Harshacharita (socio-cultural Study)

by Mrs. Nandita Sarmah | 2014 | 67,792 words

This page relates ‘Dissimilarities (3): Customs and Sacraments’ of the English study on the Harshacharita: A Sanskrit (poetical work) which can be studied as a Historical book of Indian society during the 7th century. It was originally written by Banabhatta who based his Harsacarita on the life of the Gupta emperor Harshavardhana. This study researches the religion, philosophy, flora and fauna and society of ancient India as reflected in the Harsha-Charita.

[Full title: Differences Between the two Societies of the Kādambarī and the Harṣacarita (3): Customs and Sacraments]

There were many customs or religious practices performed at that time. In the Harṣacarita, Bāṇa advocated that the guiding principles of human life were governed by the law of Manu[1] in his time. In that contemporary society, people performed some customs and rituals, which are very clearly depicted in the Harṣacarita. Among the daśa saṃskāra, Bāṇa describes some saṃskāra in the Kādambarī, such as-naming ceremony,[2] cūḍākaraṇa ceremony[3] which are not found in the Harṣacarita. Again, all the customs[4] were followed in the marriage of princess Rājyaśrī’s,[5] in the antyeṣṭi saṃskāra of king Prabhākaravardhana[6] in the Harṣacarita. It shows when the king expired, prince Harṣa and all his ministers and feudatories had been carrying his dead body in their shoulders to the funeral places (bank of the river Sarasvatī) and it was honoured to fire according to rites directed by the family priests. But, no brief description of marriage ceremony is found in the Kādambarī. Description of yuvarājābhiṣeka[7] only is found in detail in the Kādambarī.

Footnotes and references:


manāmiva kartari varṇāśramavyavasthānām……., Harṣacarita,II.p.36


atikrānte ca ṣaṣṭhījāgare prāpte daśamehani……brāhmanasātkṛtvā …..svapnānurupameva rājā svasūnoścandrāpīḍa iti nāma cakāra …. viprajanocitaṃ vaiśampāyana iti nāma cakre, Kādambarī,p.125


krameṇa kṛtacūḍākaraṇādibālakriyā…., Ibid.


duhitṛdānajalamapātayat………………………...gananābhiyukta-gaṇakagaṇagṛhyamānalagnaguṇam……pratyāsannalagno grahavarma …..ca taṃ kṛtanamaskāraṃ …..āsanādinā ….upacārenopacacāra, Harṣacarita,IV.p.68-73




narendraḥ svayaṃ samarpitaskandhairgṛhītvā śavaśibikāṃ …sāmantaiḥ pauraiśca purohitapuraḥsaraiḥ saritaṃ …..sarasvatīṃ nītvā narapatisamucitāyāṃ hūtāśasatkriyayā…śeṣatāmanīyat, Ibid.,V.p.87-88


tataḥ katipayadivasāpagame ca rājā svayamutkṣiptamaṅgalakalaśaḥ saha…. ….sampāditāśeṣarājyābhiṣekamaṅgala…..sutamabhiṣiṣeca, Kādambarī, p.180-181

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