The backdrop of the Srikanthacarita and the Mankhakosa

by Dhrubajit Sarma | 2015 | 94,519 words

This page relates “Beliefs and superstitions (found in the 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 - Beliefs and superstitions (found in the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita)

In Maṅkhaka’s time, there were prevalent some traditional beliefs as well as superstitions. As for example, people believed in some mystic formulae, spell, and jewel in counteracting the effects of poison.[1] People believed that blowing of a conch brings victory.[2] People believed in the power of the saṃgamanīyaratna[3], a jewel to unite one’s beloved with oneself.[4] There is the reference of Saṃgamanīyaratna in Kālidāsa’s Vikramorvaśīya (Vikramorvaśīya) also.[5] People believed in the efficacy of medicinal herbs, in helping them to win over their beloveds.[6] People also believed that a treasure was usually protected by a serpent.[7]

There was a belief in the times of Maṅkhaka, which is still preserved in present times also. People in that time, believed that a dream dreamt at the closure of night i.e. at the early morning would come out to be true.[8] The serpents were believed to hear with their eyes and hence they were called cakṣuḥśravas.[9] People also believed that the serpents can remain alive by subsisting on wind only and some of them have a jewel on their hood.[10] If a black serpent goes across the road, while a person starts a journey, then the person will never return.[11] If a religious mendicant clad in scarlet clothes comes in front of a person, while he goes out, then he will not come back.[12]

Along with these, people believed in the existence of jalebha or jalagaja i.e. water-elephant[13], salilaturaṅga i.e. water horse.[14] People also believed in some omens also such as howling of jackals at day, to be inauspicious.[15] Again, people considered appearance of lightning without clouds to be an ill omen.[16] The appearance of a comet, the earthquake and many suns simultaneously were all considered as inauspicious.[17] Not only this, the appearance of many suns covered by untimely clouds hinted at the destruction of the worlds.[18]

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Ibid., II. 5; XII. 23

[2]:

Ibid., VII. 22

[3]:

tvanmaṇḍalaṃ nūnamatigmaraśme cetobhuvaḥ saṃgamanīyaratnaṃ/
yasya prabhāvātsahasaiva bhaṅgaṃ yātyaṅganānāṃ priyaviprayogaḥ//
Ibid., XI. 64

[4]:

Ibid., II. 58; XI. 64

[5]:

Vikramorvaśīya, IV. 36

[6]:

Śrīkaṇṭhacarita., XXI. 29

[7]:

Ibid., X. 45; XIV. 48

[8]:

Ibid., III. 76

[9]:

Ibid., II. 52

[10]:

Ibid., XVI. 51

[11]:

Ibid., III. 47

[12]:

natabhruvo’gre’ruṇapuṣpareṇukāṣāyapaṭṭo madhumāsabhikṣuḥ/
mānasya cetogṛhanirgatasya cakāra yātrāmapunaḥpraveśāṃ// Ibid., VI. 54

[13]:

Ibid., IX. 39; X. 53, 54; XII. 53

[14]:

Ibid., IX. 41

[15]:

Ibid., XXII. 32

[16]:

Ibid., XVIII. 13

[17]:

Ibid., XVIII. 59

[18]:

bhāsanto’mī sahodetya vyañjantu pralayaṃ dviṣāṃ/
ruddhāṅgā lohasaṅnāhairakāṇḍajaladairiva//
Ibid., XIX. 21

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