Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Krishnadevaraya as a Sanskrit Play' wright

Krishnadevaraya as a Sanskrit play’ Wright

Dr. Chilakamarthi . Durga Prasada Rao,
Bhashapraveena,Vedanta Vidya Praveena , P.O.L.,
M.A.{Sanskrit], M.A. [Telugu}
M.A.[Philosophy], Ph.D. {Sanskrit}
Dayalbagh, AGRA - 282005. U. P.
It was Appayyadikshita, a poet, rhetorician and philosopher of South India, who declared that to be an Andhra and to speak Telugu is a rare gift won trough a rigorous penance.

आन्ध्रत्वमान्ध्रभाषा च प्राभाकरपरिश्रम:
तत्रापि याजुषीशाखा नाSल्पस्य तपस: फलम्

(Andhratvamandhrabhasha cha
Tatraapi yaajushisaakhaa
Naalpasya tapasah phalam)

The Andhras are a society with a long antiquity. There are several references to Andhras in the Vedas, the epics like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, puranas as well as the Buddhistic literature. The foremost reference to Andhras as a race is as old as Aitareyabrahamana of the Rigveda.

The Andhra region of India is a treasure house of rich culture and heritage. The ancient name of the State of Andhra Pradesh is Trilingadesa as it is in the midst of three sivakshetras, Draksharama, Kaleswara and Srisaila.
The ancient Andhradesa is said to be somewhat different from and wider than the present Andhrapradesh. According to Vidyanatha the Andhradesa bordered on Maharastra in the West, Kalinga in the East, pandya in the South and Kanyakubja in the North.

पश्चात्पुरस्तादपि यस्य दॆशौ
ख्यातौ महाराष्ट्रकळिंगदॆशौ
दॆशस्स तत्रास्ति त्रिलिंगनामा
( Paschatpurastadapi yasya desau
Khyatau maharathtra kalingadesau
Deshassa tatrasti trilinganama )

The geographical situations and other ambience of Andhradesa are congenial for the development of education and other branches of learning. This region, which has earned the well-deserved title “the granary of south India” because of the lush green fields encompassing the area producing very rich harvest, is congenial for the spread of mundane and transcendental knowledge.

The greatness of Andhra is also reflected in the writings of the Greek historian Megasthanes and the records of the Venitian traveller, Marco Polo, who visited this country during the reign of Rudramadvi of the Kakatiya race. Great personalities of the East and West have paid rich tributes to Andhra in respect of language, culture and heritage.

A number of races ruled this Andhra in different ages. But the age of Krishnadevaraya is known as the golden age in the annals of Andhradesa. He belongs to Tuluva dynasty, son of Nagamba and Narasanayaka. He was one of the greatest statesmen that South India has ever produced. He was not only a king but also an able administrator, poet and patron of poets and scholars. His harmonious attitude and versatility in every branch of learning made him a towering personality. He was an emperor, able administrator, versatile genius in many sastras, poet, patron of poets, philosopher and promoter of religion and culture.
Presiding over the empire at its zenith, he was regarded as an icon by many Indians, particularly by Tuluvas, kannadigas and Andhras. Here Dr. K krishnaMurty opines that, it was with the establishment of the Vijayanagar empire in 1336 that the heyday of Karnataka history was reached in every department of life and culture. Naturally, the Karnataka contribution to Sanskrit reached its zenith under unstinted patronage of these rulers up to the end of the 16th century. ( Essays in Sanskrit criticism, Dr. K Krishna Murthy, karnatakauniversity, Dharvar, 1964. page-303. He earned the titles Kannada Rajya Rama Ramana, Mooru Rayara Ganda (meaning King of three kings) and Andhra Bhoja ). While describing the greatness of Krishnadevaraya[1509-29] as administrator, Barbosa, a famous historian of the West, says: “ The king allows such freedom that every man may come and go and live according to his own creed without suffering any annoyance and without enquiring whether he is a Christian, Jew, Moor or Heathen. Great equity and justice is observed to all, not only ruler but by the people to one another ’’ {The wonder that was India; Vol-2,by saa rizvee p-7.] He strove for the welfare and the uplifting of Telugu people.

During his reign Vijayanagar witnessed a very great popularity in trade and commerce. Conti a foreign traveller writes: If one wants to see any new and wonderful thing he must go to the streets of Vijayanagar.

As poet Krishnadevaraya composed many works in various branches of learning.
His work Amuktamalyada written in Telugu occupied a prominent place in Panchamahakavyas. Though krishnadevaraya was a Vaishnava by faith he honoured all the heads of other sects with the same spirit and offered huge donations to a number of Jaina and Siva temples.

He honoured Vallabhacharya in a grand manner. He treated Vyasa tirtha the follower of Madhvaschool as his guru.
The rule of Krishnadeva Raya was an age of prolific literature in many languages, although it is also known as a golden age of Telugu literature. Many Telugu, Sanskrit, Kannada and Tamil poets produced a great deal of literature under his patronage. He was fluent in many languages including his mother tongue Tulu.
The name of his court is known as Bhuvanavijayam adorned by many poets and artists. The Sanskrit proverb Sukavita yadyasti rajyena kim became meaningful during his regime.
Krishnadeva Raya was also well-versed in Sanskrit, Tamil and Kannada. Jambavati Kalyanamu is his Sanskrit work.
He wrote Madalasacharitra, Satyavadhuprinanam,sakalakathasarasangraha, Jnanachintamani and Rasamanjari how ever no work of the above has been available
This is a drama of five acts. The main story of this drama is extracted from the Bhagavata purana. The story in the Bhagavata is as follows:
Satrajit worshipped sun–god, who, pleased with his devotion, gave him a heavenly jewel by name Syamantaka. This jewel would everyday give eight heaps of gold and would dispel all fear and diseases when it was worshipped. Sri Krishna once begged Satrajit to give the jewel to Ugrasena, but he was unwilling to part with it.
One day, Prasena the bother of Satrajit, wore the jewel on his neck and went to the forest for hunting. A line killed Prasena and his horse and carried the jewel to a mountain. Jambavan, the ape-king killed the lion and took the jewel and gave it to his child to play with. Now, Satrajit thought that Krishna who was refused the jewel, must have killed his brother Prasena and the rumour spread all over the town that Krishna had acquired the jewel. To get rid of this scandal, Krishna with some citizens went to the forest and saw Presena’s dead body left by the line and at a distance, the lion lying dead. So Krishna, keeping the citizens out side, went in to Jambavan’s cave and saw the child playing with the jewel. Krishna approached the child to snatch the jewel and the angry Jambavan came and fought with him. Krishna and Jambavan fought for twenty eight days hitting each other with fists. Jambavan could no more bear the blows imparted to him by Krishna, who at least recognised by him as Sri Rama the Supreme Being. Jambavan glorified him. Krishna, with gentle strokes of his healing hand rejuvenated him. Jambavan gave his beautiful daughter Jambavati in marriage to Krisnha and gave the jewel Syamantaka as a gift. Krishna came back to Dwaraka with his bride Jambavati and the recovered jewel. Satrajit was summoned to the court and the jewel was restored to him. Satrajit repented his having spread the scandal and was also afraid of the possible consequences. He therefore gave his daughter Satyabhama as his bride but said that Satrajit may himself keep the jewel Syamantaka.(Bhagavata-X chapter-56).
Taking this small story as basis Sri Krishna Devaraya composed a wonderful drama of five acts by introducing several changes in it which enriched the beauty of the work. For example, in Bhagavata purana, prasena wearing the jewel Syamantaka went to forest lonely for hunting and there he was killed by a lion and Krishna for no fault of him and who was totally ignorant of this incident was blamed as culprit. But in this drama, Krishna went for hunting along with Prasena. This small change made by the author has given scope to suspect that Krishna might have killed Prasena for the jewel Syamantaka. This simple change made the poet is very appropriate and it paved the way for further incidents. This drama starts with the expedition of SriKrishna for hunting and ends with the marriage of him with Jambavati. Many events are dramatised in between.
Krishnadevaraya was influenced by many dramatists like Kalidasa, Bhavabhuti, SriHarsha however he excelled them in dramatising certain incidents.
In Abhijnanasakuntalam, Dushysnta, while expressing his love towards Sakuntala speaks to Anasuya and Priyamvada the friends of the latter:
“ Even though I have a number of wives I treat only two as dear to me. One is this earth (the kingdom ) and the other is your friend Sakuntala.
परिग्रहबहुत्वेSपि द्वे प्रतिष्ठे कुलस्य मे
समुद्ररसना चोर्वी सखी च युवयोरियम् (3/19)
In dealing with a similar situation, Sri Krishna speaks to the companions of Jambavati in the following manner:
परस्सहस्रं कामिन्यो भवन्तु मम किं तत:
रतिकल्पलता सेयं परमेकैव ते सखी (3/31)
Here it seems that he excelled even Kalidasa in maintaining propriety.
The sentences like सर्वत: प्रमादशंकी स्नॆहातिप्रसंग: (5th act) of Jambavatiparanaya resemble the words of अतिस्नेह: पापशंकी (4 act}of Abhijnanasakuntalam. There are also a number of instances where he imitated Kalidasa, Bhavabhuti Sri Harsha. This reveals the intensity of his admiration and gratitude towards them.
The dialogues in the drama were racy and dignified except in one instance where the Vidushika or the court-fool is addressed by Krishna as Kuchela as aptly pointed out by Dr B Rama Raju; and his descriptive poetry did not overstep the bounds of propriety.
The descriptions of Krishnadevara reveal the fact that he was more a philosopher than a poet. For example the praise of Brahma by Srikrishna and the praise of Krishana by Brahma extract the essence of the Upanishads. Thus:
वॆदानामादि कवये शक्तिवैचित्र्यशालिने
चराचरजगच्चित्रचित्रकाराय ते नम: (5/54)

भूमावुपैषि जगतां परिपालनाय
सम्पत्ति सौरभसमंचितलॊचनान्ता
सेयं रमा कमलसागर भागधेयम् |/५६|
संसारकुहनानाट्यनट: कैटभसूदन: ||

Krishnadevaraya has tremendous command over Sanskrit language. The following sloka stands as an example to supports this view

मत्तारातीभदत्तस्थपुटितविकटाभॊगवक्ष: कवाट: “5/110

The expressions in Jambavatiparinaya are of fine sentiments that touch the heart of every reader. Here is an example. The following is an example:
कन्याया: जननं विनिन्दति परं माताSपि किं वा परे
जामातु: सदृशस्य साधनविधावेवं प्रयासो महान्
अन्यस्मै निरपेक्षमर्पणमहो संवर्ध्य यत्नाद्बहो
रेवं संसरत: सुतॆति नियतं मूर्ता व्यथा चेतस: ||
Here, the mental agony of a father of a female child is nicely depicted.
In this drama all the poetic talents of the author are exhibited however, there is no scope to mention all about them in this article. This drama certainly finds a prominent as well as permanent place in the annals of Sanskrit Literature. As an emperor, poet, philosopher, dramatist, patron of poets and scholars, promoter of Language and culture the fame of Krishnadevaraya is immortal and no doubt, that we, the people of Telugu are very much indebted to him.
1. Essays in Sanskrit criticism, Dr. K Krishna Murthy,
karnatakauniversity, Dharvar, 1964.
2. Jambavathikalyanam, edited by Dr. B. Ramaraju.
3. Srimadbhagavatam. By Swami Krishna Das
4. The wonder that was India; Vol-2,by saa rizvee p-7.
5. Internet.. *****************

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