Vasudevavijaya of Vasudeva (Study)

by Sajitha. A | 2018 | 50,171 words

This page relates ‘Scope of the study’ of the study on the Vasudevavijaya of Vasudeva from the 11th century A.D. The Vasudevavijayam is an educational poem belonging to the Shastra-Kavya category of technical Sanskrit literature. The Vasudevavijayam depicts in 657 verses the story of Lord Krishna while also elucidates the grammatical rules of the Ashtadhyayi of Panini (teaching the science of grammar). The subject-content of the poem was taken from the tenth Skandha of the Bhagavatapurana.

Scope of the study

Serious studies in the field of Śāstrakāvyas especially from Kerala are very rare. There are some critical editions on such works at the same time some of them are still in the form of manuscripts that needs detailed study and publication. One of the well-studied works regarding this category is The Subhadrāharaṇa of Nārāyaṇa with the commentary-Vivaraṇa -A critical edition and study. It is a doctoral thesis submitted by Prof.M. Sreedhara Menon, Founder and Head of the Department of Sanskrit, University of Calicut. This is published later by the author himself in 1983. The work comprises a comprehensive study on Subhadrāharaṇa and the author critically edited the work with its auto-commentary. It also gives an index of the Paninian rules and the illustrated examples. The book is really beneficial to the students of this field.

Another important work related to this field is Dhātukāvya of Nārāyaṇabhaṭṭa with the auto-commentary Kṛṣṇārpaṇa and Rāmapāṇivāda’s Vivaraṇa. The work is edited by S. Venkata Subramonia Aiyer and published by the department of Sanskrit, University of Kerala in 1970. It contains an introduction to Śāstrakāyas and a study on Dhātukāvya. The Text with its commentaries is critically edited here and also includes an index of the roots and its illustrations used in the poem at the end.

Śrīcihnakāvya of Kṛṣṇalīlāśuka is published in 1971 from Trivandrum Oriental Manuscript Library by K.Raghavan.

Another edition of Śrīcihnakāvya of Kṛṣṇalīlāśuka was brought out by Dr.P.V.Viswanathan Namputhiri which is published by CBH publications, Nagercoil in 2008. The work gives an introduction to Śāstrakāvyas, a description on the authors of the poem, theme of the poem, literary appraisal etc. The verses of the poem with their Sanskrit form (chāyā) are also added here. It does not give a comprehensive study on the grammatical aspects.

A doctoral thesis on Śrīcihnakāvya was submitted to the Department of Sanskrit, University of Calicut. The work entitled Śrīcihnakāvya A study with special reference to Prākṛtaprakāśa is prepared by S.Sasikumari. It contains a brief history of the grammar of Prakrit language. A grammatical study of the poem is carried out by the scholar. But the thesis is not yet published.

Similarly, there is a study on Sugalārthamālā which is submitted as an M.Phil dissertation to Department of Sanskrit, University of Calicut.

These are the only studies made on the Keralite Śāstrakāvyas. Among these works Subhadrāharaṇa and Dhātukāvya are critical editions that give some grammatical aspects. While examining these works, it is obvious that mere studies on this field are very few. The nature and scope of Śāstrakāvyas are prevalent during these times. The language can be existed only with its well established grammar. The study of grammar is essential in order to purify the language by avoiding the corrupted usages. But it seems difficult to the students and scholars. The complex nature of rules and their applications lead to the reluctance of its study. It will be the situation to the rise of Śāstrakāvya tradition. This tradition teaches the learners about the usages of principles without mentioning them directly. This makes the study of grammar more popular. Thus the significance of this tradition is arisen in the applied level of grammar. Hence, it is essential to bring out more studies in the field of Śāstrakāvyas.

By keeping this concept in mind, the Department of Sanskrit, University of Calicut has organised a three day national seminar in March, 2017. Eight articles were presented in this seminar and the proceeding of this seminar was also published in October 2017 by Calicut University Sanskrit Series. In this book Prof. K.V. Vasudevan gives a comprehensive account on the Subhadrāharaṇa. Prof. Vijayapal Sastri studies the work Arjunarāvaṇīya and an analysis on Dhātukāvya is carried out by prof. Meenambal Narayanan. The significance of Vāsudevavijaya amongst Vyākaraṇakāvyas is discussed by Prof.K.P.Kesavan. Prof. P.Narayanan Namboodiri gives a detailed description on Śrīcihnakāvya. Sugalāthamālā is the topic dealt within the article of Dr.K.Vishnu Namputhiri and the influence of Paribhāṣenduśekhara on Bhaṭṭikāvya is described by Satyanarayana Sastri. Dr.K.Yamuna attempted to bring out a comprehensive study on the Surūparāghava.

The collection of these articles is entitled utsavaḥ sudhiyāmalam (vyākaraṇodāharaṇakāvyeṣu vicāraḥ) and it is edited by Prof. N. K. Sundareswaran, Head of the Department of Sanskrit, University of Calicut. It is obviously a praiseworthy work to the Sanskrit scholars especially for the students of Sanskrit grammar.

Under these circumstances, the study of a Śāstrakāvya has ample scope and it will be beneficial to enhance the learning of grammar. Through this it can purify the language also. This leads to the selection of the topic regarding Śāstrakāvya literature. An attempt is made to examine Vāsudevavijaya of Vāsudeva critically in the present study.

The Vāsudevavijaya has previous editions, one in Kāvyamālā Series in 1894. Another edition is from Chaukhamba Bharatiya Academy in 1988. Both these editions include only three cantos of the poem.

There is a Punjab edition by Pandit Srirama Prapanna Sastri with the Kaiśavī commentary. A Lahore edition is also there. But these editions are only published up to the third canto. Even though these editions are published, at present are not available.

The complete version of the poem with its Padacandrikā commentary was published by Rashtriya Saṃskrita Saṃsthanam (manita viswavidyalaya), Himachal Pradesh in 2013. The work was edited by Prof. Vijayapal Sastri Sivachandrasunu. Vijayapalsastri gives an introduction to the work which contains a note on the tradition of Vyākaraṇakāvyas. It also gives some details about the author and the auto-commentary of the work. He also introduces some verses of the poem and mentions the manner of illustration of Paninian rules. Finally he gives an index of the rules illustrated in the poem. It gives more details than any other studies on this topic. But it is essential to have a detailed grammatical study on this work.

The doctoral thesis of Dr.P.Shyamala Devi was published by New Bharatiya Book Corporation in 2010. The work is a critical edition of the poem. It contains the verses only up to the seventh canto. But the author provides the summary of each canto. Unfortunately it neither includes a study or descriptions of its grammatical peculiarities.

There are thirteen Palm leaf manuscripts deposited in Kerala University Oriental Research Institute and Manuscript Library, Trivandrum. Among these thirteen leaves, only two have extended up to the 83rd verse of the Seventh canto.

Among the Vyākaraṇakāvyas from Kerala, Vāsudevavijaya has a prominent place. Subhadrāharaṇa and Vāsudevavijaya are the only works which comprehensively illustrates Aṣṭādhyāyī. Unfortunately a study with grammatical perspective on Vāsudevavijaya is not yet carried out. In order to bring forth the peculiarities of the poem a critical study of Vāsudevavijaya is essential.

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