gomatIdAsaH -15

The edition of the first two poems is based on a paper transcript in the possession of shrI rAmasvAmI ayyar (रामस्वामी अय्यर) ; for editing the AryAdvishatI (आर्याद्विशती) , a malayAlam (मलयालम्) edition printed seventy years ago (from 1962, i.e. 1892) was taken as the basis, and a palm-leaf manuscript belonging to brahmashrI subrahmaNya vadhyAr (ब्रह्मश्री सुब्रह्मण्य वढ्यार ?) of shenkotta (शेनकोट्ट) was also consulted; and the last two pieces are based on a paper transcript made by me (G. Harihara Shastri) in 1900 from the author’s own manuscripts.

shrI k. v. sharmA (श्री के वी शर्मा) of the Madras University (मद्रास यूनिवर्सिटि) procured for collation manuscripts of ashvatthagaNanAthAShTaka (अश्वत्थगणनाथाष्टकम्) , tripurasundarIgIta (त्रिपुरसुन्दरीगीतम्) and lalitAgIta (ललितागीतम्) from the library of the late mahAkavI ullUr S. parameshvara aiyar (उल्लूर एस परमेश्वर अय्यर) of trivendram (त्रिवेन्द्रम्) , through the kindness of the latter’s son shrI P. rAmanAthan (श्री पी रामनाथन). To both these friends my thanks are due.
The Sanskrit Text has been reproduced(in original book) in tamil (तमिल) transliteration for the benefit of those who are not conversant with devaAgarI (देवनागरी) script. The first letter of each of the five classes of saMskR^ita (संस्कृत) consonants is marked with 2, 3 and 4 to indicate respectively the second, third and fourth letters of the particular classes; and for sibilants , the tamil grantha (तमिल ग्रन्थ) characters are made use of.
I’m thankful to shrI rAmasvAmI ayyar (श्री रामस्वामी अय्यर) to have invited me to associate myself with the present edition and write this introduction on the life and works of the author. This task is also a matter of pleasant duty for me, since I’ve had the good fortune to be related to the family of illatUr rAmasvAmI shAstrI (इलत्तूर रामस्वामी अय्यर) , to have seen him during my young days and to have been initiated into saMskR^ita (संस्कृतम्) studies by my uncle shrI yaGYanArAyaNa shAstrI (श्री यज्ञनारायण शास्त्री) who was one of his direct disciples. The publication has blessings of His Holiness jagadguru shrI sha~NkarAchArya (जगद्गुरुः श्रीशङ्कराचार्यः) of shR^i~ngerI shAradA pITham (श्रीशृङ्गेरीशारदापीठम्) and of His Holiness jagadguru shrI sha~NkarAchArya (जगद्गुरुः शङ्कराचार्यः) of kA~nchI kAmakoTI pITham (काञ्चिकामकोटिपीठम्) .
It is hoped that this volume will be welcomed by the saMskR^ita (संस्कॄतम्) loving public and especially by those interested in the cult of shrIvidyA (श्रीविद्या) .

गोमतीदासरचिता श्रीमातुः स्तोत्रमालिका ।
कामेश्वरीभक्तलोककण्ठाभरणमेधताम् ॥

Madras,
20-2-1962                                                                                                                G. Harihara Sastri

gomatIdAsaH – 14

The works of the poet are little known to the Sanskritist outside kerala (केरलम्). After his death the bulk of his works was left uncared for a long time. It is one of the ironies of fate that a grandson of the poet and a budding Sanskritist who began to resuscitate the works was snatched away in the bloom of his youth, a few decades ago (count this from the date of this article, i.e. 1962).

The only work which was brought to light during the poet’s life time was vR^ittaratnAvalI (वृत्तरत्नावली). It was printed in malayAlam (मलयालम्) characters in trivendram (त्रिवेन्द्रम्) , but it had no publicity beyond kerala (केरलम्).
Fortunately the descendants of the poet are now busying themselves in rescuing the remnants of their family heritage. shrI rAmasvAmI aiyar(श्रीरामस्वामी ऐय्यर), B. A., L.T, of ilattUr (इलत्तुर), a pious grandson and namesake of the poet, and an earnest devotee of shrIvidyA (श्रीविद्या) is presenting in this volume (in which this introduction was published) some of the stotra-s (स्तोत्राणि) of the author which are held in great veneration by his disciples and those in their line.The volume now issued (of which this introduction was a part) contains the following stotra-s (स्तोत्राणि) :

    1.   ashvatthagaNanAthAShTaka (अश्वत्थगणनाथाष्टकम्)
    2.   dharmasaMvardhanIstotra (धर्मसंवर्धनीस्तोत्रम्)
    3.   AryAdvishatI (आर्याद्विशती)

      1.   AryAShTottarashatakam (आर्याष्टोत्तरशतकम्)
      2.   AryAshatakam (आर्याशतकम्)

    4.   tripurasundarIgIta (त्रिपुरसुन्दरीगीतम्)
    5.   lalitAgIta (ललितागीतम्)

To gaNanAtha (गणनाथः) is given the first place, because he is the God to be worshiped first and also because , he is the presiding deity of the temple at the foot of the ashvattha (अश्वत्थः) tree at ilattUr (इलत्तूर) , which is hallowed by the memories of author.

gomatIdAsaH – 13

tripurasundarI gIta (त्रिपुरसुन्दरीगीतम्) or tripurasundarIkeshAdipAdastava (त्रिपुरसुन्दरीकेशादिपादस्तवः) is an exquisite poem in twenty stanzas portraying the beauty of the Goddess from head to foot.
lalitAgItam (ललितागीतम्) or lalitAprAtaHsmaraNastava (ललिताप्रातस्स्मरणस्तवः) is a song in praise of the Goddess to be sung at dawn.
kR^iShNadaNDaka (कृष्णदण्डकम्) depicts the eternal divine love of shrIkR^iShNa (श्रीकृष्णः) and gopI-s (गोपी) of bR^indAvana (बृन्दावनम्) .
aShTaprAsashatakatraya (अष्टप्रासशतकत्रयम्) or a century of stanzas each, in praise of devI, shiva and viShNu respectively. They are composed extempore at the instance of vishAkham-tirunAl (विशाखं तिरुनाल्) . The meter employed throughout is shArdUlavikrIDita (शार्दूलविक्रीडितम्) . In each stanza an identical syllable recurs eight times in fixed places; and this alternative scheme is maintained in alphabetical order in each shataka (शतकम्) .
{
This stotra (स्तोत्रम्) is published in devanAgarI (देवनागरी) by shrI R. Harihara Subramani, 14, Brahman Street, Saidapet, Madras-15.
}
A good number of stray verses , full of wit and beauty of expression , have been composed by the author, on diverse occasions and they are in memory of village elders in kerala (केरलम्) .

gomatIdAsaH – 12

xetratattvadIpikA (क्षेत्रतत्त्वदीपिका) is a work on geometry in saMskR^ita (संस्कृतम्) in the light of Hutton’s Geometry in English.
ma~njubhAShiNi (मञ्जुभाषिणी) is a commentary on the shrI-kR^iShNa-vilAsa-kAvya (श्रीकृष्णविलासकाव्यम्) of sukumAra-kavi (सुकुमारकविः). This was written at the instance of vishAkham tirunAl (विशाखं तिरुनाल्) in the year 1872.
The author is said to have composed devotional songs on the deities of all the sacred shrines he visited; these are numerous and only a few of them are noticed here.
ashvatthagaNanAthAShTaka (अश्वत्थगणनाथाष्टकम्). When the construction of a temple was undertaken for gaNapati (गणपतिः) at the foot of an ashvattha tree (अश्वत्थवृक्षम्) at ilattUr (इलत्तूर) , the author composed the stotra (स्तोत्रम्) invoking the blessing of the God for its successful completion. The poem contains nine stanzas in sragdharA (स्रग्धरा) meter, each beginning with one of the syllables, in order, of the mUla mantra (मूलमन्त्रम्) of the deity and the long drawn line of twenty one syllables in each quarter breathing an air of plaintive appeal to the God.
dharmasaMvardhanIstotram (धर्मसंवर्द्धनीस्तोत्रम्) in fifteen stanzas in shArdUlavikrIDita (शार्दूलविक्रीडितम्) is an eulogy of the tutelary Goddess at ilattUr (इलत्तूर). Each stanza begins with one of the syllables, in order, of the AdividyA (आदिविद्या) of the shAkta-tantram (शाक्ततन्त्रम्).
AryAdvishatI (आर्याद्विशती) consists of two stotra-s (स्तोत्रम्) , AryAShTottarashataka (आर्याष्टोत्तरशतकम्) and AryAshatakam (आर्याशतकम्). The first contains 109 AryA-s (आर्याः), each one being a separate prayer to the Goddess as in the AryAshataka (आर्याशतकम्)  of mUka-kavi (मूककविः). The second following the model of saundaryalaharI (सौन्दर्यलहरी) of shrI-sha~Nkara (श्रीशङ्करः) , describes, in the first forty-one AryA-s (आर्याः) the bliss derived by the meditation of shrIpura (श्रीपुरम्), the nine chakra-s (नव चक्राणि) , the sixteen nityA-s (षोडश नित्याः) and the presiding Goddess, tripura-sundarI (त्रिपुरसुन्दरी), and in the remaining verses (42-102) the beauty of the Goddess from head to foot. This lyric poem is full of rhythmic melodies surging up from faith, devotion and spiritual ecstasy. In simplicity of style, elegance of diction and spontaneous alliteration adding to the lightness and rapidity to the flow of verses , it compares favorably with the poems of mUka (मूकः). There is another AryAdvishatI (आर्याद्विशती) also called lalitAstvaratnam (ललितास्तवरत्नम्) and shR^i~NgAravimarsha (शृङ्गारविमर्शः) , in 213 smooth-flowing AryA-s (आर्याः) attributed to the sage durvAsas (महामुनिः दुर्वासाः). It dwells upon the layout of shR^i~NgAra (शृङ्गारम्) and the beauty of the Goddess. It is possible that our author was familiar with this devotional poem.

gomatIdAsaH – 11

pArvatIpariNaya (पार्वतीपरिणयः) is a yamaka-kAvya (यमककाव्यम्) in forty-five stanzas mostly in upagIti (उपगीतिः) meter. The theme is the same as in kumArasambhava (कुमारसम्भवम्) ; there are stanzas reminiscent of the genial fancy of kAlidAsa (कालिदासः) and yamaka-s are handled without the slightest trace of artificiality.
The two small poems ambarIshacharita (अम्बरीशचरितम्) and gAndhAracharita (गान्धारचरितम्) , like the previous one, are imaginative recreations of paurANika stories (पौराणिककथाः). They were written for the use of bhAgavata-s (भागवताः) who minister to thereligious and moral instincts of the people.
kAshIyAtrAnuvarNana (काशीयात्रानुवर्णनम्) is a charming poem in 120 AryA-s (आर्याः) describing the pilgrimage of vishAkham tirunAl (विशाखं तिरुनाल्) to banAras (वाराणसी) .
kaivalyavallipariNaya (कैवल्यवल्लीपरिणयः) is an allegorical drama following the example of prabodhachandrodaya (प्रबोधचन्द्रोदयः) of kR^iShNa-mishra (कृष्णमिश्रः). It is said that the author wrote the work to teach advaita-vedAnta (अद्वैतवेदान्तम्) to a prince.
rAmodaya (रामोदयः) is a treatise on arthAla~NkAra (अर्थालङ्कारः) in vasantati(la)ka (वसन्ततिलका) meter. The first half of each verse defines a figure of speech and the other half gives its illustrationin the form of a panegyric of king Ailyam tirunAl (आइल्यं तिरुनाल्).
vR^itaaratnAvalI (वृत्तरत्नावली) is an erudite treatise on metrics. It consists of two parts. The first part deals with the sama (समवृत्तम्) , ardhasama (अर्द्धसमवृत्तम्) and viShama vR^itta-s (विषमवृत्तम्) falling under the twenty-six chhandas (छन्दः), and the second part treats of mAtrA vR^itta-s (मात्रावृत्तम्), prastara (प्रस्तरः), and yati (यतिः) and allied topics. The author narrates the story of the rAmAyaNa (रामायणम्), suggests in each verse the definition of the meter of which it is an example and also mentions therein the name of the meter, thus achieving three purposes in a single attempt. 162 meters which are rare but pleasing to the ear are separately dealt with at the end, each verse being a detached invocation to shrIrAma (श्रीरामः), and this appendix is appropriately named shrIrAmastutiratna (श्रीरामस्तुतिरत्नम्). The number of meters explained in the work numbers 407. Dr. Burnell who happened to go through the work is reported to have said that no one could believe that contemporary saMskR^ita (संस्कृतम्) scholarship could produce such a wonderful book.

gomatIdAsaH – 10

anyApadeshadvAsaptati (अन्यापदेशद्वासप्ततिः) belongs to a class of poems which, by way of appreciating or condemning natural qualities of particular objects, praises a man for his virtue or condemns another for his vice, by implication. The poem came to be written due to an incident at the royal court. The king had in his hand an ivory balance and asked rAmasvAmI (रामस्वामी) to describe it and the latter gave out the following stanza with facile grace :

उच्चैः प्रापयसे पदं लघुतरानर्थानधस्ताद्गुरून्
जिह्वां लोलतमां बिभर्षि कुटिला विस्रंसिनस्ते गुणाः  ।
अप्येवं धट तारतम्यकलनाचातुर्यधौरेयता
त्वय्याधीयत येन सर्वविदसौ धातैव किं ब्रूमहे ॥
The purport of the stanza is this : The balance has a wavering needle and loose chains; it lifts up the empty things and brings down the weightier ones. Nevertheless, the all-knowing ruler has made it the supreme authority in assessing the comparative value of all objects in the world. This was an implied criticism of the unbalanced patronage of the king. The king was however pleased with the poet and asked him to compose a poem on the model of anyApadeshashataka (अन्यापदेशशतकम्) of nIlakaNTha-dIxita (नीलकण्ठदीक्षितः).
kIrtivilAsa (कीर्त्तिवलासः) is a champu-kAvya (चम्पूकाव्यम्) in florid style with a wealth og imagery, on the greatness of Ailyam tirunAl (आइल्यं तिरुनाल्). It describes the capital city, the royal court and the prominent scholars that adorned the sadas (सदस्). Available mss. of the work break off with the first ullAsa (प्रथमोल्लासः).
tulAbhAraprabandha (तुलाभारप्रबन्धः) portrays the tulApuruShadAna (तुलापुरुषदानम्) ceremony celebrated by vishAkham tirunAl (विशाखं तिरुनाल्). The ceremony consists in weighing oneself in a balance with gold which would later be distributed to deserving persons. There are in this work one hundred and odd stanzas in different meters, some of them with verbal devices and insertion of draviDian words (द्रविडपदानि) without affecting the meaning.
gauNasamAgama (गौणसमागमः) is a small work painting the pageant in the capital with the colors of imagination, when Lord Napier, Governor of Madras, visited the State in 1863.

gomatIdAsaH – 9

rAmasvAmI shAstrI (रामस्वामी शास्त्री) was a versatile writer. He wrote in almost all branches of saMskR^ita literature, poetry, drama, rhetoric, metrics, grammar and philosophy. He was a born poet, and his poetry was the outcome of divine inspiration. In his kIrtivilAsa-champU (कीर्त्तिविलासचम्पूः) he says that he had a spontaneous poetic outpouring which resembled in its speed and gallop of horses (ashvadhATI – अश्वधाटी).
{
घोटीनामनुकुर्वतीं स्ववशयन् धाटीं जवात्साहितीम् ।
cf. घोटीकुलादधिकधाटीमुदारमुखवीटीरसेन तनुताम् – ambAShTaka (अम्बाष्टकम्), ascribed to sha~NkarAchArya (शङ्कराचार्यः).
ashvadhATI (अश्वधाटी) reminds one of the Pegasus or the winged horse of Greek Mythology which means poetic genius.
}
He could handle the most abstruse subject with ease and felicity and had formed a style of his own which is at once simple, clear and elegant. A short account of some of his extant works is given here.
surUparAghava (सुरूपराघवः) is one of his most important works. It is a mahAkAvya (महाकाव्यम्) in the pattern of the bhaTTi-kAvya (भट्टिकाव्यम्) describing the rAma story (रामकथा) and indirectly illustrating the rules of pANini (पाणिनिः) and the common figures of speech. It has considerable improvement on its prototype; and in respect of illustration of grammar, it follows the siddhAnta-kaumudI (सिद्धान्तकौमुदी) of bhaTTojI-dIxita (भट्टोजीदीक्षितः). The author has made innovations in the theme which heightens the poetic effect of the work. He also wrote a lucid commentary to the poem explaining grammatical subtleties. The extant manuscript ends with the 33rd stanza in the eighth canto which describes dasharatah’s (दशरथः) entreating kaikeyI (कैकेयी) :

सायम्प्रातिकमासिकसांवत्सरिकेषु तावकार्थेषु ।
पौनःपुनिकेष्विच्छसि कियदधिकं द्वैप्यवस्तुषु ब्रूहि ॥