Naishadha-charita of Shriharsha

by Krishna Kanta Handiqui | 1956 | 159,632 words

This page relates Introduction to Candupandita’s commentary of the English translation of the Naishadha-charita of Shriharsha, dealing with the famous story of Nala (king of Nishadha) and Damayanti (daughter of Bhima, king of Vidarbha), which also occurs in the Mahabharata. The Naishadhacharita is considered as one of the five major epic poems (mahakavya) in Sanskrit literature.

Introduction to Cāṇḍūpaṇḍita’s commentary

The extracts from Cāṇḍūpaṇḍita given in the Notes are taken from the following manuscripts of his commentary preserved in the Bhanḍarkar Institute.

(1) Ms. A (No. 16 of 1874—75) is well-written and fairly correct, and contains the commentary on Cantos I-X, XII, XVIII-XXII, and about a dozen verses of Canto XI. The manuscript was written at different times, and is obviously a composite work. At the end of Canto II the date is given as Saṃvat 1476 (a.d. 1420), while Saṃvat 1473 (a.d. 1417) is the date given at the end of Canto XXII. The portion of the Commentary on Cantos X and XVIII-XX is written on leaves of much smaller dimensions, and seems to have been incorporated from a different manuscript.

(2) Ms. C (No. 89 of 1919-24) is beautifully written and fairly correct, the date of writing being Saṃvat 1679 (a.d. 1623), as stated at the end. This manuscript contains both Text and Commentary, but gives only an abridged version of the latter. The commentary of Cāṇḍūpaṇḍita is not thus preserved in full in the manuscripts referred to here.

Cāṇḍūpaṇḍita gives the date of his commentary as Saṃvat 1353 (a.d. 1297) at the end of Canto XXII.[1] His date has already been mentioned by Paṇḍit Śivadatta in his Introduction to the N. S. edition of Naiṣadhacarita, and by Paṇḍit Lakṣmaṇa Śāśtrī in his Introduction to the Benares edition of Khaṇḍana-khaṇḍa-khādya. Dr. Bühler, however, in his Report of 1874-75, wrongly states that the date of the commentary is a,d. 1456-7, and his mistake is copied by Aufrecht in his well-known Catalogue. Bühler’s mistake has been corrected by Mr. P. K. Gode of the Bhandarkar Institute in a Note published in the Journal of the Mythic Society (April, 1928).

Cāṇḍūpaṇḍita gives a good deal of information about himself in the colophons to his commentary at the end of each Canto. He was a Nāgara Brahmin and a native of Dhavalakkaka or Dholka (near Ahmedabad), which rose to prominence during the thirteenth century at the expense of Anahilapaṭṭana which had long been the capital of Guzarat.[2] Cāṇḍūpaṇḍita states that his commentary was completed when Sāṅga was the king and Mādhava the prime minister.[3] This Sāṅga is obviously the same as Sāraṅga-deva, the Vāghelā king of Guzarat, who ascended the throne in 1277 a.d. and reigned for twenty years,[4] that is, till 1297, the year in which Cāṇḍūpaṇḍita’s commentary was written. Karṇadeva, the successor of Sāraṅgadeva, ascended the throne in the same year; but as Cāṇḍūpaṇḍita states in his gloss on Naiṣadha 8.59,[5] the minister Mādhavadeva proceeded to make one Udayarāja the king, and as a result of the prevailing insecurity there was universal pillage and theft in Guzarat. Karṇa, however, ruled for seven years,[6] and was the last king of the Vāghelā dynasty, after whose downfall the sovereignty of Guzarat passed into the hands of the Muhammadans. The incursions of the latter have left their mark on Cāṇḍūpaṇḍita’s commentary, for it is stated at the end of the first Canto that the commentary was burnt during ‘the devastation caused by the Mlecchas’, but was restored by Cāṇḍū’s learned brother Tāhlaṇa.[7]

Cāṇḍūpaṇḍita’s father was Āligapaṇḍita, and Gauridevī was his mother. Vaidyanātha was his teacher, but he studied the Naiṣadha under Munideva,[8] and the Mahābhārata under Narasiṃhapaṇḍita. He studied the Kāśikā with the Nyāsa,[9] and the different philosophical systems. But the commentary itself furnishes adequate evidence of the range of his studies and his wide acquaintance with the various branches of learning.

Cāṇḍūpaṇḍita is described in some of the colophons as the author of a commentary on the Ṛgveda. A specimen of this commentary is found in his gloss on Naiṣadha 9.75, in the course of which an entire hymn of the Ṛgveda (10. 51) is quoted and explained.[10] Cāṇḍū is earlier than Sāyaṇa by more than half a century, and it is all the more regrettable that his commentary should have been lost, probably during the Muhammadan invasion of Guzarat. He was a master of the Vedic sacrificial system, and is probably the only Kāvya commentator who quotes chapter and verse from the Śrautasūtras. He performed a number of important Vedic sacrifices, such as the seven varieties of the Soma sacrifice, the Dvādaśāha and the Agnicayana. He assumed the proud title of Samrāṭ by performing the Vājapeya sacrifice, and became a Sthapati by performing the Bṛhaspatisava.[11] The religious activities of Cāṇḍūpaṇḍita show that comprehensive Vedic sacrifices were still undertaken in Guzarat in the thirteenth century.

Cāṇḍūpaṇḍita quotes a large number of authors and works in his commentary, and does not hesitate to give lengthy quotations. Most of his citations will be found in the Extracts from his work given in the Notes. Among philosophical texts he quotes Praśastapādabhāṣya (19.52),[12] Śrīdhara’s Nyāyakandalī (22.36), Kumārila’s Ślokavārtika (2.61), Bhāsarvajña’s Nyāyasāra (5.18; 8.41), Ānandabodha’s Nyāyamakaranda (21.108), Sāṃkhyakārikā (22.76, 83), and the Mīmāṃsāsūtras (17.60, 61). The elaborate exposition of the Prābhākara theory of cognition under 6.51, and the discourse on Upādhi, though somewhat irrelevant, under 19.45 testify to our author’s deep knowledge of the philosophical systems.

Among Vedic works, Cāṇḍū quotes Bṛhaddevatā (9.75), Yāska’s Nirukta (2.24; 7.39; 4.24; 20.59, etc.), Kātyāyanaśrautasūtra (5.135; 19.27), Śāṃkhāyanaśrautasūtra (3.62; 11.117; 19.27), Śāṃkhāyanagṛhyasūtra (12.37), Anukramaṇī (6.2), Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (1.40), and nearly the whole of the seventh Prapāṭhaka of Chāndogya Upaniṣad (11.129). He quotes Durgācārya’s commentary on Nirukta under 9.20, and seems to refer to Varadattasuta Ānartīya’s commentary on Śāṃkhāyanaśrautasūtra under 11.117 and that of Karka on Kātyāyanaśrautasūtra under 19.27.[13]

Among Smṛti writers, Vijñāneśvara’s commentary on Yājñāvalkya is cited under 21.85, while three Ācāryas Viśvarūpa, Govindarāja and Harasvāmin (Harisvāmin?) are named in connection with Smṛti interpretation in the gloss on 17. 52. Of these Viśvarūpa is mentioned by Vijñāneśvara as his predecessor in the beginning of his Mitākṣarā commentary, while Govindarāja is the well-known commentator on Manu. The identity of Harasvāmin is doubtful, but if Harisvāmin is meant, the latter is known to have written a commentary on Śatapathabrāhmaṇa, and in fact, he is known also as Hariharasvāmin.[14] Among Purāṇas Cāṇḍūpaṇḍita quotes Viṣṇu-purāṇa (3.101; 11.77) and Bhāgavata (11.115). An Āgama is quoted under 12.102.

Several lexicons are quoted. Pratāpamārtaṇḍa is cited under 2.24, 18.62 and 21.30, and Dhanvantarīya Nighaṇṭu under 20.21. Hemacandra is quoted several times (4.63; 7.80; 10.105; 19.27). Halāyudha is quoted under 3.119; 4.76; 8.35; 19.27 and 20.12. The reference under 19.27 is important as it helps us to correct a mistake in Aufrecht’s edition of Halāyudha’s Abhidhānaratnamālā.[15] In the gloss on 19.27 there is also a reference to Kṣīrasvāmin.

Some of the Kāvya quotations deserve mention. Under 6.2 Cāṇḍūpaṇḍita refers to Raghu 15.54 and mentions an interesting variant. [16] In the gloss on 7.80 he cites Māgha 20.70 (vavṛṣurvṛṣanādino nadānāmataṭārāpitavarī vārivāhāḥ?) while explaining the word Ataṭa. It may be here noted that Mallinātha reads Prataṭa for Ataṭa, but the latter reading is found in the commentary of Vallabha who is earlier than Mallinātha. Under 12.10 Cāṇḍū quotes a line from the little known Arjunacarita, a poem attributed to Ānandavardhana. Mayūra’s Sūryaśataka is referred to in the gloss on 10.41. A verse from Murāri’s Anargharāghava is quoted under 5.29, and there are further quotations from Kālidāsa, Bhāravi and Māgha.

Among Alaṃkāra works there are citations from Kāvyaprakāśa (1.142; 3.73; 3.128; 10.59), Rudraṭa (3.37; 4.26; 17.221; 18.54), Rucaka, Le., Ruyyaka (2.46), Bhaṭṭendurāja (1.75; 3.22), Daśarūpaka (2.44), Śṛṅgāratilaka (1.34), and Vāmana’s Kāvyālaṃkāra (1.66; 4.40; 5.66; 8.96). Under 5.110 (q. v.) the latter writer is referred to as Uttaravṛttikāra. Vṛttaratnākara is mentioned under 10.76, and Halāyudha’s commentary on the Piṅgalasūtras is quoted twice (8.105; 12.91). There are some minute references to Vātsyāyana’s Kāmasūtras under 5.32, 6.35 and 7.97; and a lengthy quotation from the Jayamaṅgalā commentary on the Kāmasūtras (the section dealing with the fine arts or Kalās) occurs in the gloss on 7.97. Ratirahasya is quoted under 7.36 and 97.

As regards grammatical references, Cāṇḍūpaṇḍita quotes Kāśikā several times, and refers to Padamañjarī under 11.117 and quotes a Gaṇakāra under 12.66. A noteworthy feature of his commentary is that he quotes both from Pāṇini and the Kātantra, and his work is in fact designed for the use of students of either system of grammar. I have verified most of the quotations from the Kātantra, which occur in the printed edition of the work.[17] It may also be noted that Cāṇḍū frequently refers to Kātyāyana or Kātyāyanīya in the case of the rules dealing with Kṛt forms.[18] This is interesting in view of the fact that the Kṛt chapter of the Kātantra was composed not by Śarvavarman, but by Kātyāyana, as stated by Durgasiṃha in the beginning of his Vṛtti on the Kṛt section.[19] Cāṇḍūpaṇḍita quotes also from Durgasiṃha’s Vṛtti,[20] and in this connection it may be noted that he attributes two rules of the Ākhyāta section to Durgasiṃha, showing that he considered them to be part of the Vṛtti and not of the Sūtrapāṭha.[21] The opinion of a Kātantravṛttikāra mentioned in the gloss on 11.94[22] seems to refer to Durgasiṃha’s Kātantragaṇavṛtti.[23]

Under 9.43 Cāṇḍūpaṇḍita quotes Trilocana, the author of the Pañjī commentary on the Vṛtti of Durgasiṃha.[24] In the gloss on 11.127 he quotes a grammarian named Vijayānanda who belongs to the Kātantra school.[25] Cāṇḍū seems also to have been acquainted with Śrīpati’s Kātantrapariśiṣṭa, though he does not mention Śrīpati by name. Under 19. 31, while explaining the form “śyenī” he quotes a rule which is found with an insignificant variation in Śrīpati’s work.[26]

The Kātantra is quoted not only by Cāṇḍūpaṇḍita but also by Vidyādhara who, as we shall see, is earlier than Cāṇḍū. Vidyādhara’s references are not as systematic as those of the latter, but he quotes a work named Kātantravistara,[27] which is obviously the same as the Kātantravistara of Vardhamāna who probably flourished in Guzarat in the latter portion of the eleventh century.[28] The Kātantra is known to have been prevalent in Kashmir from the twelfth century downwards, but the numerous references to this grammar by Cāṇḍūpaṇḍita and Vidyādhara, both natives of Guzarat, point to its popularity in the latter country as well at least in the thirteenth century.[29]

The scholarly character of Cāṇḍūpaṇḍita’s commentary will be evident from the works and authors cited by him. His commentary is particularly useful for understanding the more difficult verses, and throws light on many points ignored or imperfectly explained by the other commentators. It is to be regretted that the complete text of his commentary is no longer available.

Footnotes and references:


śrīvikramārkasamayāccharadāmatha tripañcāśatā samadhikeṣu tateṣviteṣu |
teṣu trayodaśamu bhādrapade śuklapakṣe trayodaśatithau ravivāsare ca ||


See Kathvate’s Introduction to his edition of Kīrtikaumudī.


“śrīmatsāṅganṛpe śrīmādhavasaṃjñite mahāmātye” at the end of Canto XXII.


Collected Works of R. G. Bhandarkar, Vol. II, p. 75.


See Notes (Extracts).


Not in Guzarat. Vincent Smith states that in 1297 an officer of Alaud-din Khilji annexed Guzarat to the Sultanate of Delhi. (Oxford History of India, 1928, p. 268.) It is said that Karṇa took away Mādhava’s wife from him, and the latter retaliated by inviting the Muslims to invade Guzarat. Karṇa, after his defeat, fled to the Deccan and took refuge at the court of the Yādava king Rāmacandra of Devagiri. Not long after he set himself up in Baglan as a semi-independent ruler and a vassal of the Yādava king. Commissariat—A History of Gujarat, Vol. I, chap. I (Longmans, 1938).


“mlecchopaliṅgājjvalita[nn?]tīkāṃ, ṭīkāmimāṃ pūrayati sma samyak |”


“vuddhvā śrīmunidevasaṃjñavivudhāt kāvyaṃ navaṃ naiṣadhaṃ” at the end of Canto XXII.


“nyāsānvitāṃ kāśikām” the end of Canto XVIII in Ms. C. Ms. reads “bhyāsānvitāṃ”.


See Notes.


“yo vājapeyayajanena babhūva samrāṭ kṛtvā vṛhaspatisavaṃ sthapatitvasāpa |
yo dvādaśāhaya(ja)ne'gnicidapyabhūt saḥ śrīcaṇḍupaṇḍita imāṃ vitatāna ṭīkām ||

at the end of Canto XXII.


The references are to verses of Naiṣadha (N. S. ed., 1912).


See Notes.


See Aufrecht-Catalogus Catalogorum, Part I.


See Notes.


See Notes (Extracts).


I have used the monumental Calcutta edition of Paṇḍit Gurunātha in Bengali character with various commentaries and auxiliary matter.


See Notes under 10.88; 12.37; 19.12 and 17. Another example is found in the gloss on 2.74. Cāṇḍū remarks on the form “bhittabhittaṃ śakalamiti nipātaḥ” and says “bhittarṇavittā iti kātyāyanaḥ”. The reference is to the Kātantra rule “bhittarṇavittāḥ śakalādhamarṇabhogepu” (Kṛdvṛtti, Pāda 6).


vṛkṣādivadamī rūḍhāḥ kṛtinā na kṛtāḥ kṛtaḥ |
kātyāyanena te sṛṣṭā vivuddhiprativuddhaye ||


See Notes under 9.140; 18.31. Under 8.101 Cāṇḍū says “sthāsnāpibativyadhihanibhyaḥ kaḥ syāt”. This is a quotation from Durgasiṃha’s Vṛtti on the Kātantra rule “stambe'cca” (Kṛdvrtti, Pāda 5).


“mamāra—‘āśīradyatanyośca mṛṅ’ iti durgasiṃhavacanāt......āśīradyatanī-anvikaraṇavyatirekeṇa atra parasmaipadam” 4. 79; “durgasiṃho'pyāha ‘udo'nūrdhvaceṣṭāyām’ iti” 3.7.

The Calcutta edition of the Kātantra includes these two rules in the Sūtrapāṭha, but puts them in a supplementary section of the Ākhyāta chapter (76-1 to 76-66).


See Notes.


The material portion of this work was first published by A. Borooah as Dhātuvṛttisāra with extracts from Ramānātha’s commentary in 1887.


While explaining the form “viduṣivravā” [?viduṣibravā?] Cāṇḍū says:

“trilocanaśca ‘ansyantavihitāyā (Ms. asyantantavihitāyā) nadyāḥ taratamarūpakalpacelabravagotramatahateṣu vā hrasvaḥ’ (ityāha)”

The quotation is found in Trilocana’s Pañjī on Kātantravṛtti on “arvanarvantirasāvanañ” (Nāmaprakaraṇa, Pāda 3).


See Notes.


Cāṇḍū says:

“‘varṇādanudāttāt-’ iti pāṇinīye śyenī śyeteti vikalpaḥ | kaumāre'pi vaktavyamuktam—‘śyetaitaharitalohitebhyasto na’ iti nadādau |”

The Calcutta edition of Kātantrapariśiṣta reads “......... lohitānāṃ to naśca”


See Notes on 21. 40.


Belvalkar-Systems of Sanskrit Grammar, p. 88.


Durgasiṃha is mentioned in the following popular verse reported about Vastupāla, the famous minister of Guzarat, who flourished in the first half of the thirteenth century—

sūtre vṛttiḥ kṛtā pūrva durgasiṃhena dhīmatā |
visūtre tu kṛ?ā teṣāṃ vastupālena mantriṇā ||

See Vastupālaprabandha in Rājaśekhara’s Prabandhakoṣa. Arjunavarmadeva, who also belongs to the thirteenth century, quotes Durgasiṃha in his commentary on Amaruśataka (verse 16). Durgasiṃha’s commentary seems to have been a popular work in this century in Western India. Kīrtikaumudī 3.43 refers to the Kātantra term “sandhyakṣara”

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