Vasudevavijaya of Vasudeva (Study)

by Sajitha. A | 2018 | 50,171 words

This page relates ‘Theme of the Vasudevavijaya’ 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.

The tenth skandha of Bhāgavatapurāṇa forms the basis for Vāsudevavijaya The tenth skandha is divided into ninety chapters narrating the story from the birth of Kṛṣṇa up to his life in Dvaraka and his progeny. Vāsudeva has made use of only the story of the first thirty seven chapters of the tenth skandha to illustrate the grammatical aphorisms of Pāṇini. Beginning from the birth of Kṛṣṇa, the story is narrated upto Keśivadha and ends with Nāradastuti. In order to complete the story, Melputtūr Nārāyaṇabhaṭṭa composes the poem Dhātukāvya as a continuation of Vāsudevavijaya

The poem begins with an invocation to Lord Vāsudeva whose story forms the theme of the story.

The author hopes that his words will be purified by the waves of the glorious deeds of Kṛṣṇa which he is going to narrate.

kṛtārthatā yasya padāmbujaṃ sadā niṣevamāṇaṃ vṛṇute'cirātsvayam |
hṛdā dadhattaṃ vasudevanandanaṃ pune girastaccaritāmṛtormibhiḥ ||

After the invocation the poet starts the story with the Goddess Earth’s approach to Brahmā as she is oppressed by the harassment of the Demons. After hearing the grievances, Brahmā along with Lord Śiva and other celestials and Earth reached Palahi and discussed matters with Lord Viṣṇu and returned. In the following verses the description of the village Madhurā and Kaṃsa are depicted. The marriage ceremony of Devakī and Vasudeva and the divine oracle that eighth son of Devakī is to extinguish the life of Kaṃsa is given. Enraged by the strange oracle from space Kaṃsa attempts to kill Devakī, but Vasudeva pacifies Kaṃsa with an assurance that every child of Devakī would be handed over to Kaṃsa instantly at birth and goes to Vasudeva’s abode.

The second canto opens with a mentally perturbed thinking of Vasudeva in the aftermath of the assurance he has given to Kaṃsa. Sage Garga’s return from Vasudeva’s home after consoling him is narrated. Next Vasudeva reaches in Kaṃsa’s presence with his first born child and Kaṃsa showers blessings on the child. Sage Nārada appearing on the scene and he reminds Kaṃsa about the divine oracle. Kaṃsa kills the child and throws Devakī and Vasudeva to prison. Next the imprisonment of Ugrasena and contempt of Yādavas are depicted. Kaṃsa employs personnel to kill children of Devakī as and when they are born. Arrival of Rohiṇī at Nandagṛha, Yaśodā’s pregnancy of Māyādevī are described here. The joy of birth of Viṣṇu and fear of Kaṃsa then follows.

In the third canto, birth of Lord Kṛṣṇa is described finely.Vāsudeva carries Kṛṣṇa to Nandagṛha and the river Yamunā splitting apart to facilitate easy passage for Vasudeva. The exchange of Māyādevī and Kṛṣṇa is narrated then. Kaṃsa rushes to the prison and takes hold the baby. But baby slips of his hand and rise high in the sky. She utters the truth that the terminator of Kaṃsa is already born and disappears. The terribly frightened status of Kaṃsa is also portrayed here.

Fourth canto describes the celebration of people of Dvaraka at the birth of Kṛṣṇa, Pūtanāmokṣa etc. Ladies of Royal household are frightened at Pūtanā’s death but the smile emanating from Kṛṣṇa dispels their fear. The purifying rights for the welfare of child Kṛṣṇa and the prosperity of the people of Dvaraka are narrated well in this canto. Śakaṭāsura is annihilated and the canto concludes with the killing of Tṛṇāvarta.

The naming ceremony by Sage Garga and the exploits of the child Kṛṣṇa are narrated in detail in the fifth canto. Pilferage of butter, Ulūkhalabandhana, blessings to Naḷakūbara and Maṇigrīva, killing of the demons Baka and Agha are other important descriptions in the canto.

The sixth canto opens with the killing of the demon Dhainuka. Rāmakṛṣṇastuti and Kāḷiyamarddana episode follows. Then comes the killing of Pralamba and thereafter Kṛṣṇa enters forest. Dāvāgnipāna comes next followed by the depiction of season Śarat.

Gopikas areenamored of Kṛṣṇa. Vastrāpaharaṇa is also narrated. Nandagopa conducts a rite to win favors from Indra but at Kṛṣṇa’s instance Govarddhana hill is worshipped and ends the sixth canto.

In the seventh canto Indra infuriated by the hindrance caused a heavy down pour and frightened Dvaraka. Inhabitants take refuge in Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa lifts the Govarddhana hill and protects Dvaraka from torrential rains. Failure of Indra in the battle, eulogy to Kṛṣṇa by Indra, releasing of Nandagopa from Varuṇa’s personnel, Rāsakrīḍā, killing of the demons Ariṣṭa and Keśin are the other major episodes described in this canto and it ends with the Nāradastuti.

Thus in seven cantos Vāsudeva narrates the story of Kṛṣṇa up to Keśivadha. Though the story of Kṛṣṇa is incomplete, the work Vāsudevavijaya is complete in the light of describing Paniniyan rules.

Footnotes and references:


Prof. Vijayapal Sastri,op.cit.v.I.1

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