Sanskrit literature, which is an index of the life of Indian nation, contains various scientific topics like Arts, Architecture, Sports, Hunting and such other subjects. The present work Sainika-Sãstram is a unique and interesting treatise detailing therein all the aspects of hawking. It was composed by Rudradeva or Rudracandradeva, a king of Kürmãcala or Kumãon, belonging to the 16th Cen. A.D. The auother has systematically incorporated in this book all his experiences in hawking. In totality it is a practical work having importance not only on mere theories.
The book was first published by the Asiatic Society, Kolkata in 1910. This creation was prepared by Mahamanopadhyay Haraprasad Shastri on the basis of three Manuscripts, two of which are preserved in the Asiatic Society Musenm. The work has also a commentary named ainika-4ãstravrtti, the manuscript of which is preserved in the Asiatic Society The Ms (G. 8244) of this vrtti is incomplete and very much mutilated. The name Malaya Raghunatha Sarma appearing on some of the folia of the Mss seems to be that of the commentator or any user of the commentary.
The subject-matter of the text has been elaborately prepared by Dr Smt. Mina Hati of Vivekananda Mahavidyalaya, Burdwan. The theme in short was also given in the ‘Preface’ of MM Haraprasad Shastri’s edition and for the easy understanding of the readers It is being reproduced here.
“The first chapter is devoted to the defence of what Panditas would call “vices”; and the defence is eminently practical. These should be indulged in for the enjoyment of life. But none should be wholly given up to them. In the second chapter these “vices” are enumerated and defined. The last of the vices is mrgaya or hunting. In the third chapter various kinds of hunting are enumerated and defined, the last of which is syenapãta or hawking. In the fourth chapter various kinds of hawks are enumerated and described. Their training and their capacity for hunting birds and beasts are also described there in great detail. The fifth chapter is devoted to the kind and quantity of their food, their tending in different seasons, and the treatment of their diseases. In the sixth, various methods of sports with these birds are described; and, in accordance with the time-honoured custom of Indian Panditas, the enjoyment of the eight different Rasas or emotions can be derived from the sport of hawking. In the seventh are the after-enjoyments of the sport. The Royal poet is methodical, and he rarely uses a word that is not necessary.”
MM Shastri’s views on the date of the author may also quoted here.
“It is difficult to find when Rudradeva flourished. The same Rudradeva of Kumãon has a Smrti compilation, written in the same style and in the same methodical way. In the Syainika-Sãstra he uses many words that are of Turkish or Persian origin. That is no proof of date. For it is known for certain that Indians had connections with Turks from very remote antiquity. In a work written by the Kashmirian poet Dãmodara, the Turkish leather-shoes are described as much in vogue at Benares in the ninth century. In the inscriptions of Govindacandra of Kanauj, the trade in Turkish articles is discouraged by imposing a high tariff on them. The Turks came in and settled in India by hundreds after the eruption of Jengis Khan into their country in the thirteenth century. So the use of Turkish words is no criterion to fix the date. The absence of any mention of guns and gunpowder shows that the book was written when gunpowder was not known in India, that is, at least three hundred years ago. The ct that this Raja wrote a Nibandha shows that he did not belong to the Hindu but to the Mahommedan period of the Indian History. For the Nibandhas began to be written on4y after the Mahommedans had set their foot in India. Nor could he have written the book in the first century of the Mahommedan conquest. For, we know from the Gaya and Buddha Gayã inscriptions that the kings of Kumãon of that century were Buddhists. The composition of the book, therefore, would range from between the thirteenth to the sixteenth century of the Christian era. This period may be still more contracted by the fact that Rudradeva in his Smriti work, entitled Traivarnika-dharma-nirnaya, quotes from Kullüka Bhatta who flourished about the middle of the fifteenth century. Rudradeva therefore, must came after him.
The text and translation of MM Shastri’s edition have been arranged in a different way in the present one. Sm. Sumita Chattrjee, Project Assistant in the Deptt. of Sanskrit, Jadavpur University deserves thanks for taking trouble of correcting the proof. Publishers is also to be thanked for his interest in publishing this book. Manabendu Banerjee Formerly Professor of Sanskrit, Jadavpur University;
27July 2005 27/L/5Raja S. C. Mullick Manabendu Benerjee
Road, Kolkata - 700 032 formerly Professor of Sanskrit,
Secretary, Sanskrit Sahitya
The Asiatic Society, Kolkata.
DATE AND HISTORY OF RUDRACANDRA DEVA
The Gazetteer of Kumãon by Atkinson and Vadridatta Pandey’s ‘Kumãon kã itihas’ narrates the history of the Candra dynasty of Kumãon where Rudracandradeva has been dealt with in detail.
Rudracandra, a Rajput of the Candra family was the king of Kumãon. He had contributed to the history of Sanskrit literature by his creative talent. Gaurinatha Sastri, in his introduction to the Usaragodaya-naika, has distinctly admitted that Rudradeva composed ‘Syainika-Sãstra’, ‘Traivariika-dharma-niriaya’, ‘Yayati-carita’, and the ‘Usaragodyã nãtikã’.
Vadridatta Pandeya has narrated in his book ‘Kumãon ka itihas’ that king Rudracandradeva of Kumãon composed ‘Syainika-Sastra’ and ‘Traivarnika-dharmanirnaya. MM. H.P Shãstri has also admitted this theory.
Rudracandradeva, the most famous king of the Candra family, is said to have come on the throne after the rules of forty-four kings of Kumãon. His father Bãlo Kalyan passed away in the year 1565 A.D. and he was succeeded by his son Rudracandra as recorded in the Gazetteer. But Gourinãth Sastri has pointed out that Rudradeva’s accession on the throne was in about 1568 A.D — and he ruled up to 1597.
Rudracandra was very young when he ascended the throne. Naturally, his childhood was -mostly guided by his mother and by the royal priests who were present at his father’s court and who also participated in the State’s administration. “One of the earliest acts of his long reign (1565-97) was the re-establishment of the worship of Mahãdeo at Bälesar in Kali-Kumãon. A Sanyasi named Rãmadatta told the young Raja that his kingdom was once buried in the ground near the temple of Mahãdeo at Balesvar. The Raja paid a visit to the temple and dug where he was desired by the Sanyasi to do so and discovered there
a great piece of stone which was set up in the temple and endowed with a nail of grain from each village at each harvest. Rãmadatta was appointed guardian of the temple and built his mausoleum near it.”
Just after the accession of Rudracandra, Hussan Khan, the Governor of Sãhajanpur attacked on Tarãi and Bhãvar. This cruel fellow of Akbar’s court was familiar by his nick name ‘Tukhriah’ for his tyranny towards the Hindus. At that time a gossip about the unbounded treasure of Norther India was running on. Northern India gradually appeared to Hussan Khan as a place of wealth that made him
enchanted to conquer that land. He set forth from Lucknow towards Sivãlik hills. On his way he demolished all the temples, as he had heard that their bricks were made of gold and silver and some other false but tempting reports of their immeasurable wealth had come to his ears. The Hillman, as they did often after a slight combat, ran away for security on another hill peak on which the ascent was very dangerous, Hussan than then got in and destroyed the country, Wajrail, and then the capital of Ajmer of Raja Rainkã, a powerful Zaminder of Doti at the foot of the hills. This place was on the west of Gãrwãl between Mãlini and Koh rivers, which was at that time in the possession of Sãha rulers of Gãrwãl. But when Hussan Khan was far after two day’s Journey from Tibet, a heavy rain discouraged his battalian to proceed on. Hussan Khan, by no means succeeding his men to move forward, had to turn back. On his return the hill-men threw away stones and poisoned arrows and blocked up the way which bewildered Hussan Khan’s army and forced them to stop their first expedition. But Hussan Khan never lost his nerve. He made another attempt. ‘This was in 1575 A.D. and all his efforts were now divided to gain the possession of Vasantapura, a town of considerable importance and reputed wealth in the Eastern Dun. This expedition was solely actuated by his religious zeal and a love of plunder; after breaking the idols, defiling
the temples and laying waste the country, Hussan Khan returned to his estate with much plunder’.
Meanwhile, all these misdeeds of Hussan Khan upon a friendly State came to the ears of the Mughal emperor Akbar. He was vexed with Hussan and recalled him at Delhi where he died for the wounds he had suffered in the encounter.
So it is clear that though Hussan Khan plundered so many hill countries, yet he did not enter the region of Kumãon. There is nothing to show that Hussan Khan ever penetrated into Kumãon, though he held the Kumãon Tarãi under his control, which lay not far to the north of his Jaigir.
There is a tradition current in the hill-areas that after the death of Hussan Khan, Rudracandra, who was already matured in the administrative affairs, drove out all the Muslim officials from Tarãi. The Mughal Emperor then sent a regiment to the aid of the Governor of Kãtihãr to restrain the Hindu Raja. Rightly believing that he could not withstand the enemy in the open field, Rudracandra proposed that the claim to the Tarãi should be decided by a single combat between the champions of the respective forces. This suggestion was accepted by the Mughals and Rudracandra fought on behalf of the Hindus and a Mughal officer on behalf of Muslims. After a fierce combat Rudracandra gained the victory. Akbar, having learnt the news was so pleased that he invited the Hindu Raja to Lahore and presented him the Caurasi-mal Parganas and also released him from his personal attendance at court during the remaining period of his life.
Rudracandra, moreover, made Virbal, the celebrated minister of Akbar his purohit and upto the close of the Candra rule, the descendants of Virbal used to visit Almorã to collect the customary dues. It is recorded in the Gazetteer, “This little pieces of boasting is pardonable in the local traditions when we have the acknowledgment that the Mughals were never able to enter the hills.”
The Muslim historians never remarked about Rudradeva so highly. The Gazetteer has quoted from Abdul Kãdir Badáuni as, “In 1588 A.D., the Raja of Kumãon arrived at Lahore from the Sivãlik hills for the purpose of paying his respects to• the Emperor. Neither he nor his ancestors (because of the curse of God on them) could ever have expected to speak face to face with an emperor. He brought several rare presents and amongst them a Tibetan cow (yak) and a musk-deer which later died on the road from the effect of the heat. I saw it with my own eyes and it had the appearance of a fox. Two small Tusks projected from its mouth and instead of horns it had a slight elevation or bump. As the hind-quarters of the animal were enveloped in a cloth, I could not examine the whole-body. They. Said that there were men in those hills who had feathers and wings and could fly and they spoke a mango-tree in that country which yeilds fruit all the year round God knows whether it is true!”
Rudracandra was the first who took the possession of the Tarãi permanently and reunited it with the hill state.
He himself founded Rudrapura and formed the posts of Governors throughout the different Parganas. On his return to Almora, Rudracandra built a fort there.
Rudracandra did not stop his expedition not only taking the possession of Taräi but also he was encouraged by his mother to expand his kingdom. Rudracandra was highly urged by his mother to conquer Sirã. But he repulsed with great lost in each time he had attempted to defeat Rainkã Raja Hari Mãla. Then Rudracandra came in league with a Brahmin named Parkhu Pant living in Sirã, who was known everywhere as a man of influence. He promised to Rudracandra in assisting him to conquer the fort of Siragoda and Badhan-goda belonging to Sirã. But each time the Raja took arms against Sirã, Han Mãla drove him out across the eastern Ramganga. But on the fifth time Han Mala was
defeated and fled to Doti. As a result Sirã went under the king of Kumãon.
Thereafter Rudracandra wanted to conquer one of the ports of the territory which was under the possession of Sãh ruler of Gãrwãl. Somesvar and Katyura Valley were laid on the route of the Pindara valley. Those valleys were under the possession of Katyri Raja Sukhlal Deo who was united with the Gãrwãl Raja. When Parkhu proceeded to the Pindara valley, he was obstructed by Katyuri Raja and was slained in a combat near Gvãldom. Rudracandra then took himself the charges of campaigning against Gãrwãl.
Rudracandra showed his skill not only in warfare and administration but also in the fields of education, religion, and culture. One of the prime acts of his reign was to establish the worship of Mohãdeo at Bãlesvar in Kãli-Kumãon. During his reign of thirty-two years, he oriented Kumãon to various cultural activities. He inspired the study of Sanskrit so much that his Pandits were said to have travelled to Benãras and Kashmir to have extensive knowledge in Sanskrit texts. He, himself, had contributed to the history of Sanskrit literature by his creative talent. Among his works, the Syainika-Sãstra has been edited by MM. H.P Shãstri and the Usãragodayã-Nãika by Dr Gouriñath Sãstri. The Yayãticarita is a nãtaka of seven acts. But Traivarinika-dharma-nirnaya is only remembered by its name as the book has not been traced out even now.
To fix the date of Rudracandra Deva, MM; H.P Shãstri expressed in the Preface to the Syainika-Sastra, “it is difficult to find when Rudra Deva flourished. The same Rudra Deva of Kumãon has to his credit Smrti works, written in the same style and in the same methodical way. In the Syainika-Sãstra he uses many words that are of Turkish or Persian origin. The use of Turkish words is however no criterion to fix the date. The fact that this Raja wrote a Nibandha shows that he did not belong to the Hindu
but to the Mohammedan period of the Indian History. For the Nibandha-s began to be written only after the Mohammadans had set their foot in India. He might he have written the book in the first century of the Mohammedan conquest. We know from the Gayã and Buddha Gayã inscriptions that the kings of Kumãon of that century were Buddhists. The composition of the book would range from between the thirteenth to the sixteenth century of the Christian era. This period may be still more contracted by
the fact that Rudradeva in his Smrti work, entitled Traivarnika-dharmanirnaya, quotes from Kullüka Bhatta who flourished about the middle of the fifteenth century. Rudradeva, therefore, must come after him.
From Gazetteer it is known that Rudradeva bestowed several villages on Parkhu and recorded his gift on a copper- plate which was in the possession of a descendant of Parkhu residing in Gangoli. It relates the gift in the year 1581 A.D. in the month of Bhãdra and ninth day of the bright fortnight in the presence of Gagisa on a Saturday. The salaries of the officers of Kumãon were often gifted in the form of villages, not by regular money-pay. It is recorded in the Gazetteer ‘two have a grant of land of this Raja in favour of the family of Devidatta Chaudhuri, dated in 1565 A.D. and another in favour of the Brddhakedara temple in 1568, also are in favour of Ananda Pãnde in 1575 A.D. In 1596 A.D., he assigned lands to the family of Krsnananda Joshi and in the same year gave a village to the Badrinãth temple, so that there are ample records whereby to fix the date and length of his reign. From these discussions, it may be assumed that the reigning time of Rudracandra Deva was from 1565 A.D. to 1597 A.D.
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