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Books > Language and Literature > Kalidasa – Kumarasambhavam: Original Sanskrit Text, Transliteration and Translation
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Kalidasa – Kumarasambhavam: Original Sanskrit Text, Transliteration and Translation
Kalidasa – Kumarasambhavam: Original Sanskrit Text, Transliteration and Translation
Description
From the Jacket

For centuries, the pandits who owned this manuscript, kept it concealed because of its erotic content. Since the book came to light, it was acclaimed all over the world as a masterpiece of devotional and erotic writing combined with vignettes of nature not to be found in the literature of any language. The content is erotic, but never vulgar.

The Kumarasambhavam is a poem for the devotees of Shiva. It tells the story of the birth of Parvati, her penance to achieve her union with Shiva, the marriage of Mahadeva and its consummation.

Rajendra Tandon, born 1934, is a Master of Arts in English literature. He has studied Sanskrit, Urdu, mathematics, physics and law. He takes a keen interest in Indian history, Indian miniature painting, astronomy, fine arts, Indian classical music, gardening, and homoeopathy.

Rajendra Tandon has published translations of Bhartrihari’s Niti Shatakam, Shringar Shatakam and Vairagya Shatakam. He currently lives in Mumbai.

Preface

The Kumarasambhavam is a rich source of devotional material in praise of Brahma and of Shiva. It is replete with scenes of civil society in the times of Kalidasa. The poet’s sketches of the behaviour of the onlookers are realistic and colourful. Throughout the text, not a word has been wasted. There is remarkable precision in the architecture of the cantos. Most of the time, an element of theatre pervades the narration. Kalidasa was a perceptive dramatist: every occasion is converted into a visual with proper scenery, dramatis personae and dialogues.

The erotic element and situations in the Kumarasambhavam never degenerates into the vulgar. There isa refinement of taste and an accomplished limitation of manners and morals. No effort has been made to serve the salacious in the sense of lustful and bawdy. Although Kalidasa follows Vatsyayan closely in narrating the behaviour of Shiva towards His shy bride, at no point of time does he make the reader a voyeur.

I have read this masterpiece several times and am sure I will go back to it again and again. Kumarasambhavam gives the reader a fresh insight each time it is read.

There are several Sanskrit editions of the Kumarasambhavam; fortunately, the text shows no variations. I have relied on the original text as given in the Kalidasa Granthavali, published by Bharat Prakashan Mandir, Aligarh, Samvat 2019 edition. This book was edited by Pandit Sitaram Chaturvedi. I express my thanks to the author and the publishers. The translation is entirely mine.

I also express my gratitude to late Professor M.R. Kale, the learned author of Kumarasambhavam of Kalidasa, presently published by Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited, Delhi. This edition includes extracts of a commentary by Mallinath, a pandit who explained the intricacies of Kalidasa’s language, his references, his similes, his grammar and almost every other aspect of his writing, hundreds of years ago. This learned commentary continues to be a definitive work of literary appreciation till date.

In my translation I have tried to bring out a sense of what Kalidasa wrote, as I understand it. Sometimes words have been added in parenthesis to make the sense clear according to my judgement. The syntax of Sanskrit and that of the English language are entirely different, and hence, I felt the need for a word here and a thought there.

In the Roman text, the Sanskrit words have quite often been separated from the way these had been combined according to the rules of Sanskrit grammar. This has been done to make it easy for a non-pandit to understand them. In the Sanskrit text too, this liberty has been taken according to my judgement, now and then. My purpose has been to simplify while retaining the music of the Sanskrit words and phrases written by Kalidasa.

While writing this book, I have received immense help from my wife, Swam and from my daughter, Bindu and son, Vivek. Swam has tolerated my immersion in the job with a smile even when I have neglected my duties at home. Of course, I have been reading every shloka to her to discuss its beauty of language and of thought. This required a lot of forbearance on her part. Bindu and Vivek have been enlightening critics of the text as written by me. I am grateful to all three of them.

No b0ok is made by an author alone. He needs a publisher. The latter risks his funds and puts in effort in bringing out a book and marketing it to bring it to the notice of the readers. That is not an easy job. I am grateful to my publishers for the interest they have taken in bringing out Kumarasambhavam in its new avatar.

I express my gratitude to my editors, Deepthi Talwar and Smita Singh for the keen interest taken by them in editing the manuscript for publication. They have shown tremendous patience and forbearance for the idiosyncrasies peculiar to any author.

Contents

Preface ix
Kalidasa: His Life and Times 1
The Kumarasambhavam: A Critique 30
The First Canto: Uma’s Birth 67
The Second Canto: Brahma’s Vision 97
The Third Canto: The Destruction of Madana 124
The Fourth Canto: The Wailing of Rati 163
The Fifth Canto: The Fruits of Penance187
The Sixth Canto: The Engagement of Uma 232
The Seventh Canto: Uma’s Wedding 272
The Eighth Canto: Uma’s Love Play 320
Notes 367

Kalidasa – Kumarasambhavam: Original Sanskrit Text, Transliteration and Translation

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Edition:
2008
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Pages:
395
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Weight of the Book: 500 gms
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From the Jacket

For centuries, the pandits who owned this manuscript, kept it concealed because of its erotic content. Since the book came to light, it was acclaimed all over the world as a masterpiece of devotional and erotic writing combined with vignettes of nature not to be found in the literature of any language. The content is erotic, but never vulgar.

The Kumarasambhavam is a poem for the devotees of Shiva. It tells the story of the birth of Parvati, her penance to achieve her union with Shiva, the marriage of Mahadeva and its consummation.

Rajendra Tandon, born 1934, is a Master of Arts in English literature. He has studied Sanskrit, Urdu, mathematics, physics and law. He takes a keen interest in Indian history, Indian miniature painting, astronomy, fine arts, Indian classical music, gardening, and homoeopathy.

Rajendra Tandon has published translations of Bhartrihari’s Niti Shatakam, Shringar Shatakam and Vairagya Shatakam. He currently lives in Mumbai.

Preface

The Kumarasambhavam is a rich source of devotional material in praise of Brahma and of Shiva. It is replete with scenes of civil society in the times of Kalidasa. The poet’s sketches of the behaviour of the onlookers are realistic and colourful. Throughout the text, not a word has been wasted. There is remarkable precision in the architecture of the cantos. Most of the time, an element of theatre pervades the narration. Kalidasa was a perceptive dramatist: every occasion is converted into a visual with proper scenery, dramatis personae and dialogues.

The erotic element and situations in the Kumarasambhavam never degenerates into the vulgar. There isa refinement of taste and an accomplished limitation of manners and morals. No effort has been made to serve the salacious in the sense of lustful and bawdy. Although Kalidasa follows Vatsyayan closely in narrating the behaviour of Shiva towards His shy bride, at no point of time does he make the reader a voyeur.

I have read this masterpiece several times and am sure I will go back to it again and again. Kumarasambhavam gives the reader a fresh insight each time it is read.

There are several Sanskrit editions of the Kumarasambhavam; fortunately, the text shows no variations. I have relied on the original text as given in the Kalidasa Granthavali, published by Bharat Prakashan Mandir, Aligarh, Samvat 2019 edition. This book was edited by Pandit Sitaram Chaturvedi. I express my thanks to the author and the publishers. The translation is entirely mine.

I also express my gratitude to late Professor M.R. Kale, the learned author of Kumarasambhavam of Kalidasa, presently published by Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited, Delhi. This edition includes extracts of a commentary by Mallinath, a pandit who explained the intricacies of Kalidasa’s language, his references, his similes, his grammar and almost every other aspect of his writing, hundreds of years ago. This learned commentary continues to be a definitive work of literary appreciation till date.

In my translation I have tried to bring out a sense of what Kalidasa wrote, as I understand it. Sometimes words have been added in parenthesis to make the sense clear according to my judgement. The syntax of Sanskrit and that of the English language are entirely different, and hence, I felt the need for a word here and a thought there.

In the Roman text, the Sanskrit words have quite often been separated from the way these had been combined according to the rules of Sanskrit grammar. This has been done to make it easy for a non-pandit to understand them. In the Sanskrit text too, this liberty has been taken according to my judgement, now and then. My purpose has been to simplify while retaining the music of the Sanskrit words and phrases written by Kalidasa.

While writing this book, I have received immense help from my wife, Swam and from my daughter, Bindu and son, Vivek. Swam has tolerated my immersion in the job with a smile even when I have neglected my duties at home. Of course, I have been reading every shloka to her to discuss its beauty of language and of thought. This required a lot of forbearance on her part. Bindu and Vivek have been enlightening critics of the text as written by me. I am grateful to all three of them.

No b0ok is made by an author alone. He needs a publisher. The latter risks his funds and puts in effort in bringing out a book and marketing it to bring it to the notice of the readers. That is not an easy job. I am grateful to my publishers for the interest they have taken in bringing out Kumarasambhavam in its new avatar.

I express my gratitude to my editors, Deepthi Talwar and Smita Singh for the keen interest taken by them in editing the manuscript for publication. They have shown tremendous patience and forbearance for the idiosyncrasies peculiar to any author.

Contents

Preface ix
Kalidasa: His Life and Times 1
The Kumarasambhavam: A Critique 30
The First Canto: Uma’s Birth 67
The Second Canto: Brahma’s Vision 97
The Third Canto: The Destruction of Madana 124
The Fourth Canto: The Wailing of Rati 163
The Fifth Canto: The Fruits of Penance187
The Sixth Canto: The Engagement of Uma 232
The Seventh Canto: Uma’s Wedding 272
The Eighth Canto: Uma’s Love Play 320
Notes 367
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