Amarakoshodghatana of Kshirasvamin (study)

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

This page relates ‘Town Planning (1): City’ 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.

Town Planning (1): City

An exclusive section called the Pūrvavarga in Amarakośa gives the details of town planning. Amarakośa lists pūḥ–city, rathyā–a road, vapraheap of earth, prākāra–rampart, prācīna–bound hedge, bhittiwall; caityatemple, āveśana–working house, prapā–place of refreshments, maṭha–student hostel, gañjā–tavern house, harmya–house of wealthy, prāsāda–royal palace, antaḥpura–harem;

Kṣīrasvāmin’s information in this section reveals the developments and advancements India had in this sphere. Some of these terms with special connotations given by Kṣīrasvāmin are dealt with below:

A city was called–pūḥ, purī, nagarī, pattanaṃ, puṭabhedanam, sthānīyam and nigama. From derivations given by Kṣīrasvāmin one can understand that some of these terms denote the varieties of the cities.

(a) Puṭabhedanam (II. 2. 1; p. 71)–

[City:]

Kṣīrasvāmin explains puṭabhedanam as a place where merchandise is expanded or goods and clothes are exchanged–

puṭā bhāṇḍavāsanāni bhidyante'smin puṭabhedanam |

The parallel idea is found in Samarāṅgaṇasūtradhara (here after Sam.sū) (18.5) where Bhoja also defines Puṭabhedana as a special town or paṭṭaṇa (the second residence of the king), in addition to being a commercial centre—

bahusphītavaṇigyuktaṃ taduktaṃ puṭabhedanam |

(b) Sthānīyam (II. 2. 1; p. 74)–

[City:]

Kṣīrasvāmin defines Sthānīya as a headquarters of 800 villages

tiṣṭhantyisminnityaṣṭaśatagrāmīmadhye sthanīyam |

This explanation of Kṣīrasvāmin is in accordance with the definition of Kauṭilya (II. 1. 4):

āṣṭaśatagrāmyā madhye sthanīyam |

But Jātarūpa[1] defines sthānīya or nigama differently as–‘a fortified nagara of an area extending to one yojana and surrounded by a wall and the like, while his definition of nagara is identical with the sthānīya of Kṣīrasvāmin–

sthanīyanigamo durganagaraṃ yojanavistīrṇaṃ prākārādiveṣṭitam |
āṣṭaśatagrāmī-vyavahārasthanaṃ tanmadhyavarti ca
pradhānabhūtaṃ nagaram |

Kṣīrasvāmin further adds that the words durga, koṭṭa[2] and rājadhānī also denote a city and the word adhiṣṭhāna in the same meaning is dealt with in the homonym section by Amarakośa

Of these Kṣīrasvāmin observes that the capital city is called rājadhānī and a suburb is śākhānagaram

nānārthe'dhiṣṭhānaṃ durgakoṭṭau rājadhānī ca | mūlanagaraṃ rājadhānī tato'nyat samudāyasthanaṃ (śākhānagaraṃ) śākhetyupāḍgopa-lakṣaṇam |

Bhoja in Sam.sū (XVIII. 2) states that the town in which the king resides is called rājadhānī or capital and others are śākhānagaraṃs uburban towns–

yatraste nagare rājā rājadhānī tu tāṃ viduḥ |
śākhānagarasaṃjñāni tato'nyāni pracakṣate ||

(c) Kharvaṭa (III. 5. 33; p. 354)–

Amarakośa mentions kharvaṭa in the Liṅgādisaṅgrahavarga. Kṣīrasvāmin explains that it is a group of 400 villages–

kharvaṭaḥścatuḥśatagrāmāṇāṃ saṃgrahasthanam |

Bhoja in Sam.sū (XVIII. 3a) mentions ‘karvaṭa’ as a replica of a town that may be a market town or capital of a district of two hundred or four hundred villages–

śākhānagaramevāhuḥ karvaṭaṃ nagaropamam |

(d) Name of famous cities (II. 2. 1; p. 74):

The variant reading in the text of Kṣīrasvāmin lists the famous cities[3] and their synonyms as follows–Sāketam-Ayodhyā, VidehaMithilā, Mahodayā, Kanyakubja, Kānyakubjam, Mahodayam, KāśīVārāṇasī, Avantī- Vidiśā, Ujjayinī, Prāgjyotiṣam-Kāmarūpam, Dvārakā, Dvāravatī

syātsāketamayodhyāyāṃ videhā mithilā purī |
mahodayā kanyaku
bjā kānyakubjaṃ mahodayam ||
kāśī vāraṇasyavantī vidiśā cojjayinyapi |
prāgjyotiṣāṃ kāmarūpaṃ dvārakāḥ
dvāravatyapi ||

Amarakośa also mentions the abode of harlots as veśa (II. 2. 2; p. 74) which suggests that the harlots were given particular sites of residence in the towns.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

On (II. 2. 1)

[2]:

It is interesting to note that the word kottai in Tamil also denotes a fort.

[3]:

It is interesting to note that Abhidhānacintāmaṇi (IV. 37-45) after enumerating the synonyms of city and its kinds, lists the synonyms of various cities–

gayā pūrgayarājarṣeḥ kanyakubjaṃ mahodayam |
kanyākubjaṃ gādhipuraṃ kauśaṃ
kuśasthalañcatat ||
kāśirvarāṇāsī vāraṇāsī śivapurī ca sā |
sāketaṃ kosalā'yodhyā videhā mithilā same |
tripurā cedinagarī kauśāmbī vatsapattanam ||
ujjayanī syadviśālā'vantī puṣpakaraṇḍinī |
pāṭaliputraṃ kusumapuraṃ campā tu mālinī ||
lomapādakarṇāyoḥ pūrdevīkoṭa umāvanam |
koṭivarṣaṃ bāṇapuraṃ syācchoṇitapuraṃ
ca tat ||
mathurā tu madhupaghnaṃ madhurātha gajāhvayam |
syād hastinapuraṃ hastinīpuraṃ hastināpuram ||
tāmaliptaṃ dāmaliptaṃ tāmaliptī tamālinī |
stambapūrviṣṇugṛhaṃ ca syād vidarbhā tu
kuṇḍinam ||
dvāravatī dvārakā syād niṣadhā tu nalasyapūḥ |

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