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Bishnath," the distance round the curve of the high land being only some six miles between the two places.
The large earth works that surround the old city are extant to this day and measure roughly 2 miles 1} furlongs long, by 1 mile 2 furlongs broad, and comprise all that land lying between the Ghiladari river on the west, to the Sadhara river on the east. These entrenchments consist of double “Bunds" about 60 feet apart from the apex, with a deep ditch between, which was probably kept full of water from the rivers. Almost in the centre of this enclosure, of about 2) square miles, is a large fort consisting of exceedingly high earthern walls, which were at one time lined with brick; and surrounded by further outworks thrown up 50 to 60 yards away from the main fort, and protected by a ditch all round. It would appear that this was the citadel of the town. There are also several large tanks full of water to this day scattered throughout the enclosure. To the N.E. of the citadel is a clump of trees by the side of a tank, known to the natives as the “Burra-Gosai Jharoni," and here the Assamese worship once or twice a year coming from all parts of the district. On examination, I found a walled enclosure 100 feet square, but now almost hidden under earth and jungle, laid with old Assamese bricks; and scattered about inside this a good deal of carved stone work. One slab had some inscription on it, but this has yet to be deciphered. There was also a curious granite vase standing about 2 feet high and solid, but for a circular hole running from mouth to base 2 inches in diameter. It was unbroken, and had evidently been used for ornamentation. By native tradition this spot is said to have been the tomb of a holy man of a bygone age, and there is a murti attached to the place, of old Hindu design, which the Thakur keeps hidden, until required at the festivals.
From these interesting remains it seems that Pretappur was a large and populous city about the 13th century, but its actual age was probably considerably greater than this, for the capital of Nagsonkor, A.D. 378, was situated in or about this place.
Vidyāpati Thākur.-By NAGENDRA NATH GUPTA.
[Read 7th December, 1904.] Twenty-two years ago Dr. G. A. Grierson edited a collection of Vidyāpati's poems. These appeared as an extra Number, Part I, for 1882, of the Journal of this Society. Since then a great many more facts relating to this famous Maithil poet have come to light. Dr. Grierson's collection contained in all 82 poems, and he believed these were very nearly all that are known in Tirhut. This is not to be wondered at, since the collection was mostly made from the mouth of singers. Besides these, however, a great number of poems and songs, some of great poetic power and beauty, are to be found in Mithilā in old palm-leaf and other manuscripts, scattered about in different households and villages. People are unwilling to part with these valuable manuscripts, and it requires a great deal of time, patience and labour to collect these poems and transcribe them from the old manuscripts. There is one palm-leaf manuscript, said to be in the handwriting of Vidyāpati's great grandson and believed to be genuine, containing no less than 400 poems. Most of these have been copied out and are at present in my possession. They have been closely examined by the best Pandits and scholars of Mithilā and have been pronounced to be genuine. The internal evidence as regards poetic merit, form of language and
and the unmistakeable individuality of Vidyāpati, is also complete.
Most of Vidyāpati's poems current in Bengal were pronounced to be spurious by Dr. Grierson. This is so far true that the language, rhythm and even the sense of the Maithil poet have been frightfully corrupted in Bengal, but the intrinsic poetic value is undeniable: It now transpires that most of these poems may be found in Mithilā in old manuscripts, and it will not be difficult to restore them to their original shape and meaning. Besides writing under his own name Vidyāpati wrote under several literary titles, and sufficient evidence is forthcoming to establish this fact satisfactorily. Up to now the titles that have been ascertained to be his are :-कविधेयर, कवि कपहार, सिंह भूपति, नव जयदेव, दमावधान. In the Bengal collection the title
1 Since reading this paper I have obtained possession of the original palm-leaf manuscript. The number of poems is about 350.-- Author.
of face is also found, which is the same as Afacoa in the Maithil poems. The title of ofan er is to be met with in Dr. Grierson's collection. There is a large number of poems bearing the title of कविधेवर. The title of सिंह भूपति does not belong to Vidyapati himself but to Raja Siva Simh, or some other member of the family. Some poems have been composed under the name of सिंह भूपति. In the भपिता of one poem of this class the word trongfen also occurs :
वहरियो एक अपराध खेमिय
राजपण्डित भान । रमनि राधा रसिक यदुपति
सिंह भूपति जान ॥ “Even an enemy forgives one (viz., the first) offence, saith Rāj Paņdit : Simha King knoweth Rādhā is only a woman and Yadupati (Krsna) is amorous."
In the deed of gift of the village of Bişpi Vidyāpati is spoken of both as महाराजपडित and नव जयदेव. I have found दमावधान in only one poem, of which the concluding lines are of great historical value :
दश अवधान भन पुराव पेम.गुनि
प्रथम समागम भेला ।
कमलिनि भमर भुलला ।
The expression Alam Shāh, or Lord of men, must have reference to the Emperor of Delhi at the time, or the Pathān king of Bengal. बाविकपसार is found with as well as without Vidyapati's name :
भगह विद्यापति कवि कण्ठहार।
रस वुझ शिवसिंह शिव अवतार ।
विमुखि चलल हरि वुझि वेवहार ।
“Understanding this treatment Hari turned his face and went away. What will Kavi-kanthahār now sing?"
af invariably occurs by itself and is never coupled with the poei's name :
कविशेखर भन धपख्वरूप देखि ।
राय नसरद साह भलि कमलमुखि । “Saith the Crown of poets,-Seeing her wondrous beauty King Nasarad Shāh fell in love with the lotus-faced one."
ata or is found in a spirited account of a battle between Siva Simha and the Mahomedan army :
रामरूपे खधम्म रखिय gla Fu Tutfa çfarm सकवि नव जयदेव
भनियो रे। देवसिंह नरेन्द्र नन्दन UT TTEE gia fainian सिंह सम शिवसिंह राजा
सकल गुनक निधान धोरे। "The good poet, New Jayadeva, saith,---The son King of Deva Simha, the uprooter of the dynasties of hostile kings, the essence of all virtues, the lion-like Rāja Siva Simha defended and preserved his own faith like Rāma, and in charity rivalled Dadbici."
All these extracts are from poems not yet published.
It is impossible to state with any degree of accuracy the precise number of poems and songs composed by Vidyāpati. I have collected between six and seven hundred poems of which over three hundred have been collected in Mithilā by Pandit Chunda Jha, the best authority living on Vidyāpati. Each one of these poems has been submitted to a careful test to ascertain its genuineness, and every poem of doubtful authorship has been rejected. These poems are being put together for publication. When published they will not merely establish Vidyāpati's position, wbich is not disputed even now, as the greatest poet of Mithila, but also as one of the master-singers of the world, with a width of range and sweep of song worthy of a poet of the first rank. The poet lived not only to a very great age, but displayed incessant and extraordinary literary activity. He was appointed Rāj Paņạit in an age of Pandits. In a book called Rāg Tarangini and composed in Mithilā about two hundred years
ago, he is spoken of as quitt after faqtefa. Dr. Grierson does not mention that Vidyāpati, besides being the first Maithil poet, wrote a great many books in Sanskrit. Of these Puruşa Pariksā is well known, and a Bengali translation of this work was a textbook in Bengal some time ago. Three other Sanskrit books composed by him have been printed–Dargābhakti Tarangini, Likhanābali and Danbakyābali. Among the other known books are Saivasarvāśwāsar Kirti-latā, Kirti Patākā and Gangā Pattal. He also composed some Sanskrit poems, in which the influence of Jayadeva is plainly discernible. In the village of Taraoni, or Taruban, about fourteen miles from Darbhanga, there is a large palm-leaf manuscript in Vidyāpati's own handwriting containing the whole of the Srimad Bhagavadgītā, notes and all. It is in the possession of an old lady, a widow belonging to a collateral branch of Vidyāpati's family, who refuses to part with it on any account. I have seen the book myself and there can be no question as regards its authenticity. The concluding words are:- सं०९ श्रावण शदि १५ कुरी रजा वनौलि पामे नौ विचापवेर्विपिरियमिति.
"L. S. 309, Tuesday, the 15th Srāvan, in the village of Raj Banauli. This is the writing of Sri Vidyāpati.”
The year 309 of the Lakşman Sen era corresponds with 1416 A.C. according to the accepted calculation. According to the Maithil calculation it corresponds with 1618 A.C. Banauli is a village about 30 miles north of Darbhanga. The character of the script is Maithil and the modern Maithil alphabet bas scarcely undergone any change since the days of Vidyāpati. There is hardly any room for reasonable doubt that the Bengali alphabet, old and modern, is the same as that of Mithilā. No trace can be found of the poet's manuscripts of his numerons original writings.
There is a tradition current in Mithilā that Rāja Siva Simba was taken as a prisoner to Delhi. Vidyāpati accompanied him and helped in obtaining his release from the Emperor. This story would appear to be borne out by the following lines in one of Vidyāpati's poems :-
भन विद्यापति चाहथि जे विधि
करथि से से लोला। राजा शिवसिंह बन्धन मोचन
aga uafa stato “Saith Vidyāpati, -Vidhātā does what he pleases. When the bonds of Rāja Siva Sinha were removed, then the good poet lived (felt relieved)."