The backdrop of the Srikanthacarita and the Mankhakosa

by Dhrubajit Sarma | 2015 | 94,519 words

This page relates “Shrikanthacarita - Summary of contents” 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 5 - Śrīkaṇṭhacarita - Summary of contents

Canto I

The first canto viz. namaskaravarṇana records the salutation of the poet to Lord Śiva and other divinities as well. First of all, Maṅkhaka lauds Śiva in lofty terms and admires the fire of his third-eye. The theme of the poem (i.e. the burn of Tripuras) has been hinted at the very first stanza of the poem, by referring to the netraśikhipradīpa. The poet further mentions synonymous words like locanapāvaka etc. to praise the fire of the thirdeye. The description of the śarāgni i.e. fire of arrow of Śiva, again indicates the destruction of the demons as its subject-matter. Then the Ganges and the crescent of the moon, Śiva’s attahāsa i.e. the loud laughter, his body besmeared with ashes etc. are described. Thereafter, the poet pays tribute to Gaurī, Caṇḍikā, Brahmā, Hari, Lakṣmī, Sarasvatī, Gaṇeśa, Skanda, Kāmadeva, Ardhanārīśvara and to spring season. In the concluding verses, Maṅkhaka once again eulogizes Śrīkaṇṭha.

Canto II

As the very title suggests, the second canto i.e. sujanadurjanavarṇana gives description of the merit of the good as well as demerit of the wicked persons. Besides, it portrays the virtues of superior poets as well as worthlessness of the inferior poets. Again, the poet tells about the causes and elements of poetry also. According to the poet, though the bad person always tries to find fault and intends to criticize even flawless poetry, however, an excellent poet remained unharmed by such mean comments. Instead of getting disheartened, a good poet gets encouraged. Maṅkhaka further opines that spontaneous control over words and meaning, use of harmonious words, apt use of rasas are some of the striking characteristics of a great poet. Inferior poets imitate great poets, but fail to suggest sentiments and convey the proper beauty of a poem. The poet mentions the two causes of poetry such as śakti and vyutpatti, which could be acquired by the grace of goddess Sarasvatī. Maṅkhaka refers to the elements of poetry, which are as follows-words, senses, style, guṇas, alaṃkāras, absence of fault, vakrokti and rasas. Among these, vakrokti i.e. the indirect speech and rasa are the most vital parts.

Canto III

Canto III provides description of the country (in the present context, it denotes Kashmir, the home-land of the poet) and the lineage of Maṅkhaka, the poet. According to the poet, Satīsara, otherwise known as Kashmir is a renowned place, situated in the northern direction. It is a place wherein, Kali cannot enter. Kashmir is a wealthy province, encompassed by the mountains. Again, here there is inflamed three types of sacrificial fires at the houses of the twice-borned. During the winter season, the females take part in some amorous activities with their consorts, which enliven the god of love with new life. Charming lotuses bloom magnificently in the lakes of this country. It is said that the king of the snakes i.e. Mahāpadmanāga dwells in a lake of Kashmir. Herein this place, the snakes are free from fear, as Garuḍa do not harm them, for Mahāpadma having footprints of his master i. e. Viṣṇu, on the head. Again, this country delivers saffron to the rest of three worlds. Not to speak of the scholarly people, even the children of this country are learned by the grace of the Sāradā, the goddess. The prominent Gods like Mahādeva, Hari as well as Lakṣmī inhabit in Kashmir. The wooden form of Lord Śiva known as Kapaṭeśvara dwells in the water of this country. The rulers of Kashmir are celebrated for their faithfulness regarding safeguarding of their subjects. There are two holy rivers Sindhu and Vitastā, unite and flow through this country. The city Pravara, by name is located in this country. The poets of this place express vigour and suggest sentiments in their poems, but refrain from too much indulgence in puns. Maṅkhaka gives a description of his pedigree, wherein he, at the outset, provides information regarding his grandfather Manmatha, who got royal patronage, also favoured the learned people. A virtuous, generous person, Manmatha was an austere devotee of Lord Śiva. His son Viśvavarta, endowed with the virtues of his father, had four sons viz. Śṛṅgāra, Bhṛṅga, Alaṃkāra and Maṅkhaka. All of them were virtuous, generous, learned, eloquent and modest. Of them, the youngest one i.e. Maṅkhaka was appointed as an officer in the affairs of the protection of the subjects (prajāpālanapuruṣa), by Jayasiṃha, the king, son of king Sussala. Eventually Viśvavarta abandoned his body at the temple of Raṇasvāmin and took the combined form of Hari and Hara. The poet gives a description of the circumstances that led to the composition of his poem. He states that once at the 11th day of a fortnight, while sleeping, in a dream, his deceased father appeared before him and advised Maṅkhaka to compose a poem, in praise of Lord Śiva. In compliance to the command of his father and to eulogize Lord Śiva, Maṅkhaka began to compose the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita.

Canto IV

In this canto, Maṅkhaka gives a fine description of the mountain Kailāsa. According to him, the mountain Kailāsa is situated in the north of Kashmir. The Kailāsa is the residence of Lord Śiva. With its brightness, the mountain is comparable to the sea-waves and the rays of the moon. It extends over the atmospheric region and through the nether world. The images of the deer, on dazzling crystalline rocks, make the valleys of Kailāsa fascinating. Lord Śiva is fond of this mountain Kailāsa and makes it a replica of Himself. The earth rests on the Kailāsa, the holy river Gaṅgā flows on this mountain. Again, the fire of the third-eye of Hara makes it reddened as well as the beams emitting from the crystals surround it. The day of Kailāsa becomes, as if, transformed into night because of the shady rays of Śiva’s throat, whereas, the night appears to be a day for the light of the crystals. Here, during the dance of Śiva, the dusts are raised, spread over the sky and take the shape of the luminaries. The king of the mountains i.e. the Kailāsa is full of heaps of gold. The light wind blows herein Kailāsa and the water-fountains flow. The females of the demi-gods, like the Kinnarīs, dwell in the caves as well as the Vidyādharīs take part in some amusing activities on the valleys of the mountain. The divine couple Śiva and Śakti cheerfully resides here. It appears, as if, Kailāsa worships the Lord, as it culls flower from the trees, offers gaja-mauktika, smoke of scents in form of clouds, illuminates lamps of sun-stones, provides water of moon-stones, carry out beautification with dusts of hilly stones, supplies fruits, execute music of divine minstrels etc. The sun reflecting on the rocks of the mountains makes it appear like gold. The sun is not capable of melting the snow that covers the mountain. The mountain Kailāsa, when reflected on the Mānasarovara, seems like the king of the serpents as if, coming out to behold the loveliness of the earth. The Alakāpurī is located on the lower part of this mountain. The Kailāsa, with all its paraphernalia is comparable to itself only, however, Mandara, the mountain is similar to it to some extent, but the Sumeru, the hill is not at the same benchmark of it. The moon-beam, smile of Gaurī and the loud laughter of Śiva only are some of the things of its equal standard.

Canto V

Canto V gives a pen-picture of Lord Śiva, as found in the mythological accounts. The poet describes that Śiva, the God of the gods lives in Kailāsa. All the gods like Brahmā, Hari, Indra and others worship Him. He is pleased to them, who bow down their heads to Him. Śiva slayed Gajāsura, Andhakāsura and Tripuras. During the killing of the Tripuras, Mandara, the hill acted as the bow and Vāsukināga was made the bowstring. At the end of a cosmic age, He annihilates the three worlds, created by Brahmā and protected by Viṣṇu. Śiva keeps a pitcher of ambrosia and an axe as well as bears the celestial river Gaṅgā and the crescent moon on the matted lock of His hair. Śiva wears gajacarma, contains poison in His throat and keeps a human skull in His hand. Some enraged and poisonous snakes wrap His body. The three-eyed God, travels on the back of an ox, capable of moving in the three worlds. Desireless persons take recourse to Him. His wife is Gaurī. He takes a combined form of Himself and Gaurī, viz. Ardhanārīśvara. He, who burnt to ashes Kāmadeva, pervades the three worlds with eight figures viz. the sun, the moon, fire, air, the earth, water, sacrificer and the sky (jalaṃ vahniḥstathā yaṣṭā sūryā-candramasau tathā/ ākāśaṃ vāyuravanī mūrtayo’ṣṭau pinākinaḥ// Abhijňānaśakuntalaṃ, prastāvanā, page 2). Śiva dances at every evening in combination with His spouse and with ardent zeal, every one gazes at it.

Canto VI

The description of the spring season is found in canto VI of the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita. Maṅkhaka describes that at the advent of the spring, the black-bees begin to hum, after drinking the honey from the blossoms of mango trees. Beholding the Palāśa and Aśoka flowers, the love-smitten females cast aside their pride and vanity and get united with their lovers. The heat of the sun lessens, as the sun moves away slowly from the south direction. Fresh and exhilarating wind blows, carrying the scent of sandal-wood that grows in the Malaya Mountain. Various flowers like lotuses, Kunda, Tilaka, Campaka, Mallikā etc. bloom. The separated lovers and lovelorn ladies feel much affliction during this time, at the day hours being extended and nights reduced. The cuckoos, that were silent beforehand in the winter, begin to sing in this season. The separated people keep a distance from the mango trees considering them being the army of the god of love. The lustre of the moon also torments them. The beloveds are however being adorned by their young lovers, with flowers. The Aśoka flowers bloom at the stroke of feet of the ladies. The wind of the spring is mild, the sky becomes clear, water is pleasing and the earth too is clean. Even the minds of selfrestrained sages become agitated, at the sight of the trees, with twigs shaking. It appears, as if, Kāmadeva, triumphs over the entire world, through the southern breeze, the moon, cuckoos and black-bees. The flowers of Kuravaka tree, with black-bees sitting on them becomes attractive to look at. Again, the blooming creepers, with black-bees appear to be the bow of Kāmadeva along with arrow attached to it. It seems, as if, the spring is protecting the manifold assets of the god of love.

Canto VII

In canto VII, Maṅkhaka is found to have described the swinging sports enjoyed by Hara and Gaurī, when the spring season is in full swing. Hara along with His spouse goes out to witness the grandeur of Kailāsa, the mountain. The trees are adorned with branches and flowers. Śiva, being amazed at the sight of the exquisite beauty of the spring, draws the attention of Pārvatī and persuades Her to observe it. He gives a description of the blooming lotuses, Palāśas, Kuravakas etc., also make Her listen to the sweet sounds of the cuckoos and humming of the black-bees. According to Śiva, the southern breeze, the blossoms of mango trees-all excite carnal desire in the minds of its listeners. Besides, He describes the miserable condition of the separated couples. In the footsteps of his Lord, Nandī, the son of Śilāda too, gives a short description of the majesty of spring and requests Śiva to permit Pārvatī to mount the swing. Pārvatī honours the encouraging words of Śiva and enjoys the upward and downward movements of the swinging sport. Her fatigue however has been pacified by the refreshing wind and water drops of the celestial river Gaṅgā. It has been stated that She appears just like the flag of the god of love and thereby the triumph of Kāmadeva, over the three worlds has been indicated.

Canto VIII

Herein canto VIII, the poet gives description of flower plucking by Pārvatī and Her female attendants. After enjoying swinging sports for long, Pārvatī gets fatigued and Śiva makes Her calm down. Then Pārvatī, with Her companions begin to cull the flowers. The Karṇikāra flowers touch the body of the divine females, as if to collect fragrance from them. The celestial ladies have gathered mango blossoms, different varieties of flowers like the Vakula, Tilaka, Aśoka, Atimukta, Campaka, Tagara, Kiṃśuka, Sindhuvāra, Kairava and others. The black-bees, flying around the back part of Pārvatī, take the shape of an umbrella. The condition of the creepers and the trees after the plucking of flowers from them, is also depicted in this canto. The limbs of the celestial damsels, being beautified by the flowers easily inflame the desire for carnal pleasures.

Canto IX

Canto IX provides a charming description of the water sports of Lord Śiva, Pārvatī and the celestial damsels. Due to flower-plucking, the divine females are sweating; in the meantime, the sun is also generating much heat. As a result, they have decided to take a bath in the waters of the Mānasa Lake. With curiousness, they observe the lake. The lake is having impatient fishes. Before plunging into the waters, the celestial damsels sit on the top of the stone-slabs to take a rest. Their figures having reflected in the clear water of the lake, make the impression that, as if, they are mermaids, coming out of the water of the lake. They have defeated even the pride of the swans, on the bank of the lake, by their way of walking. The echoing sounds of the wave are, as if, the sound of conch-shell blowing by the foam, in honour of Pārvatī’s bath. The damsels increase the beauty of the lake by their closeness with the lake. They have plunged into the waters, along with Pārvatī and Lord Śiva. The lake appears to have been excited at the pleasant contact with them. The waters of the lake have been decorated by the saffron and other cosmetics applied by Pārvatī and the damsels as well as purified by the ashes, dissolving from the figure of the Lord. The lake gets sāyujya with Lord Śiva. The fire in the third-eye of Hara, reflected in the water of the lake seems like the submarine fire. They have enjoyed the water sports very much and the lake also worshipped Hara and Gaurī, in its own way.

Canto X

In canto X, Maṅkhaka describes the evening twilight. According to him, the sun, after crossing the sky, becomes fatigued and approaches the setting mountain, which welcomes it with the melodious sounds of fountains. Under the horizon of the western ocean, the orb of the sun slowly declines. The lotuses shrink and the remaining beams of the sun fall on them. The sun appears to be the golden inkpot of time and when the forepart of the sun is reversed, the ink in the form of darkness spreads over the earth. In that darkness, the abhisārikās have gone to meet their lovers. The darkness however, afflicts the Cakravākas and the lovelorns. The effects of darkness are noticed on the lotuses, creatures, day-lotuses and night-lotuses, the eastern quarter and on various other things. The moon, on the crest of Śiva, lightens the earth. The sea again, coming into contact with the rays of the moon, begins to roar and tries to overspread the sky. The vegetables, in the form of hand of light, try to touch their lord, i.e. the moon. The females, beholding the moon become lustful and forsake their pride and touchiness.

Canto XI

Canto XI gives a description of the moon. The poet throws light on the feelings and activities of the young people, at the sight of the moon and also gives a description of the impact of the moon on the Nature, in general. Maṅkhaka depicts the orb of the moon. The moon appears to be the breast of the night, on seeing which; the lovelorns are suffered a lot. The females however stop to be touchy at the sight of the moon. The rays of the moon, being reflected on the bodies of the females make them prettier and as a result, the lovers appreciate them highly. Then the poet describes the abhisārikās on their way. The separated ladies censure the moon; on the contrary, the united maidens eulogize the moon, for inspiring their lovers to get united. In other words, the moon generates carnal desire in the minds of the youths. Śṛṅgāra has been depicted as an elephant and the constellations are seen as to be the bunch of desire-fulfilling tree.

Canto XII

Canto XII continues the description of the moon and its impact upon Nature and on rest of the living beings. The god of love i.e. Kāmadeva equips himself with warlike costumes and armaments, with the intention of winning the three worlds. The plantain leaves and the southern winds act respectively as his weapon and chariot. Though entreated by Rati not to go, Kāma sets out, taking his bow and arrow made of flowers. The separated females come on the verge of death, being pierced with the arrow of Kāma. The lady-messengers narrate the pathetic condition of their mistresses in front of their lovers. Due to the effect of the moon, the seawaves are agitated and they, as if, touch the sky. The moon is requested by the older ladies to make an end of the separation of the younger lovesmitten ladies, setting forth their journey towards the lovers. The females, united with their partners, commend the moon. Again, some ladymessengers are scolded by their mistresses for debauchery. Thus, the moon has exercised diverse influences, particularly on the youth and generally on all the objects of Nature.

Canto XIII

In this canto, the poet has described the decoration of extra-terrestrial females with different ornaments, ointments, flowers, fumigation and attires and also draws a sketch of union with their lovers. As narrated by the poet, the divine ladies begin to embellish various limbs of their body. The saffron and paste of musk, camphor, Aguru are being applied on different parts of their body. Some precious jewels like Padmarāga, bracelets made of elephant-tusk are used to adorn their ears and wrists respectively. Necklaces, studded with jewels as well as rasanā, mekhalā etc. are also used by these celestial damsels. The sweet sounds of their anklets and ornaments are however, overpowered by the humming of the black-bees, staying on their tresses. Thus, beautified by various cosmetics and embellishments, the divine damsels are engaged in amorous activities with their lovers.

Canto XIV

Canto XIV presents a description of wine-drinking of the celestial females along with their lovers and its effects on them. As narrated by Maṅkhaka, the poet, the divine couples are gathered in the pleasure-garden to drink wine. The wines are kept in some large pots and from those pots, it is being transferred to some smaller ones, which makes some sounds of cheer. The reddish wine are being served in some drinking vessels, made of gold and jewels, decorated by flowers and mango-blossoms. Some blackbees are fascinated by the smell of the wine and draw in. The females are intoxicated by drinking of the wine and involve in amorous activities with their lovers. They begin to embrace and kiss one another. The damsels urge the moon, reflecting on the wine, to leave the drinking vessels. Some funny incidents also occur, such as one lover of a damsel has kissed another lady, noticing his beloved senseless due to intoxication, who is actually pretending insanity, becomes furious on that unexpected behaviour of her lover, however pacified by the lover as if, he is only testing the genuineness of her senselessness. Thus, herein this canto, the wine-drinking and its impact on the couples are being described.

Canto XV

The poet describes the amorous activities of the celestial youths in this canto. After drinking wine in the pleasure garden, the divine females along with their lovers, have come back to their home and have taken their seats on the beds. The beds are being decorated with flowers and the surroundings are also beautified. The smoke of Aguru, musk and camphor has covered their figures. They begin their love-making by embracing, kissing, snatching cloths and physical union takes place. The best army of Kāmadeva i.e. the sensuous and slender-figured damsels show their expertise, in making love, during which the cosmetics are wiped by the sweats from their bodies and the ornaments have been broken into pieces. After the union, the couples fall asleep and remain on each other’s arms until the daybreak.

Canto XVI

In canto XVI, there is the description of the dawn, besides, there is the reference of coming of the gods, Vidyādharas, Kinnaras as well as the Gandharvas and the bard’s singing of panegyric in praise of Lord Śiva. At the arrival of the visitors, the attendants of Śiva start appreciating Him in lofty terms. They asked the Lord to rise up from the bed, as the moon sets and the darkness has been dispersed. Again, they narrate that the oceanwater has become tranquil, the air also becomes chilled, the sun rises, both the earth and the heaven get brightened, the stars vanish and the blaze of the lamps appears to be diffused. The water-lilies, with the humming of black-bees are as if, praising the Lord, with folded hands. They look like brides too, as the water-lilies contract, as and when the sun rays cuddle them. The morning wind slowly passes over the lotuses, as if, to listen to the humming of the black-bees staying there. Moreover, it has been stated that the gods are waiting at the threshold of Śiva, among which there are the mighty gods and demi-gods viz. Indra, the chief of the gods, Brahmā, the creator, Kṛṣṇa, Nārāyaṇa, Hari, Skanda, the commander-in-chief of the gods’ army, Agni, Vāyu, Gaṇeśa, Vṛhaspati, Kuvera, Varuṇa, Yama, the Rudras and the Vidyādharas, the Kinnaras and the Gandharvas. At the admiring speech of the bards, both the Lord and His better-half awake from their sleep. The morning has scrupulously worshipped Lord Śiva.

Canto XVII

Canto XVII gives a description of the meeting of Lord Śiva with the gods regarding the oppression of the Tripuras. Lord Śiva has entered and presided over the assembly of the gods, wherein, at the outset, the gods have eulogized Him. They have prayed Him as Puruṣa, pervading everything in the three worlds, the Pure, that purifies everything. They further said that Śiva takes the threefold figures voluntarily. The ignorant people call Him to be indifferent. Because, the Nature itself, cannot be the creator. Śiva only, which is changeless, according to them, is the only tattva, the inconstant elements such as Mahat etc. cannot be the tattvas. He is the Brahman; in the form of invisible sound i.e. Sphoṭa. The Buddhists, the Kṣapaṇakas, Kaṇāda and his followers, the Cārvākas and others, none can deny Him actually. The Upaniṣad, while propounding unqualified Brahman, do not consider Śiva to be different from Him. Śiva, the God, Lord and the knower of the world is also identical with Śakti. This way, they praised Śiva and being eulogized by them, He enquired about the root of their misery. Knowing all the details, He took pity on them. The Gaṇas also become furious, hearing the severe atrocities inflicted upon the gods, by the demons.


In this canto, the poet draws a sketch of the agitation of the Gaṇas, on hearing the miserable condition of the gods, by the torture of the demons. The eyes and cheeks of the Gaṇas are reddened with rage; their eye-brows have been shaken, when shoulders stroked with their hands, the ornaments have broken into pieces. They are sweating excessively; some of them begin to rub their hands. Some uttered rude words, other begin to look at their weapons with angry sights. In a nutshell, they have become violent and aggressive. Among them, the prominent are Puṣpadanta, the devotee of Śiva, Bhṛṅgiriṭi, the lean and thin one, Vīrabhadra, Taṇḍu, Nandin and others. Seeing the external expression of wrath of the Gaṇas, even Gaṇeśa and Kumāra are influenced and have begun to sweat and sigh respectively. Being beaten by the angry Gaṇas, the earth appears to be twisted and quivered.

Canto XIX

This canto gives a description of the expression of the enthusiasm of the Gaṇas to fight with the demons as well as it narrates the discussion of Śiva with the gods about the annihilation of the demons. The Gaṇas have showed their eagerness to fight with the demons. Śiva has gesticulated His right hand and makes them listen to Him. He enquired them, why they refrain from fighting with the demons. At that, they have expressed their inability to fight, without the help of Śiva and urged Him to kill the demons. Śiva has agreed and ordered them to prepare for the war. The gods have rejoiced over the words of the Lord and do accordingly. The Kailāsa too, echoing the enthusiastic noise of the army of Śiva, as if, has blown the auspicious conch at the departure time. Then the positive signs have appeared before the gods and evil omens appeared before the demons, indicating the imminent destruction of the Tripuras.

Canto XX

In this canto, Maṅkhaka gives a description of the construction and preparation of the chariot of Śiva by the gods to fight with the demons. The earth takes the form of a chariot, the long rivers are fastened to the lower part of the chariot, stars become the iron sheets as its cover, Dharma, Artha and Kāma take the form of three pieces of bamboo, the herbs, brightened by the moon takes the form of a wheel of the chariot, the sun becomes another wheel, the clouds, being transformed into pieces of wood become the yoke of the chariot, the sky also becomes its yoke, perseverance and intelligence become its screws, Indra, Varuṇa, Kuvera and Yama become the horses to pull the chariot, the Atharvaveda and Aṅgiras, the father of Vṛhaspati have guarded the wheels. Again, Viṣṇu transformed Himself into the arrow, while Agni and Soma stayed on the tip of that arrow. The Mandara hill converted itself into the bow, Brahmā take the charge of the duty of the charioteer. The clouds have yelled, while Śiva rides on the chariot and marches forth to kill the Tripuras.

Canto XXI

Herein this canto, the poet describes the march of the troop of Śiva’s army towards the Tripuras. The Gaṇas are seen preparing themselves with different weapons to fight with the demons. Kumāra rides on his mount, i.e. peacock, Gaṇeśa takes the lead of the army of the gods. The warriors take leave from their beloveds with a heavy heart, soon after getting tight hug from them. Some ladies try not to let them go, some follows them to a little distance. In the meantime, the chariot of Śiva moves rapidly at that much pace, that even the minds of the Gaṇas become unable to pass them over. Taking the Prāsa, a kind of weapon in their hands, the Gaṇas go into the cities of the demons and caused much havoc therein. With much dread and terror, the wives of the demons look at the frightful army of the gods.

Canto XXII

This canto contains the description of the agitation, preparation and coming out of the demons from their respective cities to fight with the gods’ army. The demons become wrathful, as they come across the news about the attack of Śiva’s army. Out of anger, their faces become red. They have begun to behave in the same manner as like the Gaṇas. They have taken various weapons in their hands such as swords, discuses and bows. They ride in the horses and elephants to go to the battlefield. At that time, while the demons are preparing for the fierce fight, there appeared some evil omens such as the crying of jackals, owls, crows as well as occurrence of earthquake etc. They feel a mixed feeling of happiness and sorrow because they think that they would be united with celestial females, if they could either kill the gods or even be killed by them. At the entering of the gods’ army into the Tripuras, the wives of the demons are so much terrified that they begin to cry at the top of their voice. Thereafter, both the two army have faced each other.


In canto XXIII, Maṅkhaka gives a full-length description of the battle between the army of the gods and the demons. There take place a fierce fight between them. The soldiers of both the opposing troops get fatal injury. A demon throws an arrow upon Gaṇeśa, that pierced into his mouth and looks like his second tusk. Gaṇeśa has killed many demons that threw arrows on him. The arrows slide off, thrown by the demons on the skinny body of Bhṛṅgiriṭi, a soldier of Śiva. Another soldier of Śiva, viz. Taṇḍu killed many demons by moving his weapon haphazardly. Pulaka also killed many more demons by piercing his sharp arrow. Again, with great enjoyment Nandī fights. Kumāra too fights bravely and expertly with the demons. With the help of his Prāsa, Yama take away life from many demons. Thus, many soldiers, horses and elephants of both the troops are killed in the battle. The demons, killed in the battlefield, get divinity and become amalgamated with divine damsels. In the battle, the army of the gods has surpassed the army of the demons, at which the Tripuras have got ferocious out of anger and begin to fight unitedly. They have tried their best to kill the gods and even Lord Śiva. Thereafter, take place a ruthless fight between them.

Canto XXIV

In this canto, Maṅkhaka gives a picturesque description of the burning of the Tripuras. During the fight, as so many soldiers and animals are massacred, the battlefield seems to be the pleasure-abode of Yama, the god of death. The fight becomes more intense at the gathering together of the three cities. The gods, seeing the nearness of the Tripuras, begin to throw their fearful and helpless gloomy glances at Lord Śiva. At that Śiva has placed His arrow on His bow, with the fire of His third-eye and release it towards the three cities. The flames, while reddening the sky burnt the Tripuras into ashes. The smoke of the fire as well as the ashes of the demons spread over the earth and heaven simultaneously. The gods begin to celebrate the triumph over the enemies, with unrestrained dancing. They release the imprisoned females, brought from heaven earlier. At the gesture of Śiva, the gods give up the their assumed forms and come back to their natural forms. Śiva too withdraws His terrible adaption. Then the gods returned to Kailāsa. Reaching the abode of Śiva, the gods once again begin to eulogize Him. Śiva, thereafter bid farewell to them with a kind look.

Canto XXV

In this canto, Maṅkhaka gives a description of the scholars and poets of his time. This canto is actually an appendix to the poem wherein, the poet has recorded the expertise in different branches of knowledge and other personal accomplishment of thirty-two scholars before the assembly of whom, he puts his poem for a review. As found in this canto, at the very beginning of the canto, it is seen that Maṅkhaka feels joy and contentment, as he has glorified Lord Śiva instead of eulogizing a king. Maṅkhaka has placed his poem in the assembly, gathered at the house of his elder brother Alaṃkāra alias Laṅkaka, a minister of Jayasiṃha, the king of Kashmir. Being heartily welcomed by Laṅkaka, Maṅkhaka has offered his respect to the august gathering there. Among the scholars assembled there, Loṣṭadeva and Devadhara have lauded Alaṃkāra, Devadhara has extolled king Jayasiṃha too. Suhala, the ambassador of king Govindacandra has given Maṅkhaka a riddle to solve, which the poet has solved at once. At the behest of Tejakaṇṭha, a scholar and an ambassador of king Aparāditya of Koṅkaṇa, Maṅkhaka has composed a eulogy in favour of a king. Ruyyaka, the preceptor of the poet has appreciated and ask Maṅkhaka to read out his poem before the learned council, which he has complied. On listening to the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita, members of the assembly are very much satisfied and praised it. Then Maṅkhaka has dedicated his poem at the lotus feet of the Lord. He becomes highly contented because, by composing the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita, Maṅkhaka could glorify Lord Śiva, as commanded by his late father, who appeared before him in a dream.

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