The backdrop of the Srikanthacarita and the Mankhakosa

by Dhrubajit Sarma | 2015 | 94,519 words

This page relates “Comparison [of the Mankhakosha] with other koshas” 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 7 - Comparison [of the Maṅkhakośa] with other koṣas

Excepting the Amarakoṣa, the Maṅkhakośa has occupied a unique position, almost unparalleled in the realm of Sanskrit koṣa texts. Regarding the importance of the work, Amarakoṣa, Anundoram Borooah writes in lofty terms.[1] It may be mentioned here that, regarding the arrangement of the verses, A. Borooah opines that earlier, there was the supposition that the verses must consist of four feet each and as a result in some cases the halfverses had to be out unnumbered (as at the end of the svarga and naraka vargas) and in others halves of different metres had to be put together as one verse (as, e.g. Āryā with Anuṣṭubh in II. 8. 101 and II. 10. 18 and Pramāṇī with Anuṣṭubh in II. 8. 12). Thus, according to Borooah, it mixes up subjects, which often run a string of verses, but which can be easily separated under a different arrangement. That is why Amarakoṣa recognized six-footed (ṣaṭpadī) and probably two-footed verses and introduced some in his text.[2]

In the Amarakoṣa, there are three kāṇḍas found. These kāṇḍas are again subdivided into some vargas.

1) The first kāṇḍa is initially having the Svargavarga and it is consisting of the Vyomavarga, Dikvarga, Kālavarga, Dhīvarga, Śabdādivarga, Nāṭyavarga. Then there is Pātālavarga consisting of Bhogivarga, Narakavarga, Vārivarga.

2) The second kāṇḍa is again divided into Bhūmivarga, Puravarga, Śailavarga, Vanauṣadhivarga, Siṃhādivarga, Manuṣyavarga, Brahmavarga, Kṣatriyavarga, Vaiśyavarga, Śūdravarga.

3) The third kāṇḍa contains Viśeṣya-nighnavarga, Saṃkīrṇavarga, Nānārthavarga, Avyayavarga, Liṅgādisaṃgrahavarga. However, this type of division into varga and the like is not to be found in the Maṅkhakośa. Herein, as stated earlier, the words are arranged either according to the number of syllables or according their final consonants. Again, the whole of the Maṅkhakośa is completely based on the anekārthas or different meanings of the word, whereas in the Amarakoṣa, only a section named Nānārthavarga is dedicated to it. However, Amarakoṣa too arranges the Nānārthavarga by finals. The Nānārthavarga of the Amarakoṣa comprises Kāntavarga, Khāntavarga, Gāntavarga, Ghāntavarga, Cāntavarga, Chāntavarga, Jāntavarga, Ňāntavarga, Ṭāntavarga, Ṭhantavarga, Ḍāntavarga, Ḍhāntavarga, Ṇāntavarga, Tāntavarga, Thāntavarga, Dāntavarga, Dhāntavarga, Nāntavarga, Pāntavarga, Phāntavarga, Bāntavarga, Bhāntavarga, Māntavarga, Yāntavarga, Rāntavarga, Lāntavarga, Vāntavarga, Śāntavarga, Ṣāntavarga, Sāntavarga, Hāntavarga. In the preface to his Nānārthasaṃgraha, Anundoram Borooah gives remark about the Amarakoṣa[3]

Thus, in the Amarakoṣa, division of words have been done only on that particular varga, whereas, in the Maṅkhakośa, from the very beginning of the text, such method of arrangement of words has been followed. However, there is no such labelling, that is to say, no classification into vargas has been done in the Maṅkhakośa, instead of that and the words have been placed just according to their final consonants. Again, the koṣakāras use so many rare and ambiguous terms that it is not always easy to understand them even if, we get a correct text of their works. Sometimes different koṣakāras use different synonymous terms and in such cases the koṣas are mutual commentaries. In many instances, however, they use the same expressions and it is by no means always easy to interpret them correctly.[4] It may be mentioned here that, keeping aside the peculiarities; there are some striking similarities also between the two lexicons of repute. As for example, the quarters of the following verses may be compared—ākāśe tridive nāko lokastu bhuvane jane.[5] Also, padye yaśasi ca śloka.[6]

Again, some other words may be compared from both the lexicons, Amarakoṣa and the Maṅkhakośa. Besides, comparison has also been done between these randomly chosen words with the same words from the Nānārthasaṃgraha of Anundoram Borooah, the 1st Assamese and 5th Indian I.A.S., one of the important Sanskrit scholar of Assam. Borooah not only gives his interpretation, also quotes from Medinīkāra’s Nānārthaśabdakoṣa, Hemacandra’s Anekārthasaṃgraha, Trikāṇḍaśeṣa of Puruṣottamadeva, Maheśvara’s Viśvaprakāśa or Viśva, Amarasiṃha’s Nāmaliṅgānuśāsana etc.

As for example, the word śaṅku has been explained as śaṅkurhrasvaśākhāśiphaḥ[7], śaṅkurnā śarvvalā[8] in the Amarakoṣa, again, āyudhabheda, praharāṇāntaraṃ[9] in the Maṅkhakośa.

In the Nānārthasaṃgraha, A. Borooah writes:—

śaṅkuḥ saṃkhyāstrayādobhitkīleśkaluṣeṣu nā, Medinī, śaṅkuḥ patraśirājāle saṃkhyākīlakaśambhuṣu/
yādo’strabhedayormeḍhre, Hemacandra, śaṅkuḥ kīle śive’stre ca saṃkhyāyādaḥprabhedayoḥ, Viśva, śaṅkuḥ kīlakasaṃkhyāstrajalajantuṣu dṛśyate, Trikāṇḍaśeṣa

The word kalaṅka has been written as kalaṅkoṅkāpavādayoḥ[11] in the text of the Maṅkhakośa and in the commentary it has been interpreted as [kalaṅka] apavāde/ na jāne komusminraghukulakalaṅke kavirabhūt//[12] Similarly, in the Amarakoṣa, it is found as kalaṅko’ṅkāpavādayoḥ.[13]

Again, the word kaṅkaṇa has been interpreted in the commentary of the Maṅkhakośa as bālikālaṅkṛtaprakoṣṭhaḥ.[14] In the text of Maṅkhakośa, it has been also, given as kaṅkaṇaṃ maṇḍale sūtre ratnāḍhyakarabhūṣaṇe.[15]

In the commentary, it has been written as

maṇḍalaṃ yāgādyarthaṃ nānāvarṇo rekhāsaṃniveśaḥ/
rakṣākaṅkaṇabandhabandhuraruchirityādau sūtre ūrṇādimaye ratnāḍhyakarabhūṣaṇe//

however, the Amarakoṣa reads it simply, as karabhūṣaṇaṃ.[17]

Anundoram Borooah comments on this word, also cites other lexicographers—

kaṅkaṇaṃ karabhūṣāyāṃ sūtramaṇḍanayorapi, Medinī, kaṅkaṇaṃ śekhare hastasūtramaṇḍanayorapi, Viśva, kaṅkaṇaṃ karabhūṣaṇe/
maṇḍane hastasūtre ca, Hemacandra, hastasūtre’pi kaṅkaṇaṃ, Trikāṇḍaśeṣa

The word gaṇaka has been construed as to be daivajña in the commentary of the text, the Amarakoṣa interprets it, in detail.[19] Anundoram Borooah interprets it as:—

gaṇikā yūthīveśyebhītarkārīṣu nā tu daivajñe, Medinī, gaṇikā yūthikāveśyātarkārīkariṇīṣu ca/
gaṇako’pi ca daivajñe, Viśva, veśyāyūthyośca gaṇikā, Trikāṇḍaśeṣa, gaṇako grahavedini/
gaṇikebhyāṃ yūthikāyāṃ tarkaryāṃ paṇyayoṣiti, Hemacandra, hastinyāṃ gaṇikā
, Halāyudha.[20]

The word sarvajña has been described as śivabuddhau tu sarvajñau.[21] In the commentary, it is written as [sarvajña] śive/ sarvaga sarvajña śarva sarvātman/buddhe/ praṇamya sarvajñamabhītiviplavaṃ//[22]. The Amarakoṣa also have similar interpretation of this word, as it means by the word sarvajña, Buddha[23] and mentions it as a name of Lord Śiva, while giving some names of Him, including the name Śrīkaṇṭha.[24] Anundoram Borooah comments on the word as sarvajñaḥ śivabuddhayoḥ, Medinī, sarvajñaḥ śaṅkare buddhe, Viśva, sarvajñastu jinendre syātsugate śaṅkare’pi ca, Hemacandra, sarvajñaḥ śaṅkare jine, Trikāṇḍaśeṣa.[25]

The words śrīkaṇṭha and nīlakaṇṭha are interpreted by the koṣakāra Maṅkhaka, respectively as mahādeve śrīkaṇṭhaḥ[26] and nīlakaṇṭhaḥ śivo.[27] The Amarakoṣa interprets nīlakaṇṭha as follows— nīlakaṇṭhaḥ śive’pi ca[28], which means, besides meaning a peacock, it also means Lord Śiva.

The word Śrīkaṇṭha has been explained in the Nānārthasaṃgraha as śrīkaṇṭho deśabhidyugre, Medinī, śrīkaṇṭhaḥ khaṇḍaparaśau śrīkaṇṭhaḥ kurujāṅgale, Viśva, śrīkaṇṭhaḥ kurujāṅgale/ śaṅkare ca, Hemacandra, śrīkaṇṭhaḥ sthāvaraṃ sthāṇuḥ Anekārthadhvanimañjarī.[29]

The word nirvāṇa has been interpreted as nirvṛtau, in the text[30] and, it is further explained in the commentary of the Maṅkhakośa as:—

nirvāṇameti na mano viṣayeṣu saktaṃ/ śāntimokṣayoḥ/ Raghuvaṃśa, 12, 1/
ivamajjane/ nirvāṇamāpi sarasīṣu gajādhipena/ śānte/ Kumārasambhava, 2. 23//[31]

About this word, the Amarakoṣa, writes

muktiḥ kaivalyanirvvāṇaṃ śreyo niḥśreyasāmṛtaṃ//
mokṣo’pavargo’thājñānamavidyāhammatiḥ striyāṃ//

Similar interpretation of the word nirvāṇa has been provided in Anundoram Borooah’s work as:—

nirvāṇamastaṃgamane nivṛtau gajamajjane/ saṅgame’pyapavarge ca, Medinī, nirvāṇamastaṃgamane nivṛtau gajamajjane/
apavarge ca, Viśva, nirvāṇaṃ mokṣanirvṛtyorviśrānte karimajjane, Hemacandra, atha majjane/ nirvāṇaṃ nirvṛtau mokṣe, Trikāṇḍaśeṣa

Again, the word ghana meaning cloud has been interpreted as megha e.g. ghano meghe both in the text and the commentary of the Maṅkhakośa[34], however, the Amarakoṣa comments on the term, as follows—

abhraṃ megho vārivāhaḥ stanayiturvvalāhakaḥ/
dhārādharo jaladharastaḍitvān vārido’mvu’mvubhṛt//

Anundoram Borooah illustrates the word ghana as—

ghanaṃ syāt kāṃsyatālādivādyamadhyamanṛtyayoḥ/
nā mustābdaughadāḍhyeṣu vistāre lohamudgare/
triṣu sāndre dṛḍhe ca, Medinī, ghanaṃ syāt kāṃsyatālādivādyamadhyamanṛtyayoḥ/
ghanaṃ sāndre dṛḍhe dārḍhye vistāre lohamudgare/
meghamustakayoścāpi, Viśva, ghanaḥ sāndre dṛḍhe dārḍhye vistāre mudgare’mbude/
saṅghe muste ghanaṃ madhyanṛtyavādyaprakārayoḥ, Hemacandra, ghano meghe mūrtiguṇe triṣu mūrte nirantare, Amarakoṣa athāmbudamustayoḥ/
ghanaḥ puṃsi ghanaṃ vādyaṃ, Trikāṇḍaśeṣaḥ, ghano megho ghanaṃ sāndraṃ kāṃsyatālādikaṃ ghanaṃ/
ghanaṃ saṅgho ghanaṃ nityaṃ ghanaḥ syāllohamudgaraḥ, Anekārthadhvanimañjarī

Moreover, the word rodana has been read as rodanaṃ tvasruṇi krande/[37], however, in the commentary, it has been found as asruṇi nayanajalavimocanavyāpāre/ netre virodanātāmre/ krande/ karuṇo rodanadhvaniḥ//[38]. The Amarakoṣa writes as follows—’sru netrāmbu rodanañcāsramaśru ca/[39] This term rodana has been interpreted by A. Borooah as follows- rodanaṃ krandane’sre’pi durālabhauṣadhau striyāṃ, Medinī, rodanaṃ krandane’śruṇi, Viśva, rodanaṃ tvaśruṇi krande, Hemacandra.[40]

The word tapana meaning the sun has been construed as tapanorko, in the text[41], as well as in the commentary as arke/ tapati lalāṭaṃ tapastapanaḥ/[42] of the Maṅkhakośa, while in the Amarakoṣa, the word tapana has been mentioned as one of the different names of the sun.[43]

This word has been interpreted in the Nānārthasaṃgraha as:—

tapano’ruskare’pi syād bhāskare nirayāntare, Medinī, tapaastaraṇau tāpe bhallāte narakāntare, Viśva, tapano ravau/
bhallāte narake grīṣme, Hemacandra, tapano narake bhānau, Trikāṇḍaśeṣa

This way, there are numerous examples of words can be quoted, which were discussed in different koṣa texts.

Footnotes and references:


“Amara’s Liṅgānuśāsana is the most popular lexicon in the Sanskrit language and for upwards of 1000 years has received the best attention from the greatest scholars of India. The literature connected with it is a library in itself and the commentaries form a unique store-house of most valuable lexicographical information.” Borooah, A., Nāmaliṅgānuśāsana, Preface, page iii


Ibid., Preface, page vi


“Amara is the oldest of those koṣas and of high authority all over India. Its Nānārthavarga is not as full as in the special Nānārthakoṣa, but is of considerable importance in tracing back the sense of words. Its arrangement is simply by final consonants without any attempt at further classification. The Avyayas or indeclinable words are placed in a separate class, arranged according to final consonants although not shown as such in the printed editions. No rule has been followed in arranging meanings so that it is often difficult to know without extraneous evidence which meanings refer to which words.”

Borooah, A., Nānārthasaṃgraha, Preface, pages 22-23


Ibid., page 38


Maṅkhakośa., 10; Amarakoṣa, III. Nānārthavarga, Kāntavarga, 1


Maṅkhakośa., 11; Amarakoṣa, III. Nānārthavarga, Kāntavarga, 3


Amarakoṣa, Vanauṣadhivarga, kāṇḍa II


Kṣatriyavarga, kāṇḍa II, page 249


Maṅkhakośa., Extracts from the commentary, page 2


Borooah, A., Nānārthasaṃgraha, Śaṅkā-śataparvikā, page 315


Maṅkhakośa., 24, text, page 2


Ibid., 24, Extracts from the commentary, page 3.


Amarakoṣa, 10, Kāntavarga, page 332


Maṅkhakośa., Extracts from the commentary, page 5


Ibid., 240, text, page 18


Ibid., Extracts from the commentary, page 30


Amarakoṣa, 326, Manuṣyavarga, page 201


Ibid., Kakṣyā-kaccha, page 56


sāṃvatsaro jyotiṣiko daivajñagaṇakāvapi/
syurmauhūrttikamauhūrttajñānikārttantikā api// Amarakoṣa, page 230


Borooah, A., Nānārthasaṃgraha, Gaḍha-gati, page 102


Maṅkhakośa., 155, text, page 12


Ibid., Extracts from the commentary, p.18


sarvajñaḥ sugato buddho dharmarājastathāgataḥ/
samantabhadro bhagavān mārajillokajijjinaḥ// Amarakoṣa, page 15


śambhurīśaḥ paśupatiḥ śivaḥ śūlī maheśvaraḥ/
īśvaraḥ śarva [sarva] īśānaḥ śaṅkaraścandraśekharaḥ//
bhūteśaḥ khaṇḍaparaśurgirīśo giriśo mṛḍhaḥ/
mṛtyuñjayaḥ kṛttivāsāḥ pinākī pramathādhipaḥ//
ugraḥ kaparddī śrīkaṇṭhaḥ śitikaṇṭhaḥ kapālabhṛt/
vāmadevo mahādevo virūpākṣastrilocanaḥ//
kṛṣānuretāḥ sarvajño dhūrjjatinīlalohitaḥ/
haraḥ smaraharo bhargastryambakastripurāntakaḥ//
gaṅgādharo’ndhakaripuḥ kratudhvaṅsī vṛṣadhvajaḥ/
vyomakeśo bhavo bhīmaḥ sthāṇu rudra umāpatiḥ//
     Ibid., pages 23-24


Nānārthasaṃgraha, Borooah, A., Sarojinī-sava, page 344


Maṅkhakośa., 186, text, page 141


Ibid., 188, text, page 14


Amarakoṣa, 124, Ṭhantavarga, page 342


Borooah, A. Nānārthasaṃgraha, Śrīkaṇṭha-śreṇi, page 331


Maṅkhakośa., 232, text, page 17


Maṅkhakośa., Extracts from the commentary, page 29


Amarakoṣa, 248, Dhīvarga, page 57


Ibid., Nirvāṇa-niśānta, page 179


Maṅkhakośa., text, page 32; Extracts from the commentary, page 57


Amarakoṣa, 88, Digvarga, page 35


Ibid., Grāmamadgurikā-ghana, page 114


Maṅkhakośa., 463, text, page 34


Ibid., Extracts from the commentary, page 61


Amarakoṣa, 283, Manuṣyavarga, page 197


Borooah, A., Nānārthasaṃgraha, Rerihāṇa-rodhra, page 271


Maṅkhakośa., 483,text, page 35


cf. Harṣacarita., 51, 5; Ibid., 483, Extracts from the commentary, page 64


sūra sūryāryamāditya-dvādaśātmadivākarāḥ//
bhāskarāhaskaravradhnaprabhākaravibhākarāḥ bhāsvadvivasvatsaptāśvahridaśvoṣṇaraśmayaḥ//
bhānurhaṃsaḥ sahasrāṃśustapanaḥ sabitā raviḥ//
     Amarakoṣa, 138, Digvarga, pages 41-42


Borooah, A., Nānārthasaṃgraha, Tandrī-tamas, page 139

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