Vasudevavijaya of Vasudeva (Study)

by Sajitha. A | 2018 | 50,171 words

This page relates ‘Is Vasudevavijaya a Mahakavya?’ 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.

Is Vāsudevavijaya a Mahākāvya?

Eventhough Vāsudevavijaya is a Vyākaraṇaśāstrakāvya, there is amble scope for the literary analysis of this poem. Being a Śāstrakāvya, it does not reject the poetic beauty. Thus it is essential to go through the literary aspects of Vāsudevavijaya

It is generally believed that the poetic charm of the grammatical poem might be emaciated. This misinterpretation reduces the attention of the readers towards these poems. Thus it is an attempt to bring forth the poetic charm reflected in Vāsudevavijaya to gain interest of people into such a tradition.

It is already stated in the forgoing chapters that Vāsudevavijaya is a poem with the story of Kṛṣṇa as its theme. Though this poem satisfies almost all the features in the definition of a Mahākāvya, it would not be included in the category of Mahākāvyas. The definition of Mahākāvya according to Daṇḍin is very popular and this definition[1] is widely accepted by the scholars to consider the qualities of Mahākāvyas.

As ordained in Daṇḍin’s Mahākāvya definition[2], V.V is divided in to Cantos. There are so many descriptions on towns[3], birth of the child[4], seasons[5], kings[6] etc. Besides, the opening verse of the poem is an indication of the theme of the poem and also it is in the form of a benediction.[7] In this manner the features of a Mahākāvya is satisfied in Vāsudevavijaya But those descriptions and the like will not go long. Some of them are just indications. The author of the poem might be intended to classify this under the head of Mahākāvya. This may tempt the author to include all the features in his poem. But these qualities are not enough to satisfy the status of this poem to the rank of a Mahākāvya. The fulfilment of the qualities ascribed in the definition is not enough to lead to its greatness.

Besides, Prof. K.P. Kesavan has agreed with this opinion, this statement is recorded in the Proceedings of the National seminar on Vyākaraṇodāharaṇakāvyas held at Department of Sanskrit, University of Calicut.[8] References to this poem lead to the conclusion that it shouldn’t undergo the section of Mahākāvyas. The attempt to prove this point will be futile.

Footnotes and references:


kṛtārthatā yasya padāmbujaṃ sadā niṣevamāṇaṃ vṛṇute'cirātsvayam |
hṛdā dadhattaṃ vasudevanandanaṃ punegirastaccaritāmṛtormibhiḥ ||
  Vāsudevavijaya of Vāsudeva with Padacandrikā commentary
, Prof. Vijayapal Sastri,v.I.1


sargabandho mahākāvyamucyate tasya lakṣaṇam |
āśīrnamaskrisā vastunirdeśo vāpi tanmukham || (Kāvyādarśa
of Daṇḍin I.12-20).


Prof. Vijayapal Sastri,op.cit.v.I.23 (Description of Mathura and the King).










utsavaḥ sudhiyāmalam (vyākaraṇodāharaṇakāvyeṣu vicāraḥ) |
  Ed. Dr.N.K.Sundareswaran, Publication Divition, Calicut University, October 2017.
  It is the proceedings of the National seminar held at Department of Sanskrit, University of Calicut on March 15-17.

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