My Shameless Heart- Love Lyrics of Amaru Shatakam

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Item Code: NBZ653
Author: A. N. D. Haksar
Publisher: Penguin Random House India Pvt. Ltd.
Language: English
Edition: 2021
ISBN: 9780143450177
Pages: 146
Other Details 8.00 X 5.00 inch
Weight 120 gm
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Book Description

About the Book
Amaru was a Sanskrit poet who probably wrote around the ninth century. Although virtually nothing is known about his life, his Amaru Shatakam is one of the most admired collections of love lyrics in the Sanskrit language. Amour’s poetic style has been appreciated through the centuries for conveying so much sentiment in a single stanza that each appears like a whole poem.

About the Author
Aditya Narayan Dhairyasheel Haksar is a well-known translator of Sanskrit classics. A long-time career diplomat, he served as the Indian high commissioner in Kenya and the Seychelles, as a minister in the United States and as an ambassador in Portugal and Yugoslavia.

His translations from the Sanskrit include Hitopadesa, Simhasana Dvatrimsika, Subbashitauali, Kama Sutra, The Courtesan's Keeper, Raghuuamsam and most recently Chanakya Niti, all published in Penguin Classics.

The Sanskrit term shatakam indicates quantity, of about a hundred. Amaru Shatakam, with its that many colorful love lyrics, is one of the best known and highly regarded such works from the world of Sanskrit literature. This reputation has now existed in that literatures own record since over a thousand years. It has also been recognized in the Western world during the last century.

The earliest reference to this work, so far known, is from the ninth century commentary Dhvanyaloka (IIL7), by the famous Sanskrit critic Anandavardhana of Kashmir (c. 850 AD).

In his words as translated, 'Amaru proves that a poet can, in a single stanza, convey so much sentiment that each appears like a whole poem." Vamana, an earlier scholar statesman, also from Kashmir (c. 800 AD), has quoted some verses of Amaru in his own work, but without naming him.

The oldest existing recession of Amaru Shatakam3 was made and commented on by Arjuna Varma Deva (c. 1215 AD), a princely descendent of the celebrated scholar-king Bhoja from central India. Much respected, it is still in use, including by this translator. It has 102 verses with some others, later added by its editor in an appendix drawn from subsequent collections. Half a dozen of these are also included in the present translation. Other recessions date from the succeeding centuries." The contents of each also vary slightly. But all of them, together with individual verses found in various old anthologies, indicate a continuing Indian interest in Amour’s poetry, stretching over a long time and from many different parts of the country.

A picturesque example of this interest is found in legends that link Amaru with the great Indian philosopher and seer Adi Sankara (c.788-820 AD). That story first appeared' in his fourteenth century biography Sankara Digvijaya by Madhava Vidyaranya, one of his many followers.

Broadly, it is as follows. As is well known, the sage Sankara travelled all over the country, to propagate and discuss his thoughts. At a discussion in Kashmir he was questioned about erotic matters with which, as a celibate, he was unfamiliar. In order to understand them, using his yogic powers he entered and temporarily brought back to life the just deceased body of the local king Amaru, and visited his harem several times. Thereafter he composed for future record the verses still known by that king's name.

This tale was retold with other embellishments, including in a later Amaru recession, whose editor also considered that the verses had dual meanings, both physical and mystic. But the story has been rejected by modern scholarship over the last century. Also, there is no trace of any king Amaru in the history of Kashmir.

Book's Contents and Sample Pages

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