I have read with great interest and curiosity the work Sanskrit Textual Criticism by my enlightened friend Dr. Vijaya Pandya of Gujarat University, Ahmedabad with a view to know something fresh in the field of Sanskrit literary criticism on various aspects of Classical Sanskrit Literature.
A number of such studies/collection of papers have appeared in recent times where the main emphasis is to reproduce what has been said earlier in the form of general essays. They are generally the reproduction of what has earlier been said by Keith or De or collected by Krishnamachariar or V. Raghavan. The application portion on these is less. But in the case of the essays and papers written by Pandya, it is altogether different. Dr. Pandya thinks, evaluates, argues and produces something not said, in a fresh fashion.
Sanskrit literary criticism has passed a number of stages: i.e. (i) the collection of facts stage; (ii) drafting of criticism stage; (iii) Evaluation in the eyes of the West stage and (iv) Evaluation in the eyes of Indian theory stage. The remarks of Warder (Indian Kavya Literature)-latest in the field are quite apt that Indian works must be evaluated through Indian eyes. Indians had a particular background of the s'5stras particularly . the lexicographical and metrical sastra, a deeper Indian thought with a particular message for transmission to the similar Sahrdaya; a particular mentality befitting both physical and spiritual concepts and an achievement of the previous birth events which are interwoven in the stories and themes. They may be vulgar or banal to a western critic (as De is frequently using it) but very much suitable to Indian soil. The objective reason may make the interpretation a new or fresh.
It is in this perspective that Vijay Pandya, had been reading the Sanskrit texts which I found the opportunity of listening to from his lectures for last fifteen years.
He has applied the new and modern themes and concepts particularly Freudian Psycho-Analysis to the Svapnawasavadattam which I could not find in the details and extent of Pusalkar's monumental work Bhasa-A study. Similarly Pancatantra which is said to be full of humour but it is not the gastric humour : it is the real humour of the Public where the characters are weeping in open but laughing in their sleeves.
He has written on the structure of the Avimaraka Similar study was done by me on the textual portion in relation to the comparison and contrast with Kathasaritsagara in the special session of-International World Sanskrit Conference at Varanasi which was published JGJKSV, Allahabad. But in case of Pandya, it is appreciative-cum-literary criticism.
Similarly in the case of the Mrcchakatikam, Is there more than one Vita ?--it is a new fact and interpretation. Regarding the Vidyadharadarika episode I fully agree with the approach of Pandya when he brings her to a psychological worldly level. To me it is not only a significant episode but is a riddle to the hidden autobiography of Kalidasa which later took the shape of the Abhijnanasakuntalam.
A special feature of the book is the discussion of the Plot of a number of works including the Mrcchakatika, Vikramorvasiya, Malatimadhava, Hemacandra's works and Kadambari. I know that as a vigilant reader, Pandya had been reading these texts with both traditional and modern eyes but not following them blindly. He is trying to apply reason; refuting his predecessors and trying to say something reasonable and fresh. That is the main contribution of Pandya's applied vision.
I wish him the best for his new contribution and congratulate him for giving a new direction to the young scholars. I further wish him the health to serve Sanskrit literature with more new researches.
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