The little volume now offered to the public contains two of the three Satakas of Bhartrhari, one of the celebrated poets of ancient India. Of the History of the poem or of its author very little is known that is authentic. The only circumstances in the life of Bhartrhari that we know have been handed down by traditions and the various accounts that these give can hardly be reconciled. Bhartrhari is traditionally represented as belonging to the Royal house of Ujjain; and though he was entitled to the crown, he is said to have abdicated it in favour of his younger brother Vikrama, the founder of the Samvat Era, as he was disgusted with wordly life on account of the discovery of his wife’s infidelity and retired to the forest wishing to lead an ascetic’s life. Be that as it may one fact appears to be incontrovertibly true from the general tenor of the Sasakas that Bhartrhari must have met with sore disappointment in life, and his faith in the virtue of women was perhaps shaken by certain bitter experiences in his own life or of those he had around. We give below the different accounts of him as found in different works. (1) In one Ms. The name of Bhartrhari’s wife, mentioned in connection with the above tradition, is given as Anangasena. (2) The Arvachinakosha mentions Virasena, a Gandharva, as the father of Bhartrhari. Four children were born, viz. Bhar., Vikramaditya Subhatavirya and Mainavati (the mother of the well-known Gopichanda). (3) Bhartrhari’s mother was Susila, the only daughter of the king of Jambudvipa. This king had no son and so he gave the kingdom to Bhartrhari who transferred the seat of government to Ujjain, placed Vikramaditya on the throne and appointed Subhatavirya his commander-in-chief (4) The name of Bh.’s wife was Padmakshi and she was the daughter of Simhasena, king of Magadha. (5) Mr. Sheshagiri Shastri gives a rather curious tradition. He says: -“King Vikramaditya is said to have been the son of a Brahmana named Chandragupta who married four wives, one of the Brahmana caste, another of the Kshatriya, the third of Vais’ya, the fourth of the Sudra caste. They were called Brahmani, Bhanumati, Bhagyavati and Sindhumati. Each of the four bore him a son. Vararuchi was born of the first wife, Vikramarka of the Second, Bhatti of the third, and Bhartrhari of the fourth. Vikramarka became king, and Bhatti served him in the capacity of Prime Minister.”
Back of the Book
This volume comprises two of the three famous Satakas (collection of one hundred stanzas) of the famous poet philosopher Bhartrhari. The first of them, the Niti Sataka, is proposed to guide people in their daily life and it lays emphasis on the moral virtues such as self-respect, perseverance, benevolence and moral courage etc. the second, Vairagya Sataka, exhorts the readers to turn away from worldly pleasures and seek mental calm in the solitude of the forest. It is edited by M.R. Kale who has added a simple commentary in Sanskrit, an English translation and copious notes. The introduction discusses the date and authorship of the satakas, the identity of Bhartrhari and Bhatti, the teachings and the literary estimate of the work.
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