History of Sanskrit

Maratha Supremacy  1707 to 1818 a.d.    

A brief survey of S literature during this period indicates that S continued to flourish along with other regional languages. Under patronage of rulers, temples and pilgrimage centers like Kashi it prospered. Kings in Tanjore, Mysore, Andhra, Peshwas  in Maharashtra, Jaipur and Nadia in Bengal invigorated S esp in North India where it suffered because of Muslim rule. Another noteworthy feature was the foundation of S institutions. The Peshwas had set aside funds for Dakshina that was responsible for the present Deccan College. In 1791 was founded the Varanasi S Vishvavidyalaya.

Mahakavya - There were many works on Lord Ram, amongst the more noteworthy one was Raghaviyam 20 cantos composed by the famous poet Ramapanivada of Malabar. Another Maithilian poet Krishnadatta composed Radharahasya 22 cantos depicting the amours of Radha and Krishna. Ghanshyam in his poem Venkateshacharita narrates the story of Lord Venkateshwara of Tirupati. Another great poet Ramabhadra Dikshit composed Patanjali-charita 8 cantos describing the life of Patanjali, the well-known author of Vyakarana Mahabhasya. A number of other works for written too.

The Champu literature continued to grow with themes, religious and biographical. Eg the political affairs of contemporary Deccan and Karnataka as well as Anglo-French conflicts form the theme of Anandaranga-champu of Shrinavasa.  Shahtranistha-kavya - A few poets illustrated the alamkara through their poems glorifying the royal deeds. One of them was Devashankara’s Purohit’s Alamkaramanjusha praises the achievements of Peshwa Madhav Rao I.

Nataka - The life of patrons was dramatized by many a playwright. Venkata Subramanya wrote Vasulakshmikalyanam dealing with the marriage of his king Ramavarma of Travancore with Vasulakshmi, a Sindhu princess for securing a political alliance. There were a number of nataskas written during this period with similar themes.

Miscellaneous works - The tradition of writing Tikas was vigorously Ghanshyam who wrote commentaries of many works like Shakuntla, Mahaviracharita, Bhojachmpu amongst others. He is said to have written 64 works in S, 20 in Prakrit and 25 in other dialects. Basava Nayak of Ikkeri compiled Shivatattvaratnakara, an encyclopedia giving the essence of different arts and sciences in the Vedas and Agamas.

Technical literature - The distinguished writer Nagojibhatta wrote many books on grammar amongst others a commentary on Kaiyata’s Pradipa, a commentary on Mahabhasya. He is also credited with works on dharmasastras, jyotisha and saddarshanas.

Music - Tulajirao, king of Tanjore wrote the Sangitasaramrita, an extensive work on the southern systems of music. His Natyavedagama deals with dancing. Ahobila Pandit 1750-77 composed Sangitaparijata, which was translated into Persian by Dinanath. With the help of musicians Pratapsimha Deva, the Maharaja of Jaipur compiled the Sangitasagara, an encyclopedia on music. Tyagaraja, the great musician and devotee of Lord Ram, composed songs in S. One of the distinguished writers of this period was Maharaja Bala Rama Varma of Travancore who was also a poet of distinction.

Astronomy - Raghava wrote Khetakriti on astronomy. Ramrarudra wrote three works on the same subject. Dinakar of Pune wrote a number of works on Jyotish-shastra.

Medicine - Under Mahaji Sindia, Jogaraja composed Ashvaphalaprakasha, a work on veterinary science. The Vicharasudhakara of Ranga Jyotirvid of Junnar near Pune deals with Piles.

The field of Dharmasastras was enriched by many works. Kashinath Upadhyaya wrote the Dharmasindhu, Sadacharahasya was compiled by Anantabhatta, Balambhatti by Balambhatta were amongst the many books written.

Philosophy - In the realm of Advaita philosophy, Sadashiva Brahmendra Sarasvati wrote Bramahmatattvaprakashika, a commentary on the Brahmasutras amongst others. He also wrote commentaries on 108 Upanishads. The Shuddhavaita School was also enriched by Dasha-digantavijay Purushottam 1668-1781. He is said to have written more than 67 works comprising nine lacs of slokhas. The Dvaita doctrine was further expounded by Raghunath Tirtha. Sumatindra Tirtha of Raghavendra Mutt was a profilic writer- a doctrinaire, a poet and an Alamkarika. Bhaskarakantha of Kashmir wrote the Bhaskari. A number of other works were written.

After reading all about these great works I wonder where are they today, we convent educated students do not know a word of S, then how are we to read these great works? To us they are lost forever.

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