On the 15th of October 1964 the Deccan College celebrates the centenary of its main Building, and curiously enough this period coincides with the Silver Jubilee of the Postgraduate and Research Institute which, as successor to the Deccan College, started functioning from 17th August 1939 when members of the teaching faculty reported on duty. When I suggested to members of our faculty the novel idea that the centenary should be celebrated by the publication of a hundred monographs representing the research carried on under the auspices of the Deccan Col- lege in its several departments they readily accepted the suggestion. These contributions are from present and past faculty members and research scholars of the Deccan College, giving a cross-section of the manifold research that it has sponsored during the past twenty-five years. From small beginnings in 1939 the Deccan College has now grown into a well developed and developing Research Institute and become a national centre in so far as Lin- guistics, Archaeology and Ancient Indian History, and Anthropology and Sociology are concerned. Its inter- national status is attested by the location of the Indian Institute of German Studies (jointly sponsored by Deccan College and the Goethe Institute of Munich), the American Institute of Indian Studies and a branch of the Ecole Francaise d' Extreme-Orient in the campus of the Deccan College. The century of monographs not only symbolises the centenary of the original building and the silver jubilee of the Research Institute, but also the new spirit of critical enquiry and the promise of more to come,
The commentary on Kalidasa's Meghadiita presented here is the work of a Jaina monk named Sumativijaya, pupil of Vinayameru of the Kharatara gaccha. Though he does not give the date of his composition," the approximate period of his literary activity may be inferred from the date of his commentary on the Raghuvarnsa" and this can be corroborated by the dates of the many works composed by his guru Vinayameru and his gurubhratr or gurubhai Bhanaji. Su's tika on the Raghuvarnsa was finished bet- ween 1690 and 1699 of the Vikrama Era, i.e. between 1633- 34 and 1642-43 A.D., though the precise date is uncertain due to a corruption of the chronogram in the MSS of this commentary of which the colophon was examined. A cursory study of this commentary suffices to show that on the whole it is a maturer work than the tika on the Me, the latter being clearly a product of the author's earlier years. This particular sequence of the two compositions need not occa- sion any surprise, since the Raghuvarnsa is a work of far greater dimension and pretense than the Me and hardly such as to engage the attention of a commentator before he had exercised his powers on a work of less ambitious scale. In view of this, then, it appears likely that the greater part of Su's literary activity was confined to the first half of the 17th century, or roughly to the reign of the Mogul Emperor Jehangir. This postulation accords with the chronology afforded by the known literary productions of his guru Vinayameru and gurubhai Bhanaji, as we shall presently see.
In his comment on the Me Su offers no information about himself save the bare fact that he is the 'clever pupil' (sisyena dhimata) of the Jaina Muni Vinayameru, but in the colophon of his Raghuvarnsa tika he gives his guru- parampara to the fifth degree from himself. To the genealogical tree which can be constructed therefrom, may be added the names of Sumatimeru and Bhanaji in con sequence of a declaration made by Bhanaji regarding' his preceptor. The former was gurubhratr of Vinayameru and the latter, as already stated, was Su's colleague.
It is apparent that Vinayameru's literary activity ranged between 1667 and 1698 V.E., i.e. f.rom 1610-11 to 1641-42 A.D. Since the date of Su's commentary on the Raghuvamsa cannot have been earlier than 1690 V.E. almost all of these works are anterior to it, as expected from the fact that Vinayameru must have been older than his sisya.
Of Su's colleague Bhanaji two works are known and extant: the Kavivinoda composed in 1745 V.E. in Lahore and Kavipramoda dated 1746 V.E. Nahata asserts that, while several Hindi works are known under the authorship of Bhanaji, caution must be exercised in attributing' them all to Su's gurubandhu, since there were various Hindi writers bearing the same name. It would seem then, that, since Bhanaji was alive at least up to the year 1746 V.E., he must have been a good deal younger than Su, his contempo-rary and colleague.
That Su belonged to the Kharatara gaccha is nowhere stated by him, but it may be with certainty inferred from Vinayameru's assertion of his own affiliation to this gaccha in several of his compositions. Incidentally, from the same author and partly also from Bhanaji, four acaryas of the Kharatara gaccha of the 17th and 18th centuries are known, viz. Jinacandasuri, Jinasimhasuri, Jinarajasuri, and Jina- sagarasuri. Su could not have belonged to a different gaccha from that of his guru and gurubandhu Bhanaji who also alludes more than once to his membership in the Kharatara gaccha.
The question may be raised whether the tika on the Raghuvamsa is incontrovertibly the work of the same Su who composed the vrtti on the Me. An examination of the colophon of both commentaries and a perusal of the text, however, amply suffice to prove the identity of authorship. First of all, in both works the author declares himself to be the pupil of Vinayameru in the same words: srimadvinaya-meravah .. ' iyam vihita sugamanvaya vrttih... tesam sisyena dhimata. Both commentaries bear exactly the same name, viz. sugamanvaya vrttih 'The Commentary of Easy Construction,' obviously an allusion to the general simpli- city and perspicuity which characterize the structure of the katharhbhuta-style of exposition. Both are alleged to have been written 'for the easy comprehension of young people' or 'of students' (in the Raghuvamsa : balavabodhartham and in the Me: (chatrasubodhartham). The same wish for his guru's welfare and long' life is expressed in the words jiyasu [r] dhidhanas ciram (Raghuvarhsa) and jiyiisur (Raghuvamsa) and jiyasur dhidhanah (Me). Also the place of composition is not only the same, but is expressed by an identical periphrasis, viz. vikramakhye pure 'in the city called Vikrama.' These and other points of similarly or identity can scarcely be judged fortuitous, and when viewed in the light of the generally similar style of exposition characterizing both tikas, it must be concluded that they are the product of one and the same author.
The place where these commentaries were written (or, more accurately, completed) is not immediately apparent from the periphrasis vikramakhye pure, since at first it might naturally be supposed that Vikrama (pura) is the well-known city of Ujjayini several times termed Vikrama-pura in the Kathasaritsagara. This identification, how- ever, is rendered implausible by a number of factors which, taken in the aggregate, indicate that Vikrama (pura) is the Sanskrit name for Bikaner in Rajasthan, as noted by G. R. NANDARGIKAR in his edition of the Me and the Raghuvamsa with Mallinatha's commentaries. But N was apparently uncertain of this equivalence and did not pursue the matter any further. Jaina monks and informed laity, however, are not at all doubtful about equating Vikrama (pura) with Bikaner, as inquiries among them readily demonstrate ; it is a well-established fact among them that the Sankrit form of Bikaner is Vikramanagara, or Vikramapura. Of course, to anyone who is familiar with the history of Bikaner, which was founded in the 15th century by a Rathor Rajput named Blka, it is evident that the proper Sanskrit rendering ought to be Bikanagara, of which Bikaner is merely the Rajasthani equivalent. Vikrama is, then, simply a wrong Sanskritization of the local name Bika, as though this were a popular corruption of a Prakrit Vikkama or Bikkama with contraction of the penultimate and final vowels through loss of intervocalic -m-. It is also possible that the true meaning of Bikaner was forgotten or lost sight of, and a Sanskrit name Vikramapura created as though from a theoretical Middle Indo-Aryan Bikkamaura, without reference at all to the founder of the city and by the application of the most dubious phonological laws. Support for the Jaina tradition concerning the identity of Vikramapura with Bikaner is afforded by the fact that several of the MSS utilized in the present reconstruction originated in Rajasthan, and that designated B2 was, according to the colophon, transcribed in Deshnoke. a small village near Bikaner. Furthermore, since Bhanaji calls himself an inhabitant of Bikaner in the prasasti of his Kavivinoda," in all probability Su too, carried on his lite- rary activity in the same city.
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend