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saidevo
01 August 2007, 04:39 AM
His name was Pandit Dhanaraja. He was an extraordinary scholar with an amazing talent: committing texts to his phenomenal memory. At the age of twenty, he was supposed to be carrying in his memory a bulk of ancient and original Sanskrit texts whose volume was around that of thirty Mahabharatas! If this is extraordinary, the amazing thing was that he was blind in both his eyes, right from when he was a child of three years! And he was a wandering mendicant! Though he lived in the last part of the 19th and the early part of 20th century, he was so ananymous that very little information of his biography has been recorded.

This is what Bhagavan Das, who along with his friends, recorded some of the ancient texts dictated by him, could manage about his life:



He was born in about 1873 A.D., in the village of Belhar Kalan, Post Office Menhdawal, Tahsil Khalilabad, District Basti, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, India. His father was Nepal Mishra, uncle Patiraja Mishra, and grandfather Hargovinda Mishra. He had an elder brother, Chandrika, who died at the age of sixteen or seventeen. Dhanaraja lost his eyesight from small-pox when he was two and a half or three years of age.

He had a phenomenal memory from his earliest childhood. When he was seven or eight years old, he could commit to his memory hundreds of shlokas in a single day. His brother Chandrika was even better endowed. The family of Dhanaraja were grammarians...

Many Sannyasis (wandering ascetics) used to visit his grandfather. One of them was specially attracted, by Dhanaraja's wonderful memory and inquisitiveness and told him that he should study the Maheshvariya Vyakarana, with the Naradiya Bhasha on it, if he wanted his grammatical difficulties solved and his curiosity satisfied... (The Sannyasi) told him the names of the Pandits and the places from and where he would get what he wanted.

Dhanaraja ran off from his house, accompanied and helped, by a companion... He went from one Pandit to another, from village to village, and district to district, obtaining clues to each successive house of learning from the previously visited one, all being occupied, by the members of the same ancient fraternity...

In this way he committed to memory some hundreds of thousands, almost millions, of shloka-measures of literature (one shloka-measure being equal to thirty-two syllables). He wandered about thus for eight or ten years, and then felt surfeited...


Mula Granthas: A Self-Complete List of All Knowledge

When Bhagavan Das asked Pandit Dhanaraja for a self-complete list of Mula Granthas, the latter gave him this list, which he said was taken from the work Shastranubhava, by Gobhila.

I. Shabda Shastra (the Science of Sounds)

1. Vyakarana (Grammar)
.. Sutras, by Maheshvara, Bhashya, by Narada - 100,000 shloka-measures (sm) of 32 syllables each.
2. Kosha (Etymology and Dictionary)
.. Nirukta, by Ganesha, Bhashya, by Sesha - 55,000 sm.
3. Chhandah (Metre)
.. Chhandarnava, by Vishnu - 178,000 sm.
4. Jyotisha (Astronomy and Astrology)
.. Brhadanka Pradipika, by Surya - 100,000 sm.
5. Shiksha (Philology, etc.)
.. Shiksha, by Maheshvara, Bhasya, by Narada - 90,000 sm.
6. Kalpa (the Science of "Constructions")
.. Vyavasthanubheda, by Devi - 248,000 sm.

II. Darshana (Philosophy)

1. Vedanta.
.. Pratiksha Pradipa, by Brahma - 436,000 sm.
2. Sankhya.
.. Anubhava, by Marichi - 308,000 sm.
3. Nyana.
.. Prabhantariksha, by Svayambhu - 215,000 sm.
4. Mimamsa.
.. Arthaprakasha, by Angirah - 205,000 sm.
5. Vaisheshika.
.. Darshananubhava, by Kratu - 275,000 sm.
6. Yoga.
.. Vrttyajitarnava, by Chyamana - 150,000 sm.

III. Smriti (Law)
Manusmriti - 24,000 sm.

IV. Veda
1. Rk-Samhita - 432,000 Rehas
.. 28 Brahmanas - 75,000 Shlokas
.. 42 Upanishads - 200,000 Shlokas

2. Yajus-Samhita - 250,000 Rehas
.. 22 Brahmanas - 100,000 Shlokas
.. 60 Upanishads - 105,000 Shlokas

3. Sama-Samhita - 600,000 Rehas
.. 21 Brahmanas - 150,000 Shlokas
.. 90 Upanishads - 200,000 Shlokas

4. Atharva-Samhita - 300,000 Rehas
.. 11 Brahmanas - 80,000 Shlokas
.. 52 Upanishads - 100,000 Shlokas

Upaveda
V. Ayurveda (Medicine)
Chakkranvesha, by Sanaka - 392,000 sm.

VI. Dhanurveda (Archery)
Praveshastra Prakasha, by Prachetah - 300,000 sm.

VII. Gandharva-veda (Music)
Svaranuvada, by Narada - 136,000 sm.

VIII. Karanyopaveda
Siddhantopauyasta, by Ashvini Kumara - 432,000 sm.

(This, the fourth Upaveda, is said to comprise the sciences of commerce, agriculture, cattle, architecture, law, etc., i.e., briefly all things relating to man's social life. The current name is Sthapatya or Shilpopavadea.)

IX. Kama Shastra (The Science of Love)
Dehitanubhava, by Pulastya - 150,000 sm.

The above list exhausts all the four objects of human life: Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha.

The manuscripts of the ancient and orignal Sanskrit texts were supposed to have been in the secret custody of families of Pandits in villages. Though Pandit Dhanaraja has given a list of names and addresses, and some efforts were made to locate them, nothing much was accomplished in tracking the ancient manuscripts.

The List of Inextant Sanskrit Works as Given by Pandit Dhanaraja

1. Maheshvara Sutra (on Sanskrit Grammar) - 24,000 shloka-measures (sm).
2. Naradiya Bhashya on above - 62,000 sm.
3. Vaisheshika Sutra in six chapters.
4. Bhashya on above, by Latyayana.
5. Bhashya on above, by Prahastapada.
6. Vritti, on Vaisheshika Sutra, by Bharadvaja.
7. Vyakarana, by Shiva.
8. Shiksha, by Shiva.
9. Chhandah, by Ganesha.
10. Jyotisha, by Surya.
11. Kalpa, by Shakti.
12. Nirukta, by Sesha.
13. Grantha Chandrodaya, by Ghobila (or Ghobili; a sort of History of Literature).
14. Yogopadesha (or Yogodaya), by Bhargava.
15. Works on Nyaya.
16. The Eighteen Puranas, interpreted as so many ways of Mahavishnu.
17. The Mahabharata, as the siddhanta, or final essence and conclusion of all the Eighteen Puranas, its Eighteen parvas or sections also each corresponding to a ray of Mahavishnu, the Eighteenth being the quintessence.

18. Tika or commentary on the Eighteen Puranas, by Ghobili and Ghargyayana.
19. Tika on the Mahabharata, by Ghobili.
20. Works on Kavya.
21. Sankhya Sutra, by Kapila - 7,000 sm.
22. Ratnanudeshini, a commentary on the Ramayana, by Visvamittra.
23. Mahabhasya, by Patanjali (Complete--the current one omits many sutras).
24. Nityarnava - 10,000 sm.
25. Kriyanuvada, in 4 parts,, by Galava - 24,000 sm.
26. Akara Bhashya on the Bhagavad Gita.
27. Bhashya on Bhagavad Gita, by Buddha.
28. Bhashya on Bhagavad Gita, by Ghobili - 30,000 (dictated to Pandit Parameshri Das).
29. Sangita Prabha - 27,000 sm.
30. Vritti on Nyaya Sutra, by Bharadvaja.
31. Mahabhashya (vide No. 23 above)
32. The Vedas.
33. Aindriya Bhashya on the Vedas.
34. Brahmiya Bhashya on the Vedas.
35. Barhayana's Bhashya on the Vedas.
36. Samkhya Pravachana Karika - 200,000 sm. (with Pandit Chandrasekhara)
37. Samkhya Pravachana Karika - 200,000 sm. (with Pandit Ishvara Datta)
38. Portions of No.36 above.
39. Portions of Baudhayana Vritti on Brahma Sutra (The current Sri Bhashya of Ramanuja on the Brahma Sutra refers to a Vritti, by Bhodayana).
40. Baudhayana Vritti (with Pandit Gauri Shankara).
41. Barhyana's Bhashya on Brahma Sutra - 80,000 sm.
42. Gita Chandrika, by Vasudeva - 3,000 sm.
43. Bana Pradipa, by Dhronocharya - 25,000 sm.
44. Siddhanta Chandrodaya, a commentary on the Mahabharata, by Vasudeva - 4,000,000 sm.
45. Works on Shilpa.
46. Pranava Vada, by Gargyayana - 16,000 sm. (dictated to Bhagavan Das)
47. Yoga Vashistha - 66,000 sm. (the currently version has only 32,000 sm).
48. Yoga Darpana, by Gargyayana - 4,000 sm.
49. Yoga Ratnakara, by Pulastya - 8,000 sm.
50. Shastranubhava, by Gobhili - 6,000 sm.
51. Itihasa Yaugika, by Shaunaka - 8,000 sm.
52. Itihasa Samuchchaya, by Visvamittra - 14,000 sm. (A work of this name is quoted, by Shridharain his--published--commentary on the Vishnu Bhagavata.)
53. Vidhi Ratnakara, by Shiva - 20,000 sm. (Gives reasons for various kinds of works).
54. Itihasodaya, by Kardama - 16,000 sm.
55. Prakrti Khanda, by Shri Krshna - 12,000 sm. (Hymns).
56. Dharma Ratnakara--a dialogue between Krshna and Narada, about Avataras - 7,000 sm.
57. Varna Vada, by Chandramati - 9,000 sm. (dictated to the Raja, by Pandit Dhanaraja).
58. Maheshvara Bhashya on Maheshvara Vyakarana - 300,000 sm.
59. Pranavarnava - 200,000 sm.
60. Pranava Vada (see no. 46 above) (with Pandit Manu Deva).
61. Kavyamrta, by Jamadagni - 10,000 sm. (on Rhetoric).
62. Kavya Sindhu, by Vasudeva - 75,000 sm. (on Rhetoric).
63. Kavya Darpana, by Vasudeva - 30,000 sm. (a story).
64. Kavya Darpana, by Vasudeva - 5,000 sm. (a story of a Brahmana).
65. Bhava Siddhanta, by Garga - 32,000 sm. (Astronomy)
66. Artha Pradesha, by Kashyapa (Dharma Shastra).
67. Yoga Vasishtha (see No. 47) (with Pandit Shri Harsha).
68. Pranava Vada (see Nos.46 and 60) (with Pandit Girija Datta).
69. Patala Vijaya Kavya, by Panini (This is quoted in Subhashitavali, published in the Bombay Samskrt Series).
70. Darshanodaya, by Ghobhili - 10,000 sm.
71. Brahma Sutra - 10,000 aphorisms, with Barhyanana Bhashya - 80,000 sm.
72. Nyaya Sutra in six chapters (Dictated by Pandit Dhanaraja to Bhagavan Das).

In the beginning of the 20th century, some of these works, specially the Pranava Vada and the original Bhavad Gita Bhashya were published by Suddha Dharma Mandala. The Gita published by SDM had more verses and the order was slightly different, causing a furore among orthodox Hindu communities, stopping further publication. The Sanskrit manuscripts of the books dictated by Pandit Dhanraja are said to be availabe in microfilm format of the Theosophical Society, Adyar, Chennai.

The source of the above lists and the brief about Pandit Dhanaraja is the summarized English Translation by Bhagavan Das of Gargyayana's Pranava Vada, which can be read at: http://www.makara.us/05ref/01books/pranavavada/pv_toc.htm

When and if the ancient texts in the above lists would surface or whether the entire list is nothing more than a wish list, is for the time to tell.