Jivanandana of Anadaraya Makhin (Study)
by G. D. Jayalakshmi | 2019 | 58,344 words
This page relates ‘Origin and Development of Allegory in Sanskrit Literature and Drama’ of the study on the Jivanandana (in English) which is a dramatic play written by Anadaraya Makhin in the 18th century. The Jivanandana praises the excellence of Advaita Vedanta, Ayurveda (medical science) and Dramatic literature as the triple agency for obtaining everlasting bliss.
Origin and Development of Allegory in Sanskrit Literature and Drama
Allegory is as old as the Vedic literature. The Vedas contain metaphorical statements to imply immaterial or abstract notions.
In the Ṛgveda (VII.104. 22) various Rākṣasas are represented as animals–pig, wolf, dog, wild lizard, eagle and vulture:
ulukayātuṃ śuśulūkayātuṃ jahi śvayātumuta kokayātum |
suparṇayātumuta gṛdhrayātuṃ dṛṣadeva pra mṛṇa rakṣa indra ||
In another place, the individual soul (Jīva) and the Supreme soul (Brahman) are described as two birds with beautiful wings (Ṛgveda, I.164.20):
dvā suparṇā sayujā sakhāyā samānaṃ vṛkṣaṃ pariṣasvajāte |
tayoranyaḥ pippalaṃ svādvattyanaśnannanyo ābhicākaśīti ||
The tenth Maṇḍala of the Ṛgveda abounds in the personification of various abstract ideas Kāma (desire), Śraddhā (faith), Asunīti (spirit of life) and Anumati (favour). Sūnṛtā (beauty) is considered as goddess.
Ṛgveda (IV.58.3) personifies śabda as a bull with four horns (nouns, verbs, prepositions and articles) three feet (past, present and future), two heads (eternal and non-eternal words), seven hands (case affixes) and bound at three places (chest, throat and head).
It is further added that as the bull roars, the great God enters the mortals (martyāḥ):
catvāri śṛṅgā trayo āsya pādā dve śīrṣe sapta hastāso āsya |
tridho baddho vṛṣabho roravīti maho devo martyā ā viveśa ||
In the Śuklayajurveda, one finds allegory in the personification of the senses.
Manas is personified and its various powers are described as belonging to a human being (XXXIV.6):
suṣārathiraśvāniva yanmanuṣyānnenīyate'mīṣubhirvājina iva |
hṛtpratiṣṭhaṃ yadajiraṃ javiṣṭhaṃ tanme manaḥ śivasaṃkalpamastu ||
The Sāmaveda (Āgneya Kāṇḍa, I.9.9.10) speaks of the thoughtful preceptor as the father and faith as the mother of the worshipper:
pitā yatkaśyapasyāgniḥ śraddhā mātā manuḥ kaviḥ |
The allegorical style of representation is found in the Brāhmaṇas and Upaniṣads too. Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa (I.14-5) deals with Manu’s efforts for evolution with Śraddhā; Iḍā’s birth and conversation with Manu is also given in the same Brāhmaṇa (I.6.3).
The Chāndogya Upaniṣad (V.1.6-15) narrates the superiority of Prāṇa over the various sense organs when all of them fight with each other to establish their own supremacy; the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (VI. 7-14) also talks of a similar quarrel among the various senses.
The Kaṭhopaniṣad (III.3) is a fine illustration of allegorical expression as it says that the body is the chariot, the soul is the owner, the intellect is the charioteer, and the manas is the reins:
ātmānaṃ rathinaṃ viddhi śarīraṃ rathameva tu |
buddhiṃ tu sārathiṃ viddhi manaḥ pragrahameva ca ||
In the Mahābhārata (Adiparvan, 66.14-5ab), Dharma has been personified and described as having ten wives–Kīrti, Lakṣmī, Dhṛti, Medhā, Puṣṭi, Śraddhā, Kriyā, Buddhi, Lajjā, and Mati:
nāmato dharmapatnyastāḥ kīrtyamānā nibodha me |
kīrtirlakṣmīrdhṛtirmedhā puṣṭiḥ śraddhā kriyā tathā ||
buddhirlajjā matiścaiva patnyo dharmasya tā daśa |
It is further said (Ādi. 66.32-3) that Dharma had Śama, Kāma and Harṣa as his sons and Prāpti, Rati and Nandā as his daughters-in-law, respectively:
trayastasya varāḥ putrāḥ sarvabhūtamanoharāḥ |
śamaḥ kāmaśca harṣaśca tejasā lokadhāriṇaḥ ||
kāmasya tu ratirbhāryā śamasya prāptiraṅganā |
nandā tu bhāryā harṣasya yāsu lokāḥ pratiṣṭhitāḥ ||
In the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, the story of king Purañjana may be interpreted allegorically.
In Buddhist literature, allegory is found in the story of Māraparājaya, and also in the story of Ajapāla under the Banyan tree. In Jain literature too, one finds many allegorical tales.
In Sanskrit dramatic literature, the Buddhist dramatist Aśvaghoṣa is the first to depict allegorical figures such as Buddhi (intellect), Kīrti (fame) and Dhṛti (firmness) in his Sārīputra Prakaraṇa. Bhāsa’s Bālacarita has allegorical shadow, since the curse and the goddess of the kingdom are presented as characters. In Bhavabhūti’s Uttara-rāmacarita, the rivers Tamasā and Muralā, Pṛthvī (mother earth) and Vāsantī (forest deity), though features of nature, get personified.
The complete allegorical play-writing seems to have developed, according to Dr. V. Raghavan, as a special genre of nāṭakas from the time of Jayanta Bhaṭṭa (10 C.A.D.) who wrote the Āgamaḍambara as a metaphoric representation of abstract ideas. Followed by Kṛṣṇamiśra’s Prabodhacandrodaya, this class of dramatic literature has been produced in various parts of the country. The purpose of such a writing has helped in propagating various schools of philosophy and ideals of good life and society. The major well-known plays falling under this type are briefly introduced below.
Footnotes and references:
X. 167.3 ab: somasya rājṣo varuṇasya dharmaṇi bṛhaspateranumatya u śarmaṇi |
I. 40. 3 ab: praitu brahmaṇaspatiḥ pra devyetu sūnṛtā |
X.141.2 cd: pra devāḥ prota sūnṛtā rāyo devī dedātu naḥ |