ID: 108889
Full name: Aśvaghoṣa
Gender: Male
Other social identifier: Bhadanta
Place of birth: Ayodhyā
Activity year: 150 c.
Name in local script: अश्वघोष

Bhadanta Aśvaghoṣa (ca. 200 CE) is the earliest known author of Buddhist Sanskrit kāvya-s. Two of his poems (mahākāvyas) are available - Buddhacarita (BC) and Saundarananda (SN) . From the colophons of these two, it appears that Aśvaghoṣa was the son of Suvarṇākṣī, and was a resident of Sāketa (Ayodhyā).

Fragments of two plays Śārikā-putra-prakaraṇam and Rāṣṭrapāla-carita by him are known.

Aśvaghoṣa’s poems indicate his profound knowledge of the Rāmāyaṇa, early Sāṁkhya-Yoga and Vaiśeṣika philosophy, Vedic ritual and Manu’s Dharmaśāstra. They demonstrate the classical if archaic diction of the epics, distinct from the ornate style of later kāvya and the strange ‘ungrammatical’ style of ‘Buddhist Sanskrit’ texts. The BC and SN also display Aśvaghoṣa’s skill in uncommon Sanskrit metres.

The texts of Aśvaghoṣa do not seem to have circulated very much in India in the second millennium, as citations from Aśvaghoṣa are rather rare in later Sanskrit literature.

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Last update: 09.01.2021 - 15:58
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Influenced by: Vālmīki
Suggested citation: Keerthi N. "Aśvaghoṣa." Pandit. <panditproject.org/entity/108889/person>. Updated on January 09, 2021 03:58 pm IST.
Contributors: Naresh Keerthi