A few words of appreciation of Kavikarnapura III

As published in The Harmonist (Sree Sajjanatoshani)
Edited by Paramahamsa Paribrajakacharyya Sri Srimad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj

JANUARY 31, 1935

The next dated book of Kavikarnapura is the famous Caitanya Candrodaya Nataka, a biographical drama dealing in great details with the life and philosophy of our Lord Sri Caitanya. It is a vivid description particularly written for consoling the aggrieved followers and also for popularising the life and teaching of our Lord through dramatic representation. It is of Supreme historical importance in tracing the development and success of the movement of our Lord. It also represents the religious condition of the then Indian which was in striking contrast with the religious fervour and purity of character of our Gaudiya Vaishnava Acharyas. This book is very well knit and full of interest, obvious truth and readable qualities. This historical drama, by the excellence of the writing and the judiciousness of the selections of deeds, is the true representation of the celestial character of our Lord and does not fail to convey to the lay reader the greatness and spiritual import of its Hero. Its ornate language does not seem to hide its simplicity or tire the reader. It is more historical and doctrinal than merely dramatic. It consists of ten acts. The last verse gives us Saka 1494 (1572 A.D.) as the date of the play. It has been rendered into Bengali metrical verses by Purusottama Siddhantavagisa alias Premadasa in Saka 1634 (1712 A.C.), which date is given in the colophon at the end of the translation.

His other historical book is Gauraganoddesa Dipika written in Saka 1498 (1576 A.C.), which date is given in the last sloka. It consists of 215 Sanskrit slokas and give us an account of the historical origin of our community and the principal followers of our Lord Sri Caitanya, most of whom have been identified with the associates of Krishna. Apart from the question of our practice and belief, it has great historical importance. The account of this book is very authentic because he had personally seen and heard of all the devotees living at Mathura, Bengal and Puri before he wrote it (verse V.).

Our poet-author has written a large treatise on Sanskrit poetics under the name of Alamkara Kaustubha, the principles of which have been illustrated by verses in reference to lives and deeds of Radha and Madhava. It is based on the Gaudiya Vaishnava principle of Bhakti Rasa in opposition to secular literature on poetics. It consists of ten Kiranas headed as follows :- (1) Kavya samanyoddesah, (2) Savdarthavritti traya nirupanah, (3) Dhvani nirnayah, (4) Gunibhuta vyangya nirnayah, (5) Rasa bhava tadbheda nirupanah, (6) Guna vivecanah, (7) Savdalamkara nirnayah, (8) Arthalamkara nirnayah, (9) Riti nirnayah, (10) Dasa nirnayah.

Another important large book written by Kavikarnapura is Ananda Vrindavana Campu dealing with the early life and amorous youth of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna as we find in the tenth canto of the Bhagavata. It is written, as Campu Kavya should be, partly in poetry and partly in poetic prose. Its style and imagery deserve high admiration and it is an excellent addition to the Sanskrit literature of our community. It is divided into 22 stavakas.

The late Raja Rajendralal Mitra has taken notices of the three manuscripts of Camatkara Chandrika which mention Kavikarnapura as the author in the following colophon found at the end of the said manuscripts:- Iti Sri Kavikarnapura Goswami viracita Camatkara Candrikayam caturtha kutuhalam etc. (Notices of Sanskrit manuscripts. Vol. VI. PP. 212-213). But the Indian Office manuscript which I have examined (Eggling, No. 1177e.) contains no such colophon. Our Editor attributes its authorship to Visvanatha Cakravarti (Saka 1560-1630) (Vaishnava Manjusa Samabriti Part I. p. 61). The editor of the Gaudiya also puts in the list of Visvanatha's works (Vol I. Part 18, p.8).

Vrittamala, a short treatise of 93 verses on Chhanda, has been recently published by Sasi Bhusan Deva Gosvami of Naptipara, Assam, together with a commentary Valasuvodhini by Kavi Pancanana. The last but one verse 'Kavina Kavikarnapurena guru Sanmata karmana Malladeve mahipale vritt maleya varaci' etc., says that it was composed by poet Kavikarnapura Gosvami with the approval of his guru and dedicated to king Malladeva. The editor likes to identify Malladeva of the Vrittamala text with the Koch King Nara Narayana and calls the poet Karnapura an inhabitant of Assam, attached to the court of Koch Vihar. But he could not advance any ground or reason for the validity of his fanciful supposition. I have discussed these points in my forthcoming book on our Gaudiya vaisnava history and literature. What seems probable is that the Vaisnava Vrittamala text was a work of the Bengali vaisnava Kavikarnapura, and its patron Malladeva was the vaisnava Malla King Vir Hamvira of Visnupura Abbreviations :-

B.C.C. Bengali Caitanya Caritamrita by Krisnadasa Kaviraja.

V.L.M.B. Vaisnava literature of Medieval Bengal by Dr. Dines Candra Sena.


If you are interested with the subject matter of this site and would like more information concerning related works by Chris Butler, please write to the Secretary of the Science of Identity Foundation.

Read More