SANSKRIT STUDIES By M. Hiriyanna
POPULAR ESSAYS IN INDIAN PHILOSOPHY
THE QUEST AFTER PERFECTION
ART EXPERIENCE SANSKRIT STUDIES
MYSORE First Published 1954
This book is copyright. It may not be reproduced either whole or in part without written permission.
PRINTED IN INDIA
AT THE WESLEY PRESS AND PUBLISHING HOUSE, MYSORE CITY PUBLISHERS ’ NOTE
Some papers of a general nature relating to Sanskrit literature and language, of the late Prof. Hiriyanna have been brought together in this volume. Except the first and the last essay, the rest have appeared in various journals and publica- tions. The last, The Study of Sanskrit , is an address delivered on the occasion of the inauguration of the Sanskrit Association of the Maharaja’s College, Mysore, during the year 1916. Sanskrit Poetry: A Historical Retrospect appears to be one of the early papers of the author. The editors found it necessary to omit a few sentences from the text of this paper and these omissions are indicated by dots in the text. Keith’s Classical Sanskrit Literature was reviewed by the author for two journals, The Mysore University Magazine and the Journal of the Karnataka Sahitya Parishat. Hence ideas appearing in the former review have been omitted from the latter to avoid repetition. These omissions are also indicated by dots. Words or sentences added by the editors either in the body of the text or in the footnotes are enclosed within square brackets.
We are grateful to Prof. Hiriyanna’s daughter for having permitted us to publish these studies. Our grateful thanks are also due to Prof. T. N. Sreekantaiya of the Karnatak University, Dharwar and Sri N. Sivarama Sastry of the University of Mysore who have rendered us all possible help in the editing of these Studies . ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The late Prof. Hiriyanna’s daughter desires to express her grateful thanks to the Editors of the Indian Review and the Journal of the Karnataka Sahitya Parishat and the Registrar of the University of Mysore, for their courtesy in allowing her to include in the present collection the several articles first published by them.
‘Vision of Vasavadatta’ — Indian Review, October 1929.
Kalidasa — The Maharaja's College Magazine, September 1913.
The Vocabulary of the ‘Meghasandeśa’ — Foreword to Padāvali of the Meghasandeśa and Kuntaleśvara-dautya of Kālidāsa. Compiled by His Holiness Sri Yatiraja Sampatkumara- Ramanujamuni of Melkote (Mysore). Published by A. Srinivasa Iyengar, Sri Yatiraja Mutt, Melkote 1939.
‘Mālatī and Mādhava’ — Indian Review, August 1930.
‘Uttara-Rāmacarita’ — The Mysore University Magazine, February 1917.
‘Classical Sanskrit Literature’ — The Mysore University Maga- zine, September 1924. Journal of the Karnataka Sahitya Parishat, July 1924.
‘A History of Sanskrit Literature’ — The Mysore University Magazine, March 1929. CONTENTS
PUBLISHERS’ NOTE ... ... ... ... ... v
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ... ... ... ... ... vi
I. SANSKRIT POETRY: A HISTORICAL RETROSPECT ... 1
II. ‘VISION OF VASAVADATTA’ ... ... ... ... 9
III. KĀLIDĀSA ... ... ... ... ... ... 20
IV. THE VOCABULARY OF THE 'MEGHASANDEŚA' ... 25
V. ‘MĀLATĪ AND MĀDHAVA’ OR ‘THE TRIUMPH OF LOVE’ ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 26
VI. ‘UTTARA-RĀMACARITA’ ... ... ... ... 39
VII. ‘CLASSICAL SANSKRIT LITERATURE’ ... ... 46
VIII. ‘A HISTORY OF SANSKRIT LITERATURE’ ... ... 49
IX. THE STUDY OF SANSKRIT ... ... ... ... 54 SANSKRIT STUDIES
A HISTORICAL RETROSPECT
To the well-known difficulty of treatment which is inherent in all art, there is to be added in the case of Sanskrit Poetry, another arising from the immensity of its range. Poems in Sans- krit are to be counted by hundreds and they cover a period of several centuries especially if we include the Veda also within our purview. I need hardly point out that my purpose is not to survey the whole of this vast and difficult field. The task I have set myself this evening is much humbler. I wish to place before you two well-marked tendencies in Sanskrit poetry which bear to each other a relationship of historical sequence and to show that the change of ideal implied by them is in perfect harmony with the general development of mental life in ancient India. As a prelim- inary to what I shall say, I may remark that in matters like poetry which are the products ©f human feeling and thought, advance from one stage to another is never absolute and final. Owing to the ineradicable diversity of human temperament, whatever ideal once becomes deeply rooted in the social consciousness tends to persist ever afterwards and hence we find that the old is often preserved by the side of the new. Nevertheless each stage of development has its own dominant tendency through which we get an insight into the essential spirit of that stage.
The earliest Indian Poetry that has come down to us is found in thej Rgveda. It is well known that this work consists of sacred songs and that its interest to a modern student is historical, not poetical. But at the same time, it would be incorrect to think that the work is devoid of aesthetic merit. Religious fervour everywhere gives rise to true poetry and India is not an exception to the rule. The Rgveda has a poetic side also and the poetical quality exhibited in some of the hymns is indeed very high. Vedic poetry, like Vedic religion with which it is closely connected, is the outcome of the personification of the visible powers of nature. The poets, no doubt, address these powers as gods but, generally speaking, there SANSKRIT STUDIES
is no difficulty in discovering what natural objects and phenomena these gods represent. As one Western scholar has put it many of the Vedic gods are transparent. Thus the earliest poetry of India is at bottom nature-poetry in its simplest and purest form. The conditions of this paper do not permit of large extracts from the Veda being read, but yet to indicate some of the salient features of its poetry, I shall give in English a brief account of the Vedic description of Usas, the goddesss of Dawn, in portraying whose glory the ancient bards have exhibited their best poetic skill.
The Dawn is generally represented as the daughter of Heaven. Born in the eastern quarter of the firmament she places herself on the lap of Father Heaven and Mother Earth and fills them both with radiance. Night and day are her sisters. She is the bride of the far-darting sun. Clothed in pure and brilliant vesture she shines radiant by his side like a youthful wife in the presence of her husband. In another mood, the poets liken her, as she marches onward dispelling darkness, to a warrior casting his arrows or to a swift charger scattering enemies; and the rays that she sends to the extremities of the sky are figured as people arrayed in martial order, before whom the solid and odious glooms descend and disappear, seeking their abode. We have more direct pictures also of the Dawn. In shining light, before the wind arises, she comes gleaming over the waters and sets open the two gates of heaven. One poet says she illumes the world like congregated lightnings; another that she gives back all the regions. She softens the earth with balmy dews. She is the restorer of consciousness ; the reposit- ory of sweetness. There are other passages which add a pathetic note to what is otherwise purely naturalistic poetry. For example one poet states that the divine and ancient Usas, born again and again and bright with unchanging hues, wastes away the life of mortals. Another poet crossing the border line between poetry and philosophy, which is always faint, cries out ‘For how long a period is it that the Dawns have arisen? For how long a period will they rise? Those mortals who beheld the pristine Usas dawning have passed away; to us she is now visible; and they approach who may behold her in after times. She is exempt from decay or death and goes on for ever in her divine splendour’.
This poetry is such as may be expected to arise in a society which was in intimate communion with nature. There is nothing SANSKRIT POETRY .* A HISTORICAL RETROSPECT 3
artificial here. Every thought springs naturally from the life which the poets led or beheld around them. So rich is this poetry in metaphor and allegory that it requires little effort on my part to show wherein its excellence lies. Nature is here presented to us suffused in a continual light of the poet’s fancy whose power we feel not only in the bold personifications but also in the refreshing pictures of the physical aspects of the Dawn. Such imaginative renderings of nature cannot fail to give us that peculiar joy for which we almost instinctively go to works of art. We shall present- ly see what this joy signifies. But the point on which I like to lay special stress now is that this poetry has for its theme the beauty of nature and, although its appeal to emotion is undoubted , it does not make emotion its subject-matter.
By the side of these sacred hymns there must very early have sprung up secular poetry in the shape of epic tales and battle songs. There is allusion in ancient Sanskrit literature to the practice of professional minstrels entertaining ever-ready listeners in courts and hermitages by reciting such poetry to the accompaniment of music. It is poetry of this kind that should have furnished the chief material to the later epic writers and the Mahabharata in particular should have been built up largely out of such songs. We have a few fragments of this secular poetry, preserved in the Rgveda itself, dealing with subjects like social customs, the liberal- ity of patrons and so forth. These fragments also exhibit a mythological colouring implying thereby that the work of the lay artist at first resembled that of his brother, the religious bard, and either described the beauty of nature or recounted the outward activities of man. But in course of time a far-reaching change was introduced which gradually altered the very complexion of Indian poetry. We get a clue to the character of this change in the well- known story which is related at the beginning of the Ramayana regarding the birth of Indian classical poesy. The circumstances associated with this event are attractive enough to bear reiteration. Valmlki, a great sage of Kosala, was thinking of describing in a worthy manner the fortunes of Rama, the divine hero of his country. Revolving this idea in his mind, he, one day went as usual to the river Tamasa to perform his mid-day ablutions. But on that day it so happened that he saw in the vicinity of the river a fowler killing one of a pair of lovely birds that were disporting themselves on the branch of a tree. The fowler singled out the male bird and brought SANSKRIT STUDIES
it down with his arrow. Seeing the bird lie on the ground, welter- ing in its blood, its mate began to wail in plaintive tones. The soft- hearted sage was moved to intense pity at this sight; and his grief spontaneously burst forth in the form of a sloka which according to tradition, was the first rhythmic utterance outside the old archaic language of the Vedas . 1 Valmiki looked upon this sloka as suggesting to him the key-note of his contemplated work and under the spell of its inspiration composed his great poem — the Ramayana , and became celebrated as the adikavi. Divested of its romantic ele- ments this story signifies that a new poetic era dawned after the prosaic age of the Brahmanas which had succeeded to the creative period of the Rgveda and that Valmiki was the morning-star of Indian classical song.
The appearance of the Ramayana marks a turning point in the history of the Indian language as well as in the history of Indian literature. It tells us in the first instance that what came to be known later as Samskrta was for the first time raised to the dignity of a literary language by the efforts of Valmiki. The old literary dialect of the Vedas had long fallen into disuse and poetic works had ceased to appear in it. Songs and ballads must indeed have been produced in the popular dialects of the day; but they could hardly take rank as literature. The popular dialects themselves had largely increased in number owing to the vastness of the terri- tory occupied by the Aryans and the lack of a common medium of communication had also been strongly felt. But no lingua franca had as yet made its appearance. There was indeed one among the dialects distinguished for the transparency of its vocabulary, its regularity, flexibility and beauty of sound. But it could gain general currency only through its use by a poet of surpassing artistic genius. Valmiki was such a poet; and by adopting that dialect as the medium of poetic expression he rendered to it the same service which Dante did to Italian or Chaucer to English. It thenceforward became the standard literary language, which character it has retained to this day, uniting in bonds of kinship communities which have spread themselves over the whole con- tinent of India. The language which Valmiki thus immortalised has ever since continued, substantially the same, and literature of
1 [See, however, for a detailed discussion of the story. Art Experience , pp» 34 f. — Ed.] SANSKRIT POETRY: A HISTORICAL RETROSPECT 5
the most varied character has never ceased to be produced in it.
The second point which the above story signifies is of far more importance to my present purpose. The occasion which gave birth to the sloka to which I have alluded was one of intense pathos and by placing it at the head of his Ramayana Valmlki indicates to us what he considered to be the central theme of his poem. For the first time, so far as our knowledge goes, emotion was deliberately adopted as the subject-matter of poetry ; and as Valmlki became the pattern for all future time in poetic matters Sanskrit writers turned their attention more and more from describing nature or the outward activities of man to the rendering of inward feeling. If we bear in mind that all classifications of literature can at best be only rough, we may say that Sanskrit poetry after Valmlki became less descriptive and more lyrical. In other words, Emotion re- placed Beauty as the theme of poetry. But what, it may be asked, is the meaning of making emotion the theme of poetry? Do not emotions, in their intrinsic character, belong to the order of the ‘deep unspeakable’? It is true that they cannot be directly express- ed. Words like ‘fear’ or ‘anger’ may name them but cannot de- scribe them. Although emotions defy direct expression, they can be suggested by portray iAg those external features which are linked with them in our experience. That is all that the poet, who adopts emotions as his theme, does. By describing the outward and visible signs of particular states of feeling he rouses in us the experience of the corresponding stage. Thus the distinction between the old and new types of poetry is not merely one of content but also one of process; and it is the necessity for this indirect suggestion in the case of the later poetry that gave rise to the canon of dhvani , so celebrated in the history of Sanskrit criticism.
The distinction between the two types of poetry requires further elucidation. As regards their final effect there can of course be no difference, for both alike, as forms of art, must evoke aesthetic pleasure. But while the one achieves this result by describing external facts, the other does it by depicting internal feeling. This change does not mean a mere transfer of the poet’s attention from nature to man, for the older poet did not stop at the description of nature but portrayed also the thoughts and activities of man. What distinguishes the later poet is that he delves deeper and SANSKRIT STUDIES
utilises both nature and what I may call the ‘outer man’ as aids in revealing to us the inmost working of the human heart. The material to be poetised remains the same as before but it ceases to be the object of the poet’s first regard. I shall illustrate my point by considering the place of nature in the later poetry. Since emotion is its exclusive theme, nature becomes a mere setting for it, instead of itself occupying the focus of the picture as it did in the Veda. The Indian poet does not indeed grow less sensible to the beauty of nature, nor does nature, in practice, figure less in the later poetry. But it ceases to be described for its own sake and becomes the means of attuning our mind to the emotion depicted. The details of nature chosen for portraying are determined, not by the requirements of an objective representation but by the character of the emotion to be subserved. The splendid and lavish descrip- tions of nature in the Meghaduta of Kalidasa, for example, fully bear out this statement. Or take again the description of Kanva’s hermitage in the first act of the same author’s Sakuntala. As a picture of nature it can stand comparison with any of its kind. But the chief object of the poet in this description is not to afford us an external picture of the hermitage but to give us an insight into the inner feeling of serenity which reigns in the hearts of Kanva and his hermit disciples. So profound is this serenity that wild nature itself seems to have grown tame under its influence. If, as occasionally is the case, nature is pictured for its own sake, it is reckoned as svabhdvokti , an alamkdra — a mere embellishment which may, if required, be dispensed with. Thus what would be great poetry according to standards once prevalent is now relegated to quite a secondary place. What I have said of nature applies equally well to human thought and action in the later poetry. Like nature, they also constitute the outer vesture of poetry while the substance they clothe is Feeling. In fact Hindu critics group together everything other than emotion under the single head of Vibhavas [and anubhavas ] or adjuncts to emotion. Beauty of nature, and beauty of human thought and action are found in both types of poetry but while the earlier points to these as its aim, the later points from them to something which lies deeper yet, viz., Feeling. Since Feeling may be regarded as the very fabric of our souls, we may designate the latter as ‘Soul-poetry’ in order to contrast it with the ‘Nature-poetry’ of the earlier stage.
This shifting of the poet’s attention from the external to the SANSKRIT POETRY: A HISTORICAL RETROSPECT
internal world has its exact parallel in the history of Indian Philo- sophy and Religion. Indian philosophic thought began with the conception of Brahman as the first principle so far as it is compre- hended in the outer universe and reached its culmination in identi- fying Brahman with Atman , the first principle so far as it is known in the inner self of man. Similarly in Religion the old word for the god-head- ‘deva’, which means ‘shining’, indicates that the early conception of divine power was derived from the luminous manifestations of outward nature while the later term lid or Isvara signifies the antarydmin who guides us from inside. This with- drawal from the outer reality to the internal is well illustrated by the following episode of Balaki and Ajatasatru which is preserved in the Upanisads. Balaki was a learned but proud man. He once approached Ajatasatru, king of Benares, and offered to teach him Brahman. Ajatasatru was well pleased to have him at his court, for all the wise men were then going to Janaka, king of Mithila, and settling at his court. He accordingly said to Balaki, offering a gift as an inducement to stay — ‘We give you a hundred cows for that speech of yours, for verily all people run away saying Janaka is our patron’. Balaki in course of time began to instruct the king and endeavoured several times in succession to define Brahman as the essence of the sun, the moon, lightning, wind, fire and so on, but in each case the king confuted his definition and said, ‘This does not suffice to know the true Brahman’. Balaki was silenced at last and the king, himself proceeding to instruct, took Balaki by the hand and rose. The two together came to a person who was in deep sleep. The king called him by his name but he did not rise. Then he pushed him by the hand and woke him, pointing out to Balaki at the same time, ‘That in which the vital breaths were dormant in sleep is the Brahman’. The moral of this episode is the same as that implied by the change in the poet’s attitude, viz., that as the Indian view of life deepened in course of time, the earlier naturalism yielded place to idealism.
To resume my subject after this digression. The new poetry is seen in its best form in the works of Kalidasa and Bhavabhuti. But the Meghaduta of the former to which I have already referred represents to us the very acme of it. Here the poet describes the frustrated love between a Yaksa and his consort and his thoughts are so much engrossed with that feeling that he ignores almost everything else. The plot all but reaches the vanishing point, 8
there is only the faintest allusion to the incidents that lead up to the bitter disappointment ; and the poet does not tarry even to mention the names of the hero and the heroine. Thus the poem has not a single prop to support it ; and yet, its one hundred and odd stanzas have been, during fifteen centuries, regarded by all, not excluding the modern Sanskritist, as 'a perpetual feast of nectared sweets’.
A striking change like this in the poet’s attitude could not have taken place on a sudden even when so mighty a genius as Valmlki initiated it. . . . By the time of Kalidasa, the new tendency had been firmly established and the predominance of emotion or ‘unity of rasa ’ had come to be insisted upon as indispensable to poetic excellence. And it is not improbable that the example of Kalidasa ensured its future. From Valmiki’s time to about Kalidasa’s, Sanskrit poetry may be taken to have been in a transition stage in which the place of emotion had not been finally settled. This cir- cumstance affords us a fresh type of evidence for determining the age of a Sanskrit poem. Nothing of course that is based on so elusive a test as the aesthetic one can lead to any certainty of con- elusion. Yet, other considerations apart, the lack of what I have termed ‘unity of rasa' may be looked upon as presumptive evidence for the antiquity of a work. ...
Although these two kinds of poetry are so different in scope, they both, according to the Indian conception of art, have the same end in view. To discover what this end is let us consider how we ordinarily view the world around and within us. Generally we look upon men and things in their relation to our purposes and grasp only such of their features as have a proximate or at least *a remote bearing on our interests. We ignore all other features as having no meaning for us. If our conception of the external world is thus interested it is intensely more so in the case of our thoughts, feelings and actions. This self-interest gives rise to a continuous tension in life. When we are not actively engaged we feel this tension relaxed, but this feeling of relaxation is deceptive, for even then self-interest survives as may be within the experience of us all. Art relieves this inner strain also and we feel as if the burden of life has fallen from our shoulders. We forget ourselves and there instantly springs up happiness, for self-forgetfulness is the very essence of true happiness. Thus the aim of poetry, as that of other fine arts, is to induce in us a mood of detachment, albeit temporarily, and enable us to escape from the bonds of interested life. ‘VISION OF VASAVADATTA’
Bhasawas one of the earliest dramatists of India, but it is not known when exacttylTe flourished. All that is certain is that he lived lone before Kalidasa, for that poet refers to him as a ‘far- famed’ predecessor of his in -the- art of ^drainatic composition, and speaks of his works as .‘ancient’. Though once renowned, Bhasa liad been all but forgotten till a few years ago when more than a dozen anonymous plays were published at Trivandrum and identified by their editor as the productions of this old dram- atist. Some scholars have doubted the authenticity of these plays; and the evidence either way being unconvincing, the pro- blem of their authorship should be regarded as still unsolved. What seems probable is that the plays do not represent the actual work of Bhasa, but are only abridgments or adaptations made in later times by the actors of Malabar to meet the require- ments of the local stage. t The Sva pna-vdsavadatta whose story isjiarrated below has long been recognized as the best of Bhasa’s plays. Thus a.writer of the ninth century a.d. says that when the whole c^cle of Bhasa’s plays was^ thrown into the fire, the Svapna-vdsavadatta alone remained unconsumed by the flames — a statement which in all likelihood signifies that the sever-
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estf criticism could do nojharm to it Its chie f ex cellences .are, the simplicity and directness of its style and the beauty and nobility of the life It depicts. Th^ plot is dr awn from tEelegendary lore of ancient Tndi a and re lates to the life and doings of the half-mythical andZMf-historical hero, Udayana, who is said to have reigned
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over the p rovinc e of Vatsa with its capital at Kausambi, some- where^ near modern Allahabad. T he adv entures of Udayana hav^furnishedthe ffremelor many a Sanskrit work, and the place
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whichthey have gained in Indian literature is next in importance on!y~to that of the achievements of the heroes of the two great epics^— the Ramayana and the. Mahdbhdrata, Bhasa. ..himself has dramatised the earlier portion of Udayana* s life in his Prati-
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jndyaugandhardyana which is included in the Trivandrum collection. 10
Principal Dramatis Personae
Udayana — King of Vatsa.
Vasavadatta — Queen.
Padmavatl — Princess of Magadha. Yaugandharayana — Prime Minister. Ruman van — Commander-in- Chief.
A religious student.
Once upon a time, there ruled in KausambI, the capital of the Vatsa country, a royal family of great prowess descended from Aijuna of Mahabhdrata fame. The most renowned, prince ojL that line was Udayana who was not .inferior in valour or magnanimity of soul to Arjuna himself. This prince was highlv accomplished and was particularly famous for his skill in music and in_elephant-iiu nting. It was his addiction to the latter that led him into captivity while yet he was very young. But we are not now concerned with this mis-adventure of his. It is sufH- cient to remember that at Ujjain whereto he was taken Its capti ve he was required to teach playing on the vln a to V asavadatta, the beloved daughter of his captor Mahase na, the Valiant. Udayana, charmed by the beauty of the princess, fell in love with her and she also was smitten with a like passion for him.
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Escaping from the captivity soon, he returned with his pupil, the princess, to his capital KausambI where he married her. The match was not unwelcome to Mahasena at all. In fact his motive in capturing Udayana and employing him later as music-master to his daughter was that a natural affection might grow between them. But the prince had been too impatient in running away with Vasavadatta. Prevented thus from witnessing with their own eyes their daughter united in happy wedlock to the youth of their choice, Mahasena and his queen celebrated the
^ of . the bride and: the bridegroom^ there-
byderiving what little satisfaction they could. Udayana resumed sovereignty over his kingdom with Vasavadatta as^ his queen and lor some time the couple lived happily to gether ^ There was ‘vision of vasavadatta’ 11
also peace and plenty in the land. But adversity again overtook him, for the larger part of his kingdom was subjugated by his enemy Aruni.
There was at that time another great kingdom more to the East, Magadha, with its capital at Rajagrha. Its king had lately died leaving the kingdom to his son Darsaka. Darsaka had a sister named Padmavatl who was of uncommon beauty and who, if what soothsayers had predicted was true, would one day become the queen of Udayana. Udayana had, as his chief minister, one Yaugandharayana by name who was known as much for his loyalty to his sovereign as for his cleverness in policies of state. When the minister whose whole intent now was to see supremacy restored to Udayana, came to know of the prediction about Padmavatl, he made up his mind to secure her hand for his king ; for, should she marry him, it would be easy to get back the lost kingdom with the aid of the king of Magadha. Any royal house in the country would have welcomed matrimonial alliance with the prince of Kausambi. But there was one insuperable difficulty; Udayana had already married Vasavadatta for whom he bore intense love and nobody durst propose to him to take another to his wife. Yaugandharayana, however, would not be daunted by anything; and he devised a plan to achieve his purpose taking into his confidence Vasavadatta as well as Rumanvan, the com- mander-in-chief. What this plan was we shall presently see.
Udayana, after his defeat by Aruni, was staying with his queen at a place called Lavanaka, on the eastern frontier of his kingdom. Yaugandharayana then arranged with the commander- in-chief that, on a day on which the king had gone a-hunting, the royal camp should be set fire to, and the false news circulated that Vasavadatta had been burnt to death along vith Yaugandharayana who attempted to save her life. This was accordingly done after Yaugandharayana and Vasavadatta had left Lavanaka. Udayana returned when his camp was almost in ashes; and, learning that both his beloved wife and his trusted minister had perished in the flames, greatly bewailed his destiny. He was on the point of throwing himself into the fire which was still blazing but was saved by the entreaties of Rumanvan and the other ministers. He, however, refused to be consoled and recalling some one or other of the countless associations of his departed queen, he fainted again and again but was each time with great SANSKRIT STUDIES
difficulty revived. After he was a little calmed, he was taken away from there with a veiw to turn his thoughts as far as possible from Vasavadatta.
Now Y augan dhar ay ana, who had entrusted the burden of ad- ministration as well as the care of his master to his colleague, donned the garb of the ascetic, and set out eastwards towards Magadha with Vasavadatta, also in disguise, feigning that he was a pilgrim from Ujjain and representing the young lady accompanying him as his sister whom her husband had deserted. On their journey they had to pass through dense and lonely forests and Vasavadatta was subjected to much fatigue and many vexations, neither of which she as princess or as queen had ever known. Yaugandharayana had to comfort her often by pointing out how the wheel of Fortune turns and, in turning, lowers even the good, and by reassuring her of coming prosperity. As they approached Raiagrha they saw, in the woods that skirted the capital, a great many people — rather an unusual sight in a place which bore on it all the signs of an abode of ascetic men and women. The fact was that after the death of the old king, his widowed queen, Darsaka’s mother, had retired from the world and was in a hermit- age there, practising penance. That was the day on which Padmavatl, the princess of Rajagrha, had come to pay her respects to her mother and receive her blessings. Naturally all the royal paraphernalia had followed her which accounted for the presence of so large a crowd in a place which one would expect to be lonely and secluded. To mark her visit to the forest, the princess had ordered it to be proclaimed that she would confer on any person staying there whatsoever he might ask for. ‘O Ye ascetic dwellers of the forest! Listen, Listen, revered sirs! Her Royal Highness, the princess of Magadha, returning your love by hers, offers you as presents whatever you may choose. Who needs vessels? Who, clothes? And who that has duly completed his religious study seeks to pay the preceptor’s fee? The princess in her devotion to virtue begs this favour of you — to tell her what she should give. Whoever wants anything may ask for it. To whom should she give? And what?’ Yaugandharayana who had just arrived there with Vasavadatta, when he heard this proclamation, thought he should seize the opportunity. He went up straight to the royal officer and desired to know if the princess would graciously take under her protection पृष्ठम्:Sanskrit Studies.djvu/२१ पृष्ठम्:Sanskrit Studies.djvu/२२ पृष्ठम्:Sanskrit Studies.djvu/२३ पृष्ठम्:Sanskrit Studies.djvu/२४ पृष्ठम्:Sanskrit Studies.djvu/२५ पृष्ठम्:Sanskrit Studies.djvu/२६ पृष्ठम्:Sanskrit Studies.djvu/२७ पृष्ठम्:Sanskrit Studies.djvu/२८ पृष्ठम्:Sanskrit Studies.djvu/२९ पृष्ठम्:Sanskrit Studies.djvu/३० पृष्ठम्:Sanskrit Studies.djvu/३१ पृष्ठम्:Sanskrit Studies.djvu/३२ पृष्ठम्:Sanskrit Studies.djvu/३३ ‘MĀLATĪ AND MĀDHAVA’ OR ‘THE TRIUMPH OF LOVE’
The author of the play whose story is narrated below is Bhavabhuti who stands next onlv to Kalidasa in point of eminence among Sanskrit poets. He is one of the few old Indian writers about whose personal history something definite is known. He was born in the early part of the 8th century a.d. and passed, though a native of Vidarbha, the longer part of his literary life at the court of Yasovarman, king of Kanouj. Besides being a poet, he was also a great scholar learned in the Veda and the 3astras. We know this from the stanzas prefixed by him to his dramas and it is borne out by the fact discovered in recent years that he was a pupil of Kumarila, the renowned mlmamsaka. Unlike Kalidasa who excelled in nearly all forms of the poetic art, Bhavabhuti appears only as a dramatist. There are three plays to his credit. Two of them — the Mahdviracarita and the Uttara- ramacarita — give us a dramatized version of the Rdmayana . The latter which, as its name signifies, relates to the later life of Rama, has for long been held in high estimation by critics, some of them enthusiastically claiming for it a higher place than the Sakuntala of Kalidasa. Whether such a claim can be justified or not, the play is undoubtedly a masterpiece of Indian literature. The plot of the third play — Mdlati-madhava — is the invention of the poet. It has been described as ‘an Indian Romeo and Juliet' with a happy ending. Its main theme is that there is always in true love an element of mystery which shapes its ends rough-hew them how we may. Bhavabhuti writes in a chaste and elevated style and achieves distinction both in the construction of plot and in the development of character. His particular appeal like that of Kalidasa is in the faithful manner in which he interprets the spirit of Hindu life in some of its essential characteristics — such for example as its simplicity, its devotedness and its gentleness combined with a readiness for self-sacrifice of the most austere type in the cause of what it holds to be right. ‘MĀLATĪ AND MĀDHAVA’
Madhava Malati Makaranda Kalahamsa Nandana Kamandaki Avalokita and Saudamani Mandarika Lavangika Madayantika Aghoraghanta Kapalakundala
Hero, son of minister Devarata. Heroine, daughter of minister Bhurivasu. A friend of Madhava.
Companion of Bhurivasu’s royal master. A Buddhistic nun.
A fanatic devotee of Kali.
Devarata and Bhurivasu were two ministers of state — one employed in Vidarbha and the other in another kingdom whose capital was Padmavatl. They were great friends in youth when they pursued their studies together; and before they parted, they had vowed to bring about matrimonial alliance between their children, if ever they should become fathers. There was born of Devarata in course of time a son; and of Bhurivasu, a daughter: the veriest j ewels among children. The boy was named Madhava ; and the girl, Malati. As Madhava grew up and was fit to go out to learn, his father sent him to Padmavatl. In selecting that place for study, Devarata had the idea that Madhava’s presence there might put his old friend in mind of the bridal compact, if he chanced to forget it. He also thought that the great personal charm of the youth and the qualities of his mind would serve as an inducement to Bhurivasu to offer Malati in marriage to him. Bhurivasu had not at all forgotten the school-day compact and the youthful couple would readily have been united in happy wedlock; but there was one formidable obstacle. The king of Padmavatl had a boon companion by name Nandana, who was neither young nor handsome; and he was seeking the hand of Malati through the king. Bhurivasu was in a fix. He could not agree to such an ill-assorted match; nor could he openly refuse to give the girl in marriage to one that was the favourite of his royal master. When the king once actually broached the 28
matter, he thought it best to give an inoffensive but equivocal reply. There was then at Padmavatl a Buddhistic nun, Kaman- daki, who was a great friend of both Devarata and Bhurivasu. In fact it was in her presence that they in their student days had plighted their word to see their children married. She had also known and fondled Malati from her infancy, and was there- fore as much interested as the girl’s parents themselves in seeing her united to so worthy a besides very clever ; and her position as a nun gave her an advant- age which a secular official like Bhurivasu could not w r ell command. Bhurivasu, who knew the friendship which Kamandaki bore him, entrusted the whole affair to her and remained unconcerned to all outward appearance. Kamandaki on her part was not unwilling, though a nun, to undertake a good office of that sort — especially as she felt whenever she thought of the equal ex- cellence of Malati and Madhava that they w ere almost predestined to wed each other.
Now it so happened that Malati was one day standing at an upper casement of her father’s mansion as Madhava passed along the road below. She saw him, and seeing in her case was loving. This love at first sight deepened as she watched him passing not unoften the same way. It' soon became known to her attendants that she was in love and that Madhava was her sweetheart. Kamandaki wanted first to see that the two young people fell in love with each other before she actively exerted herself to bring about their union. Half of her wish had now been fulfilled; and the other half also was soon accomplished by the cleverness of one of her pupils, Avalokita. It was the spring season and the custom for youthful maidens then was to go to the Garden of Love outside the city to pay their adoration to Cupid there in the shrine dedicated to that deity. Avalokita, who knew that Malati would also follow the custom, arranged that Madhava should be present in the garden at the time. He went there alone. But seeing a vakula tree in full blossom ap- proached it; and discovering a wealth of flowers adorning the ground beneath, he in a holiday mood picked up the new-fallen flowers and began to string them into a garland of exquisite design. He had not yet reached to the end of his task when Malati who had been worshipping inside the shrine came out. As Madhava saw her graceful form, he fell in love with her as youth as Madhava. Kamandaki was ‘MĀLATĪ AND MĀDHAVA’
quickly as she had done with him before. The sight so much distracted him that though he continued making the garland, it left visible traces on his workmanship. Malati also came up to the tree with her attendants, attracted by the flowers; and as she neared the spot where Madhava stood, she saw him more closely than she had ever done before. Her attendants noticing a sudden change in her demeanour and recognizing Madhava in the youth that was there, first exchanged smiles with one another and then jestingly drew their mistress’s attention towards him. Madhava, as he saw her, espied marks of love already deep-rooted in her though he could not guess who the fortunate youth was that had been the object of her interest. Soon after Malati, mounting a stately elephant that had been waiting for her, left the garden for her home, but not without casting back glances in the direction of Madhava. He noticed this sign of love for him, although he hesitated to draw much hope from it. A little later Malati’s nurse, Lavangika, returned to the place under the pretext of collecting the vakula flowers and told him how very much her mistress admired the garland which he was making. Madhava replied that he deemed it his great good fortune that it had evoked the admiration of so noble and beautiful a damsel; and, taking the garland from off his neck, gave it to Lavangika. From her, he learnt that the maiden that had stolen his heart when he was feeling all helpless in her presence was no other than Malati, the daughter of the minister, Bhurivasu, his father’s friend.
Madhava stood there till he could no longer see the form of Malati. When she disappeared from his sight, he turned back only to discover that what had filled him with joy but a moment ago had become a source of intense anguish to his heart. He left the place after some time and was returning slowly, dwelling on his new passion, when he met his bosom friend, Makaranda, advancing towards him. They both sat down in an arbour there. Surprised to find the change that had suddenly come over Madhava, Makaranda inquired of him as to its cause. After great pressure from him, Madhava opened his heart to his friend and told him how he had met Malati that morning and what all had happened. Makaranda, when he learnt how love-forlorn Malati seemed and with what eagerness she looked at Madhava, assured him that she was in love with him ; for virtue, as he said, SANSKRIT STUDIES
is incapable of inconstancy and maidens like Malati will not allow their eyes to stray from the path which their hearts have once taken. When Makaranda was giving other reasons to think so, Madhava’ s attendant Kalahamsa, who had for some time been in the same part of the garden and had overheard all that had passed between the two freinds, presented himself saying ‘This also’, and handed over to Makaranda, a portrait of his master. Pining with love for Madhava, Malati had once put on canvas his likeness; and it was that very likeness that Kalahamsa had obtained through his beloved Mandarika and brought here now. It helped greatly to confirm what Makaranda had thought was probable and what Madhava’s own heart was persuading him to believe ever since he had seen Malati. Now Makaranda who had not met Malati but had just heard so much about her beauty and dignity suggested to his friend that he might paint her portrait on the same canvas so that he might delight his eyes by looking at it. Madhava consented ; and not only did he paint her likeness there but also added the following couplet:
‘Whatever lovely things in life there be,
Sole joy thou art to me, O Malati.’
Observing the two forms, Makaranda admired their mutual fitness and foretold that where God and Cupid had planned alike, nothing would go amiss. At that stage, Mandarika, who as we know was instrumental in bringing away the portrait, came pursuing Kalahamsa and demanded it of him. When she got it and discovered it improved in the manner mentioned, she pretended to be angry but inwardly felt glad that it would advance the cause that was so dear to the heart of Bhurivasu. From her, Madhava learnt how and when Malati had first seen him, and how deep her attachment for him was. Mandarika went away taking the portrait with her. Madhava and Makaranda also left the garden as the sun by then had reached the zenith.
These incidents were soon made known to Kamandaki who was glad that the mutual love between Malati and Madhava to which she was looking forward had become a matter of fact, and she went to meet Malati the same afternoon. She was at that time alone with Lavangika, the subject of their conversation naturally being Madhava:
Malati: And what happened then, friend? ‘MĀLATĪ AND MĀDHAVA’
Lavangikd: Then the high-souled youth gave me the garland. (Hands it over to Malati).
Malati: (Receiving it and looking at it joyfully) It is unevenly strung in one portion.
Lavangikd: You yourself are to blame for it.
Lavangikd: Because he was then so much taken off his mind by you.
Malati: Friend Lavangika, you seem to have made up your
mind to comfort me under all circumstances.
Lavangikd: Have I not told you that I saw with my own eyes clear signs of love in him?
Malati: Could it all be natural to him and we are deceived?
Or is it as you guess?
Lavangikd: (Ironically) Your deportment then, I suppose, was also natural!
Malati: (Bashfully) And then?
Lavangikd: I returned and on my way went to Mandarika
with whom I had left the portrait in the morning.
Malati: With what intent?
Lavangikd: You know she is in love with Kalahamsa. I thought she would show it to him and bring good news.
Malati: (To herself) Could he have shown the portrait to his master? (To Lavangikd) And what is the good news she has brought?
Lavangikd: Here is the portrait and you see from it what solace Madhava should have derived from it. (Shows the portrait to her).
Malati: (Contemplating it) Alas! Even now my heart feels not sure. It despairs where it ought to hope. Oh! I see something written here. (Reads it.) Illustrious youth, your words are not less sweet than your form. But alas! your sight, though so joyful then, has become a torment to me since. Lucky are those damsels that never meet you; or having met, are yet able to be mistresses over their hearts. 32
At this stage Kamandaki stepped in accompanied by Avalokita ; and in the conversation that followed, she artfully let fall the news that Malati was being sought by the king for his favourite Nandana and that Bhurivasu was likely to agree. The mention of this unwelcome suitor sent a dart, as it were, to the heart of Malati; and she wished she had not been born, Kamandaki did not disclose her intention to thwart, if possible, Nandana’s purpose; but she gave general advice which suggested that the choice of a husband against the will of the elders in such circumstances was not without precedent in the history of virtuous maidens. Just then Avalokita reminded her of Madhava’s indisposition, news of which had reached them before ; and it gave occasion for Malati to learn that the youth on whom she had set her heart was the son of the much-esteemed Devarata, her father’s great friend. His high birth recommended Madhava to her affections the more and it was a joy to her to find that her heart had, by instinct, made the right choice.
On a certain day, Malati was to go to the temple of Sarhkara outside the city and worship the, God of all auspiciousness with flowers gathered by herself. When Kamandaki learnt of this, she instructed Madhava to be there at the time, with a view to bring about what may appear a casual interview between the two lovers. Kamandaki also went there. Soon Malati arrived accompanied by Lavangika, bewailing her lot in life which had made Nandana her suitor and wondering if she would ever again have the joy of meeting Madhava. After she had gathered flowers for the worship, Kamandaki made her sit under a shady tree to rest from the fatigue. Then she spoke of the great merits of Madhava and mentioned how his passion for Malati was preying upon him. Lavangika in her turn informed Kamandaki of the similar affliction of her mistress owing to her love for Madhava and showed her the picture she had painted as well as the vakula garland she was wearing concealed round her neck. While they were conversing thus to the great joy of Madhava who remained unseen near by, and Malati was ardently listening, a sudden cry informed them that a ferocious tiger kept in the neighbouring garden had burst open the doors of its iron cage and attacked Madayantika, sister of Nandana, the would- be bridegroom of Malati. The news greatly agitated the party ; and Madhava, leaving the place where he was, stepped into their ‘MĀLATĪ AND MĀDHAVA’
midst creating agreeable surprise in Malati and himself feeling in her presence as if he were ‘under a shower of heavenly ambrosia/ Soon it transpired that Makaranda who had learnt of Nandana’s efforts and was hastening to be with Madhava lest the unwelcome news should unsettle him too much, saw the pitiable state in which Madayantika was and went to her rescue. Makaranda was injured in his encounter with the tiger but he succeeded in slaying the animal and saving Madayantika from its fury. When KamandakI and the rest went out, they saw Makaranda had fainted and was being supported by Madayantika. Seeing his friend in that sad condition, Madhava also swooned. After some time both the friends recovered, the one with Madayantika’s ministrations and the other with Malatfs loving caresses. The incident strengthened further the love between Malati and Madhava. It also gave rise to a like affection between Makaranda and Madayantika which betrayed itself through ‘an intermingling of tremulous looks'. At this juncture, a messenger brought the news that the king had settled the marriage of Malati with Nandana ; and Madayantika left with him to congratulate her brother. The news from Nandana upset our hero who heard it for the first time now, and he cursed his fate which had planted in his heart such fruitless love. While KamandakI was asking him to be of good cheer, Bhurivasu’s wife sent word to her to fetch Malati immediately. She left the place and Malati followed her thinking that she was looking upon Madhava for the last time. Madhava also departed soon after along with Makaranda.
With all his hopes thus suddenly blighted, Madhava felt that he could never more think of love for his matchless Malati. So in a desperate mood he went in the evening towards the grave- yard to invoke the aid of the spirits of the dead. But what was his surprise when he heard the wailings of Malati there! For- getting his errand of despair, he rushed in the direction from which the pitiful cry came, and reached the temple of Kali. When he went in he saw a terrific votary of Kali there, Agho- raghanta by name, standing with upraised sword and reciting a hymn. By his side stood a woman, Kapalakundala, his pupil. There was seated before them Malati decked in all the symbols of a victim about to be sacrificed. When Madhava saw her, she had the sweet syllables of his name on her lips which gave him one more proof of the secure place he had won in her heart. SANSKRIT STUDIES
Without waiting for a moment, he dispossessed Aghoraghanta of the sword he held ; and, on inquiring Malati, he learnt that all that she knew was that she retired to rest in her chamber but found herself in the temple when she awoke. The fact was that Aghoraghanta had taken a vow to offer in sacrifice to Kali the most beautiful girl in the city for success in attaining some magic power and that was the final day of the vow. The choice had naturally fallen on Malati. Neither her exalted rank nor the security common to it had prevented her being conveyed away from her paternal mansion by Kapalakundala who could wander in the air. The result was this distressful scene in which Malati was in the presence of two such miscreants like an innocent fawn before two ferocious wolves. By this time Bhuri- vasu’s people who had discovered that Malati was missing came near the temple searching for her. Handing over Malati to their charge, Madhava questioned Aghoraghanta about his fiendish undertaking. On his replying in an impertinent tone, a duel ensued between them in which Madhava sprang with rage against the would-be perpetrator of the wicked deed and killed him. He left alone Kapalakundala because she was a woman. Malati was saved ; but Kapalakundala at the same time resolved to wreak her vengeance upon the murderer of her chief.
This mischance did not affect the arrangements for Malatfs marriage with N andana ; and once, when the wedding day approach- ed, the king sent special presents to Malati in the form of jewels and garments. It was proposed that Malati should put on the bridal apparel in the temple of the guardian deity of the town — a fit place for such an auspicious act — and then meet the bride- groom. KamandakI, determined to discomfit Nandana, sent both Madhava and Makaranda there beforehand. She then accompanied Malati to the temple, Lavangika also following them. Malati was in a miserable plight and her one thought was how to end her existence. When the party had reached the temple, KamandakI asked Lavangika to take Malati inside to offer worship. They both went in, and when Malati found herself alone with her friend she spoke to her as follows:
Malati: Sister Lavangika, your friend who is in great distress begs of you to meet Madhava after she is dead and speak to him consoling words so that he may do nothing that will rob ‘MĀLATĪ AND MĀDHAVA’
the world of such a prince among youths. Thus will you fulfil your friend’s last wishes.
Lavangika: May God avert all harm! I cannot bear to hear more of this.
Malati: Friend, dear is Malatl’s life to you, not Malati herself.
Lavangika : How do you mean?
Malati: You ask me to survive this shame. This is now my resolve; I have offended the saviour of my life by becoming another’s ; and I want to atone for it by ceasing to be. Don’t you stand in my way. (Falls at the feet of Lavangika .)
Then Lavangika motioned to Madhava who along with Makaranda stood concealed within the shrine; and he, taking Lavangika’s place gently, went on answering the sad questions which Malati put. At last half-agreeing that she might do as she pleased, he begged for her last embrace. Poor Malati, least suspecting who had replaced Lavangika, rose with tearful eyes and threw herself into Madhava’s arms thanking him for his permission. She thought of giving her friend as a final present the dearest thing in her eyes — the vakula garland which she so much cherished ever since the day it had reached her. As she was trying to transfer it from her neck to that of her friend, she discovered whom she was addressing. Madhava told her that she was too selfish in complaining of her own distress, ignoring his. At this time Kamandaki came in; and, well pleased to find the time so propitious, betrothed Malati to Madhava showering her choicest blessings upon them both.
Kamandaki’s plan compassed more than this betrothal. So she proposed that Makaranda should dress himself like Malati, wearing the clothes and putting on the ornaments presented by the king, to meet Nandana. When Makaranda accordingly appeared in Malatl’s attire before the party, he produced immense merriment. Kamandaki and Lavangika departed immediately with this mock-Malatl, leaving our hero and heroine behind in charge of Avalokita. Makaranda played his new role so cleverly that the wedding with Nandana was celebrated, his identity being suspected by nobody. It was arranged that Malati should be taken to the bridegroom’s residence in the evening. SANSKRIT STUDIES
But meanwhile Nandana, impatient of meeting his new bride, approached Makaranda in his usual vulgar manner, but was repulsed by him with disdain. Nandana was greatly offended. He had heard of Malatfs love for Madhava. Making that the plea for rejecting her, he left his supposed bride in great wrath. Kamandak! had succeeded in creating a dislike for Malatl in Nandana’s mind, but the final success of her plan was yet far from sight, as the king’s attitude in the matter had to be reckoned with. When the news of Malatfs affront reached Madayantika, she felt the insult to her brother as her own and resolved to see Malatl and prevail upon her to agree to meet her brother in good humour. Madayantika reached Bhurivasu’s residence with much indignation but as she entered Malatfs apartment, Maka- randa noticing her come pretended to be asleep. Madayantika, unwilling to disturb him, seated herself on his couch and began to converse with Lavangika. After they had referred to the un- toward incident that had enraged Nandana, their conversation turned upon Madayantika’s love for Makaranda, her great bene- factor. As she confessed her deep love for him, Makaranda was greatly pleased to listen to it. On her being cunningly asked whether, if Makaranda met her that moment and proposed to marry her, she would yield her assent, she replied that he who had hazarded his life for her sake had entire liberty over her. Maka- randa discovered himself then and Madayantika having agreed to run away with her lover, they all started in the night for the garden where Malatl and Madhava were. Soon after the city guards who had been apprised of the elopement, pursued the party and overtook them. Makaranda stayed behind to meet them while the others advanced towards the garden to inform Madhava of all that had happened. Madhava started at once to assist his friend. In the confusion that followed, Malatl stepped out alone in anxiety to look for her lord. Just at that time, Kapalakundala, who, as we know, had sworn revenge, came and carried Malatl away. She had been waiting all along for a fit opportunity to perpetrate her misdeed unobserved by anybody. Such an oppor- tunity had now arrived and she conveyed Malatl to a hill known as Sri-parvata ‘to tear her to pieces there’, as she said. Madhava and Makaranda who had successfully routed the guards were conducted to the king. When he learnt of their prowess and of their high rank, he, with his usual partiality for merit, pardoned ‘MĀLATĪ AND MĀDHAVA’
them. When the two youths returned to the garden soon after, they were sorely disappointed not to find Malati there and they immediately set out in search of her.
The first place in which they looked for her was Kamandaki’s residence. When they did not find her there, they grew suspicious and when further search was equally fruitless, they grew desperate and took her for lost. The grief of Madhava knew no bounds. As he was unable to bear the sight of the things associated with Malati, Makaranda took him away to a wood skirting a hill some miles beyond the city, hoping that his friend might find some relief there. But it proved a change from bad to worse. Any and every sight in that pretty wood would unbalance his mind and it needed all the cleverness which Makaranda could command to see that he did not go mad over the loss of his love. One day when Madhava fainted and lay in a death-like swoon, Makaranda, despairing of his recovery and feeling his own life a burden, made up his mind to drown himself in a river close by. But just at that time, an unfamiliar voice spoke to him asking him to forbear. Makaranda was more than surprised and looking up discovered an ascetic lady before him. She asked whether he was Makaranda and on his answering T # am that hapless being’, SaudamanI — for that was her name — told him that she had news of Malati and showed him the vakula garland in support of what she said. Makaranda was overwhelmed with joy, and he dashed at once with SaudamanI to where Madhava was lying. Madhava had just recovered his consciousness. They saw him first blaming the god of wind for bringing him back to consciousness from the swoon where he had found an escape from sorrow ; and then beg- ging the same god with bowed head and joined hands to waft his life to where Malati was or blow on something of her to him. At that time SaudamanI placed the garland in his hands. Madhava was overjoyed, and the holy woman disclosed how she had come by it. Sri-parvata whereto Kapalakundala had carried Malati away was the place where SaudamanI performed penance. On hearing the screamings of Malati, SaudamanI went to her help and after rescuing her from the clutches of Kapalakundala, had hastened to convey the good news knowing that Malati was so dear to her former preceptor, KamandakI and to them all. Then suddenly SaudamanI with her supernatural power disappear- ed taking away Madhava with her. Makaranda who was left alone. पृष्ठम्:Sanskrit Studies.djvu/४६ ‘UTTARA-RĀMACARITA ’
We often assume that literary standards, to which the accidents of our generation have given currency, are of absolute value, and expect that all works, no matter when or where they were written, should conform to those standards. The assumption, however, is far from right. Every nation develops its own ideal of art, as it does its own ideal of life; and it would be quite unfair to judge a writer by standards of which he was not aware or which he perhaps deliberately set aside. It is, therefore, necessary before speaking about a work like the U ttara-ramacarita to know exactly what the author’s aim was in writing it. The theme of the highest Sanskrit poetry is human emotion, and the poet so represents it in his work as to arouse in us a kind of disinterested joy which is known as rasa and which, on account of its disinterestedness, may be described as spiritual in character. In experiencing this unique joy we forget ourselves, and feel, for the time being, as if elevated above the realities of everyday life. In other words, the Sanskrit poet furnishes us in his poetry with a form of spiritual diversion. That is his foremost aim, and he subordinates the whole technique of his art to its attainment. All other aims such as criticism of life, portraying of human character, inculcation of moral truths, etc., — so far as they are recognized as aims at all — recede to the background. Keeping in mind this ideal of Sanskrit poetry, let us describe the U ttara-ramacarita under the usual heads of plot, characterization and rasa .
According to a well-known rule of Sanskrit literary criticism, the plot of a Nataka — the chief variety of the Indian drama — must be familiar, and be either historical or legendary. The signifi- cance of this restriction on the choice of the subject is to avoid the distractions of a new and complex story. Rasa being the spirit and soul of a drama in common with other forms of poetry, the plot becomes merely its outer vesture, and it serves its purpose best when it thrusts itself least on the attention of the spectator. In fact, in a perfect drama we should not become conscious of the SANSKRIT STUDIES
plot at all. Accordingly, Sanskrit poets look upon any obtrusion of the plot as a sort of materialism in poetry. The restriction, however, need not be viewed as a check on the exercise of invent- ive power by the poet ; for although the stcfry is to be familiar in its outline, the special situations which a dramatic composition requires may entirely be the creation of the author’s genius, provided only the innovations introduced are necessitated by the chief aim of his art, viz., the development of rasa.
There are in the Uttara-rdmacarita some alterations in the story which, as is well-known, is taken from the last book of the Ramayana . In the epic, when Laksmana leaves Sita near Valmiki’s hermitage and returns, the pupils of Valmlki carry the news to him. The sage comes to meet the helpless queen and knowing, as he does, that she is pure and innocent, consoles her and takes her to his hermitage. There, later on, Sita gives birth to Lava and Kusa. But in the play, soon after the cruel decree of Rama drives her to the seclusion of the forest, Sita throws herself into the Ganges, and in the agony of the situation gives birth to the twins. Ganga and Bhumi intervene and lead her to their world, after entrusting the children to the care of Valmiki. In the epic story it is known to almost all* where Sita is. Satrughna, on his way to fight Lavana, halts in Valmiki’s hermitage, and it is on that very day that Sita is delivered of the twins. According to one recension of the Ramayana , Satrughna has even a talk with Sita before he leaves the hermitage. Such knowledge of Sita’s place of residence would not aid the development of pathos so well as a total ignorance of her whereabouts. In the drama her fate is all unknown, and the resulting grief is proportionately great. Witness, for instance, the helpless misery of Rama when he says to Vasanti, in reply to her question as to what had become of Sita. in the forest — kravyadbhir angalatikd niyatam mlnpla. Again in the epic, Lava and Kusa do not meet Rama in the hermitage, but in the sacrificial hall at Ayodhya, whereto they are sent by Valmiki to recite his poem— the Ramayana . Observing their features, Rama strongly suspects that they are Sita’s children, and sends for Valmiki. The sage appears with Sita. Her innocence is established on supernatural evidence, and the people’s doubts are removed. But Sita prays to her mother to relieve her of the iniquities of life ; ^he earth opens and receives her, and she disappears declaring her purity. In the play, on the other hand, she is restored to पृष्ठम्:Sanskrit Studies.djvu/४९ पृष्ठम्:Sanskrit Studies.djvu/५० पृष्ठम्:Sanskrit Studies.djvu/५१ पृष्ठम्:Sanskrit Studies.djvu/५२ ‘UTTARA-RĀMACARITA'
our mind the supreme love that exists between them. The tragic touch is present even then, for the thought of separation is suddenly sprung upon Sita. Rama reminds her that she is mis- taking a picture for a reality, but it is not long before the real blow is delivered. The separation takes place under circumstances which are distressing in the extreme. There is, for example, the dream which Rama attributes to a past experience while, in realitv, it forecasts the future to Slta’s innocent soul. The depth of sorrow is at this stage relieved by the incidents relating to Lavana and Sambuka. The second act opens with the expression of a doubt as to what might have happened to Sita. To all appearances she is gone for ever, and Atreyl who comes from Valmlki’s hermitage, speaks of her as namasesa . Rama now appears on the stage in the discharge of his kingly duty ; but he is not the Rama we know. He is quite out of heart and, in spite of his absolute purity of motive, regards himself as a wicked wretch. He finds himself in the Dandaka forest, which transforms his mood of self- depreciation into one of intense sorrow. When the pathos advances further, Lopamudra’s invitation intervenes to ease the tension. In the third act, which marks the centre of the play, the passion still further grows in intensity. Rama is amidst the old associates of his life — VasantI and others, includ- ing even Sita. In the fourth and fifth acts, curiously enough, Rama does not appear at all, but we are still kept in constant touch with his sorrow and its cause — the misery of Sita: for we are in the midst of those that are dear to Sita and to whom Sita is dear — Janaka, Kausalya, and the twins. In these acts we have a splendid display of valour by one of Slta’s children which, under the appearance of an outside factor, helps to bring about the denouement , and serves as a set-off against the acute pathos of the previous act. In the sixth act Rama meets Lava and Kusa, and the striking resemblance between them and Sita excites his grief. Here Bhavabhuti, with his characteristic partiality for tender touches, makes the boys repeat certain slokas from the Ramayana, which melt the heart of the hero. Rama is once again in the depths of misery, but the presence of the sweet boys brings him consolation in some mysterious way. In the last act comes the inset play, through which we visualize all the misery which Sita underwent. At this stage there is final relaxation and the curtain falls on the hero and the heroine restored to peace. CLASSICAL SANSKRIT LITERATURE
We welcome this addition to the Hmtage series 1 for it so well supplies the long-felt want of a satisfactory text-book on the history of Sanskrit literature which students in our colleges may use. Prof. Macdonell’s work on the subject once met this want well enough, but it has remained unrevised for a quarter of a century during which period much new material has accumulated and the need for modifying many an old opinion has arisen. Dr. Winternitz’s Geschichte is no doubt quite up-to-date ; but it is in German and may therefore be left out of account so far as the generality of Indian students are concerned until its promised translation into English, under the auspices of the Calcutta University, is issued. The present work is not so extensive in its scope as either of these. As its title shows, it is confined to the classical period, and even there it leaves out the Drama and stops its review at a . d . 1200. The former deficiency is made good by the author’s treatise on the Sanskrit Drama recently announced as published; and nobody need complain of the latter, for whatever is of real worth in Sanskrit literature is more likely to be found before a . d . 1 200 than after. With- in these limits, it must be said that the work has been admirably done Owing to the sad lack of definiteness in the matter of dates, the author cannot follow the chronological order in dealing with the subject. So he adopts a classification based upon form and subject- matter, restricting the chronological treatment to each separate head. The first chapter discusses the important question whether Sanskrit or Prakrit was the vehicle of early secular literature in India. Dr. Keith ably maintains that it was Sanskrit and shows that already in the time of Patanjali (150 b.c.) all the main branches of Sanskrit literature were known. The three chapters that follow treat of Kavya or ‘Court Poetry’ as it is sometimes styled to indicate the circumstances in which it throve and possibly also took its birth. One of these chapters — the best in the book- -is entirely devoted to an appreciative consideration of Kalidasa, the prince of Indian poets. Of the five subsequent chapters, each one takes up for discussion some one or other of the remaining departments of
1 Classical Sanskrit Literature . A. Berriedale Keith, D.C.L., D. Litt., Association Press , Calcutta. ( The Heritage of India Series,) CLASSICAL SANSKRIT LITERATURE
Sanskrit learning ; and the book concludes with an account of the Indian theories of poetry. The information in this last section is somewhat meagre ; but we should still feel grateful to the author for recognising the value of this branch and giving it a place in his book. Works on Poetics are not the least important in Sanskrit and as they become better known, we are sure, their worth will be fully appreciated.
One of the questions which Dr. Keith has frequently to consider is that of foreign influence. It is now beyond doubt that such influence is found in one or two spheres of Indian thought, notably Astronomy and Astrology. But the theory of borrowing has been unjustifiably extended to other spheres also. The fact is that in ancient India the best work not only superseded the rest but also led eventually to their disappearance. The superseded works were put aside once for all; and when they were neither copied nor committed to memory, they were generally lost. The result is that the oldest works extant are the best of their kind and it was to account for this peculiar feature that foreign influence was assumed by the early orientalists. But closer study of history has revealed the existence of earlier phases of development ; and in a few cases by good luck the very works representing those phases have been recovered. Dr. Keith is fully alive to this aspect of the matter and discusses the theory of borrowing in more than one case as a myth. The value of this theory is well illustrated in the case of Sanskrit Prose Romance in regard to which a certain scholar, who once believ- ed that Greek literature had affected it, came on further consideration to the conculsion that precisely the reverse had taken place. It is not historical questions alone that our author discusses. For the first time in such books, so far as we know, has the attempt been made here to put matters of literary importance first and here- in lies the chief value of the book. In the case of every important work mentioned, a summary of the contents is given, often based* as it appears, on a first-hand acquaintance with it; and there is added a judicious estimate of its literary worth. The book, in brief, is both scholarly and sympathetic . . }
1 The Mysore University Magazine , September 1924. 48
. . . The author shows no eagerness to find foreign influence every- where. The time indeed is now past when the European orient- alist was guided in his investigations by the belief that there was nothing great under the sun which was not Greek in its origin. But the tendency to discover outside influence where there is none in tracing the course of Indian thought has not altogether dis- appeared ; and it is accordingly a relief to find our author willing to allow that two distant communities may develop their thought on parallel lines without necessarily implying any borrowing on either side. The spirit with which he approaches the subject of his study is in general well illustrated by his defence (p. 75) of Sanskrit literature against the charge of ‘indelicacy’ brought against it by critics with insufficient imagination. We have nothing but praise for this book . . . The references given as footnotes are not numerous enough. Doubtless this is due to the fact that the book is not intended for the specialist. Yet we cannot help thinking that the insertion of more references would have greatly added to the usefulness of the volume . . . 1
1 Journal of the Karnataka Sahitya Parishat i July 1924. A HISTORY OF SANSKRIT LITERATURE
The Indian student generally finds it difficult to keep abreast of the progress made in the study of Sanskrit in the West as he knows little of French and German, the two languages in which that progress is mostly recorded. For this reason, he is sure to welcome the appearance of a book in English like the one under review 1 which is quite up-to-date and places the whole harvest, as it were, before him. Its up-to-date and comprehensive character will be well indicated when we mention that even the few addit- ions made to our knowledge of the subject during the time the book was in the press have been noticed at length in the preface. But the work is not a mere compilation of the results of others’ investigation. It does indeed summarise them, but it also critically reviews them and has independent opinions to offer on many a topic discussed. Like the other books of the author, the present one also abounds in useful facts ; and as for the views expressed in it, we had already a foretaste of them in his shorter work — Classical Sanskrit Literature — published a few years ago in the Heritage of India series, but naturally they appear here considerably amplified.
The book is divided into three Parts of which the first treats of the language in which is written the literature whose account is to follow in the two remaining Parts. The need for this preliminary essay arises from the fact that there is a difference of opinion among scholars in regard to the vehicle of early secular literature in India as distinguished from the Vedic. Some have held that it was at first entirely in Prakrit. On this theory, works like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata which go back to that early period were originally in Prakrit and were afterwards turned into Sanskrit as that language gained in influence and came to replace Prakrit as the means of literary expression. The theory is finally refuted here, the evidence adduced in that behalf being of overwhelming weight. The several Prakrits, as vernaculars, have no doubt been used all along for popular literature; but it is equally certain that Sanskrit also has throughout served as the medium for expressing
1 A History of Sanskrit Literature . A. Berriedale Keith, D.C.L., D.Litt. Clarendon Press, Oxford , 1928. SANSKRIT STUDIES
the higher mind of the community. There is also some doubt about the precise character of the Sanskrit that is used by the classical writers. While it conforms for the most part to the re- quirements of Paninian grammar, it not infrequently startles us by deviations from it which cannot be satisfactorily explained with- out assuming, as is done here, a distinction between the language of the priests — ‘Sanskrit’ strictly so termed — and the language that was current in courts and other aristocratic circles. These forms of Sanskrit differ less from each other than either does from Prakrit, but they are sufficiently divergent to be reckoned as two. It is in the latter, which for the sake of convenience is sometimes de- scribed as ‘epic Sanskrit’, that the Rdmdyana and the Mahabharata are written. The classical writers are influenced by both these forms of linguistic tradition. Their literary lineage, as is clear from the contents as well as the general artistic make-up of their works, goes back to old epic poets like Valmlki and it would indeed have been strange if they had not similarly come under their influence on the side of language. Their adherence at the same time to the norm of Panini is to be explained by their great learning which was indispensable for them since their works came to be addressed more and more to expert audiences. The resulting speech Dr. Keith describes as ‘singularly beautiful’— purer and more refined than the Sanskrit of the epics but simpler and more elastic than the Paninian form of it. It was first confined to Brahminical writings but gradually extended its scope to Jaina and Buddhistic literature, fields which were at first hostile to it, and continued to be the literary language of all India until Mahomedan rule brought a new language into prominence.
The second part which treats of belles-lettres is necessarily the biggest and the most important. Western scholars in their study of this subject have a tendency to stress its historical aspects at the expense of the literary. Questions about authorship, date, authenticity of text, etc., engross their attention but they forget that Sanskrit literature may be valuable for its own sake. It may be that Sanskrit literature, like other literatures, has its own peculiarities which prevent foreign scholars from feeling quite at home with it. But yet with a certain degree of interest in the subject, it will not at all be difficult for them to appreciate it. Prof. Macdonell, while admitting that many beauties in classical Sanskrit poetry are lost to the generality of Western Sanskritists, A HISTORY OF SANSKRIT LITERATURE
refers to a ‘distinguished scholar’ known to him who ‘has entered so fully into the spirit of that poetry that he is unable to derive pleasure from any other’. Indian sculpture and painting also were once similarly ignored or even belittled but now, thanks to the efforts of some Indian as well as European scholars, their worth has come to be properly appraised. What has been done in their case remains yet to do for the sister art of poetry. The present work, while not neglecting the historical or the antiquarian side of the study, pays full attention to the literary and artistic qualities of the works discussed. The author brings to this task a sympathet- ic mind which can appreciate not only the sentiments contained in them but also their more formal and technical excellences such as the blending of sound and sense in style, the elegance of metre and the significance of poetical conventions. This is not to imply that he is blind to the deficiencies of Sanskrit literature; on the contrary he often directs attention to them as for example to the highly tiresome manner of the descriptions in the Prose Romances.
The earlier chapters of this Part are concerned with works of Poetry. The first author to be taken up is Asvaghosa, the renown- ed Buddhist thinker, who also wrote poetry which in point of artistic value stands next only to that of Kalidasa. It may seem strange that a history of Sanskrit literature should begin with an account of a Buddhistic poet. That is the result of the neglect and the subsequent loss of the older works in every department of literature owing to their supersession by the best that appeared later. Asvaghosa who preceded Kalidasa by a couple of centuries himself had, as it is now clear, many predecessors ; but their very names have perished and, had it not been for a few quotations from them preserved in ancient works like the Mahabhdsya of Patanjali, we would not have known of them at all. It is true that much
difficulty was experienced then in copying and preserving books; but whatever the reason, it proved the bane of Sanskrit literature
and we have lost many an old work of value in this way. Even
A^vaghosa’s poems had fallen into oblivion and their resuscitation
is due to the impetus given to Sanskrit study in modern times. The next poet to be considered is Kalidasa, who, according to the view taken here, wrote about a.d. 400 at Ujjain to which place the Gupta power had shifted by that time from Pataliputra. Then follow brief estimates of lesser epic poets like Bharavi and Magha. After Epic poetry we come to the Lyric in which so many Indian SANSKRIT STUDIES
poets achieved excellence. The miniature word-pictures in which it abounds have evoked universal admiration and even the Indian dramas owe part of their beauty to their lyrical elegance. Broadly speaking, its theme is either irngara or santi , the one typified in Kalidasa, the poet of love and the other, in Bhartrhari, the prophet of asceticism. The method followed in these chapters is to discuss the dates of the writers, summarize the contents of their chief works, offer remarks on their style and language and then wind up with illustrative quotations from them. Realising, however, the essentially untranslatable character of Sanskrit poetry, our author first gives the selections in the original and then translates them, often adding brief critical remarks. The portions of the book containing the quotations are not the least interesting for, taken together, they serve as an admirable ‘Chrestomathie’. The
addition of an Index of initial words when the book is next printed will greatly facilitate reference to the large number of beautiful slokas which have thus been brought together here. The chapters that follow treat of works written in prose or in prose intermixed with verse such as the Fables. The method followed here is the same as before and the literary estimates given are of equal value and interest. Another important subject included in this Part is Poetics which, so far as histories of Sanskrit literature go, gets a systematic treatment, for the first time here. Dr. Keith devotes two chapters to it, in the first of which he deals generally with the aims and achievements of the Sanskrit poet and in the second, specifically with the various theories of poetry that were formulated from time to time by Indian literary critics. The theories are of great interest — especially that known as the theory of Dhvani >t which holds that suggest- ion marks the true process of poetry. It means that the ultimate content of poetry baffles direct expression, and accord- ingly values suggestion not as a mere trick of style but as the sole means of communicating what is otherwise incommunicable. The theory is characteristically Indian and may remind one of the Vedantic view of Brahman which words and thoughts, as it is said, alike fail to grasp.
The last part is devoted to scientific or technical literature such as Astronomy, Law and Grammar. It stands on a footing different from the one so far considered for its appeal is not aesthetic and it cannot therefore be subjected to an artistic judgment. Nor is A HISTORY OF SANSKRIT LITERATURE
it possible in a single section of a book to devote to its various branches — representing as they do the result of so much specializ- ation — the attention that is due to their importance. Some of them like Philosophy, for example, require independent treatises if they are to be adequately considered. Yet it is a great advantage to have in the same book an account, however slight it may be in some cases, of the whole of the literature written in the classical language. Such an account we have in the present work and together with the author’s volume on the Drama already issued by the same publishers, it gives a splendid survey of the entire range of classical Sanskrit literature. . .*
1 The Mysore University Magazine, March 1929. THE STUDY OF SANSKRIT
* * * *
It seems to me particularly fitting that this Association should be formed at the present moment, for there* has just come to life the University of Mysore — a University which in its scheme of studies gives to Sanskrit an emphasis which it has not hitherto received in Southern India. Sanskrit is now recognized not only as a Second language alternative to Kannada, Telugu and Tamil but also as an Optional subject alongside of Science, History and Philosophy. This double place in the curriculum which the University has not vouchsafed to any other subject raises the expectation that the cause of Sanskrit education here is at last coming to its own and the formation of a Sanskrit Association by the students at such a time may be taken to indicate an earnest desire on their part to fully utilize the opportunities that will be offered to then^
Why is it, we may ask ourselves, that we value so highly associations like the present one? The answer to this question must rest chiefly on the fact that the business of such associ- ations lies outside the routine work of the class. Excluding for the moment the absolutely indolent, people may, I think, be divided into two classes — those that are satisfied with doing the minimum work required of them, and those that do not rest until they have exerted themselves to the utmost of their ability. It is the latter that realize the serious aspects of life and it is through their efforts that human society is enabled to move forward. When students take part in founding such associations or in furthering their interests, they give proof of their desire to belong to the second of the above classes rather than to the first. They show that they possess a spirit of self- reliance and a capacity for concerted action; they show that they can resist that ‘craving for repose' which is the blight of so much of early promise.
Yet it is not for such high significance only that these associations should be valued. They have immediate uses also to serve, for they extend and supplement the work of the class in a manner in which no other organization can do. Class-teaching has many advantages over individual teaching, THE STUDY OF SANSKRIT
especially when the number of students seeking instruction is large. But this system has the defects of its qualities. A course of study drawn up for many must be uniform and a method of teaching intended for several must be adjusted to the capacity of the less efficient among them. Despite any efforts that may be made for paying individual attention, all simultaneous instruction is bound to suffer from these jdefects. But in an association like the present one, the conditions of study are far different. Here every student selects that sub- ject which appeals to him most and although receiving guid- ance from the teacher, carries on his study primarily by him- self. This calls forth his individuality and stimulates independent effort. The student acquires from the beginning habits of self- culture which will make it easier for him to follow some intellectual pursuit in later life. At present, in far too many cases, study ceases with graduation.
Having so far dwelt upon the usefulness of such associations in general, I may now offer a few observations on the scope and method of the work that may be done by your Association. The first point that I would like to mention under this head is, that, although each stqdent may select for investigation that subject which lies nearest his heart, the work of the Association, as a whole, should be comprehensive. Do not allow yourselves to be always dealing with one class of subjects only, however important they may be. Broadly speaking, the subjects that should engage your attention will fall into two divisions — linguistic and literary. Each of these divisions has its own importance and I would ask you to pay equal attention to both, overcoming the tendency, noticeable in the Sanskrit student, to leave alone the linguistic aspect of his study. As regards literary subjects I should particularly mention one point. We owe a great deal to the European Sanskritist. It was he that opened our eyes to the possibilities of useful study outside the beaten tracks of traditional scholarship. But, speaking generally, Western scholars have hitherto neglected to deal with the artistic side of Sanskrit literature or have assumed its value to be too slight to be worth their trouble. That the aesthetic value of Sanskrit literature is considerable may be shown on the evidence of the few Europeans themselves who have devoted their attention to it. Prof. Macdonell refers in his SANSKRIT STUDIES
book on Sanskrit Literature to a distinguished scholar of his acquaintance who (to use the words of the book) ‘has entered so fully into the spirit of Sanskrit poetry that he is unable to derive pleasure from any other’. There is reason for the neglect of this phase of Sanskrit study by Europeans who are unfamiliar with Indian conditions and who cannot understand the full significance of Indian mythology in which so much of Sanskrit poetry is steeped. But there can be no excuse in your case for, being Indians, you can fully appreciate Indian sentiments and ideals. No one claims perfection for Sanskrit poetry; but it has distinctive features of its own and its best specimens are well-adapted to be a source of inspiration and of joy. It behoves Indian students to devote adequate attention to this subject even from their early days so that some of them may later do for Sanskrit poetry what is already being done by scholars for ancient Indian painting and sculpture. In estimating the artistic worth of Sanskrit literature you will derive much help from the numerous works in Sanskrit on poetics. They sometimes give you an insight into the nature and aim of poetry which it is difficult to find elsewhere in works on literary criticism.
While linguistic and literary subjects occupy your first attention, there are other subjects also in which you should feel specially interested. Under the scheme of study adopted by the Mysore University you specialize in two subjects in the Degree course — an arrangement which brings Sanskrit into close association with History and Philosophy. Accordingly the subjects that deserve your attention next should be Indian History and Indian Philosophy — each of which offers a vast field for useful work. But whatever be the subject, lingu- istic, literary, historical or philosophical, do not rest content with merely collecting the results obtained by others. You will necessarily familiarise yourselves with those results; but even before doing so, you should as learners begin an indep- endent investigation — so far, I mean, as is compatible with your attainments. Thus if ‘Kalidasa’s Art’ be your subject, you must first set about examining for yourselves his dramas and poems and when you have formulated your views at least roughly, you may consult whatever you may find written by others on the subject. It is only thus that you will THE STUDY OF SANSKRIT 57
be able to understand the exact bearing of the observations made by others; and it is only thus that you will be able to arrive at well-reasoned convictions regarding the subject of your study. I am not recommending this course for the value of the results you may attain by it. Even in maturer years it is given only to a few to obtain results of value and make additions to knowledge. From your standpoint it is the spirit of independent research that matters; not its results. And every student must cultivate that spirit while at college. Lessing, the German poet and critic, is reported to have said that ‘if the Almighty were to offer him the truth in one hand and the search after the truth in the other, he would choose the hand that held the search after truth/
The next point I would urge upon your attention is the necessity for thoroughness in your study, especially because that quality has always distinguished Sanskrit learning. Specializ- ation has ever been the dominant feature of the Pandit; and for grasp, for accuracy and consistency of thought, he is unsurpassed. His knowledge is so systematically arranged and his exposition of it is so finished that he appears to have made a fine art of study. He has so far handed down the ancient learning with scrupulohs care. But he is now rapidly dis- appearing and if we, of the present generation do not follow his example in thoroughness of study and if we do not maintain his standard of knowledge we shall be losing for posterity one of the precious characteristics of our learning and will thereby be doing a disservice to the country. Already the belief is gaining ground — not altogether without reason I fear — that the English-knowing student of Sanskrit is shallow and super- ficial. It is your prime duty, particularly of such as are specializing in Sanskrit, to remove this stigma by the earnestness and diligence with which you apply yourselves to your study.
While retaining all that is excellent in the old-type learning, you should aim at more than a mere reproduction of it. First, you must learn to look at every question you study from the standpoint of its whole history. This is an aspect of enquiry which the Pandit may be said to have ignored altogether. His scholarship is undoubtedly thorough and exact but only so far as it goes ; and on the historical side it does not go very far. 58
The consequence is that when you ask the Pandit to trace the development of an idea or the changes in the form of an ex- pression, he fails altogether. He is generally satisfied with an explanation of a thing as it is found in a particular stage of its evolution. He does not ordinarily recognize anything as having passed through successive stages of growth or decay. In other words, time finds no place in his conception of knowledge. It is the duty of the modern student to supplement this deficiency in the old learning and I may illustrate how this may be done by means of one or two simple examples.
We have in Sanskrit a word vigra of which the meaning is thus defined by Amara : vigro vigatanasikah. We get no
explanation of this word in Panini, but one of his followers, probably Katyayana, by whose time the word must have come into ordinary use, explains its formation by stating that gra> the second syllable in it, is a substitute for nasika . It is hard for us, with our notion of etymology, to understand how the single syllable gra came to take the place of the trisyllabic nasika with which it has no phonetic kinship whatever. Can we suggest any satisfactory derivation ? We can, if we only recognize what is a commonplace^ of modern Philology, that languages change constantly and, as a result of change, show growth or decay in their various elements. The recogni- tion of this truth will help us to connect the syllable g ra in the word we are considering with the well-known root ghra which means ‘to smell’ and which is found in the word vyaghra ,
- tiger’, literally ‘the smelling animal’. The original form of
our word was probably vighra of which the second syllable underwent, in course of time, a modification in pronunciation and became de-aspirated. It is thus not a substitute for nasika as Katyayana has it, but only a worn out form of ghra . Although the explanation is so easy, the ancient grammarian missed it, because he ignored the possibility of change in language and thought that linguistic facts continued, through all time, to retain, what he assumed to be, their ready-made forms.
I have illustrated my point by taking the form of a word into consideration. It is equally easy to give an example where the change affects its meaning or content. All of us know the old story about Indra clipping the wings of mountains which, as it is said, could fly in olden days and played havoc by THE STUDY OF SANSKRIT
alighting now in one place and now in another. The very absurdity of this story suggests that it must have had a different significance once. The history of a single word clears up the mystery. The Sanskrit word parvata consists of two elements — parva> ‘a knot’ or ‘ section’ and ta , a suffix signi- fying possession. The word thus means anything that is in sections and is an appropriate designation for a line of clouds or a range of hills. As a matter of fact we find the word used in both these senses in the Rgveda. The term was probably originally applied to a class of objects that answered a certain description; but in course of time became narrowed down to its present meaning of ‘mountain’; as, for example, has been the case with the English word ‘deer’ which once meant ‘wild animal’ but is now applied to one particular class of animals. From this explanation, it is obvious that what the story once said of Indra and clouds has gradually come to be erroneously associated with Indra and mountains. Indra is the Vedic god of rain who cleaves the clouds and releases the water. What wonder if the fancy of the Vedic Indians represented the scudding clouds as flying from Indra and their ultimate stoppage as due to the clipping of their wings. Thus by comparing the meanings of parvata in two different periods in the history of the language we discover that the current form of the story is due to a discrepancy of interpret- ation.
These two illustrations will, I trust, make clear what I mean by saying that you should look at everything you study in the light of its history. The traditional explanation in both these cases is unconvincing and therefore arouses our curiosity and leads us to investigation. But often, even when our enquiry is not historical, we get plausible explanations but we must be careful not to take them for correct explanations, for we shall not know where they are deficient until we resort to historical analysis. We should never feel satisfied with the explanation of single stages but push it back as far as we can, for we cannot know the part aright until we have known the whole.
In a second direction also the deficiency of the old scholarship has to be made good by modern study. By the very nature of the conditions under which the old Pandit lived, he was unable to bring to bear upon his study a wide knowledge 60
reaching beyond things Indian. The modern student, on the other hand, has vast opportunities for extending his knowledge and it is therefore his duty to make the study of Sanskrit comparative. The science of language has established a close kinship among communities inhabiting various parts of the globe and unless we compare ancient Indian thoughts and modes of expression with those of kindred communities of the past, we cannot be said to have arrived at the truth. I may illustrate the advantages of pursuing the comparative method of study by means of a well-known example. The Sanskrit words sura and asura are quite familiar to us. Asura is commonly explained as the opposite of sura — a + sura, i.e., ‘not god’, i.e., ‘ demon So long as we restrict our enquiry to Sanskrit literature of the classical period, i.e., to works produced during the past twenty-five centuries nearly, no suspicion arises as regards the current explanation of these two words. But when we extend our search farther back and examine the Rgveda , we find the term asura used, contrary to our expectation, to glorify gods such as Varuna who is one of the most benevolent of Vedic gods. What could be the explanation of this unexpected use ? The old Pandit who interpreted the Veda, also realized the difficulty but he could not get beyond the traditional explana- tion of asura and therefore assumed that the word applied to the gods in the Veda — although bearing the same form — was distinct from the common word meaning ‘ demon According to him the two were homonyms, i.e., words with the same form but with different meanings. The Vedic word was referred to the root as ‘ to throw Sayana thus paraphrases it in one place — asurah anistaksepanasilah , i.e., ‘able to throw away or remove misery or what is disagreeable/ We cannot help feeling that this interpretation is far-fetched and artificial. The modern scholar, on the other hand, with his more extensive knowledge of Indo-Gei manic literature gets light upon this dark point from a quarter least suspected by the Pandit, for the Zend or old Persian Scriptures contain the word ahura used similarly in addressing gods. By applying a simple law of phonetic correspondence between Zend and Vedic — commonly illustrated by the pair of words Sindhu and Hindu — we see that this word asura is only a variant of ahura . The inference is that the bad sense which attaches THE STUDY OF SANSKRIT 61
to asura did not originally belong to it at all but was imported into it subsequently, though we cannot now say why. When once the word asura became established in its new sense, its initial syllable a was easily mistaken for the negative prefix and a spurious word sura came into use with the meaning of ‘god’ the opposite of < demon’. Thus we see that a compar- ision of asura with a word found in a cognate language has disclosed to us that the current explanation is as far from the truth as it can possibly be. It was not asura that was derived from sura but it was the reverse that happened. Instances of this kind may be multiplied but this example is sufficient to indicate the necessity, in the interests of truth, for pursuing the comparative method in studying Sanskrit.
The application of this method to the study of Sanskrit presents certain difficulties to the Indian student for it pre- supposes an acquaintance with other Indo-Germanic languages and literatures and there is no provision now in Colleges for teaching even the more important European classical and modem languages. We may hope that these difficulties will be removed in course of time. Till they are removed the student must fight his way through them as best as he can. Although it is difficult now to ledrn European languages, there are other kindred languages which can be learnt with relatively less trouble. There is Persian for example and there are the northern Sanskrit ic vernaculars like Bengali and Hindi, a knowledge of which will be of great use in dealing with Sanskrit Philology. The equipment of the Sanskrit student in respect of linguistic knowledge has hitherto been very meagre and the useful work he may do has accordingly become considerably limited.
In the scheme of studies now sanctioned by the Mysore University French is included among second languages and provision for teaching it will soon be made. I trust that many of you will take advantage of this opportunity to widen your outlook on Sanskrit study.
My reference to the historical and comparative methods will indeed be incomplete if I do not lay special stress on the spirit with which they should be pursued. Whichever be the method we apply to a particular case, we must exercise the maximum amount of care in the collection as well as in the SANSKRIT STUDIES
appreciation of the evidence on which we are to base our conclusions; otherwise they will be worth no more than the conjectures of the man in the street. We should never yield to the temptation of accepting our data without proper verifica- tion and we should never draw conclusions without a due con- sideration of the evidence for them. In one word our investiga- tion must be critical. It is this critical attitude that gives our
investigation a truly scientific aspect. The old question of the relative merits of science and the ‘humanities’, as instruments of education, is periodically raised but it is overlooked that it is possible to give a scientific bent to literary studies by follow- ing right methods. After all the primary object of a liberal education is not the acquisition of either scientific or literary facts but the proper disciplining of the mind and of the soul. If the sort of discipline that science affords can be secured by means of literature as well much of the bitterness that ranges on either side of the controversy becomes meaningless.
I have so far alluded only to one side of your work, which may be called the cultural side because it helps the proper training of the mind and the acquisition of the right type of knowledge. There is also another kind of work which, under existing circumstances, your Associations is expected to do. I refer to your activities in the direction of popularising Sanskrit study among the students. I am glad you have not confined membership of this Association to Sanskrit students but have thrown it open to all. You may include in your programme lectures on Sanskrit language and literature and on Indian antiquities generally intended for the non-Sanskrit student. In course of time some of you may perhaps devote part of your leisure to the teaching of Sanskrit to those that feel interested in it — a kind of altruistic activity in which another Society in this college has already set such a good example. Any how, every member of this Association must feel it his duty to do something in the way of increasing the interest of students in Sanskrit. Until a few years ago, the Madras University recognized Sanskrit as an alternative Second language and owing to this ‘ partial compulsion ’ a due proportion of students used to learn Sanskrit. With the introduction of the revised regulations by that University Sanskrit was transferred to the head of Optional subjects and THE STUDY OF SANSKRIT
students immediately withdrew from Sanskrit study. It is a pity that the moment compulsion is removed students should desert their classical language. The chief reason for this apathy is that Sanskrit lacks that conventional value which current ideals of education have set upon other subjects and conventional value alone, unfortunately, determines at present the attitude of our students towards subjects of study. Reverence for the past which is a necessary element in patriotism springs from a proper understanding of the past and for a proper understanding of India’s past, a knowledge of Sanskrit is essential. This aspect of the matter at least, if none other,, should appeal to our young men and I trust that through the exertions of your Association a larger number of them will be attracted to the study of Sanskrit.
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PRINTED IN INDIA BY HUGH WARREN AT THE WESLEY PRESS, MYSORE By PROF. M. HIRIYANNA
POPULAR ESSAYS IN INDIAN PHILOSOPHY
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All of them [the 17 essays in the volume] maintain a uniform level of excellence and bear the characteristic marks for which Prof. Hiriyanna’s writings were always famous — arrangement of ideas with an eye to their inner affinities, precision derived from first-hand acquaintance with the original texts, clear and lucid expression. These essays throw additional light on several topics dealt with in the author’s Outlines of Indian Philosophy and can be read as a supplement to that work.
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This is a collection of essays and papers . . . covering a wide range of time, 1917-1950. It thus affords us not only a picture of the development of Indian philosophic thought during the first half of the present century but also gives us some idea of the intellectual progress of the author himself . . . Prof. Hiriyanna’s scholarship is obvious as we read on.
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The contributions are brief and illuminating. Prof. Hiriyanna has a way of penetrating through a maze of material to the core of a subject. He has also the capacity to interpret ideas, clothed in almost unintelligible terminology of centuries ago, in such a way as to make them attractive to the modern man. — The Hindustan Times
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