The Śatakatraya (Sanskrit: शतकत्रय, "the three śatakas", also known in Southern India sometimes as सुभाषित त्रिशति Telugu: సుభాషిత త్రిశతి IAST: subhāṣita triśati ,"the three hundred poems of moral values") refers to three Indian collections of Sanskrit poetry, containing a hundred verses each. The three śatakas, or "centuries", are known as the Nītiśataka, Śṛṅgāraśataka, and Vairāgyaśataka, and are attributed to Bhartṛhari.
The three Śatakas
K. M. Joglekar in his book on Nītiśataka says that it is not easy to say in which order the Śatakas were written.
The Nītiśataka deals with nīti, roughly meaning ethics and morality. Śṛṅgāraśataka deals with love and women. Vairāgyaśataka contains verses on renunciation. The Sanskrit scholar Barbara Stoler Miller translated these sections as Among Fools and Kings, Passionate Encounters and Refuge in the Forest respectively.
Especially in the Vairāgyaśataka, but also in the other two, his poetry displays the depth and intensity of his renunciation as he vacillates between the pursuits of fleshly desires and those of the spirit. Thus it reveals the conflict experienced "between a profound attraction to sensual beauty and the yearning for liberation from it", showing how "most great Indian art could be at once so sensuous and so spiritual".
There is great variation between versions of his Śatakas, and together the available manuscripts have over 700 verses instead of 300. D. D. Kosambi identified about 200 verses that appear in all manuscripts. Despite the variation in content, there is remarkable similarity in theme; Kosambi believes that each śataka came to attract a certain type of stanza similar to the ones present in the original collection. Moreover, at least among the 200 "common" stanzas, there is a distinctive voice of irony, scepticism and discontent, making the attribution to a single author plausible.
According to one legend associated with him (possibly in confusion with the legend of king Bharthari), he was a king, who once gave a magic fruit to his wife, who gave it to another man, who in turn gave it to another woman, and finally it reached the king again. Reflecting on these events, he realised the futility of love and worldly pleasures, renounced his kingdom, retired to the forest, and wrote poetry. This is connected with a famous verse that appears in the collections:
However, the verse is probably a later addition, and many of the other verses suggest that the poet was not a king but a courtier serving a king — thus there are many verses rebuking the foolish pride of kings, and bemoaning the indignity of servitude.
The Sanskrit scholar and commentator Budhendra has classified the Nītiśhataka into the following sections, each called a paddhati:
- mūrkha-paddhati – On Fools and Folly
- vidvat-paddhati – On Wisdom
- māna-śaurya-paddhati – On Pride and Heroism
- artha-paddhati – On Wealth
- durjana-paddhati – On Wicked People
- sujana-paddhati – On Wise Men
- paropakāra-paddhati – On Virtue
- dhairya-paddhati - On Firmness, Valor
- daiva-paddhati – On Fate
- karma-paddhati – On Work
- Some verses from Nītiśataka
This verse means that a human devoid of poetry, music and arts is equivalent to an animal which does not have horns and tails.It is the great good luck of other beasts that they don't graze grass, and still survive.
Editions of the Śatakatraya
- Kashinath Trimbak Telang (1874), The Nîtiśataka and Vairâgyaśataka of Bhartṛhari: with extracts from two Sanskṛit commentaries, Bombay Sanskrit series, No. 11. Includes detailed notes in English.
- Kr̥ṣṇa Śāstrī Mahabala (1888), Satakatrayam, Nirnaya Sagara Press. With Sanskrit commentary by the author.
- Bhartr̥hari; Kavalesara Sinha (1888), Çataka-traya, Victoria Press. With Sanskrit commentary by the author.
- D. D. Kosambi, 1945 The Satakatrayam of Bhartrhari with the Comm. of Ramarsi, edited in collaboration with Pt. K. V. Krishnamoorthi Sharma (Anandasrama Sanskrit Series, No.127, Poona)
- D. D. Kosambi, 1946 The Southern Archetype of Epigrams Ascribed to Bhartrhari (Bharatiya Vidya Series 9, Bombay) (First critical edition of a Bhartrhari recension.)
- D. D. Kosambi, 1948 The Epigrams Attributed to Bhartrhari (Singhi Jain Series 23, Bombay) (Comprehensive edition of the poet's work remarkable for rigorous standards of text criticism.) Review by Emeneau. Digitized by the Digital Library of India
- D. D. Kosambi, 1959 Bhartrihari's Satakatrayam With the Oldest Commentary of Jain Scholar Dhanasāragaṇi With Principal Variants from Many Manuscripts etc. (Bombay, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan). Digitized by the Digital Library of India
Sanskrit with translation
- Peter von Bohlen (1833), Bhartriharis sententiae et carmen quod Chauri nomine circumfertur eroticum, Berlin. Sanskrit text with introduction, translation and notes in Latin. All three śatakas, also includes Bilhana's Chaura-panchashika.
- Purohita Gopīnātha (1896), The Nîtiśataka Śringâraśataka and Vairâgyaśataka, Bombay. Hindi and English translation.
- Moreshvar Ramchandra Kāle; M. B. Gurjar (1898), The Nîtiśataka and Vairâgyaśataka . Translation and notes.
- K. M. Joglekar; Bhaskar Rajaram Joshi (1900), Niti and Vairagya Shatakas with notes, translation, a critical introduction
- Moreshvar Ramchandra Kāle (1902), The Nîtiśataka and Vairâgyaśataka. Reprinted as Nīti and Vairāgya Śatakas of Bhartṛhari, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-0642-5. Brief commentary in Sanskrit, translation and notes in English.
- Barbara Stoler Miller (1967), Bhartrihari: Poems, Columbia University Press (UNESCO collection of representative works), ISBN 978-0-231-02999-5. Sanskrit text with facing free-verse translation.
- Greg Bailey and Richard F. Gombrich, 2005, Love Lyrics by Amaru [and] Bhartṛhari, translated by Greg Bailey & by Bilhaṇa edited and translated by Richard Gombrich (New York: NYU). See: Open Library ISBN 0-8147-9938-8. Sanskrit text with facing free-verse translation.
(without Sanskrit text)
- Peter von Bohlen (1835), Die Sprüche des Bhartriharis, August Campe . German verse translation of all three śatakas, based on Bohlen's edition.
- Paul Regnaud (1875), Les stances érotiques, morales et religieuses de Bhartrihari, E. Leroux, Les classiques de l'Inde ancienne. French prose translation of all three śatakas.
- Charles Henry Tawney (1877), Two centuries of Bhartrihari, Thacker, Spink and Co. ,. Rhyming translation of the Nīti and Vairāgya Śatakas.
- J M Kennedy, The Satakas; or, Wise sayings of Bhartrihari. London, 1913. Prose translation of all three śatakas.
- Biscoe Hale Wortham (1886), The Śatakas of Bhartr̥ihari, Trübner . London: Trübner, 1886, reprint Routledge 2000, ISBN 0-415-24510-9. Prose translation of the Nīti and Vairāgya Śatakas.
- Paul Elmer More (1898), A century of Indian epigrams: chiefly from the Sanskrit of Bhartrihari, Houghton Mifflin . Rhyming translation of 100 verses, mostly from Bhartṛhari.
- Arthur William Ryder (1910), Women's Eyes, A.M. Robertson. Rhyming translation of 85 verses from Bhartṛhari, plus 15 from other sources.
- The Vairagya-Satakam Or The Hundred Verses On Renunciation. Advaita Ashrama. 1916.
- Sri Aurobindo (1924), The Century of Life. Republished 1998 by the Sri Aurobindo Society, ISBN 978-81-7060-120-3. Available online in Volume 5 (Translations) of his complete works. Verse translation of the Nīti Śataka.
- About Bhartṛhari
- On Bhartṛhari by Greg Bailey, Clay Sanskrit Library translator
- Bhartṛhari on Poetry Portal
- ‘Detachment’ in Vairāgyaśataka of Bhartṛhari: Where Buddhist and Brahmanic Ideas Concord Rev. Upali
- The poems