World Indology Conference, November 21-23 2015, Delhi, India
Sanskrit Drama in Theory and Practice.
Dr. George Anca, Romania
The greatest Playwrights – Valmiki, Vyasa, Sudraka, Bhasa, Kalidasa, Asvagosa, Bhavabuti are considered together and within Natyasastra, the immortal treaty of Bharata, inspiring upto day, the theorists of Sanskrit drama – Bartrhari, Vamana, Anandavardhana, Abhinavagupta, Mammata... Classic concepts like natya, kavya, rasa, dhvani, pratibha, sahrdaya, sphota made room to revelatory analogies between Sanskrit and Shakespeare's plays, first of all Sakuntala-Hamlet. Prologue-Benediction of Kalidasa's Sakuntala inspired that to Goethe's Faust and Eminescu's Calin/”Kalidasa”. Likewise, for instance, the Tamil “Protest” Theater (1900-1930), or postmodern “enchantment” as being at the core of “Shakuntala and the Ring of Recognition”, staged imaginatively in 2010 by George Drance. Natyanova from Kolkata performed in 2011 at Bucharest National Theater a Shraddhanjali based on Meghaduta by Kalidasa, Gita Govinda by Jayadeva, Gitanjali by Tagore.
“Shall we neglect the works of such illustrious authors as Bhāsa, Saumilla, and Kaviputra? Can the audience feel any respect for the work of a modern poet, a Kālidāsa?” Asked Kalidasa himself in his first play Malavikagnimitram. Indeed, plays by Bhasa, Shudraka, and, especially, Kalidasa, created within the first three centuries of beginning, were most performed.
Bharata Muni - “leader of the performance” - revealed Nātyaśāstra, in 6000 slokas, 32 chapters, ending with “Descent of drama on the Earth”. There are eight principal rasas: love, pity, anger, disgust, heroism, awe, terror and comedy, and that plays should mix different rasas but be dominated by one. Commentaries of the Natya Shastra are Matanga's Brihaddesi (500–700 CE), Abhinavagupta's Abhinavabharati (artistic analysis) and Sharngadeva's Sangita Ratnakara (13th century – raga structure).
Only the most elite characters in the plays, only divine beings, kings, and brahmans speak Sanskrit. Other characters - soldiers, merchants, townspeople, etc., - and nearly all women speak colloquial languages – Prakrits. The Nataka plays feature stories about kings and divine beings. The Prakarana plays revolve around middle-class characters. The existing three hundred Sanskrit dramas end happily, but Bhasa’s Urubhangam.
The union of kavyapurusha with sahityavidya in vaidarbhi riti could be for a modern poetical mind the correspondence of heaven with earth. Diabolical or paradisaic, the poetic correspondences – rasa-dhvaniah – reveal, through the prayoga of the poet, a selfpoetry as rasavada and sarasvatyasattvam, an alchemy of grief and of verb. In Kalidasa's comparison of poetry to Ardhanariswara, the goddess Parvati is vak or sabda and god Paramesvara is artha, their union is Ardha narishvara signifying, as V. Raghavan reminds it, the greatest ideal of poetry variously emphasized as sahitya sammitatva etc.
According to C. Rajagopalachari (1957), “We cannot understand Greek life and Greek civilization without knowing all about Zeus, Apollo, Hercules, Venus, Hector, Priam, Achilles, Ulysses and others. So also one cannot understand Hindu dharma unless one knows Rama and Seeta, Bharata, Lakshmana, Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Hanuman”. About Rama’s divinity shared with his brothers, and being considered a half-Vishnu, the same author reminds that “Sruti tells us that even a fraction of the Supreme Being is whole and complete by itself.
‘Om Poornamadah Poornamidam Poornaat Poornamudachyate
Poornasya Poornamaadaaya Poornamevaavasishyate.’ “
Ramayana Play (theory and practice)
Valmiki, Kamban and Tulsidas are universal revealers of Rama, but also of Hanuman. Peoples and devotees of Ramayana meet in growing bhakti, even uncounsciously. Translations, retranslations, retellings in different languages mix the ramayanic spring with the thirsted receiver in an ever fresh newness of divine spirit and beauty. The music of Hindi Ramcharit Manas, an Indian Divine Comedy, is heard also far out from temple in the hearts of different believers, beyond dry ecumenical talks. The joy to re-tell Raamaayana and awakening from a dream when it is over, made Rajagopalachary to equal in a subliminal way Raamaayana with Seeta herself:
“When the Prince left the city, he felt no sorrow; it was only when he lost Seeta that he knew grief. So with me too. When I had to step down from high office and heavy responsibility, I did not feel at a loss or wonder what to do next. But now, when I have come to the end of the tale of the Prince of Ayodhya, the void is like that of a shrine without a god.” ( C. Rajagopalachari, Ramayana, Bhartya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbay, 1996, p.313).
A site aims to study various versions of Srimad Valmiki Ramayana and arrive at a version of Ramayana that is most relevant to modern times. Srimad Valmiki Ramayana is smriti („from memory”), an epic poem which narrates the journey of Virtue to annihilate vice. Sri Rama is the Hero and aayana His journey.
In almost all of North India, the Tulsidas Ramayana, also known as the Ramcharitmanasa, is the most popular. Goswami Tulsidas rewrote the Valmiki version in Hindi in about 1574, changing it somewhat to emphasize Rama as an avatara (incarnation) of Vishnu. Another notable change was that Sita had a duplicate, who was kidnapped while Sita remained safe. In the Kamban Ramayana, popular in the state of Tamil Nadu, segments of the story were changed to better reflect Tamil ideas, including Ravana not being as cruel to Sita.
The easiest way to attain Lord Rama is to worship Hanuman: “Tumhare bhajan Ram ko pavae”; “Nothhing exist but God”; “You are the whole I am a part”; “I see that you are I and I am you”. One can see firstly an impish young monkey flying to the sun, becoming distracted and falling, thus earning his name which means “broken chin” (Li Min). Think also to Sun Wukong’s Journey to the West, and also to Hobbits journey through the wilderness, into maturity.
„The Ramayana has come to the London stage in symbolic obeisance to a hydra-headed phenomenon the West's fascination with exotic Eastern faiths. /.../ its director, Sri Lankan Tamil Indu Rubasingham calls 'yet another instance of this amazing ancient story speaking to a community at its time and place and in a way it can understand'. The end result is a quasi-spiritual version of London street life, an exercise the play's writer, Peter Oswald, accepts is a difficult 'balance between the human and the divine' “ (“Ramayana reinvented for alien times and stage” by Rashmee Z. Ahmed in The Times of India, April 19, 2001).
The ancient message of the Ramayana continues to be relevant for the human race. It is not surprising that Mahatama Gandhi was tremendously influenced by the teachings of the Ramayana. If Gandhiji is still relevant for the world so is his guidebook - Ramayana.
America is Ravana Seeta is the abducted / world Rama didn't change himself / our mother is of godhead // dearer dear Seeta / is neither Radha in Vraja / nor Savitri resurrecting the dead // permission Krishnaits Savitrins / I pray to God's Mother for Seeta / I pray to Seeta for God's Mother /.../
there are animals better than humans / Ravana could have been killed only by monkeys or men / Hanuman embodiment of Shiva guru of the universe // neither I believe in god / this is god's mistake not mine / his grace didn't want to come into my life // without Hanuman's help one can't be Rama's devotee / right guide monkey shape also Brahma could be / at coronation in Ayodhya all monkeys take human shape /.../
at Ayodhya reigned Dilipa Raghu Aja Dasaratha / Rama avatar of Vishnu and more 24 solars in 19 cantos / from Raghuvamsa by Kalidasa to be pastiched with Manu / his son toward son serving Nandini heifer from Surabhi // on Sindhu he conquered husbands of blushing Huna women / thousands of camels and mares carry treasures received by Kautsa / beings lighted from sun lamp from lamp son from son / hand to the feet of royal duty milked sky // Indumati gives birth to Dasaratha thousands years pass / Ravana persecuting the gods then Rama from Kausalya / Bharata from Kaikeyi twins Lakshmana and / Satrughna from Sumitra reincarnate Vishnu
in the navy Pushpaka from Lanka to Ayodhya he shows to Seeta / Malyavat Pampa Chitrakuta Ganga Yamuna Sarayu / political slander on her stay in stranger's house order / to Lakshmana to leave her on Ganges when pregnant // the sons Kusa and Lava taught by Valmiki Ramayana / to sing to their father at horse sacrifice killed Sambuka / he will receive Seeta back if she will prove pure / to her subjects she mortgages and her mother earth embraces her // ruined Ayodhya after death of Rama / Adhidevata calls in dream Kusa at reign / his bracelet slips in water Sarayu and naga / Kumudvati returns it together with her hand
Plays of Bhāsa based on Ramayana: Pratima-nataka: The statues: Yagna-Phalam:Abhisheka-natka: The coronation. Plays based on Mahabharata: Panch-ratra: The five-nights; Madhyama-vyayoga; The middle one; Duta-Ghattotkacha: Ghattotkacha as envoy; Duta-Vakya: The envoy's message; Urubhanga: The broken thigh; Karna-bhara: Karna's burden; Harivamsa or Bala-charita: Hari's dynasty or the tale of Childhood.
The Duta-Vakya and Bala-charita are perhaps the only Sanskrit plays by a famous playwright with Krishna as the central character. Though his plays were discovered only in the 20th century, two of them Uru-Bhanga and Karna-bhara, have become popular due to their appeal to modern tastes and performed in translation and Sanskrit. Early plays in India, inspired by Natya Shastra, strictly considered sad endings inappropriate.
Aśvaghoṣa was originally a wandering ascetic. He wrote the epic, Buddhacharita. (Acts of the Buddha) in Sanskrit. It described in 28 chapters the whole Life of the Buddha from his birth until his entry into Parinirvāna. During the Muslim invasions of the 10th – 12th centuries, half of the original Sanskrit text was lost. Today, the second half only exists in Chinese and Tibetan translations.
Even the horses, whose favourite food was placed in front of them, were entranced by the teaching of the monk, and listened intently. Everybody was thereby convinced of his worth. He was then granted the name Aśvaghoṣa, Horse-Cry. He travelled throughout northern India proclaiming the Dharma and guiding all through his wisdom and understanding, and he was held in great regard by the four-fold assembly, who knew him as The Sun of Merit and Virtue.
Three Sanskrit plays are ascribed to Śūdraka - Mricchakatika (The Little Clay Cart), Vinavasavadatta, and , Padmaprabhritaka. Mrcchakatika, a ten-act drama, is set in the ancient city of Ujjayini during the reign of the King Pālaka. The central story is that of noble but impoverished young brahmin, Chārudatta, who falls in love with a wealthy courtesan, Vasantasenā. Their lives and love are threatened by a vulgar courtier, Samsthānaka, also known as Shakara.
Rife with romance, comedy, intrigue and a political subplot detailing the overthrow of the city's despotic ruler by a shepherd, the play departs from traditions enumerated in the Natya Shastra that specify that dramas should focus on the lives of the nobility and instead incorporates a large number of middle and lower-caste characters who speak a wide range of Prakrit dialects. The story is thought to be derived from an earlier work called Chārudatta in Poverty by the playwright Bhāsa, though that work survives only in fragments.
Of all the Sanskrit dramas, Mṛcchakaṭika remains one of the most widely celebrated and oft-performed in the West. The work played a significant role in generating interest in Indian theatre among European audiences following several successful nineteenth century translations and stage productions, most notably Gérard de Nerval and Joseph Méry's highly romanticized French adaptation titled Le Chariot d'enfant that premiered in Paris in 1850, as well as a critically acclaimed "anarchist" interpretation by Victor Barrucand called Le Chariot de terre cuite that was produced by the Théâtre de l'Œuvre in 1895.
Chārudatta is a generous man from the Brahman caste who, through his charitable contributions to unlucky friends and the general public welfare, has severely impoverished himself and his family. Though deserted by most of his friends and embarrassed by deteriorating living conditions, he has maintained his reputation in Ujjayini as an honest and upright man with a rare gift of wisdom and many important men continue to seek his counsel.
Though happily married and the recent father of a young son, Rohasena, Chārudatta is enamored of Vasantasenā, a courtesan of great wealth and reputation. After a chance encounter at the temple of Kāma, he has found that she loves him in return, though, the matter is complicated when Vasantasenā finds herself pursued by Samsthānaka, a half-mad brother-in-law of King Pālaka, and his retinue. When the men threaten violence, Vasantasenā flees, seeking safety with Chārudatta. Their love blossoms following the clandestine meeting, and the courtesan entrusts her new lover with a casket of jewelry in an attempt to ensure a future meeting.
Her plan is thwarted, however, when a thief, Sarvilaka, enters Chārudatta’s home and steals the jewels in an elaborate scheme to buy the freedom of his lover, Madanikā, who is Vasantasenā’s slave and confidant. The courtesan recognizes the jewelry, but she accepts the payment anyway and frees Madanikā to marry. She then attempts to contact Chārudatta and inform him of the situation, but before she can make contact he panics and sends Vasantasenā a rare pearl necklace that had belonged to his wife, a gift in great excess of the value of the stolen jewelry. In recognition of this, Chārudatta's friend, Maitreya, cautions the Brahmin against further association, fearing that Vasantasenā is, at worst, scheming to take from Chārudatta the few possessions he still has and, at best, a good-intentioned bastion of bad luck and disaster.
Refusing to take this advice, Chārudatta makes Vasantasenā his mistress and she eventually meets his young son. During the encounter, the boy is distressed because he has recently enjoyed playing with a friend's toy cart of solid gold and no longer wants his own clay cart that his nurse has made for him. Taking pity on him in his sadness, Vasantasenā fills his little clay cart with her own jewelry, heaping his humble toy with a mound of gold before departing to meet Chārudatta in a park outside the city for a day’s outing. There she enters a fine carriage, but soon discovers that she is in a gharry belonging to Samsthānaka, who remains enraged by her previous affront and is madly jealous of the love and favor she shows to Chārudatta. Unable to persuade his henchmen to kill her, Samsthānaka sends his retinue away and proceeds to strangle Vasantasenā and hide her body beneath a pile of leaves. Still seeking vengeance, he promptly accuses Chārudatta of the crime.
Though the Brahmin proclaims his innocence, his presence in the park along with his son's possession of Vasantasenā's jewels implicate the poverty-stricken man, and he is found guilty and condemned to death by King Pālaka. Unbeknownst to all, however, the body identified as Vasantasenā’s was actually another woman. Vasantasenā had revived and befriended by a Buddhist monk who nursed her back to health in a nearby village.
Just as Chārudatta faces execution, Vasantasenā appears and, seeing the excited crowd, intervenes in time to save him from execution and his wife from throwing herself onto the funeral pyre. Together the three declare themselves a family. Reaching the courts, Vasantasenā tells the story of her near death and, following her testimony, Samsthānaka is arrested and the good Prince Āryaka deposes the wicked King Pālaka. His first acts as the newly declared sovereign is to restore Chārudatta’s fortune and give him an important position at court. Following this good will, Chārudatta demonstrates in the final act his enduring virtue and charity, appealing to the King for pardon on behalf of Samsthānaka who is subsequently declared free.
“I live the misterious longing Kalidasa described in Sakuntala” ( Maytreyi Devy, It does not die, Calcutta, 1976; Bucharest, 1999). Kalidasa: “and his heart overflows with a longing/
he does not recognize” ; “O cloud, your splendour enhanced by rainy season, and may you never be separated like this even for a moment from your spouse, the lightning.” (Meghaduta).
he does not recognize” ; “O cloud, your splendour enhanced by rainy season, and may you never be separated like this even for a moment from your spouse, the lightning.” (Meghaduta).
Shakuntala – A play in seven acts, dramatis personae: King Dushyanta. Bharata, nicknamed All-tamer, his son. Madhavya, a clown, his companion. His charioteer. Raivataka, a door-keeper. Bhadrasena, a general. Karabhaka, a servant. Parvatayana, a chamberlain. Somarata, a chaplain. Kanva, hermit-father.Sharngarava } his pupils. Sharadvata } his pupils. Harita } his pupils. Durvasas, an irascible sage. The chief of police. Suchaka } policemen. Januka } policemen. A fisherman. Shakuntala, foster-child of Kanva. Ansuya } her friends. Priyamvada } her friends.Gautami, hermit-mother. Kashyapa, father of the gods. Aditi, mother of the gods. Matali, charioteer of heaven’s king. Galava, a pupil in heaven. Mishrakeshi, a heavenly nymph. Stage-director and actress (in the prologue), hermits and hermit-women, two court poets, palace attendants, invisible fairies.
The first four acts pass in Kanva’s forest hermitage; acts five and six in the king’s palace; act seven on a heavenly mountain. The time is perhaps seven years.
Prologue: benediction upon the audience (“Eight forms has Shiva, lord of all and king...” gave idea to Goethe for his own prologue – Dedication (“Again you show yourselves, you wavering Forms...) - Prelude On Stage(Director, Dramatist, Comedian) - Prologue In Heaven (God, the Heavenly Hosts, and then Mephistopheles.). (The Three Archangels step forward.). And also inspired Mihai Eminescu in the opening of his poem Calin/Kalidasa with a Ghazal (“ What made you start and raise your head.”).
“Who is here?” “Welcome!” “I have come to pay reverence to the holy sage Kanva.” Shakuntala said: “My blessèd father has gone from the hermitage to gather fruits.” “Who are you? ” “O Dushyanta, I am known as blessèd Kanva’s daughter .” “...How were you born his daughter, for you are beautiful?...” (She is the child of a sage and a nymph, deserted at birth, cared for by birds – shakuntas- , found and reared by Kanva, who gave her the name Shakuntala.)
Dushyanta said: “You are clearly a king’s daughter, sweet maiden, as you say. Become my lovely wife. Tell me, what shall I do for you? Let all my kingdom be yours to-day. Become my wife, sweet maid.” Shakuntala said: “Promise me truly what I say to you in secret. The son that is born to me must be your heir. If you promise, Dushyanta, I will marry you.” “So be it,” said the king.
Now the moment king was gone, Kanva came to the hermitage, and said: “What you have done, dear, to-day, forgetting me and meeting a man, this does not break the law. A man who loves may marry secretly the woman who loves him without a ceremony; and Dushyanta is virtuous and noble, the best of men. Since you have found a loving husband, Shakuntala, a noble son shall be born to you, mighty in the world.”
Shakuntala gave birth to a boy. As a six years’ child in Kanva’s hermitage he rode on the backs of lions, tigers, and boars. The sage saw said to Shakuntala: “It is time for him to be anointed crown prince.” When Shakuntala drew near, she was recognised and invited to enter, and she said to the king: “This is your son, O King. You must anoint him crown prince, just as you promised before, when we met.”
When the king heard her, although he remembered her, he said: “I do not remember.” She gazed at her husband, then spoke passionately: “O shameless king, although you know, why do you say, ‘I do not know,’ like any other ordinary man?” Dushyanta said: “I do not know the son born of you, Shakuntala. Women are liars. Who will believe what you say?”
A bodiless voice from heaven said : “Care for your son, Dushyanta. Do not despise Shakuntala. You are the boy’s father. Shakuntala tells the truth.” Then the king received his son gladly and joyfully.
When he heard the utterance of the gods, the king joyfully said to his chaplain and his ministers: “Hear the words of this heavenly messenger. If I had received my son simply because of her words, he would be suspected by the world, he would not be pure.”
Then the king received his son gladly and joyfully. And the he soothed his wife, and said: “This union which I had with you was hidden from the world. Therefore I hesitated, O Queen, in order to save your reputation. And as for the cruel words you said to me in an excess of passion, these I pardon you, my beautiful, great-eyed darling, because you love me.” Then King Dushyanta gave the name Bharata to Shakuntala’s son, and had him anointed crown prince.
Kalidasa has changed the above old story. He introduces the curse of Durvasas, clouding the king’s memory. The curse is so as to last only until the king shall see again the ring which he has given to his bride. The poet makes Shakuntala undertake her journey to the palace before her son is born. Only acts one and five, with a part of act seven, rest upon the ancient text, while acts two, three, four, and six, with most of seven, are a creation of the poet. Shakuntala dominates the play. She is actually on the stage in five of the acts, and her spirit pervades the other two, the second and the sixth.
Malavika and Agnimitra, speeches of the prologue: “Stage-director. - The audience has asked us to present at this spring festival a drama called Malavika and Agnimitra, composed by Kalidasa. Let the music begin. /Assistant. - No, no! Shall we neglect the works of such illustrious authors as Bhasa, Saumilla, and Kaviputra? Can the audience feel any respect for the work of a modern poet, a Kalidasa? / Stage-director. - You are quite mistaken. Consider:
Assistant. - The responsibility rests with you, sir.”
As in many other plays, the same story: the king who falls in love with a maid-servant, the jealousy of his harem, the eventual discovery that the maid is of royal birth, and the addition of another wife. But it is the earliest work of the greatest poet who ever sang repeatedly of love between man and woman. Malavika is a precursor of Sita, of Indumati, of the Yaksha’s bride, and of Shakuntala.
Urvashi, following a tale from Rigveda, treated dramatically by Kalidasa, survived the changes in the passage from Vedic to classical times. In the Veda, Pururavas, a mortal, loves the nymph Urvashi. She consents to live with him on earth. After the birth of a son, she leaves him. He finds her, pleading by her duty as a wife, even by a threat of suicide. She answers that there can be no lasting love between mortal and immortal: “There are no friendships with women. Their hearts are the hearts of hyenas.” And it remains a tragedy of love between human and divine.
As the Indian theater permits no tragedy on the stage, Kalidasa has changed the traditional story, with introduction of the queen, the clown, and the court; the curse pronounced on Urvashi for her carelessness in the heavenly drama, and its modification; the invention of the gem of reunion; and the final removal of the curse. The clown observes: “Who wants heaven? It is nothing to eat or drink. It is just a place where they never shut their eyes—like fishes!” The play offers an opportunity for charming scenic display. Like all Indian plays, it is an opera.
The Dynasty of Raghu is an epic poem in nineteen cantos - 1564 stanzas - over six thousand lines of verse. The subject is the line of kings, the “solar line” with origine to the sun, having Rama as star: the four immediate ancestors of Rama (cantos 1-9); Rama (cantos 10-15); certain descendants of Rama (cantos 16-19). Kalidasa introduces Valmiki into his own epic, making him compose the Ramayana in Rama’s lifetime. The Dynasty of Raghu has been used for centuries as a text-book in India.
The Birth of the War-god - an epic poem in seventeen cantos - 1096 stanzas - about 4400 lines of verse. The subject is the marriage of the god Shiva, the birth of his son, and the victory of this son over a powerful demon. The cantos: I. The birth of Parvati. II. Brahma’s self-revelation. III. The burning of Love. III. The lament of Charm. V. The reward of self-denial. VI. Parvati is given in marriage. VII. Parvati’s wedding. VIII. The honeymoon. IX. The journey to Mount Kailasa. X/XI. The birth of Kumara. XII/XII. Kumara is consecrated general. XIV. The march. XV. The two armies clash. XVI. The battle between gods and demons. XVII. Taraka is slain.
Himalaya marries a wife, to whom in course of time a daughter is born. The child is named Parvati, that is, daughter of the mountain. It is predicted by a heavenly being that she will one day become the wife of the god Shiva. The gods sing a hymn of praise to Brahma : Before creation, thou art one; /Three, when creation’s work is done: / All praise and honor unto thee / In this thy mystic trinity... The spokesman of the gods explains to Brahma how a great demon named Taraka is troubling the world, and how helpless they are in opposing him.
Brahma answers that the demon’s power comes from him, and he does not feel at liberty to proceed against it; “for it is not fitting to cut down even a poison-tree that one’s own hand has planted.” But he promises that a son shall be born to Shiva and Parvati, who shall lead the gods to victory. With this answer the gods are perforce content, and their king, Indra, waits upon the god of love, to secure his necessary co-operation.
Indra asks Love to inflame Shiva with passion for Parvati. Shiva chances to relax his meditation, and Parvati approaches to do him homage. Love seizes the lucky moment, and prepares to shoot his bewildering arrow at Shiva. But the great god sees him, and before the arrow is discharged, darts fire from his eye, whereby Love is consumed. Charm falls in a swoon, Shiva vanishes, and the wretched Parvati is carried away by her father.
One day the god of fire appears as a messenger from the gods before Shiva, to remonstrate with him for not begetting the son upon whom heaven’s welfare depends. Shiva deposits his seed in Fire, who departs, bent low with the burden. Shortly afterwords the gods wait upon Shiva and Parvati, who journey with them to Mount Kailasa, the splendid dwelling-place of the god of wealth. Here also Shiva and Parvati spend happy days.
Taraka engages the principal gods and defeats them with magic weapons. When they are relieved by Kumara, the demon turns to the youthful god of war, and advises him to retire from the battle. When Taraka finds his arrows parried by Kumara, he employs the magic weapon of the god of wind. When this too is parried, he uses the magic weapon of the god of fire, which Kumara neutralizes with the weapon of the god of water. As they fight on, Kumara finds an opening, and slays Taraka with his lance, to the unbounded delight of the universe.
In The Cloud-Messenger, Kalidasa created a new genre in Sanskrit literature. It is either a kavya, a learned epic, or an elegiac poem. In the Ramayana, after the defeat and death of Ravana, Rama returns with his wife and certain heroes of the struggle from Ceylon to his home in Northern India. The journey, made in an aerial car. A whole canto of (the thirteenth) is concerned with the aërial journey. The Cloud-Messenger contains one hundred and fifteen four-line stanzas, in a majestic meter called the “slow-stepper.”
For a help to comprehension, Arthur Ryder, inserts in his translation, notes suggested by Mallinatha’s famous commentary: A Yaksha, or divine attendant on Kubera, god of wealth, is exiled for a year from his home in the Himalayas. As he dwells on a peak in the Vindhya range, half India separates him from his young bride; After eight months of growing emaciation, the first cloud warns him of the approach of the rainy season, when neglected brides are wont to pine and die. Unable to send tidings otherwise of his health and unchanging love, he resolves to make the cloud his messenger.
He assures the cloud that his bride is neither dead nor faithless; further, that there will be no lack of traveling companions. He then describes the long journey, beginning with the departure from Rama’s peak, where dwells a company of Siddhas, divine beings of extraordinary sanctity. The Mala plateau. The Mango Peak. The Reva, or Nerbudda River, foaming against the mountain side, and flavoured with the ichor which exudes from the temples of elephants during the mating season. The Dasharna country, and its capital Vidisha, on the banks of Reed River.
The famous old city of Ujjain, the home of the poet, and dearly beloved by him; and the river, personified as a loving woman, whom the cloud will meet just before he reaches the city. The city of Ujjain is fully described, especially its famous shrine to Shiva, called Mahakala; and the black cloud, painted with twilight red, is bidden to serve as a robe for the god, instead of the bloody elephant hide which he commonly wears in his wild dance.
After one night of repose in the city, the cloud is besought to travel to Deep River. Thence to Holy Peak. the dwelling-place of Skanda, god of war, the child of Shiva and Gauri, concerning whose birth more than one quaint tale is told. Thence to Skin River, so called because it flowed forth from a mountain of cattle carcasses, offered in sacrifice by the pious emperor Rantideva. The province of the Ten Cities.
The Hallowed Land, where were fought the awful battles of the ancient epic time. In these battles, the hero Balarama, whose weapon was a plough-share, would take no part, because kinsmen of his were fighting in each army. He preferred to spend the time in drinking from the holy river Sarasvati, though little accustomed to any other drink than wine.
The Ganges River, which originates in heaven. Its fall is broken by the head of Shiva, who stands on the Himalaya Mountains; otherwise the shock would be too great for the earth. But Shiva’s goddess-bride is displeased. The dark cloud is permitted to mingle with the clear stream of Ganges, as the muddy Jumna River does near the city now called Allahabad.
The magnificent Himalaya range. The mountain pass called the Swan-gate. And at Mount Kailasa, the long journey is ended; for on this mountain is the city of the Yakshas.
The splendid heavenly city Alaka,where the flowers which on earth blossom at different seasons, are all found in bloom the year round. Here grows the magic tree which yields whatever is desired. Here are the stones from which drops of water ooze when the moon shines on them. Here are the magic gardens of heaven.
Here the god of love is not seen, because of the presence of his great enemy, Shiva. Yet his absence is not severely felt. Here the goddesses have all needful ornaments. For the Mine of Sentiment declares: “Women everywhere have four kinds of ornaments—hair-ornaments, jewels, clothes, cosmetics; anything else is local.”
And here is the home of the unhappy Yaksha, with its artificial pool; its hill of sport, girdled by bright hedges, like the dark cloud girdled by the lightning; its two favorite trees, which will not blossom while their mistress is grieving; its tame peacock; and its painted emblems of the god of wealth.
The Yaksha’s bride. The passion of love passes through ten stages, eight of which are suggested in this stanza and the stanzas which follow. The first stage is not indicated; it is called Exchange of Glances. In this stanza and the preceding one is suggested the second stage: Wistfulness.The third stage: Desire. The fourth stage: Wakefulness. the fifth stage: Emaciation. the siath stage: Loss of Interest in Ordinary Pleasures. the seventh stage: Loss of Youthful Bashfulness.
the eighth stage: Absent-mindedness. For if she were not absent-minded, she would arrange the braid so as not to be annoyed by it. the ninth stage: Prostration. The tenth stage, Death, is not suggested.
Quivering of the eyelids. and trembling of the limbs are omens of speedy union with the beloved. The cloud is instructed how to announce himself in such a way as to win the favor of his auditor. The message itself. According to the treatise called “Virtue’s Banner,” a lover has four solaces in separation: first, looking at objects that remind him of her he loves; second, painting a picture of her; third, dreaming of her; fourth, touching something which she has touched.
The bride is besought not to lose heart at hearing of her lover’s wretchedness, and to remember that the curse has its appointed end, when the rainy season is over and the year of exile fulfilled. Vishnu spends the rainy months in sleep upon the back of the cosmic serpent Shesha. Then is added a secret which, as it could not possibly be known to a third person, assures her that the cloud is a true messenger. The Yaksha then begs the cloud to return with a message of comfort, and dismisses him, with a prayer for his welfare.
From Gita: “It does not behove us to kill relations”; “certain is death for the born, / and certain is birth for the dead”. Hamlet : “To be or not to be”... “all that lives must die”. Such correspondences are analyzed by Sangeeta Mohanti in The Indian Response to Hamlet: Shakespeare Reception in India and a study of Hamlet in Sanskrit Poetics (Dissertation, Basel, (2010/2005). In her dissertation (Illinois, 2014), Aesthetics as resistance: Rasa, Dhvani, and Empire in Tamil “Protest” Theater (1900 – 1930), Deepa Sundaram asks herself: “Can aesthetic 'relishing' (rasavada) be transformed into patriotic sentiment and fuel anti colonial resistance?”
From: The Discovery of India by: Jawaharlal Nehru
...Cloud Messenger . A lover, made captive and separated from his beloved, asks a cloud, during the rainy season, to carry his message of desperate longing to her . To this poem and to Kalidasa, the American scholar Ryder has paid asplendid tribute . He refers to the two parts of the poem and says: ``The former half is a description of external nature, yet interwoven with human feeling; the latter half is a picture of a human heart, yet the picture is framed in natural beauty . So exquisitely is the thing done that none can say which half is superior . Of those who read this perfect poem in the original text, some are moved by the one, some by the other . Kalidasa understood in the fifth century what Europe did not learn until the nineteenth, and even now comprehends only imperfectly, that the world was not made for man, that man reaches his full stature only as he realizes the dignity and worth of life that is not human. That Kalidasa seized this truth is a magnificent tribute to his intellectual power, a quality quite as necessary to great poetry as perfection of form . Poetical fluency is not rare; intellectual grasp is not very uncommon; but the combination has not been found perhaps more than a dozen times since the world began . Because he possessed this harmonious combination, Kalidasa ranks not with Anacreon and Horace and Shelley but with Sophocles, Virgil, Milton . ''
Characteristics of Kalidasa's works
Kalidasa is considered as the greatest poet of `shringAr' (or romance, beauty) His works is brimming with shringAra-rasa . Sometimes he has used `hAsya' (comedy) and `karuN.' (pathos). There are two aspects of `shringAr' - `sambhoga' (sam = together, bhoga = to enjoy, consume as in consumer so sambhoga = the being together, the romance of being together, the happy love poems etc); `vipralambha' - that of separation . Kalidasa was expert at both . Meghadoot is immersed in the `vipralambha-shringAr'. Kumara-sambhavam's 8th chapter is epitome of `sambhoga-shringAr'. 4th chapter of KumarS (Rati-vilApa) and 8th chapter of Raghu-vansha (aja-vilApa) are superb examples of `karuN.-rasa' (pathos). Kalidasa's comedy is of the highest order . (Bharata in his NaTya-shAstra mentions 8 types of comedy from the crudest of physical comedy resulting in guffawing loud laughter to the most subtle where the heart smiles). Kalidasa's comdey brings a gentle smile, not a loudguffaw. (by Sameer Mahajan).
Kalidasa (AD ?350-600?) the greatest of the sanskrit dramatists, and the first great name in Sanskrit literature after AshvaghoSha . In the intervening three centuries between Asvaghosha (who had a profound influence on the poet) and Kalidasa there was some literary effort, but nothing that could compare with the maturity and excellence of Kalidasa's poetry . (Benjamin Walker, 1968). *
L'époux royal de Sacontale
Las de vaincre se réjouit
Quand il la retrouva plus pâle
D'attente et d'amour yeux pâlis
Caressant sa gazelle mâle
Las de vaincre se réjouit
Quand il la retrouva plus pâle
D'attente et d'amour yeux pâlis
Caressant sa gazelle mâle
Vasile Voiculescu places Sakuntala on a gypsy tent in the Carpathians. Dionis loves the gypsy Rada, alias Sakuntala . From Dushyanta to Dionis (see at Eminescu, Eliade, Voiculescu), we discretely wake up in the myth of Dionysus journey to India and his becoming a quasi Shiva. We are after Urwashi (Kalidasa), Dulcinea (Cervantes), the Russian Woman (Gib Mihăescu), Ondine (Gireaudoux).
In Meghaduta, ancient communities, geography and plants are supremely transfigured into feeling of love in separation (vipralambha) in mandakranta meter (recomposed in Romanian / translation of rhythm), verse of 17 syllables. Thus it was born the genre of messenger poem genre, Sandesha Kavya. In Hamsa Sandesha, Rama asks a swan to bring news to his wife Sita. At Schiller and Crainic, messages are also sent by cloud from prison ("I asked traveler the cloud"). My version Romanian Romanian vrion of , Meghaduta, first published in Delhi, was prefaced by prof. Sisir Kumar Das. At his turn, prof. S. Narang, even unfamiliar to Romanian, wrote that he could recognized immediatelly the mandakrantic solemnity in translation.
one out of thousand but you
the sounds search you
in knowledge of sin
still in yaman
you breath self
gods of sounds
embodiments of silence
the luck of epiphanies
everybody with own's and raga
atman encercles you
sitar the reaper of poppies
translator of gitanjali
soft sounds of collapse
in dancing dharma
argonauts from raga
organ masked in sitar
no more sadness amar
just what do we do with the time
Covers and drawings:
KALIDASA , Meghadoot
4 drawings by Rodica Anca