It is of immense pleasure for me to publish Srikrishnavijaya of Sankarakavi: a Critical Study by Dr. Reeja B. Kavanal as the twenty first book in Calicut University Sanskrit Series.
In connection with the Silver Jubilee Celebration of the Department of Sanskrit, University of Calicut, we have decided to strengthen our publication programme and as a part of it to bring out in book form a few doctoral theses produced from the Department. Thus A Study of Samudrabhandha’s Commentary on Alankarasarvaswa, by Dr. C. Narayanan, Srautha Sacrifices in Kerala . Dr. V. Govindan Namboothiri, A Study of Stylistics in Sanskrit poetics with special reference to Kuntaka by Dr. T. Vasudevan and Keralodaya- An Epic Kavya on Kerala History by Dr. Dharmaraj Adat have already been published in this Series. We have planned to publish some other theses also.
Srikrisnavijaya of Sankarakavi is an excellent piece of Sanskrit Mahakavya of Kerala origin. The Prominent place the author of me poem occupied in Kerala Sanskrit Literature is attested by several references to him made by contemporary poets like Uddanda Sastri. Through this book, Dr. Reeja B. Kavanal has brought out the outstanding merits of the poem against the background of the works of Krsna theme originated in this part of India.
I Hope that Sahrdayas will welcome this volume as other works published in Calicut University Sanskrit Series.
It is doubtful whether the rich and varied contributions made by Keralite authors to various branches of Sanskrit literature have received the attention they merit. The works of Sankaracharya may have won universal approbation but the great preceptor was always traversing the length and breadth of India and hence could capture the imagination of the Indian mind in the past. Not so was the case of the illustrious galaxy of writers like Melaputtur Narayanabhatta, sukumarakavi and Ramapanivada, who were all confined to the boundaries of Kerala. The outside world did not have an opportunity to read and appreciate their works which have continued to exercise charm on the Kerala mind down the centuries. Needless to say student of Sanskrit will be captivated by the peculiar charm diction of the Sanskrit language of Kerala poets like Melputtur.
Sankarakavi, the author of the mellifluous Mahakavya, Srikrisnavijaya is another outstanding poet belonging to this class or writers. This lucid poem, in twelve cantos, describes the life and exploits of Srikrsna in a lucid style. Ullur S. Parameswara Iyer, the - poet-literary historian of Kerala says: “There is no work in the whole of Sanskrit literature, which excels Krsnavijaya in sweetness and lucidity” .There is no exaggeration in the above assessment as a reader can himself realise from a perusal of the work.
It is a pity that so far there has not been any attempt to study this beautiful poem in all its aspects and to assess its poetic merits. I am sure that the present research work of Dr. Reeja B. Kavanal will go a long way in bringing the attention of the scholarly world to its poetic worth. I am happy that Dr. Reeja B. Kavanal could successfully undertake her research project under my supervision and that her work is seeing the light of the day.
Srikrsnavijaya of Sankarakavi is a Mahakavya in Sanskrit. In twelve cantos and in altogether 1155 verses, the poet narrates the life and victories of Srikrsna, who is the most celebrated hero of Indian mythology and the most popular of all deities. The story of Krsna as in the Bhagavata tenth skandha is described in it. The poem begins with the story of Bhumidevi’s pleading to Lord Brahma of her harassment by the asuras, Brahma meeting Visnu, and Kamsa trying to murder Devaki, and Vasudeva pacifying him and ends with the story of Santanagopala, Srikrirsnavijaya is work of considerable lieterary merits.
The aim of the present study is to unveil the importance of Srikrsnavijaya in Kerala’s Mahakavya literature. It consist of eight chapters. The first chapter discusses the life and works of Sankarakavi. The second chapter evaluates the story of Krsna in Sanskrit literature in background of the study of the concept of avatars in Indian tradition. The third chapter surveys the literary works of Kerala poets having Krsna as their main theme. The fourth chapter analyses in detail the sources and deviations of the work. An attempt is made here to evaluate its theme in comparison with Bhagavata, its main source book, and also with Srikrsnavilasa of Sukumarakavi and Nraayaniya of Melputtur Narayana Bhatta. The fifth and sixth chapters highlight its literary merits as a Mahakavya discussing its metre, alankara, rasa and style. The seventh chapter discusses the treatment of Bhakti in Srikrsnavijaya. Thus the book concludes with the eighth chapter which summarises the main findings of the study.
In this connection I wish to express my obligation for the encouragement and help which I promptly received from my supervising teacher Dr. C. Rajendran, Professor of Sanskrit, University of Calicut. I am also obliged to Dr. . V.P. Unithiri, Prof. and Head of the Department of Sanskrit, University of Calicut for his valuable suggestions. I am also much indebted to Dr. M.S. Menon, former Prof. and Head of the Department of Sanskrit, University of Calicut, Prof. C. V. Vasudevabhattatiri, former Prof. of Sanskrit, Bishop Moore College Mavelikkara, Prof. V.C’. John, Bishop Moore College, Mavelikkara, Dr.Dharmaraj Adat, Reader in Sanskrit, Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit from whom I got kind advice on many points. I also express my sincere thanks to my beloved teacher late Sri. Padmanabha Sastrikal, Trippunithura, to the staff of the Department of Sanskrit, University of Calicut and my friends who also encouraged me in the completion of this endeavour.
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