It seems fitting to start this blog with Bendre’s own estimation of himself as the poetic-power Ambikátanayadatta, who is the son of five mothers (ಐದು ಐದೆಯರು).
Here is perhaps the only video recording available of Bendre reading out his poetry.
I am the indivisible pollinic-glory born of the cosmic-mother’s lotus-womb;
I am the upright idol fashioned from a fistful of the earth-mother’s clay;
I am the scintillating light found within the million deepawalis of mother-Bhárati;
I am the outspreading wind that has fed on the fragrance of Kannada’s mother-lotus;
I am the animate compassion that has drunk the milk and blood of mine own mother;
It is these mothers five who make up the five vital airs of this breathing frame;
The Nárayana within the lotus-heart has himself transformed into the mortal Datta;
As Ambikátanaya he sounds forth now in Kannada as the universe’s inner voice.
(Translated by Madhav K. Ajjampur)
Poem Details: From the collection “ಗಂಗಾವತರಣ,” first published in 1951.