James De Alwis.

A descriptive catalogue of Sanskrit, Pali, & Sinhalese literary works of Ceylon online

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introductory part of his first chapter, which we subjoin ^

Nam'attbu janasantanatamasantana blietlino
Dhammujjalantaruchino munnKlotlatarochino
Pingalacharijadihi chliandanyam'uditam pura
Suddhamagadhikanan tan na sadheti yatliicliclihitam.
Tato Magadhabhasaya mattavannavibhedauan
Lakkhalakkbana samyuttan pasanuatthapadakkamam
Idain Vuttodayan nama lokijachchhandanissitam
A'rabbissa'malian dani tesam sukhavibuddbiya.

' Be obeisance to the moon-like chief of Munis,.
who dazzles in the luminous rays of the Dhamma, and
who destroys the dense darkness in the mind of man.

' The works on Prosody, composed afore by Piiigala
A'chariya and others, are not such as to afford satisfaction
to those who study the pure Magadhi. Therefore, for
their easy comprehension, do I now commence, in the
Miigadhi language, this which is named Vuttodaya,
applicable to popular poetical metres, distinguished
into the different (metres of) Matta and Vanna, com-
posed in language, pleasing, and (abounding) in sense,
and embodying [at once]* both rule and example.

* Vide supra, Rule on. the metre Malini.


The entire work is divided into six chapters. The
first treats of the eight prosodial feet, and of technical
terms; the second is on Matta metre, or poetry measured
by the number of sylhibic instants, without reference
to prosodial feet ; the third on Sama-vutta, or poetry, of
which every line is alike; the fourth and fifth on
Addha-samavutta, or poetry, where every haif-gatha is
alike, and on Visama-vutta, or poetry where the four
pada of a gittha are not equal ; and the sixth on the
chap-pachchaya, ' six kinds of knowledge,' having
reference to patthiira, (') symbolical 'spreading of the
rythm;' Nattha ^ '-'-)' the finding out of a forgotten
metre;' uddittha ^^) 'ascertaining the number of the
tune of a given piece of poetry ;' lagakriya ("*) ' the
finding out of laghu and garu syllabic instants;'
sankhana C3)' enumeration of the number of tunes in a
class;' and addha-yoga, i^) 'the measurement of the
sjiace necessary for spreading the symbols of rythm.'

The writer concludes the work with his own name,
Bangharakkhita Thera; but the date is not given.*


is a very ancient, and vexy interesting Sanskrit poem^
A Sinhalese sanna, or literal translation of it alone
has yet been discovered. It is however possible that

* Mr. Childers has given a more lengthy description of tlu&
■work in his Khuddaka Patha, p. 22. et seq.

jInaki'harana. 189

the original Avork may still be found in some nook of
an old monastic library.

Like all Sinhalese sannas this translation quotes
the words of the original in their integrity, and it is
therefore not mipossible to restore the words into their
original poetical form; though, we confess, the MS.
in our possession requires mvich correction, after
comparison with other copies, which we hope may
yet be found. But its restoration into metre is
undoubtedly a very arduous work. Considering, how-
ever, that this poem, according to the opinion of the
learned iu Ceylon, is " not inferior to the works of
Kalidasa," the Indian Shakspeare, and that it may
be ranked amont^st the " Maha Kavu" or " oreat
poems," it may be well worth the trouble of some
oriental scholar in Europe to undertake the work of

The original work was, as stated in the Sanna,
composed by Kumaradtisa, or Kumara Dhiitu sena, one
of the celebrated Sinhalese kino's, who reigned between
513 — 522 A.D. It is not only expressly stated in the
Sauna that he was the author, but there arc other
authorities who ascribe its authorship to him. The
Perakumba Sirita tlius notices both author and
work : —

* King Kumaradas, who on the very same day
celebrated a three-fold feast in honor of the inaugura-
tion of the Queen-Consort, the installation into office
of a number of priests, and the founding of 18 temples
and 18 tanks; and who in masterly and elegant strains


composed Janakiharana and other [maha kavu] great
poems, offered his life for the poet Kiilidasa.'*

The Mahavansa thus notices the acts of this cele-
brated Prince : —

Tass'achchaye KumanuII Dhatuseno'ti vissuto
Ahu tassa suto raja deva-rupo maha-balo
Karitepitunii'kasi vihare nava kammakam
Karetva dliamma Sangitiu parisodhesi sasanarri'
Sautappesi maha sanghan j)achcliayehi chatuhi^pi
Katvii puiiSaui'uekiiiii navame hayane'tiga.

* After his (Moggalana's) demise, his son, Avho wa&:
known as Kumara Dhatusena, (both) mighty and god-
like, became king. He repaired the temple whicli
had been built by his father, held a convocation of
[Dhamma] the Bauddha Scriptures, and purified the
religion. He pleased the priesthood with the four
pachchaya; and, having done many meritorious actions^
passed away in the ninth year.'

I am indebted to my pandit for the ten following
s'lokas which he has restored to the original rythm..
To them I add my own translation, as well as a speci-
men of the literal translation, or the sanna, of the first
verse of the reclaimed s'lokas.

* For particulars regarding this tradition the reader is referred
to the Sidatsangara, p. cliii. et seq., where too, the original of the
above from Perakumb& Sirita is given. The Kalidasa here men-
tioned was not the poet of that name known as the "Indiaa

janaki'harana. 191

Chap. IX.

Iti mose, sukhena suvayen, pravritasyn pevettavu,
sutasya putrayahata, keshuchit mds'esii gateshu [satsu]
kipa masayak giya kalhi, sa-hhupatih e Das'aratha tema,
itarat sutdnantrayam anik putrayan tundena, vanitd-
parigraliaih anganavange panigrahayen samarpya
yoda, puram purayata, pratasthe giye.

1. Iti pravrittasya sutasya keshuchit
Gateshu maseshu sukhena bhiipatili
Trayam sutanam'itarat samarpya sah
Puram pratasthe vauitaparigrahaih.

2. Nitambabharena cha s'okasampada
Bhuvahsuta mantliaravikramd pituh
Tatana padav'udabindubhir dris'or —
Upetya patya'bhimukhi pravriltaye.

3. Gurustato'sau gunapaksha vartinim
Matim samalambya gunaih puraskrit^u
Apatyakan sadhu giram gariyasim
Jagau satina'muchitavratas'rayan.

4. Paran prakarsho vapushah samunnatir
Gunasya tkto nripatirvayo navam

Iti sma ma manini mana'magamah
Patiprasadonnatayo hi yoshitah.

5. Striyo na pumsa'mudayasya sadhanan
Taeva taddharaavibhutihetavah
Tadidviyukto'pi glianah prajrimbhate
Vina na mcgham vilasanti vidyutah.


6. Giro'kritha mu purushartadipanir
Gata'pi bharttre parikopa'mayatam
Kulastriyo bhartrijanasya bhartsane
Vadanti maunam paramam prasadhanam.

7. Pativrita vasya'mavasya'marigana
Karoti s'ilena gupaspriharapatim
Vinaslitacharitraguna gunaishinah
Parabbavam bhartturupaiti dustarara

8. Alan tvayi vyahritivistarena me
S'rutim prayatan charitan tvadasrayam
Na dirayed yaj jarasai'va jarjararn
Sahasradbe'dan bridayaii kurushva tat.

9. Ayan tvade'kapravano manoratho
Vritba'dya daivadapinama no bbavet
Iti pravaktur vacbanani manyuna
Nigribya kanthe jarato nirasire

10. Udagrabbasab s'ikbaya s'ikbamaneh
Sraja cba dbammilla kirita dasbtaya
Pramrijya padau Janakasya jampati
Ksbay ad'ay atam'atbalambbitas'isbau. .

1. When thus, the son (Rama), had happily passed
several months, that monarch [Dasaratha] started for
the city, having concluded marriages for his remaining
three sons.

2. The princess, with her husband, entering upon
her journey, and slowly moving, owing to the languor*
of her limbs, and the sorrow (of separation), covered
her sire's feet with the tears of her eyes.

* Lit. ' weight.'


3. Then tlii.s parent, depending on In's notions of
social wisdom, gracefully addressed his virtuous
daughter in language powerful, and indicative of
courses of chastity, (thus): —

4. Honorable woman ! do not be arrogant (thinking)
of the high accomplishments of thy person, thy tran-
scendent virtues, and that thy father is king, and that
thou art youthful in age; for, women's happiness con-
sists in the very love of their husbands.

5. Women are not the source of the accomplishment
•of their husbands' prosiDcrity, but the very husbands
are the cause of their wives' dignified and happy status :
for, a rain-cloud, even in the absence of lightning,
is distinctly visible ; but shafts of lightning never shine
without a rain-cloud.

6. Though thou mayest be greatly wroth with thy
husband, do not use language unbecoming thy sex* ;
for, ladies say, that Avhen husbands reprove (their wives)
silence is the highest means of pacification.

7. A woman devoted to her husband, by her
chastity, verily charmsf a good husband: a woman (ou
the other hand ) who has abandoned a virtuous life,
incurs the irredeemable displeasure of a virtue-loving

8. It Is unnecessary that I should enlarge on the
topic of my discourse concerning thee. Do thou
pursue that conduct, which, Avhen it reaches this old

* Lit. ' masculine langiiasxe.'

f Vasyan karoti — charms, conciliates.

2 G


and infirm heart (of mine) shall not. rend it in a
thousand ways.

9. Well would it (indeed) be, if this one urgent
desire of (my) heart concerning thee, do not hence,
fortunately, prove to be in vain. The words thus
spoken by the old man, died away, choked in the
throat by sorrow.

10. Thereafter, the wedded couple, having kissed
(swept) the feet of Janaka with the top of the highly
lustrous gem-studded chaplet [of the one], and with
the garland-encircling coronal head-knot [of the
other], went away, blessed, from home.

In the book* which we have discovered, there are
only fifteen chapters ; and the last chapter is called the
twenty-fifth. Poems which were anciently designated
"maha kavu," seldom fell short of twenty or twenty-
five chapters. There is moreover a want of continuity
in. the narrative. Each chapter, except the last which
is very short, contains on an average eighty s'lokas.
The first chapter treats of the history of Dasaratha ;
the second, of the visit of Indra, and other gods, to
Vishnu in the Nagaloka, after they were defeated by
Ravana, and Vishnu's promise to be born in the
human world; the third is on Ritu Varnana ; the fourth,
on the worship of Agni, and the birth of Rama in the
womb of Kausalya, the Queen of Dasaratha — his educa-
tion — his dejiarture with Lakshmana on the application

* Tbe copy in our possession contains 101 palin-Ieaves, of 18
inches in length, with 8 lines to the page.


of Vas'ishtlia to fight with Rakshasas, etc. ; the fifth
gives a description of, and particulars connected with, the
jungle-residence of Vas'ishtha ; the sixth treats of the
departure of Rama, etc., to Mithila, where a marriage
was concluded for him ; the arrival there of Dasaratha
etc. ; the seventh, on Rama's marriage with Sita, the
dauo'hter of king Janaka : the eighth treats of their
honey-moon ; the ninth, the departure of Dasaratha and
the new-married couple to Ayodhya — the battles fought
during their journey, etc.; the tenth relates the
circumstances attending Rama's expulsion by the infirm
Dasaratha, owing to the application for the throne by
Kaikei for her own son, the invitation by Baratha to
Rama, and the abduction of Sita by Ravana ; the
eleventh contains the fight between Garuda and Ravana
to prevent Sita being carried away, the death of
Garuda, the flight of Ravana with Sita to Lanka, and the
acts of Rama in connection with the battle of Sugriva
and Vali; the twelfth gives a description of Sarat
Varnna or Autumn, and Sugriva's visit to Rama; the
thirteenth records Rama's lament for the loss of Sita,
gives a description of Varsha, or the rainy season,
Suo-riva's attempt at consoling Rama, etc; the four-
teenth mentions the construction of Adam's bridge ; and
the fifteenth (which is called the twenty-fifth, and
which is evidently deficient in matter) gives a glowing
picture of (the blessings of) Peace, as opposed to (the
ravao-es of) War; which is introduced as a message
sent by Rama to Ravand.

196 DESCKirnvE catalogue.

The Kaviyasekara

is one of several valuable Sinlialese poetical works by
a priest generally known as Totagamuve Sri Rahiila.
He is said to have been the graml-pnpil of Uttra niula.
Beyond this nothing is known of either his parentage,
or early history, though a tradition represents him as
a natural, or an adopted son of Parakkrama Bahu VI.
of Cotta, in whose reign he flourished, and that he com-
menced to write poetry from liis early youth. There is
no doubt 'he was born a poet'; and in the language of
poetry it may be said of him, as of Pindar, that, 'when
he lay in his cradle'

'The bees swarmed about his mouth,'
He was unquestionably

'The bard that tirsi adorn'd our native tongue.'
There are few authors whose works are regarded by
us with greater veneration than those of the Principal
of the ancient College of Wijcbahu. It is of him that
the poet of Mulgirigala has sung,

" In Wijayabahu, oh bird ! the priest supreme lichold,
Whose master-mind the Pitakas like golden chains enfold;
Whose lyre six languages adorns; who still in each doth shine
As shone in perfect beauty Kanda Kumara divine,—
His presence enter'd, sny, thou dost a treasured letter l)enr,
Whose words the weal of Indra-like Prince Sapumal declare."

w. s.
In correctness of versification, in the splendour of
his diction, and in the originality of his thoughts, few
Siniialcsc poets have excelled him. He stands foremost


amongst all our poets, as one wlio revived the dying
literature of the land, and who gave a new tone to
Sinhalese poetry, which was fast declining in the
early part of the fifteenth century. His writings
present correct models for imitation. When the
Grammar of the Sinhalese is silent on any point, they
frequently furnish us with the rule. When phiiologers
differ as to the force or meaning of a Sinhalese word,
a reference to his works often enables them to settle
their difficulties. Where versification is pronounced
to be at fault, to the final arbitration of his poetry do
the disputants generally refer their differences. Where
again, students are in search of an elegant tro})e,
nieta[)hor, or simile, the inexhaustible treasures of the
Kaviyasekara, the Paravi-Sandesa, and the Selalihini
Sandesa supply the desired examjoles. There is indeed
such an irresistible fascination in his lan^uao-e, and
such a magic influence does his poetry exercise on the
soul, that his readers cannot fail to be conscious of
what Horace says, —

'Meum qui pectus inaniter angit,

Irritat, niulcet, f'alsis ten'oribus iniplet
Ut magus.'

Sri Eahula of Totagamuva had a very retentive
memory, and could repeat a considerable number of
verses after hearino; or readino- them but once. He
became master of every kind of learning which he chose
to profess. As Johnson said of Goldsmith, he never
touched a subject which he did not adorn. He possessed


a correct acquaintance with several oriental languages
besides the Sinhalese — a fact which establishes the
truth of what Sir W. Jones says, in his works, vol. ii.
p. 317 — that " a sublime poet may become a master of
any kind of learning which he chooses to profess, since
a fine imagination, a lively wit, an easy and copious
style, cannot possibly obstruct the acquisition of any
science whatever, but must necessarily assist him in his
studies and shorten his labours." Gifted with these
faculties Totagamuva did not fail to establish in his
own times that literary renown for which his memory
has been since distinguished. The foreign languages,
of which he was a proficient, are enumerated in the
paraphrase to his Selalihini Sandesa. They were six in
number; viz. Sanskrit, Magadhi (or Pali), Apab-
bransa,Paisachi, Saurasena,and Tamil. He was thence
called, " Shad-bhiishaparameshwara."*

Totagamuva was a great favourite of Parakkrama
Bahu ; and, it is believed, that, as he was fostered in
the king's household previous to his taking holy orders,
so he continued after that event to benefit by the pa-
tronage of his royal master. Nor was he ungrateful to
liis benefactor. Of his devotion to Parakkrama and
the royal family, his writings contain many tokens.
The king inspired some of his best and most melodious
strains. He gave to him the most invaluable token of
his regard, the use of his pen; and dedicated besides
his Kaviyasckara (a poetical version, in 885 stanzas, of

* "Ciiiel" [linguist], acqvuiintcd with six languages.'


one of the incarnations of Buddiia, called the Scnaka
Jataka) to the Princess- Royal, Ulakuda Dewi, at whose
request it was composed. This work — " a garland of
flowers on the crown of poetry," — has been scarcely
surpassed by any other in respect of originality, depth
of thought, elegance, and correctness of expression.
Like Milton's Paradise Lost, "it stands on a height by
itself." And of its author it might well be said, what
a critic says of Milton — " He cannot want the praise
of copiousness and vivacity. He was master of his
language in its full extent, and has used the melodious
words with such diligence, that from his book alone
the art of poetry might be learned." No Sinhalese
scholar reads it, much less hears its name pronounced,
without minoled feelinofs of esteem and veneration.
Its style is elaborate and energetic ; and its versifica-
tion 'correct, smooth, and elegant. We must however
state it as our opinion, that in some parts it is inferior
in imagery to the Kavu-Silumina.

A deficiency of the Pali and Sanskrit classics may
be supplied by a close study of Kaviyasekara; and, if
one thoroughly understands that work, he may be con-
sidered as being possessed of a pretty good acquaintance
with the Sinhalese language. This forms the last of
the last series of books in a course of reading prescribed
by several pandits to scholars advanced in the study
of the Sinhalese.

It is an admitted fact, that poets of all countries and
at all times have been vastly vain of their learning.
Even such great characters as Sir Walter Scott and


jMilton, are by no means free from unnecessary osten-
tation of learning. Addison says of the latter, that
"he seems ambitious of discovering, by his excur*
sions on free- will and predestination, and his many
glances upon History, Astronomy, Geography, and the
like, as well as by the terms and phrases he sometimes
makes use of, that he was acquainted Avith the whole
circle of arts and sciences." Indian poets, in reference
to their knowledge of the Sanskrit, to which is ascribed
a divine origin, have called themselves "gods on earth;"
and similarly Totagamuva compared himself to Bra-
haspati;* and, with the arrogance of an Ovid when he
said —

' Jamqiie opus exegi ; quotl me Jovis ira, me ignis
Nee poterit fei'era, nee edax rectustas ;' —

and with the self-complacency of a host of Indian and
Sinhalese writers, he speaks of himself in the following
strain: —

"Attain'd to fullest knowledge of every science known,
In every lioly duty to pure perfection grown,
Like to a Brahaspati am I upon this earth, [worth."

The gem borne in the chaplets that crown the wide world's

w. s.

* Brahaspati — the teaclier of the Hindu gods — is often desig-
nated by a term supposed to be its equivalent, Jupiter. But this
we believe is incorrect, since the one has nothino- in common
with the other. The Grecian Zeus or the Roman Jupiter is more
like Brahania in one sense, and like Indra in another. lie is the
Sii'e of sods and men ; also the 'lliunderer.'


The Kavlyasekara is a work which cost the poet years
of great labour, although judging from its easy and
unlaboured style we are almost led to disbelieve the
writer's own account of it, viz., that it was commenced
A.B. 1958 or A.D. 1415, and was concluded in the 34th
year of the reign of Prakkrama Bahu VI., who
ascended the throne a.b. 1953 or a.d. 1410. We
select the following as a specimen of tlie writer's

1. Piya Bamuiiu so(ii)dava
Net! uena kandulu ra(n)dava
Duva langata ke(n)ilava
Mese avavada ki ,so(n)dava.

2. Nokiya siya himita
Netivada uturiisalupata
Gamaii ikmaukota

Noynn nul)a vasana gen pitatata.

1. "The Brahman her good father

Then said, restrain'd his tears,
Now learn from me, lov'd daughter,
What most a wife endearS.

2. Without your husband's knowledge

Leave not his house, your home ;
Nor vagrant gadding, venture
Unshawl'd abroad to roam.

* Lit.—\. 'The Brahman (her) good father, having restrained
the tears that flowed from his eyes, called his daughter near, and
advised her as follows: — 2. Go not out of your residence, either
without informing your husband, or without covering yourself

2 D


3. Mahaluvada Sama-uana
Era noyeka sesu pirimina
Samaga sita eka tena
Kata nokarava nurd tepulhia.

4. Pekaniya nodakva

Salu e(n)da bolata dakva

Nopava tana sakva

Sina nomasen dasan dakva.


Himi ne hatada guru
Pavatuva lesin mehekaru
Setirin avedakaru
Karava yehelin lesin piyakaru.

3. Though aged be your consort,

In privacy alone,
"With other males, no converse
Hold of an amorous tone.

4. In dress, waist, ancle, ever

And bosom fair, conceal ;

And when inclined to laughter

Do not your teeth reveal.

5. Serve readily your husband,

His parents, kith and kin ;
The women-folk, when spitefid,
As friends most cherish'd, win.

with a shawl, or in haste (i.e. quickly walking.) — 3. Although your
consort is old, stand not in one place, and hold converse of love
with other males, who are many. — 4. Dress your garment above
the navel, so as to reach the ancle bone, and without exposing the
fair bosom: and expose not your teeth in laughing (or laugh
not so as to expose your teeth.) — 5. Be like a servant to your
husband, his relations, and parents ; and befriend inimical bad


G. Eta mehekaru daua

Pavatu duka sepa samana

Sepata eta vi(u)dina

Garuva niadakut noveva nomana.

7. Abisaru liya tepala

Sera vesi desi iiala(m)ba kala

Malkaru ridi kala

Saba(ii)da nokarava sitata topakula.

8. luguru duru eyutu
Malgomuha vevu vatu
Gava mi tama natu

Dasun pilivisa balava eti tatii.

6. Your servants treat with kiuduess

Alike in weal or woe ;
In happiness unduly
No proud elation shew.

7. Yet race, and rank and station,

Regard with honor meet ;
Disreputable females,

In friendly terms ne'er greet.

8. Your gardens, herds, and cattle,

Your herbs, fruits, flow'rs, inspect ;
Inquiries make, and careful
All negligence correct.

women, as your intimate female associates. — 6. If you have
servants treat them equally in prosperity and adversity ; and if
you enjoy happiness be not at all elated. — 7. If you love your
honor (race), be not friendly with loose, dissolute women, or with
knavish, whorish, slavish, nauchi, flower, or dhoby girls.- -8. See
(for thy s(!]f,) after inquiry from thy servants, the actual condition
of your clean cattle, buffaloes, tlic planted gardens, containing


9. Ii*u gileua davase
Gahana depodavase
Sa(n)da sikuru davase
Gomiu piribada ganuva iiivese.

10. Niti ge dora einada

Keli kasala deka noma i(u)da

Udesana savasada

Pahaii dalvava vimaua novai'ada.

i 1 . Navaham mediudiiia

Pemiiiena medi poliodiua

Edavas udesana

Gedevi puda bat-paliau suva(n)dina.

9. On each fresh asterism,

Eclipse, new moon and full,
On Mondays, Fridays, house-floors
With cleansing cow dung cool.

10. No dirt about your dwelling

Nor filth endure to see ;
Each morning and each evening
Let lights there burning be.

1 1. Each full-moon day in Navan*

And Medindina,f wake
At dawn, gifts, incense, oflf'rings,
Thy household- gods to make.

flower bushes, ginger, cumin, etc. — 9. On the day when the
sun enters a new asterism, on the day on which an eclipse takes
place, on the full moon and new-moon days, on Monday and on
Friday, daub (the floor of) thy residence with cow-dung—
10. Seeing dirt and filth, suffer not the same to be; but constantly
clean your house; yea, morning and evening do thou without fail
burn a light. — 11. Early on the mornings of the full-moon day in

* Month answering from January 13th to Februai'y 11th.
I February 11th to March 12th.


12. Ilimi gamaiiak gosiu
Geta a kalata satosin
Noena va dasiu

Nubama payasodavau vesesiu.

13. Dorakada rekasitum
Ujau vatuvala evidum
Melievarata melikani
Nokara me ki siyalu notarain.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 14 16 17

Online LibraryJames De AlwisA descriptive catalogue of Sanskrit, Pali, & Sinhalese literary works of Ceylon → online text (page 14 of 17)