Ramapanivada was an illustrious scholar of Sanskrit whose contribution to various branches of literature like poetry, drama, grammar, commentary-literature and arts is of great merit. Akhyayikapaddhati is a collection of stories originally meant to comprise hundred stories divided into ten Lambakas, but now having only twenty four stories in three Lambakas.
In the present work, Dr. Sreedevi after giving a brief account of the Katha literature in Sanskrit, proceeds to analyse the plot, source, features and other aspects of Akhyayikapaddhati in the first part. The second part is a critical edition of the text. The author has also given an index of verses in the text and facsimiles of the beginning of folios of the manuscript.
Akhyayikapaddhati is a work newly discovered from the manuscript collection of Sri.V.K. Subrahmanian Bhattatiripad, Varavoor Kapplingattu Mana, varavoor,' Thrissur District, Kerala. The work is of narrative type and its author is the famous scholar poet of Kerala, Ramapanivada of 17th century A.D.
The book is divided into two parts. First part contains the critical study of the text and the other is the edited text. First part has three chapters. A survey of the Katha literature in Sanskrit is given in the first chapter, which includes traditions of Katha literature, i.e., Brhatkatha, Pancatantra and jatakamala. In the second chapter, Manuscript material of the text and its author, h is date, identity with the famous Ramapanivada and the other works of the author are discussed. The third chapter is devoted to the critical study of Akhyayikapaddhati.
Second part contains the edited text of Akhyayikapaddhati. Only one manuscript of the work is available and this edition is based on that single Manuscript. An alphabetical index of the verses in the text is also given at the end.
Northern part of Kerala has a fund of knowledge, lodged in several houses in the form of palm-leaf manuscripts, which is still unexplored. University of Calicut has, in its Manuscripts Library, a huge collection of these Manuscripts. Calicut University Sanskrit Series started mainly with a view to publish the details of these Manuscripts. Endowment Lectures, Collection of Seminar Papers and Doctoral Theses are also included in this series. You can expect editions of texts from Manuscripts, valuable studies of various topics on Sanskrit and allied subjects in the Calicut University Sanskrit Series. Thirty books have already been published under this series.
This book is the thirty-first publication in this series.
I have great pleasure in writing the foreword to the present work, entitled Akhyayikapaddhati of Ramapanivada by Dr.K.P. Sreedevi. Ramapanivada was an illustrious scholar of Sanskrit whose contribution to various branches of literature like poetry, drama, grammar, commentary-literature and arts is of great merit. Akhyayikapaddhati is a collection of stories originally meant to comprise hundred stories divided into ten Lambakas, but now having only twenty four stories in three Lambakas.
I am sure that this work will be welcomed with great enthusiasm by the scholarly world interested in Ramapanivada's works.
This book Akhyayikapaddhati of Ramapanivada - Edited with Critical Study is the revised form of the thesis in Sanskrit submitted by me to the University of Calicut for Ph.D Degree. Akhyayikapaddhati is a work newly discovered from the manuscript collection of Sri.V.K. Subrahmanian Bhattatiripad, Varavoor Kapplingattu Mana, Varavoor, Thrissur District, Kerala. The work is of narrative type and its author is the famous scholar poet of Kerala, Ramapanivada of 17th century AD. Sri.V.K. Subrahmanian Bhattatiripad of Varavoor Kaplingattu Mana was kind enough to lend the Manuscript for research work. Thanks are due to him for his generosity.
The book is divided into two parts. Part I contains the critical study of the text and Part II is the edited text. First part has three chapters. A survey of the Katha literature in Sanskrit is given in the first chapter. The three traditions of Katha literature, the secular one that of Brhatkatha, and the Buddhist and Jaina and the important works in them are studied in it. In the second chapter, Manuscript material of the text and its author, his date, identity with the famous Ramapanivada and the other works of the author are discussed. The third chapter is devoted to the critical study of Akhyayikapaddhati.
Part II contains the edited text of Akhyayikapaddhati. Only one manuscript of the work is available and this edition is brought out based on that single Manuscript. An alphabetical index of the verses in the text is given in the end.
Akhyayikapaddhati is a work of narrative type and it is modeled on the Brhatkathamanjari of Ksemendra. No other work in Sanskrit of this type is got from Kerala. Though the poet states in the beginning that the work is modeled on Bhatkathamanjari of Ksemendra, many stories not found in the versions of Brhatkatha are included in Akhyayikapaddhati. Several stories described in the work are current in the narrative tradition of Cakyars in Kuttu and Kutiyattam. Ramapanivada, being a member of the Nambiar community, the players of the drum Mizhavu for Kuttu and Kutiyattam, has skillfully incorporated such stories in his work. Thus the study of the work is very much interesting taking into account its relation to the Kerala Ramapanivada Sanskrit theatre, Kutiyattam.
The narrative technique used by the poet is worth mentioning. Many small stories are interwoven to the main plot and the stories are narrated to illustrate some didactic ideal. The sub plots will sometimes contain further stories. In this way, the method of narration in the work resembles to that of Kathasaritsagara and Brhatkathamanjari.
The work, as it is available, seems to be incomplete. Only three Lambhakas of the work are got and among them also, the third is left incomplete. First two lambhakas contain ten stories each, whereas the third one has only four stories. The scheme of narration indicates that the poet would have designed more Lambhakas in the work than that is available now. Though incomplete, the work is worth studying in various respects.
Katha Literature in Sanskrit - A Survey
Human mind is prone to imaginating stories and the tradition of storytelling is as ancient as human society. This impulse enables him to create myths and legends about Gods, Goddesses and heroes and the wonderful world around him. This is common to all human folk and all literature as well. Thus various traditions of storytelling have originated in East and West. The Aisopean Fable and Arabian Nights represent the Greek and Persian traditions respectively. In India also this story telling existed at least thousand years before the emergence of Kavya literature.
Side by side with other literary forms, Indian story telling tradition also developed and attained the position of a major literature like Mahak5vya and drama from an earlier age itself. This is clear from the references of earlier rhetoricians in Sanskrit who have treated Katha as a major division of Poetry.
Bhamaha, who divides Poetry into five types, accepts Katha as a distinct form of literature like Sargabandha and Abhineyartha. Dandin discards this differentiation and claims that different kinds of stories can be included in one common genre. Rudrata proposes two divisions of stories called Mahakatha and Khandakatha. Anandavardhana also has given some divisions of Katha like Parikatha, Khandakatha and Sakalakatha. All these references point to the fact that Katha literature with its manifold divisions was in practice during the period of these rhetoricians.
The term Katha
In Sanskrit the term Katha at first, had a wider meaning. It included all types of Akhyanas as well as fictions and all patterns of narrations. Later this term is used to indicate the fictitious works in general and Prose Romances like Kadambari in specific sense. Among these, the latter type that includes the Prose Romances, is a large fiction, generally in prose, which gives primary emphasis on Rasa. Narration gets only secondary importance in them. All characteristic features of Mahakavyas, except their metrical composition, can be seen in these works.
The Katha literature that is being discussed here is the literary type comprising of popular tales, fairy tales and didactic fables. In these works narration subjugates poetic description and folk elements become more prominent. These types of works may be either in prose or in verse or in an admixture of prose and verse. Some of them are short stories while others are long and complex compositions. Some are intended for mere amusement while others are gnomic or didactic in nature. Summing up the varied characteristic features of Katha literature, Ludwik Sternbach observes:
"A tale or a story is a narrative oral or written, in prose or in verse, of events that have already happened or that are imagined or are represented as having happened; in short it is a story true or fictitious. If to the tale or story a didactic or gnomic factor is added, it becomes a fable. M. Krishnamachariar uses the term 'Kathanaka' for these types in order to distinguish them from the species of Prose Romance, technically called Katha."
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