by Shila Chakraborty | 2018 | 112,267 words
This page relates ‘Marching time (towards the enemy)’ of the study on the Shishupala-vadha (in English) in the light of Manusamhita (law and religious duties) and Arthashastra (science of politics and warfare). The Shishupalavadha is an epic poem (Mahakavya) written by Magha in the 7th century AD. It consists of 1800 Sanskrit verses spread over twenty chapters and narrates the details of the king of the Chedis.
Marching time (towards the enemy)
King should alert about the appropriate marching time towards his enemy. It is very important for the vijigīṣu king.
In this respect Manu said—
“mārgaśīrṣe śubhe māsi yāyād yātrāṃ mahīpatiḥ |
phālgunaṃ vā'tha caitraṃ vā māsau prati yathāvalam ||” 7.182 ||
“Let the king undertake his march in the fine month Mārgaśirṣa, or towards the months of Phālguna and chaitra according to the condition of his army”.
Commentator Kullūkabhaṭṭa said about this—
“yaścaturaṅgavalopeto rājā karirathādigamanavilamvena vilamvitaprayāṇaḥ, tathā haimantikaśasyavahulañca pararāṣṭraṃ jigamiṣuḥ, samupagamanāya śobhane mārgaśorṣe māsi yātrāṃ kuryāt | yaḥ punaraśva valaprāyo nṛpatiḥ śīghragatirva sarvanta śasyavahulaṃ pararāṣṭraṃ yiyāsuḥ sa phālgune caitre vā māsi svavalayogyakālānatikrameṇa yāyāt | ataeva manvartha vyāpāraparaṃ saṃkṣepeṇa yājñāvalkyavacanam—“yadā śasyaguṇopetaṃ pararāṣṭraṃ tadā vrajet |”
Commentator Medhātithi said about this—
“yātavyāpekṣayā valāpekṣayā dīrghaṃ yoddhumicchan valaprāyaḥ śāradavāsantikaśasyaprāyaṃ pararāṣṭraṃ mārgaśīrṣe yāyād atra hi gacchan śāradaṃ phalaṃ gṛhādigataṃ sukhaṃ gṛhnāti vāsantaṃ śasyamupaharāti | kālaśca mahān durgoparodhādikāryakṣamo mārgaśca prasiddhavakrapathopabhṛtakāśodakavīrudho na bhavanti, kālaśca nānyuṣṇaśītaḥ | upacitamapi na śasyaṃ nānāprayuktaṃ priyaṃ śasyattayopaghātakālaviprakarṣāpekṣayā ca para āśrayaṃ sandhatte | ubhayaśasyopaghātāvakarṣaṇaṃ samyak kṛtaṃ bhavatyatmanaśca valāpacaya iti | upadhātamātracikīrṣayā paradeśāderalpakālasādhye vā yātari, valaprāyaḥ phālgunacaitrayoryāyāt vāsantikaśasyaprāyadeśam tadāpyatmano yavasādi bhavati | paropadhātakṣetragataśasyopaghātāt | yathāvalamiti yena prakāreṇa valānurūpaṃ yāyādityarthaḥ ” |
Here śubhe means—when fodder and grain are abundant and the roads dry.
Kauṭilya also said about this—
“atyuṣṇamalpayavasendhanodakaṃ vādeśaṃ hemante yāyād tuṣāradurdinamagādhanimnaprāyaṃ gahanatṛṇavṛkṣaṃ vā deśaṃ grīṣme yāyāt | svasainyavyāyāmayogyaṃ parasyāyogyaṃ varṣati yāyāt | mārgaśīrṣoṃ taiṣīṃ cāntareṇa dīrghakālāṃ yātrāṃ yāyāt | caitrīṃ vaiśākhīṃ cāntīreṇa madhyamakālāṃ jyeṣṭāmūlīyamāṣāḍhīṃ cāntareṇa hrasvakālāmupoṣiṣyanvyasane caturthīm | vyasanābhiyānaṃ vigṛhyayāne vyākhyātam | ”(9.1. 37-41).
“He should march in winter against a country which is very hot or which has little fodder, fuel and water, He should march in summer against a country with showers of snow, or consisting mostly of deep water or with dense grass and trees.
He should march when it is raining against a country suited to the operations of his own army and unsuited to those of the enemy. He should march on an expedition of long duration between the Mārgaśirṣa and the pausa full moon days, on one of medium duration between the caitra and the vaiśākha full moon days, on one of short duration between the Jyaiṣṭha and the āṣāḍha full moon days, on the fourth (expedition), if desirous of burning up (the enemy) in his calamity Marching in (the enemy’s) calamity has been explained in (the section on) marching after making war.”
According to Manu, “The month of Mārgaśīrṣa has been declared to be the most suitable season for leading an expedition for it is during this period of the year that a country is full of fresh crop and foodstuff. The months of falguna and caitra, i.e the vernal season is also suitable for march inasmuch as such kinds of food stuff as barley, peas and others ripen during that part of the year.
But kauṭilya has, however, indicated different reasons of the year for undertaking march against different kinds of country. Thus a king may march during the dry season against a country which is of hot climate and in which fodder and water are obtainced in little quantities. He may march during the summer against a country in which the sun is shrouded by mist and which is full of deep valleys and thickets of trees and grass. He may march during the rains against a country which is suitable for the manoeuvre of his own army and which is of reverse nature for his enemies’ army. Kauṭilya also speaks of a long march between the months of December and January and a March of mean length between March and April and a short march between May and June.”
“anyeṣvapi tu kāleṣu yadā paśyed dhruvaṃ jayam |
tadā yāyād vigṛhyaiva vyasane cotthite ripīḥ ||” 7.183 ||
“Even at other times, when he has a certain prospect of victory, or when a disaster has be fallen his foe, he may advance to attack him”.
Commentator Kullūka said—
“uktakālavyārikteṣu yathātmano niścitaṃ jayamavagattadā svabalayogyakāle grīṣmādāvapi hastyaśvādibalaprāyo vigṛhyaiva yātrāṃ kuryāt | śattoścāmātyadi prakṛtigocaradaṇḍapāruṣyādivyasane jāte'ripakṣabhūtāyāṃ tatprakṛtāvapyuktakālādanyatrāpi yāyāt” |
And commentator Medhātithi said about this—“asyāpaṣādaḥ etadvetirekeṇānyetvapi prāvṛḍādikāleṣu yadā manyetātmano'vaśyambhāvivijayaṃ tadā yāyāt | yadā hastyaśvavalaprāyaṃ varṣāsvaśvavalaṃ hastivalaṃ tadā hi svavalakālaprabhāvādekāntiko jayaḥ | vyasanaṃ parasya svavalakośadi tasmintutpanne svavalakāla nirapekṣo yāyāt | vyasanapīḍito hi śatruḥ sādhyo bhavati | kāṣṭamiva guṇopayukkasanniyoga mātrādeva vinaśyati | vigṛhyeti yātavyamevāṣṭabhyāhūya yāyāt mahānasminnevāva gamyate” |
And Kauṭilya also said—
“prāyaśaścācāryāḥ paravyasane yātavyam ityupadiśanti | śaktyudaye yātavyamanaikāntikatvād vyasanānām” iti kaiṭilyaḥ | yadā vā prayātaḥ karśayitumucchettuṃ vā śaktuyādamitraṃ tadā yāyāt |”(9.1.42-44).
“And in general the teachers advise ‘One should march in the enemy’s calamity.’ On accetion of strength one should march, there being uncertainty as to calamities’, says Kauṭily. Or he should march when by marching he would be able to weaken or exterminate the enemy”.
According to Manu the appropriate time of marching is when enemy is in calamity:
‘tadā yāyādvigṛhyaiva vyasane cotthite ripoḥ’ |
But Kauṭilya says king should march when by marching he would be able to weaken or exterminate the enemy.—
‘śaktyudaye yātavyam |’
Comentator Mallinātha says—
“nanu yātavyo'pi kāle yātavya ityaśaṅkaya ayameva kāla ityaha svaśaktiiti” |
King should march when he realise’s that he should ruin his enemy by his strength.
In this context Kāmandaka says—
“prāyeṇa santo vyāsane ripuṇāṃ yatavyamityeva samādiśanti | tannaiṣaḥ pakṣo vyasanaṃ hyaniṣṭaṃ kṣamantu sannabhyuditaḥ pratīyāt |”
So, there are two opinion about appropriate marching time. One is when the enemy is in calamity end other is when the vijigīṣu king should ruin his enemy by his force power. But Kāmandaka did not acknowledge his own opinion.
Poet Māgha was well aware about this subject. King should march against his enemy when he is in calamity and weak. We come to know this through Balarāmas opinion.
Following verse proves this.
“svaśaktyupacaye kecita parasya vyasate'pare |
yānamāhustadāsīnaṃ tvāmutthāpayati dvayam ||” 2.57 ||
“Some maintain march to be at the increase of one’s own power, while other hold it to be at the calamity of the enemy. Both these things raise you up sitting or inactive as you are”.
When the vijigīṣu king realises that it is the time to march against his enemy or not, it is very much important thing in the field of war policy.
“prāyena santo vyasane ripūṇāṃ yātavyamityeva samādiśanti | tantaiṣaḥ pakṣo vyasanaṃ hāniṣṭaṃ kṣamantu sannabhyūditaḥ pratīyāt” iti |” (Kāmāndaka).
According to Kāmandaka many scholars proficient in politics. Mallinātha quotes here from the Kāmandakī nītisāra. He says that when the enemy in inconvenience and adversity then vijigīṣu king should march for war towards the enemy. Some scholars say that such behavior is not justified, rather when vijigīṣu king realises that he is fit for war to achieve joy then he will march towards enemy. But Kāmandaka didn’t given his own opinion. Mallinātha says when the vijigīṣu king will realise that his force is enough to win the enemy he will march towards enemy. Supporting his own opinion Mallinātha quoted Kāmandaka, Mallinātha also quoted Manu’s opinion.
According to Manu’s Opinion when the enemy is in danger then he (king) should march towards him.
‘cotthite ripoḥ |’ (7.183).
But Kauṭilya says king should march when by marching he would be able to weaken or exterminate the enemy śaktudaye power. Śiśupāla is unable from, both sides now. So, it is the high time to march towards Śiśupāla. So according to Balarāma it should be proclaimed war at once. Māgha prefers that king should march when his nemy is in calamity and he would be able to weaken the enemy. The words vyasana and śakti used by him prove this. This opinion of Manu and Kauṭilya is reflected here. 12/45 and 17/16 No. verses remind us Māghas knowledge about the marching time.
This śloka stands for the principle of war policy and the characteristic features of vijigīṣu king also.
The Śiśupālavadha of poet Māgha is also well known like Bhāravi’s Kirātārjunīya. Śiśupālavadha is an epic, not a political scripture.We come to know that Māgha has vast political thoughts. He composed the epic Śiśupālavadha with that knowledge. He gathered his political knowledge from different political scriptures. Poet mentioned about the concept of vijigīṣu king. Poet Māgha mainly wanted to compose his epic basing on political facts and stories which are related to śrīkṛṣṇa of the Mahābhārata.
Footnotes and references:
Manabendu Bandyopadhaya: Op.cit., p.713.
R. P. Kangle: Op.cit., part-I, p. 218.
ibid. part-II, p. 408.
Ashokanath Shastri: Op.cit., p.182.
Manabendu Bandyopadhaya: Op.cit., p. 714.
Ashokanath Shastri: Op.cit., p. 183.
R. p. Kangle: Op. cit., part-I, p. 218.
ibid., part-II, p. 408.
Haridas Siddhantavagisha: Op.cit., p. 73.
Sitanath Kavyaratna & Madhab Dass Sankhyatirtha: Op.cit., p. 163.