CONTRIBUTION OF KASHMIR TO INDIAN LITERATURE
Excerpts: 'KASHMIRI PANDITS: A CULTURAL HERITAGE' Edited by Prof. S. Bhatt
The beautiful valley of Kashmir has always been a cynosure of all eyes for its peculiar climatic conditions and abundant bounties of nature. Kashmir deserves to be given the highest position in Indian Republic not merely because of its natural resources, and sensitive political boundaries, but chiefly due to the remarkable contributions made by the people of Kashmir to the Indian culture.
The high mountainous barriers around the valley, the peculiar climatic conditions, the natural wealth and the cheap resources of living, afforded a Kashmirian, a pleasant calm and quiet atmosphere to ponder over the problems of life and to strive for higher, intellectual pursuits. Kashmiris have played an important role in the development of intellectual, moral, religious, spiritual and social life of Indians. They had made contributions in the field of various sciences, literature, fine arts and philosophy, and in short, accelerated march of culture.
I. Historical Literature
A peculiar characteristic of the Indian mind as described by Western writers is that Indians lacked historical sense. There are, in fact, no works, to be called truly historical except Kalhana's Rajatarangini. This deficiency cannot be overlooked when we find Indian history shrouded in mystery and wrapped in darkness, in spite of the critical researches and hard labours of Oriental scholars. Only Kashmirians possessed a developed historical sense from very early times. Even before Kalhana many historians had written extensive works which formed the basis of Raja-tarangini. The assiduity, faithfulness and accuracy of narrating the events in Kashmir's history as found in Raja-tarangini make the work comparable to any of the historical works written by Western Scholars. The so-called historical works in India can never be compared with this work. Puranas are more mythological than historical. Bana's Harsa-Charita is more a novel than a history. Kumarapala-carita of Hemachandra (1088-1172) is more a work on grammar than on history. All other historical works are written by Kashmirians; Kashmir thus occupies a unique position in the historical literature of India.
The predecessors of Kalhana are many, as he himself tells us that he consulted eleven works of former scholars as well as still existent Nilamata- purana. Nothing definite is known about the author and date of this ancient historical work, but this is a rich source of history of Kashmir in the earlier times.
Kalhana mentions Ksemendra, the author of Nripavali but at the same time censures it for carelessness. Padmamihira Pasupata, Helaraja, Chavaillakara and Suvrata were other historians who preceded Kalhana, but their works are not available.
Bilhana, the son of Jyasthakalasa, a veteran scholar of grammar, was a Vedic scholar, had mastered Mahabhasya and poetics. He left his home, and as a wandering Pandita, travelled from country to country till he established himself at the court of King Vikramaditya VI, the Calukya king of Kalyana (1076-1127) where he was received and honoured as Vidyapati. He wrote Vikramankadeva-carita which is regarded as an important contribution to history. This work begins with the origin of Calukya family and eulogises the king. It contains eighteen cantos and in the last he gives an account of his own family and a short account of the kings of Kashmir. Keith dates his work before 1088 A.D. 'Vikramaditya', the famous play of Hindi Poet Udayasankra Bhatta is based on the same work. Bilhana's poetry is of no mean order. He is a model of simplicity and clarity which are essential requisites of a historical work.
Kalhana, born about 1100 A.D. was the son of Campaka, a minister of King Harsa of Kashmir (1089-1101) and was a resident of Parihasapura modern Paraspore, a village near Srinagar. King Harsa was assassinated through conspiracy and Kalhana's family had to leave the royal court.He was a follower of Saivism but did not believe in Tantras. He retained his great love for Buddhism.
Kalhana inspected inscriptions of temples, memorials, records of land grants, eulogies (prasastis), coins, manuscripts of literary works, and consulted all his predecessors in the historical field. He even corrected the mistakes of earlier historians. Thus, as an antiquarian and a historian with true historical judgement and faculty, he wrote the chronicle of events in Kashmir's history. Though the earlier part is confused and does not tally with the dates confirmed by our present historians, yet it is most accurate from 596 to 1151 A.D. Some of the outstanding features of his work are: -(i) "His accuracy in genealogical information is conspicuous, and his topography most favourably distinguishes him from such a historian as Livy, who apparently never looked at one of the battlefields he described", remarks Keith.Jalhana, another historian was a member of the court of King Alankara of Kashmir. He gives an account of King Somapala, king of Rajapuri, conqucred to King Sussala. His work is titled Somapala-vilasa. Sambhu wrote a panegyric of Harsadeva titled Rajendra Karnapura. He flourished in the 11th century. Jonaraja (who died in 1659 A.D.) and his pupil Srivara continued the Raja-taranaini of Kalhana upto the time of King Zain-ul-Abdin. Srivara's pupil Suka carried the story down to the annexation of Kashmir by Akbar. Prajabhatta wrote Rajavali-Pataka.
(ii) He was free from prejudice and partiality. He did not spare even the then ruling King Harsa. He fearlessly exposes his treacherous conduct and narrates distress under his rule. His description of Kashmirians as 'fair, false and fickle' testifies the same thing. He condemned the activities of the priests as well as the courtiers with whom fidelity was unknown. The city populace is presented as idle, pleasure lousily ancl utterly callous, acclaiming a king today and welcoming another tomorrow.
(iii) Like a modern historian he gives the source of his information which he finds unsatisfactory. He admits his own limitations and states that he simply records contradictory statements which he cannot believe.
(iv) He was a man of intellect and gives his definite contribution to the art of administration. He places his own contribution to the art of governing Kashmir in the mouth of Lalitaditya.
(v) His style is poetic and simple. It is possessed of easy flow. The use of dialogues lends variety and dramatic power. He is fond of similes.
(vi) It is no wonder if due to the geographical isolation of Kashmir he suffered from certain limitations. He had no relationship with the outside world. But this has to be attributed to the geographical location, and not to the historian's inability to open to the outside world. In short, Kalhana is the first and the foremost historian of India.
A number of ancient historians appearing on Kashmir's stage is a sufficient proof of a highly developed historical sense among the Kashmiris. A greater testimony of this fact is that each and every Kashmiri inherits even upto the present day this faculty, while he records and remembers faithfully the past events, ancedotes, legends and also preserves the documents. Even the present generation include some good historians as Mohammed-ud-Din Faq, A. Kaul, Gwash Lal and many others. The latest in the field are P. N. Kaul's works: Tasvir-e-Kashmir, Kashmir Speaks and Kashmir-darsana which give the factual narration of the history of modern Kashmir even to this date and also Buddhism in Kashmir and Ladakh written by J. N. Ganhar.
The origin of Indian medicine can be traced back to Atharvaveda. In Carka, the writer of Carakasamhita, we find a definite and masterly contribution to this science. In fact history of the development of Indian medicine begins from this physician.
There was much controversy about the birth-place of Caraka. But the Buddhist literature discovered by Professor Sylavan Levi in China showed that Caraka was the court poet of Kaniska (1st century A.D.) and his birth-place was Kashmir. With Charaka begins the dawn of Indian medicine and surgery, as all the later works are either based on Caraka or are mere extensions of the same work.
Caraka-samhita has not come to us in the original form. It has been revised and improved by Drdhabala who was son of Kapilaba (9th century A.D.) and was born in village Pantsinor the confluence of rivers Jhelum and Sindhu. This conclusion about his birth place has been arrived at by Hoernle in his 'Authorship of Caraka-samhita'. Udbhata wrote a commentary on Sushruta Samhita in the 12th century A.D.
The abundance of forests containing various kinds of herbs gave Kashmirians the favourable position to be conversant with the science of herbs. Surgery was, however, not cultivated in Kashmir. Carak and his followers thus place Kashmir as the chief contributor to Indian medicine.
Mention may also be made of Rati-rahasya of Koka (before 1200 A.D.) son of Tejoka and grandson of Paribhadra. This book gives a scientific and elaborate description of sex with its biological and psychological phases, and is considered to be an authoritative work on the subject. After Kama-sutra of Vatsayana, this is the first and the foremost work on this subject.
III. Grammar and Philology
(a) Paninian School:
Panini's Astadhyayi consisting of 3,965 short sutras and embodying the whole science of grammar and language is already known to us. This work was commented upon and supplemented by Kartayana, in his Vartikas. It is due to the great Kashmirian Patanjali that the Vartikas are preserved, as he wrote his Mahabhasya an elaborate commentary on Vartikas. There has been controversy over Patanjali's place of birth. But these are numerous proofs to show that his birth-place was Gudra, a village in Kashmir. Kashmiri tradition upholds it. Some of the sounds which are found only in Kashmiri language have influenced his treatment of the subject. Panini, Katyayana and Patanjali are called the munitraya 'the three architects' of Sanskrit grammar.
The significance of Mahabhasya lies in the philosophical analysis of the sentence. What is the relation between word and meaning? This and such other questions he has solved in a charming and interesting manner. His method of discussion is conversational, and in the whole range of Sanskrit literature there is none parallel to him except Sankaracarya.
One of the foremost commentaries on Panini is Kasika-Vritti jointly written by the Kashmiri grammarians Jayaditya (perhaps king Jayapida) and Vamana. The former wrote first five chapters and latter the last three chapters. The Chinese traveller Itsing mentions this work, and so it can safely be dated not later than the 7th century A.D. This work was popular in the whole length and breadth of India. There is an edict eulogising King Indravarma of Camba (911 A.D.) which mentions that one of the qualities of the king was that he had mastered grammar with Kasika-vritti.
Kaiyata, son of Jaiyata and brother of famous critic Manimata, flourished between 11th and 12th century, and wrote Mahabhasya-pradipa, a running commentary on Patanjali's Mahabhasya. He presents this work in the light of different schools that preceded him.
The Dhatupatha of Panini was commented upon by Kshirasvamin. All the above four Kashmiri grammarians made a significant contribution to the Paninian School of grammar, but there were other schools of grammar too.
(b) Candra School:
The second important school after Panini was Candra school. Candragemin, the founder of Candra school of grammar flourished during the reign of king Abhmanyu (400 A.D.) His work Candravyakarana consisting of eight chapters (the last two being lost) enjoyed great circulation and reputation during the Buddhist period as warranted by the discovery of this work in the Tibetan and Ceylonese languages.
(c) Katantra School:
Another school known as Katantra school and established outside Kashmir flourished after 12th century in Kashmir. Two authors of this system born in Kashmir were Bhatta Jagaddhara who wrote Bala-bodhini, and the second Chiku Bhatta who wrote Laghu-vrtti.
The development of the science of poetics in India is unparallelled in the history of world literature.The science of poetics in India was known for its inductive faculty, subtle and analytical mind and a definitely scientific outlook. A remarkable contribution has been made by Kashmirians, who not only developed some of the earlier schools of poetics that flourished in India, but, also established some of the new schools. This was perhaps one of the chief subjects of study and research in Kashmir as all the major works on the subject (excluding of course, the works of Bhamaha, Dandin, Visvanatha and Rajasekhara) have been written by Kashmiris. According to Professor Sushil Kumar in South India, no doubt, this study was kept alive by a succession of brilliant, if not very original writers, but these contributions of the later times though greater in bulk and sometimes superior in a certain acuteness never superseded the volume of origina work done in Kashmir which may fittingly be regarded as the homeland, if not birthplace of Alankara Sastra'. Kashmiris have always been considered as the authorities on this subject. I give below in chronological order a brief account of the various schools of poetics with special reference to Kashmirian contributions:
(a) Rasa School:
This school it as founded by Bharata, the author of Natya Sastra. The central point of this system is Rasa or the dominant mood of human mind. Poetry according to this system appeals to human emotions and sentiments. This Rasa belongs to both the reader or spectator as well the hero of the work. Lolluta, contemporary of King Jayapida (779-813) treats Rasa as belonging to the hero only and not as a matter of spectator's feeling.
Sankuka Clown to Kalhana also, lived under Ajitpada (816 A.D.) He improves upon Lolluta's theory by calling Rasa not only in relation to spectators but also as a matter of inference.
Bhattanayaka explains Rasa in a third different way by calling it, in its final state, as communion with the highest spirit (Paramatma) while Abhinavagupta the exponent of Dhvani theory explains Rasa as manifestation (Abbivyakti).
(b) Alankara School:
The adherents of this school, Bhamaha, Dandin, Udbhata and Rudrata considered poetic embellishments or figures of speech (Alankaras) the most important part of the poetry, the Rasa being subordinate, to it. Bhamaha was the first to propound this theory in his Kavyalankara-sutra. But soon the Kashmirians elaborated this system and wrote commentaries.
Udbhata, a courtier of King Jayapida (779-813) wrote Kavyalankara-vrtti which is now lost, and also Alankara-sangraha which defines forty one Alankaras with illustrations from his own work Kumara-sengraha while he adds a number of Alankaras to Bhamaha's work, and thus supersedes the latte. He exercised profound influence over the Alankara Sastra.
Rudrata who flourished during the reign of king Sankaravarman (900 A.D.) is the author of Kavyalankara, an extensive work divided into sixteen Adhyayas, reviewing the whole field of politics. He makes Rasa and Riti subordinate to Alankara. This work has been commented upon by a host of eminent writers such as Vallabhadeva, Asadhara, etc.
(c) Riti School:
Vamana of Kashmir and Dandin are the chief representatives of this school. This school maintains that Riti or the special arrangement or combination of words with constituent excellence is the soul of poetry.
It was Vamana, a minister of King Jayapida of Kashmir (779-813) and contemporary of Udbhata who boldly asserted in his work Kavyalankarasutra that Riti is the soul of poetry (ritir alma kavyasya). His work is divided into three Adhyayas comprising of 319 Sutras, each Sutra followed by the author's own Vrtti and examples. He is the first to distinguish between Gunas and Alankara, and his work is an improvement upon Dandin.
(d) Dhvani School:
After Alankara School, Rasa School and Riti School, the Dhvani School of poetics came into existence. According to this school Rasa theory is important as it is inapplicable to single stanzas. The charm of poetry, therefore, lies in suggestion (vyangya). This theory is in a way an extension of Rasa theory. It was for the first time expounded in Kashmir and also perpetuated by later Kashmirian critics till Abhinavagupta and Mammata to such an extent that it became a settled doctrine at the time of Panditaraja Jagannatha. Again, it is Kashmirians who deserve credit here in discovering this new theory, so popular even upto this day. The first propounder of this school was Anandavaradhana, a Kashmirian. Later writers followed implicitly all the propositions laid down by him in his Dhvanyaloka. His theory, no doubt, came under fierce criticism at the hands of Patiharenduraja, Kuntala, Bhattanayaka and Mahimobhatta. The essence of Anandvardhana's theory is 'dhvanir atma kavyasya' i.e. Dhvani is the soul of poetry. So Dhvani-kavya, Gunibbutavyangya and Citra-kavya are the three varieties of poetry in respect of merit. The Ritis are contained in Gunas.
Anandavardhana, the author of Dhvanyaloka was a contemporary of king Avantivarman of Kashmir (857-884 A.D.) He is quoted by Rajasekhara, commented upon by Abbinavagupta, and quotes Udbhata. He dates, therefore, definitely in the middle of the 9th century A.D. Besides Dhvanyaloka, he has written Kavyas as Arjunacaritra and Visamavana-Lila and also Devi-sataka which is gnomic poetry. He has also commented upon Pramana-vin scaya of Dharamkirti.
It appears from his Dhvanyaloka that this theory of Dhvani was already started by some scholars, but he was the first to incorporate all the ideas in a regular book form. The book is divided into four parts called Udyotas. The first part expresses views about Dhvani and its nature. The second part gives sub-divisions of Dhvani.The third part deals with divisions of poetry on the basis of Dhvani, and the fourth part explains aims and objects and the ideals of charming poetry. Kane in his Introduction to Sahitya-darpana says, the Dhanyaloka is an epochmaking work in the history of Alankara literature. It occupies the same position in poetics as Panini's Astadhyayi in grammar, and Sankaracarya's Saririka-mimamsa in Vedanta. The work shows great erudition and critical insight. It is written in lucid and forcible style and bears the stamp of originality. Bhattatanta was the author of Kavyakautuka. He was the preceptor of Abhinavagupta, as acclaimed by the latter in his work Locana. He has also been quoted by the prolific writer Ksemendra.
One of his doctrines was that Santa Rasa was the head of all Rasas and it led to salvation. He flourished between 960 and 990 A.D.
Bhattenduraja was also the follower of Dhvani school of poetics. He deserves credit for imparting his knowledge to his disciple Abhinavagupta who later on expounded this theory on his lines.
Abbinavagupta, the famous poet, critic, philosopher and saint of Kashmir is the author of numerous brilliant works. His Abhinavabharati is the best commentary on Natya-sastra of Bharata. His Tantraloka is the famous work on Kashmiri Saivism. His Paramarthasara, a poem of 100 Arya verses, is again a philosophical treatise. IsvarapratyabhijnaKarika is a commentary on Pratyabhijna sastra of Somananda. He commented upon The Bhagavadgita and he wrote a commentary upon Anandvardhan's Dhvanyaloka entitled, Dhvanyaloka-locana or Locana in its abbreviated form. His Locana is an exhaustive commentary incorporating in it the author's original views regarding the sentiments (rasas) and Sadharikarna and Dhvani. The Dhvani School received greater impetus in his hands than in the hands of the originator. He further transmitted this system to his disciple Mammatacarya, the famous author of Kavyaprakasa. He was not only a profound philosopher, but also an acute critic and successful poet. He lived in the later part of the 10th century A.D. He wrote more than forty works.
Candraka, who belonged to the same family as of Abhinavagupta also wrote a commentary on Dhoanyaloka. It is a minor work on the subject and stands no comparison with Locana.
Acarya Rajanka Mammata is know to the whole Sanskrit world through his world famous work on poetics, viz. Kavya-prakasa. Mammata was a Kashmirian Brahamana who lived in the beginning of the 11th century A.D. He belonged to a family of scholars, as is apparent from Bhimasena's Sudhasagara-tika, according to which he was elder brother of Kaiyata, the author of Mahavhasyapradipa, and of Uvata the commentator of Rkpratisakhya, the son of Jaiyata, and also the maternal uncle of famous Sanskrit poet Srinarsa, the author of Naisadha-carita. His birth place was Balahom village near Pampore.
His Kavya-prakasa, comprising ten chapters, is an all comprehensive work on poetics, which holds such a unique position in the field of poetics that it is studied as a text book in almost all the postgraduate courses in Sanskrit literature in the Indian Universities. About seventy commentaries on the same work by ancient and modern scholars is again a proof of its popularity. The merit of the book won for the author the title 'avatara' of goddess Sarsvati. The author deals with all the topics except dramaturgy. He quotes profusely from other poets. He possesses independent judgement and is mostly original in his thoughts. In South India, Narayana Bhattatir has written a famous stotra work Narayaniyam. God Vishnu came to him in disguise and asked him to correct the work on the basis of the principles of rhetorics as given by Mammata in Kavya Prakasha.
Allata was another Kashmirian, to whom credit goes in continuing the tenth chapter of Mammata's Kavya-prakasa-alankara which had remained incomplete on account of the author's death. He also wrote commentary on Harvijaya-Kavya of Ratnkara who was a Kashmirian poet during the reign of Avantivarman according to Kalhana. He is said to be the son of Rajanaka Jayanaka.
Manikyacandra was another Kashmirian, who wrote the first, and the most reliable commentary on Kavya-prakasa. He lived in the later part of the 12th century A.D. and his work dates 1159 A.D.
Rajanka Ruyyaka belonged to the same Rajanka family of Kashmiri Pandits. His Alankara-sarvasva is a standard work on Dhvani-vad. His work briefly summarises the views of his predecessors Bhamaha, Udbhata, Rudrata, Vamana and Anandavardhana. Ruyyaka was son of Rajanka Tilaka. He quotes Bilhana and Mammata, and is quoted by Manikyacandra, and therefore,dates in the second half fo the 12th century A.D.
The fifth School of Sansklit poetics is the Vakrokti school. Vakrokti is a striking mode of speech based on Slesh and differing from the plain matter of fact, and an ordinary mode of speech. Kuntaka (or Kuntali,) was the originator of his school. He probable flourished in the later part of the 10th century. Later, Rajanaka Mahimabhatta, the author of Vyaleti Viveka (belonging to the second half of 11th century), continued this school. He is commented upon by Ryyaka in his Vyakti-VivekaVichar.' Ruyyaka demolished the theory of Dhvani by his strong arguments and logical criticism. Kane calls it fine of the master-pieces of Sanskrit poetics.
Kshemendra, the polyhistor of Kashmir, son of Prakashendra, disciple of the famous critic Abhinavagupta, and a courtier of king Anantaraja of Kashmir (1028-1080 A.D.) is the author of a score of literary works on different subjects such as poetry, epics, history, morals, philosophy, religion, sociology, Prosody, besides two important works on rhetorics, namely Auchitya Vichara and Kavi-Kanthabhasna. The other works of Kshemendra are Dashavatara-Charita, Padya-Kadambari, BharataManjari, Ramayana-Manjari, Brihatkatha-Manjari, Avadana-Kalpalata, Nripavali, Darpa-Dalana, Charucharya-Shalaka, Sevya-Sevaka-Upadesha, Chaturvarga-Sangraha, Kala-Vilasa, Samaya-Matrika etc.
Utpaladeva, Rajanaka Ratnakantha, Khira and Jayaratha are other Kashmirian critics worth mentioning.
It is thus obvious that the whole literature of Sanskrit poetics has been made rich and abundant by Kashmirian critics, who have contributed the major portion through their original discoveries in the field.
V. Metrics and Prosody
The originator of the the science of metrics was Pingala, the author of Pingala Sutra, who was most probably a Kashmirian, as proved by Ramaprapanna Shastri, the editor of Vritta-Ratnakara of Kedarabhatta Ramachandra Banddha, a resident of Bijbihara (Kashmir), who later became chief minister of King Mauryaparakramabahu of Ceylon has written a commentary upon Vrittaratnakara.
Mankha of Mankhaka, the disciple of Ryyaka, has written besides some poetical works a lexicon entitled Anekarthn Kasha which deals with homonyms, and makes a good improvement on the works of his predecessors Amarasimha, Shashvata, Halayadha and Dhanvantari.
Sarangadena, the author of Sangita-Rahlakara, belonging to the 13th century was probably a Kashmirian. His erudition in music, medicine and philosophy, all in combination is revealed in this work.
Poetry has been a special theme with the Kashmiri Pandits. Kashmir has produced a host of master poets whose celebrated works in Sanskrit, Prakrit, Kashmiri, Persian and Urdu have remained unparallelled. The natural bounty of Kashmir elevated their souls and turned them into poets, scholars and saints.
Bhartrimentha, a contemporary of King Matrigupta of Kashmir (430 A.D.) wrote an epic entitled Hayagrivavadha of which only quotations are traceable. Bhatta Bhanmaka, a courtier of king Sridharsena II of Vallabhi (600 A.D.) wrote Ravanarjuniya on the model of Bhatti-Kavya, in 27 cantos, narrating the strife between Arjuna Kartavirya and Ravana as found in the Ramayana. Shri Harsha, the author of Naishadha-charita was himself not a Kashmirian, but his mother belonged to Kashmir, and the celebrated critic Mammatacharya (the author of world famous work Kavya Prakasha) was his maternal uncle.
Rajanaka Vagishvara Ratnakara, son of Amritabhanu, who flourished under King Jayapida (832-844 A.D.) and King Avantivarman (855-884), has written a stupendous work of 50 cantos and 4321 verses entitled Hara-Vijaya, relating the story of Shiva, slaying by Shiva of the demon Andhaka. The epic was commented upon by Alaka. Poet Kshemendra has praised this work for command of Vasantatilaka metre.
Sivasvamin, son of Arkasvyamin, during the reign of king Avantivaraman, and a contemporary of poet Ratnakara has written in 20 cantos an epic entitled Kapphinabhyudaya, relating the Avadana story of King Kapphina of Daksinapatha, who invaded the territory of King Prasenajit of Sravasti, but becomes a Buddhist miraculously. The story is based on a tale on Avadana-sataka. The poet imitates Bharavi and Magha. Kalkhana mentions him as a contemporary of Rathakara and Anandavardhana. He dedicates his poem to Siva, but at the same time glorifies Buddha. This should not look odd to a modern reader, for he should bear in mind that Kashmir was a great Buddhist centre with a composite culture of Buddhism and Saivism. In fact Buddhism was so incorporated, that Ksemendra included Buddha among the ten Hindu Avataras in his Dasavatar-carita.
Abhinanda, son of Jayantabhatta, the logician, who flourished in the 19th century A.D. wrote Kadambari-katha-sara, an epitome of Bana's Kadambari in epic form. He has been quoted by Abhinavagupta, Ksemendra and Bhoja.
Mankha, son of Visvavarta, a minister of King Jayasimha of Kashmir (1127-1150 A.D.), wrote the famous epic Srikantha-carita. He was a pupil of the critic Ruyyaka, and his three brothers Srinagar, Bhanga and Alankara were all scholars and state officials. He is the same lexicographer who wrote Anekartha-kosa. The epic in 25 cantos narrates the story of overthrow of the demon Tripura by Siva. The author gives an account of himself and his family. He was a contemporary of historian Kalhana, who mentions him as a minister (sandhivigrahika) of King Jayasinha.
Mankha also mentions Kalhana's elegant style and names him as Kalyana. Srikantha-carita, is an epic in elegant style, and is a faithful example of the rules of poetics regarding the composition of a phenomena of nature (e.g. sunset, moonrise and morning) reminding the reader of the rich scenery of Kashmir. This work has been commented upon by Jonaraja, the historian.
Rajanaka Jayartha, who flourished in the 13th century A.D. under King Rajdeva of Kashmir, has composed an extensive poem Hara-carita-cintamani based on Saiva myths and practices. This work describes some of the pilgrimages of Kashmir connected with Saivism. It can well be called an abridged Siva-Purana.
Ksemendra, the polymath, whose account has been given earlier, has written a number of epics, viz Dasavatara-carita, Bharatamanjari, Ramayana manjari, Brhatkatha-manjari, and Padya-kadambari. Dasa-vatara-carita glorifies ten incarnations of Visnu, including Gautama Buddha as one of the incarnations. The incarnations are Matsya, Kurma Varaha, Narsimha, Vamana, Parasurama, Rama, Krishna, Buddha, and Kalki. It was composed in 1066 A.D.
Unlike other Sanskrit epic writers, Ksemendra's style is simple and flowing. He has not endeavoured to bring in artificialities and intricacies of style. He made a good blending of morals and poetry.
Mention has already been made of Vikramakadeva-carita of Bilhana, as a historical work. This work has as much poetical merit as it has historical significance. It is not out of place to summarise the poetical significance of this historical Mahakavya. Having been educated thoroughly in his native village Khonamukha (near Rampur town in Kashmir) by his father who was himself a learned scholar, and also outside Kashmir at Mathura, Kanyakubja, Prayaga and Varanasi which he visited as a wandering scholar, he had accomplished himself as a perfect poet with mastery over Vaidarbha style of Sanskrit poetry. 'His style is not easy, but elegant and normally attractive; it is doubtless studied, but not overdone with subtleness of thought and expression; it is fully embellished, but reasonable, clear and effective in its verbal and metrical skill The epic has got eighteen cantos and the description of the death of Ahavamalla in canto IV is his masterpiece.
As says Keith, he is more of a poet than a historian. He could not be an authentic historian since he was under royal patronage which influenced his objectivity and writing a faithful Mahakavya, for which he had to blend a love theme with history, he had to digress from mere historical narrative.
Kalidasa, the Shakespeare of India, the master-mind and admittedly the greatest poet of Sanskrit, is believed to be a Kashmirian by some Sanskrit scholars. The rich knowledge that the poet possessed about flora and fauna of mountain regions, his knowledge of saffron (which is a product of Kashmir) his personal philosophy relating to Saivism of Kashmir, the suggestiveness of the title abhijnana (in Sakuntalam) with
Pratbhijna Sastra of Kashmir, and such suggestive facts may lead us to conjecture that he was a Kashmirian. This point is, however, not conclusive and requires active research and investigation in comparison with other historical evidences. But in case the above theory comes true, Kashmir wins the trophy. In that case his two epics, Kumara-Sambhava and Raghu-Vanmsa, and his three dramas, Malavkagnimitra, Vikrama Lorvashiya, Abhijana-sakuntala, and his two lyrics Meghaduta and Ritu-samhara are the best contributions of Kashmir. Dr. Lakshmi Dhar former Head of Sanskrit Deptt., Delhi University, has proved Kalidasa as a Kashmirian
IX. Shorter Poems (Khanda Kavyas)
Besides Mahakavyas, we find a number of short poems-narrative or lyrical-written by Kashmirians.
Bilhana, has written a beautiful erotic poem Caurapanchsika in fifty stanzas, depicting secret love of a robber chief and a princess, in Vasantalata metre, each stanza beginning with the phrase 'adyapi tam'. Each star is a masterpiece, depicting vividly and minutely the past scenes of happy love.
"If I could see once again towards evening, that beloved with fawn-like eyes and milk-white rounded pitcher like breasts, gladly would I forego the pleasure of kingdom, paradise and salvation".
The intense feelings and deep emotions aroused here are definitely the proof of his master-skill. The poem has got two recensions viz. South India recision and Kashmiri recension The latter is more authentic.
Matrgupta, the illustrious King of Kashmir who patronised poet Bhartmentha, was himself a poet, though none of his works is extant. He is said to have written a commentary on the Natya-sastra of Bharata of which quotations remain. He has been sometimes confused with Kalidasa.
Silhana, another Kashmirian poet wrote Santisataka. He probably dates 12th century A.D. This work reveals profound influence of Buddhism upon him. His poetry resembles that of Bhartrihari in his Vairagya-sataka.
Sambu another Kashmirian who flourished during the reign of King Harsa of Kashmir (1089-1101) wrote a poem of 108 verses titled Anyoktimuktalata-sataka, Rajendra-karnapura has been mentioned earlier as a historical, narrative and panegyric, eulogising King Harsa. Jonaraja, the historian, has commented upon Prthviraja-vijaya, a work of an unknown Kashmirian author. Hiracanda Ojha and Belevelkar conjecture its author to be Jayanka. Its composition may date between 1178 and 1193 A.D.
Sankuka who flourished in the reign of Ajitpida of Kashmir (8th century A.D.) has been referred to by Kalhana to have written Bhuvanabhudaya in which he had described a fierce battle between Mammata and Utpala. The work is lost. Anthologies also ascribe some verses to Sankuka.
X. Gnomic and Didactic Poetry
A lot of poetical works written by Kashmirians falls under the head of didactic poetry, due to the peculiar nature and theme of the poems. Ksemendra, the polymath is acclaimed to be the greatest moralist in Sanskrit poetical literature.
His Samaya-matrka is a poem of eight chapters in Sloka metre, narrating the story of a young courtesan Kalavti introduced by a barber to an old expert lady Kankali for detailed instruction in her profession. There is an exact picture of wandering singers, beggars, beggar women, shop-girls, holy saints, thieves and such classes of people, with a lofty satire. It is inspite of its obvious coarseness, an interesting specimen of an approach to satirical writing, which is so rarely cultivated in Sanskrit His Kala-vilasa depicts, in ten chapters, various occupations and follies of the people of the time. In this poem a fraudulent Muladev instructs his young disciple Candragupta in the art of roguery practiced by doctors, harlots, traders, goldsmiths, actors, astrologers, beggars, singers and saints. His Darpa-Dalana condemns pride which usually springs from seven sources, namely birth, wealth, knowledge, beauty, courage, generosity and asceticism. His Sevya-sevakopadesa discusses the relation between servants and their masters. His Carucarya-sataka lays down rules of good conduct, illustrated by myths and legends. His Caturvarga-sangraha deals with four objects of human life, namely, virtue, wealth, love and salvation. In his Desopadesa, he describes all types of people living in Kashmir during his days, namely the cheat, the miser, the prostitute, old men, the degraded Saiva teacher, the false ascetic, crafty merchant and the like, Narmamala also contains similar series of pen-pictures. Ksemendra is perfect in his humorous and satirical style. Throughout his works, there is, nevertheless, a moral aim. In satire and painting of pen-pictures, he reigns supreme in Sanskrit literature.
Bhallata, who flourished under King Sankaravarman (883-902) of Kashmir, has written Beellata-sataka in 108 stanzas, dealing with morality and conduct. The work is cited by Abhinavagupta, Ksemendra, Kuntala and Mammata.
Jalhana, similarly has written Mugdopadesa in 65 verses dealing with deception of courtesans
Damodaragupta, minister of Jayapida of Kashmir (779-813) wrote Kuttani-mata dealing with advice of a courtesan
XI. Devotional Poetry
A good number of devotional songs or stories have been inspired by the deep religious tendencies among Kashmirians. Often weighted with theological and philosophical ideas, their literary merit is beyond question. A long tradition of chanting devotional songs continues even upto the present day in Hindu homes and temples. Some of the songs are very popular and have been uttered by the Kashmirian devout minds from generations. Majority of the songs are Saivite poems, which is natural in a land where Saivism flourished. The Buddhist hymns will be discussed elsewhere under 'Buddhist Literature'. The hymns based on Hinduism are mentioned below.
Ratnakara, the writer of Hara-Vijaya, has written Vakrokti-pancasika dealing with love of Siva and Parvati in fifty stanzas, and illustrating side by side clever use of punning ambiguities. Anandavardhana, the founder of Dhvani of poetics, has composed Devi-sataka in hundred verses eulogising and glorifying the goddess Parvati. It reveals more of ornamentation than devotion. But it has, no doubt, inspired his successors in writing similar stotras Utpaladeva the great Saivite, who was son of Udayakara and pupil of Somananda (the founder of Pratyabhijna school of Saivism) has written Paramesa-stotravali of Pratyabbijna which enlogises Siva in twenty devotional songs. Avatara has composed Israra-sataka, which is similar to Stotravali,
Puspadanta's Siva-mahimnah-stotra has received high popularity among the Kashmirians Jayantabhatta mentions it in his Nyaya-manjari, and therefore, it belongs to not later than the 9th century A.D. and, hence, it has inspired other writers to write mahimnah stotras in praise of other gods.
Jagaddharabhatta has composed Stuti-kusumanjuli and Kalhana, the historian, composed a short poem of eighteen stanzas, titled 'Ardhanarisavara-stotra'. An unknown Kashmirian author composed Sambapancasika, an eulogy in praise of the sun God, in fifty verses in Mandakranta metre. It has Saiva background, even though it is in praise of the sun. It has been commented upon by Ksemaraja in 13th century A.D Sambha son of Krsna, whom it has referred to is a mythical name.
XII. Anthologies (Subhasitavali)
Preparation of anthologies among the Kashmiris was quite common. Vallabhadeva' (11th century A.D.) compiled Subhasitavali containing 3527 verses in 101 sections quoting about 360 authors. The topics included are varied e.g. love, nature, conduct, wordly wisdom and witty sayings.
Jalhana, the author of Somapala-vilasa and Mugdhopadesa, composed Sakti-Muktavali or Subhashita Muktavali containing 2790 verses,in 133 sections on the model of Vallabhadeva's work. One of its sections is very valuable from the point of view of literary history, as it contains traditional verses on Sanskrit poets.
Srivaras the historian, pupil of Jonaraja who continued Rajatarangini has compiled Subhasitavali quoting 380 poets. It dates about 1480 A D.
XIII. Popular Tales
An enormous literature on folk-tales of India was compiled by a South Indian writer named Gunadhya in the form of Brhat-kata Unfortunately this work which worked as a store house of popular tales to be drawn upon freely by later writers for poetical composition was lost, and it exist only in the form of the three abridged versions, two of which have come from Kashmir viz. Brhatkatha-manjari of Ksemendra and Kathasarit-sagara of Somadeva and the third version from Nepal viz Brhatkatha-slokasangraha of Buddhasvamin, which is not so important as it contains only a fragment of the original and only a fragment of the work is available. It again differs from the two Kashmirian versions, in matter and spirit.
Ksemendra's Brhatkatha-manjari written in 1063-66 A.D. is a faithful summary of the original Brhatkatha which appears to have been written in Paisaci Rose. It contains 7500 stanzas. The author has been a mere condenser, but has interpolated elegant description in frequent occasions, which has made the narrative truly charming. The work is divided into 18 chapters called Nambhakas with subdivisions called Gucchas.
Somadeva, son of Rama wrote Kathasarit-sagara, containing 21388 stanzas in 18 books (Lambhakas) and 124 chapters (Tarangas) in the years 1063-81 A.D. The writer's aim was to divert the mind of unhappy Suryamati, a princess of Jalandhara, wife of King Ananta and mother of Kalasa. It bears close resemblance with Ksemendra's work.
In comparison with Brhatkatha-manjari its style is simple and it has maintained rapid flow of a simple narrative. Some stories have a Buddhist influence. Again it reflects the life of the people of Kashmir of his times.
Ksemendra wrote a number of plays. These are lost and are known only from his citations in his works on rhetorics. Citra-bharata and Kanaka-janaki appear to be his two prominent plays based on the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. His Lalitaratnamala is another play mentioned by him.
Bilhana has written Karna-sundari dealing with marriage of Karndeva Trailokymalla of Anhilvad (1064-94 A.D).) with a Princess Miyanalla Devi of Karnataka,
The famous dramatist Visakhadatta, writer of Mudraraksasa might have been a Kashmirian if his reference to King Avantivarman in his Bharatavakya is cofirmed by authentic text and other evidences. Similar confirmation is needed about Kalidasa as a Kashmirian.
XV. Buddhist Literature
That Kashmir has been an important centre for the development and spread of Buddhism, has been discovered and confirmed by recent researches. It convoyed high reputation for Buddhist learning, and carried the Buddhist doctrine from India to Tibet, China and Central Asia. A host of Kashmirian Buddhist scholars translated Sanskrit and Prakrit works into foreign languages, wrote commentaries on older works, and travelled to distant countries in order to propagate the faith. A brief account of some known Buddhist poets and philosophers is given below.
A Kashmirian Matrcata has written two devotional poems; Satpancasatka-stotra and Catus-satakastotra, which have recently been discovered in Central Asia. The most important Buddhist devotional poem is Sarvajnamitra's Sragdharastotra, written in praise of Buddhist goddess Tara, the female counterpart of Avalokitesvata. The poem containing 37 verses is written in Sragdhara metre. He flourished during the time of King Lalitaditya. Kalhana mentions him, and praises him to the extent of comparing him with Buddha himself. The author has written several other stotras.
It was Kumarajiva, probably a Kashmirian monk, who was invited by the Emperor of China in 401 A.D. to his capital, where he wrote and translated into Chinese a number of Buddhist works, including Tattvasidhi of Harivarman, a Kashmiri scholar. Other Kashmirians who contributed to Buddhism and spread it in China in the 5th century A.D. are: Buddhayana, Gunavarma, and Dharamitra.
The Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang, who visited Kashmir in the 7th century A.D. and stayed there for two years has mentioned a number of Kashmiri scholars, viz. Skandila, the writer of Vibhasaprakarana-pada-Sastra, Purna, the commentator on the above work, Bodhila, the writer of Tattvasancaya-sastra; Visuddhasimha, Jinabandhu, Sagalamitra, Vasumitra, Jinatara, Suryadeva and Vimalmitra.
There is a reference of Ratna-cinta a Kashmirian Buddhist who worked in China front 693 to 706 A.D. and translated Ekaksara-dharani and many other texts. Amoghavajra, Prajnabala, Tabuta and Ganuta were other Kashmirians who visited China. Ananta worked similarly in Tibet in the middle of the 8th century A.D. Jinamitra, Dhanshila, and Santigarbha also revised Buddhist works. A great Kashmiri scholar, who worked in Tibet, and who is even now remembered by Tibetans is Subhati Sri Santi. Mention must be made of another Kashmirian Buddhist scholar Smrtyakara Siddha, who was one of the eight great Panditas in Vikramasila University in the middle of the 11th century A.D. and also of Ratnavajra another honoured Pandit of the University, and lastly of Sakya Sri Bhadra who was the Chancellor of the University at the close of the 12th Century A.D. who later on went to Tibet when Baktiar Khilli destroyed the University.
Kashmir has, thus, made no less contribution to Buddhism. The whole period from 273 B.C. to 600 A.D. in Kashmir's history is Buddhist period. Ashoka brought in Kashmir Buddhism in 273 B.C. Buddhism was a mature religion when it entered Kashmir. It had introduced systematized education, taught equality of all, and given full status to women. Kashmir welcomed this religion. Later Emperor Kaniska held his fourth Buddhist Council in Kashmir, wherein 100,000 stanzas of commentaries on each of the three classes of canonical literature, viz. Sutra, Vinaya and Abhidharma were composed. A huge number of Viharas and monasteries were established in every nook and corner of the valley, the remains of which are existent even now. Buddhism in Kashmir incidentally gave impetus to Gandhara or the IndoGreek art. During Ashoka's rule Kashmir and Gandhara came close together. In recent time, a good number of Buddhist sculptures have been found in Kashmir which represent Gandhara art.
Buddhism again had profound influence upon the life and culture of Kashmirians, and this influence still continues even after its decay upto the present day. The Buddhist Tantric rites are retained in Saivism. But more important than this from the cultural point of view, is the leading part that Kashmir took in spreading it to the neighbouring countries e.g. China and Tibet. 'Kashmir' says P. C. Bagchi, 'takes the leading part in transmission of Buddhist traditions directly to China'. The number of Buddhist scholars who went to China from Kashmir is larger than that of those who went from other parts of India. Kashmir was the most flourishing centre of Buddhist learning in India in this period. It was the centre of the most powerful Buddhist sect of Northern India, the Sarvastivada.
XVI. Kashmirian Saivism
The greatest contribution of Kashmir to Indian culture is the development of a new philosophy, more rational than other philosophies of India, and a definite improvement upon Vedanta philosophy. Unlike Vedanta which regards the physical world a trap and delusion (Maya) and creates a tendency of withdrawing from the wordly life, Kashmiri Saivism accepts the reality of the phenomenal world as a manifestation of the Universal mind. It is synthesis of the realism of the West and idealism of the East, welding the science (of the material world) and religion in a devotional monotheism. A Kashmirian could not afford to shut his eyes from the enchanting beauty of nature revealed in his homeland, and call it unreal. But instead he calls it manifestation of the divinity, or the divine energy (Sakti) which is the source of the whole movement of the universe, and Siva-Universal mind. It is this divine energy that acts as central fire, stirring each and every atom (Anu) with its sparks.
Jiva is nothing but the atom with the divine spark. Siva, Sakti and Anu are thus the three fundamental principles of Saivism. It is, therefore, named as Trika philosophy. It gave Kashmir a revelation of life as real dynamic endowed with creative possibilities, and not as a deception or illusion. It retorted that maya of Sankara had a defeatist tone, symptomatic of disillusionment and loss to the individual and the nation.
Vasugupta (825 A.D.) the author of Siva-sutra was the first to discover and explain the Agamic teaching of Saivism in a systematic form. It is said that this knowledge was revealed to him in the Harvan Valley. He explained these sutras in the form of Spanda-Karika. Bhatta Kallata, a pupil of Vasugupta, gave publicity to his master's work and wrote Spanda-sarvasva.
Somananda (850 A.D.) who was a younger contemporary of Vasugupta, made a little departure from Vasugupta, and founded the Pratyabhijna school of Saivism as opposed to the Spanda school of Vasugupta. Both these branches developed side by side, but the latter received more popularity. Somananda says that the Ultimate can be realized through recognition (Pratyabhinjana) of it by the individual in himself in practical life. This principal of recognition is absent in Spanda. Somananda's work is entitled Sivadrsti.
The Spanda branch received further exposition at the hands of Utpala, the pupil of Bhatta Kallata who wrote Spanda-pradipika (a commentary) and of Ksemaraja who wrote Spanda-nirnaya in the 11th century A.D.
The Pratyabbijna system was further elaborately discussed by Utpalacarya, a pupil of Somananda who wrote Isvarapratyabhijna-karika and Israrasiddhi with his own Vrtti, in about 930 A.D.
Abbinavagupta, grand pupil of Utpalacarya, is an authority on Pratyabhijna system. Isvarapratyabhijua-karika and his own tika are two commentaries on Utpalacarya's work. Besides, he wrote a number of such works, out of which
Paramarthasara, Tantriloka, Tantrasara, Sivadretilocana deserve special mention. Abhinavagupta related the monastic Saivism to the recognized Sivagamas, the Indian aesthetic theory on the basis of this system.
Ksemaraja (1040 A.D.) summarised the system in the form of Pratyabhijna-hrdaya.
Yogaraja (1060 A.D.) wrote a commentary of Paramarthasara.
Jayaratha (1180 A.D.) commented upon Tantraloka.
Bhaskaranatha (18th century A.D.) commented upon Isvara-pratyabhijna-vimarsini, Varadaraja wrote Siva-sutra-vartika.
A host of other writers developed upon this system. Pradyumna Bhatta, Mahadeva Bhatta and Jayaratha deserves special mention. The last Saiva writer was Sivopadbyaya during 9th century A.D.
Saivism remained, thus, a living and active faith of the Kashmirians from the 9th century onwards. The rite of Saivism was responsible for the progress in all the sciences and arts. It helped them to cultivate a scientific and rational attitude of life. It is this philosophy that helped them to bear the brunt of foreign invasions and fierce onslaughts of the Muslims from thirteenth century onwards. It became the basis of the Tantric religion which was the practical and the ritual side of this system.
It is not out of place to mention here that, although Saivism was the dominating philosophy, other philosophies also were being studied keenly. Jayantabhatta wrote Nyaya-manjari in about 910 A.D. This work is an independent treatise on the Nyaya system and at the same time a commentary on a number of Nyaya-sutras.
Tradition says that Mandana-misra, the famous Mimmsaka, who had philosophical discussion with Sankara, belonged to Kashmir. It is yet to be proved on the basis of other evidences. He wrote three important works on Vedanta viz. Brahma-siddhi, Sphota-siddhi and Vibhrama-viveka. His three works on Mimamsa are Vidhi-viveka, Bhavana-viveka, and Mumamsanukramanika.