The backdrop of the Srikanthacarita and the Mankhakosa

by Dhrubajit Sarma | 2015 | 94,519 words

This page relates “Mountains (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 8c - Mountains (found in the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita)

In the Śrīkaṇṭhacarita, there are references of so many mountains. Some of them are regarded as place of penance and some are considered as sites of pilgrimage. The names of the mountains recorded by Maṅkhaka are as follows-Himādri[1], Kailāsa[2], Mandara[3], Maināka[4], Astabhūbhṛt[5], Lokāloka[6], Rohaṇa[7], Trikūṭa[8], Vindhya[9] and Malaya[10] also called Śrīkhaṇḍādri[11], Sumeru or Meru.[12]

1. Himādri or Himālaya

Maṅkhaka uses the term Himādri to denote Himālaya. According to Viṣṇupurāṇa[13], this Himādri or Himālaya is the northern limit of India. Kālidāsa, in the first verse of the Kumāra.[14] states that Himālaya, the chief among the mountains, is situated to the north direction. There are many synonymous words for Himālaya viz. Tuhinagiri[15], Tuhinādri[16], Nihāragiri[17] etc. Again, the Kūrmapurāṇa holds that Himālaya is the abode of the Siddhas and Cāraṇas and it spreads over thousand and eighty yojanas.[18] It further states that this mountain is the source of the rivers viz. Śatadru, Candrabhāgā, Sarayu, Yamunā, Irāvatī, Vitastā, Vipāśā, Devikā, Kuhū, Gomatī, Dhūtapāpā, Bāhudā, Dṛṣadvatī, Kauśikī and Lohita.[19] Moreover, Himālaya is the source of the holy river Gaṅgā as well. Himālaya, being the progenitor of it, Gaṅgā, is called Himālayasutā i.e. the daughter of Himālaya.

2. Kailāsa

Kailāsa is the residence of Lord Śiva. According to mythology, Lord Śiva, along with His consort Pārvatī, resides at the summit of Kailāsa, in a state of meditation. Besides, it is said to be the abode of Kureba and the yakṣas. There is the reference of this mountain in many treatises such as Kālidāsa’s Meghadūta[20] and others. In the Vikramorvaśīya[21], Śiva is referred to as Kailāsanātha (the Lord of Kailāsa).

Kailāsa is a mountain and peak of the Himālaya range of mountains. This mountain lies near the Mānasa Lake and it also lies near the source of some of the longest rivers in the continent of Asia viz. the Indus, the Sutlej, the Brahmaputra and the Karnali, a tributary of the Ganges. The word Kailāsa is said to be originated from the term Kilāsa meaning crystal. Again, according to another account found in the Viṣṇupurāṇa, the four faces of the mountain are made of crystal, ruby, gold and lapis lazuli. It is a pillar of the world and it is situated at the heart of six mountain ranges symbolizing a lotus. The four rivers flowing from it, flow to the quarters of the world and divide the world into four regions.[22]

3. Mandara

Mandara is a sacred mountain. It is the residence of various deities. According to mythology, it was Mandara, who was made the churningstick, during the churning of the Kṣīrasamudra by the gods and the demons; Vāsukināga was used as the churning-rope. This way, it helped gods and and Asuras, for the recovery of the nectar as well as thirteen other precious things, lost during the deluge.[23] Again, it was the same Mandara, who was made the bow for Lord Śiva, while fighting with Tripura. The Mandara mountain is at present known as the Khingan mountains. It is located on the border of Mongolia and Manchuria.

4. Maināka

Maṅkhaka mentions the mountain Maināka. It is said to be the son of Himālaya. There is the reference of Maināka in the Rāmāyaṇa[24], Mahābhārata (Vanaparvan)[25], Kumāra.[26], Kādambarī[27] etc. According to mythology, the mountains had got wings in ancient times and they used to fly very often. Sometimes, they sit upon some cities, forests and thereby destroyed many living organisms and caused much havoc in the entire creation. Then Indra, the king of the gods, got angry and began to cut their wings by his vajra (thunderbolt). As Maināka was a friend of the ocean, he took refuge in it to save his wings. This paurāṇic story has found place in many poems and Maṅkhaka too employs this episode of Maināka in his Śrīkaṇṭhacarita.

5. Astabhūbhṛt

Astabhūbhṛt is a mountain, on which the sun and the moon are supposed to set. In the past, when Hiraṇmaya was the dwelling place of the Aryans, the evening twilights used to end at the time of the sun’s crossing the 20th meridian west of Greenwich and passing over the northern extension of the Appalachian mountain, which was therefore regarded the Astabhūbhṛt. Thereafter, when the abode of the Aryans was changed, any other mountain situated near the setting point was named Astādri.

6. Lokāloka

Lokāloka is a mountain shaping the boundary of the earth.[28] In another place of the Brahmāṇḍapurāṇa, Lokāloka is mentioned as a mythical mountainous girdle in the south, separating the apparent world from world of darkness.[29] It is 10,000 yojanas in height and breadth and is protected by four guardians, Sudhāman and others on the four directions.[30] According to another account, Lokāloka is a chain of hills beyond the Pacific Ocean (Svādūdaka), between the Loka where the sun shines and Aloka where the sun does not. The regions lighted by the sun are said to cover 50 crores of yojanas. Again, the chain of the Lokāloka occupies ¼th of the area of the globe. In the Aloka region, Yogeśvara Kṛṣṇa is said to travel.[31]

7. Vindhya

Vindhya is a range of older rounded mountains and hills, in the westcentral Indian sub-continent, which geographically separates the Indian sub-continent into northern India (the Indo-Gangetic plain) and southern India.[32] According to another account, it is a range of mountains which separates Hindustan proper from the Deccan or South; it is one of the seven Kulaparvatas and forms the southern limit of Madhyadeśa.[33] The Manusaṃhitā/Manusmṛti[34], in clear terms, calls the Vindhya as the southern boundary of the Madhyadeśa. The Vindhya occupies a place among the Kulaparvatas or principal mountains as enrolled by the Viṣṇupurāṇa [35] Again, it is stated in the Ancient Geography of India, that the Pulindas inhabited the Vindhyas and they terrorized the travellers for a long span of time.[36] The most popular legend about Vindhya, found in the Vāyupurāṇa[37] is that once Vindhya, being jealous of the mount Meru demanded the sun to circumambulate the Vindhya, as it does to mount Meru. However, the sun turned down the demand, as a result, the Vindhya showed a tendency to grow so high to obstruct the usual route of the sun. Then the gods sought the help of sage Agastya, who asked the mountain range to make smooth the progress of Agastya and his family across to the south. In doing so, the Vindhya had to bow down and to remain in that position till the return of the sage. But Agastya never returned and in consequence to that, the Vindhya never grew further in compliance of his words.

8. Malaya or Śrīkhaṇḍādri

The Malaya also known as Śrīkhaṇḍādri, is an important mountain of India. It exists towards the south of India. From Malaya, the river Tāmraparṇī originates. There is the reference of this mountain in the Rāmāyaṇa.[38] Besides, the Malaya finds place also in the Agnipurāṇa.[39] Again, Harṣavardhana’s Nāgānanda (Nn)[40], Kālidāsa’s Raghuvaṃśa[41] etc. too, mention about this mountain Malaya, which is one among the Kulaparvatas.[42]

9. Rohaṇa

Rohaṇa is a mountain situated in Ceylon.[43] It is also said to be the Adam’s Peak.[44] According to Maṅkhaka, the mountain Rohaṇa flourishes with plentiful of rubies.

10. Trikūṭa

Maṅkhaka refers to the Trikūṭa mountain in his poem. Jonarāja writes that Trikūṭa mountain is located near Laṅkā.[45] It is also found that on the top of this mountain, the capital of Rāvaṇa was situated.[46]

11. Sumeru or Meru

The Sumeru or Meru is said to be a sacred mountain.[47] It is a fabulous mountain, round which, all the planets are said to revolve and it is consisting of gold and gems.[48] There is the mythological story about Vindhya’s jealousy for Sumeru because of the later’s being circumambulated by the sun. This mountain is regarded as the Olympus of Hindu mythology and said to form the central point of Jambu-dvīpa. Again, it is compared to the cup or seed-vessel of a lotus, the leaves of which are formed by the different dvīpas. The river Ganges falls from heaven on its peak and then flows to the surrounding worlds in four streams. The regents of the four quarters of the compass occupy the corresponding faces of the mountain. It is also stated that the summit of this mountain is the abode of Brahmā and it is the meeting place for the gods, Gandharvas and the Ṛṣis etc. It may be mentioned here that, when not regarded as a fabulous mountain, it appears to mean the highland of Tartary north of the Himālaya.[49]

Footnotes and references:


Ibid., XVI. 49


Ibid., IV. I; also, VI. 68


Ibid., V. 5, 7


Ibid., IX. 52; also, XII. 50; XXIV. 36


Ibid., X. 2


Ibid., XX. 10


Ibid., IV. II


Ibid., VI. 73


Ibid., XXII. 34


Ibid., VI. 2, 42, 66, 67, 73; VII. 5, 19, 21, 22


Ibid., IV. 45; VI. 65


Ibid., IV. 62


uttaraṃ yat samudrasya himādreścaiva dakṣiṇaṃ/
varṣaṃ tat bhārataṃ nāma bhāratī yatra santatiḥ//
     Viṣṇupurāṇa, II. 3. 1


astyuttarasyāṃ diśi devatātmā/
himālayo nāma nagādhirājaḥ…./
     Kumāra., I. 1


….tuhinagiri jahnukanyakābhyāmiva…… Pārijātharaṇacampū., page 17


……jvalitena guhāgataṃ tamastuhinādreriva naktamoṣadhiḥ/
Raghuvaṃśa, VIII. 54


kimucyate sarvāścayarnidhānaṃ hi nihāramahāgiriḥ/
Bālarāmāyaṇa., X. 343


parvato himavānnāma nānādhātuvibhūṣitaḥ/
yojanānāṃ sahasrāṇi so’sitistvāyato giriḥ/
siddhacāraṇasaṅkīrṇo devarṣigaṇa sevitaḥ//
     Kūrmapurāṇa, II. 36. 43


sravante pāvanā nadyaḥ parvatibhyo viniḥsṛtāḥ/
śatadruścandrabhāgā ca sarayuryamunā tathā/
irāvatī vitastā ca vipāśā devikā kuhūḥ/
gomatī dhūtapāpā ca bāhudā ca dṛṣadvatī/
kauśiki lohita caiva himavat pādaniḥsṛtāḥ//
     Ibid., I. 45, 26-28


kartuṃ yacca prabhavati mahīmucchilīndhrāmavandhyāṃ tacchrutvā te śravaṇasubhagaṃ garjitaṃ mānasotkāḥ/
ā kailāśādbisakisalayacchedapātheyavantaḥ aṃpatsyante nabhasi bhavato rājahaṃsāḥ sahāyāḥ//
     Meghadūta, Pūrvamegha, 11


kailāsanāthamupasṛtya nivartamānā/ Vikramorvaśīya, I. 2



Williams, M. Monier, Sanskrit-English Dictionary., page 788


krauñcaṃ girimatikramya maināko nāma parvataḥ/
Rāmāyaṇa., IV. 43. 30


avekṣamānaḥ kailāsaṃ mainākaṃ caiva parvataṃ/
gandhamādanapādāṃśca meruṃ ca piśiloccayaṃ//
     Mahābhārata, Vanaparvan, 14


asūta sā nāgavadhūpabhogyaṃ mainākamambhonidhi baddh asakhyaṃ/
kruddhe’pi pakṣacidi vṛtraśatrā avedanajñaṃ kuliśakṣatānāṃ// Kumāra., I. 20


mainākenevāviditapakṣapātena Kādambarī, Ujjayinīvarṇanā


Brahmāṇḍapurāṇa, I. 1. 78; 3. 31; also in Vāyupurāṇa, 49. 144; 50. 155, 160, 205; 101. 191-2.


Brahmāṇḍapurāṇa, II. 15. 3; 19. 150; 21, 51, 101, 106, 155; III. 7. 294; IV. 2. 194.


Viṣṇupurāṇa, II. 4. 94; 8. 82-3


Bhāgavatapurāṇa, V. 20. 34-42



Apte, V.S., ‘Student’s Sanskrit-English Dictionary’., page 513


himavadvindhyayormadhyaṃ yatprāgvinaśanādapi/
pratyageva prayāgācca madhyadeśaḥ prakīrtitaḥ//
     Manusaṃhitā/Manusmṛti., II. 21


mahendro malayaḥ sahyaḥ śuktimānṛkṣaparvataḥ/
vindhyaśca pāriyātraścca saptaite kulaparvatāḥ//
     Viṣṇupurāṇa, II. 3. 3


Ancient Geography of India., page 49


Vāyupurāṇa, XVIII


tasyāsīnaṃ nagasyāgre malayasya mahaujasaṃ drakṣyathā dityā saṃkāśamagastyamṛṣiṣtta maṃ/
tatastenābhyanujñātāḥ prasannena mahatmanā tāmraparṇīṃ grāhajutaṃ tariṣyatha mahānadīṃ//
     Rāmāyaṇa., IV. 41. 16-17


śrīparvataṃ kalavagiriṃ sahyādrirmalayo giriḥ/
Agnipurāṇa., CIX. 21


kumāra, naivāmi malayasānavaḥ nāgānāmasthisaṃghātāḥ khalvamī/
Nāgānanda, IV


sa nirviśya yathākāmaṃ taṭeṣvālīnacandanau/
stanāviva diśastasyāḥ śailau malayadardurau// Raghuvaṃśa, IV. 51


Viṣṇupurāṇa, II. 3. 3


Apte, V.S., ‘Student’s Sanskrit-English Dictionary’., page 473


Williams, M. Monier, Sanskrit-English Dictionary., page 890


laṅkānikaṭe trikūṭaparvato’sti/
Śrīkaṇṭhacarita., VI. 73, page 92


Apte, V.S., ‘Student’s Sanskrit-English Dictionary’., page 240


Ibid., page 607


Ibid., page 448


Williams, M. Monier, Sanskrit-English Dictionary., page 833

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