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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Bhamini vilasah-1

पण्डितराज जगन्नाथकृत
Women’s Elegance
By Jagannatha Pandita
English translation
G S S Murthy


This work, “Bhamini-vilasah” is a collection of verses of Jagannatha Pandita, an erudite scholar and poet of the 17th century. Although each verse is independent, the poet has thematically categorized the collection into four parts: 1.Introductory (129 verses) 2.Love (183 verses) 3.Pathos (19 verses) and 4.Peace (46 verses). Possibly these were composed over a long stretch of time and later compiled into a book.

The poet has called the collection, “Bhamini vilasah”. “Bhamini” would generally mean a beautiful young woman. It could also mean an angry woman.
Meaning of “Vilasah” can cover a wide range. It could mean sport, pleasure, graceful movement, or elegance.
As a compound word, “Bhaminivilasah” can be interpreted in different ways. It could convey that it is written to appease an angry maiden or it could mean that the text basically deals with different moods of a woman. Or it could also mean that the work covers a wide gamut of emotions like the varying moods of a woman. As all these shades of meaning cannot be conveyed in English simultaneously, I have simply translated it as “Womens’ Elegance”.

Jagannatha Pandita who lived during the reign of emperor Shahajehan (1592-1666) in Delhi for several years under his patronage was a Telugu Brahmin whose father Perubhatta was an erudite scholar. Jagannatha, endowed with sharp intellect, acquired deep knowledge in various fields of learning under the tutelage of his father. It is said that he first went to Tanjore to establish himself. But failing in his effort he moved North ultimately landing in Delhi where Shahjehan recognized his merit and offered him his patronage. His fame spread far and wide.
A story goes that young Jagannatha fell in love with a Muslim girl –emperor’s daughter- and married her.
He has authored a number of well known works, the most famous of which is “Rasagangadhara”- a treatise on poetics. His “Gangalahari”, a hymn to river Ganga, is equally famous and popular.
He was also a contemporary of Appayaadikshita, author of “Kuvalayananda”- again an authoritative work on Figures of speech. Appayyadikshita was Jagannatha Pandita’s literary rival and he severely criticized Appayyadikshita in his work.
In any such collection of independent verses there is always a possibility of variations in the number and text of verses. In what follows I have depended on the version published in 1991 by “Gangavishnu Srikrishnadas Prakashan”, Kalyan, Mumbai with a Hindi translation by Mahavir Prasad Dvivedi. I shall try to convey the gist of the Sanskrit text in English prose trying to be as close to the text as possible. Wherever required I shall provide short notes to assist the reader in following the text.
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(Women's Elegance)
(Introductory section)

माधुर्यपरमसीमा सारस्वतजलधिमथनसम्भूता ।
पिबताम् अनल्पसुखदा वसुधायां मम सुधा कविता ॥ १ ॥
On this earth my poetry is ambrosia. Those who savour it get unlimited pleasure. It is generated by the churning of the ocean of literature and is the ultimate in sweetness.
[ Jagannatha Pandita, who was quite conscious of his capabilities, does not appear to consider modesty a virtue!]

दिगन्ते श्रूयन्ते मदमलिनगण्डाः करटिनः
करिण्यः कारुण्यास्पदमसमशीलाः खलु मृगाः ।
इदानीं लोकेऽस्मिन् अनुपमशिखानां पुनरयम्
नखानां पाण्डित्यं प्रकटयतु कस्मिन् मृगपतिः ॥ २ ॥
Elephants whose temples are darkened by the flow of ichor are only heard at the horizon. The she elephants are pitiable. The deer are of no match. Now in this world, where can this king of beasts display the proficiency of its nails of incomparable sharp edge?
[The poet obliquely bemoans his fate of not being able to wrestle with a matching scholar by describing the fate of a lion who does not find any elephant nearby to fight with. This is “anyokti” [अन्योक्ति] or “anyapadesha” [अन्यापदेश], where the poet obliquely refers to some human situation through an analogical happening in nature. We shall come across many such अन्योक्तिs in this work.]

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The World of Valmiki

The World of Valmiki
The World of Valmiki, collected from Valmiki’s Ramayan, that was presented over the last 41 serials has come to an end. I hope to convert the same into a PDF file after some editing and upload it onto the web. I shall keep the readers of the serial informed of the address of the upload.
I am grateful to Dr.Saroja Ramanujam for having allowed me to circulate the serial through her [Appliedgita] and [Ramayanaof valmikiandkamban] yahoo groups.
GSS Murthy

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The World of Valmiki-41

The World of Valmiki-41
Travel routes

Rama. Lakshmana and Viswamitra go to Mithila
Starting from Ayodhya they spend the first night on the banks of Sarayu near the confluence of Sarayu and Ganga, situated in Anga country. Crossing Sarayu they enter the country called Malada and Karusha which was in those days being harassed by Tataka. They then reach Siddhasrama, where Viswamitra was performing the yajna. (1-23 to 29 sargas) From Siddhasrama they travel to Mithila, where on the way they halt on the banks of Shona for a night. The country around, which was once ruled by Kusha had 5 hills between which flowed the river Sumagadhi. After crossing Shona, they reached Ganga on the banks of which they rested for the night. After crossing Ganga they reached Vishala city on the northern banks of Ganga. From Vishala they travelled to Mithila on the outskirts of which was Gautama's hermitage.
Janaka's messengers sent to fetch Dasaratha from Ayodhya took three nights to cover the route. Janaka's brother Kusadhwaja who ruled Kampilya was brought to Ayodhya from Kampilya. ( 1-30 to 77)

Rama's travel to Chitrakuta
Rama, Sita and Lakshmana spend their first night of exile on the banks of Tamasa. Traveling beyond the borders of Kosala, they cross rivers Vedasruti, Gomati and syandikaa they reach Srungaverapura on the banks of Ganga. After spending a night there they cross Ganga and enter Vatsa country.
They next reach Bharadwaja hermitage, which was on the confluence of Yamuna and Ganga. Ten krosas away from Bharadwaja hermitage was Citrakuta hill.
Bharadwaja directs them to travel on the banks of west-flowing Yamuna and then to cross Amsumati river. There would be a banyan tree and a krosa away from there one approaches a blue forest. That is the rout to Chitrakuta says Bharadwaja.
Rama,Sita and Lakshmana cross Yamuna and Amsumati and reach the banyan tree. They further travelled for a distance of a Krosa and moved around the Yamuna forest. Then they proceeded to Chitrakuta where river Malyavati flowed near by. (2- 46 to 57)

Messengers from Ayodhya travel to Rajagriha, Capital of Kekaya.
They travelled along Malini to the south of Aparatala and to the North of Pralamba mountains and crossed Ganga at Hastinavati. Travelling westward they reached Panchala country through Kurujangala. They reached Saradanda river. After paying due respects to a banyan tree on the western bank of Saradanda, they entered the city of Kulinga. Passing through the villages of Tejobhibhavana and Abhikala, they crossed river Ikshumati and reached the Sudama mountain in Bahlika country. After visiting the Vishnupada at the top of Sudama mountain and observing Vipasa, Salmali and other rivers they proceeded on a highway to reach Girivraja, the capital of Kekaya country. (2-68)

Bharata's journey from Girivraja to Ayodhya  

Bharata travelling east from Girivraja he crossed rivers Sudama and Hladini and west flowing Shatadru.
Crossing another stream at village Ailadhana he reached Apara mountain. Crossing a river he reached Salyakarshana region lying in the south eastern direction. Taking a bath in Silavaha river he crossed Mahasaila mountain and reached Chaitraratha forest. He crossed Saraswathy and Ganga and entered the northern part of Viramatsya country and then the Bharunda forest. After crossing river Kulinga, he crossed Yamuna. Finding that it was difficult to cross Ganga at village Amsudhana, he crossed it at Pragvata city. He then crossed river Kuttikoshtika and reached village Dharmavardhana. Then he passed through villages Jambuprastha, south of Torana and Varutha. He travelled east to Ujjihana city and thence to village Sarvatirtha. Crossing river Uttanika and other streams he reached village Hastiprushtaka. Crossing river Kuttika, he crossed Kapivati at Lohitya.
Crossing river Sthanumati at Ekasala and river Gomati at Vinata he reached Kalinganagara and then Ayodhya. He took seven days to reach Ayodhya (having taken a longer and easier route.) (2-71)
Bharata's journey to Chitrakuta
From Ayodhya Bharata travels to the banks of Ganga and reaches Sringaverapura. He crosses Ganga and reaches Bharadwaja hermitage. Bharadwaja gives directions to reach Chitrakuta as follows: " At a distance of two and a half yojana's from here is Chitrakuta mountain. To the north of it flows Mandakini. Between the mountain and the river is the hermitage of Rama." (2-92 to 93) [ Do Mandakini and Malyavati refer to the same river?]
After visiting Atri's hermitage they move to Dandaka forest where they meet sages in a cluster of hermitages. Then they travel to the hermitages of Sharabhanga and Sutikshna. They spend around ten years moving from hermitage to hermitage and again return to Sutikshna's hermitage from where they travel to the hermitage of Agastya via the hermitage of Agastya's brother. Agastya advises them to stay at a place called Panchavati, which was on the banks of Godavari. (3)
Rama and Lakshmana travel in search of Sita
Kabandha advises them to travel west and reach Pampa lake after crossing several hills. On the banks of Pampa lake was Matanga forest where Shabari, woman-sage stayed. Rishyamuka where Vali had taken refuge was near the Pampa lake.(3)
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Saturday, September 8, 2012

The World of Valmiki-40

The World of Valmiki-40
तस्या हुम्भारवोत्सृष्टाः पह्लवाः शतशो नृप ।१/५४/१८॥
O king, hundreds of Pahlavas were created by the "humbha" sound (of the holy cow).

भूय एवासृजत् घोरान् शकान् यवनमिश्रितान् ।१/५४/२१॥
Again she created the terrible Shakas mixed with Yavanas.

तैस्ते यवनकाम्बोजा बर्बराश्चाकुलीकृताः ।१/५४/२३॥
- - - Yavana, Barbara and Kamboja people were put to great torment by them.

अथ तत्र समासीनास्तदा दशरथम् नृपम् ।
प्राच्योदीच्याः प्रतीच्याश्च दाक्षिणात्याश्च भूमिपाः ॥
म्लेच्छाचार्याश्च ये चान्ये वनशैलान्तवासिनः ।२/३/२४-२५॥
Kings from the west, east, north and south and the chiefs of Mlecchas and other forest and mountain dwellers sat surrounding king Dasharatha.

द्राविडाः सिन्धु सौवीराः सौराष्ट्रा दक्षिणापथाः ।
वङ्गाङ्गमगधा मत्स्याः समृद्धाः काशिकोसलाः ॥२/१०/३७ ॥
Dravidas, Sindhu Souviras, Sourashtras, and those from the south, Vanga, Anga, Magadha, Matsya, Kasi and Kosala countries.

आममीनाशनाश्चापि किराता द्वीपवासिनः ।४/४०/२८॥
Kiratas who are island-dwellers and who consume raw fish.

तत्र म्लेच्छान् पुलिन्दान्श्च शूरसेनान्स्तथैव च ।
प्रस्थलान् भरतान्श्चैव कुरून्श्च सह भद्रकैः ॥
काम्बोजयवनान्श्चैव शकानां पत्तनानि च ।४/४३/११-१२॥
There (you will see) Mlecchas, Pulindas, Surasenas, Prasthalas, Bharatas, Kurus along with Bhadrakas, Kambojas and Yavanas.

उत्तराः कुरवस्तत्र कृतपुण्यप्रतिश्रयाः ।४/४३/३८॥
There lies Uttara Kuru country known for its holy abodes. 
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Saturday, September 1, 2012

The World of Valmiki-39

The World of Valmiki-39
Towns and villages
अयोध्या नाम नगरी तत्रासील्लोकविश्रुता ।१//६॥
There was the city of Ayodhya well known to all.

मिथिलाधिपतिं शूरं जनकं सत्यवादिनम् ।१/१३/२१॥
Lord of Mithila, Janaka who is always truthful.

तथा काशिपतिं स्निग्धं सततं प्रियवादिनम् ।१/१३/२३॥
There lord of Kashi, who always speaks pleasantly.

कुशांबस्तु महातेजा कौशाम्बीमकरोत् पुरीम् ।
कुशनाभस्तु धर्मात्मा पुरं चक्रे महोदयम् ॥१/३२/६॥
Kushamba built the city Kaushambi and Kushanabha built city Mahodaya.

असूर्तरजसो नाम धर्मारण्यम् महामतिः ।
चक्रे पुरवरं राजा वसु नाम गिरिव्रजम् ॥१/३२/७॥
Asurtarajas of great intellect built the city of Dharmaranya and king by name Vasu built Girivraja.

स राजा ब्रह्मदत्तस्तु पुरीमध्यवसत्तदा ।
काम्पिल्यां परया लक्ष्म्या देवराजो यथादिवम् ॥१/३३/१९॥
King Brahmadatta lived in city of Kampilya like the chief of Gods (Vishnu) with Lakshmi.

गङ्गाकूले निविष्टास्ते विशालां ददृशुः पुरीम् ।१/४५/९॥
They saw the city of Vishala on the banks of Ganga.

उभौ भरतशत्रुघ्नौ केकयेषु परन्तपौ ।
पुरे राजगृहे रम्ये मातामहनिवेशने ॥२/६७/७॥
Both Bharata and Shatrughna (stayed) in Kekaya kingdoom in the beautiful city of Rajagriha, in maternal grandparents' place.

न्यन्तेनापरतालस्य प्रलम्बस्योत्तरं प्रति ।
निषेवमाणास्ते जग्मुर्नदीं मध्येन मालिनीम् ॥
ते हास्तिनपुरे गङ्गां तीर्त्वा प्रत्यङ्मुखा ययुः ।
पाञ्चालदेशमासाद्य मध्येन कुरुजाङ्गलम् ॥२/६८/१२-१३॥
They traveled along Malini river that flows between southern end of Aparatala mountain and the northern end of Pralamba mountain. They then crossed Ganga at Hastinapura and travelled westward, passing  through Panchala country and Kurujangala.

ते प्रसन्नोदकां दिव्यां नानाविहगसेविताम् ।
उपातिजग्मुर्वेगेन शरदण्डां जलाकुलाम् ॥
निकूलवृक्षमासाद्य दिव्यं सत्योपयाचनम् ।
अभिगम्याभिवाद्यं तं कुलिङ्गां प्राविशन्पुरीम् ॥
अभिकालं ततः प्राप्य ते बोधिभवनाच्च्युताः ।
पितृपैतामहीं पुण्यां तेरुरिक्षुमतीं नदीम् ॥
अवेक्ष्याञ्जलिपानांश्च ब्राह्मणान् वेदपारगान् ।
ययुर्मध्येन बाह्लीकान् सुदामानं च पर्वतम् ॥
विष्णोः पदं प्रेक्षमाणा विपाशां चापि शाल्मलीम् ।२/६८/१५-१९॥
They travelled beyond Sharadanda river which had clear water and which sheltered a large number of birds. They reached a holy tree called Satyopayachana, went round it with respect and then entered Kulinga city. After leaving behind Bodhibhavana they reached Abhikala and crossed the river Ikshumati dear to ancestors. Having observed Brahmins, well-versed in Vedas, who drank water with their palms they went through Bahlika seeing on the way Sudama mountain and Vishnupada and rivers Shalmali and Vipasha. 

गिरिव्रजं पुरवरं शीघ्रमासेदुरञ्जसा ।२/६८/२१॥
They reached quickly the great city Girivraja.
Go: Rajagriha is called Girivraja here.

मुरलीपत्तनं चैव रम्यं चैव जटापुरम् ।४/४२/१३॥
( In the western direction of Kishkindha) you will see Muralipattana and Jatapura.

तत्र प्राग्ज्योतिषं नाम जातरूपमयं पुरम् ।४/४२/३१॥
There you will see the city of Pragjyotisha.
Note: Pragjyotisha is normally associated with Eastern India, namely Assam. But here Valmiki mentions it in the Western direction!

ऐलधाने नदीं तीर्त्वा प्राप्य चापरपर्वतान् ।२/७१/३॥
- - - after crossing the river at Ailadhana and reaching western hills,

उपायात् राघवस्तूर्णं प्राग्वटे विश्रुते पुरे ।२/७१/९॥
Bharata quickly reached Pragvata, the famous town.

कलिङ्गनगरीं चापि प्राप्य सालवनं तदा ।
मैत्रे मुहूर्ते प्रययौ प्रयागवनमुत्तमम् ॥२/८९/२१॥
After reaching Kalinganagari and then the forest of Sala trees, he went to Prayaga forest at the auspicious time of Maitra.
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