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Kalidasa

Ka-lida-sa was a renowned Sanskrit poet and dramatist, author of Meghadu-ta, Shakuntala- and Kuma-rasambhava , among other well-known works. His place in Sanskrit literature is the same as that of Shakespeare in English. Such has been his fame that works not of his writing, such as Nalodaya and Shrutabodha, have also been attributed to him. His plays and poetry were primarily based on Hindu mythology and philosophy.

Works

Plays

Ka-lida-sa wrote three plays. Among them, Abhija-nasha-kuntala is commonly regarded as a masterpiece. It was among the first Sanskrit works to be translated into English, and has since been translated into many languages.

* Ma-lavika-gnimitra ("Ma-lavika- and Agnimitra") tells the story of King Agnimitra, who falls in love with the picture of an exiled servant girl named Ma-lavika-. When the queen discovers her husband's passion for this girl, she becomes infuriated and has Ma-lavika- imprisoned, but as fate would have it, Ma-lavika- is in fact a true-born princess, thus legitimizing the affair.

* Abhija-nasha-kuntala ("The Recognition of Shakuntala") tells the story of King Dushyanta who, while on a hunting trip, meets Shakuntala-, the adopted daughter of a sage, and marries her. A mishap befalls them when he is summoned back to court: Shakuntala, pregnant with their child, inadvertently offends a visiting sage and incurs a curse, by which Dushyanta will forget her completely until he sees the ring he has left with her. On her trip to Dushyanta's court after the child is born, she loses the ring, and has to come away unrecognized. The ring is found by a fisherman who recognizes the royal seal and returns it to Dushyanta, who regains his memory of Shakuntala and sets out to find her. After more travails, they are finally reunited.

* Vikramo-rvas'i-ya ("Pertaining to Vikram and Urvashi") tells the story of mortal King Pururavas and celestial nymph Urvashi who fall in love. As an immortal, she has to return to the heavens, where an unfortunate accident causes her to be sent back to the earth as a mortal with the curse that she will die (and thus return to heaven) the moment her lover lays his eyes on the child which she will bear him. After a series of mishaps, including Urvashi's temporary transformation into a vine, the curse is lifted, and the lovers are allowed to remain together on the earth.

Poetry

Ka-lida-sa is the author of two epic poems, Raghuvamsa ("Dynasty of Raghu") and Kuma-rasambhava ("Birth of Kuma-ra"). Among his lyric poems are Meghadu-ta ("Cloud Messenger") and R.tusamha-ra ("The Exposition on the Seasons").



 

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