Amarakoshodghatana of Kshirasvamin (study)

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

This page relates ‘Gods and Divinities’ 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.

Gods and Divinities

(a) Brahmā (I. 1. 16; p. 7):

Amarakośa lists 23 synonyms of Brahmā and Kṣīrasvāmin derives them all. Of these the derivations of special interest are:

Lokeśa:

Signifying one who creates the seven worlds starting from the earth

bhūrādīn sapta lokānīṣṭa iti lokeśaḥ |

Viriñci:

Kṣīrasvāmin reads the word as viriñca to signify one who creates or one borne by swans and remarks that the easterners read the word as Viriñci and that in Deśī he is designated as Sthavira

viriṅkte sūte viriñcaḥ vibhirhaṃsaiḥ ricyate-uhyate vā viriñciriti prācyāḥ |sthaviro deśyām |

(b) Viṣṇu (I. 1. 18; pp. 7-8):

Amarakośa lists 39 synonyms of Viṣṇu of which a few etymologies of Kṣīrasvāmin are observed here (1) Viṣṭaraśravāḥ is derived variously by Kṣīrasvāmin as:

(i) one who has ears like a brick–

viṣṭara iva śravasī karṇāvasya viṣṭaraśravāḥ |

(ii) one who has a tuft of hair emerging from the ears which resemble a handful of kuśa grass–

viṣṭarākṛtirjaṭā śravobhyāṃ nirgato'syeti vā |

(iii) one who is popular to be in Aśvattha tree

āthāvā viṣṭare'śvatthatarau śrūyate vā |

Vanamālī (I. 1. 21; p. 8):

Viṣṇu is popularly addressed so, as he wears the garland called vanamālā.

Kṣīrasvāmin's description of the vanamālā is novel that it is a garland comprising of flowers, fruits and a blossom/twig–

puṣpaphalapallavānvitā vanamālāsyāstīti vanamālī |

Generally vanamālā is said to be a garland of various forest flowers.

Kṣīrasvāmin adds a general note that other names of Viṣṇu like Gadāgraja, Dāśārha, Muñjakeśa, Abdhiśāyī, Purāṇapuruṣa and Babhru are to be understood or conjectured–

gadāgraja dāśārha muñjakeśā ābdhiśāyī purāṇapuruṣo babhrurityadyūhyam |

Ānakadundubhiḥ (I. 1. 22; p. 9):

Kṣīrasvāmin opines that when Hari was born the trumpets and horns were played and hence the name. He also observes that some opine that anakadundubhiḥ was the name of Vasudeva's father (so Vasudeva was known as Ānakadundubhiḥ)–

harau jāte hyānakā dundubhayaścāsya neduḥ ānakadundubho vasudevasya pitetyeke |

Kṣīrasvāmin illustrating the term padam (III. 3. 93; p.292) meaning refuge remarks that in calamities Mādhava is the only resort–

padamāpadi mādhavaḥ |

Weapons of Viṣṇu—Sudarśanam (I. 1. 28; p. 10)–

[The discus:]

Amarakośa reads the word in neuter gender and Kṣīrasvāmin observes that in usage the word is also employed in masculine gender and cites from Śiśupālavadham (14. 16)–

sudarśanaḥ puṃsi lokāśrayatvālliṅgasya yathābandhureṣa jagatāṃ sudarśanaḥ |

Kaumodakī (I. 1. 28; p. 10)–

[The mace of Viṣṇu:]

Kṣīrasvāmin presents the view of Durga according to whom Viṣṇu is also called Kumodaka and that belonging to him was kaumodakī. Kṣīrasvāmin also adds that the reading of the word in the Saṃhitās was Kaupodakī and derives it as that which originates from the kūpa (well)–viṣṇuḥ kumodakaḥ śauririti durgapāṭhāt kumodakasyeyaṃ kaumodakī lakṣmīpatergadā | saṃhitāsu meṇṭhādau kaupodakīti pāṭhaḥ kūpodakājjātetyamnāyāt |[1]

Amarakośa lists the synonyms of Balarāma, Manmatha and Aniruddha, the brother, son and grand-son of Viṣṇu respectively and quotes Bhāguri in support of his view. He also from the Samhitas which have the same view.

One of the synonyms of Aniruddha given by Amarakośa is Ṛṣyaketu and Kṣīrasvāmin observes that there is another reading as viśvaketu[2] and that it was wrong–

balādayo harerbhrātṛputrapautrāḥ yadbhāguriḥ—
brahmasūrṛṣyaketuśca viṣvaksenātmajātmajaḥ |
saṃhitāsu tvekaṃ brahma vāsudevasaṃkarṣaṇpradyumnāniruddhākhyayā caturvyūhātmakamāhuḥ |
viśvaketurityapapāṭhaḥ ||

Madana (I. 1. 25; p. 9): Of the synonyms given by Amarakośa, Kṣīrasvāmin explains that the term Pañcaśara signifies–

“One who has five arrows and names the arrows thus–intoxication, sorrow, fascination, emaciation and death. In a variant reading the five arrows are–love, intoxication, deluding, emaciating and intensifying:

pañca śarā āsyeti pañcaśaraḥ unmādanaṃ śocanaṃ ca tathā saṃmohanaṃ viduḥ |
śoṣaṇaṃ māraṇaṃ caiva pañca bāṇā manobhuvaḥ ||
madanonmādanaścaiva mohanaḥ śoṣaṇastathā |
saṃdīpanaḥ samākhyātāḥ pañca
bāṇā ime smṛtāḥ |

Kṣīrasvāmin derives Ātmabhūḥ (I. 1. 26; pp. 9-10) another synonym of Madana as self-born and quotes Bhāguri who also gives an equivalent word svaja

ātmanā bhavatyatmabhūḥ, yadbhāguriḥ śambharāriḥ smaraḥ svajaḥ |

Kṣīrasvāmin also adds other words to denote manmathahṛcchayaḥ, caitrasakhaḥ śṛṅgārayoniḥ and puṣpaketuḥ.

(c) Lakṣmīḥ[3] (I. 1. 28; p. 10):

Amarakośa gives four synonyms for Lakṣmīḥ and Kṣīrasvāmin adds Mā, Ramā, Abdhijā and Indirā as other equivalents–

lakṣmīḥ mā rmā ābdhijā indiretyadyūhyam |

(d) Gods having fauna as their vehicles:

Garuḍadhvajaḥ (I. 1. 19; p. 8): Viṣṇu is called Garuḍadhvajaḥ as he has the bird garuḍa as his vehicle and as the emblem in his flag

garuḍaḥ dhvajacihnaṃ vāhanatvesya |

Kṣīrasvāmin adds the word Ākhuratha to denote Vināyaka (I.1. 38; p. 13) as he has the mouse as his vehicle–

ākhuratho'pi |

Viriñci is already explained as one borne by the swans or one whose vehicle is the haṃsa refering to Brahmā.

Uṣāpatiḥ (I. 1. 27; p. 10):

Amarakośa mentions Uṣāpatiḥ as a synonym of Aniruddha. Kṣīrasvāmin commenting on this synonym makes a reference that Uṣā was the daughter of Bāṇa, son of Bali. (III. 3. 45; pp. 280-81) Bringing to memory that Uṣā and Aniruddha married and there ensued a war between Bāṇāsura and Kṛṣṇa.

(e) Śiva Kṛśānuretāḥ (I. 1. 33; p. 11):

Explaining the epithet of Śiva, Kṣīrasvāmin refers to the popular myth or legend that Pārvati incapable of bearing the effulgence of Śiva transferred it to Agni who is believed to have borne Kumāra; hence Kumāra came to be known as Pāvaki–

kṛśānau reto'sya kṛśānuretāḥ devyā soḍhumaśakyatvādagnau hi kṣiptaṃ retaḥ āta eva pāvakiḥ kumāraḥ |

Dhūrjaṭiḥ (I. 1. 33; p. 11):

Kṣīrasvāmin's explanation quoting the statement Nirukta is novel in this context which reads–'one who has the Ganges in his matted locks–

dhūrgaṅgā jaṭāsvasya dhūrjaṭiriti niruktam |

Hereby he refers to all the details related to Gaṅgāvataraṇa from the heavens at the penance of Bhagīratha, her pride and her being imprisoned within the locks of Śiva's matted hair later to be released at a docile pace (Rāmāyaṇa. I. 43)

Vyomakeśaḥ (I. 1. 34; p. 12):

Kṣīrasvāmin explains it as “one who stands high with” quoting from the Ṛg Veda (X) in support of his view.

Another interpretation given by Kṣīrasvāmin for the word is:

“One who has spread his locks over the sky to hold the Ganges”–

vyoma dyauḥ ke mūrdhni śete'sya vyomakeśaḥ |
śīrṣṇo dyauḥ samavartateti śruteḥ |
gaṅgāṃ
dhārayituṃ vyomavyāpino'sya keśā vā vyomakeśaḥ |

Rudra (I. 1. 34; p. 12): Śiva is also called Rudra.

Kṣīrasvāmin refers to the Vedic hymn which seems likely to be the derivation of the word ‘Rudra’ from the root ‘rud’ to cry[4] and Kṣīrasvāmin remarks that he may be called so ‘as he makes the enemies wives cry’–

ārodanādrudraḥ sorodīdyadarodīttadrudrasya rudratvamiti śruteḥ | rodayatyaristrīrvā |

The etymology of the word Rudra is given in the auspicious sense also in the Rudrādhyāya.

The commentary of Bhaṭṭabhāskara on Rudrādhyāya (p. 6)[5] explains the word Rudra in many ways, one of it is as one who alliveates the worldly sorrows–

rudraṃ saṃsāraduḥkhaṃ drāvayatīti rudraḥ |

Kṣīrasvāmin adds Ahirbudhnaḥ Aṣṭamūrtiḥ and Gajāsurāri; and in Deśī he is called Mahānaṭa

āhirbudhnoṣṭamūrtiśca gajāsurāriśca | mahānaṭo deśyām |

Pināka (I. 1. 35; p. 12)–

[Śiva's bow:]

Kṣīrasvāmin observes that the Pināka, also called ajagava is read as ajakavam or ājagava according to Kātya and Kṣīrasvāmin also adds that the easterners read it as gāṇḍyājagād while the westerners reading is ajagavaṃ dhanuḥ

ājagave vipratipattirgamyate gāṇḍyajakātsaṃjñāyāṃ (. 5/2/110) iti matvarthe ve ājakavamiti sādhyam |
āthājagavisthivikārastadāṇi vṛddhiḥ syāt | yatkātyaḥ—
dhanurvadantyājagavaṃ pinākikaragocaram |
prācyāstu gāṇḍyajagāditi peṭhuḥ |
ājagavaṃ dhanuḥ proktamiti tu
pāścātya āpi |

(f) Mātaraḥ (I. 1. 35; p. 12)–

[The divine mothers:]

Amarakośa mentions that Brāhmī and others constitute the divine mothers. Kṣīrasvāmin adds that they are eight in numbers viz., Brāhmī, Māheśvarī, Aindrī Vārāhī, Vaiṣṇavī, Kaumārī Carmamuṇḍā and Kālasaṅkarṣaṇī.

These mothers are popular in Deśī as Revatī

āsyāṣṭau parivāratvena mānti vartante mātṛnāmnyaḥ |
brāhmī māheśvarī caindrī vārāhī vaiṣṇavī tathā |
kaumārī
carmamuṇḍā ca kālasaṃkarṣaṇīti ca |
revatyo deśyām |

Umā (I. 1. 36; p. 12):

Kṣīrasvāmin derives the word citing Kālidāsa from his Kumārasambhava (I. 26) meaning:

“She was stopped by her mother saying 'do not perform penance”–

u meti mātrā tapaso niṣiddhā ityumā |

It is interesting to note that Kālidāsa has mentioned such other etymologies of important words[6] and that Kṣīrasvāmin has presented one of them.

Śivā (I. 1. 37; p. 13):

Kṣīrasvāmin remarks that Pārvatī by herself is a bestower of all auspiciousness she is called Śivā and quotes Śāśvata justifying his statement.

He also adds that if the wife of śiva was to be denoted then the word would be Śivī

śivā svataḥ śreyaskarītvācchivavat yacchāśvataḥ—śivaṃ bhadraṃ śivaḥ śambhuḥ śivā gaurī śivābhayā | puṃyoge ca śivasya strī śivī |

To the list of names enumerated in Amarakośa for Pārvatī, Kṣīrasvāmin adds Jaganmātā, Bhairavī, Satī and that in Deśī she is termed Gaṇanāyikā–jaganmātā āryā bhairavī satī dākṣāyaṇī ca | gaṇanāyikā deśyām |

(f-2) Vināyakaḥ (I. 1. 38; p. 13):

Vināyakaḥ is also called dvaimātura.

Kṣīrasvāmin explains that he is the son of two mothers, as Gaṅgā[7] is said to be his other mother, Pārvatī being popular. Hence he is also termed Gāṅgeya

dvayormātrorapatyaṃ dvaimāturaḥ gāṅgeyopi yataḥ |

He is also called Ekadanta. Kṣīrasvāmin mentions the myth in which Kārtikeya is believed to have broken the tusk of Vināyaka[8]

guhotpāṭitadantatvādekadantaḥ |

The legend that Vināyaka himself parted with his tusk, and used it for writing the Mahābhārata is very popular, unlike the one mentioned by Kṣīrasvāmin

(g) Kārtikeya (I. 1. 40; p. 13):

Kārtikeya is also called Kumāra. Kṣīrasvāmin says that it etymologically conveys that Kārtikeya was a celibate and not married or one who has conquered the demon Mārakumāro brahmacāritvāt kutsito māro'syeti vā | The Braḥmāṇḍa purāṇa (81) gives a legend in which Kārtikeya takes the vow of celibacy.

This statement of Kṣīrasvāmin reinforces the fact that Kṣīrasvāmin did not belong to south India but suggests that he might have been from Central or North India for it is believed in that region that Kārtikeya was not married and a celibate. On the contrary, in South it is believed that Kārtikeya has two wives.

Krauñcadāraṇa (I. 1. 40; pp. 13-4):

This is another term to denote Kārtikeya. Kṣīrasvāmin presents the legend after which Kārtikeya is named Krauñcadāraṇa.

According to Kṣīrasvāmin 'once when Kārtikeya was on his way to the Kailāsa mountain for his training in weaponry, his way was blocked by the Krauñca mountaian.

Hence he destroyed the mountain and earned the name Krauñcadāraṇa–

krauñco giristena hyasya kailāsamastraśikṣārthaṃ gacchato mārgo ruddho'bhūt ātastaṃ dārayati krauñcadāraṇaḥ |

This tale is also less popular compared to the one mentioned in that Krauñca an asura in the form of mountain and who was killed by Kārtikeya b y cleaving the mountain into two (Mahābhārata, Śalya parva. 46). Kṣīrasvāmin also adds that Kārtikeya is also called svāmī and gāṅgeya.

(h) Indra (I. 1. 44; p. 15):

To the words denoting Indra listed by Amarakośa, Kṣīrasvāmin adds Ugradhanvā, which he says is popular name of Indra in the Purāṇas

ugradhanvā ca purāṇe |

Kṣīrasvāmin illustrating the word Manyu (III.3.153; p.306) mentions that Indra was called Śatamanyu as he performed 100 sacrifices–

kratau yathā śatamanyurindraḥ |

Pulomajā (I. 1. 45; p. 15)–

[Wife of Indra:]

Kṣīrasvāmin remarks that Pulomajā is called so since she is the daughter of sage Puloma and he further adds that the word can also be coined as Paulomī

pulomno munerjātā āta eva paulomī |

Airāvata (I. 1. 46; p. 15)–

[Indra's elephant:]

Abhramuvallabha is another name of Indras elephant. Kṣīrasvāmin derives it to signify the companion or lord of the ‘abhramu’–‘the gaigantic or the slow moving’.

Justifying his statement that ‘abhramu was the wife of airāvata’ Kṣīrasvāmin quotes from Bālarāmāyaṇa

ābhre khe māti na bhrāmyati vā mantharagāminītvādabhramustadbhāryā yallakṣyam—ābhraṃ jaghanāntadolitakaraḥ |

He adds Suragaja and Gajamalla to denote Indra's elephant.

(i) Svarvaidyau (I. 1. 51; p. 16)–

[The divine twins:]

Nāsatyau and Dasrau are ather terms listed by Amarakośa Kṣīrasvāmin commenting on this remarks that these words are to be used only in duals and never as singular–

ubhāviti dvitādekavacanābhāvaḥ,

In support of his statement Kṣīrasvāmin cites the text of Bhāguri–

bhāguristvāha—
nāsatyadasrau yamajāvarkajāvaśvinau yamau nāsatyasahitaudasrāviti
vyākhyeyaṃ na tveko nāsatyonyo dasraḥ |

The quotation from Bṛhaddevatānukramaṇī b y Sāyaṇa[9] reveals that by the time of the author of Anukramaṇī, these were names names of individuals.

But in later period they were probably addressed together in duals as mentioned by Kṣīrasvāmin A discussion on this matter (of addressing the twins individually or by the dual word) is presented in an article[10] of Prof. P.S. Subramanya Sastri.

(j) Agni (I. 1. 53; p. 17):

Vītihotra is one of the terms to denote Agni.

Kṣīrasvāmin mentions that according to the Āgamas it signifies 'one whose offering(hotra) in sacrifice is the horse (vīti) and observes that the easterners opine vīti to be the food

vītayo'śvā hotraṃ havyamasyepyāgamaḥ vītiraśanamiti prācyāḥ |

(k) Kubera (I. 1. 68-70; p. 21):

Ekapiṅga is one of the synonyms of Kubera. Kṣīrasvāmin remarks that it signifies one with single tawny eye and quotes Bhāguri who adds Haryakṣa to the same–

ekapiṅgaḥ piṅgalaikanetratvāt āto bhāguriṇā haryakṣa uktaḥ |

According to Mahābhārata (Vanaparva) the legend is as follows-Once Kubera looked with jealousy at Pārvatī seated on the left thigh of Śiva and thus became b lind in one eye. Pārvatī regaining her equanimity turned that eye of Kubera into yellow colour so that he might remember the incident. Hence Kubera was known as Ekapiṅga.

Nidhi

[Treasures of Kubera: ]

Amarakośa only mentions that padma, śañkha and others are kinds of treasures of Kubera (I.1.71; p.22). Kṣīrasvāmin specifies that the treasures of Kubera are nine viz.,

1. mahāpadma,
2. padma,
3. śaṅkha,
4. makara,
5. kacchapa,
6. mukunda,
7. kunda,
8. nīla and
9. kharva

uktaṃ ca—
mahāpadmaśca padmaśca śaṃkho makarakacchapau |
mukundakundanīlāśca kharvaśca nidhayo nava |

(l) Chāyā (III. 3. 157; pp. 307-08):

Chāyā is said to be the wife of Sun God–

chāyākhyā ārkabhāryā |

Incidentally, it is to be noted that there is no reference to Saṃjñā, the wife of Sūrya, who unable to bear the heat of Sūrya, created Chāyā as a substitute for her.

(m) Kṛtyā (III. 3. 158; p. 308)–

[Goddess:]

Kṣīrasvāmin mentions that Kṛtyā is a goddess by name Mārī and quotes fom Manu (3. 58) ‘as destroyed by Kṛtyā’–

devatā mārī nāma yathā -tāni kṛtyahatānīva |

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Bhānuji also quotes this statement of Kṣīrasvāmin

[2]:

Mallinātha and Bhānuji have viśvaketu as their reading, while Bhānuji gives Ṛṣyaketu as a variant reading. Again Bhānuji (p. 12) takes Brahmasūḥ and Ṛṣyaketu to denote manmatha and Aniruddha and Uṣāpatiḥ to denote grandson of Kṛṣṇāa on the basis of Amaramālā.

[3]:

In the edition followed this word is marked as prakṣpta śloka.

[4]:

Cf. Viṣṇupurāṇa, I. 8. 4: rudrastvaṃ deva nāmāsi mā rodīrdhairyamāvaha |

[5]:

Ed. Hari Narayan Apte, Anand Asram Series -2, Poona, 1906

[6]:

AgastyaRaghuvaṃśa (VI. 61); GandhamādhanaKumārasambhava (I. 26); etc.

[7]:

Jātarūpa opines that Gaṇeśa was tendered by Durgā and Cāmuṇḍā hence the term Dvaimātura.

[8]:

Jātarūpa also mentions the same myth, Vol. II, p.36

[9]:

In the Bhāṣya on Atharvaveda (541. 53)–nāsatyaścaiva dasraśca yau tu tavaśvināviti |

[10]:

‘Semantic History of the words Nāsatyau and Dasrau’, Journal of Oriental Research, Vol -XV; Chennai, pp.18-20

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