RSS

Vidhyadharas and Nagas

06 Sep

The classic Indian epics such as the Mahabharata, the Ramayana and the Puranas refer to many exotic tribes, describing them as superhuman or subhuman. Narrations about these tribes are often mixed with mythology and fables. These includeGandharvas, Yakshas, Kinnaras, Kimpurushas, Rakshasas, Nagas, Suparnas, Vanaras, Vidyadharas, Valikilyas, Pisachas, Devas (within them Vasus, Rudras, Maruts, and Adityas) and Asuras (within them Danavas, Daityas and Kalakeyas.)

These exotic tribes may not have interacted frequently with the mainstream .The knowledge of them was perhaps very limited, which may have spurred the invention of fables and myths about them.

In the Indian mythology the exotic tribes were non-human or in some cases super human, living in distant planets .They were endowed exotic capabilities, that include

1. The ability to appear and disappear at will

2. The ability to fly in air

3. The knowledge of flying-craft (vimana)

4. The ability to change shape at will

5. The ability to read the mind of people

6. The knowledge about other inhabited places like the Earth

7. The ability to influence natural forces

In any case, these tribes had a profound influence on the myths, fables, culture and arts of Indian through the ages.

Vidhyadharas

Among them, the Vidyadharas belong to a category of beings known as Upadevas, or almost-Devas. They appear frequently in the epic and folk lore .Vidyadharas-as semi divine beings are very often depicted in Indian art and sculptor. Their fascinating figures are quite popular. They are usually seen on either side of the images of deities (Brahmanical, Buddhist and Jaina) and on the walls of temples.

By Shilpi Shri Siddalinga Swamy of Mysore

The treatment of Vidhyadharas in our lore is however not uniform. Their treatment in the Puranas, epics and literature, could be said to be three – fold.

In the Puranas:

Shrimad Bhagavatha describes the Bhuvarloka – the level of semi-demigods where the Carana, Vidyadhara, Kinnara, Kimpurusa etc reside. “Below Rahu by 10,000 yojanas [80,000 miles] are the planets known as Siddhaloka, Caranaloka and Vidyadhara-loka.” (SB 5.24.4). “Beneath Vidyadhara-loka, Caranaloka and Siddhaloka, in the sky called antariksha, are the places of enjoyment for the Yaksas, Raksasas, Pisacas, ghosts and so on. Antariksha extends as far as the wind blows and the clouds float in the sky. Above this there is no more air.” (SB 5.24.5)

A vidhyadhara cursed to live on earth tells Krishna “I am the well-known Vidyadhara named Sudarsana. I was very opulent and beautiful, and I used to wander freely in all directions in myVimana. Once I saw some homely sages of the lineage of Angira Muni. Proud of my beauty, I ridiculed them, and because of my sin they made me assume this lowly form.”

In another instance, Citraketu, the King of the Vidyadharas traveled by his Vimana, round the world. He visited hundreds of people in several places and was praised by the sages. He stayed on the heights of Kulâcalendra [Mount Meru].

In Mahabharata and Ramayana:

When Bhimasena went in search of the Saugadhika in the Himavath , by ascending the Gandhamadana mountain , he saw hillocks , thronged with Vidyadharas, inhabited on all sides by foresters and Kinnaras and Kimpurushas, and Gandharvas (3-144,157) .On the summits of the mountain were seen amorous Kimpurushas with their paramours, mutually attached unto each other; as also many Gandharvas and Apsaras clad in white silk vestments; and lovely-looking Vidyadharas, wearing garlands; and mighty Nagas, and Suparnas, and Uragas, and others. (3,158)

In Valmiki Ramayana – Sundara Kanda… When Hanuman leaps on the Himavath in search of theSanjivani 

“Vidhyadharas who lived there, became afraid and flew away with their women folk, leaving behind their golden jugs of wine in the liquor house, gold vases, a varieties of sauces that can be licked, eatables, various meats, skins of oxen and swords with golden hilts.

The intoxicated Vidyadharas with garlands around their neck decked with red flower garlands and smeared with sandal paste, with reddened eyes, and with lotus shaped eyes, obtained the sky. Vidyadhara women wearing necklaces, anklets, armlets and bangles stood in the sky with surprise and with smiles along with their loved ones. Vidyadharas and great sages stood in the sky in a group, showing their great prowess and viewed the mountain.”

“This Hanuman, who is equal to a mountain, who is the son of Vayu, and who has great speed, wants to cross the ocean which is abode to crocodiles. Hanuma has decided to perform an impossible task for the sake of Rama and Vanaras and wants to obtain the other side of ocean which is hard to obtain.” Vidyadharas thus listened to the words of those great people and looked at the incomparable Hanuma, best among Vanaras, standing on the mountain. “

Hanuma went, like Garuda, in the sky served by clouds (or streams of water), served also by birds,…served in various ways by excellent courageous groups of Vidyadharas.

*

According to the Nispanna –yogavali a Vajrayana Buddhist text of 9-10th century credited to Mahapandita Abhayankara Gupta of the Vikramasila monastery, the King of Vidhyadaras was known as Sarvartha-siddha; he holds garland of flowers; and his form complexion is said to be white- Sarvarthasiddho Vidyadhara-rajendro gaurah kusuma-mala-hastha.

flower2

In Sanskrit literature:

The Katha- sarith -Sagara, is a famous 11th century collection of Indian legends, fairy tales and folk tales written by Somadeva who said his source was the text of Gunadhya’s Brihat Katha in Paisachi dialect. The principle tale is the adventures of Naravahanadatta, son of the legendary king Udayana and his final attainment of Madanamanjarika as his wife and the land of the Vidyadharas as his kingdom. A large number of tales are built into this central story to make it the largest collection of Indian tales. The Katha-sarit-sagara deals not so much with concrete historical events but with problems and processes of life. The characters in the main story relate stories of other characters who in turn relate others’ stories and so on, like a stack. No story ends in separation or death. Here, all journeys really end in fulfillment of love.

Here, the Vidyadharas are beings known as Upadevas, or almost-Devas who live in a realm of their own, in the Himalayan region. The Vidyadharas, here, can fly through the air, change their appearance at will and are generally amorous and musically gifted. The Vidyadharas and humans deal with each other, and many humans married Vidyadhara damsels. The Vidyadharas are essentially neutral – they cooperate with the universal hierarchy, but they neither favor nor oppose the human race.

*

In other Sanskrit works too, the Vidyadharas are bearers of wisdom and resemble humans in most aspects except that they are all beautiful to look at and can change forms at will. They mingle with humans and intermarry. Vidyadharas are mentioned also in the Buddhist and Jain tales .The play, Nagananda by King Sri Harsha (606 – 648 C.E.) is based on the legend of the Vidyadharas that appears in the Brahatkatha by Gunadhya.  In that legend, all the characters in the play are mythological figures and creatures with the Bodhisattva Jimuthavahana at the center.

The scene of the play is the semi-divine regions of Vidyadhara loka and Siddha loka. The hero of the play is Jimuthavahana, Prince of the Vidyadharas, who on the Malaya Mountain meets and marries the Siddha princess Malayavati, a votary of Goddess Gauri (Shiva’s wife).The Siddhas are the inhabitants of the subtle world Siddhaloka;  and , are born with mystic powers. They walk and travel in space; they can be perceived to be present, but they cannot be seen.

 

As regards the main scene of the play; the description of the Malaya hill in Nagananda, mentions sandalwood trees , elephants, the ocean waves , pearls , banana plants and leaves etc. As per tradition, sage Agasthya lived in Malaya hill and Krishna’s elder brother Balarama visited him there. It is said to have seven peaks. Further, in Valmiki Ramayana , Kishkinda khanda , it is mentioned that “When Vali repulsed the buffalo-shaped demon Dundubhi towards Malaya mountain, then that buffalo entered the cave of Mt. Malaya, and Vali entered therein wishing to kill that buffalo. [4-46-3, 4].

In “Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s Travels to the Holy Places” , it is recorded after leaving Sri Ranga, Caitanya Mahaprabhu reached Rsabha-parvata, … Panagadi, Camtapura, Sri Vaikuntha, Malaya-parvata and Kanya-kumari.

The Malaya hills therefore, by all accounts, might refer to the ranges in the peninsular region of India stretching south from Sri Sailam, in the southern end of the Western Ghats.

Malayavathi was a Siddha princess. The term Siddha originally denoted one of the eighteen categories of celestial beings. These beings of semi-divine status were said to be pure and dwelling between the earth and the heaven. Later they became associated with a class of more adept human beings, yogis. Sage Agasthya is credited with introducing Siddha cult to the South. The Siddhas who worship Shiva have been particularly strong in Southern India from the early ages.They are also adepts in Tantra and alchemy. The Siddha cult is still revered and practiced in South India.

Above all , Shankachuda , the hapless Naga cries out in agony “After hastily paying my respects at the shrine of Gokarna , on the ocean’s shore , I again come to this slaughter-house of the Nagas.”

Gokarna marnava thate tvaritam pranmya prasthosmi tam khalu bhujagama –vadha –bhumim /

Malayavathi, therefore, might have been a Southern princess who married a Vidyadhara Emperor-to be, from the Himalayan region.

 [ Having discussed the academic aspects let me throw in a dampener.

There is another way to look at the whole issue . Nagananada is work of fiction based on a fable. The locations of the play Vidhyadhara-loka and siddha-loka might just be names; the locations could have been anywhere else too. Similarly the characters in the play could have been anyone else and not necessarily Vidhyadharas or Nagas. It is also possible the names of places and the charectars were random selections.There is no need to read too much into them . Just look at the more important things .

The more important factors are  the story line, its technique and the message of love, nobility and non-violence. These are in abundance in the play. Therefore, the play would still be of great significance, even if one ignores the context of the locale and the origin of its characters.

Let us however go along with the locale, characters and the spirit as portrayed in the play.]

 

8697784345_e75913d220

Nagananda, inspired by Buddhism, is one of the best Sanskrit dramas in five acts dealing with the popular story of Jimuthavahana’s self-sacrifice to save the Nagas. The story depicts how prince Jimuthavahana inspired by the noble virtues taught by the Buddha, offers his body to stop serpents being consumed daily by Garuda the leader of the birds; and how he succeeds in converting Garuda to the principle of ahimsa, abstention from causing injury to living beings.

Nagananda, ‘Joy of the Serpents,’ is in some respects quite unique. It is a rare instance of a Buddhist drama that has come down to us, well preserved.

**

Nagananda is often cited as a typical example of Drama that satisfies all the norms of a classic Nataka or Rupaka. Viswanatha in his Sâhitya-Darpana described such Rupaka (Nataka) as the most logical and perfect theatrical composition.  He says, according to the Dasarupaka, the structure of the Rupaka consists: five elements of the plot (arthaprakrti), matching with the five Stages (avastha) of the action, from which arise five structural divisions or sequence of events (samdhi) of the drama, which correspond with the elements of the plot and the actions associated with the stages in the hero’s pursuit and realization of his purpose, which is the conclusion (upasamhrti or nirvahana).

According that prescribed format for a Sanskrit Drama, the plot is expanded over five elements (Arthaprakrti): The opening sequence (mukha) is the seed (bija) very small at the beginning (arambha) ; and , expands (bindu) in multiple ways as the action proceeds into episodes (pathaka)  depicting various events (pathaki) and their resolution (karya). These are said to be the five elements of the plot (arthaprakrti).

Bīja bindu patākākhya prakaro kārya lakaā / arthapraktaya pañca tā etā parikīrtitā //

These five stages (Avastha) of action that are related to the achievement of the hero’s desired object (phala) are mentioned as:  Arambha (the beginning) – mere eagerness for the obtaining of the more important result; Yathna or Prayatna (effort) – exertion attended with great haste; Prapthya (prospect of success) – with means at hand, but also with fear of failure; Niyathapthi (certainty of success) – the confidence  of succeeding because of the absence of risk; and Phalagama or phala-yoga (successful attainment of the desired objective of the hero).

Avasthah panca karyasya prarabdhasya phalarthibhih / ararmbha-yatna-praptyasa-niyatapti-phalagamah.

The sequence of events (Samdhi) or Junctures corresponding to the five stages  (Avastha) of action are : the opening (mukha); the progression (pratimukha); the development (garbha); the pause in which one stops to reflect because of anger or passion or temptation (avamarsa or Vimarsa); and, the  successful conclusion (upasamhrti or nirvahana).

Antaraik arthasambandhah samdhir ekanvaye sati / Mukha-pratimukhe- garbhahs avamarsa upasarnhrtih

The Nivahana (conclusion or finale) is that Samdhi (juncture) in which the elemrnts of the plot that started with the opening scene (Mukha) and sprouted (Bija) in the subsequent scenes and later systematically and progressively spread over in the later scenes finally concluded with the hero attaining his desired objective.

Bija va anto mukhadyartha viprakirna yathayatham / aikarthyam uparuyante yatra nirvahanam hi tat //

*

The Bija, the seed or cause of the plot ( or Vibhava)  of Nagananda is Jimuthavahana’s strong desire to serve the world denouncing all the pleasures. In the opening scene (mukha) the hero announces: “Everything including my own body is certainly preserved by me for others.” After the seed (Bija) is planted, the incidents expand like a drop (Bindu) of oil on water. There is a determined effort (yatna) to achieve the object of desire. It is this step (Niyathapthi) which sustains the continuity of the action throughout the play.

The progress of the plot (Arthaprakrti) begins (Arambha) in the opening scene (mukha)  with Jimuthavahana’s determination to pass the days of his youth away from worldly temptations ; but , in serving and paying his utmost devotion to his old parents. He goes in search (Prayatna) of a penance grove in Malaya Mountain up to the point where the hero discovers Shankhachuda; and scarifies himself , as an act of boundless compassion – the object of his desire (Phalagama) –  and saves  the victim  whose body was about to be offered to Garuda.

 *

As a Nataka, the Nagananda conforms to the rules of dramaturgy , on broad lines. The Vastu, the plot, is famous, as it is a story  derived from the Buddhist legend Brhatkatha by Gunadhya. Its hero (Neta) is a worthy and an exalted person of virtue. The play displays Srngara, Vira and Adbhuta Rasas, though it’s dominant Rasas is Shantha. The play is in five acts; and, each act ,,except the first, begins with Pravesaka.

Though the drama is Buddhist in inspiration,  Goddess Gauri steps in to rescue  and  restoring Jimuthavahana back to life . The hero is a Bhodisatva, the Buddha in-making, and the heroine is an ardent devotee of Goddess Gauri. The religious affiliations are blended harmoniously; though the play is Buddhist  in its tenor . Ultimately, it is the Goddess Gauri who restores the dead hero to life, and  brings the play to a happy and an  auspicious (Mangala) conclusion.

The play begins with the auspicious Naandi verses, in salutations to the Buddha; and, it concludes (Mangala) with a prayer to the Goddess Gauri. A unique characteristic of this drama is the invocation to the Lord Buddha in the Naandi verses (considered one of the best examples of the dramatic compositions) .

The Naandi slokas submit a prayer to the Buddha in a rather interesting way:

[ The Apsaras, the celestial nymphs, in mock anger accuse the Buddha: “Oh, you, the one pretending to meditate; tell me on which woman are you meditating;  open your eyes for a moment  and see . You are the savior, yet you do not protect us  while we  are hit by the shafts of the cupid. Is your benevolence false ? Are you really compassionate?! Who could be more cruel  than you?”

May the all-conquering Buddha, who overcame the amorous temptations of the daughters of Mara, thus resentfully addressed by the nymphs, protect you!

As the Mara holds his attractive arrows; as  his band of followers dance playing on resounding drums; as the bewildered  Apsaras  quiver and  watch with  eyes rolling, brows Knitted , and  mouths agape , crying and smiling at the same time; as the Siddhas (sages) submit their salutations with their heads  bent down; and as Indra , the king of Devas, with his hair standing on end, watches with astonishment –  the Buddha , the Lord of the sages, seated in rock-firm posture, filled with transcendental knowledge, continues to mediate in supreme bliss, unperturbed by the surrounding enchantments.

May such triumphant Buddha, the Lord of the sages (Munindra), protect you.

Dhyanam vyajaha upetya chintayasi kam unmilaya chakshuh kshanam / Pashya ananga sharah athuram jana imam trata api no rakshasi / Mithya karunika asi nighrunatara svatham kruthsu anyah puman  /Irshayam Mara vadhubhihi itya abhihitau Bhuddau jinah paathu  vah // 1.1//

ध्यानव्याजमुपेत्य चिन्तयसि कामुन्मील्य चक्षुः क्षणं /पध्यानङ्गशरातुरं जनमिमं त्राताऽपि नो रक्षसि ।मिथ्याकारुणिकोऽसि निर्घृणातरस्त्वत्तः कुतोऽन्यः पुमान्/ सेर्ष्यं मारवधूभिरित्यभिहितो बोधौ जिनः पातु वः ॥ १.१ ॥

Kamena akrushya chapam hatah patu pata hatha avalingabhir virau / Brumandol uthkampa jumbha smitham chalelitha drusham divya nari janena / Siddhau prahvo utthamangahahi pulakita vaspusha vismayad vasavena / Dhyayath bhodaha avaptitah achalitha ithi vah paathu drustau Munindraha //1.2//  

कामेनाकृष्य चापं हतपटुहावल्गिभिर्मारवीरैर् / भ्रभङ्गोत्कल्पजृम्भास्मितचलितद्दृशा दिव्यनारीजनेन । सिद्धैः प्रह्वोत्तमाङ्गैः पुलकितवपुषा विस्मयाद्वासवेन / ध्यायन् बोधेरवाप्तावचलित इति वः पातु दृष्टो मुनीन्द्रः ॥ १.२ ॥ ]

buddha9490

The Dasrupaka mentions the main aspects of the Drama (Rupaka) as : the plot, the hero and the Rasa (pradhāna, netà and rasa). The subject or the story should always be about celebrated and important persons. The plot should be simple, the incidents should be consistent; the progression of the events should spring direct from the story.

The plot (Vastu) of Nagananda is, of course, derived from a well respected source , is a noble one , lauding the virtues of Dharma, Ahimsa ( non violence)  and Karunya ( compassion towards all beings), wishing the welfare and happiness of all  .

As regards Jimuthavahana, the Neta, hero of the play Nagananda, oriented to the Buddhist ideal of compassion; he  is a noble type of character. Dhanika, a commentator of Dhananjaya’s Dasa-rupaka,  treats Jimuthavahana of the Nagananda on par with Rama in the highest category of the heroes (Neta) – Dhirodddata. Because, Jimuthavahana has control over his senses; does not let emotions override his actions; maintains his composure even under dire circumstances; shelters the weak and threatened; always wishes and strives to do good to others; sacrifices his kingdom to serve his parents; and, offers himself as a meal to Garuda , in order to protect and save a hapless child-snake, Shankachuda, the only son of his mother. Jimuthavahana is also wise, well versed in Shastras and is skilled in arts; he paints a beautiful portrait of his beloved Malayavathi.

 *

In regard to the Rasa, the emotional experience that it conveys, Abhinavagupta (11th century) the celebrated philosopher and commentator , cites Nagananda as a classic example of depicting  and conveying Shanta rasa (peace and tranquility). He characterized the main features of the play as : its philosophical outlook (Tattva-jnana); and the hero’s intense desire to seek liberation (Mokska) as his ultimate object of attainment (Phala). Abhinava, points out that for plays of such genre, the Shantha rasa is the most appropriate.

The sthayi Bhava of Shantha Rasa is well brought out by Sri Harsa, beginning with Jimuthavahana’s conversation with his friend Atreya. The description of the philosophical truths, evils of worldly pursuits, transitory nature of life and the merits of practicing austerities after renouncing the world are supported by Vibhava, Anubhava and Sanchari Bhavas that are most suitable for the Sthayins that project Santa Rasa. His desire to attain liberation is the cause (Vibhava). The willful renunciation of worldly pleasures , pondering  over  the spiritual and philosophical  aspects of life,  the practice of austerities , and the self-less desire to to good to all beings are well depicted as the Anubhavas. Finally, Jimuthavahana achieves  his desired objects (phala prapthi or phalayoga) when he rescues Shankhachuda from certain death.

*

According to the earlier norms; a Nataka should comprise one Rasa-either Srngara or Vira; and in the concluding part the Adbhuta  would become prominent

Eko rasa – angi -kartavyo virah srigara eva va / angamanye rasah sarve kuryannivahane –adbhutam

It was also said  that in the presentation of the play one should avoid , among other things, showing such events as: long travel; murder; war; violent over throw; bloodshed; eating; etc., etc.

Dura-dhavanam; vadham; yuddham ; rajya-dessadiviplavan/ samrodham; bhojanam; snanam ; suratam; ca-anulepanam/ amvara-grahanadini pratyakshani na nirdiset na-adhikaraivadham kvapi tyajyam – avasyakam na ca //

Against such cliches, Abhinavagupta in his Abhinavabharati, a commentary on Natyasastra, argued that a play could be a judicious mix of several Rasas, but should be dominated by one single Rasa that defines the tone and texture of the play. He cited Nagananda of Sri Harsha; and, explained though the play had to deal with the horrific killing of the hapless Nagas, it underplays scenes of violence, and radiates the message of peaceful coexistence and compassion towards all beings. It is the aesthetic experience of Shanta – peace and compassion towards the fellow beings – which the spectator carries home

white lotus

Towards the end of the play, the Great Goddess Gauri restores Jimuthavahana to life, blesses and crowns him as the Emperor of the Vidhyadharas; and sprinkles him with the waters of the nearby Manasa Lake. As nobles of the Vidhyadharas carry gifts of many jewels, gems and the chowries of yak’s tail, white as the autumn moon; Gauri gifts Jimuthavahana with the golden wheel ,the four-white tusked elephant and finally the most beautiful maiden , Malayavathi.

Jimuthavahana, in great jubilation, with hands raised above his head,  submits to the Goddess Gauri  and prostrates at her feet : Bhagavathi , Devi one who grants all wishes, more than asked for, removes all miseries and pains , the supreme protector of all beings, I bow at your feet Oh Gauri , the ever celebrated goddess  of the Vidyadharas.

Bhagavathi,  abhilashita adhika varade, prani-pathitha-janatri harini / sharanye charanau namamhyaham te Vidyadhara  Devate , Gauri //5.35//

Mahadevi

Nagas

naga

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*

 

Finally, as regards the Nagas, it is said that Nagas were a group of people spread throughout India during the period of Mahabharata. Their original abode could be the Airavata region in the far north, near the Iravati River (Ravi). As per Mahabharata, Nagas and Suparnas were two races having kinship. Kadru was the mother of the Naga race (1-16,122). Sister of Kadru viz. Vinata was the mother of Suparnas .The Suparnas headed by Garuda were formerly servants of the Nagas. With the help of Devas, Garuda ended that slavery; and later Suparnas became enemies of the Nagas (3,159).

Mahabharata also mentions that the territory of Suparnas, the enemies of Nagas ,was close to Hiranyapura the city of the Daityas and Danavas. Suparnas were described thus:-“By their acts they may be said to belong to the Kshatriya order, but they are all without any compassion as they mercilessly slay the Nagas, their kinsmen. They never attain to spiritual enlightenment in consequence of their hatred towards their relatives. However, the race of Suparnas is much regarded in consequence of the favor that is shown to it by Vishnu, the younger brother of Deva king Indra. All Suparnas dwell in only a single province of the region containing the cities of Patalam and Hiranyapura (5,101).

Naga race was almost exterminated by Janamejaya, the Kuru king, who conducted the massacre of Nagas at Takshasila. That massacre was stopped by Astika, a Brahmin whose mother was a Naga (Vasuki’s sister Jaratkaru). The city named after Takshaka, viz Takshasila (Taxila) to the west of the river Vitasta (Jhelum) was the abode of Naga Takshaka.

Nagas had kingdoms also in Nagaland and Andhra Pradesh. Arjuna’s wife Uloopi was a Naga princess in the line of Kauravya belonging to the race of Airavata, the original Nagas. Uloopi’s former husband was slain by a Suparna. She was childless. A son named Iravat was born to Arjuna and Uloopi. But Uloopi’s brother hated Arjuna since he destroyed the Nagas dwelling in Khandava forest ;and therefore abandoned Uloopi and his son. Iravat grew in the territory of Nagas, protected by his mother. Later when Arjuna visited the Deva region to the northeast of the Naga territories, Arjuna accepted him as his beloved son, and asked him to render assistance in battle at Kurukshetra. Iravat participated in the War with cavalry force driven by Naga warriors. He was slain by the Rakshasa Alamvusa, the son of Risyasringa (6, 91).

Some scholars opine that a tribe called Suparna (to which Garuda belonged) was the archrival of the Nagas. The Suparnas were probably falcon rising or falcon worshipping tribes

In any event, Jimuthavahana brought about peace and reconciliation between the Nagas and Suparnas. He succeeded in convincing the Suparnas the futility of perusing the hostilities and inflicting needless harm on other living beings.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The first half of the play is permeated with gentle romance; the Siddha princess from South marries a Vidyadhara Emperor of the Himalayan region. The later half is about nobility, sacrifice and peaceful coexistence. The Buddha is the moving spirit behind Jimuthavahana’s efforts to bring about peace between two warring tribes; and the Goddess Gauri blesses his success. The Nagananda aptly commences with a salutation to the Buddha and ends with a benediction to Goddess Gauri.

What more can anyone ask…

 

By Shilpi Shri Siddalinga Swamy of Mysore

 

References:

http://www.yorku.ca/inpar/nagananda_boyd.pdf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naga_Kingdom#Naga_cities

Note: This was attempted , initially , as a response to a blog posted by
 sharmila pn
nagananda — tracing harshavardhana’s play geographically

श्रीहर्षविरचितं नागानन्दम्: The Sanskrit Text with Annotated English

..

Paintings of Vidhyadhara and Garuda
By Shilpi Shri Siddalinga Swamy of Mysore

others from Internet

 
11 Comments

Posted by on September 6, 2012 in Sanskrit

 

Tags: , , , ,

11 responses to “Vidhyadharas and Nagas

  1. prabhu

    March 6, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Amazing study taking me to the age of Gods, Many connected things such as literature, music,Yoga, Tantra,supported by miniature paintings. I only read it, after studying I will interact with you to enrich my self on more subjects.

    Actually I landed up into your web ( Like a bee trapped in Lotus not knowing the sunset) to find a poetry during the time of King Sarabhoji of Tanjore. Apoet in his time wrote a sanskrit work The poem when read forward refers Ramayana and when read from end in reverse will give Bhagavatam reference.

    If the information is available in your treasure please guide me.

     
    • sreenivasaraos

      March 6, 2013 at 7:10 pm

      Dear Shri Prabhu , you are welcome. Thank you for the appreciation . Please do read the other articles too.

      I DID NOT QUITE GET YOUR LAST COMMENT. : ” If the information is available in your treasure please guide me.
      Please let me know the specific information you are looking for.

      Regards

       
      • prabhu

        March 7, 2013 at 7:10 am

        Thanks for your prompt response and accepting me in your circle.
        I read about a sanskrit work by a poet lived during Sarboji of Tanjavur, who wrote
        Viloma type of poetry when read from front it means Ramayana and from back wards it gives Bhagavatam, similar to Rama krishna viloma.I wanted to know the poet’s name and the title of his book

         
      • sreenivasaraos

        March 8, 2013 at 2:34 am

        Dear Shri Prabhu , Please check my post Chitrakavya – Chitrabandha at https://sreenivasaraos.com/category/sanskrit/

        And also https://sreenivasaraos.com/tag/sadashiva-brahmendra/
        It might perhaps help.

        Regards

         
      • prabhu

        March 8, 2013 at 2:20 pm

        Thanks I am reading them. That only prompted me to seek your guidance

         
      • sreenivasaraos

        March 8, 2013 at 2:35 pm

        You are welcome Dear Prabhu
        Remarks

         
      • prabhu

        March 8, 2013 at 2:46 pm

        I hope you wil

        “SrimAn VenaktanAthArya: kavithArkika kEsarI!

        VedAnthAchArya varyO mE sannidhatthAM sadhA hrudhi”!!

        Swami Desika, in VairAgya Panchakam repeatedly warns

        us that acquiring material pursuits is a waste

        because they are temporary in nature. Swami further

        emphasises that one has to slog only for the

        permanent wealth – the Lord!!!!

        Let us look into the penultimate Sloka of

        VairAgya Panchakam,

        “Shareera patanAvadhi prabhu nishevaNApAdanAth

        abindhana dhananjaya prashamadam dhanam dandhanam !

        dhananjaya vivardhanam dhanamudUda gOvardhanam

        Su-sAdhanamabAdhanam sumanasAm samArAdhanam !!”

        — vairAgya Panchakam (4)

        Swami Desika says, What is the use of acquiring any

        amount of wealth? All this is used only to fill

        our stomach with water and food in order to subside

        hunger and satisfy jataragni. To earn this wealth,

        one has to keep praising rich people till one’s death.

        This wealth acquired by doing servitude to some persons

        till the fall of the physical body is similar to that

        of a lighting in the cloud and is not permanent.

        To earn this temporary wealth, one has to put in a

        lot of efforts and face too many difficulties. Why

        suffer so much of difficulties unnecessarily?

        Swami Desika explains to us that there is one

        everlasting wealth – Lord Krishna! When this wealth

        is approached one gets enormous auspicious things.

        This wealth enlightened Arjuna and lifted up the

        Govardana Hill. This wealth is the proper means and

        is the sole sAdhana for attaining all purusharthas.

        Swami Desika empathetically states that When this

        true wealth, Lord Krishna, is there, attempting for any

        other wealth is an unnecessary effort!

        Swami Desika, in this Sloka plays with the word ‘dhana’.

        The word ‘Dhana’ (wealth) occurs eleven times. It has

        different meanings when taken with the preceding

        or succeeding syllable or word.

        Shri Dr.S. Padmanabhan has explained the usage of the

        word dhana, in this Sloka thus:

        “Wealth (dhana) obtained by servitude is impermanent.

        Just like a lightning (dhananjaya) that appears in the

        cloud (abindhana) it is perishable (dandhana). The

        real wealth (dhana) is the one which nourished

        Arjuna (dhnanjaya), (vivardhana) which lifted govardhana,

        which is imperishable (abadhana), which is the proper

        means (susadhana) and which is worshipped by wise.”

        The difference between the temporary wealth which is

        insignificant, perishable and hard-earned and the eternal

        is effectively brought out.

        Swami’s extraordinary knowledge of Sanskrit vocabulary

        and proficiency in their use is evident in this Sloka (also).

        In this Sloka we can enjoy the charming poetic aspect and

        at the same time get immersed in Swami’s vairAgyam.

        This Sloka is a feast for our ears and food for our

        thought!!

        “Kavi Taarkika Simhaaya Kalyaana guna SaalinE!

        SrimatE VenkateshAya VedAnta Gurave nama !!”

        …To be continued!

        dEsikan tiruvaDigaLE SaraNam

        Praveena nAmni Ramanuja dasi

        l relish this sloka

        “SrimAn VenaktanAthArya: kavithArkika kEsarI!

        VedAnthAchArya varyO mE sannidhatthAM sadhA hrudhi”!!

        Swami Desika, in VairAgya Panchakam repeatedly warns

        us that acquiring material pursuits is a waste

        because they are temporary in nature. Swami further

        emphasises that one has to slog only for the

        permanent wealth – the Lord!!!!

        Let us look into the penultimate Sloka of

        VairAgya Panchakam,

        “Shareera patanAvadhi prabhu nishevaNApAdanAth

        abindhana dhananjaya prashamadam dhanam dandhanam !

        dhananjaya vivardhanam dhanamudUda gOvardhanam

        Su-sAdhanamabAdhanam sumanasAm samArAdhanam !!”

        — vairAgya Panchakam (4)

        Swami Desika says, What is the use of acquiring any

        amount of wealth? All this is used only to fill

        our stomach with water and food in order to subside

        hunger and satisfy jataragni. To earn this wealth,

        one has to keep praising rich people till one’s death.

        This wealth acquired by doing servitude to some persons

        till the fall of the physical body is similar to that

        of a lighting in the cloud and is not permanent.

        To earn this temporary wealth, one has to put in a

        lot of efforts and face too many difficulties. Why

        suffer so much of difficulties unnecessarily?

        Swami Desika explains to us that there is one

        everlasting wealth – Lord Krishna! When this wealth

        is approached one gets enormous auspicious things.

        This wealth enlightened Arjuna and lifted up the

        Govardana Hill. This wealth is the proper means and

        is the sole sAdhana for attaining all purusharthas.

        Swami Desika empathetically states that When this

        true wealth, Lord Krishna, is there, attempting for any

        other wealth is an unnecessary effort!

        Swami Desika, in this Sloka plays with the word ‘dhana’.

        The word ‘Dhana’ (wealth) occurs eleven times. It has

        different meanings when taken with the preceding

        or succeeding syllable or word.

        Shri Dr.S. Padmanabhan has explained the usage of the

        word dhana, in this Sloka thus:

        “Wealth (dhana) obtained by servitude is impermanent.

        Just like a lightning (dhananjaya) that appears in the

        cloud (abindhana) it is perishable (dandhana). The

        real wealth (dhana) is the one which nourished

        Arjuna (dhnanjaya), (vivardhana) which lifted govardhana,

        which is imperishable (abadhana), which is the proper

        means (susadhana) and which is worshipped by wise.”

        The difference between the temporary wealth which is

        insignificant, perishable and hard-earned and the eternal

        is effectively brought out.

        Swami’s extraordinary knowledge of Sanskrit vocabulary

        and proficiency in their use is evident in this Sloka (also).

        In this Sloka we can enjoy the charming poetic aspect and

        at the same time get immersed in Swami’s vairAgyam.

        This Sloka is a feast for our ears and food for our

        thought!!

        “Kavi Taarkika Simhaaya Kalyaana guna SaalinE!

        SrimatE VenkateshAya VedAnta Gurave nama !!”

        …To be continued!

        dEsikan tiruvaDigaLE SaraNam

        Praveena nAmni Ramanuja dasi

         
      • sreenivasaraos

        March 8, 2013 at 3:40 am

        Dear Shri Prabhu ,There is also a Viloma kavya by Venkatadvari titled Yadava-raghaveeyam. The Raghavayadhaveeyam is a poem with two meanings (anuloma-viloma-kavya ) comprises 30 verses and deals with the story of Rama and Krishna together by adopting the style of anuloma and prathiloma, that is, reading each stanza as such and in reverse order, the former telling the story of Rama while the latter narrating the story of Krishna. Hence this work actually consists of 60 slokas in all.

        It is said; Sri Venkatadhvarin or Venkatacarya was the son of Raghunatha and Sitamba of the Atreyagotra . His grand-father Sririnivasa known as Appayaguru was the nephew of the great Tatacharya of Kancheepuram , a contemporary of Appayadiksita .

        Venkatadhvari who lived in the 17th century is believed to have been born at Arasanipalai a hamlet near Kancheepuram and was a follower of Sri Vedntadesika. He had mastery in poetry and rhetoric. He composed 14 works, the most important of them being Lakshmisahasram a hymn to Goddess Lakshmi which is modelled on “Padukasahasram” [पादुकासहस्रम्], the well-known work of Sri Vedantadesika.

        [King Sarabhoji of Tanjore (1712-1727)]

        Regards

         
      • prabhu

        March 8, 2013 at 2:18 pm

        I thank god for giving your reference. Your reply shows authority on these topics and a ready reckoner.

        I wish I will learn more from you on our ancient tradition

         
  2. sreenivasaraos

    March 21, 2015 at 7:00 am

    dear rao sir
    that was a very informative write up on a fascinating subject. your post was like a refresher of all the stories we had heard and read as kids. the values these stories hold forth are eternal and survive beyond the geographical boundaries they were initially set in; remarkably preserved in grandma’s re-tellings of these classics.
    many thanks for the post.

    regards
    melody

    ps: i had read your 3 part series on dharma and 5 part series on temple rituals. i enjoyed them too.

     
    • sreenivasaraos

      March 21, 2015 at 7:05 am

      dear melody queen ,

      thank you for the appreciation.

      that was attempted as a comment on a blog posted by sharmila pn on nagananda the sanskrit play by the king sri harsha (7th century) .since i did not quite agree with her interpretation ,i tried to explain the position . that comment grew in length and i posted it as a blog.

      sharmila pn agreed with what i had written , there were three other comments on that page .now when i looked up , all the four earlier comments including that of sharmila , have vanished ….!

      i reckon , had i not focused on nagananda , i could perhaps have covered a wider area in that subject.

      thanks. keep talking.

       

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: