Amarakoshodghatana of Kshirasvamin (study)

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

This page relates ‘Economics (5): Means of Transportation’ 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.

Economics (5): Means of Transportation

Amarakośa mentions various vehicles in the Kṣatriya varga (II. 8. 52-60):

(a) Śatāṅga

[War charriot:]

syandana and ratha are its other synonyms mentioned by Amarakośa Kṣīrasvāmin mentions that it is also called sāmparāyika

yātyanena yānaṃ sāṃparāyikākhyam |

(b) Puṣparatha

Amarakośa mentions it to be any chariot other than the war-chariot. Kṣīrasvāmin reads the word as Puṣyaratha and explains that it is the chariot used in auspicious occasions and festivities–

puṣye yātrotsavādau maṅgalyo rathaḥ puṣyarathaḥ |

(c) Karṇīratha

[Covered car:]

Amarakośa mentions pravahaṇa and ḍayana as synonyms.

Kṣīrasvāmin explains karṇīratha as a long carriage, palanquin carried on the shoulders of men–

karṇiṣu skandheṣu rathaḥ karṇīsthaḥ dīrgho lakṣyāt puṃskaṃdhohyamāno rathaḥ |

Kṣīrasvāmin also adds that ḍayana was the vehicle, flying in air like birds, also called vimāna

ḍayante vihāyasā yāntīva ānena vimānākhyam |

This reference to the flying vehicle by Kṣīrasvāmin confirms the fact that he was well acquainted with such details like his contemporary Bhoja.

Yapyayānam (II. 8. 54; p. 186)

Amarakośa mentions śibikā as its synonym.

Kṣīrasvāmin explains it as a vehicle of handicapped and also that Gauḍa calls it a Yuga

yāpyasyāśaktasya yānaṃ yugākhyāṃ yānamiti gauḍaḥ |

Other vehicles mentioned in Amarakośa are śakaṭa–load carriages, gantrī–litter, dolā–swing like transportation, dvaipa–carriage covered with tiger skin, pāṇḍukambalī–car covered with white woollen cloth and rathyā–a multitude of cars. Mention of bullocks and camels in this varga suggests that they were also used for transportation.

In the Vārivarga Amarakośa lists the synonyms of water vehicles such as–nauḥboat and uḍupa–raft or float. Their various parts are also enumerated as follows:

(d) Ātara (I. 9. 11; p. 63)–

[Freight or fare:]

Amarakośa gives ātara and Tarapaṇyam to denote fare or freight.

Kṣīrasvāmin observes that some call ātara as āvāpa

ātarantyanena ātaraḥ āvāpa ityeke |

(e) Kūpaka (I. 9. 12; p. 63):

A mast or crew is denoted by the words kūpaka or guṇavṛkṣaka.

Kṣīrasvāmin says that guṇavṛkṣa is the mast or a post to which a ship or boat is fastened with a rope. He also gives the opinion of a few that it is the crew–

guṇavṛkṣo yatra nau rajjvā badhyate pote dhvajapaṭādyādhāra ityeke | kūpe ādhāragarte kāyati kūpakaḥ |

Kṣīrasvāmin gives the view of Gauḍa who opines that kūpaka is a tree in the river–gauḍastu jalāntastarūṃkūpakānāha ||

(f) Naukādaṇḍa (I. 9. 13; p. 63)–


The naukādaṇḍa is also called kṣepaṇī. Kṣīrasvāmin notes that kṣepaṇī is the apabrahṃśa of kṣopaṇī and that according to Upādhyāya it is kṣipa.

kṣipyatyanayā kṣepaṇī, kṣopaṇyapabhraṃśaḥ | kṣipetyupādhyāyaḥ || kvacit pānapātraṃ tu poto'bdhibhave triṣu samudriyaṃ sāmudriko manuṣyobdhijātādau nauḥ samudrikā || (jātā samudrikā ca nauḥ)

Some of the other parts mentioned in Amarakośa are karṇadhāra–captain, niyāmakāḥ–crew, aritram–mast, abhriḥ–scraper or shovel and sekapātram–bucket.

From the above study it is evident that air vehicles were developed in the time of Kṣīrasvāmin, which probably were not used during the time of Amarakośa That water transport was also put to good use can be inferred from the terms like ātara and others.

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