Jivanandana of Anandaraya Makhin (Study)

by G. D. Jayalakshmi | 2019 | 58,344 words

This page relates ‘Act I (Summary)’ 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.

Dramatis Personae (In the order of their appearance).

Sūtradhāra–Stage manager
Pāripārśvaka–His associate
Vijñāna Śarmā–The minister
Dhāraṇā–Friend of Queen Buddhi working as a spy in mendicant’s costume.
Pratīhāra–Door-keeper, named Prāṇa
RājāKing Jīvarāja
Devī–Queen Buddhi


Two Nāndī verses–one addressed to Dhanvantari and the other to lord Paśupati–are recited at the beginning. The Sūtradhāra enters the stage and calls his associate Pāripārśvaka, to take note of the beautiful śarad season. On the latter’s enquiry about the Sūtradhāra's plan for the season, he says that the car festival was taking place at the Bṛhadīśvara temple in Tanjore city. Local people as well as pilgrims had assembled there from many places to witness the festival and worship lord Bṛhadīśvara. Hence, he had planned to entertain them with a new play entitled Jivānandana.

On being enquired about the author of the play, the Sūtradhāra narrates the various credentials of the dramatist Ānandarāya Makhin. He also states that goddess Sarasvatī had incarnated as king Śāhāji in order to nurture such a great poet as Ānandarāya Makhin. On the Sūtradhāra's command, the Pāripārśvaka, enlists the names of the various actors who would play in different roles of the drama. Of them, a particular actor by name Vikaṭa, wishing to compete with the Sūtradhāra had taken up the part of the pratināyaka namely king Yakṣmā. Sūtradhāra declares that Vikaṭa as Yakṣmā cannot surpass himself (Sūtradhāra) as Jīva, the hero of the play (Prastāvanā ends).

Scene I: Outside the Palace of King Jīva: Early Morning:

The main part of this first Act opens with the entry of the minister Vijñāna Śarmā declaring that king Yakṣmā (pratināyaka) cannot conquer king Jīva when he (Vijñāna Śarmā) is alive. He wants to meet king Jīva and his wife queen Buddhi for further discussion of their actions against the enemy. Then, remembering his earlier advice given to the royal couple, he concludes that the female assistant of the queen, Dhāraṇā by name must have been sent as the spy to the enemy-camp.

While going towards the palace, he sees the post-dawn movements taking place in and around that area. At that time he sees a female wandering mendicant coming towards him, and recognizes her as Dhāraṇā in an ascetic costume (with the name Gārgī).

When they meet face to face, and after knowing each other's identity, Dhāraṇā reveals the facts that she had gathered during her visit to the enemy’s camp–Yakṣmā, the king of all diseases is uncontrollable and his leading team members are–Jvara, Pāṇḍu, Prameha, Arśa, Śūla, Gulma, Bhagandara, Kāsa, Śvāsa, Atīsāra, Sannipāta, Aśmarī and Vraṇa.

Dhāraṇā also enlists the details of the varieties of the diseases as part of the army of Yakṣmā–hundred head-diseases; ninety four eye-diseases; eighteen nasal-diseases; eighteen ear-diseases; seventy four mouth-diseases; five types of heart-diseases and many more diseases. They are very powerful and they can never be eradicated by the medicinal preparations in the forms of kalka, kaṣāya, lehya, vaṭaka and others, who are the soldiers defending king Jīva. Hence she says that, of the four upāyas only daṇḍa would have to be used to control Yakṣmā. The minister is now able to assess the power of the enemy king Yakṣmā. But, he is confident that king Jīva’s forces can definitely withstand the attack of the inimical forces with proper preparation. He advises Dhāraṇā to go along with him to meet the king and tell him all. But, wishing to have a bath to get rid of the impurities obtained in the enemy-camp, Dhāraṇā excuses herself and exits.

Now Vijñāna Śarmā walks towards the king’s palace. He plans for further actions to be taken to ward off the enemies.

On reaching the entrance of the palace, being permitted, he walks in to that chamber where the king Jīva remains with his queen Buddhi.

Scene II: King's Chamber: Early morning

Approaching the king and the queen who are seated on the throne, the minister tells them that Dhāraṇā had brought the news about king Yakṣmā's efforts to eliminate king Jīva.

The minister also reveals that the only way (as told by Dhāraṇā) to overcome king Yakṣmā along with his entire team, is to procure the power of Mercury and Sulphur (Rasa and Gandhaka) from lord Śiva and goddess Pārvatī, since they are the potency of these divinities (I.39 ab):

śambhorvīryaṃ raso nāma śarvāṇyā nāma gandhakaḥ |

The minister advises that only by sincere worship towards lord Śiva and goddess Pārvatī, these two can be obtained. The king assents to the idea since Śiva is the most compassionate and accepts to go to the place of their penance, Puṇḍarīkapura.

The minister advises them to enter through the manodvāra (mind) and get the support of goddess Śivabhakti, so that all the four great-pursuits (puraṣārthas) would also be obtained. Then having entrusted the entire responsibility of the kingdom to the minister, the royal couple depart to Puṇḍarīkapura.

Note: Including two Nāndī verses, there are sixteen verses in the prologue of this first Act. The Act proper has thirty three verses and thus, there are forty nine verses in this first Act.

Quotations from few medical texts, Upaniṣads and verses from the Bhagavadgītā are included in the course of the conversations, but not numbered in the published text (applicable to all the Acts).

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