Page images
PDF
EPUB

These conclusions seem, however, too much to deduce from a remark in itself somewhat obscure. But whoever the author may have been, there seems a continuity and a uniformity in each of these separate Satakas, as well as a similarity in character between them, which forbid us to accept the theory that they are merely a compilation of well-known sayings. The unbroken tradition, moreover, that they are the authorship of one man (whatever his name may be) should not go for nothing.

The question of date is almost as difficult to decide as that of authorship, and this can only be arrived at ' approximately on internal evidence. The doctrines enunciated in the Vairâgya Śataka are relied on as supplying us with some of the proofs that are required. Many of the Ślokas in this Šataka speak in the language of the Vedantic philosophy. The rooting out of Karma or action, absorption into the Supreme Spirit, the driving out of Moha or illusion by Jnâna, or the true knowledgethese ideas occurring very frequently in the Vairâgya Sataka, all point to Vedantic influence. The eighth or ninth century A.D. has, on these grounds, been assigned as the date of these Šatakas. Not that this date can be held as conclusive; for though Sankarâcharya, the great exponent and formulator of the Vedantic philosophy flourished and taught at that date, it is not, therefore, proved that the Vedantic doctrines did not exist before his time; and it necessarily follows, therefore, that neither similarity of idea nor of phraseology can warrant us in making Bhartrihari's Šatakas cotemporary with Sankarâcharya.

The argument as to their date from the mention of the Purâņas in the Vairâgya Śataka seems to be equally unconvincing. Some of the Purâņas may be even comparatively modern productions, as late as the fourteenth or fifteenth century; but some are much earlier, dating back to the fifth or sixth century A.D. Further, the contents of these Purâņas may be carried back to an even earlier date, and are spoken of under the title of Purâņas by Amara Sinha in the first century B.C. Therefore, to derive any satisfactory conclusion as to dates from the mention of the Purâņas in the Vairâgya Śataka, we should require to know what Purâņas are referred to in the particular passages—whether the works known to us as Purâņas or those known under that name to Amara Sinha.?

Telang, in the preface to his editions of the Nîti and Vairâgya Śatakas, is in favour of assigning the close of the first or beginning of the second century to the author of these philosophical poems, in opposition to some authorities, who would place his date at 56 A.D. He grounds his view on the following considerations. Tradition informs us that the author of the Satakas was Bhartrihari, the brother of King Vikrama, and that he also composed a grammatical work called the Vâkyapadîya. This work shows us that its author lived at least one generation after Patanjali's commentary on Panini's Grammar, called Mahâbhâshya, had come into general use. The date of Patanjali varies according to different authorities from 200 B.C. to 25 A.D. Bhartřihari, in the Vâkyapadiya, notices the fact that the Mahâbhâshya had gone through changes and rearrangements of text; possibly interpolations and additions. The period between 144 B.C. (which Telang considers the probable date of Patanjali) and 56 B.C. would have been hardly long enough to account for alterations and interpolations in the text of the Mahâbhâshya, and therefore 56 B.C., as the date of Bhartřihari, must be abandoned. We have, however, seen that Vikramâditya was said to be the brother of Bhartrihari. Now there appears to be a general consensus of opinion that this Vikramâditya was the founder of the Saka era, and that he lived about 78 A.D.

This date allows an interval of more than two centuries between Patanjali and Bhartřihari, a period of sufficient

1 Some, however, have placed Amara Sinha in the middle of the third century A.D., or even later.

length to account for the alterations and interpolations which existed in the text of the Mâhabhâshya referred to in the Vâkyapâdiya. On these grounds, then, such as they are, the authorship of these Šatakas has been assigned to the end of the first or to the beginning of the second century A.D.

Some attempt has been made to fix Bhartrihari's date by comparison with that of Kalidâsa. But the date of Kalidâsa himself is not sufficiently well ascertained to arrive at any certain conclusion by that method.

Much, therefore, as to the date and authorship of these poems must be left to probability and conjecture.

Note.—The text from which the following translation has been made is that edited by Kâshinâth Trimbak Telang, Bombay, 1874.

THE SATAKAS OF BHARTRIHARI.

NITI ŚATAK A.

Concerning Morality. 1. SALUTATION to the deity who is not definable in time or space: infinite-pure intelligence in incarnate form: who is peace and glory: whose sole essence is self-knowledge.

2. That woman is attracted by another man whom I supposed to be always devoted to me: to her another man is attached : while a certain other woman takes pleasure in my doings. Fie on her and on him, on the god of love, on that woman, and on myself.

3. The man who is entirely ignorant is easily guided : the wise man is still more easily led: but even the Supreme Being himself cannot influence the smatterer.

4. A man may forcibly get back a jewel from the teeth of a crocodile: he may cross over the raging waves of the sea: he may wear an angry serpent on his head as if it were a garland of flowers: but he cannot win over the mind of one who is foolish and obstinate.

5. A man may get oil from sand by violent pressure : he may drink water from a mirage when oppressed by thirst: he may get possession of the horn of a hare: but he cannot win over the mind of one who is foolish and obstinate.

6. He who would lead evil men into the path of virtue by a few soft words, is as one who binds an elephant with a young lotus-fibre: as one who tries to cut the diamond with a filament of sirisha; or as one who desires to make the salt sea sweet with a drop of honey.

7. The Creator has given man, as it were, a cloak to conceal his ignorance: with that he can cover himself at all times, for it is always at hand. That gift is silence, the special ornament of the ignorant in the assembly of the wise.

8. When I knew but a little, I was blinded by pride, as an elephant is blinded by passion: my mind was exalted, and in my arrogance I thought I knew all things. Then I came into the presence of the wise who know many kinds of wisdom, and my pride left me even like a fever.

9. A dog eats with delight putrid abominable bones, and though the king of the gods may stand before him, takes no heed: even so a mean man considers not the worthlessness of that which belongs to him.

10. The Ganges falls from heaven upon the head of Siva ; from the head of Siva on to the mountain; from the top of the mountain to the earth, always falling lower and lower: even in so many ways is the fall of one whose judgment has departed from him.

11. Fire can be quenched by water, the heat of the sun can be kept off by a parasol, a wild elephant can be guided by a sharp hook, an ox or an ass by a stick: sickness can be subdued by the help of physicians, poison by the assistance of various charms. A cure has been ordained by the Śâstras for everything, but there is no medicine for the cure of a fool.

12. The man who has no sense of literature and music is like a beast, though he has not horns and a tail: he may not eat grass, but yet he lives a life exactly like that of the cattle.

13. Those in whom is neither wisdom, nor penance, nor liberality, nor knowledge, nor good disposition, nor

« PreviousContinue »