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Kalidasa Inspired (Sanskrit Poetry)

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Item Code: NBZ913
Author: Satya Vrat Shastri
Publisher: Vijaya Books, Delhi
Language: English
Edition: 2019
ISBN: 9789388820035
Pages: 228
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inches
Weight 420 gm
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Book Description

In my volume New Experiments in Kalidasa I had dealt with plays which are either the supplements to or adaptations of the works of Kalidasa or episodes therefrom or are pure fantasies woven in Kalidasa's backdrop. This volume purports to deal with the poems with the above description. Their lumping together with plays would have meant an unwieldy volume. Hence their treatment in a separate volume though they form part of a particular type of literature which for purposes of convenience has been split up on the basis of literary genre of plays and poems. This volume also includes treatment of seventy or so of works which owe their inspiration to the Meghaduta, also called the Meghasandes'a and have earned for them the collective name of the dutakavyas or the sandesakavyas.

They represent a corpus of literature of its type wherein the writers taking cue from Kalidasa have gone in for newer and newer types of &Was or messengers; birds, insects, animals and all sorts of natural phenomena like the wind, the moon, apart from the cloud, as also the abstract phenomena like righteousness, good conduct, the mind, the intellect. Very often they follow the Kalidasan metre Mandakranta to conform to the Kalidasan rhythm but in many a case deviate from it to press into service other metres. Not unoften have they a theme other than that of love. Their message then is purely gnomic and didactic which they seek to convey through the varied media to the prospective receivers.

They may not have then anything overt form Kalidasa, except an expression or two here and there or just the idea of sending the message of their conception through a messenger. They are for all practical purposes independent works of art, projecting the genius of their creators wont to use their writings for giving concrete shape to their imagination spurred and inspired-and that is important-by Kalidasa. Hence the title of the present volume; Kalidasa-inspired Sanskrit Poetry.

It is pertinent to mention here that I have included in the present volume appreciation of sizable works only and omitted from its purview smaller poems of a few stanzas which abound in modern Sanskrit literature. They being, more often than not, mere eulogies of Kalidasa may not have much utility, though couched in a few cases in charming expression. The fuller works as available to me were quite enough for me. I certainly could not hope to take on more than I could cope with. Treatment of seventy two works should be exacting enough for even the most assiduous of the critics. I with all my penchant for work could not hope to be out of step with them.

This is the third of my volumes on Kalidasa Studies which I have the pleasure to offer to scholarly community for its fuller appreciation of the phenomenon going by the name of Kalidasa which has served as the fountainhead of inspiration to the creative genius of India down the centuries. This phenomenon has been a constant motivating force behind the exquisite literary art that has flowered forth, the art that is a joy for ever. The present work I dedicate to the great spirit that the master poet had unleashed, the spirit that has enthused and spurred creative talent and thereby added to the richness of meaning in life.


It was mentioned in the introduction to the volume, the New Experiments in Kelliddsa, that there have been attempts of late to have a fresh look at Kalidasa and to present him in a different literary mould. That volume had dealt with plays in that mould. The present one seeks to deal with kavyas, poems in that very mould. Just as attempts have been made in the case of plays to fashion them either as the supplements to or adaptations of the works of Kalidasa or episodes therefrom, in the same way have the attempts been made in the case of the poems in the prevent volume. In the vast range of the dutakavya literature comprising some seventy works there are at least three which are supplements to the Meghaduta and unlike some plays carry additions towards the end. The inspiration for these was provided by Kalidasa's laconic remark encased in the Yaksa's message that with the four months of the period of the curse over, they (he and his spouse) would have the fulfilment of their hearts' desires multiplied by separation.

How these hearts' desires are to be satisfied he had not elaborated. The post-Kalidasan writers felt that there was something lacking here. The poet should not have left the lovers in a state of separation with four months of the period of the curse still pending. He should have actually brought about their union in line with the time-honoured Indian tradition of happy ending with vivid description of all the joys and pleasures which go with the reunion. To satisfy the inquisitiveness of the reader about the desires surging in the hearts of the lovers come together after the agonizing period of separation, it was incumbent on the poet speaking about them to describe their realization and not leave them to the imagination of the reader. Thus thought the modern writers. And to correct this anomaly they set about carrying on the account further bringing about the actual union and what goes with it. They did not feel that something should be left for imagination; that suggestion could be much more effective in its appeal than the actual description : the lovers rushing to run into each other's arms, engaging themselves in endless love talk and giving themselves over to all kinds of mirth and merriment.

Two of the supplements of the Meghaduta, the Yaksasamagamakavyam and the Alakamilanam have been framed to answer the supposed inquisitiveness of the reader as to how the Yaksa and the Yaksi would have reacted to their reunion, how they would have released their pent-up feelings. The former begins with the Yaksa coming to his sweetheart after the period of the curse. He enquires of her well-being and narrates to her a few stories. He spends the day somehow and in the privacy of the night engages himself in love talk with his spouse who serves him drink and otherwise regales him with her play on the lute. The next morning the couple offers respect to Brahmanas. The Yaksa then goes to Kubera who with his anger gone receives him well and assigns him a work of greater responsibility.

The latter begins with the Yaksi getting rejuvenated with the message from her lord and pronouncing blessings on the cloud for bringing the same to her, who had been feeling miserable in his absence. Lost in his thoughts, she spends the rest of the four months of the period of the curse. The curse over, the Yaksa returns to Alakd. The Yaksi embraces him. By clinging to him she loses the sense of time. She enquires of him as to whether he had come into contact with a like-minded woman when in separation from her or had pleasure in company with some other woman. The Yaksa satisfies her on that count with the result that she offers herself to him and the two of them then have a wonderful time engaging themselves in all sorts of love-sports. The Meghapratisandes'a, the earliest of the supplements in the form of poems to the Meghaduta of Kalidasa is very different from the two noticed above. In it the Yaksi on getting relieved on receipt of the message from her husband through the cloud sends the counter-message; through the same. She looks upon it as a deity. She requests it to tell her husband of her mental anguish and the state of her house in utter neglect in his absence. She then gives a suitable reply to her husband's message.

She recounts next some of the incidents connected with the curse as proof of the cloud having met her. She describes then the route that the cloud is to follow to reach Ramadurga. Visualizing the possibility of the Yaksa having straggled to the South in a state of restlessness she gives a long list of the places where it could look for him. After that she offers it (the cloud) her good wishes and prays in the spirit of the parent poem for its eternal union with its spouse; the lightning. The offering of good wishes this poem shares with the Alakamilanam too with the difference that they are offered there on receipt of the message which is followed by the description of the return of the Yaksa, his getting united with his spouse and the love-sports of the two unlike in the present poem where they are offered after the counter-message. The rejuvenation of the Yaksi after the message from the Yaksa is common to both. Not common, however, is the address devara, younger brother of the husband, for the cloud by the Yaksi which figures in the Alakdmilanam only. The reunion all the three supplements describe.

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