Amarakoshodghatana of Kshirasvamin (study)

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

This page relates ‘Earth and its aspects’ 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.

Earth and its aspects

Amarakośa deals with earth and its aspects in the Bhūmi varga.

(a) Bhūmiḥ (II.1.1-4; p.70)–

[Earth:]

Earth is denoted by many terms of which a few are explained by Kṣīrasvāmin as follows–

(i) Bhū—as everything is born of this—

bhavatyasmāt sarvaṃ bhūḥ |

(ii) Jyā is to win or originate—

jināti jāyate vā jyā |

In this connection it is interesting to note the critical comment made by Kṣīrasvāmin on the derivation of jyā as a sacrifice.

He considers such a derivation as foolish.

ijyeti mūrkhavyākhyā |

(iii) Kāśyapī

The earth is called kāśyapī as it is said in the Purāṇas that Jamadagni conquered the whole earth and gave it to Kaśyapa.

(iv) Avani—as it protects people or is protected by the king

āvati prajā āvyate vā nṛpairavaniḥ|

(b) Mṛttikā (II. 1. 5; p. 70)–

[Soil:]

Soil grading is also mentioned in Amarakośa to which Kṣīrasvāmin adds valuable notes wherever necessary.

He records that the land with black soil was called kṛṣṇabhūma; the land endowed with superior soil–udaṅbhūma; and the land having white soil is pāṇḍubhūma[1]

kṛṣṇabhūmaḥ kṛṣṇamṛttikodambhūma udaṅmṛdi | pāṇḍubhūmaḥ pāṇḍumṛcca ||

(c) Aprahata (II. 1. 6; p. 71)–

[Untilled land:]

An untilled land was termed khila or aprahata, Kṣīrasvāmin explains aprahata land as that land not tilled with plough or other tools–

na prahanyate halādibhiraprahatamakṛṣṭaṃ kṣetrādi |

(d) Mṛgatṛṣṇā (I. 2. 36; p. 31)–

[Mirage:]

Mṛgatṛṣṇā and marīkā denote a mirage.

Kṣīrasvāmin explains the formation of mirage as the reflection of light on the particles of sand which produces the illusion of water to the onlooker–

marīcipratikṛtirmarīcikā | grīṣme sikatāsvarkakarāḥ pratiphalitā jalatvenābhānti āta eva marumarīcikocyate ||

(e) Samudra (I. 9. 1-2; p. 61)–

[Oceans:]

Amarakośa gives 15 words to denote an ocean or a sea. Mentioning that there are varieties of oceans Amarakośa mentions only Kṣīra and lavaṇa.

Kṣīrasvāmin adds five others[2] as–dadhyuda, ghṛtoda, suroda, ikṣūda and svādūda

āpare dadhyudaghṛtodasurodekṣūdasvādūdāḥ |

(f) Nadī:

Gaṅgā, Yamunā, Narmadā, Karatoyā, Bāhudā, Śatadrū, Vipāśā, Sāravati and a few other rivers are mentioned in Amarakośa (I.9.31-34; pp.66-7). Kṣīrasvāmin adds Sarayū, Devikā, Godāvarī and Veṇī to the list.

(g) Ponds:

(i) Akhātam or devakhātakam (I. 9. 27; p.66)–A natural pond: A natural pond is called akhātam or devakhātakam, Kṣīrasvāmin observes that according to some it is also called ākhātam or nāgādikuṇḍam

nāgādikuṇḍa—makṛtrimamākhātamityeke |

(ii) Taḍāga (I. 9. 28; p. 66)–A lotus pond: Kṣīrasvāmin observes that the word is variously spelt in usage.

According to some it is taḍāka while others use the word as taṭāka

taḍ āghāte taḍāka ityeke, taṭānyakatitaṭākamityanye |

(h) Cakrāṇi (I. 9. 7; p. 62)–

[Whirlpool:]

A winding descent of water is called cakrāṇi. observes that in the Mālā the word is vakrāṇi. He also remarks that a Gauḍa had mistaken it to mean the river vaṅkā

cakrākāreṇa yāntyadhaḥ | vakrāṇīti mālā | nadīvaṅkākhyā iti ca gauḍo bhrāntaḥ |

(i) Kūpaka (I. 9. 10; p. 62)–

[Well:]

A temporaray well is called kūpaka or vidāraka.

Kṣīrasvāmin explains that the hollow dug in the dried river bed resembling a well is a kūpaka and quotes from the texts of Kātya and Mālā

kūpapratikṛtiḥkūpakaḥ śuṣkanadyādau jalārthaṃ gartāḥkriyante |
yatkātyaḥvivarāṃkūpakānāhuḥ |
vidārayati kṣmāṃ vidārakaḥ |
mālāca cuṇḍī
vivarotsāśca kūpakāḥ |

(j) Gotra (II. 3. 1; p. 78)–

[Mountain:]

Amarakośa dedicates a separate section called the Śaila varaga dealing with mountains.

Kṣīrasvāmin's special remarks on these are observed here as–commenting on the term gotra Kṣīrasvāmin observes that it is so called as it is believed to uphold the earth/support the earth–

gāṃ trāyate gotraḥ |

Some of the mountains mentioned in the Amarakośa are western and eastern mountains, Himālayas, Niṣada, Vindhyas, Mālyavān, Pāriyātrika, Gandhamādana and Hemakūṭa[3]. Kṣīrasvāmin adds Malaya and Mandara to the above list.

Kṣīrasvāmin adds that the Himalayas were considered the king of mountains and Malaya reknown for the sandal trees

ādi—śabdānmalayamandarādyāḥ | himācalo'drirājaḥ syānmalayaścandanācalaḥ ||

(k) Guhā (II. 3. 5-6; p. 79)–

[Caves:]

An artificial cave is denoted by terms darī and kandarā, while natural caves by words guhā and gahvara.

Kṣīrasvāmin observes that the word kandarā can optionally be used in masculine gender as kandaraḥ. He further remarks that some take all the four words in the same sense. He also quotes the views of Kātya and Śāśvata (656)–

dīryate darī pacāditvādac | kutsitaṃ dīryate kaṃ dṛṇāti vā kandarā | pakṣe rūpātpumān kandaro'pi | same ityarthaḥ | devakhātamakṛtakaṃ bilaṃ bhedane |gūhati guhā | āge hvarati gāhyate vā gahvaram | ākṛtakabilaviṣaye guhā gahvaraṃ cetyeke pūrveṇa saha saṃbadhnanti | yatkāyaḥdevakhāte bile guhā | śāśvatopyāhagahvaraṃ biladambhayoḥ |

(l) Gaṇḍa Śailā (II. 3. 6; p. 79)[4]

[Rock-fall and Earthquake:]

The huge rock fallen from mountain is called gaṇḍaśailā. Kṣīrasvāmin supplements that these are rocks thrown away by an earthquake–

gaṇḍāḥ śailāḥ iva sthūlatvāt gaṇḍaśailāḥ cyutāḥbhūkampādinā galitāḥ ||

From this it could be surmised that occurences of earthquake and their consequences were known to people of Kṣīrasvāmin's time.

(m) Khani (II. 3. 7; p. 79)–

[Mines:]

Khani is the mine from where the minerals are mined out.

Kṣīrasvāmin adds that it is also spelt as Khāni. The place of mineral deposits is ākarah. Kṣīrasvāmin adds the word gañjā in the same sense and quotes Śāśvata’ s text (404) in support of his view:

khanyate lohādayo'syāḥ khaniḥ khāniśca |
ākīryante
dhātavo'smin ākaraḥ |gañjāpi |
yacchāśvataḥ—
bhāṇḍāgāraṃ vidurgañjaṃ khanau
gañjā surāgṛhe ||

(n) Dhātu (II. 3. 8; p. 80)[5]

[Minerals:]

Some of the dhātus (minerals) mentioned by Kṣīrasvāmin are Hiṅgula–vermillion, Suvarṇagold, Rūpyamsilver, Tāmaram–copper, Haritālam–yellow pigment, Manaḥśilā–red arsenic, Gaurika–white quail, Añjanaka–antimony, Sīsa–lead, loha–iron.

He also mentions some of the minerals found in mountains as Gandhaka–Sulphur and AbhramMica

dhatte dhātuḥ |
ādiśabdāddhiṅgulādi |
yadāhuḥ
suvarṇarūpyatāmrāṇi haritālaṃ manaḥśilā |
gaurikāñjanakāsīsalohasīsāḥsahiṅgulāḥ ||
gandhako'bhrakamityadyā dhātavo
girisaṃbhavāḥ ||

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

The terms to denote a forest and a garden, and other varieties of soils are dealt with in the section on Flora.

[2]:

In the Atharva Veda (Vol.III, p.141 edt S.P.Pandit), Sāyaṇa commenting on the word samudra mentions their number as seven; Rāmāyaṇa (III. 74. 25) mentions the seven oceans.

[3]:

Cf. Vyāsa bhāṣya on Pātañjala yoga sūtra (III. 26) mentions seven mountains–Niṣada, Hemakūṭa, Hima, Bhadrāśva, Mālyavān, Ketumāla and Gandhamādana.

[4]:

gaṇḍaśailāstu cyutāḥ sthūlopalā gireḥ ||

[5]:

dhāturmanaḥśilādyadrergaurikaṃ tu viśeṣataḥ| |

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