extremely attaractive oratory are some significant features of his masterely presentations.
Dr.Ganesh has contributed a number of valuable works to the world of literature. More than 30 of these have been published, namely :
4. ShriChakreshwari Stavana
7. Kavitegondu Kathe
10. Neelakanthadeekshitana Shatakatraya
11. Shaddarshana Sangraha
13. Kannadadalli Avadhanakale
14. Kusumadevana Drishtantakalikaa Shataka mattu Neelakanthadeekshitana Shaantivilasa
15. Vibhootipurusha Vidyaranya
16. Human values iin the code of Kautilya
17. Human values in Manusmriti
18. Human values in Ramayana
19. Human values in Telugu Literature
20. Subhashita Samputa
Other than these, he has composed about 16 Kaavyas in Sanskrit, 12 Roopakas and a large number of poems and songs in various languages. Some of his other commendable works are : Kumaaraniruddha Parinaya (a Dwisandhana Kaavya) and seven other Kaavyas, 4 novels, several stories, essays and articles on various topics. Many of these have been featured in journals, monthlies, newspapers and magazines.
He is currently serving as Visiting Professor in Karnataka Samskrit University.