Kalidasa's Raghuvathsa needs no introduction.
This is an humble effort to present an authentic text of
the same with the Sanjivini Commentary of Mallinatha
and extracts from five-others.
Mallinatha's commentary is not fully exhaustive
and therefore I have supplimented it by short extracts
from five other commentaries. In my opinion, it is a
valuable addition and as such the present edition has
become very usful even to an ordinary reader.
I earnestly thank Prof. H. D. Velankar, M. A., for
his valuable Introduction. He has really obliged me
and the readers by his labour of love, despite of
his delicate health and heavy previous engagements.
I equally thank Prof. D. D. Kosambi, M. A., for
getting me a number of valuable Mss. and lovingly
encouraging me throughout. My thanks are also due
to Bhandarkar Oriental Institute, Poona, for the Mss.
and Sjt. D. N. Marshall, M. A., Dip. Lib., the
ever-obliging Librarian of the Bombay University, for
lending me all sorts of books for reference.
The primary object of a Sanskrit Kavya is the
highest unadulterated delight which the poet as well as
the hearer of a Kavya may enjoy through the rise of
sentiments. Moral advice is no doubt generally conveyed
through a Kavya, but in such a manner that the hearer
is hardly conscious of it. The words and their meanings,
both actual and suggested,employed by the poet are the-
refore expected to have the power to rouse, sustain and
develop one or more of the moods of the human mind,
which become transformed into pleasurable sentiments,
when properly assisted by the efforts of a poet. The
poet's words must have the capacity to stir the imagi-
nation of the hearer so as to raise him from his present
surroundings and place him in the midst of quite a
different set of 'circumstances, which are either totally
unreal or belong to the past, but which are nevertheless
conjured up into a temporary reality by the words of
the poet. In the world of imagination, even things
which are ordinarily unpleasant assume a pleasant
form ; this is why we like to imagine the saddest and
most dreadful things so long as they do not touch us or
affect us physically. The poet knows this tendency of
the human mind and tries to establish his influence on
it by affording full scope to its power of imagination
and feelings of all kinds including those of sadness.
2. The essential difference between the narration of
a story and a poem is that while the former has an eye
upon every minute detail of it, the latter values it only
from the point of view of its ability to rouse the imagi-
nation and feelings of a man in a pleasurable manner.
To the poet, those events or parts of a story, which do
not shake the imagination are unimportant, while those
others which tickle or rouse it are all-important even
though they do not form an essential part of the story
itself. A skilful poet therefore must distinguish between
the poetical and the dry portions of his narrative, and
dwell at full length on the former, while the latter are
summarily dismissed in a few words. It is for this reason
that we get disproportionately long descriptions of
the lovely phenomena of nature or of unusually attra-
ctive actions of human beings in the Kavyas, In the
Raghuvamsa itself, we may note how the whole life of
king Diltpa from his birth to his arrival at Vasistha's
Asrama is described with a few touches here and there
in the Ist canto, while practically the whole of the 2nd
canto, is devoted to a single incident in his long stay at
the Asrama, namely, the test of the king by the divine
cow Nandint, The situation is described with such ela-
bovateness and appropriate word-picture that a reader's
mind loves to linger for long at it and seems to forget
everything else about the king. A similar treatment is
accorded to most of the important kings of the Raghava
dynasty by Kalidasa. Thus Raghu's encounter with'
Indra and his extra vagent gift to Varatantu's pupil
Kautsa, Aja's marriage with Indumati and his lasting
grief for her at her untimely death, Dasaratha's hunting
expedition, Rama's journey to Mithila, his killing of
the demoness Tataka and duel with Parasurarna, his
past reminiscences while returning in his Puspaka-
Vim ana from Lanka and lastly his abandoment of Sita
are all described by the poet at greater length than
other incidents in the lives of these kings.
3. But in addition to the capacity for a proper sel-
ection of events or portions of the story, the poet must
also possess sweetness of expression, naturalness in the
mode of conveying its meaning, and a diction which
compels the attention of the hearer. The cumulative
effect of all these features of a Kavya is that even when
an ordinary event is described by a true poet, it becomes
absorbingly interesting owing to the peculiar way in
which he handles his theme. It rouses the imagination
and feelings of the hearer, transforming the whole
atmosphere around him into a world of enchantment
as if by a magic wand.
4. In the case of a Khandakavya like the Megha
duta however, the technique of the poet is somewhat
different. Here we have practically no story nor plot.
The poet chooses a single incident from the life of an
individual and deals with it with the help of pure ima-
gination. But the mode of appeal is the same. Only,
here there are no minor events as in the Mahakavya,
where the events forming the plot are divided into poet-
ical and dry ones, the former being chosen for a lavish
description and embellishment and the latter set aside
for a simple but charming narration.
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