Jarasandhavadha Mahakavyam

by Pankaj L. Jani | 2010 | 82,365 words

The English translation of the Jarasandhavadha Mahakavyam: a Sanskrit epic poem written by Goswami Hariraiji. The story revolves around the story of Krishna’s vanquishing of the Magadha King, Jarasandha. The soul message of this epic Jarasandhavadha is “where there is righteousness there is victory”. The sources for this story include the Mahabhar...

Part 8 - The Jarasandhavadha Mahkavyam as an Epic

As an Epic:

The Sanskrit epic shares most of the features of Greek or English epics. On the basis of above discussed characteristics of an epic now we can judge the Jarasandhavadha as an epic. Certainly the Jarasandhavadha by Goswami Shri Hariraiji is a great epic and it has all the characteristics of a Sanskrit epic.

When compared to Shishupalvadha Mahakavyam by Magh, a great poet in Sanskrit literature, we come to the conclusion that Goswamiji has followed the model of Magh. He himself writes, "In this poem, let the knower of principles of poetics, who are not spiteful, look for my creative genius without any barrier, for I have followed Magha".

(JM - 228)

Rishi Kaundinyaji, who is considered to be an authority in Sanskrit poetics, was overjoyed when he read the Jarasandhavadha and praised this work like anything. Looking to the beauty of the 'kavya saushthva ' he expresses the feelings of sublimity -


Kaundinyaji has very categorically described the abilities and qualities of this great poet. He writes that in Goswamiji’s poetry, decorated style of imaginary, cleverness and the poetic perfection is shown, in the same way as they are found in detail in Dandi, Kalidas, Bharvi, Bhas, Banbhatt and Magh. Often it is observed that there is inclusion of all three qualities, such as similes of Kalidas and Bharvi’s meaningful esteem and Dandi’s grace of words.


With this background, we can say that Goswamiji has followed the principles of an epic in the Jarasandhavadha. To judge the Jarasandhavadha as an epic first of all we take into consideration the definition of an epic given by Acharya Visvanatha which is more detailed, since he lived in the fifteenth century, had all the famous Mahakavyas before him, including even the later specimens -

(Kumarsambhava of Kalidasa. M.R. Kale. Intro. ii-iii)

Looking to the above described characteristics by Sanskrit scholars we can say that the Jarsandhavadha contains almost all the characteristics of an epic. It contains words of benediction, praise, greetings and prayer of Lord Krishna and pious river mother Yamuna followed by brief introduction of contents and characters appearing in the story. It possesses the outline of the story at the beginning. The subject is historical and based on the story of the great Pandavas of the Mahabharata, Shri Krishna and Jarasandha.

It depicts the entire life and contains a heroic deed. The poet builds up the story based on this incident with rhetoric description, illustration of nature and different worldly and divine depictions. The mundane descriptions include that of nature, garden and city, while the divine includes description of Gods and heaven. It contains the description of the sublime and virtuous. It contains the description of a city, ocean, mountain, season, moon-rise, sun-rise, and garden, messenger, marching and rising of the hero. It includes dalliance, intoxication, and enjoyment of love, separation, marriage of Jarasandha and birth of the children. It has mantra, messenger, marching and rising of the hero. This Mahakavya is enriched with rhetoric, extensive and aesthetic and emotional content. The story contains interesting events and includes elements like description of twilight, containing the above characteristics serves the popular interest and has lasting effect.

Canto (Sarg):

The concept of a ‘Canto’ (Sarg) in a Mahakavya (an Epic) is found from the Ramayana itself. This characteristic division of an epic into cantos was accepted by all the Acharyas (the founders of a school of literary thoughts). The Jarsandhavadha is an epic divided in Cantos contains the description of the sublime and great characters and it is very vast in size. It is divided into twenty 'Sargs' (Canto) which are neither too long nor too short. It has one thousand six hundred ninety two 'shlokas'. Each canto has a minimum of sixty shlokas and maximum of one hundred and thirty eight shlokas. They are composed in the same metre, and change only at the end; sometimes as a variety the poet has used a number of metres. The contents of the next canto are indicated at the end of the preceding one.

Each canto is named after the most important event described in it or the cantos are named after the plot, or the hero, or in accordance with its own contents. For bringing the dramatic element in the epic and to retain the continuity of emotions, Vishwanath said that it is necessary to give hint at the end of a chapter about what is going to happen in the next chapter, the poet has followed the device in this epic.

Acharyas like Bhamah, Dandi, Rudrat, Hemachandra, who were there before Vishwanath Kaviraja, had not specified the number of Cantos. Vishwanath Kaviraja limited this and prescribed that epic must necessarily have minimum eight Cantos. As for the length of a canto, Dandi and Acharya Hemachandra are of the same opinion that it should neither be too elaborate nor too brief because, if it is elaborate it may pose a problem for planning the divisions and if it is too short then the emotions may not find place properly. The same thing was said by Vishwanath that the cantos should neither be too long, nor they should be too short. Looking to this the poet Hariraiji has followed the rules established by the scholars. In the nineteenth canto maximum one hundred and thirty eight 'shlokas' are there and the twelfth canto possesses sixty 'shlokas'.

The basis of the Plot:

Goswamiji has presented his version of the plot of the Jarasandhvadha based on the Mahabharata, Shrimad Bhagwat and the Harivansha Puran. The main event of the story is based on the story given under the Sabha Parva (second parva), chapter thirteen Rajasuyarambha Parva -Arrival of Krishna -to chapter twenty four - Jarasandhvadha Parva of the Mahabharata. This contains preparation for Rajasuya Yajna, Yudhishthira taking initiation of Rajasuya Yajna under Shri Krishna’s guidance.

The above story forms the chapters beginning from 50 to 73 of Dasham Skandh based on the Bhagwat Purana. We have already seen the story given under these chapters, which is not found in the Mahabharata. In the Mahabharata the references of Kalyavan, Muchkunda, Pondrak, Shalva are not given in the Sabhaparva. This version of the story is described under Chapter 10 of the Bhagwat Mahapurana, which contains mention of Jarasandha.

Its subject is profound with its hero being great and characterized by quiet gallantry and loftiness of conduct. Its language is witty, its story is devoid of unnecessary elements and matter and in spite of being rhetoric, it is based on morality. Naradji comes to Lord Krishna and tells him that Jarasandha has made hundreds of Kings as captives and they will be sacrificed in the name of the Narmedha Yajna. Yudhisthira has the desire of performing Rajasuya sacrifice but Krishna's only enemy lives on the earth in Magadha–he is king Jarasandha who is fearless and independent. He has conquered countries by winning the battles independently. As he is very proud of his own prowess and prosperity therefore must be killed.


Thus it contains meaningful message. Yudhishthira wants to perform the Rajsuya Yajna but without killing Jarasandha it can't be performed. Naradji is firm and reminds Lord Krishna of this. Shri Krishna rightly says,

"Hence the sacrifice of the son of Dharma should be accomplished properly. The king of Magadha, who is dishonest, should be killed deceitfully." (JM-174)

Yudhishthir is sure and of the firm opinion that where the Lord of the three worlds Krishna himself appears continually there variety of troops of army and abundance of weapons are of no use. Where there are Krishna, Arjuna and Bhima like three fires, who eradicate enemy and are prepared to kill the enemy, there every desired thing is achieved.


The Jarasandhavadha has all the five divisions of drama and stages of work. It depicts the nature of people and contains all poetic sentiments. The subject is historical and based on the real story of the Mahabharata. It contains the description of sublime, virtuous, clever hero’s attainment of four human pursuit’s viz. virtue, wealth, sensual pleasures and salvation. This Mahakavya, containing the above characteristics serves the popular interest and has lasting effect. The poet has taken care of combining series of events and other activities and due to its balance, aesthetic pleasure also emerges in balanced proportion and appropriately.

High Intention on the Part of the Poet:

Acharyas have accepted that the aim of an epic should be to accomplish the four basic objectives of human existence, such as discharge of duty, acquisition of wealth, gratification and final emancipation. Bhamah, Dandi, Rudrat and Hemchandra and all Acharyas accept these human pursuits as the Epic’s objective, while Vishwanath accepted any one of them as the objective. As against this, Rudrat considers that a brief poem can explore any one objective, but a complete Epic should contain all the four objectives. Generally, in any poetry, it is essential that all these four objectives are present, but according to Dandi it is compulsory in case of an epic and it appears appropriate, since attainment of objectives embody the dignity of life.

Hariraiji is a spiritual leader of the highest order, leading thousands of its followers by carrying forward the values and principles, as propounded and promoted by Lord Shri Krishna. Goswamiji is of this opinion that by attaining these four objectives, the beauty of a poetry is automatically enhanced i.e. both, (a) the four basic objectives and (b) pleasure, complement each other. The aim of the poet is to underline the philosophy that ‘Where there is truth, there is Victory’ and this is the soul message of this epic'.

He believes in the triumphs of virtue and good life. He hates evil and low thoughts. He believes that man can achieve success and glory in his life by treading the path of virtue, goodness and temperate life. Naradji reminds Lord Krishna to wage war against Jarasandha, the king of Magadha who stands as a king with bad intentions and a disobedient and haughty headed ruler. He also reminds how thousand of lives are taken in the sacrifice in the name of God.


The aim of the poet is to present his complete devotion towards lord Krishna - 'bhakti' towards Shri Krishna -he is the supreme commander of the world. Goswamiji writes,

"He who is of dark complexion, splendid like a dark cloud, who has borne entire universe, the earth, of high shoulders, whose mind is engrossed only in his devotee, the only shelter for the unprotected (shelter-less), the unparalleled one in effecting deliverance for beings from sorrow, perhaps He who did bestow compassion upon a mortal like me a receptacle of wrongs, He who is eternal, veracious, immutable, His lovely form be shining in my mind constantly."


No one can attain happiness or contentment by turning away from the duty and principles. If a man runs away from these, he does not imbibe humanity. The central theme of creation is the human being and nobody can be better than him. Therefore, humanity cannot be acquired by shunning duty and principles. For that, it is necessary to discover truth and to control temptations. There is a close inter linkage between what has been said so far and these two philosophies, which easily integrate into oneself to pursue the main objective of life.

Lord Krishna reminds Yudhishthira that Jarasandha has turned blind due to the royal power of the kingdom of Magadha. Jarasandha, the vain, haughty knowing no fear, with uncontrollable behaviour is an expert in dual combat. He does not accept his superiority even for a minute. Therefore his first duty is to conquer and tame that royal tiger who has a large and mighty army and makes even the most powerful king uneasy and restless.


Art of Characterization:

The hero of an epic should be characterised by gallantry and loftiness of conduct, should have great lineage, warrior or god. Acharyas have differing perceptions about the hero. But all have acknowledged that essentially a hero should be brave and valiant, belonging to a great lineage. According to Rudrat, he can be from trivarna (brahmin, warrior, businessman) and Acharya Dandi said anyone who is brave and valiant. As per Vishwanath any king or many kings belonging to the same clan or great lineage can be the hero of an epic.

The hero of this great epic is none other than Lord Shri Krishna whom the poet Goswami Hariraiji calls as ‘Mahanayak’. He is the real 'Dhirodatta' hero of the Jarasandhvadha. He is self controlled, exalted, magnanimous, exceedingly grave, forbearing, not boastful, resolute and whose high sprit is concealed. He is faithful to his promise. The character of Krishna has been taken as an ideal. Throughout his life He did nothing for his own sake but for justice he worked constantly.

The hero of this Mahakavya Lord Shri Krishna is meritorious, a warrior conquering the whole world not for his own sake but to eradicate the unrighteousness from the whole world, a great valiant and a king of all kings. He is powerful, sagacious, tactful, a divine personage, possessed of the qualities of a 'Dhirodatta' Hero. Yudhishthira thought that the Rajsuya sacrifice should not be commenced pursuant to his own resolution only.

Carefully bearing on his shoulder the weight of affairs, he (Yudhishlhira) thought of Krishna Janardana as the fittest person to decide the matter. Knowing Krishna to be the foremost of all persons, the possessor of immeasurable; energy, the mighty-armed, (hero), Yudhishthira thought that there could be nothing unknown to him nothing unachievable by him and nothing that he could not bear. He knows everything by which it may be accomplished. There is none else in the world but only Lord Krishna who can settle all doubts. He is above all motives; he has conquered anger and desire. The poet describes Lord Krishna as-


After hero, planning the role of a villain becomes important. In the absence of a villain, the importance of heroes’ character doesn’t remain spectacular and no significant incident of conflict takes place. In reality, struggle and progress are interdependent. Thus a Mahakavya must have a villain and the description about his lineage. It should depict the victory of the hero and defeat of the villain. Dandi has suggested a few methods for the exaltation of hero’s character. Verbally agreeing with what is said by Acharya Dandi, Rudrata insists that the villain should be as powerful and meritorious as a hero.

The villain of this epic is Jarasandha, who is powerful and meritorious as a hero. In different activities and arts he was given training to rule ever since he was young. He was expert in all arts to be called as the 'Master artist of all arts'. He was highly wonderful and extremely skillful in giving unexpected blows to his foes, he became an unforeseen expert in duel fighter and established himself as the greatest warrior. He was considered the strongest man in the world. He had unusual and unparalleled prowess and sagacity in politics.


Apart from hero and a villain, other characters are also given a place in a Mahakavya, but no Acharya has clearly mentioned about the same. Only reference available is ‘Mantra doota prayan and Vivahaisch kumarodaya varnanvarnaniya yathayogyam etc. which means a minister, helper, messenger, army, and queens, male and female servants are necessary for a Mahakavya, otherwise how can someone describe water-sports and other festivities. While there is a discussion available on the nature and conduct of characters etc., still no one has made any mention about heroines.

Goswamiji’s description of the characters reflects his ethereal touch. The main characters like Krishna, Yudhishthira, Bhima, Arjuna, other Pandavas, Jarasandha, Shishupal, Brihadratha, Naradji and others are real and sublime. Each exemplifies with its own individual characteristics. It will be rare to find characterization manifesting different traits of these characters.

Yudhishthira being ever devoted to virtue, his tributary chiefs always waited upon him to render good service on the six occasions (of war, treaty etc.); and the traders and merchants of different classes paid him their dues taxes livable on their respective trades. Thus the kingdom grew in prosperity. The prosperity of the kingdom increased even by greatly voluptuous and luxurious persons. The king possessed every accomplishment and he bore every thing in patience. His sway extended over all. From Brahmins to peasants, were all more attached to him than to their own parents.

This poetic work consists of Shri Krishna, Yudhishthiar, Jarasandha, Shishupala, Uddhava, Balaram, Bhima, Arjun etc., where hero is Shri Krishna and Jarasandha the villain. The epic highlights the tolerance and looks of Shri Krishna through the praises showered by Narada and others. However, the villain’s description is evident from the intemperate behavior and abusive language used by him. But instead of concentrating on the development of various characters or hero, the poet has mainly paid attention to descriptions, which went to the extent that female characters have found no importance.

Description of Activities and Situations:

Since it is essential for a Mahakavya to include all scenes, nature’s different forms and behaviour, Acharyas have laid stress on the description of (their impacts and situations) activities and circumstances. Despite the main incident lacking an easy flow of narration, poet displays his skill with ornamental descriptions. But in the books composed by the ancient sages, these things come out naturally and are arranged in a justifiable manner, which are of social and cultural significance. In the Jarasandhavadha, along with the praise of hero’s lineage, beautiful depiction of his city is included. This epic contains divine and natural elements; it it also contains unnatural incidents involving humans. For the description of Nature ‘Sandhya, Suryendu, Pradosh dhvanta vasarah’, etc. and life activities, Vishwanath had repeated the same things said earlier by other Acharyas.

The Jarsandhavadha describes, at more or less length, such incidents and topics as twilight, the rise of the sun and the moon, the night, the evening, darkness, the day, morning, noon, hunting, mountains, seasons, forests, oceans, the union and separation of lovers, sages, heaven, cities, sacrifices, battles, invasions, marriage-ceremonies, advice, the birth of a son and many more things. The description of nature like -night, dusk, dawn, afternoon, forest, sun, moon, ocean, mountain etc are described systematically, in its entirety and rhetorically.

The description of beautiful gardens, lakes and prosperity of Dvarika is presented in detail and beautyfully. There was plenty of water in Dvarika since there were innumerable lakes in and around the city. The water of which was crystal clear and the pools filled with water provided the impression of being the sea by itself.


The stanzas above are replete with the description of life-sustaining water which is the symbol of life itself in Dvarika, the city bubbling with life and prosperity. The stanza presents the flora and fauna of Dvarika, the city created by the Almighty Himself. After all, there was God’s plenty!

Different activities and situations of life like love, marriage, unionseparation, discussions, public affairs, counsel, messenger, consignment, soldiers, expedition, strategic placement of forces, war, victory for the hero, sacrifice etc. are presented at length in this epic.

In this, by visualizing the important objects on the way, the poet has tried to create animated scene as if they also unfolded along the path of the travelers. The description seemed like a lively presentation of the sights they had witnessed. Jarasandhavadha is replete with such simple descriptions. It contains vivid description of some aspects of Nature. Since poet's mind is totally immersed visualizing these scenes in their true splendor, such descriptions exemplify their harmony.

At some places, human nature is compared with the nature as such which gives an impression of synergy of both (nature’s activities and human life). Apart from these scenes, the Jarasandhavadha contains the ideal depiction of the nature, but the same is done at appropriate places, which have come out in a very natural style. The descriptive style of the poet is very effective. The creative description of the nature’s beauty adorned by forests and mountains and the glorification of Gomantaka mountain is very realistic. Descriptions of war scenes are very lively and visually strong. There is no repetitiveness anywhere. Though it has envisioned all manifestations of war, yet its emotional core is peace and not valour.

As said earlier, the battle description of Jarasandhavadha is as per the traditions of historical poems, like the portents of defeat through bad omens, readiness for the attack, journey for the battle, strategic plans and positioning of the weapons, elephants, horses, soldiers, slaying of fighters, rising smoke, assuming the witch and devils, gods watching the battle, showering of flower petals, ending of battle at sunset, animals and birds entering the battlefield. When Bhima finally killed Jarasandha at that time he was rained upon with flowers by a band of celestials.

Supernatural Elements:

Ancient Prabandh Kavyas contained divine and supernatural elements in abundance. They were found aplenty even in the epic poems, which were based on these contents. From ancient times, the basis of poems written by human beings was God and Religion. Since the human heart has the natural tendency for mythological beliefs and curiosity, we find divine and supernatural elements abundantly in this work.

Rudrat accepted these elements, but said that these acts should necessarily have propriety, humans cannot perform supernatural acts, therefore to accomplish divine functions it is necessary to use mountains, crossing the ocean, roaming an entire world (divine power), celestial musicians, God, and celestial damsels. Vishwanath just said that epic can have God as its hero and it should contain the description of sages and heaven. Anandwardhan also said that human kings etc. should not be made to perform divinely tasks like crossing the ocean, because they being improper tend to be uninteresting.

In Jarasandhvadham supernatural elements are used in plenty. The very birth of Jarasandha is the best example of supernaturalism. Due to the efforts of Brihadratha and as a consequence the effect of powerful Muni’s split fruit and seed, Jarasandha was born in the night to two mothers in two portions. Wandering in the night, a female demon named Jara with an accursed form, used her magic powers to bind the two sections of the strong body like Vajra, of this wicked child. He (the child), with the effect of Kaushika Rishi’s speech, was joined (Sandhi) into one body by the female demon Jara. Immediately after this she disappeared. The epic is full of supernatural elements.

Style and Language:

Goswamiji is the poet of high standard and his poetry is an example of his excellence. He has got a very strong hold on the language. He is perfect in using the words in both easy and difficult styles. Somewhere there is a beautiful balance of bliss and sweetness. Sometimes there is beauty of poems like Kalidas and sometimes grandeur and esteem of Bharvi’s style and in some places the use of grammar is like Bhatti. In some places it is highly creative and in some places the emotions dominate. Though the words are very meaningful, they are very sweet. Kaundinya Rishi rightly says -


Except for two Acharyas viz. Bhamah and Rudrat, everyone else has elaborated on metre. Acharyas like Dandi, Hemachandra, Vishwanath etc. have expressed their views on metre. As per Dandi, audible verses should be used in Mahakavyas, i.e., the reader should enjoy while reading or listening. But this characteristic rule is applicable not only to epics but to any type of poetry. Only one type of metre should be used in an entire Canto and at the end a different metre should be used. Thereafter, repeating Dandi’s criterion Vishwanath said that in certain epics Cantos with different metres may be found.

With regard to figures of speech, Bhamah, Dandi, Hemachandra etc. are of a clear opinion that Mahakavya should compulsorily contain figure of speech. Bhamah by using the term Saalankaram and Dandi using Alankritam, have expressed the same fact. By saying Vagvaidagdhya Pradhane Api the writer of Agnipurana has approved this element. Hemachandra clarified that epic should contain difficult picturesque Cantos i.e., figure of speech like Yamaka, Shlesha etc. should be used, but Acharya Rudrat and Vishwanath have not discussed about figure of speech.

In the Jarasandhvadha the poet has made the usage of figure of speech as a medium of expressing eloquence. They are arranged in a very natural manner. In this epic, figures of speech appear with the natural flow of story, emotions and sentiments. We can say that 'figure of speech' has become one of the main characteristics of this epic. Goswamiji is capable of arranging the figure of speech at its proper place. Sometimes he is solely immersed in it to the extent that he does not bother about the flow of sentiments and keeps enjoying it.

Nineteenth canto of this epic presents the ability of the poet to form the 'Padmabandha', 'Gadabandha', 'Murajbandha', 'Shulbandha', 'Venubandha', 'Vajrabandha' and 'Chakrabandha'. The beauty here lies in the mystry that we get a new creation -this verse, which is arranged in ‘Chakrabandha’ shows as follows -

“Hariraya Jarasandhavadham Kavyam”

(JM -216)

Acharyas have deliberated on the subject of language to a lesser extent. A few Acharyas have indicated the language related characteristics for poetry and epics. Accepting the importance of talent amongst other motives like the world, education (lexicography, dictionary, metre, art etc.) and chapter (knowledge of objective, perseverance) training on the art of poetry (understanding), Dandi laid special emphasis on labour and effort. In ‘Kavya Mimamsa’ he considered a great poet to be someone who possessed ten characteristics.

As a result of that a great poet shall necessarily have command over language. Bhamah just indicated that rustic words and meanings should not be used in Mahakavya i.e., it should not be Nativyakhyeyam –incomprehensible, the language must be simple and easy to understand. The same was approved by Acharya Hemachandra, who accepted ‘Samasta Lokaranjakatvam’ (one which pleases everyone) as a characteristic of a great poem.

This epic has the quality of universal understanding. The language used by Goswamiji contains lucidity to certain extent. Goswamiji is a powerful poet. He is the master of imaginative creation and partial towards paying more attention to the beauty of expressions. Though Goswamiji’s heart was totally immersed with poetic content, he remained under the grip of conventions. Usage of meaning based various figure of speech like Upma, Utpreksha, Rupaka, Atishayokti, Sahokti, Samasokti, Tulyayogita, Kavyaling, Virodha etc. Word-based figure of speech includes Anuprasa, in Yamaka chitrakavya, samudra, Chakrabandha, Murajbandha, Ardhabramaka, Gaumutrikabandha, Sarvatobhadra and usage of Shlesha is also found.

Goswamiji has used the phrase for it 'Bahuvidh Ras Evam Chhanda'. Mahakavi Harsha has used the 'Vaidharbhi Riti' in the same way Goswamiji has used the 'Panchali Riti'. Here the emphases is on the words 'Vidharbh' and 'Draupdi' -

(JM -226)

He writes, "Having subordinated the aspect of (poetic) sentiment, to make it taste differently, this work is composed by me exerting, by arrangement of verses in various new shapes, in every respect; that is meant strictly for the knower of principles of poetics, not again for the bad-hearted who tend to lay hand on deficiencies, may bees become discernable not the mad monkeys."

(JM -228)

While Acharyas have explored certain elements of style for Mahakavya to a greater extent, they left few of them. There may be many reasons for not deliberating on certain elements like the grace and profundity of style, the importance of Mahakavya. Generally, Acharyas have not considered those elements, about which others have spoken and which are popularly accepted or it does not come under their purview, but even then subtle mention do find place.

As in the case of intellect in Mahakavya, while speaking about the importance of subject, Vaman had indicated ‘Kramasiddhistayoh Straguttamsavat’ (explaining the relation between a garland and Uttans, a crest with a peacock feather, he said that only after accomplishing the art of weaving a garland that one attains expertise in molding a crest. Likewise, only after perfecting the art of free verse that a poet can accomplish creating an epic. In this matter Goswamiji is far ahead of the contemporary poets.

Rasa (Aesthetic pleasure) and Emotional Expressions

Right from Bharatmuni up to Vishwanatha, all have laid emphasis on the arrangement of Rasa (enjoyment) in an epic. Bhamah by saying ‘Rasaischkalai prithak’, Dandi by saying ‘Rasa-bhavanirantaram’ and Acharya Rudrat by saying ‘Sarve rasa, samagraikarasayuktah’ expressed its necessity. In clear terms, Acharya Kuntaka also established importance of aesthetic pleasure in contextual-craft and fiction-craft. In his opinion, the voice of a poet, whose creations are full of references to aesthetic sentiments, does not sustain only with the support of story. Anandavardhana has held Rasa to be the ultimate of an epic.

It means that essentially an epic should contain all emotions, but Vishwanatha said any one amongst Shringara (expressing love), Veera (expressing heroism) and Shanta (expressing confidence and security) is necessary. In the epics of later period, the composition of Rasa remained mechanical, as per Lakshana Granthas (Books prescribing Characteristic features for poetry). They did have balanced usage in terms of series of events, activities and aesthetic and emotional expressions. The poet says, "My mind creeper blissfully holding onto the best of trees, Krishna the ornament of Vraja, with the grace of Hari as well as by good fortune that association with the good has made me wholly succulent from within indeed like a mango, here that Hariraya and his work be known to discerning people."

(JM -228)

The dominant emotion of Jarasandhvadha is Veera (heroic) and Shringara (love) is its subsidiary, but which overlaps the main emotion due to its elaborate description. Along with them other emotions are also beautifully expressed. Description of Roudra (rage) in the battlefield description, emotions like Bhayankara (terrible), and Adbhuta (astonishment) can also be seen. In this poetry, Veera Rasa (emotion of heroism) is dealt with profound expression.

At many placesthe epic contains the strong influence of the battle scene descriptions like marching of the army, the shining swords in the battle, trumpeting of the elephants, intense duel, stream of blood, other animals and the dead bodies of soldiers. Besides this, the description of Raudra Rasa of the soldiers before entering the battlefield has been brought out beautifully.

Goswamjis penchant for Shringara Rasa is reflected in its extensive use. This has undermined the aesthetic content of Shringara Rasa by exuding more of libidinous influence. The description in Chapter 3, 14, 16 is as per Nayikabhed (the study of female characters). In fact, Jarasandhavadha contains beautiful depiction of arousal of emotions, but the pictures of auxiliary sentiments of love are presented in different way.

Goswamiji is such a poet who gives the complete credit to Lord Krishna who is his source of inspiration and under his guidance he could compose this work. He writes,

" Indra and Brahma in a fine, clean attire, to go near him (Krishna) even for a moment, situating on their horse and swan respectively, deeply engaged like Panini in formulating his aphorisms; Bowing to him alone the highest being Hari, who is the source of joy, the delight (son) of Nanda, poem namely 'Jarasandhavadha' is completed by me, deftly who is his servant."

(JM- 228)

The poet of Veer Ras, Goswami Hariraiji is so confident and conscious of his poetic merits that he makes his stand very clear in the work itself and he is absolutely right in making this statement -

"The work and its author who is I: sometimes, somewhere the poetic convention has overlooked by me. Let that not be pondered over by men of wisdom who are free from envy. It is admitted the breaking of poetic convention has happened, but by myself (itself)."

(JM- 227)

When we take into consideration the remarks of Shri Gopaldas Gajja, a poet and scholar at the same time, it becomes very easy for us to understand the view point of our poet -


Rishi Kaundinyaji has very categorically described the abilities and qualities of this great poet. Because of his extraordinary control on grammar, his language has become glorious. Goswamiji’s unlimited knowledge indicates his deep study and serious emotions. Because of these qualities Jarasandhavadha has got its own special place in the Sanskrit Literature. Kaundinyaji praises the poetic qualities of the poet and expresses his feelings that the glory of the poet and the Jarasandhavadha Mahakavyam will remain in this world for ever -

(JM -Introduction)

I hope that this translation would help the scholars of epic to do further research into the epics in Indian languages and thus prepare a proper ground for a comparative study of Indian and Western epics. This translation will thus facilitate the researchers of poetry in general and epics in particular.

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