Talk:Dharmashastra of Kullukabhatta

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

Kulluka’s commentary on the Manusmtti styled the Manvarthamuktavali is the most famous of all commentaries on Manu. It has been printed several times. In the following the Nir^ayasagara edition of 1909 has been relied upon. Kull€ika’s commentary is concise and lucid and his remarks are always to the point. He avoids all unnecessary discussions and is never prolix. He was not however original. He drew upon the commentaries of Medhatithi and Govindaraja and incorporated a great deal from them into his own work without acknowledgment. For example, on Manu XI. 95 he simply summarises the remarks**® of Govindaraja and cites only one out of the several quotations that are found in Govindaraja’s Manu-flka. He severely criticizes both Medhatithi and Govindaraja, particularly the latter. He frequently pours ridicule on the latter ( vide note 713 above ). At the end of his commentary he says**' that Medhatithi’s skill lay in expounding what texts were authoritative and of substance and what were not so, Govindaraja in concise words explained the hidden meaning of the brief text (of Manu), while Dharauidhara had his own method cf explanation which was independent of previous tradition ; and there- fore he undertook to write a commentary that would clearly set forth the real meaning of Manu. He was very proud of his achievement and says that neither Medhatithi nor Govindaraja nor other commentators explained in the way he did and that explanatory material like his would be difBcult to find elsewhere.®** He notices the explanations of Medhatithi and Govindaraja hundreds of times, discusses various readings and his commentary deserves to a consider- able extent the eulogy pronounced by Sir William Jones®*’ “ At length appeared Culltkca Bhatta, who, after a painful course of study and the collation of numerous manuscripts, produced a work of which it may perhaps be said very truly that it is the shortest yet the most luminous, the least ostentatious yet the most learned, the deepest yet the most agreeable, commentary ever composed on any author, ancient or modem. ”

Among the authors and works quoted by him ( besides the usual smrtis ) are the following : — Garga ( on II. 6 ), Govindaraja, Dhatapidhara, Bhaskara ( bha^yaklra of the Vedantasutras, on I. 8 and 15 ), Bhojadeva ( on VIII. 184 ), Medhatithi, Vamana ( author of the KaSika ), Bhauavartika-krt ( on XII. 106 ), ViSvarUpa ( the commentator of Yajnavalkya, on II. 189 and V. 68). The Visva- rQpa that he quotes on Manu V. 215 is the lexicographer and not the jurist as Aufrecht ( in his great catalogue ) appears to hold.

He gives us a little information about himself in the introductory verse.**+ He came of a Varendra Brahmapa family of Bengal ( Gauda ) residing in Nandana and was the son of Bhatta Divakara. He wrote his commentary in Ka^i in the company of Pandits, On Manu VI. 14 he mentions the names of certain vegetables that were current in Malwa and among the Vahikas.

It appears that KullQka also composed a digest called Smrti-sagara. A Ms. of a portion of it called Sraddhasagara exists in the Calcutta Sanskrit College ( cat. vol. II. p. 405, No. 446 ). In this his Asaucasigara and Vivadasagara are referred to. I secured a transcript of the ms. of the Sraddhas^ra in the Calcutta Sanskrit College through the kindness of the Principal. The Sraddhasagara deals with the following subjects : — definition of sradha ; whether it is of the nature of y&ga, dana and homa ; various kinds of sraddhas such as nitya, naimittika &c. j the proper and improper places for sraddha ; the proper times for ^raddha ; Astaka-^raddha ; Madras can perform asfaka aud other Sraddhas ; intercalary month ; who are paUkti-pavana brahmapas ; meaning of nimantrana and amantra^ ; the number of biflhmaii^s to be invited ; the darbhas ; iraddhadevatSs ; the sacred thread etc.

The ^raddhasagara is full of PQrvamimamsa discussions. The author says that he wrote it and the other two works ( Vivadasagara and Aiaucasagani ) at the order of his father. He quotes profusely from the Mahabharata, the Mahapuraoas and Upapurapas and from the dharmasOtras and metrical smrtis. He names the Kalpataru oftener than any other nibandhakara. The other authors and worits named are : Bhojadeva, Halayudha ( probably the author of . Praka&i on the ^raddhakalpasUtra of Katyayana ), Jikana, Kamadhenu, Medhatithi, ^Ukhadhara. In one place we have a reference to Prabhakara and Kamalakarabhatta ( on Kala and Kama being devatas ) and in another place to Gauda-Maithila-MayOkhabhattah ( which are probably marginal notes creeping into the ms. or refer to authors other than the well-known ones ). He refers to the opinion of his own guru in opposition to that of the Kalpataru.

The date of KullQka cannot be settled with certainty. BOhler held that he lived probably in the 15th century ( S. B. E. vol. XXV. p. cxxxi ). Ghose ( Hindu Law, 3rd edition p. XVI ) and M. M. Chakravarti ( JASB 1915, p. 345 ) are of the same opinion. In I. L. R. 48 Cal. 643 Sir Asutosh Mukerji places KuUuka in the 15th century (at p. 688). As KullOka mentions Bhojadeva, Govinda- rkja, Kalpataru and Halayudha he is certainly later than 1150 A. D. Raghunandana*** in his Dayatattva and Vyavaharauttva,and Vardhamkna in his Dand^viveka frequently mention his views. Srinatha’.s com. on the DayabhSga refutes the view of KullQka. The ^riddha- kriyi-kaumudi of Govindananda refers to Kulluka’s explanation of the word *akank$an*as * Vik§amanah ’ in Manu III. 258. The Rajaniti-ratnakara of Capdesvara quotes the explanation of KullQka.'^? Therefore KullQka must have flourished before 1300 A. D. KuUoka in his by no means small work nowhere refers to the Diyabhiga, though he himself came of a Bengal family. This silence is explicable in two ways. As we have seen, Kullaka wrote in Kail and not in Bengal. Therefore if he flourished not long after Jim&tavahana, it is quite natural that writing in Benares he had not heard of the Dayabhaga or read it. It has been shown above that JimOtavahana probably wrote about 1100-1150 A. D. Therefore Kulloka flourished between 1150 and 1300 A. D. and probably wrote about 1250 A. D. M. M. Chakravarti is not sure as to how early KullQka flourished but opines that he could not have flourished later than the first quarter of the 15 th century