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Monday, October 4, 2010

किरातार्जुनीय

किरातार्जुनीय is a Sanskrit  kavya by Bhāravi, written in the 6th century or earlier. It is an epic poem in eighteen cantos describing the combat between Arjuna and lord Shiva in the guise of a kirāta or mountain-dwelling hunter.  Along with the Naiṣadhacarita and the Shishupala Vadha, it is one of the larger three of the six Sanskrit mahakavyas, or great epics. It is noted among Sanskrit critics both for its gravity or depth of meaning, and for its forceful and sometimes playful expression. This includes a canto set aside for demonstrating linguistic feats, similar to constrained writing. Later works of epic poetry followed the model of the Kirātārjunīya.
Kiratarjuniya is known for its brevity, depth (arthagauravam), and verbal complexity. At times, the narrative is secondary to the interlaced descriptions, elaborate metaphors and similes, and display of mastery in the Sanskrit language.Notably, its fifteenth canto contains chitrakavya, decorative composition, including the fifteenth verse with "elaborate rhythmic consonance” noted for consisting of just one consonant.
                नोननुन्नो नुन्नोनो नाना नानानना ननु
      नुन्नोऽनुन्नो ननुन्नेनो नानेन नुन्ननुन्ननुत् ॥ (XV,14)
Translation: "О ye many-faced ones (nānānanā), he indeed (nanu) is not a man (na nā) who is defeated by an inferior (ūna-nunno), and that man is no man (nā-anā) who persecutes one weaker than himself (nunnono). He whose leader is not defeated (na-nunneno) though overcome is not vanquished (nunno'nunno); he who persecutes the completely vanquished (nunna-nunna-nut) is not without sin (nānenā)."
                The 25th verse from the same canto is an example of the form of verse that the Sanskrit aestheticians call sarvatobhadra, "good from every direction": each line (pada) of it is a palindrome, and the verse is unchanged when read vertically down or up as well.
देवाकानिनि कावादे
वाहिकास्वस्वकाहि वा
काकारेभभरे का का
निस्वभव्यव्यभस्वनि ॥ (XV,25)
devākānini kāvāde
vāhikāsvasvakāhi vā

kākārebhabhare kā kā
nisvabhavyavyabhaasvani
de
ni
ni
de
hi
sva
sva
hi
re
bha
bha
re
ni
sva
bha
vya
vya
bha
sva
ni
(and the lines reversed)
ni
sva
bha
vya
vya
bha
sva
ni
re
bha
bha
re
hi
sva
sva
hi
de
ni
ni
de

Translation: "O man who desires war! This is that battlefield which excites even the gods, where the battle is not of words. Here people fight and stake their lives not for themselves but for others. This field is full of herds of maddened elephants. Here those who are eager for battle and even those who are not very eager, have to fight."
Similarly, the 23rd verse of the fifteenth canto is the same as the 22nd verse read backwards,syllable for syllable.
निशितासिरतोsभीको न्येजतेsमरणा रुचा ।
सारतो न विरोधी न: स्वाभासो भरवानुत ॥
      तनुवारभसो भास्वानधीरोsविनतो रसा ।
      चारुणा रमते जन्ये कोभीतो रसिताशिनि ॥ (XV, 22, 23)


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