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Sundarasena -A Critical Edition of a Sanskrit Play Preserved in a Fourteenth-century Nepalese Manuscript - Csaba Dezso

Sundarasena -A Critical Edition of a Sanskrit Play Preserved in a Fourteenth-century Nepalese Manuscript - Csaba Dezso

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01/07/2013

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Acta Ant. Hung. 45, 2005, 165?–178?0044-5975 / $ 20.00
©
2005 Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest 
CSABA DEZS
Ő
 1
SUNDARASENA
:
2
CRITICAL EDITION OF A SANSKRIT PLAY PRESERVED
3
IN A FOURTEENTH-CENTURY NEPALESE MANUSCRIPT
*
 
45678
Summary:
This paper contains a critical edition of an unpublished Sanskrit play preserved in an incom-9plete Nepalese manuscript dated to 1382. In the introduction an attempt is made to determine when and10where the play might have been written, and on what possible sources the plot is based.11
Key words:
critical edition, Sanskrit drama, Nepal.12
I.
13
In the past decades thousands of manuscripts were microfilmed within the
14
framework of the Nepal-German Manuscript Preservation Project, thus rendering an
15
invaluable service to various branches of Indian and Nepalese studies. In September
16
2000 I ordered microfilm copies of palm-leaf manuscripts of Sanskrit dramas from
17
the National Archives in Kathmandu. Browsing through the catalogue the title “Sun-
18
darasena” aroused my interest, since I had not encountered any Sanskrit play with
19
this name before. But the microfilm copy of this particular manuscript could not be
20
located (it had perished or been misplaced), and my only hope was to find the manu-
21
script itself in the Kesar Library. Fortunately the librarian, Mr. Manikman Bajracha-
22
rya found the manuscript and kindly allowed me to make a photocopy of it.
23
The manuscript (No. 9/88, Reel Number C 6/22) turned out to be a bundle of 
24
three different works. Most of the leaves contain a portion of the
Ud 
ā
ttar 
ā
ghava
, a
25
Sanskrit play by Ana
`
gahar
s
a-M
ā
yur
ā
 ja (or M
ā
trar
ā
 ja).
1
On a few folios we find a
2627
*
This article was written within the framework of the OTKA program T 038047.
1
V. Raghavan was planning to publish an edition of this play on the basis of two manuscripts(one of which is probably the manuscript discussed in the present article), but as far as I know this planwas never realised (cf. R
AGHAVAN
,
 
V.:
 Bhoja’s
Ś 
r`
g
ā
ra Prak 
āś
a.
Punarvasu 1978
3
, 867).
 
166
DEZS
Ő
, CSABA
 Acta Ant. Hung. 45, 2005
fragment of the
 La
akamelaka
, a 12th-century farce by
Ś
a
`
khadhara.
2
The remaining
1
leaves contain a portion of a Sanskrit play about Sundarasena.
3
 
2
All three works are written in Newari characters. The
 La
akamelaka
-manu-
3
script is not dated, but on paleographical grounds it probably belongs to the 13th–
4
14th centuries. Both the
Ud 
ā
ttar 
ā
ghava
- and the
Sundarasena
-manuscripts are dated,
5
the former to the month of 
m
ā
rga
 śī 
s
a
, Nepal
Sa
m
vat 
497, (= November–December
6
1376), and the latter to the same month of Nepal
Sa
m
vat 
503 (= November–Decem-
7
ber 1382). Furthermore, these two manuscripts were written down by the same scribe,
8
who immortalised his name, Mun
 ī 
ndrabhadra, in the colophons.
4
 
9
Only folios 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, and 11 have been preserved of the manuscript of the
10
Sundarasena
, as well as the last folio, without a number but with the colophon. The
11
prologue unfortunately breaks off before the director could introduce the author of 
12
the play, but he does name the Honourable Madane
ś
vara as the crown prince (
 yuva-
13
ā
 ja
) who heads the audience. The prince is also called
 pa
 ś
upatibha
tt 
ā
rakap
ā
ā
nu-
14
g
h
ī 
ta,
“one favoured by the venerable Lord Pa
ś
upati”, and
raghuva
m
 ś
atilaka,
“the
15
ornament of Raghu’s race”. Though any attempt to identify this prince on the basis of 
16
such meagre information might be considered purely speculative, nevertheless I ven-
17
ture the hypothesis that the Madane
ś
vara of the play is the same as Madana R
ā
ma, an
18
important figure of Nepalese history at the end of the 14th century.
5
 
19
Madana R
ā
ma was born in the influential R
ā
ma family of Bhonta (or Bho
tt
a,
20
the region of Banepa to the east of the Nepal Valley). His father, Aneka R
ā
ma was
21
the prime minister (
mah
ā
tha
) of Bhonta, and after the accession of Jayar
ā
 jadeva of 
22
Bhonta to the Nepalese throne (1347) Aneka R
ā
ma became the chief minister.
6
Ma-
23
dana R
ā
ma’s brother, Jayasi
m
ha R
ā
ma was the attendant of the crown prince (
 yuva-
24
ā
 ja
) Jay
ā
rjunadeva,
7
and when his father died in 1356 Jayasi
m
ha R
ā
ma succeeded
25
him as prime minister. Jay
ā
rjunadeva ascended the throne in 1361, but his domain
26
only extended over Bhonta and Patan. From the end of the sixties the king, or rather
27
his powerful minister, Jayasi
m
ha R
ā
ma came into conflict with Jayasthitimalla, the
28
lord of Bhatgaon, and was defeated by the latter in 1374. In 1380 Jayasthitimalla, the
29
de facto
ruler of the Valley, sent Jay
ā
rjunadeva on a pilgrimage, which virtually
30
meant the king’s exile.
31
2
Interestingly the name of the author appears as
Ś
a
`
kara, while his patron is called Gomindadevain the prologue (instead of 
Ś
a
`
khadhara and Govindadeva found in the editions and in other manuscripts).
3
The Nepalese scribe refers to this work as
sundarasena
 ś
ilpam
in the colophon, which might beinterpreted as “the work [entitled] Sundarasena”. On the other hand one might take the whole phrase asthe title, i.e. “Sundarsena’s Art / Ingenuity”, but on the basis of the story this seems to me a less likely in-terpretation. Unfortunately the lines in the prologue mentioning the title have not survived.
4
The ak
s
aras in the colophon of the
Sundarasena
have faded and thus are not easily legible:
ne- p
ā
lik 
ā
bde
 ś
ikhibindub
ā
~
e m
ā
se sah
ā
-m
ā
rga-
 ś
ite caturye
(?)
sa
m
likhyate sundarasena
 ś
ilpa
m
mun
ī 
ndra-bhadre
~
a …
(the rest I cannot read).
5
I thank Dr. Diwakar Acharya for drawing my attention to Madana R
ā
ma.
6
P
ETECH
, L.:
 Mediaeval History of Nepal (c. 750–1482).
Istituto Italiano Per Il Medio Ed Estre-mo Oriente, Roma 1984
2
, 122.
7
P
ETECH
(n. 6) 124.
 
 
SUNDARASENA
 
167
 
 Acta Ant. Hung. 45, 2005
When Jay
ā
rjunadeva died on 3 February 1382, Jayasi
m
ha R
ā
ma tried to turn
1
the interregnum to his own advantage and presented himself as regent,
8
as it is at-
2
tested by the Itham Bahal inscription.
9
His “regency” probably lasted until about Sep-
3
tember 1382, when Jayasthitimalla was formally recognised as king by the noble-
4
men.
10
 
5
In the last years of Jayasthitimalla’s reign, as his power gradually weakened,
6
and especially after his death in 1395, Jayasi
m
ha R
ā
ma asserted his autonomy again:
7
in inscriptions and manuscript colophons dated after 1387 he is called
bho
tt 
ar 
ā
 jy
ā
dhi-
8
ā
 ja
and
mah
ī 
 pat 
ī 
ndra
.
11
As Petech points out in connection with a manuscript colo-
9
phon from 1395, “The titles given to Jayasi
m
ha R
ā
ma are somewhat contradictory;
10
he bears the full royal style, and yet the word
 pratip
ā
likar 
ā
 jye,
already met with in
11
1382, indicates not a reign, but regency. The only possible explanation is that Jaya-
12
si
m
aha R
ā
ma assumed (or was given by the scribe) royal status locally in Bhonta,
13
while claiming the regency in the rest of the country.”
12
 
14
If Jayasi
m
ha R
ā
ma was considered as king of Bhonta, his brother, Madana R
ā
-
15
ma might well have been regarded as
 yuvar 
ā
 ja
, “crown prince” of the same region.
13
 
16
The two other epithets used in the play,
 pa
 ś
upatibha
tt 
ā
rakap
ā
ā
nug
h
ī 
ta
and
raghu-
17
va
m
 ś
atilaka
migth also be connected with Madana R
ā
ma. According to the inscrip-
18
tions he was
 paramam
ā
he
 ś
vara,
14
and his family gave substantial donations to the
19
Pa
ś
upati N
ā
th shrine.
15
On the other hand, the word
raghuva
m
 ś
atilaka
may refer to
20
Madana’s family name, i.e. R
ā
ma.
21
II.
22
The tragic story of H
ā
ralat
ā
and Sundarasena is known from the
Ku
tt 
an
ī 
mata
,
23
an 8th-century satirical poem by the Kashmirian D
ā
modaragupta.
16
Sundarasena, the
24
18
P
ETECH
(n. 6) 136.
19
R
EGMI
, D. R.:
 Medieval Nepal.
4 vols. Calcutta 1965–1966, III 24–27:
 
 ś
ī 
-Jayasi
m
har 
ā
ma-varddhanasya pratip
ā
lita-vijayar 
ā
 jye.
The date of the inscription is 21 June 1382. The same inscriptionmentions
mah
ā
mantr 
ī 
 
Madana R
ā
ma, Jayasi
m
ha R
ā
ma’s brother, as well as the latter’s wife, Jaitralak
s
m
 ī 
-dev
 ī 
, and son,
Ś
aktisi
m
ha R
ā
ma.
10
P
ETECH
(n. 6) 135, referring to a Nepalese
va
m
 śā
val
ī 
.
11
R
EGMI
(n. 9) I 383ff.
12
P
ETECH
(n. 6) 154f.
13
It is interesting to note that, according to the testimony of the official history of the Ming dy-nasty, between 1384 and 1427 the Chinese recognised Ma-ta-na Lo-mo, i.e. Madana R
ā
ma, and laterSha-ti-hsin-ko, i.e. his son
Ś
aktisi
m
ha R
ā
ma as the kings of Nepal. According to Petech, when the diplo-matic relations started “Jayasi
m
ha R
ā
ma, who was still fully occupied in his losing struggle in the Val-ley, pushed to the fore his younger brother Madana R
ā
ma, who, as known from the documents, was gov-erning the R
ā
ma family’s dominion of Bhonta. Jayasi
m
ha R
ā
ma presented him to the Chinese as thebearer of the rights of Bhonta, and therefore as the legitimate claimant to the throne of Nepal.” (P
ETECH
(n. 6) 154f.)
14
P
ETECH
(n. 6) 156.
15
P
ETECH
(n. 6) 124ff.
16
Cf.
Kuttani-matam or Shambali-matam by Damodara Gupta.
Ed. Tanasukhram Manasukha-ram Tripathi. Krishnadas Academy, Varanasi 1991 (reprint of the 1924 edition), vv. 176–497. A newedition and English translation of D
ā
modaragupta’s work by Dr. Dominic Goodall and myself, based on

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