Musings on some alternative grammarians
durgasiMha the commentator on the nirukta of yAska states:
“vyAkaraNaM aShTadhA |”.
The physician and grammarian vopadeva from the medieval yadava court expands on the same theme naming the eight forms of saMskR^ita grammar:
indrash-chandraH kAshakR^itsn.a-ApishalI shAkaTAyanaH |
pANiny-amara-jainendrA jayantya aShTAdishAbdikAH || (in dhAtupATha discussion)
Despite the tremendous productivity of saMskR^ita thinkers on grammar it appears that the rest have not matched pANini’s success and have to greater of lesser degrees been washed aside. somadeva, the author of that great literary masterpiece the kathAsaritsAgara apocryphally but colorfully narrates this process in his story on the debate of kAtyAyana and pANini. Of course tale goes back to somadeva’s source material the bhR^ihat-katha.
Of these, jinendra, despite his name, is a bauddha and the last in the old line of grammarians. He is supposed to have lived in the va~Nga country and been a bodhisattva. He appears to have been patronized the pAla kings around 725-750 CE. He is cited by the great vedic commentator haradatta mishra from the drAviDa country and criticized by the much latter bhaTTojI dIkShita from mahArAShTra who appears to have clearly been aware of jinendra’s bauddha biases in interpreting the vaidika aspect of pANini. In any case this is still illustrative of his widespread influence as a major grammarian both in spatial and temporal terms. jinendra himself cites kAshakR^itsna and Apishali and thereby preserves fragments of their lost works. Another renowned nAstika paNDita, chandragomin, is usually identified as the author of the chandra grammar by tradition. bauddha tradition holds that the founder of chandravyAkaraNa was a kShatriya from varendra in the va~Nga country, and probably lived roughly around the same time as jinendra. He is supposed to have debated other tAthAgata-s like the nAstika mahApaNDita chandrakIrti with the aid of his mantra prayoga-s to invoke avalokiteshvara. He is reputed to have been a mantravAdin of great siddhi-s, who journeyed from nAlandA to the Andhra country, where he was locked in prayoga battles with Astika mantravAdin-s who deployed saiddhAntika, bhairava and kubjikA mantra-s to counter him. He is said to have composed several long stotra-s to ma~njughoSha, avalokiteshvara and the kula goddess sitAtapAtrA. While visiting gavalakuNDa, R1’s father brought out an old file of handwritten papers and showed me a prayoga stotra to pratya~NgirA composed by chandragomin along with some nAstika mantra-s to the same deity.
chandragomin identifies pratya~NgirA with his chosen deity the kula-mistress sitAtapAtrA, whom he calls the queen of chandradvIpa. A tale is narrated where an irate ruler tries to drown chandragomin, but he is carried by the devI to chandradvIpa and saved. This is of considerable interest because chandradvIpa is also the primal kShetra of kubjikA. kubjikA too is identified with pratya~NgirA as ghora rudrakubjikA-atharvaNa-bhadrakAlI in the tradition of the uttarAmnAya and the kubjikA upaniShad. chandragomin begins his invocation to pratya~NgirA by using the compound name uShNISha-sitAtapAtrA-pratya~NgirA, which is parallel to another stotra in which he identifies aparAjitA with sitAtapAtrA. Another text of chandragomin (of course given as a dialog between shuddhodhana-putra and his disciples) showed by R1’s father was the dhAraNI of mahApratya~NgirA, which had a picture of the devI with numerous arms holding all kinds of weapons. Another text of chandragomin had a long nAstika-pratya~NgirA mAlA mantra which seeks protection against all kinds of dangers.