Raja-Cekhara has been highly esteemed for his proficiency in the Prakrit. This volume present the first critical edition of the only Prakrit Drama extant, for hare none of the characters speak Sanskrit. The interest of the play is largely philological, likely to throw light on the linguistic History of India, though, not without its importance for the History of Indian Drama. It abounds in material which may well engage the attention of the student of Antiquities and Folk-lore.
The Sacred Scriptures of the Jaina Religion are written in Prakrt. And, considering the extreme dearth of books for students of the tongue, it is hoped that this volume, in connection with Jacobi's Handbook, may prove highly serviceable as an introduction to the language of that very ancient religion. The chief aim of this edition is a linguistic one and the vocabulary is composed with the aim to serve students learning Prakrt.
The Karpura-Manjari contains four Acts called Javanikantara. It tells us how the king Candapala marries Karpura-manjari, the daughter of the Kuntala King, and thus becomes a paramount sovereign. The Jealousy of the queen, and the machinations that bring the king and the heroine together, from the plot of the play, the Adbhuta Rasa is represented by the sorcerer Bhairvananda and his trick. It is an earlier play of the poet and was not, like his other plays, acted at the request of the king, but by the wish of the poet's wife Avantisundari.
The central point of interest in the history of India is the long development of the religious thought and life of the Hindus, -a race akin, by ties of blood and language, to our own Anglo-Saxon stock. The value of the study of religions is coming to be recognized more and more every day. The study tents to broaden and strengthen and universalize the bases of religious, -a result of practical and immediate benefit. Work which promote this study stand first in the plans of the Orients Series; and they are especially timely now, when so when so much of the widespread interest in Buddhism and other Oriental systems is misdirected by half-knowledge, or by downright error concerning them. We may add that such works supply the material for the helpful constructive criticism of the day.
But to any one acquainted with the ways of the- progress of science, it will be evident that the purpose of this Series are not be achieved wholly by the direct means of publishing books upon the religious of Indian. The indirect means to its end must be the publication also of work concerning Indian literature end history and history and antiquities in their manifold diversities of time and of system (Vedic, Brahmanical, Jaina and Buddhist), and in their considerable diversities of language (Vedic Sanskrit, Prakrit. And Pali)
The work now presented to be the world of scholars is the first critical edition of the only Prakrit drama extant, the Karpura-manjari of Raja-cekhara, who flourished about 900A.D. The sacred scriptures of the Jaina religion are written in Prakrit. And, considering the extreme dearth of books for students of that tongue, it is hoped that this volume, in connection with Jacobi's Handbook, may prove highly serviceable as an introduction to the language of that very ancient religion.
"A critical edition of the Karpura-manjari is an urgent necessity for the advancement of Prakrit studies." Thus wrote Pischel in 1876, in the preface to his Hemachandra, p. xii. For the realization of his long-deferred hope, we have at last to thank one of his own pupils, Dr. Known, whose work, as I trust will clearly show the training in rigorous philological method which he has received at the hands of his eminent master.
The interest of this play is largely philological; 2 but, as is elsewhere shown,3 it is not without its importance for the history of the Indian drama. It abounds in material which may well engage the attentions of the student of antiquities4 and of folk-lore.5 And its allusions to matters of geography or the calendar, to facts of natural history or to popular beliefs concerning those facts,6 challenge the widest erudition of the expositor. It presents questions of broader literary interest, such, for example, as concern the degree to which Rajacekhara is indebted for motifs of for modes of expression to his predecessors,7 Kalidasa, Bhavabhuti, Dandin, Bana and Bhartrhari. Its literary merit is, on the whole, meagre. The plot is scanty. And the playwright knows little or nothing of the developments or depiction of character. Much of its fun is such as is proper to the cheapest vaudeville; so, for example the parrot incident the lugged in at iv.24. The long-drawn discussion of love at iii. 10-19 is invested with a singular negative interest by reason of its sad lack of all nobility of conception.
The entrance of the Magician (at i. 218) is signalized by several ribald stanzas which throw a good deal of light on certain pathological phases in the evolution of religion, such as have repeated themselves over and over again in the history of the most varied peoples. To study these phases from a point of widest scope is an essential condition for an intelligent diagnosis of all such vagaries, whether exhibited in the fervors of an American camp meeting or of a Hindu temple-precinct
The literary merit of a piece like this, however, is not in my opinion, to be summed up in any brief and disparaging dictum.1 The play is surely redeemed from sweeping condemnation by the swing scene (ii. 30-40). Here, specifically in stanzas 30-32, the author shows himself a consummate master, not only of imitative language, but also of metrical forms. And the Sanskrit students must be dull indeed who is not charmed by the liquid music and smoothly swinging rhythm of stanza 30;while the stanzas 33-40, although contravening some of the canons of Occidental taste, are really remarkable for the ingenuity and beauty of their conceits. The king's verses of admiration upon the bursting into blossom of the acoka tree (ii. 47) need no apologist. And the descriptive stanzas (as of sunset, evening or moonrise, ii. 50, i. 35-36, iii. 25) deserve high for their vividness and genuinely poetic sense of the fairest aspects of nature. And some of the "enamored verses" 2 will bear the test of Occidental criticism,- their tenderness and beauty and dignity unimpeached. The contrasts between the love-lore solemnity of the king and the mocking banding of his Jester3 show a command of the shading of expression that is by no means contemptible.
The Text and the Critical Apparatus. - I need add little to what is said by Dr. Known, pages xxiii - xxvi, about this part of the work. I am confident that students will appreciate the pains I have taken to have the typography convenient, especially that of the various readings. I regret that these last are so copious; but the exceptional nature of the text must excuse their fullness.
Method of Citation The verse-portions are cited by act and stanza and line, the line being indicated by a, b, c, or d. The prose clauses between any two stanzas are numbered consecutively with Arabio numerals and are cited by the number of the act with that of the preceding stanza and that of the clause. Thus iv. 1967 is the last clause between iv. 19 and iv. 20. Similarly ii. 05 is used to indicate the fifth of the prose clause preceding stanza 1 of act ii. It is thus apparent at a glance whether any given citation refers to a passage of prose or of verse.
A simple and sufficient means of citation is absolutely indispensable for any text of mingled verse and prose that is of consequence enough to be studied and cited at all. The editor who fails to provide such means is guilty of flagrant neglect of plain duty and of gross disregard for the time and convenience of students and of the colleagues. By way of punishment he may count upon the seriously circumscribed usefulness of his book and the silent maledictions of those who are forced to use it. Let me here call renewed attention to Ernst Leumann's "Request to the future editions of dramas and post-Vedic prose texts of the Indian literature,"1 commending it to most thoughtful consideration.
The Glossarial Index-To the Prakrit forms of the text I believe that the Index will prove a very accurate and complete concordance. The words of the stage-directions are in Sanskrit and are not included. The English definitions may, I fear, seem inadequate by reason of brevity. It is therefore well to mention that the reader must supplement the definition of any given Prakrit word by a study of the senses of its Sanskrit counterpart, or by reference to Pischel's edition of Hemachandra's Prakrit Grammar and Dictionary 2, where these are cited. Falling these books, it is hoped that the Translation will serve as an entirely adequate completed to the Index.
The arrangement of the Index demands a word of explanation. Verbal forms are assembled under the Sanskrit form of the root to which they belong when this can be given; otherwise they are put under the heading of the third singular present indicative of the Prakrit from. Thus pa-adei stands under kat; while khuttai is given under khuttai 3. Similarly, jantia is put under yantra-, while janta comes in alphabetic place. Again vi-inna is given under tr; but vi-tthinna and un-naa (as quasi adjectives) and milana (on account of the splitting of the ml-group) are set in their alphabetic places and not under str and nam and mla. I trust that the occasional hints in my notes will reduce to a minimum any practical inconveniences resulting from the arrangement of the Index.
The Translation.- It is a part of the fundamental plans of this Series that none of the texts published in it shall be without a translation. The Series does not aim to consult the interests of Sanskrit students exclusively. For better, for worse, this part of the plan is at all events in accord with the dictates of absolute frankness. The wisdom of the Wise men of the East is to be estimated by Occidental readers with entire fairness- nothing less, nothing more. And for this reason we may neither withhold its Excellencies nor clock its defects. I am, moreover strongly persuaded that Indian studies would have exerted much larger influence upon the intellectual life of our day, and would even have made more rapid progress, if the masters of Indology had devoted more of their time to the work of translation and popular exposition. The new recruits for this field must be drawn from the circle of those interested. To enlarge that circle is therefore indispensable. Moreover, the comparative study of literature is now a recognized discipline with clear aims zealous votaries. And to such students also this translation makes its appeal.
After the Text and Index were completed, I requested, I requested Dr. Known to make a translation; and to my request he acceded with the utmost kindness and promptness. But upon this matter, his own remarks, p. xxii, may be consulted. The play is very difficult to translate. The metaphors, be it for their boldness or their accumulation, are at times most intractable. And often the point of a stanza phrase requires for its reproduction in English such a command of delicate nuances of expression as cannot be expected of one to whom English is not vernacular. The revising of Dr. Konow's rendering proved to be not feasible. And therefore, after trying and failing to find an American who was both willing and able to translate the piece, I set myself most reluctantly to the delightful and interesting work of making a new version.
Most reluctantly, - because it involved a delay of weeks in the progress of the labor of issuing the works of my two departed friends, the Atharva-Veda of Professor Whitney and the Visuddhi-Magga of Henry Clarke Warren. This delay has been a sore grief to me, although tempered by the felling that these Prakrit studies would at any rate inure to the benefit of my equipments for the completions of Mr. Warren's work.
The translation here presented is accordingly an essentially independent one, of my own making. A good many of the best stanzas I have rendered in metrical form. That I have not so rendered the rest may be set down in part to their intrinsic inferiority, and in part to the extreme pressure under which the keen sense of the above-mentioned delay caused me to do the work. The marked diversities of tone and style1 I have endeavored faithfully to reproduce in the tone and style of my English.2 The translator must be able to feel the atmosphere of each the varying scenes and to adept his versions to their subtile change.
Almost at the outset it appeared that the translation, unless provided with a running comment, would necessarily be obscure in many points even to the Sanskritist. I hope that no one will find these notes unacceptable. That this portion of the volume is intended in part for non- Indianists, is the reason for written the ch-sound in proper names with ch (instead of the usual c) and for giving such notes as that on the Asuras at ii. 31b.
Scant as the action or stage-business of the play may be, it is the interpreter's duty to make it intelligible to the otherwise unaided student. In the introductory paragraphs, therefore, pages 213-222, I have done my best to make clear the sequence of the inferential as well as of the explicit parts of the action, and the action and likewise the place and time of each element thereof.
One little detail perhaps needs a word form the prefacer, to wit the version of piya-vaassa as 'old man'3. The German Hoch ='high', and Abend-zeit='even-tide.' So Prakrit piya= 'dear', and vaassa = 'friend'.
But it is hardly less grotesquely incongruous to render piya-vaassa by 'dear friend' than to render Hochzeit by 'high tide' The connotation of the colloquial "old man" as used even by very young men to one another, with all its suggestions of jovial good-fellowship, shows for itself how fatally misleading a wooden literalness may be.1 We all know that a green black-berry is red.
There are some things in this play which are repellent to a mind that. is bred to the large variety of wholesome interests2 characterize our best modern life. Instead of making the offensive ideas conspicuous by the thin veil of an occasional Latin phrase, I have judged it better to given them in English, simply toning down their more drastic features.
Never was the truth of his this couplet brought home to me with more force than in the making of this translation. My own sojourn in India was, alas, too short to absolve me from dependence upon books. I was therefore glad to have the help of the native scholiast, Vasudeva. No other scholia were accessible to me. And I gratefully record my indebtedness to Roxburgh's Flora Indica; and to several of the systematic last, not least, to my venerable friend, Bohtlingk. I am glad to bear the shame of not having realized earlier the profit to be had from his Hemachandra as an aid to the study of Sanskrit synonymy, if by this confession any are led to take to heard the excellent words of three and fifty years ago with which he close his preface:
Ich bin uberzeugt, dass mit dieser neuen Ausgabe Vielen gedient sein wird; nur Einer, der es sich zum festen Vorsatz gemacht zu haben scheint, bei seinen Sanskrit-Studien nie an die reinere Quelle zu gehen, wird zu seinen eigenen Nachtheil und zu aller derer, die seine Werke benutzen, nuch wie vor Alles bei Seite liegen lassen, was auf diesem Gebiete erseheint.
In is fitting in this fourth volume of the Series (the first to contain a preface from the General Editor), to acknowledge the twofold indebtedness of Harvard University to an alumnus, Dr. Fitzedward Hall, of the class of 1846. He has, on the one hand, honored his Alma Mater by his achievements in Oriental 1 as well as in English philology; and on the other, he has made to the Liberty of the University a gift which is unique. With pride of nativity 2 and with loyalty to his collage unimpaired by years of absence, he has given to it has given to it his rare and early Indian printed books, and - what is more - his precious collection of Sanskrit manuscripts 3. These manuscripts, with some five hundred purchased by me in Western India, constitute the largest and most valuable collection of the king in America. It is my fervent hope that they may be of much service in realizing the plans of this Series, not only directly, but also by way of stimulus to Oriental research.
Children’s Books (238)
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend