History of Sanskrit

The Mughal Period 1526 to 1707 AD    

The Muslim conquest of large parts of North India adversely affected the growth of S literature. Akbar did attempt to create an atmosphere of tolerance but by and large the peace, security for the progress of culture was lacking. Kashmir important center of S learning hardly produced any work after the end of Hindu rule. In Bengal, practically Jayadeva’s (12th century a.d.) is the last great name in history. So was the case in Gujarat and Bihar.

The story was different in the South. The vigorous movements initiated by Madhavacharya and Sayanacharya continued to inspire rulers and scholars for centuries. Long after the Vijayanagara empire lost its glory the rulers of Tuluva and Aravidhu dynasties, Nayakas of Travancore, chiefs of Travancore and Cochin kept S alive.

The above paras give you a reason why North India is devoid of culture as compared to the South, not in an absolute sense but in a relative sense.

Mahakavya - Notable contribution was made by Raghunatha Nayaka of Tanjore and his court-poets. Srinivasa Dikshita, a minister of the Nayakas of Gingee is credited with the authorship of 18 dramas and sixty kavyas. Nilakantha Dishita flourished in the first half of the 17th century wrote many poems amongst which Gangavatarana rank very high. It deals in eight cantos with the story of the penance of Bhagiratha and the descent of the celestial Ganga on the earth. Narayana is considered to be one of the greatest scholar poets that Kerala has produced. He wrote amongst others Narayaniyam which can be described as a devotional kavya in praise of god Narayana of Guruvayur.

Historical Kavya - Achyutarayabhyudaya of Dindima is an important work in this respect. The author belonged to the Dindima family that originally belonged to Mathura. It deals with the history of Achyutadevaraya (1530 to 1542). Kavindra Paramananda, a contemporary of Shivaji, composed a narrative poem with the life and achievements of Shivaji. The work is known as Anubharata. The story was further continued with two more compositions collectively known as Paramananda-kavyam and are valuable sources of Maratha history. Another important source of Maratha history is Sambhuraja-charita by Harikavi, is a poetic biography of Shambuji, the son of Shivaji. The Maratha rulers of Tanjore, Ekoji were also great patrons of letters. The Rajatarangini of Kalhana, the famous work of the history of Kashmir was continued by different authors. Karnavatamsa, a eulogistic account of the rule of Karnasimha of Bikaner, mentions names of the Muslim patrons of S.

There were a number of poets who wrote shorter poems like Jagannatha Panditaraja a native of Andhra Pradesh, he wrote poems like Piyulshalahari in praise of the Ganga, Karunalahari in praise of Vishnu etc.

Nataka  - Jagajyotimalla of Nepal wrote a drama on the marriage of Siva and Parvati titled Hara-Gauri-vivaha. Amongst the many dramas based on the Ramayana was Adbhutadarpana of Mahadeva. The author employs the device of a magic mirror through which Rama sees the happenings in Lanka. There were historical plays like Kantimati-Parinaya of Chokkanatha whose theme is the marriage of Shahiji with Kantimati, allegorical plays like Chaitanya-chandrodaya deals with the life of Chaitanya, erotic plays like Bhanas – a type of one act play dwelling on an erotic theme.

Technical Literature  - Appayya Dikshita, the famous philosopher and Jagannatha, the eminent poet were perhaps the outstanding scholars of this period who contributed to the study of poetics. In the field of grammatical studies Bhattoji Dikshita name stands foremost. His Siddhantakaumudi, an elucidation of the work of Panini, is perhaps more popular than Panini’s work itself.  Music - Many scholars in the Vijayanagara Empire wrote works on music. Rama Amatya 1552-65 wrote Svaramelakalanidhi that deals with the different ragas of the Karnataka system of music. Chaturadamaodara who flourished in the court of Jahangir wrote his Sangitadarpana dealing with music and dance.   Philosophy - Appaya Dikshita contributed more than 100 scholarly works on the fields of Advaita philosophy and Saiva siddhanta. Madhusudana Sarasvati was another great Advaita scholar. Among the scholars of Madhva philosophy was Vyasaraya 1478 to 1539.  Reference must be made to epigraphical literature. Numerous inscriptions on stone and copper plates were written in ornatic poetic style. Outstanding among them is Rajaprasasti at Udaipur composed in 1676. It is a Mahakavya whose author was a Telegu named Ranachhoda.

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