Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Vidyākara's subhāṣita ratna kośa: anurāga vrajyā :

When one thinks ‘subhāita’ the first name that comes to mind is usually Bharthari, whose ‘śatakas’ are widely renowned. But there are other collections of subhāitāni which are of literary and socio-historical importance. One such anthology is the subhāita ratna kośa of Vidyākara, the upādhyaya (abbot) of the Jagaddala monastry in Northern Bengal* in the 12th cen A.D. 

He not just wrote himself, but collated the works of his favourite poets writing between the 5th and the 12th cen AD, including Bhartṛhari (400AD) Bhavabhūti (725 AD), Dharmakīrti (700 AD),  as well as a slew of 10th-12th cen Sanskrit poets like Manovinoda,  Rājaśekhara and Vallana.

Vidyākara's  subhāṣita ratna kośa contains collections (vrajyā)** on religion, country life, ethics, the seasons  and most fascinatingly, not just on love, but erotica. Fascinating, because he was a Buddhist monk.  How a monk comes to appreciate, collect and write erotic subhāṣitāni  begs a thought. 

Finally a word about the genre. Subhāṣitāni are almost always associated with pithy ethical and moral aphorisms. In fact a subhāṣita, by definition just means 'well-spoken', 'well said', a well turned phrase or verse - su+bhāṣita, from the root bhāṣ (1A), to speak.  Hence the inclusion of a variety of topic in these collections.  In the coming week, I'll translate a few subhāṣitāni from the anurāga vrajyā of Vidyākara's subhāṣita ratna kośa. Prepare to be at least a bit surprised...

This one, by the celebrated Manovinoda is about the beauty of a girl's swelling-breast pasted with saffron, surrounded by a pearl necklace, upstaging the beauty of the full-moon. 

अयं लोलन्मुक्तावलिकिरिणमालापरिकरः
स्फुतस्येन्दोर्लक्ष्मीं  क्षपयितुमलम् मन्मथासुहृत् 
विशालः श्यामायाः स्खलितघननीलांशुकवृतिः
स्तनाभोगः स्निह्यन्मसृणघु  सृणiलेपसुभगः  


अयं लोलन् मुक्ता आवलि  किरण माला परिकरः 
स्फुटः इन्दोः लक्ष्मीम् क्षपयितुम् अलम् मन्मथासुहृत्
विशालः श्यामायाः स्खलित घन नीलांशुक वृतिः
स्तनाभोगः स्निह्यत् मसृण घुसृण आलेप सुभगः  

[One of a few possible] Anvaya:

अयं  श्यामायाः मसृण घुसृण आलेप स्निह्यत् स्तनाभोगः (विशालः मन्मथासुहृत्  सुभगः) लोलन् मुक्ता आवलि किरण माला परिकरः, घन नीलांशुक वृतिः स्खलित, स्फुटः इन्दोः लक्ष्मीम् क्षपयितुम् अलम् 

This orb [full breast] of the dark girl, large, pleasing, moist with smooth saffron paste, heaving, surrounded by a necklace of pearls [which is like] a garland of moon-beams, its dark blue covering [having] slipped, [this] friend of Love [the breast], is enough to upstage the beauty of the full moon.

अयं - this; masc., nominative, sing. of idam   
श्यामायाः -of the dark girl; genitive sing. of fem. noun श्यामा 
मसृण - smooth, soft, tender; adjective describing [the] breast
घुसृण - saffron; neuter noun
आलेप - act of smearing, anointing; masc. noun
स्निह्यत् - sticky, moist
स्तनाभोगः - orb, curve or fullness of the breast; masc, noun
विशालः - large; adj for breast
मन्मथासुहृत्  - friend of the god of Love
सुभगः - pleasing; adj for breast
लोलन् - rolling, heaving
मुक्ता - pearl; fem noun
आवली  - line, row; masc. noun 
किरण - sun/moon beam; masc. noun
माला - garland; fem noun
परिकरः - surrounded
घन - dark, like a cloud
नीलांशुक - blue garment
वृतिः - covering
स्खलित - dropped, fallen
स्फुटः - blossomed, bloomed here - full
इन्दोः - of the moon; genitive singular of इन्दुः masc. noun
लक्ष्मीम् - splendour, grace, beauty; accusative singular of लक्ष्मी 
क्षपयितुम् - to throw, cast down, strike down, to cause to descend. From the root क्षिप् (6P)
अलम् - enough; indeclinable

anurāga vrajyā is section 17 in the collection. Parts of Daniel Ingalls's translation into English can be read here:

** division; belonging to a fold or pen

1 comment:

Comparative Literature said...

I am an ardent reader of Didactic literature in all languages. I am looking for English translations of Sanskrit subhashitas or any didactic poetry. I am searching online, but English translations appear to be far and few. I have Bhartrihari's works, Gathasaptasati, Nitisara, Nitishastra etc.

Looking for more. Please help.