"It is a great pity that the old Ms. is mutilated, and in such a condition as to make the work of reading it very difficult. The beginning is wanting. The leaves which contain cantos I-X has been broken in the middle by the friction of the thick string used for sewing the volume. Further, the lower portions of a considerable number of leaves have been lost, and as the lower left-hand side of the margin, on which stood the figures numbering the leaves, has also been broken off, it is impossible to determine the connection of the upper and the lower halves by any other means than by the sense."
Though the 'Ms. was discovered more than half a century ago, no new Ms. has been discovered since then to help us in reconstructing the whole work. What is all the more regrettable is the fact that the present Ms. breaks off abruptly towards the close of the twelfth canto., In the absence of any other copy of the Ms. it is impossible to say how many cantos the complete work contained, As ill-fortune would have it, the present Ms. brings us only to the coronation of Prithviraja and we are even left in the dark about the great victory, which the poet intended to sing here.
The defective and incomplete condition of the Ms. prevents us from knowing definitely from the work itself about its author. But a guess may be hazarded that the poet Jayanaka, who is mentioned coming to the court of Prithviraja from Kashmir in canto XII, verses 63 and 68, was in. all probability its author. Dr. Bithler says, "The author was certainly a contemporary of Prithviraja and one of his court poets. He probably was a Kashmiri and was a thoroughly good Kavi and Pandit."' This belief is further strengthened by the fact that not a single copy of the Ms. is found in the whole of Rajputana• and Jonaraja, the commentator of the work, also hails from Kashmir.
It is reasonable to suppose that the work must have been written to celebrate the great victory of Prithviraja over Shahab-uddin Ghori in 1191 A.D. immediately after the event. But his defeat and assassination in 1193 A.D. probably drove the poet back to his home in Kashmir, hence the absence of any Ms. of it in Rajputana.
The poem seems to have been written during the life-time of Prithviraja, as the author himself states that he was honored and induced to write the poem by the King (Prithviraja), the son of Soma vara.2 The date of the work can be fixed independently as well. Seven verses of the Prithvirajavijaya can be traced in the Al4nIcaravimarshini, a commentary by Rajanaka Jayaratha on the Alankdrasarvasva of Rajanaka Ruyyaka and in one place he distinctly states that it is quo dd from the Prithvirajavilaya.4 In the same way twelve verses" can be traced in the Alahko,'rodaharana of the same author. Jayaratha describes himself as the great-great-grandson3 of a brother of 8ivaratha, a minister of King Uchchala of Kashmir (1101-1111 A. D.)3. This would bring Jayaratha himself to about 1200 A.D. Now it is reasonable to suppose that if verses from the work of a writer are found quoted in the works of another writer, even if the two be contemporary, some Allow must elapse in order to make the forger's work known to the latter. Thus at a very conservative estimate we may put the date of the composition between the years 1191 and 1193 A. D.
The commentary of the poem, here offered, is by Jonaraja, the son of Nonaroja and grandson of Lolaraja, a famous author who wrote the second Raja-tarangini, and commented on the Kiratrirjuniya and the 8rikanthacharita of Mankha... His commentary on the Kiratarjuniya is dated 1449 A. D. and the present commentary on the Prithvirajavijaya must have been written, according to Dr. Buhler, between 1450 and 1475 A. D. It seems that in Jonaraja's time, the Prithvirajavijaya must have been a popular work among the scholars, as this commentator discusses various readings of the text. As the text and the commentary are presented in the same Ms., portions of the commentary have also been lost on account of the defective condition of the Ms. The commentary, however, has been helpful in restoring the missing text in certain places.
The early history of the Chauhanas, given by Colonel Tod in his Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan according to the bardic chronicles and the Prithvir4ja Ras of Chanda, is entirely unreliable.
Book's Contents and Sample Pages
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