The backdrop of the Srikanthacarita and the Mankhakosa

by Dhrubajit Sarma | 2015 | 94,519 words

This page relates “Conclusion” as it appears in the case study regarding the Srikanthacarita and the Mankhakosa. The Shrikanthacarita was composed by Mankhaka, sometimes during A.D. 1136-1142. The Mankhakosa or the Anekarthakosa is a kosa text of homonymous words, composed by the same author.

Chapter VI - Conclusion

The present thesis entitled “Maṅkhaka, a Sanskrit literary genius: an introspection in the backdrop of the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita and the Maṅkhakośa” focuses on the literary expertise of Maṅkhaka, exhibited fully through his monumental poem, the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita and partly through his koṣa work, the Maṅkhakośa. In the history of classical Sanskrit literature, the mahākāvyas occupy a very exalted position. The Śrīkaṇṭhacarita of Maṅkhaka is a standard mahākāvya from the standpoint of the canons laid down for a mahākāvya by the ālaṃkārikas. Maṅkhaka, one of the foremost poets of Kashmir, flourished after Kṣemendra composed the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita, consisting of twenty-five cantos. The Śrīkaṇṭhacarita was composed during A.D. 11361142. It describes the destruction of the three cities of gold, silver and iron, in the sky, air and earth, built for the demons by Mayāsura. Subsequently, these cities were burnt to ashes, along with the demons inhabiting therein by Lord Śiva, at the behest of the gods.

Maṅkhaka started the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita, with a maṅgalācaraṇa, in praise of Lord Śiva. The whole of the first canto is devoted to benediction and every deity has a salutation. Many verses have double meaning and it exhibits the poet’s wonderful mastery over language. In the second canto, the poet has described the general qualities of poets. In the third canto, the poet gives us an idea of life in Kashmir during his time. At the end of every canto, Maṅkhaka calls himself mahākavirājarājānakaśrīmaṅkhaka. Maṅkhaka has written the work, as if, by following each and every rule of alaṃkāraśāstra. That is to say, he has composed his work, while keeping in mind the characteristic features of a court-epic. It contains practically all the qualities a mahākāvya should have. As for instance, the beautiful descriptions available in the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita are-the commencement of various seasons of natural climate, the scene of sun-rise and sun-set etc. Ruyyaka has praised his pupil Maṅkhaka immensely, for his extra-ordinary genius. The Śrīkaṇṭhacarita proves the fact that Maṅkhaka has full command over Sanskrit language and has complete capability to write a mahākāvya. Thus, it has been observed that the author of the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita bears singularity as a poet.

Again, the Sanskrit koṣa texts or the Sanskrit lexicography has an ancient origin. The koṣa, also called kośa, means thesaurus. It is an abridgement of abhidhānakośa or the treasure of words. It is used to mean dictionary or lexicon. The lexicographers are always found emphasizing that they have composed their works for the utilization of the poets. Thus, the study of the koṣas is closely connected with that of the kāvyas. In the history of Sanskrit literature, there are examples of many poets, who were writers of koṣa also, viz. Murāri, Mayūra, Bāṇa, Śrīharṣa, Bilhaṇa, Maṅkhaka etc. The Maṅkhakośa or the Anekārthakośa is a koṣa text of homonymous words, composed by Maṅkhaka. It has been named after its author Maṅkhaka, therefore it is known as the Maṅkhakośa. Again, as it is a collection of words, having more than one meaning; it is termed as the Anekārthakośa.

The present study is consisting of six chapters.

The first chapter:

The first chapter is the introductory one. At the very beginning, the term kāvya and its meaning and scope have been enumerated. In the tradition of Sanskrit, the term kāvya is used in the sense of sāhitya and in the same way the word kavi is applied to mean sāhityika or writer. Therefore, the term kāvya stands for all that is the work of a poet. Thus, the connotation of the word kāvya is very wide. There are several definitions of kāvya available, right from Bharata upto Viśvanātha, post-Viśvanātha period also, where each one of them tries to establish their view. The definitions of kāvya, put forwarded by the rhetoricians have also been discussed here. While speaking about kāvya, Bharata gives emphasis upon rasa. According to him, rasa is the most essential and indispensable element in a kāvya. He opines that no meaning is produced from the speech, without any kind of sentiment. According to Bhāmaha, kāvya is the harmonious form of word and meaning. Daṇḍin, is of the opinion that kāvya is consisting of some meaningful words. Vāmana, declares that rīti is the soul of poetry. Rudraṭa, supported the view of Bhāmaha, regarding the definition of kāvya. Ānandavardhana, is of the opinion that dhvani or suggestiveness is the essence of poetry and on that basis, he discusses its relation to other poetic embellishments. Abhinavagupta thought that all suggestion must be of sentiment, for the suggestion of subject or that of figure may be ultimately reduced to the suggestion of sentiment. Kuntaka gives weightage on crooked speech or vakrokti. According to him, vakrokti is the only thing for the creation of kāvya. Mahimabhaṭṭa does not dispute that the soul of poetry is rasa.

Bhoja defines kāvya as such that word and meaning, both jointly constitute poetry. Mammaṭa, is of the opinion that poetry consists of words and meanings faultless, with excellence or beauty even though sometimes undecorated. Rājānaka Ruyyaka was a staunch advocate of the dhvani school and he briefly summarizes the views of Bhāmaha, Udbhaṭa, Rudraṭa, Vāmana, the Vakroktijīvita, the Vyaktiviveka and Dhvanikāra, on the essence of poetry. Vāgbhata I gives pratibhā as the source of kāvya. Hemacandra provides similar observation as that of Mammaṭa. Jayadeva, Vidyādhara etc. also give definitions of kāvya. According to Viśvanātha Kavirāja, the poetry is the sentence, soul whereof is flavour or sentiment (rasa). After Viśvanātha, Keśava Miśra, Jagannātha also provide their views on the definition of kāvya. After that, the divisions of kāvya viz. gadya, padya and miśra, as enumerated by different rhetoricians are briefly discussed. The kāvya or literary composition is further divided broadly into two divisions viz. dṛśyakāvya and śravyakāvya. The dṛśya is suitable for dramatization, whereas the śravya is made for listening (reading also). The padya is again, either a mahākāvya or a khaṇḍakāvya, koṣa and the like. The mahākāvya and its features are the next topic of discussion.

A mahākāvya is a poetical composition consisting of several cantos. Thereafter, a brief history of the Sanskrit mahākāvyas have been presented, wherein incorporated a discussion about the pre-Kālidāsa period, from the period of Kālidāsa to Śrīharṣa i.e. the period of development or growth and from that up to the last part of the thirteenth century i.e. the period of decadence. The Sanskrit epics may be divided into two divisions i.e. the great epics or ārṣakāvyas and the literary epics (mahākāvyas). The first category comprises the Rāmāyaṇa and the Mahābhārata. The second category covers the epics of Aśvaghoṣa, Kālidāsa, Bhāravi, Māgha, Maṅkhaka etc. Some call the second group of epics as court epics or the ornate court epics.

Some important Sanskrit mahākāvyas are as follows-the Raghuvaṃśa, the Kumārasambhava of Kālidāsa, the Kirātārjunīya of Bhāravi, the Bhaṭṭikāvya or the Rāvaṇavadha of Bhaṭṭi, the Jānakīharaṇa of Kumāradāsa, the Śiśupālavadha of Māgha, some minor poems like Kapphanābhyudaya of Śivasvāmin, Harivaṃśa of Jinasena and Guṇabhadra, Haravijaya of Rājānaka Ratnākara, Kādamvarī-kathāsāra of Abhinanda or Gauḍābhinanda, Navasāhasaṅkacarita of Padmagupta or Navasāhasaṅka, Vikramāṅkadevacarita of Bilhaṇa, Yudhiṣṭhiravijaya of Vāsudeva, Rājāvalī, Śaśivaṃśamahākāvya, Amṛtaraṅgakāvya, Avasarasāra, Muktāvalī, etc. of Kṣemendra, Kumarapālacarita of Hemacandra, Rāmapālacarita of Sandhyākara Nandī, Śrīkaṇṭhacarita of Maṅkhaka, Naiṣadhacarita of Śrīharṣa, Haracaritracintāmaṇi of Rājānaka Jayaratha, Pārijātaharaṇa of Kavirāja, Yādava-rāghavīya of Veṅkatādhvārī, Rāghava-yādavīya of Someśvara, Devamandābhyudaya, Śāntināthacarita and Saptasandhānamahākāvya of Meghavijayagani, Śatārthakāvya of Somaprabhācārya, Haricandrodaya of Anantasuri, Jayantīvijaya of Abhayadeva, Candraprabhacarita of Vīranandī, Pāṇḍavacarita of Devaprabhasuri, Jānakīpariṇaya of Cakrakavi, Jayasiṃhābhyudaya and Rājataraṅgiṇī of Kalhaṇa, Somapālavilāsa of Jalhaṇa etc.

There is a discourse about some prominent Kashmiri Sanskrit poets, wherein, there are deliberations also, on the term kāśmīr, its ancient origin, geographical location, works of some Kashmiri Sanskrit poets etc. To name a few, among the Kashmiri poets, there were Kalhaṇa, who wrote the Rājataraṅgiṇī, Dāmodaragupta, the author of Kuṭṭanīmata, the writer of Samayamātṛkā, Darpa-dalana, Cārucaryā, Narma-mālā, Kalāvilāsa, Caturvargasaṃgraha, Nīti-kalpataru etc. of Kṣemendra, Mugdhopadeśa of Jalhaṇa, Bhallaṭa-śataka of Bhallaṭa, Śānti-śataka, attributed to Śilhaṇa or Śihlaṇa etc.

The genealogy and the date of Maṅkhaka and his Śrīkaṇṭhacarita are some other important issues, discussed herein. Maṅkhaka, in canto III of the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita, presents a full account of his lineage. Herein, he mentions that he lived in Kashmir and his fore-fathers lived in the province of Pravarapura, i.e. the present Srinagar in Kashmir. Manmatha was his grandfather, poet’s father was Viśvavarta. Śṛṅgāra, Bhṛṅga, Alaṃkāra (otherwise known as Laṅkaka) and Maṅkhaka were the four brothers. Maṅkhaka has mentioned in the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita himself that king Jayasiṃha, the son of king Sussala had appointed him as an officer in the affairs of protection of subjects i.e. prajāpālanapuruṣa.

The time of composition of the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita is sometimes, between A.D. 1136-1142, most possibly, it was composed to a date, closer to A.D. 1136 and that of the Maṅkhakośa is A.D. 1155-1159. Therefore, roughly the literary journey of Maṅkhaka may be assigned to the period from A.D. 1136-1159 i.e. the 3rd and 6th decade of the 12th century A.D. In this section, the works of Maṅkhaka, only the ascriptions are taken up for discussion. However, as the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita is being discussed all through the study in hand, therefore, herein this chapter, only the issue concerning other works, assigned to him has been discussed. Again, the Maṅkhakośa, another genuine work of the poet, establishes Maṅkhaka as a lexicographer and it has been discussed separately, later on. Among the ascribed works, those are being discussed herein this chapter are -the Alaṃkārasarvasva, a commentary on the Alaṃkārasarvasva, the Śrīkaṇṭhastava, the Sāhityamīmāṃsā, the Nāṭakamīmāṃsā, the Harṣacaritavārtika, the Vṛhatī and the Vyaktivivekavicāra(-vyākhyāna).

The Alaṃkārasarvasva deals with the alaṃkāras or the figures of speech viz. the śabdālaṃkāras, the arthālaṃkāras and śabdārthobhayālaṃkāras. It has been written in sūtra and vṛtti. The ascription of the authorship of the Alaṃkārasarvasva to Maṅkhaka has happened because of interpolation of the indications of the source as well as mentioning of some verses from Maṅkhaka’s genuine compositions. This way, it may be believed that both the sūtra and the vṛtti were composed by Ruyyyaka and Maṅkhaka probably wrote a commentary on Ruyyaka’s Alaṃkārasarvasva and thus might have made a revision of the Alaṃkārasarvasva. Again, there is one commentary of Maṅkhuka on the Alaṃkārasarvasva, and this Maṅkhuka, in all probability, must have been identical with the author of the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita and the Maṅkhakośa. Besides, on the basis of different traditions on the authorship of the Alaṃkārasarvasva, scholars are divided into two distinct groups, regarding the authorship of the Śrīkaṇṭhastava. Like the other ascriptions, on the basis of two different views on the authorship of the Alaṃkārasarvasva, the Sāhityamīmāṃsā, the Nāṭakamīmāṃsā, the Harṣacaritavārtika, the Vṛhatī and the Vyaktivivekavicāra(-vyākhyāna)- these works also, have been ascribed both to Ruyyaka and Maṅkhaka.

The second chapter:

The second chapter of the present work entitled “the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita” firstly deals with the adherence of the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita to the norms of a mahākāvya. It has been observed that Maṅkhaka has strictly followed the rules and regulations of Alaṃkāraśāstra, regarding the definition of a mahākāvya. The Śrīkaṇṭhacarita is divided into twenty-five sargas. It starts with the salutation to the gods and goddesses, with a plead for benediction. The subject-matter is also hinted in it. The theme of the poem is based on the famous story of the Mahābhārata and the Purāṇas. The hero of the poem is of dhīrodātta type. It is to be noted here that, in this poem, there is the depiction of the poet’s country (III. 1-20) and of city (III. 21-30), mountain (IV), spring season (VI), swinging sports (VII), flower-plucking(VIII), water-sports (IX), evening (X), moon-rise (XI, XII), toilet (XIII), drinking (XIV), amorous sports (XV), battle (XXIII) and triumph of the hero (XXIV). Again, the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita has been decorated by several alaṃkāras. This mahākāvya is not a concise one, rather a voluminous one having twenty-five cantos. The rasas have been very well suggested in it. The Śrīkaṇṭhacarita has been set in twenty-nine chandas. Again, there is the variation of chandas, at the end of each sarga and thus, the use of chandas is varied.

In the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita, there is the praise of the good and condemnation of the wicked (II). Along with these, the rule that a mahākāvya should have more than eight sargas, has also been followed in the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita as it contains twenty-five cantos. The title of the poem has been given by the name of the hero i.e. Śrīkaṇṭha or his deeds i.e. the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita. This way, it has been noticed that the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita adheres to almost all the essentials of a mahākāvya as defined by the Sanskrit ālaṃkārikas. Next, it deals with the source of the poem. The main theme of the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita has been taken from the legend of burning of Tripuras by Lord Śiva. This story is found in its underdeveloped form in the Vedic Saṃhitās like the Kāthaka (XXVI. 10) and the Taittirīya (VI. ii. 3) as well as in the Brāhmaṇas like the Śatapatha (III. 4.4.4) and the Aitareya (I. 25). However, it emerges in its full fledged form in the Mahābhārata (Karṇaparva chapter 24; Droṇaparva chapter 173. 52-58) and also occurs in the following Purāṇas viz. Śivapurāṇa (II. 5. 1-10; Jñānasaṃhitā XIX; XXIV), Matsyapurāṇa (chapter 129-130; 135-140; 187. 8, 14-16; 188. 9-10), Padmapurāṇa (Svargakhaṇḍa), Bhāgavatapurāṇa ( IV. 17. 13; V. 24. 28; VII. 10. 54, 63; VIII. 6. 31; XI. 16. 20), Skandapurāṇa (Āvantyakhaṇḍa-Revākhaṇḍa XXVI-XXVIII; Vaiṣṇavakhaṇḍa XXXV), Liṅgapurāṇa (LXXI-LXXII), Brahmāṇḍapurāṇa, Vāyupurāṇa etc.

Thus, from the internal and external evidences also, it becomes visible that the Mahābhārata and the Śivapurāṇa are the primary sources of the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita. Yet Maṅkhaka might have probably peeped into other Purāṇas also. The theme of the poem is the next issue, discussed. The theme or the subject-matter of the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita is generally the deeds, activities or life of Lord Śiva (Śrikaṇṭha) and most particularly the annihilaltion of the Tripuras, the three demons viz. Tārakākṣa, Kamalākṣa and Vidyunmālī. After that, the summary of the contents of all the twentyfive cantos are presented. Maṅkhaka has applied in his Śrīkaṇṭhacarita, some important innovations as well as deviations. Maṅkhaka turns the story of tripuradahana into a full-grown literary epic. These innovations, deviations, alterations, additions and elaborations are also discussed. Thereafter, the genius of Maṅkhaka, as a segment, has been discussed. The genius of Maṅkhaka is evident, especially the literary genius of Maṅkhaka comes to the light, while going through his works. Maṅkhaka’s eruditition is noticed in various branches of knowledge such as the Vedas, Vedāṅgas, grammar, rituals, prosody, astronomy, astrology, philosophy, Āyurveda, Dhanurveda, Dharmaśāstra, Arthaśāstra, Kāmaśastra, music, arithmetic, Aśvaśāstra and Gajaśāstra, Nāṭyaśāstra, rhetorics, epics, botany, zoology, science of birds and last but not the least the Purāṇas, kāvyas and the koṣas.

The third chapter:

The third chapter, bearing the title “literary assessment of the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita” deals firstly with the rīti, its definition given by different rhetoricians, general characteristics and types of rīti. The arrangement of words or syllables, which render help in heightening the excellence of rasa or sentiment, is regarded as rīti. Rīti or style is one of the important measuring rods for the poets. There are four kinds of rītis viz. Vaidarbhī, Gauḍī or Gauḍīyā, Pāñcālī and Lāṭī or Lāṭikā. Maṅkhaka, in his Śrīkaṇṭhacarita, II. 41, himself suggests that his poem is set in Vaidarbhī rīti. Though Maṅkhaka’s literary style is Vaidarbhī, however in some places, the characteristics of Gauḍī comes out. The style Vaidarbhī is said to exist in a poetic composition, exhibiting letters of softer articulation causing thereby gracefulness to it. Herein, the Vaidarbhī type of composition, the words are slightly compounded or not at all compounded. An important characteristic feature of Maṅkhaka’s style is his use of double entendre i.e. some of his verses produce two meanings. Another notable peculiarity of Maṅkhaka’s style is his use of various synonymous words. Again, the employment of suggestive words is noticed as a feature of Maṅkhaka’s style. There is another noteworthy salient feature of the poet’s style is occasional use of technical words of rituals, grammar, rhetorics, dramaturgy and philosophy. The poet’s familiarity with difficult words, obsolete words peeped up through his poem occasionally. Maṅkhaka’s style is marked by frequent use of passive aorist forms. Vakratā is observed as a special characteristic of his style. Maṅkhaka refrains from using Citrabandhas or artificial wordfigures. There are some instances of Maṅkhaka’s simple play on words in rare occasions. The use of alliterations and rhymes constitute one of the main characteristics of Maṅkhaka’s style. The apt use of different figures of speech is another important feature of Maṅkhaka’s style of composition. The Guṇas Mādhurya, Ojaḥ and Prasāda are available in the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita and this is one of the characteristics of the style of the poet.

Thereafter, the issue of the rasa is dealt with. The term rasa or the sentiment primarily denotes taste or flavour, however in literature; it has the connotation of emotional experience of beauty. In the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita, various kinds of poetic sentiments are found being depicted. The aṅgīrasa or the predominant sentiment of this poem is Vīra or the sentiment of heroism. The very theme of the poem i.e. the annihilation of the Tripuras itself guarantees that matter. Again, in the poem, the hero i.e. Śiva Himself announces about the main sentiment as to be Vīra, by saying that He would display His valour. Next to the heroic sentiment, Śṛṅgārarasa or the sentiment of love occupies its place to be number two. It acts just like a background, which is favourable as well as charming. This sentiment of love is felt all through the poem. Again, it begs an important position over all other subordinate sentiments. Maṅkhaka employs Raudrarasa in exuberance, in the canto XVIII. Maṅkhaka is endowed with wit and humour and he employs the sentiment of comic in his poem successfully. Besides these, Maṅkhaka employs other sentiments like the Karuṇa, Bhayānaka, Bībhatsa, Adbhuta and Śānta.

Apart from various kinds of rasas, also bhāva, Vatsala or parental affection etc. are found delineated on a few instances, in the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita. Maṅkhaka employs all the rasas as well as bhāva and Vātsalya in his poem with grand success. Maṅkhaka employs the guṇas successfully in his Śrīkaṇṭhacarita. There are three guṇas viz Mādhurya, Ojaḥ and Prasāda. Joy consisting in the melting of the heart is called Mādhurya. Maṅkhaka uses Mādhuryaguṇa in depicting Saṃbhogaśṛṅgāra in his poem. The state of being fired or, in other words, an expansion of the mind is termed as Ojaḥ or energy. As the poem has Vīra, as its main sentiment, Maṅkhaka uses mostly, the quality Ojaḥ. Therefore, the Ojaḥ is found in so many verses of the poem. The words indicating pleasant and charming effect is said to be Prasāda. As the style of Maṅkhaka is quite complex and this complexity of expression, somehow substantially lessens the degree of the quality Prasāda in Maṅkhaka’s poem, even then there are so many instances, where the perspicuity is beautifully revealed.

There is incorporated a discussion on the Chandas also. The metre i.e. Chandas is mandatory for versified poetry. Maṅkhaka is found to have composed the verses of his Śrīkaṇṭhacarita in both the classes i.e. vṛttachandas (metres counted by letters) and mātrāchandas (metres counted by syllabic instants).

Maṅkhaka exhibited his genius in skilled use of as many as twenty-nine metres in his poem. They are as follows—Vasantatilaka, Anuṣṭubh, Upajāti, Śārdūlavikrīḍita, Vaṃśasthavila, Rathoddhatā, Mandākrāntā, Puṣpitāgrā (ardhasamavṛtta), Praharṣiṇī, Mañjubhāṣiṇī, Sragdharā, Udgatā (viṣamavṛtta), Pramitākṣarā, Aparavaktra (ardhasamavṛtta), Svāgatā, Indravajrā, Mālinī, Śikhariṇī Hariṇī, Viyoginī (ardhasamavṛtta), Pṛthvī, Upendravajrā, Madhyakṣamā, Meghavispūrjitā, Nardaṭaka, Rucirā, jāti type of metre (mātrāchandas) viz. Vaitālīya Aupacchandasika, Āryā, Gāthā.

Next to the Chandas, the alaṃkāras or the figures of speech are dealt with. The word alaṃkāra stands for a thing of beauty. According to Maṅkhaka, the success of employment of a figure of speech primarily depends on their success of enhancing the charm of the sentiment. Maṅkhaka employs almost all the important alaṃkāras efficiently in his work. Among the śabdālaṃkāras, Anuprāsa, Yamaka, Śleṣa are discussed. Again, among the arthālaṃkāras, the following are defined and illustrated-Utprekṣā, Rūpaka, Samāsokti, Upamā, Atiśayokti, Paryāyokta, Dṛṣṭānta, Kāvyaliṅga, Arthāntaranyāsa, Apahnuti, Bhrāntimān, Virodhābhāsa,Viṣama, Vibhāvanā, Ananvaya, Nidarśanā, Pariṇāma, Vyatireka, Tulyayogitā, Asaṅgati, Sandeha, Arthāpatti, Svabhāvokti, Sahokti, Mīlita, Sāmānya, Vyāghāta.

The kavisamayas are also treated. The kavisamaya or poetic convention is a technical term used to denote certain things and ideas in a certain impractical form or manner, prevalent amongst the Sanskrit poets. These are the famous assumption of the poetic community. Maṅkhaka uses kavisamaya in his poem. The apt and proper use of these conventions has enriched his poem and ultimately contributed a lot in establishing his literary genius. The speciality of language of Maṅkhaka has been examined and knowledge of vocabulary of the poet has also been examined from literary perspectives in the next section. The impact of previous poets upon the poet of Śrīkaṇṭhacarita is taken up for discussion in the next segment. Maṅkhaka is observed to have been influenced by his predecessors. This impact has been felt in respect of some ideas as well as in form. Maṅkhaka has been influenced by his predecessors right from Kālidāsa upto Bilhaṇa. No doubt, Maṅkhaka has imitated them in some aspects; nevertheless, he possesses a unique poetical acumen as well as exhibits proof of originality regarding the handling of the theme of his poem, both regarding matter and manner. Next, the topic of available commentary on the poem is discussed. There is only one commentary available upon the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita of Maṅkhaka, written by Jonarāja, without which it would not be possible for its readers to relish the intrinsic rasa contained in it. The merits and demerits of the poem and the poet are dealt with in the end of this chapter. The poem, though composed in a set form of a literary epic and inspite of having some inherent demerits, still possesses a perpetual appeal, represented by suggestion of rasas as well as expression of grand thought.

The fourth chapter:

The fourth chapter entitled “socio-cultural study of the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita”, as the very name suggests, deals with the socio-cultural aspects reflected in the poem. In this chapter, the socio-cultural and various other aspects reflected in the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita are discussed and thereby it has been tried to reconstruct the history of medieval India. The habits and customs are the discussed, firstly. The poet mentions various habits and customs followed by the people of that province of Kashmir. These habits and customs play an important part in regulation of the behaviour of a given individual. The dress or costume is one of the most important or a primary requisite of a human being and it is discussed next to the habits and customs. Thereafter, the food and drink of the 12th century folk of Kashmir are dealt with. Maṅkhaka has inserted information, regarding the food and drink of the people of his time. The beliefs and superstitions also play a vital role in a society and this is also taken up for deliberation. In Maṅkhaka’s time, there were prevalent some traditional beliefs as well as superstitions. Thereafter, the following topics such as recreations and pastimes, the caste system and occupations, the flora and fauna depicted in the poem, geographical information, religious data obtained from the poem, information regarding administration and warfare of the then time, historical data, philosophical ideas reflected in the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita are discussed at length. The varṇāśramavidhi, caste-system etc. are some of the distinguishing features of Indian society. In the caste-system, there were the broad division of four castes.

The Śrīkaṇṭhacarita provides a lot of information regarding the cities and states, oceans, rivers and lakes, hills and mountains, places and sites of pilgrimage of ancient India. There is no denying the fact that these are of much importance from the geographical point of view. That is to say Maṅkhaka has mentioned the names of so many places of Kashmir and its vicinity and also far-flange places in his poem, which are indispensable to reconstruct the ancient geography of India. The reference of so many places of Kashmir, exhibits his thorough knowledge of the geography of Kashmir. Not only this, from the references to various places situated therein Kashmir, Maṅkhaka’s overall knowledge of the topography of India can also be surmised, without any difficulty. Various places of the then Kashmir, which Maṅkhaka referred, can be identified and located with present places also. The people, during Maṅkhaka’s time led a religious life. They performed the Vedic rites and rituals strongly.

Maṅkhaka possessed depth of knowledge in Indian philosophical systems also. It is evident from his references to different schools of Indian Philosophy as well as their doctrines. Along with these, his usage of the technical terms of different systems also testifies the profundity of knowledge of Maṅkhaka, regarding Indian philosophy. In his Śrīkaṇṭhacarita, Maṅkhaka refers to almost all the schools of Indian philosophical systems as well as religious sects such as Sāṃkhya, Yoga, Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika, Vedānta, Baudha, Jaina, Cārvāka, Sphota-vāda, Bhairava cult and Kashmir Śaivism. This way, Maṅkhaka, besides his poetic capabilities, presents himself as an erudite philosopher as well. These philosophical sketches have enriched his poem.

The fifth chapter:

The fifth chapter entitled “the Maṅkhakośa”, at the very beginning presents a brief history of the Sanskrit koṣa texts. The Sanskrit koṣa texts or the Sanskrit lexicography has an ancient origin. The koṣa or kośa also means thesaurus. It is an abridgement of abhidhānakośa or the treasure of words. It is used to mean dictionary or lexicon. The Indian lexicography is found to have rooted in the Vedic Nighaṇṭus. The Nighaṇṭu is suitable for deciphering the sense of the very old, hard words, found in the Vedic mantras. While, in the Nighaṇṭus, the verbs are also inserted, however, in the koṣas, only the nouns and the indeclinables are included. Regarding its objective also, the dictionaries and the Nighaṇṭus are far apart. The Nighaṇṭus serve as commentaries, while the other koṣas, containing a collection of uncommon and essential words, are meant for the use of the poets. The lexicographers are always found, emphasizing that they have composed their works for the utilization of the poets. Thus, the study of the koṣas is closely connected with that of the kāvyas. It may be mentioned here that the koṣa texts are generally written, mostly in Śloka or Anuṣṭubh metre, also in the metre Āryā. Thus, the koṣa texts are important compendium as well as hand-books for the ornate poets. The authors of the koṣa texts always endow their works with information gathered from various sciences viz. nītiśāstra, astronomy, nouns as well as all the important words. Therefore, the poets, who undertake the study of the koṣas, need not involve themselves in the laborious task of studying other sciences.

The koṣas are of two types viz. synonymical and homonymical. The first variety contains systematically arranged collection of words, having one and the same sense. They are found arranged according to the theme, with the form of a real encyclopaedia. They are also, found containing a section on homonymous words. Again, the second type is consisting of words with meanings more than one i.e. anekārtha or nānārtha. It is to be noted here that the words in the koṣas are arranged on the basis of various principles such as considering the extent of the items, in order of the letters (either according to the terminal consonant or according to the initial letter or according to both at the same time) or according to the number of syllables. Whereas, in the homonymical dictionaries, the words and their meanings stand either side by side in the nominative or the senses are placed in the locative form. Again, some of the koṣa texts, not only provide the meaning, but also contain a section, wherein the gender of words are kept as an appendix. Sometimes, according to the gender also, the words are systematised partly. Among older koṣa texts and their authors, there was one Nānārthakoṣa, mentioned in the Kāśikā. Again, the Nāmamālā of Kātyāyana or Kātya, the Śabdārṇava of Vācaspati, the Saṃsārāvarta of Vikramāditya, the Utpalinī of Vyāḍi, were a few of them. Among the koṣa texts, there stands out predominantly the name of the Nāmaliṅgānuśāsana. Amarasiṃha, of about 7th century A.D., wrote this book, otherwise known as the Amarakoṣa. Among other important koṣa works, there is Śāśvata’s Anekārthasamuccaya (6th century A.D.). Halāyudha wrote the Abhidhānaratnamālā (10th century A.D.). Then there are-the Vaijayantī of Yādavaprakāśa (11th century A.D.), Nāmamālā of Dhanañjaya, the poet, (written between A.D. 1123-1140), Viśvaprakāśa of Maheśvara, (written in A.D. 1111), Anekārthakośa or the Maṅkhakośa of Maṅkhaka (12th century A.D.), with a commentary.

It may be mentioned here that Maṅkhaka himself acknowledges the names of the following lexicographers viz. Halāyudha, Amarasiṃha, Śāśvata, Dhanvantari etc. According to him, he utilizes the koṣa text of Śāśvata particularly. Maṅkhaka suggests a great number of meanings in his lexicon, that are not found indicated in any other dictionary. He often cites Bhallaṭa, the poet and the Harṣacarita, in his commentary of the text. Hemacandra wrote the Abhidhānacintāmaṇimālā, a synonymical dictionary of much importance. Besides these, there were some other koṣa texts, worthy to be mentioned viz. the Nānārthamañjarī of Rāghava (14th century A.D.), Nānārtharatnamālā of Irugapa Daṇḍādhinātha, Kalpataru of Viśvanātha etc. This way, there were lots of Sanskrit koṣa texts flourished throughout the ages.

The Maṅkhakośa or the Anekārthakośa is a koṣa text of homonymous words, composed by Maṅkhaka. It has been named after its author Maṅkhaka, therefore it is known as the Maṅkhakośa. Again, as it is a collection of words having more than one meaning; hence it is termed as the Anekārthakośa. Regarding the authorship and date of the Maṅkhakośa, there is doubt and difference of opinion. The question of the date of composition of the Maṅkhakośa is another pertinent issue, discussed. The probable date of composition of the Maṅkhakośa may be deduced from the discussion on the identical authorship of the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita and the Maṅkhakośa. The date of composition of the Maṅkhakośa and its commentary is to be fixed sometimes, between A.D. 1155-1159. Regarding the structure of the contents, it has been observed that the words of the Maṅkhakośa have been arranged sometimes according to the number of syllables and sometimes according their final consonants. The Maṅkhakośa has been set in verses and it contains 1007 verses.

There is a commentary on the Maṅkhakośa, also extant, regarding the authorship of the which, Theodor Zachariae, in the preface to his edition of the Maṅkhakośa comments that the commentary was probably composed by Maṅkha himself. The speciality of the Maṅkhakośa is noticed in the collection of copious uncommon terms and their meanings, not available elsewhere. Again, he has given almost full cross references from the Nighaṇṭus, Amarakoṣa, Ayurvedic works and several other Sanskrit koṣa texts. Those references or examples, culled from different sources of knowledge, support the hypothesis that the koṣakāra Maṅkhaka is a literary genius also, conversant with various śāstras as well as Sanskrit literature in general. Excepting the Amarakoṣa, the Maṅkhakośa has occupied a unique position, almost unparalleled in the realm of Sanskrit koṣa texts. This lexicon was popular even at the contemporary period of Maṅkhaka also. As already referred, Mahendra, the disciple of Hemacandra has quoted both from the Maṅkhakośa and its commentary, in his commentary of the Anekārthasaṃgraha of his preceptor. From this, the popularity of the Maṅkhakośa can be easily inferred. Thus, it is clear that the Maṅkhakośa was a very popular koṣa text in Sanskrit, cautiously studied, analyzed and quoted in the works of later period also.

The sixth chapter:

The present chapter i. e. the sixth chapter, is just the conclusion as well as a synthesis of the ideas, discussed earlier.

Hence, Maṅkhaka was truly a marvellous poet and a lexicographer. From the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita, the personal traits of the poet, also comes out. The strong personality of Maṅkhaka is inferred from the self-confidence, he has exhibited, while referring to the previous poets. He told his readers that he would excel Meṇṭha, Subandhu, Bhāravi and Bāṇa, by dint of the intrinsic merit of his poem and the goddess of learning need not worry at their loss. He also alludes that unlike the minor poets, he would not imitate others;rather he would be the path-finder. He is possessed of three most important traits required by a poet viz śakti, nipunatā and abhyāsa. However, he is of the opinion that, what he needs for the appreciation of his poem, is an impartial and scholarly reader. Besides, Maṅkhaka was a man of virtue and good manner. He did not like the practice of flattery or composition of eulogy of a king and any other person and therefore refrains from those activities. So, instead of eulogizing a mortal, he has written in devotion to Lord Śiva, who according to him, resides everywhere.

Maṅkhaka considered Śiva to be the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, supreme reality, the three worlds to be His unreal manifestation. He wholeheartedly believed in the unflinching devotion, worship as well as ritualistic vows towards Śiva. According to him, his favorite deity is Hara, Ardhanārīśvara, the combined form of Śiva and Pārvatī and Harihara, even then, he has veneration for all the other gods as well. It is inferred from his paying homage to almost all the deities in the first canto of the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita. Maṅkhaka’s love and affection towards his brothers is also noticed in his references of them. Again, his submission and sincerity to his father is conspicuously observed from the fact that Maṅkhaka wrote the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita at the sole advice of his father, who appeared before him in a dream. Moreover, as Jayasiṃha, the king of Kashmir, appointed him in the post of a judge as well as a minister for peace and war, hence the decisive personality of Maṅkhaka is to be conjectured. From this, the strong personality of Maṅkhaka is established.

The genius of Maṅkhaka is to be noticed regarding the construction and development of the plot also. Because in the great epic Mahābhārata as well as in the Purāṇas, the tripuradahana legend was found merely as a story, i.e. just a narrative of events described in a broadly chronological sequence, however in the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita, Maṅkhaka has transformed it into a plot suitable for a literary epic. Thus, indeed the poet of the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita is grateful to the Mahābhārata and the Purāṇic literature for the foundation of its plot, even then, regarding craftsmanship, Maṅkhaka can claim his contribution. No doubt, he follows keenly the rules and regulations of alaṃkāraśāstra and he strictly stays true to the definition of a mahākāvya, hence gets little or no scope at all for exhibiting his genuineness, still he has done some innovations, deviations, additions and alterations, which have paved for him a special route that takes him towards grand success. Thus, Maṅkhaka is one of the greatest poets in the history of Sanskrit literature and he can rightly claim a position together with that of Bhāravi, Bhaṭṭi, Māgha, Bilhaṇa, Śrīharṣa and others. Besides, he exhibits some peculiarity and uniqueness. In him, readers find both the virtues of his predecessors like Kālidāsa as well as vices like mannerism of Kālidāsa’s descendants.

Maṅkhaka’s style is more akin to Bilhaṇa. Maṅkhaka attracts the connoisseurs not only for his poetic sensibility, but also for his deep knowledge in divergent fields of learning. But he discloses himself more as a poet than a scholar. He never ever allowed his scholarship to overwhelm the literary merit of his poem. In a word, Maṅkhaka maintained a kind of harmony between poetic talent and erudition. He was endowed with the title karṇikāramaṅkha for the merits of his poem. Different anthologies, treatises on poetics, koṣa texts and others have cited several quotations from Maṅkhaka’s works, for the intrinsic qualities of those works. The two genuine creations of Maṅkhaka, viz. the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita and the Maṅkhakośa are really masterpieces of him. The Śrīkaṇṭhacarita, provides precious information regarding socio-cultural, political, historical and philosophical stratum of the 12th century India. The Maṅkhakośa is also an important hand-book on lexicography. The other assigned works, which could be connected to him in some way, or the other, also indicate the popularity, Maṅkhaka enjoyed during his time. Hence, it is observed that Maṅkhaka occupies a unique place in the history of Sanskrit literature and truly deserves to be called a literary genius.

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