Asaga

Asaga
Born 800s CE
Occupation poet
Period Rashtrakuta literature
Genres Jain literature
Notable work(s) Vardhaman Charitra (Life of Vardhman Mahavir), 853 CE


Asaga was a mid-9th century Digambara Jain poet who wrote in Sanskrit and Kannada language. He is most known for his extant work in Sanskrit, the Vardhaman Charitra (Life of Vardhman Mahavir). This epic poem which runs into 18 cantos was written in 853 CE. It is the earliest available Sanskrit biography of 24th and last Thirthankara of Jainism, Mahavira. In all, he authored at least eight works in Sanskrit.[1] In Kannada, none of his writings, including the Karnataka Kumarasambhava Kavya, a version of Kalidas's epic poem Kumārasambhava that have been referenced by later day poets have survived.[2][3][4][5][6]

His writings are known to have influenced Kannada poet Sri Ponna, the famous court poet of Rashtrakuta King Krishna III, and other writers who wrote on the lives of Jain Tirthankaras (Jain saints).[7] Kesiraja, (authored Shabdamanidarpana in c.1260 C.E), a Kannada grammarian cites Asaga as an authoritative writer of his time and places him along with other masters of early Kannada poetry.[8]

Contents

Biography

Kannada poets and writers in Rashtrakuta Empire
(753-973 CE)
Amoghavarsha I 850
Srivijaya 850
Asaga 850
Shivakotiacharya 900
Ravinagabhatta 930
Adikavi Pampa 941
Jainachandra 950
Sri Ponna 950
Rudrabhatta 9th-10th c.
Kavi Rajaraja 9th-10th c.
Gajanakusha 10th century

Asaga's name is considered an apbramsha form of the Sanskrit name Aśoka or Asanga.[5] A contemporary of Rashtrakuta King Amoghavarsha I (800–878) C.E, Asaga lived in Karnataka and made important contributions to the corpus of Rashtrakuta literature created during their rule in southern and central India between the 8th and 10th centuries.[9] Like Kannada writer Gunavarma, Asaga earned fame despite having received no direct royal patronage.[7]

In his Vardhamacharita, Asaga mentions writing eight classics though the only other work has survivied, the Shanti purana in Sanskrit.[10] Asaga claims to have composed his writings in the city of Virala (Dharala), Coda Visaya ("Cola desa" or Coda lands), in the Kingdom of King Srinatha, who was perhaps a Rashtrakuta vassal. In Kaviprasastipradyani, the epilogue to the Shanti purana, Asaga claims he was born to Jain parents and names his three Jain teachers, including Bhavakirti.[3][5][11][12]

Much of what is known about Asaga has come down to us from references to his works made by later day writers and poets. Interestingly, Kannada poet Sri Ponna (c. 950) who used one of his narrative poems as a source claims to be superior to Asaga.[13] Asaga's writings have been praised by later day poets and writers, such as Kannada writer Jayakirthi (Chchandanuphasana), who mentions Asaga's Kumarasambhava Kavya.[14] Several of its verses have been quoted by later authors of Kannada literature as well.[15] The 10th century Apabhramsha poet Dhaval praised Asaga's writing Harivamsa-purana.[3] Though his Kannada writings are deemed lost, his name is counted among noted poets of Kannada literature from that period along with the likes of Gajaga, Aggala, Manasija, Srivardhadheva and Gunanandi.[16]

Works

  • Vardhamānacaritam: Hindi anuvada (Hindi translation), ālocanātmaka prastāvanā (Critical Review), ādi sahita. Jain Sanskriti Samraksha Sangha. 1974. 

See also

References

  1. ^ Dundas, Paul (2002). The Jains-Library of religious beliefs and practices. Routledge. ISBN 0415266068. http://books.google.co.in/books?id=5ialKAbIyV4C&pg=PA19&lpg=PA19&dq=%22Asaga%22+9th+century+poet&source=bl&ots=3lvSHEaHcL&sig=anySfx8dIaacGiVLu3dhhp2ZkBQ&hl=en&ei=jgqLSqGWEoHs6AOZ9rWkDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10#v=onepage&q=&f=false. 
  2. ^ Pollock, Sheldon I. (2006). The language of the gods in the world of men- Sanskrit, culture, and power in premodern India. University of California Press. p. 341. ISBN 0520245008. http://books.google.co.in/books?id=0UCh7r2TjQIC&pg=PA341&lpg=PA341&dq=asaga+9th+century+poet&source=bl&ots=9hmuD0MAsf&sig=2qxwBO1G_4alg8v9KXbzJuFZZ9M&hl=en&ei=1_SKSojFDYPe7AOJyrGgDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1#v=onepage&q=&f=false. 
  3. ^ a b c Mukherjee, Sujit (1999). A Dictionary of Indian Literature: Beginnings-1850. Orient Blackswan. p. 27. ISBN 8125014535. http://books.google.co.in/books?id=YCJrUfVtZxoC&pg=PA27&lpg=PA27&dq=%22Asaga%22+9th+century+poet&source=bl&ots=Ktrso1FFXA&sig=G6tTy6Ho4iN8lMlURXnAbe859s8&hl=en&ei=jgqLSqGWEoHs6AOZ9rWkDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5#v=onepage&q=%22Asaga%22%209th%20century%20poet&f=false. 
  4. ^ Singh, Narendra (2001). Encyclopaedia of Jainism. Anmol Publications PVT. LTD.. p. 1516. ISBN 8126106913. http://books.google.co.in/books?id=oaEwpt00BXsC&pg=RA1-PA1516&lpg=RA1-PA1516&dq=%22Asaga%22+9th+century+poet&source=bl&ots=8IYISAdciO&sig=RQWkhpXi8R-G50CHs5fq68ZYVsY&hl=en&ei=jgqLSqGWEoHs6AOZ9rWkDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7#v=onepage&q=Asaga&f=false. 
  5. ^ a b c Warder, A.K. (1988). Indian Kavya Literature. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 240–241. ISBN 8120804503. http://books.google.com.au/books?id=kKD-v7tPc8EC&pg=PA161&dq=asaga#v=onepage&q=asaga&f=false. 
  6. ^ Mugali, Ram Śri (1975). History of Kannada literature. Sahitya Akademi. p. 14. 
  7. ^ a b Nāyaka, Harōgadde Mānappa (1990). South Indian studies. Geetha Book House. p. 836. 
  8. ^ Kulli, Jayavant S. (1976). Kēśirāja's Śabdamanidarpana, Volume 25 of Rajata mahōtsavada prakataneh. Karnataka University. p. 17. 
  9. ^ Nāgarājayya, Hampa (2000). A history of the Rāṣṭrakūṭas of Malkhēḍ and Jainism. Ankita Pustaka. p. 139. ISBN 8187321377. 
  10. ^ [The Encyclopaedia Of Indian Literature (Volume One (A To Devo), Volume 1 By Amaresh Datta)]
  11. ^ Upadhye, Adinath Nemināth (, 1983). Upadhye papers. Prasārānga, University of Mysore. p. 292. 
  12. ^ Garg, Ganga Ram (1992). Encyclopaedia of the Hindu world, Volume 3. Concept Publishing Company. p. 670. ISBN 8170223768. http://books.google.com.au/books?id=0U2QRpDv2KMC&pg=PA670&dq=%22asaga%22+poet&lr=#v=onepage&q=%22asaga%22%20poet&f=false. 
  13. ^ Warder (1988), p. 248
  14. ^ Datta, Amaresh (2006). The Encyclopaedia Of Indian Literature (Volume One (A To Devo), Volume 1. Sahitya Akademi. p. 619. ISBN 8126018038. http://books.google.com.au/books?id=ObFCT5_taSgC&pg=PA619&dq=%22asaga%22+poet#v=onepage&q=%22asaga%22%20poet&f=false. 
  15. ^ Garg, Gangā Ram (1987). International encyclopaedia of Indian literature, Volume 4. Mittal Publications. p. 10. ISBN 817099027. 
  16. ^ Warder, A.K. (1988). Indian Kavya Literature. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 161. ISBN 8120804503. http://books.google.com.au/books?id=kKD-v7tPc8EC&pg=PA161&dq=asaga#v=onepage&q=asaga&f=false. 

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