The Abhijnanasakuntalam is an unparalleled work of the great poet and playwrit Kalidasa, the brightest star in the firmament of Indian Poetry. No other composition of this poet displays more the richness of poetical genius, the warmth and play of fancy, the profound knowledge of human heart than this masterly production
The present edition is unique in several essentials. The editor has adopted the most popular and appropriate version of the text. He has put the variants in the footnotes. He has added a short Sanskrit commentary, copies notes, an exhaustive introduction and several useful appendices. The English translation of the text is literal as well as idiomatic.
It is hoped that this edition will meet the long-felt requirement of university students and the general reader alike.
The present edition is reprint of the ninth edition with addition of an extract from the Mahabharata – ‘Shakuntalo-pakhyana’ which was omitted in the eighth and ninth editions and an appendix No. VI at the end. Some portion in the introduction viz. pages 22 to 38 and 60 to 89, was already included in the 9th edition for help of those who have to study this work of the great poet Kalidasa for their examination. In this way the book is now made uptodate for students and general readers also. In notes I have substituted the page numbers of the latest edition of the author.
I am thankful to Shri Sundralal Jain, the publisher, who willingly in-corporate above changes in this edition to bring the work of the author uptodate.
The continuous demand for my edition of the Abhijnanasakuntala is a gratifying proof that it has been favourably received by the public. Material changes have been effected in the present (fifth) edition to make it still more useful, particularly to university students who have to read this play as an examination text—book. At the same time care has been taken to preserve its original features, and to include all critical matter that would interest and help the general reader as well. To keep up uniformity with other plays edited by me, the Sanskrit rendering of Prakrit speeches has been here printed as part of the text, the original Prakrit being printed below. The reader will find this method to be of great practical convenience. The various readings also have been given at the foot of each page, the variants of the Bengali Edd. being given together at the end of the text. Some unnecessary matter has been omitted from the com. and some additions made here and there. The English Notes and translation have been thoroughly revised and recast. It is hoped that in the present form the edition will be found increasingly helpful by those for whom it is intended. I am indebted to the editions of Prof. 1Ionier Williams and Prof Patankar, among others, for much suggestive criticism, although have had frequent occasions to differ from them. Prof Ray’s Ed. was also useful to me in solving some intricate points of Grammar.
Sakuntala is admittedly the most celebrated play of the most celebrated of India’s poets. It has found a place in Sir _john Lubbock (now Lord Avebury’s) Hundred Best Books of the World. It has evoked sentiments of most enthusiastic admiration from western scholars. It furnishes a perpetual appeal to our heart. Its perusal sweetens the home atmosphere. And I can assert, without being open to the charge of partiality for the work, that no Indian library can be complete without a copy of it.
The present edition of the Abhijananakuntala has been based on :—(l) The Calc. Edd. of Messrs. Iswarachandra Vidyasagar and jivanand; (2) Sir M. Williams excellent Ed. of the play; (3) Prof. Patankar’s Ed.; (4) the Nirnayasagara Ed.; and (5) two MSS, one in my own possession and the other with the com. of Raghavabhatta, procured for me from Dharwar by Mr. G.V. Manerikar, Drawing Master, from Mr. Dikshit’s library. By the light of this MS. of the com. Iwas able to correct a few errors in the Nirn. Ed. I have adopted the Devanagari recension. Except in a few cases Raghavabhatta’s text has been kept unaltered. The readings which I thought preferable I have pointed out in the Notes. As regards the com. I have omitted from it such matter as I considered quite unnecessary for the P. E. students. The variac lectianrs, and what are generally regarded as interpolations in the Bengali recension, have been given separately. I tender my heart-felt thanks to all those learned editors whose works I have consulted in the preparation of this edition.
Before concluding I must freely admit that I am quite aware of the many shortcomings and defects of the present edition, and it is not without many misgivings about its success that it has been offered to the public. Any suggestions as to improvement, corrections &c. will be gratefully received.
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