Annadatri-carita (study)

by Sarannya V. | 2020 | 34,082 words

This study analyzes the Annadatri-Carita: an epic poem connected with a regional history written by Prof. K Balarama Panicker. The plot of the drama is based on a Sangam period myth connected with the epic Mahabharata. The author introduces Utiyan Ceralatan as Vancishvara, an ancestor of the last Travancore ruler named Chithira Thirunal Balarama Va...

Annadatricarita is a minor Sanskrit drama written by Prof. K Balaramapanicker. The theme of the drama was adapted from the history of ancient Ceras. It connects the ancient history of Kerala with the epic work Mahabharata, which composed in five acts with a famous theme praised by several Sangam poets. The plot of the story revolves around the ancient Cera king Utiyan Ceralatan (in this drama Udaya Varmakulashekhara). He was also credited in the name ‘Vancishvara’. According to this drama, he was the generous feeder of the entire army in the Kurukshetra war and achieved the designation of a great feeder ‘Maha Annadatrih’. Annadatricarita is strictly follows the rules of Natyashastra in its all dramatical aspects such as Praveshaka, Vishkambha etc.

Prof. K. Balaramapanicker (1910 -1978) was a notable personality in the field of modern Sanskrit literature. He was born in the year 1910 in Kunnathur village in Kollam district. His parents were Manappallezhath Kochunnipanicker and Narayaniyamma. His maternal and paternal families were proficient in Ayurveda and Sanskrit. Moreover, R. Sankar, the third chief minister of Kerala was a family member of Prof. Balarama Panicker.

After primary education he passed ‘Mahopadhyaya’ and ‘Shiromani’ exams in Sanskrit Literature and Nyaya siddhanta and started career as a college lecturer soon after completing his M.A Degree. He had service in the post of principal of the H.H Sanskrit college, Thiruvananthapuram from 1963-1965. In 1973, the Indian President awarded him considering his great contributions in the field of Sanskrit, particularly Shrinarayanavijayakavya.

Prof.K. Balarama Panicker was a proficient scholar in different languages. He wrote many notable works in Sanskrit, English and Malayalam languages. His most of the Malayalam works are discussing about Shrinarayana Guru and his philosophies. His philosophical perspectives were discussed in his English works.

1. English Works

  1. An Enquiry to the Relationship between Buddhistic and Advaitic Metaphysics,
  2. Latest Development of Advaita Philosophy in Kerala after Sree Sankara,
  3. India has a Traditional Philosophy, it Monism or Non-dualism,
  4. A Simple Survey of Important Indian Philosophies,
  5. Sree Narayana Guru.

2. Malayalam Works

  1. Shakuntala,
  2. Dakshina,
  3. Raghurajacarita [Raghurajacaritam],
  4. Vyasante Cerukathakal,
  5. Ramayanakathakal,
  6. Mahabharatakathakal,
  7. Kalidasakathakal,
  8. Durganandavilasa Vyakhyanam,
  9. Shrikrishnavilasa Vyakhyanam,
  10. Raghuvamsha Vyakhyanam,
  11. Tulikacalanannal (1,2 part),
  12. Vicaravedi,
  13. Bhagavatgitasara [Bhagavatgitasaram],
  14. Shrinarayanagurudevan,
  15. Shrinarayana Siddhantannal,
  16. Shrinarayanaguru Prabandhannalilute,
  17. Advaitavedanta Siddhantannal.

3. Sanskrit Works

  1. Annadatricarita,
  2. Dhatudipika: an index of Dhatus,
  3. Kavyamanjari (short poem),
  4. Shabdarupavali,
  5. Siddhantasamuccaya,
  6. Shrinarayanaguru Suprabhata,
  7. Shrinarayanavijaya Mahakavya,
  8. Subantarupavali (Primary text book of grammar).

Among these works Shrinarayanavijaya can be consider as his Magnum Opus. It is a biographical poem about the social reformer Shrinarayana Guru. Even though his platform was Nyaya and Vedanta branches of Sanskrit, his grace and elegance in the literary style was also awesome. Shrinarayanavijaya and Annadatricaritaare the best examples of this statement.

4. Shrinarayanavijaya Mahakavya

Shrinarayanavijayais a modern Sanskrit mahakavya, deals with the biography, social activities and principles of Narayanaguru. The book includes twenty one sargas, which are compiled into four parts. The first part contains seven sargas, second part includes three, five in the third division and the last division includes six sargas respectively. The title of the poem points towards the victorious career of Shri Narayanaguru.

The first part of the kavya contains the following episodes of Narayana Guru’s life such as his birth, education, marriage, reluctance of worldly life, the advice of his uncle, pilgrimage, worship of Subrahmanya, his blessings and installation of lord Vishvanatha on the banks of Neyyar. The second part contains the establishment of Shivagiri Matha, installation of Sharada devi and his discourses with Brahmin scholars. In the third part the episodes like discussion with the Christian priests, establishment Adwaita Ashrama and a school in Aluva, the assembly of scholars and formation of Sahodarasamgha are portrayed. The final part depicted the visit of Rabindranatha Tagore, Vaikom satyagraha, visit of Mahatma Gandhi, establishment of the Shrinarayana Dharmasmgha and the mahasamadhi of Narayana Guru.

Among the modern mahakavyas, Shrinarayanavijaya has a prominent role in the literature. It strictly follows the mahakavyalakshnas described by Dandin in his Kavyadarsha. Shanta is the main sentiment of the kavya. Karuna rasa also connected in the last part of kavya when the ladies crying after the samadhi of Narayana Guru. This kavya created with a unique charm and simplicity in its style.

It adorns a prominent role among the mahakavyas of Kerala not only because of its poetic beauty but also about the history of renaissance of Kerala. Moreover, Narayana Guru is well known as the ‘father of Kerala renaissance’. His clear life span spread light in the mind of people and motivated them into a new awakening from the ignorance. He tried to make awareness against the traditionally followed bad customs and blind believes among the common people. Narayana Guru established many temples in various parts of Kerala for the right to worship for common people. Hence, he tried to break the control of Brahmins in the temple customs and rituals. The most popular and inspiring message by Narayana Guru is‘One cast, one religion and one God for every human being.’ He asked the people to ‘be rouse by the education and be strong by organizing’. Hence, Shrinarayanavijaya can be consider as an appropriate tribute to Narayana Guru in Sanskrit language.

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