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"He is A Greater Poet than I"

One of the contemporary poets, Alahiya Manavala Nayanar, used to compose verses both in Tamil and Sanskrit. He wanted to have a wager with Deshikar in composing poetry in Tamil. As usual Deshikar ignored the challenge. But Nayanar persisted. One day in the temple assembly he revived his challenge: "People call you Kavi-tarkikasimha (a lion among poets and logicians). You don't deserve the title. The title must go to whoever is able   uttered by the victorious poet on that occasion are memorable.  It would have been normal for acontestant, flushed with victory, to feel puffed up and proud. In fact Deshikar never wanted a battle of that kind. It was the vanquished man who had asked for it and he had got it back in ample measure. But Deshikar conducted himself with utmost dignity and  restraint. He did not utter a mean or insulting word. He went out of the way to pay a tribute to the crestfallen Nayanar and said: "Nayanar is an infinitely superior poet, a greater poet than I am. His poetry is of great excellence."

What is of interest to us is that the occasion gave us the great poem 'Padukasahasra'.

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