An Online Workshop on Avadhanam with Shatavadhani Dr. R. Ganesh

Avadhānam – A Classical Art of Multitasking and Lateral Thinking

This is a unique opportunity to study the art of Avadhānam under the direct tutelage of Śatāvadhānī Dr. R. Ganesh, one of India’s foremost Sanskrit poets and scholars, and a master of the art of Avadhānam. This event is jointly organised by Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth and Indic Academy, as part of the Sanskrit Month 2020 celebrations at CVV.


5 – 15 August 2020 (No session on 11th August as it is Janmashtami)


4.00 – 5.30 pm


Avadhānam is a classical art form that is unique to India. Over centuries, it has evolved into a literary performance that never fails to enthral its audience. It exhibits an individual’s superior cognitive abilities such as powers of observation, memory, multitasking and creativity, through tasks that draw upon multiple frontiers of intelligence.

This unique performing art expresses itself through various genres such as the Vedas, music, dance, painting and literature. Among these, Sahitya Avadhānam, a literary performance, is the most popular. It involves solving a variety of poetic challenges with verses composed extempore. The repartee between the performer and questioners, mellifluously sung verses and mathematical puzzles make this a wholesome source of entertainment. Since extempore composition and lateral thinking are embedded in the very structure of this genre, it is one of the finest representatives of classical performing arts.

Though Sahitya Avadhānam anchors itself in the long tradition of exceptional performers, it is currently performed mostly in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka, and is limited to three languages: Sanskrit, Kannada and Telugu. Performers are fewer in number than one would expect. Owing to the lack of an informed audience, not all variants of Avadhānam are received with equal enthusiasm either. Dedicated efforts by connoisseurs have reinvigorated this art form in the recent past. However, if this legacy is to continue, the skills need to be passed on to a newer generation and the public needs to be made aware of the nuances of this art. It is in this context that a 10-day workshop on Avadhānam becomes relevant.


The workshop aims to:

  • Initiate those interested, into the art of Avadhānam.
  • Hone the skills of practising performers—especially in Sahitya Avadhānam.
  • Develop an informed audience that can appreciate a performance and discern the quality of an Avadhānam.
  • Outline the contours of the art as connected with various sciences and arts such as mathematics, music, dance and painting, and encourage Sahitya Avadhānam to flourish in other languages.
  • Explore possibilities of multidisciplinary research related to Avadhānam, especially in the discipline of cognitive studies.

Areas of focus:

The workshop will include sessions on:

  • An introduction to Avadhānam—its salient features, history and current practices.
  • Great performers of the past and present.
  • An introduction to poetic challenges that have fallen into oblivion, such as ghaṭikā-śataka, ghaṇṭā-śataka, and chandas-saṃbhāṣaṇa.
  • Requisites of a performer: skills needed to tackle the whole performance and for specific tasks such as nīṣedhākṣarī, samasyā-pūrti, datta-padī, and citra-kavitā.
  • The role of questioners.
  • The qualities needed in a connoisseur.

Who can participate?

The workshop would be beneficial for anyone who:

1) wishes to learn more about Avadhānam.
2) would like to perform Avadhānam.
3) is curious about the challenges and means of organising a full-length Avadhānam.
4) is interested in classical art forms.
5) is a budding author or composer, especially of classical poetry and/or
6) is a researcher in the fields of cognition, memory and literary creativity.

Sessions will be conducted mostly in English, and wherever needed, in Sanskrit.

Chief resource person: 

Dr. R. Ganesh, Śatāvadhānī, Bengaluru

One of India’s foremost Sanskrit poets and scholars, Śatāvadhānī Dr. R. Ganesh is a master of the art of Avadhāna and performs it in Sanskrit, Telugu and Kannada. He has performed over 1200 Aṣṭāvadhānams as well as five Śatāvadhānams till date. He is credited with the revival of this art in Kannada. Hampi University honoured him with a D.Litt. for his thesis on the art of Avadhāna in Kannada.

Dr. R. Ganesh also writes and lectures extensively on various subjects pertaining to India and Indian cultural heritage. Over 10,000 hours of his lectures on Indian culture and heritage, Indian and Western arts and Indian and Western philosophy have been recorded. He holds a Master’s degree in Metallurgy and Sanskrit. He is a polyglot, fluent in eighteen languages including Sanskrit, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, Marathi, Pali, Prakrit, Latin, Greek, and Italian. He was formerly the director of the Gandhi Centre at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. He is also a recipient of several awards and recognitions including the Bādarāyaṇa-Vyāsa Puraskar from the President of India for his contribution to the Sanskrit language.

Assisted by:

Shri Shashi Kiran B. N., Editor of Prekshaa (A Journal of Culture and Philosophy), Bengaluru

Dr. Ramakrishna Pejathaya, Avadhāni and Assistant Professor, Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth, Kerala

About Indic Academy:

Indic Academy is a non-traditional ‘university’ for traditional knowledge, seeking to bring about a global renaissance based on Indic civilisational thought. As the uniqueness of this thought lies in its manifestation across the spectrum of scriptures, commentaries, literature, arts, crafts and spiritual practices, Indic Academy believes that any such renaissance effort should focus on the entire spectrum of our thought—intellectual, cultural and spiritual. This goal is pursued through establishing centres of excellence, transforming intellectuals and building an ecosystem. For more information, visit:




August 5

Introduction to Sanskrit poetry

August 6

Extempore poetry, constrained poetry and literary sports

August 7

Introduction to Sāhitya-avadhāna

August 8

Components of Sāhitya-avadhāna

August 9

Components of Sāhitya-avadhāna

August 10

Types of Sāhitya-avadhāna and other formats of Avadhāna

August 12

Historical development of Avadhāna

August 13

Memory and its bearing on Avadhāna

August 14

Performer and Performance

August 15

Organising an Avadhānam followed by Q&A

Registration fee:

Rs. 1000 (including GST)

For details, contact:

  • Dr. Ramakrishna Pejathaya | | +91 98442 10845
  • Ms. Neethu S. Kumar | | +91 94464 37027

Last date for registration:

1 August 2020*

(*Limited Seats; Apply soon)

How to register:

  • Click on the link given below. Please ensure you fill in all the information correctly as you would like them to appear on the e-certificate.
  • Once you submit the registration form, come back to this page and click on the ‘PayNow’ button to pay the registration fee.
  • On the payment page, please mention the workshop’s name as ‘Online workshop on Avadhanam’ in the ‘Remarks’ column.
  • Kindly ignore the ‘File’ column. There is no need to upload any file.
  • You will receive a confirmation email with the link to join the sessions, within 2 days, once the registration form is submitted and the payment is successfully completed.
  • Please ensure that you register before you make the payment.

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English Sanskrit

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