Amarakoshodghatana of Kshirasvamin (study)

by A. Yamuna Devi | 2012 | 77,297 words | ISBN-13: 9788193658048

This page relates ‘Post-Amarakosha Lexicographers and Lexicons’ of the study on the Amarakoshodghatana of Kshirasvamin (in English) which represents a commentary on the Amarakosha of Amarasimha. These ancient texts belong the Kosha or “lexicography” category of Sanskrit literature which deals with the analysis and meaning of technical words from a variety of subjects, such as cosmology, anatomy, medicine, hygiene. The Amarakosa itself is one of the earliest of such text, dating from the 6th century A.D., while the Amarakoshodghatana is the earliest known commentary on that work.

Post-Amarakośa Lexicographers and Lexicons

(a) Anekārthasamuccaya[1] of Śāśvata probably 6th C. A.D. is a lexicon on homonymns in six sections. The last two sections deal with indeclinables.

(b) Abhidhānaratnamālā[2] of Bhaṭṭa Halāyudha (10th C. A.D) is a lexicon in five Kāṇḍas; the last Kāṇḍa deals with homonyms and avyayas.

(c) Vaijayantī[3] of Yādavaprakāśa (at first preceptor and later pupil of Rāmānuja) 11th Cent.A.D. is a work in two portions of synonyms and homonyms further divided into many sections. The speciality of the work is that the section on homonyms is arranged in alphabetical order of initial letters.

(d) Viśvaprakāśa[4] of Maheśvara is a lexicon of homonyms arranged after the final consonants; it is further subdivided according to the number of syllables contained in the words, such as kaikakam, kadvayam, katrikam, and so on.

(e) Anekārthakoṣa of Maṅkha is a work arranged in alphabetical order of final consonants and further divided into sections according to number of syllables in a word. Maṅkha is identified with the author of Śrīkaṇṭhacarita, who lived in the reign of King Jayasiṃha of Kashmir (12th C. A.D.)

(f) Lexicographers like Ajayapāla, Tārāpāla, Durga, Dhanañjaya, Dharaṇi, Dharma, Muni, Rantideva, Rabhasapāla, Rudra, and few others are mentioned by authors of 11th Cent.A.D. and later writers. Except the works of Ajayapāla, Dhanañjaya and Dharaṇi which are available in manuscripts, all the others are known only by citations.

(g) Again, the Nigamābhidhāna or Nigamākhya abhidhāna is also known only by name from quotations of Sarvānanda and Rāyamukuṭa. Similar is the case with Muni, another lexicographer whose work, probably a lexicon of synonyms in the śloka metre, is not available.

(h) Ekākṣarakoṣa and Dvirūpakoṣa are attributed to Puruṣottamadeva 11th -13th C. A.D. He is also said to be the author of three lexicons—Trikāṇḍaśeṣa, Hārāvalī and Varṇadeśanā. He has also written a commentary called Bhāṣāvṛtti on the Aṣṭādhyāyī of Pāṇini. The Trikāṇḍaśeṣa[5], a supplement to Amarakośā, as stated by the author in the beginning gives the words left out by Amarasiṃha and words prevalant during his own time. Hārāvalī is a work in two portions–synonyms and homonyms, each further divided into three sections, giving words which are very common. Varṇadeśanā is in prose dealing with orthographical variations. As indicated by the author in the beginning of the work, it discusses on various authorities, etymological details words which are misspelt such as singha for siṃha.

(i) Anekārthakośa or Nānārthasaṅgraha is a lexicon written by Ajayapāla probably in 11th C. A.D.

(j) Nāmamālā of Dhanañjaya (12th C. A.D), is found in many recensions. The text published in the Dvādaśakośasaṅgraha is taken to be authoritative by scholars. In this connection it is to be noted that there are three different koṣas with the same name Nāmamālā, one authored by Kātya as already mentioned, another written in āryā metre and oftquoted by Sarvānanda, and yet another by Amara.

(k) Tārāpāla is known only by citations of Sarvānanda, Medinīkāra and Rāyamukuṭa.

(l) Durga, another ancient lexicographer, whose work is not available, is quoted by Kṣīrasvāmin and Hemacandra in their commentaries on Amarakośa. From the quotations of Kṣīrasvāmin it is inferred that Durga's Koṣa was similar to Amarakośa containing synonyms and homonyms and also was an authority on verbal roots and etymological derivations.

(m) Abhidhānacintāmaṇi, Anekārthasaṃgraha, Nighaṇṭuśeṣa and Deśīnāmamālā–all the four lexicons are authored by the Jain monk Hemacandra also called Karikālasarvajña(11th -12th C. A.D) who lived under Jayasiṃha and Kumārapāla.

(n) Kalpadrukoṣa of Keśava is another lexicon worth mentioning (17th C. A.D). Many such koṣas are available recapsuling the earlier ones and updating the trends in language and society.

Besides the above mentioned Koṣas of synonyms and homonyms there are lexicons dealing with special subjects such as Ekākṣarakoṣa of Puruṣottamadeva lithographed in Dvādaśakośasaṅgraha[6], Avyayakoṣa of Mahādeva published in Dvādaśakośasaṅgraha; lexicon of plants, drugs and medical virtues such as Dhanvantari nighaṇṭu[7] (500 A.D.); Paryāyaratnamālā of Mādhavakara (8th or 9th C. A.D); Śivakoṣa of Śivadatta (17th C. A.D); astronomical and astrological glossaries such as Gaṇitaratnamālā of Haradatta (published in Dvādaśakośasaṃgraha) and Pārasīvinoda of Vajrabhūṣaṇa.

Footnotes and references:


Kṣīrasvāmin G. Oka, Poona, 1918; Narayan Nathaji Kulkarni, Oriental Book Agency, Poona, 1929.


Ed. Th. Aufrecht, London,1861.


Ed. G. Oppert, Madras, 1893.


The last verse declares that it was composed in 1111. A.D., ed. Chaukhamba Sanskrit Series, Benares, 1911.


Ed. with com. Veṅkaṭeśvara press, Bombay, N.D.


Abhidhānasaṅgraha, Vol. I, Bombay, 1889.


Ed. with Rājanighaṇṭu, ASS, 1896.

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