Devotees of Sri Bhagavan are aware only of his famous ‘Upadesa Saram’ and a few isolated verses as His contributions to the ‘Language of the Gods’. So it is necessary to place on record His contribution to the famous ‘Uma Sahasram’ — thousand verses on Uma, the Divine Mother sung by His great disciple, the learned Sri Kavyakanta Ganapati Muni. This story shows the Maharshi as the joint author of this composition.
Sri Bhagavan was then living in the Pachaiamman Temple, the abode of Maragathambal, on the north eastern slopes of Sri Arunachalam. In those days the Maharshi would sit and sleep in a hammock slung between two stone pillars and be rocked as a darling child by His loving pupils.
Sri Kavyakanta had composed 700 stanzas on Uma in some thirty different meters, and had announced to his devotees in various parts of the country that this poem would be dedicated on a certain Friday in the Shrine of Sri Uma in the great Temple of Sri Arunachaleswara. Over a hundred persons gathered at the Pachaiamman Temple so as to be present on the occasion. Now these Sanskrit verses were not a mere intellectual display by Sri Kavyakanta, great as he was in Sanskrit composition.
Proof of his great intellectual capacity may be had from the very fact that in the presence of the heads of the Udipi Maths he composed extempore in a single hour the hundred verses of the ‘Ghantaa sataka,’ giving the cream of the teaching of the three main schools of Hindu Philosophy.
His ‘Uma Sahasram’ is different from other compositions in that it is pasyanti vak, i.e. revealed by the Divine Mother in Her own words to one who is adept in the Kundalini Yoga. At about 8 p.m. on the evening before the dedication day, after supper, Sri Maharshi asked Sri Kavyakanta whether the dedication would have to be postponed to some other Friday, as 300 verses were still to be composed to complete the thousand. But Sri Kavyakanta assured Bhagavan that he would complete the poem immediately.
The scene that followed can hardly be believed by one who did not actually witness it. Sri Maharshi sat silent and in deep meditation like the silent Lord Dakshinamurthy. The eager disciples watched in tense admiration the sweet flow of divine music in Sanskrit verse as it came from the lips of the great and magnetic personality of Sri Kavyakanta. He stood there delivering the verses in an unbroken stream while disciples eagerly gathered the words and wrote them down. Oh, for the ecstasy of it all! Life is indeed blessed if only to experience those divine moments.
The ‘Sahasram’ was finished in several meters Madalekha, Pramanika, Upajati Aryagiti, etc. For a while the disciples present enjoyed the deep ecstasy of the silence pervading the atmosphere, as Sri Kavyakanta concluded with the normal type of colophone. Then Sri Bhagavan opened His eyes and asked, “Nayana, has all that I said been taken down?” From Sri Ganapati Muni came the ready and grateful response, “Bhagavan, all that Bhagavan inspired in me has been taken down!”
It is thus clear that Sri Bhagavan inspired the final 300 verses of the ‘Uma Sahasram’ through the lips of Sri Kavyakanta, without speaking a word, as usually understood, or rather in the silence characteristic of the Silent Sage of Arunachala. It is noteworthy that whereas Sri Kavyakanta revised the first 700 verses of this monumental work some six times, he did not revise any of the last 300. This being Sri Bhagavan’s own utterance, there was no need to “polish them.” These 300 verses are to be considered as Sri Bhagavan’s unique contribution to Sanskrit poetry.