Vasudevavijaya of Vasudeva (Study)

by Sajitha. A | 2018 | 50,171 words

This page relates ‘Vedanga (six auxiliary disciplines)’ 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.

Vedāṅga (six auxiliary disciplines)

It is well known that the Vedāṅgas are the six auxiliary disciplines in Vedic culture that developed in ancient times. These have been connected with the study of Vedas.

[The following] are regarded as the six limbs of Vedas:

  1. Śikṣā,
  2. Kalpa,
  3. Nirukta,
  4. Vyākaraṇa,
  5. Jyotiṣa and
  6. Chandas.

Among these Śikṣā is connected with Phonetics and pronunciation. Kalpa focused on the procedures for Vedic rituals, the Saṃskāras like birth, marriage, death etc. as well as the personal conduct and proper duties of an individual in different stages of his life. Śrauta, Gṛhya, Śulba and Dharmasūtras are the four branches of Kalpasūtras. Nirukta is etymology and it gives the explanation of words. It focused on the linguistic analysis and helps to establish the proper meaning of words used in Vedas. Jyotiṣa gives the auspicious times for performing rituals. Chandas is prosody which concentrates on the rhythm of hymns and the number of the syllables per line etc. Vyākaraṇahas focused on the rules of grammar and linguistic analysis to establish the exact form of words.

Among these six limbs Vāsudeva composes his poem by giving importance to Vyākaraṇa and it is clear that he is well aware in grammar. Besides, he incorporates some fundamental principles of other Vedāṅgas when he comments the verses of the poem. These comments prove the scholarliness of the author in the Vedāṅgas. Here an attempt is made to bring for the basics of Vedāṅgas incorporated in Vāsudevavijaya.

In the fifth canto there describes the incident of the relief from the curse to Naḷa-kūbara and Maṇigrīva made by Kṛṣṇa.

There Vāsudeva refers to the arrival of Nanda with the Brahmins.

viṣṭārapaṅktipadapaṅktikakupsu niṣṇaiḥchandassu kaukkuṭikadhārmikakālpasūtraiḥ |
viprairanokahanipātaravaśraveṇatrasyannahāsta sagaṇaḥ sahaseha nandaḥ ||
(Vāsudevavijaya 5.30)

Here the Brahmins came along with Nanda are conversant indifferent disciplines like Chandas, Dharmasūtra, Kalpasūtra etc. This verse is enough to understand the knowledge of the author in the Vedāṅgas.

In another context, when depicting Māyā as she entering as a foetus into the womb of Yaśodā, Vāsudeva says the one whose body is made with 63 varṇas or letters.[1]

When commenting this portion, he explains the race of letters by quoting a verse from Śikṣā i.e.

āditrayaṃ hrasvadīrghaplutabhedānnavātmakam |
dīrghaplutatayā ṣaṭkaṃ paraṃ tu dvādaśātmakam ||
syuḥ pañcaviṃśatiḥsparśā antasthanāṃ catuṣṭayam |
ṣaḍūṣmāṇaśca catvāro yamā binduvisargalāḥ || itiṣaṣṭirvarṇāḥ |
dīrghāścāṣṭau plutāścāṣṭau hrasvāḥ pañca yamā nava |
vyañjanāni trayastriṃśat triṣaṣṭirvarṇajātayaḥ ||

The verse describes the 63 kinds of letters and which forms the base of the discipline of Śikṣā.

In the opening of the fifth canto, the auspicious ceremony of attributing names to the boys is described by the poet. Sage Garga, the priest of Yadus arrived at Vraja and Nanda welcomed him with due hospitality and worship.[2] Here Vāsudeva qualifies Garga as Gaṇakaikatīrtha which means the prominent teacher of astrologers.[3] At the same time he mentions that gargapraṇītaṃ hi jyotiṣāmayanam[4]. It is Garga who composes the discipline of Jyotiṣa. In Vāsudevavijaya there are some more references to the impact of Jyotiṣa.

It is already stated that the performances of rituals done by Nanda in order to get relief from the misfortunes caused by the inauspicious position of the Planets upon his son in the fourth canto.

kārmairapātresamitaiḥ baliṣṭhaiḥ stheṣṭhīkṛte'thānasi goṣṭhanāthaḥ |
vipraiḥ suciṣṭhairgrahaśaṅkayā drāgacīkaracchāntikamātmanīnaḥ ||
(Vāsudevavijaya 4.62)

Such contexts reveal the awareness of the fundamentals of Jyotiṣa of the author.

In the same way, Vāsudeva mentions the basic tenets of the Nirukta when explaining the derivation of the word mayūra. Here the word mayūra can be expanded as mahyāṃ rautiiti and the ṭi of the root ru śabde will be elided and the word mahī is substituted by mayū[5].

The elision and substitution of the letters are the characteristics of Nirukta, hence Vāsudeva mentions the fundamental aspect of Nirukta here as

varṇāgamo varṇaviparyayaśca dvau cāparau varṇavikāralopau |
dhātostadarthātiśayena yogastaducyate pañcavidhaṃniruktam ||
[6]

Addition, Substitution, elision, transmission and proper meaning of the root are the five features of Nirukta. Besides the Ṣaḍbhāvavikāras according to Nirukta is also explained in Vāsudevavijaya It is mentioned at the time of eulogising Kṛṣṇa by Nārada. Kṛṣṇa is qualified as the one who has not associated with the six Bhāvavikāras.[7]

In the commentary, Vāsudeva gives the explanation of these Bhāvavikāras.

jāyate'sti vipariṇamate vardhate apakṣīyate naśyate iti ṣaḍbhiḥ bhāvavikārairaspṛṣṭena[8]

It is an important topic discussed in Nirukta. Vāsudeva in his poem enjoins the Nirukta principles also.

The principles of Kalpasūtras can also be found in Vāsudevavijaya In the description of stealing butter by Kṛṣṇa, there mentions a sage viz. Naḷinajāṅkabhū[9]. When describing his qualities the author says the one who is adorned by eight Ātmaguṇas as well as the one who avoided the six enemies. The eight Ātmaguṇas are mentioned by the author in the commentary as-

sarvabhūtadayākṣāntiranasūyāspṛhā tathā |
akārpaṇyamanāyāsaśśaucaṃ māṃgalyameva ca || ete ātmaguṇāḥ |
[10]

The eight Ātmaguṇas or the virtues of the soul is described in the Gautamadharmasūtra.

The six enemies or the Ariṣaḍvarga are:

  1. Kāma,
  2. Krodha,
  3. Lobha,
  4. Moha,
  5. Mada and
  6. Mātsarya.

These are also found in the Dharmasūtras.

While describing the Keśivadha, Vāsudeva qualifies Keśin as amāvāsyatamassavarṇam which means similar with the colour of darkness in Amāvāsi.

Here to explain the word Amāvāsi the author quotes a verse as—

amā nāma raverraśmiścandraloke pratiṣṭhitaḥ |
tatra somo vasedyasmādamāvāsyā tatasmṛtā ||
[11]

It is a verse from Gṛhyasūtra which forms a part of Kalpasūtra.

Thus it can be known from the references given in Vāsudevavijaya from the Vedāṅgas lead to conclude that Vāsudeva has acquired well knowledge in all the six limbs of Vedas. The fundamental principles of these disciplines are seen referred to in Vāsudevavijaya

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

mahīyasīrūpatayoditā yā hṛllekhasaṃsārabhayāpahartrī |
yā ca trayoviṃśatitattvarūpā varṇāstriṣaṣṭiśca vapuryadīyam ||
Prof.Vijayapal Sastri.op.cit.v.2.54.

[2]:

gopeṣu jātvadhipatirgaṇakaikatīrthamaiṇeyacarmarucirapravaraṃ vipaścit |
prāptālayaṃ yadukulīnaguruṃ sa gargaṃ yājyapriyaṃ sadakṛtānatapūrvakāyaḥ ||
ibid,v.5.2

[3]:

gaṇakaikatīrthaṃ jyautiṣikānāṃ pradhānagurum | ibid, p.15

[4]:

idem.

[5]:

mayūrā iti mahyāṃ rautīti rauteraci ṭilopaḥ | mahīśabdasya mayūbhāvaḥ |pṛṣodarādīni yathopadiṣṭamiti lopavikārādayaḥ | ibid, p.53

[6]:

Niruktam of Yāskamuni, Edited with the Niruktavivriti based Durgachrya and exhaustive notes by M.M.PanditMukundJhaBakshi. P.3

[7]:

bhetrā tvayādhyātmikamukhyahṛdrujāṃ nibarhite sṛṣṭabhayekharadhvanau |
san ṣaḍvikārākalitena ruṭtate sukhaṃ svapityaklami dhenugoduham ||
Prof.Vijayapal Sastri.op.cit.v.6.3, 7.77

[8]:

ibidp.198

[9]:

aṣṭau bhajantyaniśamātmaguṇāḥ sapatnāḥ yatrāpi ṣannalinajāṅkabhuvo maharṣeḥ |
sthūlotutāmupayatonavanītamaśnannasyānanaṃ hariradhet pṛthusṛkvitena ||
ibid,v.5.19.

[10]:

The Ātmaguṇas can be seen in the Gautamadharmasūtra as:
athāṣṭāvātmaguṇāḥ || dayā sarvabhūteṣu kṣāntiranasūyatā | śaucamanāyāso maṅgalamakārpaṇyamaspṛheti ||

[11]:

The verse cannot be traced yet, but another verse similar to this can be found in the pañcamakhaṇḍa of Vaikhānasagṛhyasūtra i.e.
amā nāma raveḥ raśmissahasrapramukhā smṛtā |
yasyāśca tejasā sūryaḥ proktastrailokyadīpakaḥ |
tasmin vasati yenenduramāvāsyā tatasmṛtā ||

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