Vasudevavijaya of Vasudeva (Study)

by Sajitha. A | 2018 | 50,171 words

This page relates ‘Bhattikavya of Bhatti’ 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.

Bhaṭṭikāvya of Bhaṭṭi

[Full title: Indian Contribution to Śāstrakāvya Tradition (1): Bhaṭṭikāvya of Bhaṭṭi]

It is already mentioned that India has immensely contributed to the Śāstrakāvya literature. Bhaṭṭikāvya of Bhaṭṭi, Rāvaṇārjunīya of Bhaṭṭabhīma, Kavirahasya of Halāyudha, Kumārapālacarita of Hemacandra, Lakṣaṇādarśa of Divākara, Nakṣatramālā of Śivarāma Tripāṭhi, Vibhaktivilāsa of Maṅgaleśa etc. have been considered as the important Śāstrakāvyas from India.

Bhaṭṭikāvya which is also known as Rāvaṇavadha is considered as the earliest work in the Śāstrakāvya tradition of India. It is composed in the sixth century AD. The poem is also namedas Rāmacarita, Rāmakāvya etc. as according to its content. The author has not mentioned his name in the work even once. But the writers on Sanskrit grammarmention Bhaṭṭi as the author of Bhaṭṭikāvya, while quoting passages from this. The author Bhaṭṭi is the founder of the Śāstrakāvya tradition in its literal sense. He has been identified with Bhartṛhari. According to M.Krishnamachariar, Bhaṭṭi is said to be a prakritised form of Bhartṛ.[1] The importance of Bhaṭṭikāvya is based on the scholarliness and the poetic gift of its author. It comprises 22 cantos and it describes the story of Rāmāyaṇa upto Rama’s return from Laṅkā and the coronation there after. It is composed to illustrate grammatical aphorisms and poetic figures. It is divided in to four parts, viz. prakīrṇa, prasanna, alaṅkāra and tiṅanta. In these four parts, Bhaṭṭikāvya provides illustrations for the rules of Pāṇini and at the same time, it exemplifies the figures of speech and other rhetorical devices.

The author himself stated that it is like a lamp to those whose eye is grammar; but without grammar, it is like a mirror in the hands of the blind.

dīpatulyaḥ prabandho'yam śabdalakṣaṇacakṣuṣām |
hastāmarṣa ivāndhānām bhaved vyākaraṇādṛte ||


In this part, illustrations do not regularly follow the Aṣṭādhyāyīsūtras. Hence it is called Prakīrṇa, dealing with miscellaneous rules. It extends upto the 96th verse of the fifth canto.


In this kāṇḍa, which extends up to canto IX, illustrations follow Aṣṭādhyāyī in its proper order.


It begins from canto X to XIII, there are four divisions viz. Alaṅkāra, Mādhurya, Bhāvikatva and Bhāṣāsama.


This kāṇḍa illustrates the tenses and moods of verbs. All the Vedic rules and the Vārtikas of Kātyāyana are omitted throughout.

As a grammarian Bhaṭṭi has won the admiration of the later prominent grammarians like Śaraṇadeva, Mādhava, Bhaṭṭojidīkṣita and others. Commentators like Mallinātha have often quoted the Bhaṭṭikāvya as an authentic text on the usages of Pāṇini’s grammar. There are twenty-two commentaries on Bhaṭṭikāvya and this fact shed light on its popularity. He has influenced many learned poets and readers with trained intellect. To sum up Bhaṭṭikāvya has, by all means, set up a new pattern of poetry in Sanskrit.

Footnotes and references:


A history of classical Sanskrit literature, M. Krishnamachariar,p.140


Bhaṭṭimahākāvya of Śrī Bhaṭṭi,v. XXII.33.

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