This article is about the section on pravāsa (“journeying abroad” or “dwelling in a foreign country”) of the Sūktimuktāvalī (“The Thread of the Pearls that are Good Sayings”) or Hariharasubhāṣita (“The Good Sayings by Harihara”), a Sanskrit work composed by Harihara, a Maithili brāhmaṇa active in the first half of the 17th century. Contrary to the stance prevalent in Sanskrit literature, in which travelling abroad and living far from home are generally associated with feelings such as loneliness and fear, Harihara shows an approving, positive attitude toward pravāsa, to the point of considering it an opportunity for intellectual enrichment. Further, the section is especially noteworthy for the occurrence in it of some characteristics that are rarely found in other Sanskrit works dealing with travel: the traveller is a learned brāhmaṇa who travels on a totally voluntary basis; the reason behind his travelling abroad is not only the acquisition of riches, but also the desire to demonstrate his qualities and to acquire prestige at a foreign king’s court; the stanzas were presumably based on the author’s life experience and provide several precious details about what real travelling must have been like in Harihara’s times.

A eulogy of travel and of life abroad: the pravāsa section of Harihara’s Sūktimuktāvalī

Marco Franceschini
2019

Abstract

This article is about the section on pravāsa (“journeying abroad” or “dwelling in a foreign country”) of the Sūktimuktāvalī (“The Thread of the Pearls that are Good Sayings”) or Hariharasubhāṣita (“The Good Sayings by Harihara”), a Sanskrit work composed by Harihara, a Maithili brāhmaṇa active in the first half of the 17th century. Contrary to the stance prevalent in Sanskrit literature, in which travelling abroad and living far from home are generally associated with feelings such as loneliness and fear, Harihara shows an approving, positive attitude toward pravāsa, to the point of considering it an opportunity for intellectual enrichment. Further, the section is especially noteworthy for the occurrence in it of some characteristics that are rarely found in other Sanskrit works dealing with travel: the traveller is a learned brāhmaṇa who travels on a totally voluntary basis; the reason behind his travelling abroad is not only the acquisition of riches, but also the desire to demonstrate his qualities and to acquire prestige at a foreign king’s court; the stanzas were presumably based on the author’s life experience and provide several precious details about what real travelling must have been like in Harihara’s times.
Marco Franceschini
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/731629
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