The Present Publication, the Gajasastram of Palakapya Muni along with a Sanskrit commentary, named Bhavasandarsini by Anantakrishnabhattaraka as well as the English translations and 136 Illustraions, is a very rare and important work, which is still unpublished. The main contribution of the book is the Sanskrit Commentary which is still in the form of a Ms. and its English translation-cum-praraphrase, possibly by the Scribe himself, viz. Vijayaraghavacharya.
There are in all 19 Chapter in this work and they contain information about: The origin of Palakapya; the Curses to the elephant; the forests in which elephants were found; the different peculiarities of elephants belonging to various geographical areas; the description of the elephants since their birth, through the different stages in their life, the major qualities of Elephants etc. In short, it may be said without any kind of exaggeration that this is a very important work or almost an Encyclopaedia on Elephants, because, everything about Elephants except, their disease and the treatment thereof, is described here with graphic accompanying sketches or illustrations, drawn by the scribe under the able guidance of the Enlighten King, H. H. Shrimant Bhavanrao Shrinivasrao alias Balasaheb Pant Pratinidhi, the Rajasaheb of the State of Aundh in Maharashtra.
Examiner in a number of Universities. Recipient of the "Lifetime Achievement Award" of the Rashtriya Shikshan Mandal, Pune (in 2002), for his distinguished services to Ayurveda-Research as well as Teaching. He is the National Professor (Acarya or Guru) of the National Academy of Ayurveda, New Delhi, in the Astangahrdayasamhita, since 1998 and is regularly invited as a Visiting Professor in different Universities Institutions in India and abroad. At present, a consulting Ayurvedic practitioner in Baroda and actively engaged in research.
The Culture of a Nation survives on the active patronage received from the Enlightened Rulers/Kings and fortunately, our country produced many such Enlightened and Visionary Kings-who were not only scholars/ artists/patriots in themselves, but, also accorded very much impetus to scholars/experts from various fields, such as Poetry, Philosophy, Plastic Arts, Performing Arts etc. Some of the Kings or Rajas in the recent past have made excellent and everlasting contributions to their own small /big States or Kingdoms as regards the overall development in education, literacy, small-scale industries, fine arts etc.
One such brilliant name is that of the late Shri Bhavanrao alias Balasaheb Shrinivasrao Pant Pratinidhi, B.A.-the Rajasaheb of Aundh, a very small but progressive State near Satara in Maharashrea. He was born on the 24th October 1868 and breathed his last on 13th April, 1951. He ascended the Throne of Aundh in 1909 and till his death, he worked ceaselessly for the development of his small State, in respect of the small-scale industry, women's education, fine arts, printing press, physical education, esp. Suryanamaskara (which has recently got recognized from foreign scholars also), architecture etc. He himself was a very good painter, a known connoisseur of arts, well-educated, with a bent of mind for reforms in his State. He not only believed in the Suryanamaskaras as a physical exercise, but, also devoted his life and time for the propagation of that exercise-which is now being recognised everywhere as one of the best exercises for keeping our body fit and light. As a King, he patronised many experts from various fields and enriched his Court as well as his Library and Museum with the paintings of native as well as foreign painters of fame, specimens of plastic arts , rare and important books and manuscripts etc. At present, there are nearly 3000 manuscripts and transcripts of rare manuscripts in his rich and varied collection of antique pieces. The present work is based on one such very rare, important and unpublished manuscript. The Gajasastra by Palakapya, Folios: 393.Acc.No.1853.
This is a very wonderful Devanagari transcript got prepared by the Rajasaheb of Aundh through the services of Pandit V. Vijayaraghavacharya, an Epigraphist and a sound Sanskrit scholar. This copy of the work was completed on 22nd November, 1926 AD. The work is rare in it that it contains a hitherto unknown and unrecorded Sanskrit commentary, written (composed) by one Anantakrishnabhattaraka. Despite hectic efforts, we have not been able to locate the original manuscript, from which this transcript is prepared, neither any authentic information about this commentator from any source whatsoever. We sincerely request the readers/ scholars to kindly enable us to trace this original work. Our special request to our South Indian scholars to use their good offices and help us get the details about the original manuscript-which is most probably, in a Southern, esp. Telugu script. In the absence of any information about the original ms. we furnish herewith, the physical description of the Devanagari transcript.
The title page records: Palakapyamaharsipranitam Gajasastram-Srimadanantabhattarakaviracita-bhavasandarsinyakh- yaya vyakhyaya sametam. Science of Elephants, containing 136 Illustrations of various Elephants and English Translation. 1926 A.D. The last page of this transcript records the details about the exact date when it was prepared and verified (22-11-1926). The size of the pages is: 30x21 cms, with 12-16 lines per page and 34-36 letters per line.
The English Translation by the Pandit is not a translation in the strict sense of the term, but, a summary or gist (or paraphrase) of what is given in the Text and the Commentary.
This commentary is being printed for the first time. It is our conjecture that the illustrations also must have been from the pen of the Pandit, who worked under the instructions or directions of the Rajasaheb of Aundh, who himself was a very good painter.
There are in all 19 Chapters in this work and they contain information about: The origin of Palakapya; The curses to the Elephants; The forests in which Elephants are found; The different peculiarities of elephants belonging to various geographical areas; The description of the elephants since their birth, through the different stages in their life, the qualities of elephants etc. etc. In short, it may be said without much exaggeration that this is a very important work or almost an Encyclopaedia on Elephants, because, everything about Elephants, except their diseases, and treatment is described here with graphic accompanying illustrations.
From our search for works on Elephant-lore, we found that there are mainly two titles/works, ascribed to Palakapya, viz. the Hastyayurveda-published by the Anandashram Series, Pune and the Gajasastra (published from Tanjore as No. 76 and the present Devanagari transcript which is being published). (For details, pl. refer to the Bibliography).
The Hastyayurveda as well as the Gajasastram of Palakapya Muni printed from Tanjore are only Texts, without any commentary in Sanskrit (unlike our present work). The Tanjore Gajasastram, however, is endowed with a Tamil Translation by Shri Mantramurti K.S. Subrahmanya Sastri and a Summary in English by Shrti S. Gopalan, the Hon. Secretary of the Saraswati Mahal Library, Tanjore. In addition to these useful aids the Tanjore book furnishes some Extracts from other Sanskrit Works and Coloured Illustrations in the form of Appendix. The Preface by Shri Gopalan clearly says that "This is a compilation from the classic on the subject by Palakapya Maharsi with extracts from Vyasa and Vaisampayana. The compilation was ~de during the days of the early Mahratta Kings. Each text is illustrated by coloured drawings. We have now .included in this publication the text as compiled by order of the Mahratta Kings and added to it, by way of appedix, extracts from other texts on the maintenance, training and treatment of elephants when ill. A Tamil translation and a summary in English have been added.
A select number of illustrations in colour from our Manuscript have been inserted." In this edition, at many places some authorities are specifically mentioned as Yaisampayantye granthe, Yaiyyasike, Palakpye etc. and at times a general term like Anya- granthe, Granthantare etc. is used to show the source of a particular passage. On page 18, it is said that the elephants were born from Pranava (verse 20.). The total number of chapters of the Tanjore edition is only ten, while, our text contains 19 chapters. The comparison of these two texts will follow. The speciality of our Edition of Gajasastram is that: It is endowed with a hitherto unknown and unpublished Sanskrit commentary, named, Bhavasandarsini, composed by Anantakrishnabhattaraka, besides a very useful English translation/ paraphrase and wonderful black and white sketches or illustrations by the Scribe himself. Hence, we sincerely feel that this Publication with a Sanskrit Commentary, English translation and Illustrations would significantly add to our konwledge of the Elephants, as described in ancient Sanskrit Works and would be very much useful and informative to the readers/scholars/researchers etc. and it will be a welcome addition to books on the Lore on Elephants.
Item Code: NAG797 Author: Dr. Siddharth Yeswant Wakankar, Vaidya Prof. V.B. Mhaiskar Cover: Hardcover Edition: 2006 Publisher: Bharatiya Kala Prakashan ISBN: 8180900169 Language: English Size: 8.5 inch X 5.5 inch Pages: 486 Other Details: Weight of the book: 700 gms
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