Sanskrit sources of Kerala history

by Suma Parappattoli | 2010 | 88,327 words

This study deals with the history of Kerala based on ancient Sanskrit sources, such as the Keralamahatmyam. The modern state known as Keralam or Kerala is situated on the Malabar Coast of India. The first chapter of this study discusses the historical details from the inscriptions. The second chapter deals with the historical points from the Mahatm...

This book contains Sanskrit text which you should never take for granted as transcription mistakes are always possible. Always confer with the final source and/or manuscript.

The Sitaraghava[1] is a Nataka in seven acts composed by Ramapanivada whose identity is a much debated, and at the same time controversial point in the literary history of Kerala. Ramapanivada’s identity with Kunchan Nambiar is perhaps the cardinal point of the issue[2].

The Prastavana of the first act is full of historical information. It is stated that the drama was composed for enacting in the assembly of Brahmin’s wellversed in the Vedas, Sastras and Kavyarasa who had some to Trivandrum from far and wide on an invitation extended by Vanci Martanda Varma.

The Sutradhara says—

idānīntanena rājñā vañcī mārtāṇḍena sakaladigantebhyaḥ samāhūya samadhi sthapitānaṃ sarasakāvyarasamajjā................. brāhmaṇavariṣṭhānāṃ atigariṣṭhaṃ goṣṭiṃ apahāya kva nāma idamabhinetavyaṃ tathā hi adhisyānandūraṃ jayati jagatipālanaparaṃ paraṃ jyotiṣī tadyudhitavatsalaśeṣāhiśayanaṃ |

In the prose passage reference is made to the gosti of the Brahmins who have come from all directions. Ullur identifies this with the congregation of men invited for the Murajapam. He has not, however, mentioned the grounds on which the identification is based. For historical reasons, the identification is based. For historical reasons, the identification does not seem sound. The Murajapam was a ritual conducted once in six years for which the Nambutiris from the whole of Kerala were specially invited by the king. The expression—samadhiṣṭhāpitānāṃ brāhmaṇavariṣṭhānāṃ—hardly applies to the Murajapam congregation. The adjective—padmanābhasamarpitasamastanijavibhava—applied to Martandavarma reveals that the work has written, after the dedication of the state to Sripadmanabha is the year 925 M.E.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Travancore Sanskrit Series No. 192, 1959

[2]:

Kerala Sahitya Caritram, Ullur -Vol. III -Pp 355 -471

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