Friday, February 5, 2016

Maharashtrian Brahmin Rajasekhar Court Poet of 900 AD

In this article I will talk about Maharashtrian Brahmin Rajasekhar Court Poet of 900 AD, the author of Kavyamimamsa.

Rajasekhar (or Rajashekhar) Upadhyaya (Sanskrit: राजशेखर, Bengali: রাজশেখর উপাধ্যায়) was an eminent Sanskrit poet, dramatist and critic, belonging to a Yayavara Brahmin family of Maharashtra. He was court poet of the Gurjara Pratiharas and wrote Kavyamimamsa in 900 CE.

Poet Rajasekhar occupied the position of a court-poet at Kanauj. He was the Guru of Gurjara Pratihara Mahendrapala I (885 to 908 CE). He continued to maintain his relationship with Kanauj during the reign of Vinayaka 1 Mahipala.

In his Balaramayana and Kavyamimamsa, Rajashekhara referred himself by his family name Yayavara  or Yayavariya.

His family was originally from Vidarbha and  his ancestors were probably a native of Vatsagulma (modern Bashim in the Akola District), which he has glorified in the Kavyamimamsa as the pleasure-resort of the god of love. Rajashekhara's early plays viz., the Balaramayana, the Bala-bharata and the Karpuramanjari, were put on the boards In Kanauj under the patronage of the Gurjara-Pratiharas. Later, he seems to have returned to the south and enjoyed for some time the patronage of Indra III; for the two sets of Vajirakheda plates discovered recently were drafted by him. [Nagpur University Journal, Vol. XVII, p. 117 f.] He then moved to Tripuri, where his last play the Viddhashala-bhanjika was staged.
  • His great grandfather Akalajada ( Sanskrit: अकालजलड , Bengali: অকালজলড ) is described as Maharashtra Chudamani ( Sanskrit: महाराष्ट्रचूडामणि , Bengali: মহারাষ্ট্রচূডামণি ) or Crest-jewel of Maharashtra. He was famous for his poetical gems and his verses were plagiarized by Kadambarirama ( Sanskrit: कादम्बरिराम , Bengali: কাদম্বরিরাম ) in his drama.
  • Surananda ( Sanskrit: सुरानन्द , Bengali: সুরানন্দ ) of the Court of Chedi, Tarala ( Sanskrit: तरल , Bengali: তরল ) a poet of some eminence and one Kaviraja ( Sanskrit: कविराज , Bengali: কবিরাজ ) belonged to this family
  • He describes his father Durduka ( Sanskrit: दुर्दुक , Bengali: দুর্দুক ) as a Mahamantrin (great minister).   His mother's name was Shilavati ( Sanskrit: शीलवती , Bengali: শীলবতী )
  • His wife Avantisundari belonged to the Cahamana (Chauhan) family.
Maharashtrian Brahmin Rajsekhar also had relationship with Cedi princes - he is talked about in the Bilhari Inscription and was a contemporary of Shankargana.

Works of Brahmin Poet Rajasekhar
  • Balabharata
  • Karpuramanjari - The Karpuramanjari is classed as a sattaka because it is in prakrit and none of the characters speaking Sanskrit. The play depicts the love affairs between the kind Chandapala and the Kuntale princess, Karpuramanjari cousin of the queen. The same motif is repeated in the Viddhasalabhanjika a regular Natika. 
  • Balaramayana
  • Kavyamimamsa

Liberal Modern-minded Brahmin
Poet Rajasekhar was a liberal Brahmin who held women in high esteem and was a champion of equality of men and women in 10th century! 

Rajashekhar says: " Women can be as good poets as men. Poetic power is born of samskara (memory traces, impressions). These impressions are a part of the inner soul. Thus there need be no discrimination between men and women. There are any number of princesses, daughters of ministers and performing artistes who are endowed with ability born of knowledge of the shastras and with the ability to compose poetry."  

Global Contemporaries of Maharashtrian Brahmin Rajasekhar Poet in 900 AD

  • Otto the Great (973) - Otto I, also known as Otto the Great, was German king from 936 and emperor of the Holy Roman Empire from 962 until his death in 973.
  • Erik the Red (950 - 1003) - Erik Thorvaldsson, known as Erik the Red is remembered in medieval and Icelandic saga sources as having founded the first Norse settlement in Greenland. Erik the Red was a habitual killer.
  • Abd al-Rahman III (891 - 961) - Abd-ar-Rahman III was the Emir and Caliph of Córdoba of the Umayyad dynasty in al-Andalus, Iberia.
  • Henry the Fowler (876 - 936) - Henry the Fowler was the Duke of Saxony from 912 and the King of Germany from 919 until his death.

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Thanks for your time. Hope you enjoyed reading the life of Maharashtrian Brahmin Rajasekhar Court Poet of 900 AD. Please feel free to leave your comments and do share this post with those who might find it useful.

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