The backdrop of the Srikanthacarita and the Mankhakosa

by Dhrubajit Sarma | 2015 | 94,519 words

This page relates “Theme of the poem [Shrikanthacarita]” 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.

Part 4 - Theme of the poem [Śrīkaṇṭhacarita]

The theme or the subject-matter of the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita is generally the deeds, activities or life of Lord Śiva (Śrikaṇṭha) and most particularly the annihilation of the Tripuras, the three demons viz. Tārakākṣa, Kamalākṣa and Vidyunmālī. These three were the sons of Tārakāsura, who was killed by Kumāra or Kārtikeya. After the killing of their father Tāraka, the three sons began to perform severe austerities to please Brahmā. Being moved by their penance, Brahmā appeared before them, and then they asked for immortality, which, however was denied by Brahmā and advised them to choose another one. Then they insisted on getting the boon that one and the same arrow released by the opponent in the battle-field might cause their simultaneous death. Brahmā agreed and thereafter they became unconquerable. Thereupon, they, with the help of Maya, get constructed three cities made of gold, silver and iron respectively in the heaven, air and on the earth and began to torment the three worlds. The gods headed by Brahmā went to the abode of Lord Śiva, requested Him to do the needful to destroy the Tripuras. The gods getting the consent of Lord Śiva, prepared a divine chariot from the different things of the universe, wherein Brahmā acted as the charioteer, Viṣṇu, Soma and Agni formed the arrow of Śiva, the mountain Mandara took the form of a bow, Vāsukināga became the bow-string, Indra, Kubera and Yama were the horses yoked to the chariot. Śiva marched forth the battle-field along with the Gaṇas and in the battle, burnt the Tripuras with a single arrow and here the subject-matter of the story comes to an end.

However, the poet adds the 25th canto hereafter, wherein he gives description of the assembly of different poets and scholars, assembled to evaluate the poem Śrīkaṇṭhacarita, in the house of Alaṃkāra, the brother of Maṅkhaka and a minister of war and peace. Herein this canto, some important historical information are also found. It may be mentioned here that the purpose of composition of this poem is revealed by Maṅkhaka in his poem. He cites that he composed this poem as a bard, to eulogize Lord Śiva, who according to him was respected by prostration even by Adribhid i.e. Indra. He also mentions that other poets tend to exalt the deeds of kings. Along with these, he also refers to the command of his deceased father to compose that poem, who appeared before him in the form of Harihara, on one night of Ekādaśī. Thus, keeping with such a sublime purpose in mind, the poet writes the poem Śrīkaṇṭhacarita, which is interesting.

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