The backdrop of the Srikanthacarita and the Mankhakosa

by Dhrubajit Sarma | 2015 | 94,519 words

This page relates “Rasa (9): Shanta or the sentiment of tranquility” 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 2i - Rasa (9): Śānta or the sentiment of tranquility

Viśvanātha Kavirāja is of the opinion that sama[1](tranquility), which is a mental state of a person, who is free from all attachment and thereby experiences bliss, gives rise to the sentiment called the Śānta (quietistic). It belongs to the very best of men. Its beauty is as fair as Jasmine and the moon and the adorable Nārāyaṇa is its presiding deity. The knowledge of the transitoriness of the world or the knowledge of the Supreme Self becomes the ālambanavibhāvava of this sentiment, whereas, the hermitage, the sporting ground of the Lord and the company of the saints, serve as the uddīpanavibhāvas of the Śāntarasa. Horripilation and the like are its anubhāvas and indifference, delight, remembrance, intellect and compassion are its vyabhicāribhāvas.[2] It may be mentioned here that Bharata states that a description, wherein,there is described the state of having no sorrow, no envy, no jealousy and there exists equilibrium of mind, comes as an illustration of the Śāntarasa.[3] Mammaṭa also opines regarding Śānta, that nirveda or complete indifference towards worldly objects, generates the quietistic sentiment.[4] Maṅkhaka employs the sentiment of tranquility in his poem.

The instances of the Śāntarasa is found to be delineated in the philosophical verses of canto XVII. Here the feeling of self-disparagement of the gods have been showed before the Supreme Reality i.e. Śiva. The gods, tormented by the demons, here approach Lord Śiva for protection of them as well as annihilation of the Tripuras, thereby, they belittle their own strength. The verses, where the knowledge of Absolute Reality or nirveda has been delineated are viz. viśveṣāṃ puri[5] ….., nanvevaṃ kimapi[6] ….., dhiṅmūḍhā vitatha[7] ….., kiṃ mithyā hara[8] ….kiṃ kartuṃ[9]....., kutrāpi pratihatimeti[10] ….., no kiṃcidbahirupapattimeti[11] ….., sūnyaṃ tairakathi[12] ….., bodhātmanyanavadhitāṃ[13] ….., trailokyaṃ vibhajati[14].…., yaṃ māyā[15] ….., ekastvaṃ trinayana[16] ….., icchadbhiḥ śaśimukuṭa[17] …, yacchāyāpṛṣadabhiṣekato’pi[18].…., kvāvatsyatkathamajaniṣyata[19] …...and vaktre’bhūttava[20] …... In these verses, the gods after bowing down to Śiva praises Him as the Puruṣa, who pervades everything in the three worlds. According to them, Śiva is the Pure, that purifies everything. The threefold figures of Him are taken by Śiva voluntarily. The fools call Him to be indifferent. Nature itself cannot be the creator. The inconstant elements like Mahat etc. are wrongly treated as tattvas. Only Śiva, the changeless is the tattva. Śiva is the Brahman in the form of indivisible sound, called Sphoṭa. All the philosophical systems directly or indirectly accept Śiva etc. This way, the Śāntarasa has been depicted in the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita.

Regarding the examples of Śāntarasa, B.N. Bhatt[21] cites canto II and XXV (excepting some stanzas) whereas, B.C. Mandal[22] argues that in canto II and XXV, there is neither nirveda nor śama (pleasure caused by resting in self in the state of contentment) as the permanent feeling i.e. sthāyibhāva. Mandal’s opinion is important here and his remark can be established in the light of the Kāvyaprakāśa and the Sāhityadarpaṇa also, wherein Mammaṭa[23] considers nirveda and Viśvanatha[24] regards śama as the permanent mood for the sentiment of tranquility. On the other hand, the feeling existed in these cantos are to be classified and discussed separately as the love for good men and great poets and for god and scholars etc. Some categorize it under Bhakti (devotion). Scholars like Śrī Rūpa Goswāmī consider Bhakti as a separate rasa. However, rhetoricians like Bharata, Mammaṭācārya and others have treated this Bhakti just as a variety of feeling rati.

Bhatt, of course in the line of Śrī Rūpa Goswāmī considers, Bhakti as a separate entity and states that Bhakti can be found in cantos I, III, IV, V, XVI, XVII and in XXV. 1-7, 152.[25] Refuting this, Mandal[26] considers the love for gods etc. as a mere feeling. However, these feeling of love for gods etc. can be viewed as Bhāva and Vatsala (parental affection) also.

Footnotes and references:


śamo nirīhāvasthāyāṃ svātmaviśrāmajaṃ sukhaṃ/ Sāhityadarpaṇa., III. 180


śāntaḥ śamasthāyibhāva, uttamaprakṛtirmataḥ/
kundendusundaracchāyaḥ śrīnārāyaṅadaivataḥ/
anityatvādinā’śeṣavastuniḥsāratā tu yā/
paramātmasvarūpaṃ vā tasyālambanamiṣyate/
romāñcādyāścā’nubhāvāstathā syurvyabhicāriṇaḥ/
     Ibid., III. 245-248


na yatra duḥkhaṃ na dveṣo nāpi matsaraḥ/
samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu sa śāntaḥ prathito rasaḥ// Nāṭyaśāstra., VI. 106


nirvedasthāyibhāvo’sti śānto’pi navamo rasaḥ/
Kāvyaprakāśa., IV. 49


viśveṣāṃ puri puri yatsadaiva śeṣe vidvadbhiḥ puruṣa iti pratīyase tat/
kiṃ dhāmatritayamayānapāyadṛṣṭestasmātte jagati parokṣamasti vastu//
Śrīkaṇṭhacarita., XVII. 18


Ibid., XVII. 19


Ibid., XVII. 20


Ibid., XVII. 21


Ibid., XVII. 22


Ibid., XVII. 23


Ibid., XVII. 24


Ibid., XVII. 25


Ibid., XVII. 26


Ibid., XVII. 27


Ibid., XVII. 28


Ibid., XVII. 29


Ibid., XVII. 30


Ibid., XVII. 31


Ibid., XVII. 32


Ibid., XVII. 33


Bhatt, B.N., Śrīkaṇṭhacarita., page 126


Mandal, B.C., Śrīkaṇṭhacarita., page 126


Kāvyaprakāśa., IV. 47


Sāhityadarpaṇa., III. 247


Bhatt, B.N., Śrīkaṇṭhacarita., page 126


Mandal, B.C., Śrīkaṇṭhacarita., page 126

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