RAJAVYAVAHARAKOSHA (composed in 1675 A.D) is a bilingual lexicon composed by Raghunatha Pandita ordered by Chatrapati Shivaji.This lexicon lists some words from Persian, Arabic, Turki, Hindustani and local origins with Sanskrit equivalents. Mainly court terms and official language are highlighted in the present work. Usually Sanskrit dictionaries and lexicographies written in verse. RVK – is not an exception.
Even though RVK is list of some important Arabic/Persian words with Sanskrit equivalents, it is very important because of their throwing light on sociopolitical, economic, revenue related, Judicial etc. systems of Maratha regime.
Starting from Amarakosha of Amarasimha, Sanskrit lexcicographies are usually in metrical form. The reason for it is well known :They can be memorized very easily. Another thing worth notice is, Sanskrit is a language which facilitates versified structure in every record of knowledge. That means, not only literature but also the treatises on Medicine, Grammar, Philosophy etc.. are recorded in verses in Sanskrit.
So, it is not a wonder if a Sanskrit lexicon documents Arabic/Persian words in versified manner. Raghunatha Pandita (Here after RNP) or did the same in his Rajavyavaharakosha(here after RVK). Since RNP selected only nouns and not verbs, he could handle the foreign words in versified manner with ease.
It is stated in a kavya, Shivacaritrapradipa by an unknown author that because of Moghul rulers, the usual Sanskrit words almost became obsolete and Shivaji in attempting to employ the original Sanskrit words, ordered RNP to create a dictionary.
So, anybody can easily conclude that the work is not written out of curiosity, neither to introduce the foreign terminology to the interested public, but created as the political urge demanded. If RNP had created it out of curiosity, RVK would have been a good dictionary of Arabic/Persian written in Sanskrit.
Here the readers may be reminded of two other bilingual dictionaries: Parasiprakasha by Vihari Krishnadasa(1556-1605) and Parasiprakasha by Vedangaraya(1643).Former wrote the work under the order of Akbar and the latter, Shah Jehan. The purpose of these two works are purely literary curiosity and not political urge.
Vihari Krishnadasa says:
“It is written for the ones who want to delve deep in the ocean of Farsi.”
“It is written to please Shah Jehan”(Even though the author mentions the name Shah Jehan, he does not say it was written under his order. It clearly shows that the author was not under pressure).
Written in 384 verses, RVK has 10 chapters.
The chapters and the number of words in RVK:(This is according to the printed work edited by Dr.Ramesh Bharadvaj.)
1.Rajavarga. 109 terms 1-33 : 33 verses
2.Karyasthanavarga 171 terms 34-79: 46 verses
3.Bhogyavarga- 110 terms 80-113: 34verses
4.Shastravarga- 85 terms 114-133: 20 verses
5.Caturangavarga 147 terms 134-176: 43 verses
6.Samantavarga- 49 terms 177-189: 13 verses
7.Durgavarga- 91 terms 190- 215: 26 verses
8.Lekhanavarga- 401 terms 216-326: 111 verses
9.Janapadavarga- 127 terms 327-366: 40 verses
10.Panyavarga- 64 terms 367-384: 18 verses
Total terms: 1354 Total verses: 384
Usually Sanskrit works start with a Mangalashloka(auspicious verse comprising eulogy of a deity.) Interestingly, RVK does not have any Mangalashloka . One can surmise it is on the lines of foreign style of writing the books.
Obviously because of the influential Muslim rulers, the Arabic and Persian words had entered into Indian languages.
It is very wellknown fact that there is possibility of changing the meaning of the words while their entrance into to any alien language. But in most of the cases, Muslim terminology has retained its original sense while entering to Indian languages. Exceptions are extremely rare.Some of these words recorded in RVK are listed here:
Arabic /Farsi Meaning
Attar Flowery juice
baki Rest of the amount
galla Pile of grains
gasti Night watchman
gulab Flower juice
hushar Being aware
javahirkhana Jewellery shop