Amarakoshodghatana of Kshirasvamin (study)

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

This page relates ‘Concept of Heaven’ 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.

The Concept of Heaven

(a) Svar (I. 1. 6; p. 4)–

[Heaven:]

Amarakośa mentions svar, svarga, nāka, tridiva, tridaśālaya, suraloka, dyo, triviṣṭapa and div as synonyms of heaven.

Kṣīrasvāmin's etymological explanations throw much light on the concept of heaven. He remarks that the word svar is placed first as it is most often found in usage–

svarge pare ca loke svariti vakṣyamāṇatve'pīha pracuraprayogārthaṃ svaḥśabdopādānaṃ vakṣyati ca bhūriprayogā ye yeṣu paryāyeṣvapi teṣu te |

Svarga is earned by goodness–suṣṭhu ārjyate svargaḥ | Nāka is that where there is absence of sorrow or the presence of Brahmā

nāstyakaṃ duḥkhamatra nākaḥ nāvidyamānaviriñco vā |

Tridiva is the third heaven or according to some it is the worlds of brahma and others–

tṛtīyā dyaurlokastridivaḥ, trayāṇāṃ brahmādīnāṃ dyaurityeke |

Triviṣṭapa is also mentioned as the third world. Kṣīrasvāmin also remarks that the Śrutis also refer to it as in bhūḥ-bhuvaḥsuvaḥ and further states that the easterners read the word as tripiṣṭapa—

tṛtīyaṃ viṣṭapaṃ bhūrbhuvaḥ suvariti śruteḥ |
tripiṣṭapamiti prācyāḥ prāyeṇa hyete pavau śasau ca vyatyasya paṭhanti |

Hell and their varieties are also mentioned by Amarakośa in I. 8. 1 but nothing prominent or exclusive is added by Kṣīrasvāmin

(b) Amarāḥ (I. 1. 7; p. 4)–

[Gods:]

Of the many synonyms, tridaśa is one of the synonyms of gods.

Kṣīrasvāmin derives it as those whose numbers are thirty three quoting the śruti for authority and also gives the view of Gauḍa that it denotes those who have only the three stages of age refer to absence of old age–

trirdaśa parimāṇameṣāṃ tridaśāḥtrayastriṃśadvai devāḥ somapāiti śruteḥ |
tisro daśā vayo'vastha yeṣāmiti gauḍaḥ |

The other synonyms read under the light of commentary of Kṣīrasvāmin reveal that they are the names of gods associated with their origin and way of life, like the sons of Aditi, enemies of the Dānavas, who have fire as their mouth, are depicted in drawings for worship (lekha), devoid of dreams, consumers of amṛta, etc.

Kṣīrasvāmin remarks (III. 3. 242, p. 331-32) that the gods are always young and youthful–

sakṛdyuvāno gīrvāṇāḥ |

(c) Gaṇadevatās (I. 1. 10; p. 5)–

[Sets of divinities[1] :]

Gods represented in sets or groups are listed in Amarakośa Kṣīrasvāmin represents their numbers as follows–The ādityās are twelve in number; the viśvedevas[2] are thirty[3] and that they are the Gods worshipped foremost in the śrāddha; eight vasus; thirty six tuṣitās; sixty four ābhāsvarās; forty nine anilās; two hundred and thirty six mahārājikās also denoted by some as māhārājikās; twelve sādhyās; and eleven rudrās;

Kṣīrasvāmin also specifies that the tuṣitās and the rest are found in the Bauddha and Pātañjala Purāṇas

ete dvādaśatvādinā saṃghena yuktā gaṇadevatā, trayodaśa viśvedevāḥ śrāddhāgre viśantīti |
āṣṭau vasavaḥ
, ṣaṭtriṃśattuṣitāḥ, catuḥṣaṣṭirābhasvarāḥ, ekonapañcāśadanilāḥ |
ṣaṭtriṃśad dveśate mahārājikāḥ
māhārājikā ityeke |
dvādaśa sādhyāḥ | ekādaśa rudrāḥ | tuṣitādyāḥ
bauddhapātañjalapurāṇādau dṛṣṭāḥ |

(d) Demi-gods (I. 1. 11; p. 5):

Amarakośa lists the demigods whose heirarchy or the varieties are highlighted by Kṣīrasvāmin as follows–He remarks that these have their origin in the gods and hence called demi-gods or devayonis

devayonirutpattisthanameṣāṃ devāṃśā ityarthaḥ |

(i) Vidyādharas are those like Jīmūta-vāhana–lords of arts like sword play, guṭikāñjana etc.–

vidyādhara jīmūtavāhanādayaḥ khaḍgaguṭikāñjanādividyādhāriṇaśca |

(ii) The apsaras are the divine damsels like Rambhā and others–

āpsu sarantyapsaraso devayoṣitaḥ rambhadayaḥ;

Kṣīrasvāmin names (I. 1. 52; p. 17) the divine damsels as follows–

ghṛtācī menakā rambhā urvaśī ca tilottamā |
sukeśī
mañjughoṣādyāḥ kathyante'psaraso budhaiḥ |

Kṣīrasvāmin derives the word urvaśī as one born from the thighs of Nārāyaṇa and quotes Vikramorvaśīyam (I. 4) in support of his view–

ūrū āśnute nārāyaṇasyorūdbhavadvādurvaśī |
yallakṣyaṃ—
ūrūdbhavā narasakhasya muneḥ surastrīti |

(iii) The yakṣas are gods of wealth like Kubera and others–

yakṣā kuberādaya ṛddhīśvarāḥ |;

(iv) The rakṣas are the demons skilled in magic residing in Laṅkā

rakṣāṃsi māyāvino laṅkādhivāsinaḥ |

(v) The Gandharvas are the divine musicians like Tumburu and others–

gandharvāstuṃburu prabhṛtayo devagāyanāḥ |

Again Amarakośa (I. 1. 52; p. 17) mentions hāhā hūhū and others as divine singers. Kṣīrasvāmin observes that these are names of two individuals while according to some, these two together represent a single person.

Justifying his statement he says that in usage it is found that the words represent two different persons and also presents the view of Bhoja that these two are the nuances of music and hence an indeclinable–

hāhā eko hūhūranyaḥ ekaṃ nāmetyeke gandharvau ca hāhā hūhūriti tu lakṣyam |
ālāpanikānukārātpuṃsyetau āvyayāviti śrībhojaḥ |

(vi) The Kinnaras are the b eauticians like aśvādimukhas

kinnarā āśvādimukhāḥ śṛṅgāriṇaḥ | (vii)

The Piśācas are those without flesh but feeding on flesh–

piśācāḥ piśitāśāstāmasāḥ svayaṃ nirmāṃsāḥ |

(viii) The Guhyakas are the protectors of wealth such as maṇibhadra and the like–

guhyakā nidhipālā maṇibhadrādayaḥ gūhayantīti |

(ix) The Siddhas are those endowed with eight qualities of wealth–

siddhāḥ siddhyantīti prāptāṣṭaguṇaiśvaryā viśvāvasuprabhṛtayaḥ |

(x) The bhūtas are the the evilspirits afflicting the children or are the attendants of Rudra

bhūtā bālagrahādayo hiṃsrā, rudrānucarā vā yato'sau bhūpatiḥ |

(e) Asuras (I. 1. 12; p. 6)–

[Demons:]

Kṣīrasvāmin's etymologies help in understanding the nature of the demons. Those who did not consume surā or nector or those who hate the gods were asuras; the enemies of gods–dānavāri; sons of Danu and Ditidānava daitya or ditisuta; who were originally gods but being corrupt fell down as demons–pūrvadevā (III. 5. 11; p. 346)–like Virocana, Bali, Namuci, Prahlāda and others–

āsurā pūrvadevā daitya dānavā tadviśeṣāḥ—virocano balirnamuciḥ prahlādaḥ |

Enumerating the divisions of gods and demons, Amarakośa proceeds to list the synonyms of the gods individually.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

See Appendix II for the list of these sets of divinities.

[2]:

kraturdakṣo vasuḥ satyaḥ kāmaḥ kālastathā śaniḥ |
rottakaccārdravaccaiva tathā cānye purūravāḥ ||
viśvedevā bhavantyete daśa sarvatra pūjitāḥ |

(vahni purāṇe gaṇabheda nāmādhyāyaḥ)

[3]:

Bhānuji and Śabdakalpadruma opine that the Viśvedevas are 10 and Mahārājikās are 220.

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