Jivanandana of Anandaraya Makhin (Study)

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

This page relates ‘Nandi and Prastavana’ 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.

Nāndī 1

The protecting forces of the Nāyaka's team and the attacking forces of the Pratināyaka's team are referred to in the first Nāndī[1] verse by alluding to the churning of the milky ocean by Devas and Dānavas respectively. Their repeated efforts (ṛddhaśrama) resultin Dhanvantari[2] rising up from the Milky Ocean with the amṛtakalasa in his hand; this indicates the ultimate aim of obtaining Bliss.

Obtaining goddess Lakṣmī, the moon, the wish-yielding tree indicates indirectly the fortune of the Nāyaka's team. The phrase ānandathunā samam, used by the author, aptly fits with the ultimate success of this process, directly of the Devas but, indirectly of the Nāyaka's team.

As the play develops, the play-wright has many occasions to bring in various situations for the multipoint attacks of the inimical forces and also the team of hero making sincere efforts to eradicate every attack in the form of diseases completely with the help of the two basic chemicals, Rasa and Gandhaka.

Nāndī 2

For obtaining the ultimate aim of Eternal Bliss, the good health of the human body is the basic requirement. Hence, the second Nāndī[3] is a prayer to lord Śiva, the lord of all living beings, to bestow upon all human beings the desired complete health.

This verse also emphasises the famous statement of Kālidāsa

śarīramādyam khalu dharma sadhanam.


After the recital of these two Nāndī verses, the stage-manager enters the stage with his associate actor. In accordance with the dramatic tradition, the author brings in two suitable verses (I.3,4) through the stage-manager. These two verses are composed by the author in such a way that while they describe the Śarad season, they also provide a different meaning pertaining to the theme of the play.

The first verse (I. 3) describes the Śarad season brightened by the delightful full moon–pūrṇa-candrodaya, which destroys the darkness of the night; it also indicates that the easy method of eradicating the various diseases is the intake of the medicine pūrṇa-candrodaya-rasa:

rītiḥ sukhapadanyāsā śāradīyā vijṛmbhate |
pūrṇacandrodayaścāyaṃ nihanti dhvāntamāmayam ||

It is further stated (I.4) that during the Śarad, when the clouds become pure white in colour, the blemish of the water also gets subdued (that is water becomes pure).

It indirectly refers to the medical fact that when the body is healthy, diseases cannot attack it:

kramamāṇeṣu digantān jaladharajāleṣu śaṅkhadhavaleṣu |
śāntimupayāti sahasā kāluṣyadaśā bhṛśaṃ payasām ||

The cue for the main act to begin is pronounced by the Sūtradhāra, when he boasts that his brother-in-law who is to act as Rājayakṣmā, the Pratināyaka of the play, cannot act better then himself (Sūtradhāra) who is to don the character of king Jīva (I.15):

ābhinayavidyāviṣaye durahaṅkārākulīkṛto vikaṭaḥ |
sa naṭavaṭurmāṃ vāṣchatyabhibhavituṃ jīvamiva yakṣmā ||

Repeating the last quarter of the same verse, Vijñāna Śarma, the minister of king Jīva enters the stage declaring that while he is alive, Rājayakṣmā cannot overpower Jīva[4]. Thus, the author introduces the subject highlighting the climax also, where Jīva becomes the winner.

Footnotes and references:


lakṣmīkairavabandhukalpakatarūn labdhvāpyalabdhepsitaṃ bhūyo mathnati devadānavagaṇe dugdhābdhimṛddhaśrame |
tasyānandathunā samaṃ samudayan kumbhaṃ sudhāpūritaṃ bibhrāṇaḥ svakare karotu bhavatāṃ bhadrāṇi dhanvantariḥ ||


See Appendix for details about Dhanvantari.


prāgjanmīyatapaḥ phalaṃ tanubhṛtā prāpyeta mānuṣyakaṃ taṣca prāptavatā kimanyaducitaṃ prāptuṃ trivargaṃ vinā |
tatprāpterapi sādhanaṃ prathamato deho rujāvarjitastenārogyamabhīpsitaṃ diśatu vo devaḥ paśūnāṃ patiḥ ||


Jīvanandana Nāṭaka (JN) I. 16:
mayi jīvati jīvasya svāmino mantriṇi priye |
durbalo yakṣmahatakaḥ kathaṃ vābhibubhūṣati ||

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