Dr. Hare Krishna Meher,
born in 1956 at Sinapali in Kalahandi
district of Orissa, was an awardee of Merit
Scholarships, National Merit Scholarship and U.G.C. Research Fellowship, having
brilliant first class academic record starting from his school career.
Studying in Ravenshaw
College Cuttack, he got First class First B.A. (Sanskrit Honours)
with Distinction from Utkal University in 1975. He
took First M.A.(Sanskrit) with B.H.U. Medal, Sri Krishnanand Pandey of Saharanpur
Gold Medol, 'Kashiraj Medol & Prize from Banaras Hindu University in 1977,
also brilliant First class 'Diploma in German' in 1979. For his thesis, he was
awarded 'Doctor of Philosophy' by Banaras Hindu University in 1981.
In Orissa Educational Service, he has
been working as a lecturer in Sanskrit in different govt. Colleges since 1981
presently he teaches at Fakir Mohan College, Balasore.
writes in , translates from and into Sanskrit,
English, Hindi and Oriya. Hailing from a poet's family, he is keenly devoted to
language and literature.
The Naisadhacarita of poet Sriharsa
is a glorious literary epic in Classical Sanskrit literature. It is also known
as Naisadhiyacarita, Naisadhiya or
Naisadha, with own epical features, it is
much appreciated by various eminent scholars of both eastern and western
countries of the world. This monumental composition forms a splendid blend of
literature and philosophy, since allusions to different doctrines of Indian
Philosophy have found. their way into it.
Although a few books have been written
on Sriharsa and his Naisadhiyacarita, a detailed and systematic study of
the philosophical concepts reflected in this epic was a desideratum for long.
Such philosophical study is the fruition of my research work accomplished with
the assistance of U.G.C. Research Fellowship. And the present volume embodies
my thesis entitled "PHILOSOPHICAL
IDEAS AS REFLECTED IN THE NAISADHACARITA" approved for the award of
the degree of "Doctor of
Philosophy" by Banaras Hindu University in 1981. In this book form,
minor changes have been made especially in Introduction and son e captions of
the chapters, Further, Verse-Index and
General Index have been
appended for convenient reference.
primarily a poet, is philosopher of Advaita vedanta. His Khandana-Khanda-Khadya is a remarkable philosophical
treatise. In the Naisadhacarita also, he has exhibited mastery, both
literary and philosophical. All the topics propounded by all the systems of
Indian Philosophy have not been alluded to in epic. But the poet has
proficiently profiled diverse major philosophical concepts and they, without
any sequence, are traced in different cantos. After thorough observations,
extracting the philosophical portions, it has been endeavoured
in this book to identify, analyse and present them
properly in accompaniment of convention and background of the philosophical
The philosophical concepts are bassed on both atheistic and theistic tenets. In keeping
with the concepts, at first the issue raised by a particular school of thought
has been touched upon. Then the ideas reflected in the epic have been
elaborated. In almost all the cases, original sources have been consulted.
Several source-books and philosophical treatises of the writers prior to and
contemporary with poet Sriharsa have been referred
to. In some cases, writers posterior to Sriharsa have
also been consulted; for the philosophical theories either in prior case or in
posterior are mostly tantamount and compromising. Attempts have been made to
chronologically discuss the different philosophical notions along with the original
viewpoints of the poet. Various commentaries on the epic have been consulted
for critical appreciation of the concerned philosophical points. Besides Introduction in Chapter I and Conclusion in Chapter X, the philosophical doctrines of Carvaka, Sankhya, Yoga, Mimamsa, Bauddha, Jaina, Nyaya-Vaisesika and
Vedanta systems have been
elucidated in the remaining eight chapters.
Sanskrit verses of the Naisadhacarita mainly dealt with in the present
volume have been taken from the Naisadhiyacarita
published by Nirnaya Sagar
Press, Bombay in 1952. I acknowledge my high indebtedness to all writers whose
works I have consulted in connection with my research. I am much indebted to
Prof. Krishna Kanta Handiqui
whose work I have often utilised regarding some commentaries
on the epic. All the English renderings of Sanskrit verses and lines in the
present volume are mine.
I express my deep sense of gratitude to
Dr. Krishna Nath Chatterjee,
Presently Professor of Sanskrit, Rabindra Bharati University, Calcutta, my beloved teacher and
learned Supervisor of my doctoral thesis in Banaras. Without his generous
guidance and affectionate help, the thesis would not have seen the light of the
day. I am grateful to Dr. Biswanath Bhattacharya,
Professor of Sanskrit, Dr. Virendra Kumar Varma, Professor of Sanskrit and Dr. Satya
Swarup Misra, 'Professor of
Linguistics, Banaras Hindu University for their helping encouragement in my
I am also obliged to Prof. Dr. Rama Ranjan Mukherjee, Former Vice-Chancellor
of Burdwan University and Prof. Dr. T. G. Mainkar, Director of Bhandarkar
Oriental Research Institute, Poona, for their precious remarks of inspirations.
Hearty thanks are due to my friends Dr. Jaikrishna Godiyal, Prof. Bharat
Chandra Nath, Dr. Vindhyeshwari
Prasad Mishra, Dr. Taradatt
and my revered colleague Prof. Mayaram Bhatt for
their encouraging co-operations in the present work. Of my adorable parents,
Poet Sri Narayan Bharasa Meher and Srimati Sumati Devi, affectionate inspirations that I have been
getting in my research and literary activities are immense and unforgettable.
To them, no words from my side can suffice for gratitude.
I extend my gratefulness to all my
teachers and well-wishers of different institutions, who have lightened me in
the path of literature and philosophy. Finally I am thankful to Sri S. K.
Bhattacharya, Proprietor, Punthi Pustak,
Calcutta, who has heartily highlighted this thesis in
his popular publication. My efforts will be fructified, if this book will prove
useful for scholars and lovers of Sanskrit.
Naisadhacarita of Sriharsa enjoys a prominent position among the five great
epics of Sanskrit Literature. This epic contains twenty-two cantos completed
with 2827 verses. Its main theme is the story of the between Nala, the King of Nisadha and Damayanti, the princess of Vidarbha.
The Story of Nala and Damyanti
is mainly founded in Mahabharata of Vyasa and the Kathasaritsatar of Samveda. The
episode of the epic has been taken from the Mahabharata. Poet Sriharsa has remodelled the story
and has added the sentiment of love to it.
The sole desire of the poet, as
expressed by himself", is to compose an epic
narrating the tale highly dominated by Eros, the first nine sentiments of
literature. Therefore, he has chosen a specific plot of the Nala-Damayanti-story and has completed the enjoyable happy
wedding ceremony of the royal couple. Though a contextual temporary appearance
of Kali is seen in the epic the poet has debarred the rest of the story such as
Nala's e game of dice, the tragic separation of King Nala from by the conspiracy of the notorious Kali, reunion
of the Royal and others. From this view-point, the epic of Sriharasa
is undoubtedly a complete and full-fledged one furnished with all the essential
of a Mahakavya, Literary works of the age, Sriharsa flourished in, are often marked with
scholasticism. The present epic is no exception thereto. It has earned a place
of pride and recongnition as a peerless piece of
Sriharsa as the Author of the Naisadhacarita
Scholars differ in respect of the
life-history of poet Sriharsa. There are different
persons who go by the name Sriharsa. Harsavardhana who was the king of Kanyakubja
is also well known as Harsadeva and Sriharsa. He was the patron of poets like Dhavaka" who composed various Sanskrit works such as Ratnavali, Nagananda and
Priyadarsika, in the name of the said King. Mahakavi Bana wrote the great
prose-epic Harsacarita after this King. The regime of this
King is placed in the first half of the seventh century A.D. The renowned
Chinese pilgrim Hsuan Chuang had visited India during the
reign of this King.
was the King of Kasmir. He has been referred to in the Rajatarangini of Kalhana.
King Sriharsa, as Kalhana
remarks, is assigned to the eleventh century A.D. As regards this King, Kalhana has depicted that Sriharsa
was an eminent scholar and a poet with the proficiency in several languages,
whose fame had spread all over India and abroad.
The author of the Naisadhacarita cannot be identified with any of
these two persons going by the name Sriharsa, For the poet himself has obviously portrayed that he has
gained the honour of betel and seat from the King of Kanyakubja. So Sriharsa who was
the King of Kanyakubja and patron of poets like Bana, Dhavaka etc., must not be
respected by another King of Kanyakubja. Further, two
kings, Sriharsa by name, cannot adorn the throne in
one and the same land at the same time. Therefore, it may be contended that Sriharsa, who was the King of Kanyakubja,
must not be the author of the Naisadhacarita. Sriharsa, the King of Kasmir also
cannot be identified with the author of the Naisadhacarita, For, the Rajatarangini that speaks of the King of Kasmir does not mention him as the author of the said epic.
A Poet named Sriharsa
is found as the author of Vartika on
Barata's Natyasastra. In
this connection, Dr. Candika Prasad Sukla refer to Dr. Sankaran who
has established the view that this commentor Sriharsa is the same Sriharsa,
i.e. Harsavardhana, the king of Kanyakubja,
but Dr. P. V. Kane maintains this view as dubious. However, this Sriharsa also cannot be the author of the Naisadhacarita; for Sriharsa,
the author of this epic, has nowhere mentioned the name of the said Vartika as his own composition, though he
has perspicuously spoken of his other treatises.
So it may be asserted that Sriharsa, the author of the Naisadhacarita
cannot be identified either with the King of Kanyakubja
or with the king of Kasmir or with the commentator on
the Natyasastra, Sriharsa
the author of the epic, has his unique position as a distinct personality.
Identity, Date and Place of Sriharsa
In the concluding verses of each canto
of the epic, poet Sriharsa has laid bare his identifiction. Sriharsa was his father
and Mamalla devi
his mother As the tradition tells, Sriharsa's
maternal uncle was Mamalla, the reputed rhetorician
and writer of the Knvya prakasa.
The correct name of the poet is Sriharsa and not Harsa, for he himself explicit mentions his name in the identification
verse of both Naisadhacarita and the Khandana-Khanda-Khndya. However, he is also pularly known as Harsa. Rajasekhara in his Prabandha has
written 'Harsakavi-Prabandha' regarding Harsa, the author of Naisadhacarita.
Pandit Sivadatta Sarma, in his introduction to the Naisadhacarita
has elaborately discussed the life history of the poet.
Sriharsa himself speaks
of his own tribute of getting two pieces of betel and a seat from the King of Kanyakubja. However, the name of the king is not stated by
the poet. From Rajasekhara's story and discussion of Pandit Sivadatta, it is
maintained that Sriharsa was the honourable
court-poet in the reign of King Vijayacandra and his
son Jayantacandra of Kanyakubja,
Historically, this Jayantacandra is known as Jayacandra who is associated with Prthviraja
and Samyukts, So from this evidence, poet Sriharsa is assigned to the latter half of the twelfth
century A.D. In the regime of
the said king, though Kanyakubja was the head-
quarters, yet Varanasi was the main capital. Therefore, poet's ardent
attraction and high homage for this holy place are found lively in his marvellous description.
Different views are found with regard to
the native land of poet Sriharsa. The poet has
clearly indicated about his honour as the court-poet
of the king of Kanyakubja. But he has succintly not mentioned the name of his own birth place.
Several scholars have tried to prove the poet as a native of Bengal or Kasmir or Orissa or Banaras from different points of views.
Prof. Nilakamala Bhattacarya
and Sri Nalininatha Dasgupta
have endeavoured much to prove Bengal as the home of Sriharsa. Some others also take Orissa as the birth-place
of the poet with the identical arguments of claim of Bengal, especially in view
of the description of "Mahajyaisthi" (Ablution-Festival) of Lord Jagannath of Puri mentioned in
the epic (15/89). Refuting the views of Prof. Bhattacarya,
Dr. S. K. De remarks: "The attempt to demonstrate that Sriharsa
belonged to' Bengal' is wholly unconvincing" Dr. A. N. Jani
"provisionally" accepts Bengal as Sriharsa's
home, in spite of the dubious arguments of the scholars. Other claims seem weak
in their points and unsuccessful.
Prasad Sukla refers to diverse opinions of scholars
and comprehensively assesses this controversial issue. He vehemently repudiates
the views, particularly the claims of Bengal and conclusively establishes his
points with internal and external evidences in support of poet's origin in Kanyakubja area. His statements look convincing and worthy
of authenticity. So Sriharsa happens to have hailed
from Kanyakubja (Kanauja)
or from a certain place adjacent to this city. Above all, it may suffice to say
that Sriharsa is an, Indian a poet of India and a
glory of India while placed in the Literature.
Chapter I Introduction
Chapter II Carvaka
Chapter III Sankhya
Chapter IV Yoga Philosophy
Chapter IV Mimamsa
Chapter VI Bauddha
Chapter VII Jaina
Chapter VIII Nyaya-Vaisesika
Chapter IX Vedanta Philosophy
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