by Lathika M. P. | 2018 | 67,386 words
This essay studies the Bhagavatpadabhyudaya by Lakshmana Suri: a renowned Sanskrit Scholar from the 19th century who wrote several works. The Bhagavatpada-abhyudaya is a Mahakavya (epic poem) narrating the life of Shankara-Acharya. This essay investigates the socio-spiritual conditions of 8th century AD as reflected in Lakshmanasuri’s work. It also...
Paṇḍit Mahāmahopādhyāya M Lakṣmaṇa Sūrin was a renowned Sanskrit Scholar and writer who lived about a century ago. He was born in August 1859 in the village of Pūnalveli near Śrīvilliputhur, Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu. He made an intensive study of Vyākarana and Vedanta and had deep erudition in both these Śāstrās. He was a disciple of Subba Dikṣitar a well known scholar of that time. He worked as a Sanskrit Paṇḍit at the age of 46 (1896) at the famous St. Peters College, Tanjore and continued there till the year 1907. After 1907 he was employed as a Paṇḍit in the Pachayappa’s High school and continued there till 1920. After retirement he delivered discourses on the Bhagavadgīta, Bhāgavata and Vedāntasūtras in many places in South India. He passed away on the 17th May 1928.
Among them Bhagavatpādābhyudaya is considered as his best work. It is a Mahākāvya which narrates the legendary biography of Śaṅkarācārya of Kāladi (788-820 AD) in simple and beautiful Sanskrit. The kāvya is modelled on the Śaṅkaradigvijayās of the medieval writers but it stands out as a work composed during the time of Indian Renaissance, underlining the spiritual unity and cultural identity of our nation.
Scope and Relevance
Though the book is a product of Modern age, no serious study has been carried out so far. The poem unveils the legendary incidents of Śaṅkara’s life. No one can deny the fact that he was able to create a feeling of “oneness” in society through the Advaita philosophy. The author, Lakṣmaṇa Sūrin, is of the view that the idea of Śaṅkara will go a long way towards to unite the people of Modern India. As he is a staunch nationalist, he has spent much of his time in learning more and more about traditional Sanskrit knowledge and the propagation of its better side and values. He has turned Śaṅkara as an icon for unifying the people of India culturally and socially. In this aspect he shows the legacy of the era of Indian Renaissance.
The thesis contains four chapters. The first chapter deals with life and works of Lakṣmaṇa Sūrin. Sanskrit and its contribution to Indian Renaissance, the role of Sanskrit scholars who wrote Mahākāvyās on great heroes of India, Śaṅkara an icon unity of Indian glorious past, and such contextual features relevant for the study, along with the poetic experience, vṛtta, alaṅkara, rasa etc of the kāvya. The second chapter presents the content analysis of Bhagavatpādābhyudaya. Here important alaṅkārās vṛtta and rasa are mentioned. The third chapter deals with the discussion of Śaṅkara’s philosophy as found in the references to it in Bhagavatpādābhyudaya. It discusses the socio-spiritual conditions of 8th century AD, the condition of Hindusim in the 8th century A D and follows the major themes of Śaṅkara’s Advaita Vedanta, Brahman or the Supreme Reality, Jīva or Individual Soul, Jagat or Universe, Īśvara or God, Māya or Illusion, Mokṣa or Liberation and Means of Liberation. Further Śaṅkara’s definition of Bhakti, relation between Jñāna and Bhakti, theory of Causation, Cosmology, Subtle Body, Gross Body etc are also mentioned. The fourth chapter describes similarities and dissimilarities between important Śaṅkaradigvijayās and Bhagavatpādābhyudaya. The disputes over Śaṅkara’s birthplace, disputes over Upanayana, place of Samādhi, death of mother are discussed along with the common similarities of different Śaṅkaradigvijayās.
As a Sanskrit kāvya written in the early twentieth century, it makes one proud of India’s glorious past. Going through the lines of the poet a reader has to recognise the wonderful life of Śaṅkara. Bhagavatpādābhyudaya, undoubtedly gives a vision of aesthetic, social, cultural, spiritual richness of the country. The methodology used in this study is analytical and descriptive. Unfortunately the text of Bhagavatpādābhyudaya is now out of print and difficult to produce. Therefore it is reproduced in the appendix. There have not been any previous studies conducted on Bhagavatpādābhyudaya. So, there has been a lack of information from any perspective on this subject.
I take this opportunity to express my deep sense of gratitude to my supervising Teacher, Dr. V.N Damodaran Unni, Former Campus Director in Regional Centre, Koyilandy, Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady for his valuable guidance and suggestions regarding the matter and manner.
I have no words to express my gratitude for the immense support given to me Dr. T Vasudevan, Visiting Professor in Comparative Literature, Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady. His erudition and deep insight into the subject have been a constant source of inspiration.
Much Gratitude is also hereby recorded to Dr. V.R Muralidharan, Prof and Head of the Department of Sanskrit Sahitya, Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady.
I am also grateful to Prof. P.C Muraleemadhavan (Retd) Head of the Department of Sanskrit Sahitya, Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady. I am thankful to my Principal Krishnadas O.K, Pavandoor Higher Secondary School, Kozhikode.
I am obliged to the Librarian and other staff of the library at Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Regional Centre, Koyilandy, and the main centre Chief Librarian and other staff of the library. I express my thanks to the Madras University Library, Adayar Library, Calicut University Library, Kerala University Library and the Library of Govt. Sanskrit College, Trippunithura.
The following personalities have also been immensely helpful to this endeavour and I wish to thank each of them. They are: Dr. T.S. Nishad (Assit. Prof, Department of Vedanta), Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Regional Centre Koyilandy, Dr. N.P. Sreejisha (Guest Lecture), Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Koyilandy, M.I. Seena (HSST English), Pavandoor Higher Secondary School, Kozhikode, A.K. Padmakumar (HSST Malayalam), Pavandoor Higher Secondary School, Kozhikode etc.
The emotional support provided by staff and non teaching staff of Pavandoor Higher Secondary School, My friends each one are special in his or her own way, is gratefully remembered here.
I further express my indebtedness to my parents, husband and daughters and all over family members who have inspired me in the core of my work. I thankful to one and all for their noble services rendered to me directly or indirectly through out.
LATHIKA M. P