The backdrop of the Srikanthacarita and the Mankhakosa

by Dhrubajit Sarma | 2015 | 94,519 words

This page relates “Countries and cities (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 8a - Countries and cities (found in the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita)

1. Muralā or Kerala

Maṅkhaka has praised the beauty of the faces as well as the breasts of the females of the country of Muralā, situated in Dākṣiṇātya, respectively in śuddhaṃ dadhatpānthapuraṅdhribāṣpapūrairiva[1], caṭulitasicayāñcalacchaṭābhirmurala[2] ….. He refers to the women of Kerala.[3] This place is located in Mālbar, in South India. Muralā is another name for Kerala. According to the Kathāsaritsāgara[4] and the Raghuvaṃśa[5], the Kerala is the strip of land between the western ghats and the sea, north of the river Kāverī. Likewise, the poet refers to the wind that blows from Kerala, situated at far distance, from the land of Kashmir in latikā latikā vyaloki[6] ……. Regarding the keralamārut, Jonarāja writes that by the wind, that blows from Kerala, the creepers are quivering.[7]

2. Karṇāṭaka

The karṇāṭasamīraṇā[8] or the winds of Karṇāṭa i.e. the present state of Karṇāṭaka has been referred too. It may be mentioned here that, probably this place is located in present Chennai, as the wind from the mountain Malaya is spoken of as blowing in it. Jonarāja also construes the term karṇāṭasamīraṇā as malayavāyavaḥ.[9] The poet here also refers to the coconut fruits growing in Karṇāṭakapradeśa.

3. Aṅga

Maṅkhaka refers to North Bengal situated in the eastern part of India, when he mentions the province of Aṅga.[10]

4. Māgadha

He also mentions Māgadhas[11] and thereby refers to Bihar and its inhabitants.

5. Matsya

Coming to west, Maṅkhaka gives reference to Matsya i.e. north Rājputānā situated in the western part of India.[12] The poet refers to one desert by the word maru.[13] Some more references of familiarity of the poet to a desert are found.[14] According to some, the term maru might have been used to denote the place Mārwār. The elephants found in the forests of Vindhya, also have been referred to in sa tadā tridaśalokavairiṇāṃ[15] …...

6. Siṃhala and Laṅkā

Maṅkhaka, also refers to some places situated far away from Kashmir. As for example, the wind from Siṃhala has been mentioned in yuvajanaghanakelisūtradhāro[16] …..., also in anvarodhi dadhatā guru raṃhaḥ[17] …... He mentions Laṅkā.[18] The poet knew Laṅkā as a separate island from Siṃhala (Ceylon) since he refers to Siṃhala many times, but Laṅkā for once. Again, he refers to the Trikūṭa mountains near Laṅkā, which is nowhere to be found in Siṃhala. From these, it may be assumed that according to the poet, these two islands are different. The word Laṅkā means primarily an island. According to mythology, Laṅkā is the capital of the legendary king Rāvaṇa, as depicted in the Rāmāyaṇa, the great epic. The fortress was situated on a plateau between three mountain peaks known as the Trikūṭa Mountains. This island would lie more than a hundred miles south-west of present Sri Lanka, the country.

7. Alakā

The poet refers to the city of Alakā i.e. Alakāpurī, the abode of the yakṣas, situated at the foot of the mountain, Kailāsa.[19] Kālidāsa had glorified this place in his lyric, Meghadūta It was the capital of Kubera, the lord of the yakṣas. Regarding northern part of India, Maṅkhaka remarks that the region, which is an ornament of the forehead of the direction that was acquainted to Kuvera i.e. north, is referred to by Kāśmīra.[20] Kāśmīra was otherwise known as Satīsaras, which is, as if, a place for taking bath for the creator.[21] The poet has given a beautiful reason for Kāśmīra being surrounded by snow-clad mountains. The poet observes that both the ocean and the land of Kāśmīra have the wealth of precious jewels. But the ocean is, as if, defeated by the wealth of Kāśmīra and hence, it circumambulates Kāśmīra with its milky-white waves, giving the impression of the snowcovered mountains.[22]

8. Pravarapura

Maṅkhaka refers the city Pravara, in lofty terms. He remarks that by whose purer qualities, all the quarters are exceedingly decorated, just like the rays and which is well known as Pravara, the city attains the position of a crest jewel of that region.[23] Alexander Cunningham and M. A. Stein have furnished details about this place.[24]

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

śuddhaṃ dadhatpānthapuraṅdhribāṣpapūrairiva kṣālitamamśujālaṃ/
smereṇa candro muralāṅganānāṃ mukhena sāpatnakamālalambe//
     Śrīkaṇṭhacarita.,VI. 39, page 82

[2]:

caṭulitasicayāñcalacchaṭābhirmuralapurandhrikuceśu puṣpaketoḥ/
bhuvanavijayakīrtivaijayantīrmarudayamutkṣipatīva dākṣiṇātyaḥ//
     Ibid., VII. 39, page 100

[3]:

malayaparimalāḍhyaṃbhābukaḥ keralīnaṃ vipulapulakavedhā mānmathagranthakāraḥ/
diśi diśi pṛṣadaśvo dākṣiṇātyaḥ śiśikṣe rasaparivṛḍhasakhyāhaṃkṛtaścāpalāni//
     Ibid., VI. 60, page 87

[4]:

na paraṃ muralānāṃ sehe mūrdhasu connatiṃ karairāhanyamāneṣu yāvatkāntākuccsvapi/
Kathāsaritsāgara., Taraṅga VI. 5. 96

[5]:

bhayotsṛṣṭavibhūṣāṇāṃ tena keralayoṣitāṃ alakeṣu camūreṇuścūrṇapratinidhīkṛtaḥ/
muralāmārutoddhūtamagamatkaitakaṃ rajaḥ tadyodhavārabāṇānāmayatnapaṭavāsatāṃ// Raghuvaṃśa, IV. 55

[6]:

Śrīkaṇṭhacarita., VIII. 17

[7]:

keralākhyo dakṣiṇāpathe janapadaviśeṣastasya mārutacchaṭābhistaralā sakampā latikā latikā devyā vyaloki vilokitā/
     Ibid., VIII. 17, page 112

[8]:

Ibid., VI. 62

[9]:

te karṇāṭasamīraṇāḥ malayavāyavaḥ kamiva na krīḍārasaṃ cakrire/
Ibid., VI. 62, page 88

[10]:

Ibid., XVI. 34

[11]:

Ibid., XVII. 9

[12]:

Ibid., XVI. 34

[13]:

Ibid., XXV. 124

[14]:

Ibid., VI. 65; VII. 40

[15]:

Ibid., XXII. 34

[16]:

Ibid., VII. 40, page 101

[17]:

anvarodhi dadhatā guru raṃhaḥ saiṃhalena rathatā pavanena/
saurabhādupanatairalicakrairyo’grasaṃgatarathāṅga ivāsīt//
     Ibid., XII. 7, page 162

[18]:

Ibid., VI. 73

[19]:

yamadūratastrijagadekakautukavyavahārasargavidhinavyavedhasaṃ/
alakāvi mudrabahusaudhasauhṛdādanimeṣalocanacayeva vīkṣate//
     Ibid., IV. 60, page 57; also IV. 55

[20]:

Ibid., III. 1

[21]:

kuberasakhyāḥ kakubho lalāṭikā yadeti kaśmīrapadābhidheyatāṃ/
satīsaro nāma tadasti maṇḍalaṃ vicitrasargāvabhṛthaḥ prajāpateḥ// Ibid., III. 1

[22]:

vibhāvyate sāndrahimārdramūrtibhiḥ pravartitāṭṭālakamudramadribhiḥ/
maṇivrajaiśvaryajitena sūtritapradakṣiṇaṃ kṣīrasarasvateva yat// Ibid., III. 3

[23]:

guṇairmayūkhairiva śuddhimattarairnikāmamuttaṃsitasarvadiṅmukhaṃ/
dhṛtaprasiddhi pravarākhyayā puraṃ vigāhate yasya kirīṭaratnatāṃ// Ibid., III. 21

[24]:

‘Śrīnagarī, the old capital of Kāśmīra prior to the erection of Pravarasenapura, is stated to have been founded by the great Aśoka (Rājataraṅgiṇī, i. 104) who reigned from B.C. 263 to 226…….Pravarasenapura or the new capital was built by Rājā Pravarasena II in the beginning of the sixth century. Its site, as already noted, was that of the present capital of Śrīnagar. This is determined beyond all possibility of doubt by the very clear and distinct data furnished by the Chinese pilgrim Huen Thsang, and by the Hindu historian Kalhaṇa Paṇḍit…’

Cunningham, Alexander, Ancient Geography of India., part I, pages 110-112, also Stein, Introduction to the translation of Rājataraṅgiṇī, vol. I, page 84

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