The curiosity to know about the Navaratnas of Ujjayini’s King Vikram is natural. The names of the Navratnas of Emperor Vikramaditya are called Dhanvantari, Kshapanak, Amarsingh, Shanku, Betal Bhatt, Ghatkharpar, Kalidas, Varahmihir and Vararuchi. These Navratnas included high-class scholars, the best poets, great scholars of mathematics, experts in science, etc. The merits of these Navratnas have been praised all over India. It is believed that the tradition of keeping Navaratna started with King Vikramaditya.
There is mention of three Dhanvantris in our literature. Divine, Vedic, and Historical. It has been said about the divine Dhanvantari that he heals the diseased gods. There are many stories related to him. In Ayurveda literature, the first Dhanvantari Adi Vaidya is considered. The description of two Dhanvantari comes from history.
First Kshatriya king Divodas of Varanasi and second Dhanvantari of Vaidya family. Both of them benefited the subjects with their medical treatment. Bhavmishra states that Sushruta’s teacher Dhanvantari was an expert in surgery. Sushruta belonged to the Gupta period. So it is clear that Vikram era Dhanvantari was another person. In ancient times the Vaidyas must certainly have been called Dhanvantari.
For this reason, the mention of many Dhanvantris is found from the divine to the historical era. The originator of surgery was called Dhanvantari. For this reason, the sect of surgeons was called Dhanvantari. Vaidyas who have mastered surgery must be holding the title of Dhanvantari. Vaikram Dhanwantri will also be a surgeon. He would be the chief physician of Vikramaditya’s army, which would have given success to Vikramaditya in his campaign against the Shakas. These names of texts written by Dhanvantari are found – Rog Nidan, Vaidya Chintamani, Vidyaprakash Chikitsa, Dhanvantari Nighantu, Vaidyak Bhaskarodaya and Chikitsa Saar Sangrah.
The second gem of Vikram’s assembly has been called by the name of Kshapanak. Hindus used the name ‘Kshapanak’ for Jain monks. Digambara Jain monks were called naked Kshapanakas. In Mudrarakshasa also the situation of spies disguised as Kshapanak has been told.
In the article titled Mahakshapanaka and Kshapanaka, Shri Parshuram Krishna Gode has considered the author of the dictionary named Anekarthadhvanimanjari as Kshapanaka. The time of this book is believed to be from 800 to 900 AD.
Shanku’s name is remarkable in the calculation of Navratnas. Apart from ‘Jyotirvidabharan’, the mention of a Shanku is not found anywhere else. Shanku is mentioned in scattered verses as the son of Shabar Swami. Shabar Swami had one wife each from Kshatriya, Vaishya, Brahmin, and Shudra caste. Varahmihir was born to his Kshatriya wife, Bhartrihari, and Vikramaditya to Vaishya’s wife, Harishchandra Vaidya to Brahmin wife, and Shanku and Amarsingh from Shudra’s wife. Shabar Swami was the author of Shabar Bhashya.
Scholars consider Shanku as Mantravadin, some scholars as Rasacharya, and some scholars as astrologers. What exactly the cones were, it is now impossible to tell. He is depicted as a poet in a verse of ‘Jyotirvidabharan’. In legends, they are depicted in female form. Due to being the gem of Vikram’s assembly, his literary scholarship is recognized.
(4) Vetal Bhatt
The name of Vetal Bhatt in the gems of Vikram makes us wonder how a person got the name of Vetal Bhatt i.e. scholar of ghosts and spirits. His real name was this or something else has not been known. Vetal Bhatt’s historicity has been disguised in exciting tales of ghosts and hauntings. There are many stories related to Vikram and Vetal.
In ancient times, Bhatt or Bhattarak was the title of pundit. Vetal Bhatt means a person proficient in ghost and vampire practice. Pro. According to Bhattacharya, Vetal Bhatt might have been the author of the book named ‘Vetal Panchavinshatika’. Vetala Bhatta was familiar with the cremation grounds of Ujjayini and the heroic deeds of Vikramaditya. Probably that’s why he must have composed the storybook named ‘Vetal Panchavinshatika’.
According to the Vetal tales, Vikram had subdued Agnivetala with his courageous effort. He invisibly helped them to accomplish wonderful works. Vetal Bhatt, despite being a literary person, would be an expert in the practice of exorcism and would be a knower of Tantra Shastra.
It is also possible that Vetal Bhatt would have been well versed in fire weapons and electric power and would have been the representative of Kapalikas and Tantrikas. The state must have benefited from its spiritual power. Vikram would have destroyed the Asuras, Rakshasas, and evildoers with the help of Vetala.
Very little material is available regarding Ghatkharpar. Why he got this name is a matter of contemplation. A legend is prevalent about him. It is said that he became a poet in the company of Kalidas. He vowed that the poet who defeats me in the composition of the rhyme will fill his house with water from a piece of pitcher.
Two short poems written by him are available. Of these, the poem is a beautiful poem of 22 verses, which is filled with coincidence makeup. His style, sweetness, word configuration, etc. leave the impression of the Vaikram era on the heart of the reader. This poetry is famous as Ghatkharpar poetry. This is messenger poetry. In this, the message has been sent through the cloud.
The second poem composed by Ghatkharpar is considered to be Nitisar. This policy has been explained beautifully in 21 verses. Abhinav Gupta, Bharatmallika, Shankar Govardhan, Kamlakar, Vaidyanath, etc. famous scholars wrote commentaries on his first poem.
Vararuchi composed a poem called ‘Patrakaumudi’. At the beginning of the poem ‘Patrakaumudi’, he has written that Vararuchi composed the poem ‘Patrakaumudi’ only on the orders of King Vikram He also wrote another poem named ‘Vidyasundar’. It was also composed by him on the orders of Vikram .
In Prabandha Chintamani, Vararuchi has been called the teacher of Vikramaditya’s daughter. Subandhu, the author of Vasavadatta, has been called Bhagineya of Vararuchi, but this connection does not seem to be appropriate. This Vararuchi Vaiyakaran was a different person from Vararuchi.
According to Kavyamimansa, Vararuchi had passed the Shastrakar exam in Pataliputra. According to Kathasaritsagara, another name for Vararuchi was Katyayana. He was born in a Brahmin family of Kaushambi. His father died when he was 5 years old. He was of sharp intellect from the beginning. He used to say whatever he heard once. Once upon a time, scholars named Vyadi and Indradatta came to his place. Vyadi recited the Pratishakhya. He repeated it exactly as it was. Vyadi was very impressed with him and took him to Pataliputra. There he got an education and passed the Shastrakar examination.
(7) Amar Singh
According to Rajasekhara’s Kavyamimansa, Amar Singh had passed the poetic examination in Ujjayini. The first dictionary of Sanskrit is ‘Namlinganushasan’ of Amarsingh, which is available and is famous as ‘Amarkosh’. The name of Kalidas is mentioned in ‘Amarkosh’. The invocation contains a prayer to Buddha and Buddhist words, especially those of the Mahayana sect, are found in the dictionary. Therefore it is certain that the composition of the Kosha must have been after Kalidas and Buddha’s time. There are 50 commentaries available on Amarkosh. This is the proof of its importance. The meaning of many Vedic words has also become clear from Amarkosh. Dr. Katre has given a list of these Vedic words in his article ‘Donation of Amarkoshkar’.
The record of Buddha Gaya has been mentioned by Kiran sir in the role of Brihajjataka. It is written in the inscription that Vikramaditya is the famous king of the world. There are nine scholars in his assembly, who are known as Navratnas. Among them, a scholar named Amardev is the king’s secretary. He is a great scholar and a favorite of the king.
In a scattered verse, Amarasimha is said to be the son of Shabar Swami’s Shudra wife. Ganak Kalidas has named Amar in the Navratnas of Vikramaditya’s assembly. Amar has been called a poet in the 8th verse of the 22nd chapter of Jyotirvidabharana. His dictionary is a unique dictionary of Sanskrit literature.
According to Pt. Suryanarayan Vyas, Adi Varahamihir was the jewel of Vikram’s assembly. He was a knower of astrology. He is mentioned in the form of old Varahamihira. The material about old Varahamihira is hidden in the trough of the modern period. They believe that Varahamihir, the author of Vrihatsamhita, Vrihajjatak, etc., belonged to the Gupta era.
Varahamihira was a great scholar of astrology. He penned many books on astrology. Those texts are – Vrihatsamhita, Vrihajjataka, Samasanhita, Laghujataka, Panchasiddhantika, Vivaha-Patal, Yogayatra, Vrihatyatra, Laghuyatra. In these, except for Panchasiddhantika, Bhattotpal wrote commentaries on almost all the texts. Varahmihir has expressed respect for Yavanas in his texts. He used 36 Greek words but transformed those words into Sanskrit. He also mentioned the names of Yavana astrologers, so it is clear that there was a trade relationship with the Greeks, which is why literary exchange took place. This is probably the basis of the mention of Yavanas in their texts.
Mahakavi Kalidas is considered to be the main gem of King Vikram assembly. Almost all the ancient sages have worshiped Kalidas from the heart. The time of Kalidas has become a matter of controversy among recent scholars.
After a long discussion, there are only two opinions left in this regard, the first opinion is of the first century AD and the second opinion is of the fourth century AD. The majority of scholars are in favor of the first century.