Amarakoshodghatana of Kshirasvamin (study)

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

This page relates ‘Professions, Servants and Employed persons’ 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.

Professions, Servants and Employed persons

(a) Teachers and priests:

Brāhmaṇas were generally linked with the profession of teaching and officiating at the sacrifices as priests. Upādhyāya, adhyāpaka, ācārya and guru (I. 7. 7; p. 164) are the terms denoting a teacher[1].

Female Teachers:—Female teachers were known as upādhyāyī, upādhyāyā and ācāryā (II. 6. 14; p.137) These are women who were teachers by their own merit[2] and not the wives of male preceptors.

(b) Lipiṅkara (or) Akṣaracaṇa: (II. 8. 15; p. 179)–

[Scribe:]

Kṣīrasvāmin explains these terms to denote those who earn their livelihood is by writing

lipiṃ karoti, ākṣarairvitto'kṣaracaṇaḥ |

(c) Karaṇa (II. 10. 2; p. 225-26):

According to Kṣīrasvāmin, karaṇa is one who fulfils an assignment; perhaps a messenger, since preṣyakarma is specifically mentioned–

karoti preṣyakarmāṇīti karaṇaḥ |

(d) Śastrajīvī or Āyudhika, Āyudhīya (II. 8. 68; p. 189):

Kṣīrasvāmin explains these terms as one whose livelihood depends upon weilding weapons

āyudhena jīvati |

(e) Saṃśaptaka (II. 8. 99; pp. 195-96)–

[Chosen warriors:]

Kṣīrasvāmin explains them as those who fight with determination and resolution–

saṃśayanti palāyamānaṃ saśapathaṃ vā yudhyante dṛḍhaniścayāḥ saṃśaptakāḥ ||

A well known instance related to the saṃśaptakas is found in the Mahābhārata (Droṇaparva, chapters 17- 32) where Suśarmā king of Trigarta and his brothers take a vow that they would fight Arjuna till death, attack him and divert him from his main aim of killing Jayadratha on the thirteenth day of war.

(f) Tīkṣṇa (III. 3. 53; p. 282); Abhimara (III. 3.214; p. 323)–

[Desperado:]

Kṣīrasvāmin cites Kauṭilya (I. 12. 2) and explains that the desperados were those who killed or fought with (a snake) wild animals or an elephant uncaring for their own life but for money.

They were also called tīkṣṇa

ye dravyahetorcyāḍaṃ hastinaṃ vā yodhayeyuste tīkṣṇā iti kauṭilyaḥ ||

Kṣīrasvāmin explains the term abhimara (III. 3. 214; p. 323) with the same designation–

ābhimaraḥ prāṇanirapekṣaḥ tīkṣṇākhyaḥ |

(g) Bards:

(i) Vaitālika (II. 8. 98; p. 195):

Kṣīrasvāmin uses vaitālika and bodhakara to mean bards and he also records the view of some critics that bards meant those who awaken the king from his sleep singing auspicious notes thereby announcing the dawn or day break–

vitālaḥ śabdaḥ prayojanaṃ yeṣāṃ vaitālikā rājño'vasarapāṭhakā maṅgalākhyāḥ || prātarbodhakā ityeke ||

(ii) Cakrika (or) Ghantika (II. 8. 98; p. 195):

According to Amarakośa he is a person who rings the bell. Kṣīrasvāmin opines that that these are men who announce the king’s arrival by ringing bells, also called as śrāvaka:

cakraṃ rāṣṭra ghaṇṭāghātena devatādyagre ye śaṃsanti te śrāvakākhyāḥ ||

(iii) Māgadhas (II. 8. 98; p. 195):

Māgadhas, according to Kṣīrasvāmin are those who seek wealth by praising and enumerating the lineage of kings and great men–

vaṃśodīraṇena ye yācante ||

Kṣīrasvāmin further adds that the word māgadha is used in the sense of begging wealth and quotes Bhoja in support of his view–

magadheti yāñcārthaḥkaṇḍvādiḥ | yacchrībhojaḥ -kamarthinaḥ kuṣubhyantu kaṃ magadhyantu māgadhāḥ ||kamiṣudhyantu yajvāno rāmeraṇyaṃ turaṇyati ||

(iv) Vandina (II. 8. 98; p. 195):

Kṣīrasvāmin mentions them as those who sing the praises of kings or bards in general–

vandante stuvanti tacchīlāḥ |

Kṣīrasvāmin remarks that some opine that all the above four denote the same sense, the bards–

catvāra ekārthā ityeke ||

(v) The Vaitālikas, Ghāṇtikas and Māgadhas are also differently interpreted by some which are cited by Kṣīrasvāmin According to them the poets generally call the lullaby singers as vaitālikas.

The king's awakeners are ghāṇtikas and the māgadhas are those bards with knowledge of lineage:

āhuśca—vaitālikāścakathyante kavibhiḥ saukhaśāyikāḥ | rājñaḥ prabodhasamaye ghaṇṭāśilpāstu ghāṇṭikāḥ māgadhāḥstutivaṃśajñā iti ||

(h) Kusīdam (or) Ṛddhijīvikā (II. 9. 4; p. 201)–Profession of usury:

Kṣīrasvāmin explains usury as art of lending money.

ārthasya prayogaḥ phalāntareṇa dānam | kutsitaṃ sīdantyatra kusīdam ||

(i) Kṛṣi (II. 9. 2; p. 200)–

[Agriculture:]

Agriculture is one of the important professions of the vaiśyas. The agricultural crops varied from grains to cereals or vegetables called–vraiheya, maudga, śākaśākaṭam respectively[3].

(j) Sūda (II. 9. 28; p. 206)–

[Cook:]

Kṣīrasvāmin adds another word bhaktakāra to the list of words denoting a cook-

bhaktakārāśca ||

(k) Apūpīka and Kāndavika (II. 9. 28; p. 206)–

[Baker:]

Kṣīrasvāmin explains that one who sells apūpa and kandu is denoted by these terms.

He also derives them grammatically and remarks that the word kāndavika should be kānduka

āpūpāḥ kanduśca paṇyamasya isusūktāntāt
(Pā.VII. 3. 4):
ke, kānduka iti nyāyyam ||

(l) Mahiṣa (II. 10. 3; p. 226):

The mahiṣa or māhiṣya was in charge of the king’s harem–

mahiṣyāṃ sādhurmāhiṣyaḥ, sa hi āntaḥpurarakṣiteti smārtāḥ ||

Amarakośa mentions other professionals like cowherds, gopa, godhuk and gomī (II. 9. 57; p. 212-13), traders, wholesalers and vendors (II. 9. 78-9; p. 217) like vaidehaka, āpaṇika and vikretā[4].

(m) Kṣattā (II. 10. 3; p. 226):

The kṣattās were door keepers–

kṣadati dvāḥsthatvātkṣattā ||

(n) Sūta (II. 10. 3; p. 226):

The sūtas were charioteers–

suvati prerayatyaśvān sūtaḥ ||

(o) Vaidehaka (II. 10. 3; p. 226):

The vaidehakas were traders–

brāhmaṇyāṃ vaiśyājjātau (vaidehakā) vaṇikkarmā ||

(p) Rathakāra (II. 10. 3; p. 226):

Kṣīrasvāmin mentions that he was a chariot-builder–rathakārastvakṣā The Śūdravarga (II. 10. 5-7; p. 226) has a long list of artisans and their synonyms following the chariot builders. Kṣīrasvāmin gives etymological derivations for the following with no special remarks–kāruḥ–an artisan in general, mālākāra–a florist, kumbhakāra–a potter, palagaṇḍa–a mason, tantuvāya–a weaver, tunnavāya–a tailor, raṅgājīvaḥ–a painter, śastramārjaḥ–an iron-smith for armours, pādūkṛt–a shoemaker, vyokāraḥ–a general ironsmith.

(q) Nāḍindama (II. 10. 8; p. 227)–

[Goldsmith:]

Kṣīrasvāmin adds hemamuṣṭika in the same sense–

hemamuṣṭiko'pi ||

(r) Vaikaṭika and Maṇikāra (II. 10. 8; p. 227)–

An expert in Lapidiary: Amarakośa mentions śāṅkhika a shellcutter and śaulbika a copper-smith, Kṣīrasvāmin adds a special type of jeweller as Vaikaṭika–one who gains his livelihood by working on beads or perforating on pearls and corals –maṇikāro vaikaṭikaḥ ||

(s) Takṣa (II. 10. 9; p. 227)–

[Carpenter:]

To the list of words denoting a carpenter Kṣīrasvāmin adds sthapatisthapatiśca || Rathakāra falls under this list.

(t) Kṣurī (II. 10. 10; p. 227)–

[Barber:]

One of the synonyms of a barber is divākīrti. Kṣīrasvāmin remarks that he is designated so as it was a custom not to shave or cut the hair during the night.

Such acts were to be done only during the day–

divā kīrtyate divākīrtiḥ rātrau kṣurakarmaniṣedhāt |

Kṣīrasvāmin adds another word caṇḍila to denote a barber–caṇḍilo'pi | He further adds another professional, namely a body massager denoted as samvāhakasaṃvāhako'ṅgamardaḥ syāt ||

(u) Nirṇejaka (III. 2. 10; p. 227)–

[Washerman:]

Amarakośa mentions rajaka as its synonym. Commenting on these terms, Kṣīrasvāmin remarks that in some regions washing and bleaching were done by the same person and hence rajaka and a dhāvaka were both the same.

But according to the smṛti texts they were two distinctly different professionals–

kvacittu ya eva dhāvakaḥ sa eva rajakaḥ smārte tu bhinnāvetau |

Other professions mentioned in Amarakośa are śauṇḍika–a distiller, ajājīvī–a goat-herd, devājīvatemple priest, māyākāra–a juggler, śalālī–a dancer, cāraṇa–a mimic, mārdaṅgika–a drummer, pāṇivāda–a flute player, vīṇāvāda–a player of lute, jīvāntaka–a bird-catcher, vāgurika–a hunter using nets, vaitamsika–a meat-vendor, bhṛtaka–a servant in general, vārtāvaha–a chandler, bhāravaha–a porter, bhṛtya–a slave. These words are derived by Kṣīrasvāmin adding no new ideas or important informations.

In this context it is interesting to note some of the terms explained by Kṣīrasvāmin with regard to the salary and other details of a servant or an employed person.

(v) Bhṛtya (II. 10. 17; p. 228)–

[Servant:]

Kṣīrasvāmin explains a servant as someone to be taken care of–bharaṇīyaḥ bhṛtyaḥ | But an interesting remark is made by Kṣīrasvāmin when he discusses the term b hāva in the Nānārthavarga (III. 3. 207; p. 321).

Kṣīrasvāmin records that a servant was called bhṛtya since he served the master in keeping with his intentions:

ābhiprāyo yathā—bhāvānuvartī bhṛtyaḥ ||

(w) Upaśāya (III. 2. 32; p. 267)–

[Shifts:]

Amarakośa mentions one of the meaning of the word Upaśāya as watching alternately or duty on rotation or shifts.

From the example cited by Kṣīrasvāmin it is inferred that the servants employed in palaces were on rotational duties or shifts–

paryāyaḥ kramaḥ yathā—tavādya rājopaśayaḥ ||

(x) Paṇa (III. 3. 46; p. 281)–

[Salary:]

In the Nānārthavarga Amarakośa mentions the term paṇa to signify bhṛti which Kṣīrasvāmin explains as the paid salary which was also termed vetanambhṛtirvetanam ||

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

These have been dealt with in detail in the section on “Education”. Priests of 17 types as enlisted by Kṣīrasvāmin are discussed under “Religion”.

[2]:

svayaṃ puṃyogaṃ vinā ārthakṣatriyābhyāṃ vā svārthe (. 2478) iti ṅīṣānukau, pakṣe ṭāpyopadhatvājjātilakṣaṇo ṅīp nāsti |svayamityeva | svayaṃ mantravyākhyakṛdācāryā | svatā jātāvityarthaḥ |

[3]:

These products are listed in section “Food and Drinks” and under “Flora”.

[4]:

Some of these with special remarks of Kṣīrasvāmin are dealt with in the section on “Trade and Commerce.”

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