Amarakoshodghatana of Kshirasvamin (study)

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

This page relates ‘Atmosphere, space, direction, etc.’ 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.

Atmosphere, space, direction, etc.

India is rich in her natural resources. Right from stone age to the Indus valley civilization Indians have rightly utilized these resources. Provoked by such benefits, great awe and reverence were exhibited by them towards mother Nature. Nature worship is hailed from Vedic times. Agni, Varuṇa, Vanadevatās, Marut, etc. have been the pioneer gods in the early ages. Various description of nature is abundantly available from the Saṃhitā period.

The Vyoma-dig varga deals with synonyms of atmosphere, space, direction and its related words.

(a) Dyauḥ (I. 2. 1; p. 22)–

[Sky:]

The sky or the atmosphere is denoted by 22 words. From the explanations of Kṣīrasvāmin, some of these words seem to refer to the characteristics of the atmosphere as–

(i) Abhram and nabhaḥ mean that which does not shine–

na bhrājayate'bhram ḍaḥ | na babhasti bhāti nabhaḥ |

(ii) Puṣkaram[1] is that which showers water

puṣkaṃ vāri rāti puṣkaram |

(iii) Ambaram is that which makes a noise

āṃbate śabdāyate'mbaram |

(iv) Anantam that which is endless–

nāstyantosyānantam |

(v) Ākāśam is where the sun and the like shine–

ākāśante sūryādayo'trākāśam |

Kṣīrasvāmin adds tārāpatha and meghādvā to denote the path of stars and clouds respectively. He further states that in Deśi it is called mahābilam.

(b) Vāyu (I. 1. 61-2; pp. 19-20)–

[Wind:]

Amarakośa mentions 20 synonyms for wind. Kṣīrasvāmin adds two varieties of wind namely–

(i) prakampana or mahābala–whirlwind

(ii) jhañjhāmarut[2] –violent wind blowing to the accompaniment of rainfall–

prakampano mahābalaśca | vṛṣṭyākulaścaṇḍastu jhañjhāmarut |

Skandha (III. 3. 100; p. 294)[3]

[Multitude:]

Kṣīrasvāmin illustrating the word mentions that the winds are popular as multitudes of seven–

samudaye yathā—sapta vātaskandhāḥ |

The Matsyapurāṇa (163. 32-33) mentions seven courses (skandha) of wind one above the other as–

1. āvahaḥ,
2. pravahaḥ,
3. saṃvaha,
4. udvaha,
5. vivaha,
6. parivaha and
7. parāvaha

āvahaḥ pravahaścaiva saṃvahaścodvahastathā |
vivahākhyaḥ parivahaḥ
parāvaha iti kramāt |

(c) Abhram (I. 2. 7; p. 24)–

[Clouds:]

Amarakośa gives 15 words to denote clouds.

(i) Kṣīrasvāmin explains that a cloud is called abhram as it wanders with water or bestows water

ābhratyapo rāti vābhram ābhramatyarthaḥ |

He further mentions that some explain abhram as from where the water does not ooze-out.

This explanation is further substantiated by a quotation from an unknown source:

na bhraśyantyāpo'smādityeke | yaduktaṃ—
na bhraśyanti yatastebhyo jalānyabhrāṇi
tānyataḥ |

(ii) Kādambinī (I. 2. 8): A succession of cloud is called kādambinī. Kṣīrasvāmin adds that in Deśi it is called Medhikā.

(d) Garja (I. 2. 9)–

[Thunder:]

The rattling of thunder is variously called stanita, garjita, meghanirghoṣa and rasita (II. 1. 9). Kṣīrasvāmin adds dhvanita and garjā to the list.

(e) Śampā (I. 2. 9; p. 24)–

[Lightning:]

Amarakośa gives 10 synonyms of lightning Kṣīrasvāmin gives the constituents of a cloud as combination of smoke, light, water and air, and remarks that the lightning is nothing but the manifestation of the light element in the cloud and hence termed (meghajyotiḥ)–

dhūmajyotiḥ salilamarutāṃ saṅgha eva meghastatratyaṃ jyotirāvirbhavanmeghajyotirityucyate |[4]

According to Kṣīrasvāmin śampā is so called since it swallows all auspiciousness. He further observes that the easterners read the same as śambā, which takes away the sight or vision of the eye–

śaṃ pibati śampā śambeti prācyāḥ—śambayati nayanaṃ teja iti vyākhyan |

Kṣīrasvāmin adds that in Deśī the lightning is termed caṭulā and vajrajvālā

caṭulā va?[¿]vālā ca deśyām |

(f) Indrāyudha (I. 2. 11; p. 25)–

[Rainbow:]

Amarakośa gives Indrāyudham and Śakradhanuḥ as two words to denote a rainbow.

Kṣīrasvāmin scientifically explains the formation of a rainbow that the rays of sun reflected in the droplets of water in the clouds form an arch of rainbow which is called Indradhanuḥ. The rainbow which is straight and un-bent is called Rohita:

meghapratiphalitā hi sūryaraśmayo dhanurākāreṇa dṛśyante tadevendradhanuriti ṛjvavakraṃ rohitam |

(g) Durdinam (I. 2. 12; p. 25)–

[A cloudy day:]

Kṣīrasvāmin supplements Amarakośa, quoting Bhāguri who also gives the same word to denote a cloudy day. He further adds that in Deśi the word is vārdalam

āhni meghenacchannamācchādanamiti vyadhikaraṇe saptamyau vā | yaddhāguriḥ—durdinaṃ hyandhakāre'bdaiḥ | vārdalam deśyām ||

(h) Candramāḥ (I. 2. 14; pp. 25-6)–

[Moon:]

Candramāḥ is one of the 20 words mentioned to denote the moon.

Kṣīrasvāmin explains candramāḥ as ‘that which is pleasing’ or ‘a measure of time’ or ‘that which changes’:

āhlādanāccandraścāsau mimīte kālaṃ, masyati pariṇamate vā māśca candramāḥ |

He further remarks that the moon is also called an abbreviation of candramāḥ as similar to Bhāmā an abbreviation for Satyabhāmā

mā āpyucyate satyabhāmā bhāmetivat |

To the list of words denoting moon, Kṣīrasvāmin adds ātreya and rohiṇīśaḥ. He further observes that in Deśī the moon is amṛtanirgama and samudranavanītam

ātreyo rohiṇīśaśca | āmṛtanirgamaḥ samudranavanītam deśyām ||

(i) Sūra (I. 2. 29 -32, pp. 29-30)–

[Sun:]

Amarakośa gives about 39[5] names of sun. Kṣīrasvāmin explains each term which helps in knowing more about the origin and varied aspects of the star (viz., sun).

The term Āditya denotes that the sun as the offspring of Aditi,

āditerapatyamādityaḥ |

He is called dvādaśātman for he has twelve forms[6]

dvādaśātmāno rūpāṇyasya |

The maker of the day–

divākaraḥ. divā dinaṃ karoti divākaraḥ ||

Similar are the words Bhāskara and Ahaskara. He is bhāsvān for he is lustrous–

bhāsaḥ santyasya bhāsvān |

It is also called vivasvān as it shines–

vivastejosyāstīti vivasvān ||

The sun is called haridaśva as he is endowed with green and blue horses

harito nīlā āśvā āsya |

It scorches or is worshipped and hence arka

ārkayati tapatyarkaḥ ārcyate vā|

Or one who delivered the lifeless egg is mārtāṇḍa, son of mṛtaṇḍa hence mārtāṇḍa.

mṛtaṇḍasyāpatyaṃ mārtaṇḍaḥ mṛtāṇḍamajāyateti mārtāṇḍo vā ||

It makes water and hence mihira, justifying this derivation of his Kṣīrasvāmin quotes Manusmṛti (3. 76)–

mehati mihiraḥ ādityajjāyate vṛṣṭiriti smṛtiḥ |

Kṣīrasvāmin also adds karmasākṣī, jagaccakṣuḥ, aṃśumālī, trayītanu, dhāmanidhi, pradyotana, dinamaṇi, khadyota, lokabandhu,sūra, aṃśusattama and padminikānta to denote the Sun.

(j) Rāśi' s (I. 2. 28; p. 29)–

[Signs of the Zodiac:]

Amarakośa mentions the rāśīs as meṣa, vṛṣa and others. The names of all twelve rāśīs are mentioned by Kṣīrasvāmin–

meṣo vṛṣo'tha mithunaṃ karkaṭaḥ siṃhakanyake |
tulātha vṛściko dhanvī makaraḥ
kumbhamīnakau ||

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

It also denotes a class of clouds as mentioned by Kālidāsa in the Meghasandeśa (6)–jātaṃ vāṃśe bhuvānavidite puṣkarāvartakānām ... |

[2]:

Cf. Prajñāpana (I. 18) mentions nineteen types of winds.

[3]:

skandhaḥ samudaye'pi ca |

[4]:

Cf. Meghasandeśa (5)–dhūmajyotiḥ salilamarutāṃ sannipātaḥ kva meghaḥ... |

[5]:

54 including prakṣipta ślokas

[6]:

dhātā mitro'ryamā rudraḥ varuṇaḥ sūrya eva ca | bhago vivasvān pūṣā ca savitā daśamaḥ smṛtaḥ || ekādaśastathā tvaṣṭā viṣṇurdvādaśa ucyate |

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