Amarakoshodghatana of Kshirasvamin (study)

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

This page relates ‘Politics and Administration (4): War strategy’ 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.

Politics and Administration (4): War strategy

Kauṭilya (X. 6. 3-43) discusses battle arrays at length. The army arrayed or arranged in particular order for fighting called vyūha. It was one of the strategies of war. The specific vyūhas were to be planned in accordance with the nature of the ground of battle field.

(a) Vyūha (II. 8. 80; p. 191)–

[Array of troops:]

Amarakośa mentions that the army was arranged in different forms like daṇḍa and others. Kṣīrasvāmin quotes from unknown source naming the various kinds of arraying of troops like–daṇḍa–staff, maṇḍala–circle, bhoga–snake, utsanna–undone or detached or loose array, acala–immovable array, dṛḍha–strong array and cakravyūha–array in the form of a wheel–

vyūhyate racyate vyūhaḥ |
vyūhasyeti śeṣaḥ yadāhuḥ—
daṇḍo maṇḍalabhogau
cāpyutsannāścalo dṛḍhaḥ |
vyūhasteṣāṃ viśeṣāsyuścakravyūhādayopi ca |

Other strategies of attacking a foe are:

(b) Āsāraḥ and prasaraṇa (II. 8. 97; p. 195)–

[Surrounding the foe:]

Kṣīrasvāmin explains both these terms as explained by Kauṭilya. Āsāraḥ is to surround the enemy troop while prasaraṇa or prasāra is to block the ingress of fodder, water and other essentials.

Justifying his explanation Kṣīrasvāmin quotes from Śiśupālavadha(II. 64):

sainyasya sarvato vyāptirāsāraḥ āsriyate sainyatyasāro'nvāgacchadbalam |
prasārastu sainyādbahistṛṇajalādyarthaṃ prasaraṇamiti
kauṭilyaḥ yallakṣyaṃ—
niruddhavīvadhāsāraprasārā gā iva vrajam |

(c) Pratyayaḥ (III. 3. 147; p. 305)–

[Trust or weakpoint or a loophole:]

Explaining the term in sense of Viśvāsa or trust Kṣīrasvāmin remarks that an enemy should never be trusted–

viśvāso yathā—
na śatroḥ pratyayaṃ gacchet |

And in explaining the same term in the sense of weak-point Kṣīrasvāmin remarks that an enemy should be attacked at his weak-points or in the loopholes.

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