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Bhoj, Raajaa

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Bhoj, Raajaa
Some parts taken from the book   Mayoor's Sanskrit Works   
See also  Mayoor

Bhojpur is a small town in Raayasen District of Madhya Pradesh State in India. It is located at about 25 kms from south-east of Bhopaal city and is of great historical and religious importance. Bhojpur got its name from the legendary founder Paramaar king called Raajaa Bhoj. Bhojpur is popular for its 7.5 ft high Shiv Ling in Bhojeshwar Temple. Betavaa River passes through Bhojpur. A cyclopean dam was constructed by King Bhoj to make a large lake to full-fill the requirement of water for the region which was later destroyed by King Hoshang Shaah of Maalavaa region.

Paramaar dynasty ruled Maalvaa region of Central India from 10th century to 12th century. Today’s Dhaar city (older Dhaaraa Nagaree) close to Indore was also founded by Paramaar dynasty. During that time Dhaar was the capital of Maalavaa and became one of the prime intellectual centers of India. Even Abul Fazal (a Nava Ratn in Akbar's court) has written in his "Aaeene Akabaree" that Raajaa Bhoj moved his capital from Ujjain to Dhaaraa Nagaree. A little book entitled "Bhoj Prabandh" shows how Raajaa Bhoj got the throne of Maalavaa from his uncle Munj (a Paramaar king of Maalavaa) in 11th century AD.

King Bhoj was the son of notable conqueror called King Sindhuraajaa. In the beginning of his carrier, Bhoj suffered problem of brain tumor which resulted often severe headaches. Two Braahman brothers from the school of Ujjain, who were eminent surgeons of the time, performed a successful crucial brain surgery on the brain of Bhoj.

It is the King Bhoj who took initiative with Solankee King Bheem of Gujaraat, to rebuilt the famous Temple of Somnaath between 1026 to 1042 after being ransacked by Mahmood of Ghazanee in year 1024. After the ransacking of famous Somnaath Temple of Gujaraat, Bhoj organized his army to attack Mahmood Ghaznavee who retreated back via Sindh due to fear of his powerful army. Bhojeshwar Temple is also known as Somnaath Temple of East.

Gems in Bhoj's Court
Bhoj himself was a remarkable military commander and encyclopedic scholar. He wrote more than 11 books in his life. Bhoj had 500 Saavant, versed in all Shaastra, chief of whom were - Kaalidaas, Vararuchi, Baan, Mayoor, Refan, Hari, Shankar, Kaling, Karpoor, Vinaayak, Madan, Vidyaa, Vinod, Kokil, and Taarendra.

Completing the Verse of Bhoj
The four passions, anger, pride, deceit and greed, are hard to temper. It is often difficult to realize one's vanity (pride). Either one is rich or powerful, scholars or household, all suffer from vanity to a greater or lesser extent. This is the story of Raajaa Bhoj. Raajaa Bhoj was rich and noble. He was a scholar and a poet too. He was a benevolent ruler. He showered artists, scholars and poets with luxurious gifts. His people were happy. The king had ample time for the pursuit of art, literature and poetry.

One day, Raajaa Bhoj was composing a verse describing his wealth and fortunes. The first three lines of the verse were:
Chetoharaah Yuvataayaah Suhridonukoolah,
Sad Baandhavah Pranayagarbha Grihashchabhrityah
Balganit Dantinibahaah Taralaasturangaah
Means - Charming and beautiful young women, dear and congenial friends,
loving and pleasant family and relatives, gentle and dedicated employees,
and myriads of beautiful and thunderous elephants and horses;"

Raajaa Bhoj had finished composing the above three lines of the verse and did not know what to say in the fourth line. Just then, the great Sanskrit poet, Kaalidaas, came by. He asked the king his problem. The king showed him his unfinished verse. The great poet said, "O Scholarly King, If you please, I can complete the verse." The king agreed. Poet Kaalidaas added the fourth line as follows:
Sammeelate Nayanornahi Kinchidasti
Means "When an individual passes away (his/her eyes are closed), nothing remains; riches, power and all means of comfort become immaterial." Raajaa Bhoj realized his vanity. He expressed his deep gratitude to Kaalidaas and honored him with precious gifts.

Completing the Verse of Bhoj - Another Version

There is another version of this story, I found it on Internet. One night Raajaa Bhoj was lying in his bed and he was not able to sleep so he started to speak out a new verse -
Dhanam Roopatwam Preyashra Poornnatwa Sukh Sevakah  |  Deham Raajya Ashwam Cha Patnee Preyashra Poornnatah
Sadam Hasti Cha Maanikyam-ham Raajaa Bhavataa Vadet  | ------
These three lines mean - I am great king lord of a great city Ujjain, I own a large kingdom, houses, beautiful queens, servants, wealth and all luxuries...

And here he stopped finding himself unable to complete the fourth line. He kept thinking and repeating the three lines again and again. It so happened that a thief lay under his bed waiting for him to drop to sleep so that he could steal. If a person likes to dance he cannot keep still if some music is playing. If he cannot dance at least he would start to tap his feet. By chance that thief was very wise. Circumstances had forced him to steal. He heard the king repeat the three lines again and again and at last when he could no longer restrain himself he blurted out -
Sammeelane Nayanayo-rnahi Kinchidasti
The thief said - "You are right, O King! You are rich, you have all comforts, queens, servants, palaces but what shall happen to them when you die? What shall you be left with when you die?"

Everyone Was a Poet in Bhoj's Kingdom
It was said in Bhoj's kingdom that everyone was poet. Once a person came to him from another kingdom, he did not believe this, so he went out in the kingdom, caught hold a poor weaver, brought him to the King's court and asked him if he could compose a poetry. The weaver replied him with all his humility -
Kaavyam Karomi Na Hi Chaarutaram Karomi |  Yatnaat Karomi Yadi Chaarutaram Karomi
Bhoopaal Mauli Mani Mandit Paad Peeth  |  Hey Bhoj Raaj Kavayaami Vayaami Yaami
Means - I compose poetry, but not very well. If I make an effort, I may be able to improve. O Bhoj, whose footrest is encrusted with jewels from the crowns of the kings, I compose poetry, I weave, and with your permission I am going.

This Shlok has its own charm and  beauty and its humility, and its final play with the three words - Kavayaami Vayaami Yaami, where each subsequent verb is obtained from the previous one by deleting the first syllable.

Bhoj and Kaalidaas
Once Kaalidaas was absent from Bhoj's court. There was a lot of discussion going on in the court, so when Bhoj noticed that Kaalidaas was not there, he got an idea. He thought "if Kaalidaas hears the news of Bhoj's sudden death what would he write." So he took a Minister with him and went to Kaalidaas' house. He himself stayed out side the house and sent his Minister inside to inform Kaalidaas about the death of the King. The Minister went to Kaalidaas and informed him that the King had died suddenly. Kaalidaas was overcome by extreme grief and burst with the following verse -
Adya Dhaaraa Niraadhaaraa Niraalambaa Saraswatee
Panditaah Khanditaah Sarve Bhoj Raaje Divangate
Means - Today Dhaaraa Nagaree is without a support, even Saraswatee is without support, the poets, the scholars are all overcome by grief with the passing away of the King.

The King was so much moved by his expression  that he moved in Kaalidaas' house. Everybody was taken aback and wondered what would Kaalidaas do now? In the meantime, Kaalidaas had realized what had happened, so he immediately came up with a new verse, echoing the first one, still completely a new one -
Adya Dhaaraa Sadaadhaaraa Sadaalambaa Saraswatee
Panditaah Manditaah Sarve Bhoj Raaje Bhuvam Gate
Means - Today Dhaaraa Nagaree has gained its support, and also the Goddess Saraswatee. The poets and the scholars are now all adorned with joy with coming of King Bhoj on this Earth.

Kaalidaas In and Out of Bhoj's Court
(p 44-46) Kaalidaas was a great poet of Raajaaa Bhoj's court. In fact he was one of the Nava Ratn (nine gems) of his court. Kaalidaas was such a great poet that many Pandit used to be jealous with his prestige and his influence over the King. Once they conspired and with a female royal slave tried to defame him in the eyes of the King. This slave made the King believe that Kaalidaas had illicit relations with Bhoj's queen. Kaalidaas was immediately banished from the kingdom, but soon the queen cleared this blame by undergoing the ordeal of fire. Now the King would recall his famous poet but he could not find him anywhere. Now fortunately Kaalidaas was still living in the city in hiding in a courtesan's house.

The King continues his search but remains unsuccessful. So one night he composes half stanza, and next day he asks his other poets o complete that half stanza, but nobody succeeds to complete it. Finally they all send Baan Bhatt to King to ask to increase the term to 8 days to complete that stanza with the missing lines. Eight days pass. On the 9th day, Baan Bhatt says to the assembled poets that they were unable to complete that stanza because they banished a good poet by jealousy. At this point the story of Mayoor comes in. The other poets decide that they should go out of the city themselves, otherwise the King himself will banish them and they would have to go even without their belongings. So all went home, collected their valuables, loaded on a cart drawn by oxen and went out of the city at midnight.

Since Kaalidaas was still in the city, he heard the noise of moving carts. He learnt that who the fugitives were and determined to know the reason of their flight. So he hid himself in disguise, ran ahead and met them face to face. They told him their trouble, so he solved their problem by telling them the remaining lines of that half stanza. They thought that they met Saraswatee in disguise, they were very happy to have those missing lines. Next day they came back to the court with those missing lines and recited them to Raajaa Bhoj. Raajaa Bhoj immediately knew that nobody else except Kaalidaas had completed his stanza. So he concluded that Kaalidaas must be somewhere nearby. He made the efforts and soon found his favorite poet and reinstated him on his former position.

Other Poets in Bhoj's Court
(p 43-44) Kreedaachandra in Bhoj's Court - One day a very poor man, wearing only a loin cloth, asked the permission to appear in Bhoj's court. He told that he was a poet and his name as Kreedaachandra. As he was permitted to enter the court he took the seat without being asked to sit and recited a stanza. Bhoj asked his name and he replied reciting another stanza in which he told that his name was Kreedaachandra. Kaalidaas agreed that he was a good poet. One of those stanza said -
The name even of a king is not ever known without poetry,
Without that the fame of a poet on Earth is not manifest.

At this Mayoor said -
Those by whom poems are composed and who are celebrated in the realm of poetry
Are to be respected, are great-souled, and in the world their fame is lasting.

After this Vararuchi also said something about the poets.

Then Kreedaachandra recited several stanzas to support Kaalidaas appreciation and made the King loosen his purse. Mayoor also recited one stanza in praise of poets, and after that Vararuchi also recited a stanza in praise of poets and poetry. Pleased with all this King Bhoj gave Kreedaachandra 5 villages and 20 elephants.

(p 46-47) Shukdev in Bhoj's court - One day Bhoj was sitting on his lion throne that a very poor looking man asked his permission to enter his court, that he was a poet and his name was Shukdev. Bhoj asked his poets if they knew about his reputation. Kaalidaas and a poetess Seetaa spoke about in a very high terms, and then Mayoor recited a Shlok which meant - "The man, who unasked, says anything in the assembly of the King, gets not only dishonor, but also mockery." He recites another one and urges the admission of Shukdev in the assembly. Bhoj followed Mayoor's suggestion and allowed him to come in the court. Bhoj listened to his only one stanza and gave him 400 elephants and gold dish full of rubies.

Mayoor did not like this, this disfavor is showed in this stanza which means - "Once upon a time, the gardener of the pleasure gardener, going up to a single stalk of sugar-cane broke it off in the presence of the king. The King took it in his hand." Then Mayoor, relying on his great intimacy and having in mind the disesteem felt by the King towards himself, said, under pretext of addressing the sugar-cane, but really referring to the King -
Thou art lovely, thou art mellifluous ever, thou art filled with syrup.
Moreover thou art the incomparable bow of the five-arrowed (Kaam Dev)
O Sugar-cane stalk, everything about thee is of the highest quality [but] one thing is lacking
In that thou, though cultivated, becomest, by degrees, insipid.
The King realized the feelings of the poet and treated Mayoor with respect.

Bhoj is Not Contemporary of Mayoor and Baan
(p 48-49) This is very strange that in spite of several incidents cited here and there, research shows that Bhoj was not the contemporary of Mayoor and Baan. A search for the historical records show that no Bhoj, as early as the 7th century, with whom the well-known Bhoj of Dhaaraa and Ujjain might have not been existed and this is the fabrication of Jains only.


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 11/17/12