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Indian Kavya Literature: The Performance of Kavya in The +14 (Volume-8)

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Item Code: NAF319
Author: A.K. Warder
Publisher: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
Language: English
Edition: 2011
ISBN: 9788120834484
Pages: 433
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 9.0 Inch x 6.0 Inch
Weight 680 gm
About the book

Where kavya flourished, performance in the streets and in theatres also flourished. So theatre in Andhra and everywhere to the south, also in Orissa, Mithila and Nepala, flourished in the +14. In Andhra Rudra’s Yayaticarita is the earliest extant play on that famous king. The Telugu translation of the Premabhirama gives us a substantial street play vithi describing scenes in the Kakatiya capital Narasimha’s Kadambari play has an improved ending. Agastya composed two epics from the Mahabharata and a biography from the Harivamsa. In Rajasthan Rayanasehara’s novel has his hero given troupes of actors to perform for him whilst he is travelling? In Gurjara Jinaprabha’s Kalpaproadipa is a miserable history of sacrilege and Islamic terror. In Saravananda’s Jagaducarita the merchant foresaw a famine and stored enough grain to feed all western India plus Kasi. Princess Ganga composed the Sanskrit epic Madhuravijaya on her husband’s slaying of the Turkish suratrana in Madurai, a decisive event Vijayanagara history. Ahobala’s campu is a comic satire matallika on a festivel there. Venkatanath’s allegorical play is of interest only for same incidental details. In Kerala we have an anonymous Bhana set in Mahodaya and Laksmidasa’s long message poem Sukasandesa, which is just a dream he has about his wife Rangalaksmi. Purnasaraswati composed a strict sataka Hamsasandesa and an ecological play on a victory of birds over storms of the raimy season. Autumn then regulated the round of season. The actor Damodara composed a Sanskrit epic and Malayalam Manipravala campu, both on the actress unniyati. From Nepala there are several Sanskrit plays. In Balinese the Sutasoma is an enormous vajrayana work.


About the Author

A.K. Warder, Professor Emeritus of Sanskrit in the University to Toronto, in an old fashioned philologist who reads the primary sources in Sanskrit and the Prakrits.



Where kavya flourished, performance in the streets and on stages, especially in theatres, flourished. So we find in this volume on the +14 the theatre in Andhra and everywhere to the south, also in Mithila and Nepala. In Orissa we fifer its continuity through references to Narayana and Dharmadatta and through Visvanatha II in the +15 and numerous later plays. Rudra’s Yayaticarita is of special interest as the earliest extant play on the famous king. The premabhirama (known now through a Telugu version also written in the +14) at last gives us a substantial street play vithi, describing scenes in the kakatiya Capital. The heroic play of Visvanatha I was performed there. His younger brother Narasimha wrote a brilliant play staging Bana’s novel Kadambari supplying a conclusion. Better than that given by Bana’s son.

In Rajasthan (Nagapura) Rayanasehara worte a Prakrit novel in the Brhatkatha tradition, but set in a remote imagined past and very didactic (Jaina). However, the hero is given troupes of actors to perform for him whilst travelling. Jinaprabha’s Kalpapradipa is on pilgrimage and set in legends, though contemporary, giving dates of some events it is also a miserable history of sacrilege and terror, but attributed to the corruption of time (fate) or the waywardness of Kali. It suggests how the Jaina tradition survived the cataclysm. The mere barbarians could not have accomplished the ruin of India. But Jinaprabha is optimistic and expects the Jaina tradition to survive, especially when the Suratrana Mahammada appeared to be conciliating the Jaina monks.

Rajashekhara (II) in Yoginipura (Dhilli) itself probably benefited from Mahammada’s policy. His prabandhakosa is presented as factual, but incorporating old fictions and new facies, especially about Vikrama. His Kathakosa. Clearly exemplifies imagined, invented stories. Many are rewritten from earlier versions still extant. No. 45 is an amusing satire of an incompetent king (as magistreate). A third collection, Antara (Intimate or Intermediate?) Stories, is inferior. Munibhadra’s enormous epic Santinathcarita is of no interest. The nun Gunasamrddhi’s Amjanasumdari on the birth of Hanumanta id retold from Vimala stressing the jaina view of action and rebirth. Most of her text is now missing.

Agastya was the great uncle of the brothers Visvanatha I and Narasimha, but little else seems to be known of him. His kavyas were admired by Ganga in Vijayanagara. The two epics known are based on the Mahabharata and his prose. Krsnacarita on it supplement the Harivamsa. Recall that epics were intended to be recited, withappropriate gestures, before an audience. Prose biographies and campus were performed like plays by a professional actor. The biography of krsna attempts to smooth the story, making quite drastic cuts in the disjointed Harivamsa narrative. Satyabhama is the heroine. All three kavyas are marvelous throughout. Karsna is invincible: there is no real conflict. Vidyacakravartin or Kavicakravartin in the Hoysala kingdom made Rukmini the heroine of his epic on krsna. He followed the Bhagavata Purana instead of the Harivamsa.

The Princess Ganga later composed the epic Madhurvijaya on her husband’s slaying of the Turkish Suratrana in Mudurai a decisive event in Vijayanagara history. This is a truly heroic and marvelous poem, freely told with exaggerations and fancies but apparently accurate on the main events. The sensitive is introduced when the hero Prince Kampa relaxes in Kanci before the final march to Southern Madhura. The Final battle is mostly fantastic, soldiers’ tales. The style is appropriately bold, except in the cantos on pleasure.

Ahobala’s campu Virupaksavasantotsava, incompletely preserved, in four parts described the spring Festival in Vidyanagara. There is plenty of entertainment and comedy, suitable for the presumed vidusaka actor presenting it. It appears to be a satire matallika on the Brahmans, but scrupulous over everything relating to them, even when making fun. This softens the severity of the festive spirit seems to unite them on the holiday. Plays are performed in the street.

Venkatanatha’s allegorical play was clearly intended as Visista Advaita to eclipse. Karsnamisra’s Advaita play. It was first performed in Sriranga. It is mostly talk the heroes lecture their wives and others. The ten very long act of dialogue show practically no action. The destruction of great delusion off stage in Act VIII is described by Narada and Tumburu. Man, the subject, appears only in Act X, but the rest of the play is understood to take place in his consciousness. Most of the characters are the same as krsnamisra’s. samkalpa, intention is new, so are a few minor characters. King discrimination files over India in his chariot and sees that north of the Vindhaya the Turks and other have broken off purifying conduct. In the south the ascetics have spread confusion and there are plenty of other wrong opinions: Saiva, Samkhya, Advaita, etc. in Act X man attains the highest state. Venkatanatha also wrote an epic on krsna and a message poem from Rama to the captive Sita. The anthology Subhasitanivi consists of verses by himself on good bad people.




  Preface vii
Chapters LVIII Andhra and Karnataka in the early +14 1
Chapters LIX Dravidian India at the Time of the Fouding of Vijayanagara 75
Chapters LX North India in the +14 153
Chapters LXI Dravidian India in the Second half of the +14 277
  Additional Bibliography 355
  Index 363

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