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RAKSHASA, being worn in body and mind, and having lost his troops and exhausted his treasures, now saw that the city could no longer be defended; he therefore effected the secret retreat of the old king SERVARTHASIDDHI, with such of the citizens as were attached to the cause of the Nandas, and then delivered the capital to the enemy, affecting to be won to the cause of CHANDRAGUPTA.
He prepared by magic art a poisoned maid, for the destruction of that prince; but Kautilya detected the fraud, and diverting it to Parvatésa caused his death; and having contrived that information of his share in the murder of the monarch should be communicated to his son, MALAYAKETU, he filled the young prince with alarm for his own safety, and occasioned his flight from the camp.
Kautilya, though master of the capital, yet knowing it contained many friends of NANDA, hesitated to take possession of it, and RAKSHASA, taking advantage of the delay, contrived with Daruverma and others, machines and various expedients to destroy CHANDRAGUPTA upon his entry; but Kautilya discovered and frustrated all his schemes.
He persuaded the brother of Parvateswara, VAIRODHAKA, to suspend his departure, affirming with solemn asseverations, that RAKSHASA, seeking to destroy the friends of CHANDRAGUPTA, had designed the poisoned maid for the mountain monarch. Thus he concealed his own participation in the act, and the crafty knave deceived the prince, by promising him that moiety of the kingdom which had been promised to his brother.
SERVARTHASIDDHI retired to the woods to pass his days in penance, but the cruel Kautilya soon found means to shorten his existence.
When RAKSHASA heard of the death of the old king he was much grieved, and went to MALAYAKETU and roused him to revenge his father's death. He assured him that the people of the city were mostly inimical to CHANDRAGUPTA, and that he had many friends in the capital ready to co-operate in the downfall of the prince and his detested minister. He promised to exhaust all his own energies in the cause, and confidently anticipated Malayaketu's becoming master of the kingdom, now left without a legitimate lord. Having thus excited the ardour of the prince, and foremost himself in the contest, RAKSHASA marched against Maurya with an army of Mlechhas, or barbarians.
This is the preliminary course of the story-the poet will now express the subject of the drama. It begins with an equivoque upon the words Krúragraha, in the dialogue of the prelude. This ends the introduction.
Extracts from Classical Writers relating to the History of Sandracottus.
He (Alexander) had learned from Phigæus that beyond the Indus was a vast desert of twelve days' journey, and at the farthest borders thereof ran the Ganges. Beyond this river dwell the Tabresians, and the Gandarita whose king's name was Xandramas, who had an army of 20,000 horse, 200,000 foot, 2,000 chariots, and 4,000 elephants. The king could not believe this to be true, and sent for Porus, and inquired of him whether it was so or not. He told him all was certainly true, but that the present king of the Gandarite was but of a mean and obscure extraction, accounted to be a barber's son; for his father being a very handsome man, the queen fell in love with him, and murdered her husband, and so the kingdom devolved upon the present king.-Diodorus Siculus.
At the confluence of the Ganges and another river is situated Palibothra: it is the capital of the Prasii, a people superior to others. The king, besides his birth-name and his appellation, from the city, is also named Sandracottus. Megasthenes was sent to him.
Megasthenes relates that he visited the camp of Sandracottus, in which 400,000 people were assembled.
Seleucus Nicator relinquished the country beyond the Indus to Sandracottus, receiving in its stead fifty elephants, and contracting an alliance with that prince (contracta cum eo affinitate).—Strabo.
Phegelas informed him, that eleven days from the river the road lay over vast deserts to the Ganges, the largest stream in India, the opposite bank of which the Gangaride and Parrhasii inhabited. Their king was named Aggramen, who could bring into the field 20,000 horse, and 200,000 foot, 2,000 chariots, and 3,000 elephants. As these things appeared incredible to the king, he referred to Porus, who confirmed what he heard. He added, however, that the king was not only of low, but of extremely base origin, for his father was a barber, whose personal merits recommended him to the queen. Being introduced by her to the king then reigning, he contrived his death, and under pretence of acting as guardian to his sons, got them into his power and put them to death. After their extermination he begot the son who was now king, and who, more worthy of his father's condition than his own, was odious and contemptible to his subjects-Quintus Curtius.
Megasthenes tells us he was at the court of Sandracottus.
The capital city of India is Palembothra on the confines of the Prasi, where is the confluence of the two great rivers, Erranoboas and Ganges. The first is inferior only to the Indus and Ganges.
Megasthenes assures us he frequently visited Sandracottus king of India.-Arrian.
Sandracottus was the author of the liberty of India after Alexander's retreat, but soon converted the name of liberty into servitude after his success, subjecting those whom he rescued from foreign dominion to his own authority. This prince was of humble origin, but was called to royalty by the power of the gods; for, having offended Alexander by his impertinent language, he was ordered to be put to death, and escaped only by flight. Fatigued with his journey he laid down to rest, when a lion of large size came and licked off the perspiration with his tongue, retiring without doing him any harm. The prodigy inspired him with ambitious hopes, and collecting bands of robbers he roused the Indians to renew the empire. In the wars which he waged with the captains of Alexander he was distinguished in the van, mounted on an elephant of great size and strength. Having thus acquired power, Sandracottus reigned at the same time that Seleucus laid the foundation of his dominion, and Seleucus entered into a treaty with him, and settling affairs on the side of India directed his march against Antigonus. Justin.-15—4.
The kings of the Gandarites and Prasians were said to be waiting for them there (on the Ganges) with 80,000 horse, 200,000 foot, 8,000 chariots, and 6,000 elephants. Nor is this number at all magnified, for Androcottus, who reigned not long after, made Seleucus a present of 500 elephants at one time, and with an army of 600,000 men traversed India and conquered the whole.
Androcottus, who was then very young, had a sight of Alexander, and he is reported to have said, that Alexander was within a little of making himself master of those countries with such hatred and contempt was the reigning prince looked upon, on account of his profligacy of manner and meanness of birth.-Plutarch.-Life of Alexander.
Professor Wilson's Preface to the Retnávalí
The Retnávali is a play of a different character from any of those which we have hitherto examined. Although the personages are derived from Hindu history, they are wholly of mortal mould, and unconnected with any mystical or mythological legend; and the incidents are not only the pure inventions of the poet, but they are of an entirely domestic nature. In this latter respect the Retnávalí differs from the Mrichchakatí, Málati Madhava, and Mudrá Rakshasa, whilst its exemption from legendary allusion distinguishes it from the Vikramorvasi and Uttara Ráma Cheritra.
Although, however, the Retnávalí differs from its predecessors in these respects, and in others of still greater importance, it is well entitled to attention, as establishing an era in the history of both Hindu manners and literature, of which we are able to fix the date with precision.
The story of this drama appears to have been not wholly the invention of the author, but to have enjoyed very extensive popularity, at a period to which we cannot refer with confidence. The loves of Vatsa, prince of Kausámbi, and Vasavadattá, princess of Ujayin, are alluded to in the Megha Dúta, and are narrated in the Vrihat Katha of Soma Deva. The last is a writer of the same period as the drama, but he does not pretend to have invented the story; and the manner in which the tale is adverted to* in the Megha Dúta, the date of which work is unknown, but which is no doubt anterior to the Vrihat Katha, seems to indicate a celebrity of some antiquity. The second marriage of Vatsa, which forms the business of the Retnávalí, appears to be the invention of the writer, as it is very differently told in the Vrihat Katha; the heroine being there named Padmavati, and being a princess of Magadhá, not of Ceylon. The circumstances under which the marriage is effected are altogether distinct.
From whatever source, however, the plot of the drama may have been derived, it is very evident that the author is under considerable obligation to his predecessors, and especially to Kálidas, from the Vikrama and Urvasí of which writer several situations, and some of the dialogue even, are borrowed. At the same time, the manners described are very different, and the light and loose principles of Vatsa are wholly unlike the deep, dignified passion of Purúravas. If we
* The author terms Avanti or “ Ougein," great with the number of those versed in the tale of Udayana (Vatsa). + The Vasava Dattá of Subandhu, the nephew of Vararuchi, and as well as his uncle patronized by Bhoja, has nothing
in common with the story of Vatsa and his bride, except the name of the latter. The Megha Dúta, therefore, does not refer to that work. Subandhu also alludes to the Vrihat Katha, to which he is consequently subsequent.
The story is translated from the Vrihat Katha', in the Quarterly Oriental Magazine, Calcutta, vol. ii. p. 198,
compare the Retnávalí with the Mrichchakatí, or with the drama of Bhavabhúti, the difference is still more striking, and it is impossible to avoid the conviction, that they are the productions of different ages, and different conditions of society; the Retnávalí indicating a wider deviation from manners purely Hindu, more artificial refinement, and more luxurious indulgence, and a proportionate deterioration of moral feeling.
The Retnávalí, considered also under a purely literary point of view, marks a change in the principles of dramatic composition, as well as in those of social organization. Besides the want of passion and the substitution of intrigue, it will be very evident that there is in it no poetic spirit, no gleam of inspiration, scarce even enough to suggest a conceit in the ideas. The only poetry of the play, in fact, is mechanical. The structure of the original language is eminently elegant, particularly in the Prakrit. This dialect appears to equal advantage in no other drama, although much more laboured in the Málati Madhava: the Sanscrit style is also very smooth and beautiful without being painfully elaborate. The play is, indeed, especially interesting on this account, that whilst both in thought aud expression there is little fire or genius, a generally correct and delicate taste regulates the composition, and avoids those absurdities which writers of more pretension than judgment, the writers of more recent periods, invariably commit. The Retnávalí, in short, may be taken as one of the connecting links between the old and new school; as a not unpleasing production of that middle region, through which Hindu poetry passed from elevation to extravagance.
The place to which the Retnávalí is entitled in the dramatic literature of the Hindus is the more interesting, as the date is verifiable beyond all reasonable doubt. It is stated in the prelude to be the composition of the sovereign, Sri Hershu Deva. A king of this name, and a great patron of learned men, reigned over Cashmir: he was the reputed author of several works, being however in fact only the patron, the compositions bearing his name being written, the author of the Ka'vya Prakás asserts, by Dhávaka and other poets. That it was fashionable in his reign to take the adventures of Vatsa for the subject of fictitious narrative, we may infer from their being the groundwork of the Vrihat Katha, the author of which was a native of Cashmir, and a cotemporary of the prince. Somadeva, the author, states that he compiled his collection of tales for the amusement of the grandmother of Hersha Deva, king of Cashmir, the son of Kalasa, the son of Ananta, the son of Sangráma. His genealogy is nearly identifiable with that of Abulfazl, which runs in Gladwin's translation of the Ayin Akberi, Sungram, Haray, Anunt, Kulusder, Ungrus, Hurruss. The two additional princes, Huray and Ungruss, reigned conjointly but forty-four days, and they are for all chronological purposes non-entities. * But we have fortunately a better authority than either of the preceding, in the history of Cashmir by Kalhana Pandit. The first portion of this work, down to the reign of Sangráma Deva, in A. D. 1027, is translated summarily in the fifteenth volume of the Asiatic Researches. Since its publication, the subsequent portion of the original has been procured in Cashmir, and presented to the Asiatic Society by the late enterprizing traveller, Mr. Moorcroft. From this we are enabled to trace the successors of Sangráma with precision.
Sangrama reigned twenty-five years, and was succeeded by his son Hari, who enjoyed his elevation but twenty-two days, having been removed, it was supposed, by the practices of his mother, who aspired to the regency during the minority of a younger son. She was set aside by the chief officers of the state, under whose ministry Ananta, the next prince, reigned interruptedly fifty-three years, when he was succeeded by his son Kalasa. Kalasa reigned eight years, and being displeased with his son Hersha, left the crown to a kinsman, Utkersha. That prince, however, enjoyed his authority but twenty-two days, having been defeated, and invested in his palace, by the partisans of the legitimate heir, and putting an end to his existence rather than fall into their hands. Hersha succeeded. He consequently ascended the throne A. D. 1113, and the play must have been written between that date and A. D. 1125, the termination of his reign. No mention is made of the composition by the author of the history: but he dwells at much length, and with some acrimony, on Hersha's patronage of poets, players, and dancers, and the prince's conversancy with different dialects and elegant literature. Hersha's propensities, indeed, were not likely to be regarded with a favourable eye by a brahmanical bistorian, for, in order to defray the expenses into which he was led by them, he made free with the treasures of the temples, and applied their gold and silver vessels, and even the images of the gods, to his necessities. These measures and others of an equally imprudent character, distracted the latter period of his reign with civil broils, and he perished in an insurrection which transferred the crown to a different dynasty. The date thus assigned for the composition refers to a period, which Mohammedan history and Hindu literature sufficiently establish, as pregnant with important changes in the political situation and national character of the natives of Hindustan.
See also the Quarterly Oriental Magazine for March, 1824, p. 64.
Lankárakkháya sachiwé balinó yódhasammaté pațipaddí, samuddassa samantá sanniyójayi.
He (Wijayabahu)* for the security of Lanká (against invasion) placed trustworthy chiefs at the head of paid troops, and stationed them round the sea coast. On the proper caste he imposed the task of making the requisite repairs and embellishments to the palace and other public edifices (at Anuradhapura), in order that he might celebrate his inauguration; and having, during a period of three months, assembled there, and exacted allegiance from all the provincial chiefs from whom allegiance was due, departed for Pulatthinagara. †
A certain "Andúti" chief, previously known in the Malaya division by the name of Balanayako, in his infatuation, announced himself in the most public manner an uncompromising enemy to the ruler of the land; and collecting the whole of his forces, approached, with hostile intent, a village in the suburb of the capital. The monarch of Lanká hastening thither, and completely extirpating that faction, returned to Pulatthinagara, and incorporated that force with his own.
This wise and virtuous prince, when he had held the dignity of sub-king for seven years, causing to be recorded the ‡ *; and thereafter, having repaired to, and observed at Anuradhapura all the prescribed state forms, and celebrated his inauguration with the utmost pomp, occupied himself in the exercise of his royal prerogatives.
He caused it to be registered, as a record to be perpetually preserved, that the period during which he was involved in sinful acts (in warfare,) and had devoted
* Vide Epitome, A. D. 1071 to 1126, for a sketch of Wijayabáhu's reign, p, 39. Also Appendix II. p. LXV.
+ Now called Pollonnarowa, and Topa're. A description of the ruins of this city, which was the second capital of Ceylon, by Capt. Forbes, will be found in the Ceylon Almanac of 1833.
The meaning of the omitted word cannot be ascertained, as there is no commentary to the Mahawanso subsequent to the reign of Mahaséno.
A.D. 1071 TO 1126.]
[A.B. 1614 TO 1669.
Tato ágamma niwasi Pulatthinagaré waré só Sirísańghabódhiti námadheyyéna wissuto.
Té sabbé Rohanań ratthań, tatha Malayamaṇḍalań, sabbań dakkhinapassancha sahasá pariwajjayuń.
himself to pious deeds (in the peaceful administration of his kingdom) amounted (then) to eighteen years.
Departing from thence, he established himself at Pulatthinagara, and became celebrated under the title of Sirisanghabódhi. Assigning to his younger brother Wirabáhu the office of sub-king, and placing him in the administration of the southern division, he duly supported him. The monarch conferring also the office of "adipádo" on his younger brother Jayabáhu, placed him over the Rohana division; and having bestowed on all his officers of state appointments proportioned to their merits, he took steps for defining relationships (and pedigrees) in the kingdom.
This just and benevolent monarch re-established the administration of justice, which had been neglected for a long period, on the most equitable principles.
While this sovereign was thus, in the full exercise of his royal power, eradicating those foes who, like unto thorny bushes, had possessed themselves of Lanká, the Chhatagáhákanáthó, the Dhammagéhakanáyako, as also the Sétthinátho, who were three brothers, becoming hostile to the rája, flying from him, repaired to Jambudipo. After the lapse of nineteen years they returned to Lanka. All these persons quickly seduced the Róhana as well as the Malaya divisions, and all the southern provinces from their allegiance. The accomplished warrior (Wijayabáhu) hastened to the Róhana and Malaya divisions, and slaughtered great numbers of the disaffected inhabitants in those parts. Having thoroughly subdued (those districts), and placed them under the administration of loyal officers, this experienced and powerful (rája) himself repaired to the southern provinces; sending into the field his trusty brother also, who was as illustrious in descent as himself; and having then secured his implacable enemies, impelled by a resentment mortal as "Máro" (Death,) indiscriminately impaled them; and having thoroughly established order in Lanká, which was overgrown with the thorns (of disorder,) returned to his capital Pulatthipura.
The (ex) queen named Líláwati, the consort of Jagatipálo, who had been (carried