WONDERS IN PRAKRIT LANGUAGE- 2000 INSCRIPTIONS! (Post No.7523)

WRITTEN BY LONDON SWAMINATHAN

Post No.7523

Date uploaded in London – 1 February 2020

Contact – swami_48@yahoo.com

Pictures are taken from various sources for spreading knowledge; this is a non- commercial blog.

There are 2000 inscriptions in Prakrit from Asokan period. Next to Asokan we have Kharavela’s inscriptions. Oldest Tamil inscriptions of first century BCE have Prakrit words in Brahmi lipi/script.

In Sanskrit dramas Kings and ministers spoke in Sanskrit. But women, workers and Brahmin comedians spoke in Prakrit. Brahmin Comedians/ Vidushakas spoke in seven different Prakrits.

Unique feature of Prakrit is that we have prose first and then poetry later which is not found in existing (ancient) languages.

Vedic Hindus used Sanskrit , Jains used Prakrit , Buddhists used Pali for teaching.

The teachings of Jain Tirthankaras/ saints were composed in Prakrita.

There are thousands of books in Prakrita covering all subjects from astronomy to zoology.

Prakrit  became an ideal source of communication among the people. Therefore, Saint Mahavira, Kings Asoka and Kharavela used Prakrit for delivery and transmission of their messages.

Great Prakrit poet Vakpatiraja praised Prakrit  sky high. He says,

“As water evaporates from the sea to form clouds and comes back to the sea as river, so all languages emerge from Prakrit  and come back to it and again become dialects spoken by the people”.

–Gaudavaho 

Sayalaao imam vaayaa visanti etto ya nenti vaayaao

Enti samuddam cciya saayaraao cciya jalaaim – 2, Gaudavaho

Prakrit  is mostly in Jain Agamas.  Ardhamagadi is the language of the Jain Canon. It is considered a language of saints and monks which indicates its antiquity.

Buddhists consider Magadhi as the basis of all languages, the Jains consider Ardha magadhi and grammarians consider Arsa language as a basic language from which other languages and regional dialects came into existence.

Most of the present day north Indian languages came from Prakrit .

Another unique thing is grammarians wrote grammar of Prakrit  in Sanskrit

XXX

Asoka’s advice

The edicts of Asoka are in Prakrit . This shows that Prakrit  was popular among common people. Asoka depicted high moral values in small phrases. He said,

Praanaanam sadhu anaarambho, apavyayataa apa bhaandataa sadhu – Girnar 3rd edict.

Non violence is good for living beings, less expense and less compilation is good.

Savapaasandaa bahusutaa va asu, kalaanagamaa va asu – Girnar 12th edict

All religious communities should listen to each other and work for welfare

Emperor Asoka

Sravanabelagola Prakrit University

Svastisri  Carukirti Bhattaraka Pattacarya ,a great Jain scholar  and multi linguist, has established a Jain centre with library and research facilities at Sravanabelagola.

There is a Prakrit University in Sravanabelagola  in Karnataka. It is a popular tourist destination because of  the gigantic, reverential Gomateswara monolith statue touching the blue sky. Great Mauryan emperor Chandragupta Maurya came here to spend his last days at the feet of his Jain Guru .

MAIN DIALECTS OF PRAAKRT

Mahaaraastri, Sauraseni, Maagadhi, Ardhamaagadhi,

Paisaaci and Paali are different types of Prakrit.

Sanskrit grammarians treat all these languages as Apabhramsa which means not regulated by strict grammatical rules.

Modern Maraatti came from Mahaaraastri Praakrit

Gujaraathi, Raajasthaani, Punjaabi and Western Hindi from Ardhamaagadhi

Bengaali, Oriaa, Biihaari and Assaamese from Paisaaci.

Nepaali and many Himalayan dialects may be from Paisaaci.

Pali

We have written materials up to 14th century CE.

Sacred language of the Buddhist canons;

Tripidakas, Jataka stories, Mahavamsam and Deepavamsam are some important works in Pali. Earliest works are from 3rd century BCE.

Among the Kavyas written between 10th and 14th centuries –

Jinacaritam of Budhapriya

Padyamadhu of Veedeeha

Ardhamaagadhi

Important works – Agamas of Svetambara Jains; even though it is an ancient language like Pali, it has assumed the status of literary language only in the 2nd century CE. These works on morals comprise 115 books.

Sauraceni

Language of the kingdom of Saurasena with its capital in Mathura, land of Lord Krishna. In Sanskrit dramas women and Brahmin Viduusaka speak in this language. Kathakali literature in Kerala contains certain lines in Sauraseni. It was not used in poetry in dramas.

Kings and noble characters in Sattakam group are ‘Karpuuramanjari’ of Rajasekhara,

‘Chandralekha’ of Kerala poet Srikanthakavi

‘Aanandasundari’ of Ghanasyaama

‘Sringaaramanjari’ of Visvesvara

‘Rambhamanjari’ of Nayachandra.

Mahaaraastri

According to Dandin, it was spoken in Maharshtra. As this language abounds in common nouns, it is not an easily intelligible language. Most grammarians use the word Prakrit to refer to this language. This is highly a musical language and hence the songs sung by women characters in Sanskrit dramas are written in it.

Important works

Gathaa Sapta Sati of Halan

Gathaasahasri of Samayasundragni

Sethubandhana of Pravarasena

Praakrtaprakasam of Vararuci

Gaudavaho of Vaakpatiraaja

Visambanaleela of Aanandavardhaana

Karpuuramanjari of Raajasekhara

Paisaaci

It is also as old as Pali. Grammarians mention it and the places mentioned by them were all in South India. Except a few scanty citations as in Bhoja’s Srngaaraprakaasa , Paisaci doesn’t show any extant literature. The Brhadkathaa of Gunadhya was written in Paisaci.

Apabhramsa

Each of these literary Prakrts has its own colloquial dialect , which is called Apabramsa.

Therefore, Dandin classifying literature speaks of Sanskrit, Prakrta , Apabhramsa and Misra.

Apabrahmsa was used in daily conversation. By the sixth centur,y it goes to the level of a literary language

Bharata’s assessment

Bharata includes both Sanskrit and Prakrit in Aaryabhaasa, which he designates the language of kings. It is remarkable that the Brahmin Vidusaka in Sanskrit dramas speaks prakrts of all seven dialects.

Abhinavagupta explains these as vernaculars/ (desha bhasas) which according to him  are generate forms of Sanskrit.

Natyasaastra of Bharata include another list of languages also, by the name of Vibhasas, which include the language of Sakaras, Abhiras, Candalas, Sabaras, Dravidas and Andhras. Abhinavagupta describes them as language of foresters- gahanavaasinah—and designate them as degenerate forms of Prakrt.

My comments

Amazing thing about India is if we draw a language map of India during 2nd century CE, we see a multitude of languages and thousands of books in different languages from Kanyakumari to Kashmir,  no where in the world we see such a thing. They all hold the same cultural views and praise the same values of dharma, artha kama and moksha.

Some say Prakrit came from Sanskrit; others say Sanskrit came from Prakrit. Some others say both existed at the same time. But the fact of the matter is that we have Vedas in Sanskrit from at least 1500 BCE and Prakrit inscriptions only from 3rd century BCE.

In all the ancient languages, the old materials are in poetry. Then comes prose. It will be interesting to study how long it took for them to reach the prose stage. But we must consider the lost literature in that language as well. My cursory look at this shows it differs from language to language. But everyone would agree human beings spoke in prose and not in poetry. But it was easy to remember poetry because of its rhythm and music. So we have Vedas, Ramayana, Mahabharata in Sanskrit, Sangam literature, Five epics in Tamil , Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey in Greek, Virgil’s Aeneid in Latin in poetry format.

This is to say that every language speaker begins speaking in prose and write important things in verses. If it is a short one, then they keep it as proverbs. Even those proverbs are with rhyme and rhythm. So we may even consider them as ‘one sentence poems’.

The question Did Prakrit exist first or Sanskrit exist first must be looked into with the above things in mind.

One more strange feature is we have so many Prakrit dialects. Why is it? We must explore this. Even if we discuss it the debate would continue forever without any conclusion. Because linguists are still wondering how come there are over 780 languages in New Guinea among aborigines. Why there are over 200 languages among Australian aborigines? Why did 2000 year old Tamil give birth to Telegu, Kannada and Malayalam from as early as first century BCE?

In short, no one can say what the reality is. It may differ from country to country, society to society, culture to culture. If we go to ancient Middle East still more wonders are seen. Why did Sumerians, Hittites, Kassites, Mitannian and Assyrians speak different languages in a small area (Modern Iraq)?

So don’t jump to any conclusion when you speak about the origin and development of languages.  If we apply Max Muller’s theory that ‘ a language changes every 200 years’, dating of Tamil literature will tumble. Dates of Tirukkural, Silappadikaram and Tolkappiam will be later productions than thought.

Sattaka / dramatic genre

Rajasekhara’s Karpuramanjari – 9th to 10th centuries

Nayacandra suri’s Rambhaamanjari – 14th to 15th

Rudradasa’s Chandralekhaa –17th Century

Visvesvara Pandeya’s Srngaramanjari – 17th to 18th centuries

Ghanasyama’s Anandasundari – 18th century

Source books

Carusri -Essays in honour of  S C B P

New horizons of Indological research

–subham —

EMPEROR ASOKA’S FOUR TANKS OF MEDICINES AT FOUR GATES! (Post No.5134)

Written by LONDON SWAMINATHAN

 

Date: 21 JUNE 2018

 

Time uploaded in London –  7- 16 am  (British Summer Time)

 

Post No. 5134

 

Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Wikipedia, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks. Pictures may be subject to copyright laws.

EMPEROR ASOKA’S FOUR TANKS OF MEDICINES AT FOUR GATES! (Post No.5134)

2300 Years ago, Emperor Asoka installed four tanks filled with medicines in four gates of the city (Pataliputra) according to Buddhgosa’s Samantapasadika.

Why?

 

A Buddha Bikshu died for want of medicines. Immediately Asoka took this drastic step. According to the rock edicts of Asoka, two kinds of medical treatments were available in his kingdom- 1.medical treatment of man and 2.medical treatment of animals.

In later Pali work Culavamsa (Chapter 73) we find Kittisirirajasiiha (Kirti Sri Raja Simha of Sri Lanka) appointed two physicians well versed in medicines and nurses for the bikshus. They were given yearly a big sum for the medicines from the Royal Treasury.

The king gave the best treatment for Upali when he was suffering from a disease in the nose.

Sri Lankan King ParakramabahuI had a big hall built for sick people and he gave to each sick person a special slave and a female slave to prepare medicines day and night, according to need, medicines and food, solid and liquid (Culavamsa, Chapter 76).

Treatment for Poison

Parakramabahu collected different types of medicines and preserved them in cow horns. This was to cure the wounds caused by the poisonous arrows. He also collected iron pincers for extracting arrow heads. He engaged many skilful physicians.

 

Snake Bites

To cure the snake bites, they used four materials: Cow dung, urine, ashes and clay. One physician used drugs made up of vegetables and cured a person even after the poison affected all limbs.

XXX

Hemp water was used as medicine (Mahavagga 6-14-3

To cure constipation, a decoction made up of ashes of burnt rice was administered.

For the wind troubles in stomach salt sour gruel or teka-kula was given which contains ginger and two kinds of pepper.

Following Eye ointments were mentioned in the Buddhist works:

Black Collyrium

Rasa ointment (made with vitriol_

Ointment made with antimony

Geruka (yellow ochre)

Kapalla (soot taken from a lamp)

In case of internal complaint, hot water with fruit juice was given.

 

Plague in RajagrAha

The Dhammapda commentary mentioned two diseases in bankers’ houses.

Bhaddavatiya , a banker got an intestinal disease. When this disease broke out, the first to die were the flies, then insects, then mice, domestic fowls, swine, cattle, slaves, both male and female, and last of all, the members of the household.
The banker with his wife and daughter fled away from the house. The same work also refers to the outbreak of plague in the house of the chief a banker of the Rajagraha with the result that many animals, slaves ,masters and mistresses of the household and the chief treasurer with his wife fell a victim to this disease.

A peculiar kind of disease known as Ahivataroga or snake- wind disease broke out in a Savaththian family.

 


Besides the diseases mentioned above, a list of diseases is also given:-
Sota Roga = Disease of hearing
Jihva Roga = Disease of tongue
Kaya Roga = Disease  of body
Mukha Roga = Disease of mouth
Dant Roga = Disease of teeth
Kaba =cough
Sasa =asthma
Pinasa= cold in the head
Daha = burning
Kucchi Roga = Disease abdominal trouble
Muchchaa = hysteria
Pakkhandika=  diarrhoea
Suula = acute pain
Visucikaa = cholera
Kilaasa Roga = a cutaneous Disease
Apasmaara = epilepsy
Daddu=  ringworm
vitachchikaa=  scabies
Madhu meha=  diabetes
Lohitapitta=  bile with blood
Bhagandala = fistula
Sannipaatikaa = union of humours
Utuparinaamajaaabaadhaa = change of season disease

In the medicine list we find the usual Ayurvedic ingredients.
Among the non vegetarian ingredients, fat of bear, fish alligator, swine and ass have been prescribed with oil.

It is interesting to note that pulverised ointments were put into pots and saucers.
Boxes were used for ointments.

 

Summarised from Dr Bimala Churn Law’s article, Calcutta, Year 1940

–SUBHAM–

 

 

 

Why did Asoka kill his 99 brothers?

killing 1

Research Paper written by London swaminathan
Post 1282: dated 11th September 2014.

There were two Asokas in India. One was Black Asoka (Kalasoka) who was good and convened the Second Buddhist Council. The other one was world famous Indian emperor Dharma Asoka who was full of Adharma in his early life. Mysteries in Indian history are not solved yet. Nobody knew who the Black Asoka was! Nobody knew that the famous Asoka killed all his 99 brothers and cousins born to different mothers. Mahavamsa never mentioned the Kalinga War!!

Mahavamsa, the chronicle of Sri Lanka is full of murders and mayhem. It painted a gloomy picture of early Indian kings. Mahavamsa says that Dharma Asoka killed all his 99 brothers!

There is lot of confusion in Buddhist, Jain and Hindu versions of Indian history. “scholars” from foreign countries did not accept Hindu History narrated in the Puranas. If they had accepted it, it would have contradicted the story told by the Christians that the world was created in October, 4004 BCE. Moreover they were afraid of ex communication from the church or blinding or execution like Galileo and Copernicus. Millions of women including the most famous Joan of Arc were burnt alive for worshipping pagan gods or following pagan beliefs. The women were dubbed as witches.

But foreigners accepted the Buddhist history because they thought Buddhism as a rebellion against Vedic Hindus, which is not true. One must read the Introduction to Dhammapada by philosopher Dr Radhakrishnan. Buddhist and Jain versions were also as confusing as Hindu Puranas. But the “scholars” compromised with the dates and rejected Kalasoka and other conflicting matters. About Jains they were least bothered. Since they were not in any other country except India at that time, they did not matter to them. Moreover they couldn’t digest the strict non violence and vegetarianism of the Jains. All the foreign “scholars” were beef eaters and (whisky) drinkers. This and their belief in the Biblical date of World creation greatly influenced their angled, biased, crooked, distorted, jaundiced, one sided and perverted thinking and dating.
Mahavamsa gives us a long list of murders, yet to be confirmed by a secondary source in history. Following is the list of murders and mayhem:
killing 2

Murder mysteries in Mahavamsa:

Mahavamsa Chapter-4:
Bimbisara’s son Ajatasatru slew (killed) his father.

Mahavamsa Chapter-4:
Ajatasatru’s son Udayabhaddaka slew his father.
Udayabhaddaka’s son Aniruddha slew his father
Aniruddha’s son Munda slew his father
Munda’s son Nagadasaka slew his father
People became angry about these patricides and banished Nagadasaka and appointed Sisunaga as the king.
His son Kalasoka ruled for 28 years.
Who is this Kalasoka who ruled for 28 long years?
No mention about this king Indian history books written 150 years ago by the British, still studied by the stupid Indians!!!

Mahavamsa Chapter-5:
Asoka, son of Bindusara, slew 99 brothers born of different mothers and won the sovereignty of Jambudvipa (India).
No mention of the Kalinga War which made Asoka to convert to Buddhism!!

Mahavamsa Chapter-7:
Vijaya’s first wife Kuvanna was killed by Yakshas (when he sent her out of the palace after marrying a Tamil Pandya girl).

killing 3
Mahavamsa Chapter-9:
Princes killed slave Kalavela and herdsman Citta.
Mahavamsa Chapter-10:
The prince’s men killed all the soldiers of enemy and the eight uncles with them and they raised a pyramid of skulls.

Mahavamsa Chapter-34:
Queen Anula married city carpenter Vaduka and killed him by poison after falling in love with a wood cutter.
She killed wood cutter Tissa by poison and married Niliya.
She poisoned Brahmin Niliya and ruled the country for 4 months.
Later Kutakanna Tissa killed Anula in a battle.

Mahavamsa Chapter-35:
Kanirajanu Tissa slew his brother and reigned for three years.
Having slain his brother in the festival sports at the Tissa tank his younger brother Yassalakatissa ruled for 7 years.
Subha the guard ordered to slain the king and reigned for 6 years.

THAILAND-SOUTH-UNREST

Mahavamsa Chapter-36:
Three Lambakarnas killed king Vijayan and one of them,Samghatissa ruled for 4 years.
He was killed by poisoned fruits. People who hated him mixed the poison.
King Jethatissa killed all the treacherous ministers in his father’s funeral procession. He was behind the procession allowing his brother to take the body out of the gate of the palace. As soon as the body passed the gate, he ordered the gate to be closed and killed all the ministers and impaled their bodies around his father’s pyre.

Mahavamsa Chapter-37:
The last chapter of Mahavamsa ended with the killing of a thera. One of the wives of Mahasena was sad about the destruction of a Mahavihara. He asked one labourer to finish off the thera. Samghamitra and a lawless minister Sona were killed while they were coming to destroy Thuparama.

Mahavamsa, has lot of murders and killings from the beginning to the end apart from the lawful killings in the battles. I have not included the war deaths because they are considered lawful from the ancient days till today.
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(Pictures are taken from various websites;thanks,they are not related to the anecdotes in Mahavamsa)