Priceless works of Maharaja Swati Tirunal found

via published on April 17, 2007


It was intuition that guided them. On April 8, they delved into the cupboards and wooden boxes at the Mannur Madam Palace Mavelikkara which housed heaps of cadjan leaves.

The team headed by Sasidharan Varma was on the look-out for some valuable literature on early Travancore history. By evening, they could trace the syanandura pura varnanaprabandham, one of the precious works of Maharaja Swati Tirunal.

Sasidharan Varma of Mannur Madam Palace is a descendant of historian and research scholar-M Raja Raja Varma. His father T Raja Raja Varma of Paliyekkara Palace had prepared the family chart of Paliyekkara. Inspired by this work, Sasi decided to draw up the family tree of Mavelikkara Kottaram.

It took six years. The period covered was from 1788 to 1999. Diaries and notes of M Raja Raja Varma were extremely useful in collating the available information.

?When I was elected treasurer of Mannur Madam Palace Trust, I had the opportunity and access to go through the available cadjan leafs. I had a hunch that it would contain precious records. So I preserved all I could. Knowing this, Dr R.P. Raja, the author of ?New Light on Swati Tirunal? approached us,? said Sasi. And that was a turning point.

What made Dr Raja search for Swati Tirunal compositions at Mavelikara? ?Historian late Kizhakkemadam Govindan Nair had recorded that Swati Tirunal had sent a copy of all his works to Mavelikkara,? said Sasi.

To know why, you have to turn a few pages in history. Swati Tirunal?s mother?s mother Bharani Tirunal Parvathi Bayi, a member of Mavelikkara Kottaram was adopted to Travancore on 13th Thulam 964 ME. Her mother Chathayam Tirunal Mahaprabha Amma Tampuran and five children fled from Chirakkal as Tippu Sulthan invaded Malabar Coast.

Karthika Tirunal Dharmaraja gave them asylum and accordingly they settled in Mavelikkara. She outlived her daughter and had the fortune to witness the coronation of Maharaja Swati Tirunal.

Mavelikkara being the root family, Swati Tirunal made it a point to send a copy of all his works. ??Now that we could retrieve a few cadjan leaves of Swati compositions, we know the lead was right,?? explained Dr.R P Raja.

What is the significance of the present discovery? It is the Syanadurapura varnana Prabandham, a Sanskrit Champu penned by Swati Tirunal. The work has 83 leaves. ?We could retrieve only 67 of them. The only copy of this magnificent work is available at the Padmanabhaswamy Temple. It is recited to this day when the Maharaja visits the temple,? said Sasi.

The present discovery is significant in the sense that it furnishes the date of completion of the work as 15th Midhunam, 1014 ME which corresponds to June 27, 1839 . The team was assisted by PL Shaji, Manuscript assistant of the Oriental Research Institute and Manuscript Library of the Kerala University.

?Our search began at 10 in the morning. Most of the cadjan leafs were on Ayurveda Puranas and Jyothisha. Around 5 p.m, Shaji traced this leaf and we were elated and retrieval of 67 cadjan leaves added to our excitement. We are planning to pursue the work which might bring valuable works of Swati Tirunal and other documents,? said Dr Raja, hopefully.

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