History of Sanskrit

The Delhi Sultanate  1300 to 1526 AD    

Despite Muslim domination literary works in S continued to be produced though creativity was a thing of the past. Among the factors influencing the development of S during this period was the Chaitanya Movement of Bengal and Orissa, which produced several works of drama, Champu, grammar. Patronage extended by Hindu rulers of Vijayanagara, Warangal, Gujarat resulted in a concentration of scholars to these regions. Stories of Nala and Yayati seem to have been most popular and number of works appeared based on the story of Kadambari. Jains made a substantial contribution to S during this period. The bulk of the literature came from the South, Bengal, Mithila and Western India.

Kavya -  Mahakavya has Udararaghava of Sakalyamalla that relates the entire Ramayana is a highly artificial style. Agastya of Warangal (A.P.) wrote Balabharata, which summarizes the whole story of the Mahabharata in 20 cantos. The Harivilasa of Lolimbaraja narrates the life of Krishna. In historical kavya were Jonaraha and his pupils who wrote the history of Kashmir from1420 to 1586. Hammira-kavya by the Jain writer Nayachandra describes the heroic deeds of Chauhan Hammira who bravely fought with the Muslims at Ranthambore. A number of shorter poems were written during this period.

Nataka - Were written legendary themes, semi-historical plays, allegorical dramas, devotional plays, social dramas and court comedies. Devotional plays like Lalita-madhava by Rupa Goswamin on Krishnabhakti reflect the influence of the Chaitanya Movement.

Prose literature - Were written romantic tales, prose romances, Champu and Prabandhas. The Champu form of literature appears to have been popular and largely cultivated in South India. The Jain writers used Champu for religious propaganda while the Bengal Vaishnava School wrote Champus relating to Krishna. The Bhojaprabandha of Ballalasens (16th century) narrates stories of King Bhoja. The Jain Prabandhas are semi-historical works professing to deal with historical and literary personages, but represent a motley collection of curious legends and anecdotes.

Dharmasastra  -  Among the prominent Mithila writers was Chandesvara’s. His Smritiratnakara is an exhaustive digest with seven sections on Kritya (vratas and observances), Dana (gifts), Vyavahara (judicial procedure), Suddhi (impurity and purification), Puja (worship), Vivada (civil and criminal law) and Grihastha (duties of householders). There were other Mithila writers like Harinatha, Rudradhara, Misaru Misra (recognized authority on Hindu law) and Vachaspati Misa the doyen of all. Mithila is in modern day Bihar so note that Bihar of today was not like this always. In Bengal were three great writers Sulapani, Raghunandana and Govindananda. There were writers in North India too. In South India Parasara-Madhaviya is a digest of civil and religious law and is held to be an authority on Hindu Law in South India.

Philosophy - Sarvadarsanasamgraha of Madhava, brother of Sayana, is the most famous of several critical reviews of philosophical systems. It deals with 16 different darsanas (systems).

Grammar - Most of the works of this period are based upon the Ashtadhyyayi of Panini. There was the Hemachandra, Sarasvata and Saupadma schools and a number of books were written during this period.

Music - Work on music may be called the special feature of this period in the north and south. There were two commentaries on Sarngadeva’s Samgitaratanakara during the period. Also Sangitaraja by Kumbha Rana who ruled Chitrakut is a voluminous work containing five chapters relating to music, musical instruments, dressing, gesticulation and dance. There were other authors too.

Astronomy - After the great Bhaskaracharya no one seems to have taken real interest in astronomy.

A treatise on Indian medicine called Madan-ush-Shifa-I-Sikandari was compiled and translated from S by Miyan Bhuvah. Another treatise on the selection and treatment of horses was translated from the original Salihotra, during the reign of the Khalji king 1469 to 1500. It deals with the various breeds of horses, their blemishes, their diseases and cures.

Summary - Some important contributions during this period to S literature are. One is the wonderful galaxy of S commentators like Sayana, Mallinatha and Kataya Vema. Two there were outstanding productions like the Vivadachintamani of V Misra, Parasara-Madhaviya of Madhavacharya and Smrititattava of Raghunandana in the Dharma-sastra literature. Special mention may be made of R Siromani’s Didhiti, the standard work on Navyanyaya and the rise of the system of Vallabha Vedanta in the domain of philosophy. Important contributions were made to grammar, music and poetics. In grammar, the Saupadma system originated during this period. The influence of Chaityana was felt in grammar as well as in poetics. There were several important works on science off music, which may be said to be the outstanding contribution of this period.

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