Satirical works of Kshemendra (study)

by Arpana Devi | 2017 | 60,954 words

This page relates ‘Reverence for Vyasa and Valmiki’ part of the study on the Satirical works of Kshemendra: an 11th century poet from Kashmir, who composed three satirical works. Kshemendra himself says that in composing the satirical works his only motive is to reform the mindset of the people.—He exposes all the vices and follies prevailing in the society with the intention to reform it.

8. Reverence for Vyāsa and Vālmīki

Vyāsa and Vālmīki were the ideal poets for Kṣemendra and he shows his great reverence for them. It seems that Kṣemendra was greatly influenced by Vyāsa. He refers the name of Vyāsa in most of his works with great respect. He expresses his deep reverence addressing him as bhagavat[1]. In the Kavikaṇṭhābharaṇa, Vyāsa is mentioned as bhūvanopajīvya[2] i.e. upholder of the whole world in the field of literature. Kṣemendra speaks greatly of the importance of Vyāsa’s Mahābhārata which is a source book for the writings of all poets and it is like a magnanimous lord who gives support to the subordinates desirous of success.[3]

In the Mahābhāratamañjarī, Kṣemendra’s great respect for Vyāsa is visible where the initial verse of almost all the principal chapters is the conventional benedictory verse of the Mahābhārata itself modified only to accommodate the name ‘Vyāsa’ incorporated therein.[4] The Vyāsāṣṭaka forming just a portion of the autobiographical account given in the concluding verses of the Mahābhāratamañjarī contains the poet’s full-throated expression of ecstatic devotion to Vyāsa, whom he describes as one shining brilliantly with the flaming glow of knowledge, as the generator of all poetic activities, as the dispeller of darkness and the terminator of worldly pain.[5]

Kṣemendra takes the name of Vyāsa along with Prajāpati and Brahmā.[6] Some scholars opine that Kṣemendra adopted himself the name Vyāsadāsa. It appears that his earnest devotion for Vyāsa makes him to name himself as Vyāsadāsa.

Along with Vyāsa, Vālmīki also received due respect from the poet. Kṣemendra praises Valmīki’s greatness with utmost regard. In the Rāmāyaṇamañjarī, he eulogises Valmīki-the first poet. The poet says that Vālmīki is the prajāpati (creator) in creating Rāmāyaṇamañjarī in sargas.[7]

Footnotes and references:


bhagavato maharseḥ vyāsasya/
Aucityavicāracarcā ,p.27


bhūvanopajivyo yathā bhagavat vyāsa/
Kavikaṇṭhābharaṇa ,II.72


idaṃ kavivaraiḥ sarvairākhyānamupajīvyate/
udayaṃ prepsubhirbhutyairbhijāta iveśvaraḥ// ibid.,II.p.72


nārāyaṇaṃ namaskṛtya naraṃ caiva narottamaṃ/
devīṃ sarasvatīṃ vyāsaṃ tato jayamudīrayet// Mahābhāratamañjarī


ibid., pp.99-100


samastavadanodgītabrahmaṇe brahmaṇe namaḥ/
namaḥ prajāpatibhyaśca kṛṣṇadvaipāyanāya ca// ibid.,Adiparvan,I


jyeṣṭho jayati valmīkiḥ sargavandhe prajāpatiḥ/
yaḥ sarvahridyālinaṃ kāvyaṃ rāmāyaṇaṃ vyadhāt// Rāmāyaṇamañjarī , Bālakāṇḍa,2

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