Publication of Jayamangala commentary on Kama Sutra apparently lulled the quest with its comprehensive coverage for some time. However, modern scholars are trying to understand and find answer to their queries which range from the role of larakas' at the end of each sub-section to predicament faced by Vatsydyana about historical and contemporary conditions which were not favorable towards Vatsydyana's approach and the contents of his work. This necessitates collecting all authentic material that could throw light on many issues that crop up in the minds of scholars today. To that end publication of Praudha-priya commentary of BNS is a step forward.
Dr. Pathak studied Kudiattam form of theatrical presentation of Kerala under Late Mani Madhavan Chakyar of Ottapalam. Thereupon he had traced its close relationship with ancient Indian theatrical practices.
After retirement from service he had taken up studies in Sanskrit literature. He had edited and published the following unpublished Manuscripts,
(i) Natyalocanam oft canaditya
(ii) Kama Samuha of Anan Kavi
(iii) Sringara kavya of Shankara
(iv) Karnasara of Kamadeva
(v) Natya Pradeepa of Sundara Misra
(vi) Catura Cintamani of Gangadhara Misra
First four of these have been published by M/s Choukhambha Sanskrit Sansthan-- Varanasi. The last two are under publication Of M/s Choukhambha Sanskrit Sansthana and Asiatic Society-Kolkata respectively. Besides these he had also brought out critical editions of Nagara Sarvasva of Padmasri and Kama Sutra of Vatsydyana.
Kamasutra of Vatsyayana continues to receive attention of scholars, artists and interested readers. Hitherto scholars were content with Jayamarigala commentary of Yashodhara on Vatsyayana's Kama Sutra. Praucih apriya commentary of Bhaskara Narasirnha Sastri which is the subject matter of the present work brings to fore the Upanisadic lore of King Jaibali and Svetaketu along with the Paricagni Vidya which was propounded by King Pravahana Jaibali. Incidentally, it was the starting point of Svetaketu's quest for understanding the phenomenon of birth of human being on this earth. Bhaskara Narasixnha Sastri has carried out a historical task by connecting Jaibali's Paricagni Vidya to the process of evolution of Kama Sutra.
Dr. Arnal Shib Pathak has done a commendable job by preparing the critical edition of the commentary 'Praudhapriya'. The text brings forth many related details, socio-religious background of many sutras besides indentifying sources of quotations appearing therein. Moreover, Dr. Pathak's scholastic handling of the critical edition has resulted in a brilliant analysis of the text.
The Mission is actively involved in bringing to light the hidden knowledge base of our rich heritage confined in the manuscripts. Publication of the present text is another step forward in this direction.
Marci Bloch-"On French Agriculture" (Quoted by Maher Gadget and Ramchandra Guha in `This Fissured Land}'.)
There are four commentaries of Kamasutra of Vatsyayana available today as per New Catalogues Catalog rum. These are-
(I) C. identity not known IM 563 (inc) with text 7421 (inc) Kavindracarya Saraswati 1957 (Bhasya), Kota 702 with text Oxford II 1162 (3) (fro), R.A. Sastri I p. 16. RASB XIV-3 (inc) with text.
(ii) C. Praudhapriya composed at Banaras in 1788 AD by (Bhaskara) Nrsithha Sastri, pupril of Sarvegvara Sastri, under patronage of Raja Vrajlala.
(iii) c. Jaryamangala of Yashodhara who is also called Gurudattendrapada. Q by Jinaprabha in C on Kalpasiitra eomposed in 1307 AD BBRAS-127 had its original in royal library of Vigaladeva of Calukya line (1243-61 AD)
(iv) C. by Malladeva BORI 665 of 1886-1902 with text. Peters IV p. 25. m. 665.
Among these only Jayamangala commentary of yashadhara has been published a number of times in the past. It was written in 13th can AD. Of the remaining three commentaries Trauclhapriya' of Bhaskara Nrsithha (Narasimaha) Sastri which to being published now, was written in 1788 AD i.e. after more than 500 years from Yashodharas work. Strangely BNS does not seem to be aware of Yashodhara's Jayamangala commentary.
Yashodhara assimilated a host of relevant details at every point in his commentary quoting from the works of old masters. Considerable portion of these quotations reflects post-Vatsyayana period developments in this field. As a result his commentary is highly acclaimed by scholars. Prauclhaptiya does not come anywhere near his work. However, BNS had given new dimension to his interpretation of the text at many places. These have been detailed in the subsequent pages. The most striking observation made by BNS is that there was a third abridgement of the original work of Nandi (Shankara, as per BNS) by one Babhravya Maharshi, subsequent to that of Babhravya Palicala, where Babhravya Maharshi resurrected the theory of Palicagni Vidya propounded by king Pravahana Jaibali (Jabali in the text of BNS). This was lost to oblivion so much so that Vatsyayana did not deem it important enough to mention in his account of origin of Kamasastra.
The actual level of absorption of this Palicagni Vidya in his work by Svetaketu is not known to us as his work is not available. It is evident that he acquired this Vidya from his father (%(1411-11q) who in turn learnt it from King Pravahana Jaibali. In the process Babhravya Maharshi brought to the fore the existence of an umblical cord so to say, between Paficagni Vidya and the origin and development of Kamasastra.
Before we take up the special features and the text of Prauclhapriya commentary, we shall briefly discuss the background and history of Kamagastra (Indian sexology), important writers and their contribution and other sources which Vatsyayana made use of in writing Kama Sutra.
text. Peters adhara has tten in 13th ihapriya' of )lished now, fears from )e aware of every point d masters. vatsayan a Lary is highly !where near ;ion to his .;en detailed lade by BNS irk of Nandi bsequent to resurrected liana Jaibali ouch so that nation in his Vidya in his available. Who ;.s Babhravya al cord so to elopement of the text of ) background Titers and nade use of the kamasutra.
There is a reference in Chhandogya Upanisad about an academy of erotic science, so to say, run by King Pravahana Jaibali. This academy imparted knowledge on Paficagni Vidya which speaks of oblation to five celestial fires which culminates in the birth of man on this earth.
Heaven is the sacrificial fire, Sun is the burning fuel, Sunrays emanate from it and create day, Moon is the coal and stars are the sparks. Gods make the offering of water in it and king Soma emerges out of the offering.
(ii) The god of rains is the sacrificial fire wind is the fuel, clouds are the smoke, lightening is the flame, thunder is the coal, rumblings of clouds are the sparks. Gods make the offering of King Soma in it which brings forth rains.
(iii) The earth is the sacrificial fire, the whole year is the fuel, Sky is the smoke, night is the flame, four directions are coal, their corners are the sparks. Gods make the offering of rains to this fire which produces food.
(iv) Man is the sacrificial fire his speech is the fuel, his life is the smoke, his tongue is the flame, his eyes are the coals, and ears are the sparks. Gods make the offerings of this food (to man) which produces semen (in him)" (5-4 to 5-9 Chi-Up)
(v) The last of these offerings is described as '0 Gautama, woman verily is a sacrificial fire, her genital organ in truth is its fuel, the hairs the smoke, the vulva the flames that which is inserted are the embers, the feeling of pleasure the sparks. In this oblation, the Gods offer semen. From this oblation a person arises.'- (Brihadaranyaka Upanisad 6/2/13).
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