Dhanapāla’s Contradictions

I happened upon a very useful book by Hiralal Rasikdas Kapadia (Kavīśvara Śrīdhanapāla Viracita R̥ṣabhapaṁcāśikā ane Vīrastutiyugalarūpa Kr̥tikalāpa, Bombay 1989) which contains three works of the poet Dhanapāla. One of them is a hymn to Vardhamāna in Prakrit (Śrīvīrastutiḥ) which utilizes the ornament of virōdhābhāsaḥ or “apparent contradiction.” It begins as follows:

Having praised the lotus-feet of the Jinas,
which have pure nails, but which are without nails —
    which are sinless —
I now praise the Hero, whose words are uncontradicted,
with words that are contradictory.

nimmalanahē vi aṇahē jiṇāṇa calaṇuppalē paṇamiūṇa
vīram aviruddhavayaṇaṁ thuṇāmi saviruddhavayaṇam ahaṁ

निम्मलनहे वि अणहे जिणाण चलणुप्पले पणमिऊण ।
वीरमविरुद्धवयणं थुणामि सविरुद्धवयणमहं ॥

The first verse thus instantiates the ornament that will appear in every subsequent verse. At first, one reads nimmalanahē vi aṇahē and thinks, how can his feet have pure toenails, and yet be described as “without toenails” (aṇahē)? But the solution here is to read aṇahē as “sinless” (Sanskrit anagha-).

The last verse makes it very clear that the text is by Dhanapāla, as it contains his “signature” in a way that we recognize from the poet’s other works:

O protector! The source of all glory! Skilled protector of the people of the three worlds! Constantly impartial! Become the object of my words of praise.

ia sayalasirinibaṁdhaṇa pālaya paccala tilōalōassa
bhava majjha sayā majjhattha gōarē saṁthuigirāṇaṁ

इअ सयलसिरिनिबंधण पालय पच्चल तिलोअलोअस्स ।
भव मज्झ सया मज्झत्थ गोअरे संथुइगिराणं ॥