Nīlakaṇṭhadīkṣita: His Poetry and Wit

This article is part 2 of 7 in the series Nīlakaṇṭhadīkṣita

The subsequent sarga contains descriptions of a counsel between Taṭātakā, Malayadhvaja’s daughter and her minister, Sumati, followed by a description of the evening –

यः किलानुशरदं विजयार्थी पार्थिवं त्वरयसे गमनाय |
स प्रवर्तयसि मां न कथं त्वं बालिकेयमिति किं विशयानः ||

You would, in every autumn, encourage the king, my father, to go on a military expedition. Then why dont you do the same with me this time? Is it because you fear I am just a young girl? (8.9)

निष्पतन्नपि रविश्चरमाब्धावुद्दधार किरणानानुयातान् |
ईदृशं व्यसनमस्पृशतः किं लोकबन्धुरिति जीर्यति शब्दः ||

Though the sun kept sinking in the water of the western ocean, he still held up the rays that followed him. Without putting up with such suffering how could he possibly digest the title Friend of the world conferred upon him? (8.20)

The idiomatic usage of the verb ‘jīryati’ (to be digested) in the above verse is worth noting.

Then follows the description of a military march and preparations for battle –

विश्लथेषु शरदागमयोगाद्विष्वगैक्षत पयोदकुलेषु |
शातमन्यवशरासनखण्डं हस्तलभ्यमिव हस्तिपकानाम् ||

When, with the onset of autumn, clouds departed, one could see a rainbow stretching all along the horizon and her armys mahouts felt it was so near they could lay their hands on it (8.40)

How ladies of hamlets greeted Taṭātakā on her way is described in seven verses starting from the forty-third –

पश्य कालि मलयध्वजकन्यां कुब्जिके जनकवन्मुखमस्याः |
ज्यायसी हि दुहितुर्मम मासैः पञ्चशैरियमहो शिशुरेव ||

Kāli! Look at her. She is Malayadhvajas daughter. Kubjika! Doesnt her face resemble her fathers? She is older to my daughter by five or six months. But, oh! She is just a child. (8.44) 

The ninth Sarga begins with a description of day-break in verses sung by women to awaken Taṭātakā. After this comes a description of Taṭātakā’s victory march.

हंसेषु कञ्चुकिषु षट्चरणेषु कुब्जे-
ष्वादेशहारिषु मरुत्सु च सङ्गतेषु |
उद्घाटयन्त्यधिकृता इव शार्ङ्गपाणे-
रन्तःपुरं घटितमंशुमतो मयूखाः ||

With the coming together of swans standing for chamberlains, bees for dwarfs and winds for messengers, the rays of sun, like a kings officials, open the hitherto closed doors of Viṣṇu's harem - the lotus, where abides Lakmī. (9.5)

भेरीरवश्चलति योजनमेव याव-
त्तावत्ततो दशगुणं चलितः प्रतापः ।
कीर्तिस्ततो दशगुणं व्यचलत्ततोऽपि
चेलुस्ततो दशगुणं विमता विदूरे ॥

The sound of her war-drums had travelled but a few miles when the news of her prowess had travelled a distance ten times farther. Her fame had by now travelled a distance ten times farther than the latter and her enemies had escaped to some remote corner of the world, a distance ten times farther than what her fame had managed to reach. (9.15)

Then comes a beautiful description of the river Gaṅgā in several verses –

पश्याम्ब कीर्तिमिव ते भुवनं पुनाना-
मेनां दयामिव तवास्खलितप्रवाहाम् |
सूक्तिं तवेव च सुधामधुरां गभीरां
भागीरथीं भवजटापटलात्प्रवृत्ताम् ||

Look at her, O mother! She purifies the universe like your fame. Her flow, like that of your kindness, is unfaltering. Like your speech, she is sweet as nectar and full of depth. Look at Bhagīrathas daughter, slipping from the matted locks of Śiva. (9.32)

तां वाहिनीं सुमहतीमपदिश्य तस्य
गङ्गैव तं गिरिवरं पुनरारुरोह |
प्रस्थानसम्भ्रमवशादनिवेदितं प्रा-
ग्वक्तव्यशेषमिव किञ्चन वक्तुमीशे ||

In the guise of her army it was the river Gagā herself who climbed up the Himalayas. It seemed as if she was returning back to tell Śiva, her lord, something that was left over in her hurry to leave. (9.54)

Following this are a few verses describing how hunters living on the slopes of Himalayas honored her.

अत्रैव नः कुलपतिं धनुषा जघान
मर्त्यः स कश्चिदिति वृद्धजना वदन्ति |
दूरे सुवर्णकदलीवनमेतदम्ब
जीर्णः कपिर्वसति यत्र चिराय कोऽपि ||

In this very place, a certain human injured the foremost leader of our clan with his bow so narrate some of our elders. Dear Mother! Yonder is a grove of golden plantains and a very old monkey, they say, has been living there for ages (9.63)

The above verse is based on two episodes appearing in the Mahābhārata, the first where Arjuna fights with Śiva in the guise of a hunter and the second where Bhīma meets his brother, Hanūmān, residing in a plantain-grove on the slopes of Himalayas.

The Sarga that follows begins with the description of a battle between Taṭātakā and the guardian-deities of the directions starting with Indra –

भूसुरस्वमुपभुज्य केवलं ते हि पुष्टवपुषो दिवौकसः |
तन्मुखे शिथिलतां जगाहिरे सेतवः पयसि सैकता इव ||

Like a sandy bridge built in water, the celestial horde that had only managed to grow plump with the offerings of Brahmin priests just disappeared in front of her. (10.12)

Some humorous verses on her encounter with the fire-god and wind-god are given below

पाणिपीडनमहोत्सवे तव प्रार्थये सपदि साक्षितामिति |
ईरिते हुतवहेन सस्मिता तं विसृज्य चलति स्म सा पुरः ||

 “When you are married off, please do call me to bear witness thus did the fire-god tell her and she bid him farewell with a smile. (10.38)

तान्प्रदर्श्य पवनान्पृथक्पृथाग्व्याजहार सचिवो नृपातमजाम् |
एष जानपदा एव देवि नो मारुतो मलयशैलमाश्रितः ||

Pointing out the various winds individually, the minister spoke thus to the kings daughter This chap here is known to us. He is the breeze from the Malaya Mountain. (10.55)

Then comes a description of her fight with Śiva’s hordes, headed by Nandi.

The Sarga that follows describes how Taṭātakā and Śiva, the bride and groom, decked up for their marriage –

विभूषितस्यास्य पुरः पुरन्दरो विशालमेकं मुकुरं समाददे |
न तत्समश्चेति गिरं पुरातनीमपाकारिष्यन्निव बिम्बलम्भनात् ||

When the groom was made up, Indra held a large mirror in front of him as if to prove false the scriptures which declare that He has no mirror-image. (11.31)

हरस्य शृङ्गाररसाधिदेवतामवेक्ष्य तां मन्थरमायतीं पुरः |
अलज्जत श्रीर्जगदादिसुन्दरी ललज्जिरे लज्जितुमप्सरोगणः ||

Beholding Taṭātakā, the presiding deity of Śivas love, approach her in a gait that was measured and slow, Lakmī, universes first sample of feminine beauty, felt ashamed while the Apsarases, celestial maidens, felt ashamed to even feel ashamed. (11.76)

The twelfth Sarga describes the marriage between Śiva and Taṭātakā –

दातुर्ग्रहीतुश्च किमस्ति गोत्रं को वा पिता कश्च पितामहो वा |
अतोऽद्भुतस्तुभ्यमिमां ददामीत्यासीदियानेव तु दानमन्त्रः ||

Who knew the lineage, father or grandfather of either the giver, Viṣṇu or the acceptor, Śiva? Therefore, when Taṭātakā was given away in marriage, the accompanying holy chant was strangely brief and just this I am giving her to you and nothing else. (12.8)

अश्मानमारोपयितुं पादाब्जमालम्बमाने दयिते मृगाक्ष्याः |
पादग्रहः प्राथमिकोऽयमस्याःप्रचीयतामित्यवदन्मुकुन्दः ||

When the groom caught hold of Taṭātakās lotus-foot in order to place it on the stone-slab, Viṣṇu blessed him thus May this first effort at holding her foot bring about more such opportunities in the days to come. (12.13)

The thirteenth Sarga starts with a description of Sundareśvara’s rule. Then comes the story of Ugra, Sundareśvara’s successor, under whose rule there was a famine in the Pāṇḍya kingdom. A war ensued between the king and Indra, the rain-god, in which the latter was defeated.

The fourteenth Sarga describes king Urga as having made a trip to Mount Meru on the orders of Śiva. A catchy description of the mountain follows –

सर्वरत्नाकरं हैमं संरक्षितुमहर्निशम् |
यामिकाविव चन्द्रार्कौ यं न जातु विमुञ्चतः ||

He is the abode of all gems and is himself golden in form. Therefore the sun and the moon, like two patrolling guards, forsake him neither by day nor by night. (14.11)

To be continued.



Dr. Shankar is an 'ashtavadhani,' psychiatrist, poet, and Sanskrit scholar. He is a master of a complex poetic form in Sanskrit known as 'chitrakavya.' He translated Gangadevi's Madhuravijaya and Uddandakavi's Kokilasandesha into English.

Prekshaa Publications

Indian Perspective of Truth and Beauty in Homer’s Epics is a unique work on the comparative study of the Greek Epics Iliad and Odyssey with the Indian Epics – Rāmāyaṇa and Mahābhārata. Homer, who laid the foundations for the classical tradition of the West, occupies a stature similar to that occupied by the seer-poets Vālmīki and Vyāsa, who are synonymous with the Indian culture. The author...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the sixth volume of reminiscences character sketches of prominent public figures, liberals, and social workers. These remarkable personages hailing from different corners of South India are from a period that spans from the late nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. Written in Kannada in the 1970s, these memoirs go...

An Introduction to Hinduism based on Primary Sources

Authors: Śatāvadhānī Dr. R Ganesh, Hari Ravikumar

What is the philosophical basis for Sanātana-dharma, the ancient Indian way of life? What makes it the most inclusive and natural of all religio-philosophical systems in the world?

The Essential Sanātana-dharma serves as a handbook for anyone who wishes to grasp the...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the fifth volume, episodes from the lives of traditional savants responsible for upholding the Vedic culture. These memorable characters lived a life of opulence amidst poverty— theirs  was the wealth of the soul, far beyond money and gold. These vidvāns hailed from different corners of the erstwhile Mysore Kingdom and lived in...

Padma Bhushan Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam represents the quintessence of Sage Bharata’s art and Bhārata, the country that gave birth to the peerless seer of the Nāṭya-veda. Padma’s erudition in various streams of Indic knowledge, mastery over many classical arts, deep understanding of the nuances of Indian culture, creative genius, and sublime vision bolstered by the vedāntic and nationalistic...

Bhārata has been a land of plenty in many ways. We have had a timeless tradition of the twofold principle of Brāhma (spirit of wisdom) and Kṣāttra (spirit of valour) nourishing and protecting this sacred land. The Hindu civilisation, rooted in Sanātana-dharma, has constantly been enriched by brāhma and safeguarded by kṣāttra.
The renowned Sanskrit poet and scholar, Śatāvadhānī Dr. R...

ಛಂದೋವಿವೇಕವು ವರ್ಣವೃತ್ತ, ಮಾತ್ರಾಜಾತಿ ಮತ್ತು ಕರ್ಷಣಜಾತಿ ಎಂದು ವಿಭಕ್ತವಾದ ಎಲ್ಲ ಬಗೆಯ ಛಂದಸ್ಸುಗಳನ್ನೂ ವಿವೇಚಿಸುವ ಪ್ರಬಂಧಗಳ ಸಂಕಲನ. ಲೇಖಕರ ದೀರ್ಘಕಾಲಿಕ ಆಲೋಚನೆಯ ಸಾರವನ್ನು ಒಳಗೊಂಡ ಈ ಹೊತ್ತಗೆ ಪ್ರಧಾನವಾಗಿ ಛಂದಸ್ಸಿನ ಸೌಂದರ್ಯವನ್ನು ಲಕ್ಷಿಸುತ್ತದೆ. ತೌಲನಿಕ ವಿಶ್ಲೇಷಣೆ ಮತ್ತು ಅಂತಃಶಾಸ್ತ್ರೀಯ ಅಧ್ಯಯನಗಳ ತೆಕ್ಕೆಗೆ ಬರುವ ಬರೆಹಗಳೂ ಇಲ್ಲಿವೆ. ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರಕಾರನಿಗಲ್ಲದೆ ಸಿದ್ಧಹಸ್ತನಾದ ಕವಿಗೆ ಮಾತ್ರ ಸ್ಫುರಿಸಬಲ್ಲ ಎಷ್ಟೋ ಹೊಳಹುಗಳು ಕೃತಿಯ ಮೌಲಿಕತೆಯನ್ನು ಹೆಚ್ಚಿಸಿವೆ. ಈ...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the fourth volume, some character sketches of the Dewans of Mysore preceded by an account of the political framework of the State before Independence and followed by a review of the political conditions of the State after 1940. These remarkable leaders of Mysore lived in a period that spans from the mid-nineteenth century to the...

Bharatiya Kavya-mimamseya Hinnele is a monograph on Indian Aesthetics by Mahamahopadhyaya N. Ranganatha Sharma. The book discusses the history and significance of concepts pivotal to Indian literary theory. It is equally useful to the learned and the laity.

Sahitya-samhite is a collection of literary essays in Kannada. The book discusses aestheticians such as Ananda-vardhana and Rajashekhara; Sanskrit scholars such as Mena Ramakrishna Bhat, Sridhar Bhaskar Varnekar and K S Arjunwadkar; and Kannada litterateurs such as DVG, S L Bhyrappa and S R Ramaswamy. It has a foreword by Shatavadhani Dr. R Ganesh.

The Mahābhārata is the greatest epic in the world both in magnitude and profundity. A veritable cultural compendium of Bhārata-varṣa, it is a product of the creative genius of Maharṣi Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsa. The epic captures the experiential wisdom of our civilization and all subsequent literary, artistic, and philosophical creations are indebted to it. To read the Mahābhārata is to...

Shiva Rama Krishna

சிவன். ராமன். கிருஷ்ணன்.
இந்திய பாரம்பரியத்தின் முப்பெரும் கதாநாயகர்கள்.
உயர் இந்தியாவில் தலைமுறைகள் பல கடந்தும் கடவுளர்களாக போற்றப்பட்டு வழிகாட்டிகளாக விளங்குபவர்கள்.
மனித ஒற்றுமை நூற்றாண்டுகால பரிணாம வளர்ச்சியின் பரிமாணம்.
தனிநபர்களாகவும், குடும்ப உறுப்பினர்களாகவும், சமுதாய பிரஜைகளாகவும் நாம் அனைவரும் பரிமளிக்கிறோம்.
சிவன் தனிமனித அடையாளமாக அமைகிறான்....

ऋतुभिः सह कवयः सदैव सम्बद्धाः। विशिष्य संस्कृतकवयः। यथा हि ऋतवः प्रतिसंवत्सरं प्रतिनवतामावहन्ति मानवेषु तथैव ऋतुवर्णनान्यपि काव्यरसिकेषु कामपि विच्छित्तिमातन्वते। ऋतुकल्याणं हि सत्यमिदमेव हृदि कृत्वा प्रवृत्तम्। नगरजीवनस्य यान्त्रिकतां मान्त्रिकतां च ध्वनदिदं चम्पूकाव्यं गद्यपद्यमिश्रितमिति सुव्यक्तमेव। ऐदम्पूर्वतया प्रायः पुरीपरिसरप्रसृतानाम् ऋतूनां विलासोऽत्र प्रपञ्चितः। बेङ्गलूरुनामके...

The Art and Science of Avadhānam in Sanskrit is a definitive work on Sāhityāvadhānam, a form of Indian classical art based on multitasking, lateral thinking, and extempore versification. Dotted throughout with tasteful examples, it expounds in great detail on the theory and practice of this unique performing art. It is as much a handbook of performance as it is an anthology of well-turned...

This anthology is a revised edition of the author's 1978 classic. This series of essays, containing his original research in various fields, throws light on the socio-cultural landscape of Tamil Nadu spanning several centuries. These compelling episodes will appeal to scholars and laymen alike.
“When superstitious mediaevalists mislead the country about its judicial past, we have to...

The cultural history of a nation, unlike the customary mainstream history, has a larger time-frame and encompasses the timeless ethos of a society undergirding the course of events and vicissitudes. A major key to the understanding of a society’s unique character is an appreciation of the far-reaching contributions by outstanding personalities of certain periods – especially in the realms of...

Prekṣaṇīyam is an anthology of essays on Indian classical dance and theatre authored by multifaceted scholar and creative genius, Śatāvadhānī Dr. R Ganesh. As a master of śāstra, a performing artiste (of the ancient art of Avadhānam), and a cultured rasika, he brings a unique, holistic perspective to every discussion. These essays deal with the philosophy, history, aesthetics, and practice of...


इदं किञ्चिद्यामलं काव्यं द्वयोः खण्डकाव्ययोः सङ्कलनरूपम्। रामानुरागानलं हि सीतापरित्यागाल्लक्ष्मणवियोगाच्च श्रीरामेणानुभूतं हृदयसङ्क्षोभं वर्णयति । वात्सल्यगोपालकं तु कदाचिद्भानूपरागसमये घटितं यशोदाश्रीकृष्णयोर्मेलनं वर्णयति । इदम्प्रथमतया संस्कृतसाहित्ये सम्पूर्णं काव्यं...


इदं खण्डकाव्यमान्तं मालिनीछन्दसोपनिबद्धं विलसति। मेनकाविश्वामित्रयोः समागमः, तत्फलतया शकुन्तलाया जननम्, मातापितृभ्यां त्यक्तस्य शिशोः कण्वमहर्षिणा परिपालनं चेति काव्यस्यास्येतिवृत्तसङ्क्षेपः।


इदं खण्डकाव्यमान्तं मालिनीछन्दसोपनिबद्धं विलसति। मेनकाविश्वामित्रयोः समागमः, तत्फलतया शकुन्तलाया जननम्, मातापितृभ्यां त्यक्तस्य शिशोः कण्वमहर्षिणा परिपालनं चेति काव्यस्यास्येतिवृत्तसङ्क्षेपः।


इयं रचना दशसु रूपकेष्वन्यतमस्य भाणस्य निदर्शनतामुपैति। एकाङ्करूपकेऽस्मिन् शेखरकनामा चित्रोद्यमलेखकः केनापि हेतुना वियोगम् अनुभवतोश्चित्रलेखामिलिन्दकयोः समागमं सिसाधयिषुः कथामाकाशभाषणरूपेण निर्वहति।


अस्मिन् स्तोत्रकाव्ये भगवन्तं शिवं कविरभिष्टौति। वसन्ततिलकयोपनिबद्धस्य काव्यस्यास्य कविकृतम् उल्लाघनाभिधं व्याख्यानं च वर्तते।

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the third volume, some character sketches of great literary savants responsible for Kannada renaissance during the first half of the twentieth century. These remarkable...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the second volume, episodes from the lives of remarkable exponents of classical music and dance, traditional storytellers, thespians, and connoisseurs; as well as his...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the first volume, episodes from the lives of great writers, poets, literary aficionados, exemplars of public life, literary scholars, noble-hearted common folk, advocates...

Evolution of Mahabharata and Other Writings on the Epic is the English translation of S R Ramaswamy's 1972 Kannada classic 'Mahabharatada Belavanige' along with seven of his essays on the great epic. It tells the riveting...

Shiva-Rama-Krishna is an English adaptation of Śatāvadhāni Dr. R Ganesh's popular lecture series on the three great...


ಮಹಾಮಾಹೇಶ್ವರ ಅಭಿನವಗುಪ್ತ ಜಗತ್ತಿನ ವಿದ್ಯಾವಲಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಮರೆಯಲಾಗದ ಹೆಸರು. ಮುಖ್ಯವಾಗಿ ಶೈವದರ್ಶನ ಮತ್ತು ಸೌಂದರ್ಯಮೀಮಾಂಸೆಗಳ ಪರಮಾಚಾರ್ಯನಾಗಿ  ಸಾವಿರ ವರ್ಷಗಳಿಂದ ಇವನು ಜ್ಞಾನಪ್ರಪಂಚವನ್ನು ಪ್ರಭಾವಿಸುತ್ತಲೇ ಇದ್ದಾನೆ. ಭರತಮುನಿಯ ನಾಟ್ಯಶಾಸ್ತ್ರವನ್ನು ಅರ್ಥಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಇವನೊಬ್ಬನೇ ನಮಗಿರುವ ಆಲಂಬನ. ಇದೇ ರೀತಿ ರಸಧ್ವನಿಸಿದ್ಧಾಂತವನ್ನು...


“वागर्थविस्मयास्वादः” प्रमुखतया साहित्यशास्त्रतत्त्वानि विमृशति । अत्र सौन्दर्यर्यशास्त्रीयमूलतत्त्वानि यथा रस-ध्वनि-वक्रता-औचित्यादीनि सुनिपुणं परामृष्टानि प्रतिनवे चिकित्सकप्रज्ञाप्रकाशे। तदन्तर एव संस्कृतवाङ्मयस्य सामर्थ्यसमाविष्कारोऽपि विहितः। क्वचिदिव च्छन्दोमीमांसा च...

The Best of Hiriyanna

The Best of Hiriyanna is a collection of forty-eight essays by Prof. M. Hiriyanna that sheds new light on Sanskrit Literature, Indian...

Stories Behind Verses

Stories Behind Verses is a remarkable collection of over a hundred anecdotes, each of which captures a story behind the composition of a Sanskrit verse. Collected over several years from...