Kalidasa : The greatest poet of classical Sanskrit
Morning prayer to Saraswati
Mother Goddess in the form of Goddess presiding over knowledge and education. She is the consort of Lord Brahma.
Saraswathi Namasthubhyam, varade Kama roopini,
Vidhyarambham karishyami, sidhir bhavathu me sada.
My salutations to Goddess Saraswathi,
Who can take any form,
Who is the bestower of all boons,
And I start learning now,
With the prayer to her,
To make it very effective.
Yakundendu Thushara Hara Davalam, Ya shubra vastravrutham,
Ya veena vara danda manditha kara, Ya shwetha padmasana,
Ya brahmachyutha Sankara prbhruthibhi Daivai sada poojitha,
Saa maam pathu saraswathi bhagawathi Nissesha jadyabaha.
My saluations to Goddess Saraswathi,
Who is while like a Kunda flower,
Who shines like the full moon,
Who carries in her hand a Veena and a stick,
Who is seated on the throne of white Lotus,
Who is worshipped by the holy trinity,
With a prayer to drive away all my slothfulness.
The Greatest Poet & dramatist the world has ever seen.Mahakavi Kalidas lived in the Era of legendary King Vikramaditya in Ujjain about 2500 yrs ago,he was one of the nine Gems of the court of KingVikramaditya, his title Kavikulaguru (Preceptor of All Poets) bearing testimony to his stature.
Not much is known about Kalidasa’s personal life and background, but there are several myths and legends about it. Kalidas lost his parents while he was a baby of six months. A cowherd brought him up; he had no schooling of any sort.This great Poet of Ancient india was not so intelligent & learned in his early life It was only by the Grace of Goddesss kali he got extraodinay Intellect and Excellence in Art of Poetry.
At that time, a king named Bheemashukla ruled over Kashi . The king had scholar daughter named Vidyottma .
The Princess was determined to marry someone who would defeat her in a Shastraath debate about the scriptures.
But the King wanted his daughter Vidyottma to marry Vararuchi, a scholar one of the greatest of that times. But she refused saying she was herself a greater scholar than he was.
This was an indirect insult to Vararuchi status,Vararuchi vowed to teach the arrogant princess a lesson which she will never forget all her life.
One sunny day, the King’s minister happened to see this cowherd-boy sitting atop a tree in a forest and attempting to fell the tree by axing its roots. ” What a fool! ., sitting on a branch of a tree, trying to saw it off. But the dimwitted man was sitting on the wrong end of the branch, so when he finally sawed through the branch, down he tumbled! This act of sheer stupidity was observed by some shrewd pundits minister passing by.
The ministers laughed at him told about this funny incident they saw to Vararuchi.
Hearing this a clever smile emerged on Vararuchi ‘s face, varuchi said that foolish cowherd boy !
He should be an ideal husband to princess Vidyottma!”
The minsters rethought and brought the boy to the capital. The princess had heaped considerable abuse on them over a period of time, and they were determined to extract their revenge.all of the ministers agreed to Vararuchi’s plan.The minister and Vararuchi instructed the boy not to say anything except ‘Om Swask to any questions put to him at the palace, dressed him up in elegant clothes and took him to the royal presence. In order to conceal his stupidity, the pundits asked das to pretend that he was a great sage, who was observing a vow of silence. das readily agreed, and they presented him to the princess, saying that das would only communicate by way of gestures. When the princess asked das a few questions to test his intelligence, das gesticulated wildly and the astute pundits ‘interpreted’ these gestures as extremely witty answers and retorts.
As per Varuchi’s instruction the Cowherd boy was not allowed to speak , dresed as Sage who is doing Tapasya by remaing Silent.
The Sage was good-looking and this made Vidyottma to believe that he was a great scholar.This introgation was followed by very humerous event.
The Princess asked the Sage First questions by making some actions by her hands .When the Princess vidyottma showed a finger and asjked the sage what is the meaning of this?
The Foolish das thought she is ordering to poke his one eye
if she pokes my one eye I will poke her two eyes”He immediately showed his two fingers “
The Princess asked the Pundits what he trying to Say
The Scholars were specially trained by Vararuchi so they immediately replied
Our Silent Sage is answering to your question
U the Respected Princess asked the Sage : Is the world created by one Brahmam only?
Our Sages answer is : No , the world is created by Brahmam and Maya Both.
Then the Princess asked next question by showing all five fingers and folded them and curled into her palm!
She asked the Silent sage the meaning of this?
The foolish Cow herd dressed as the Silent Sage thought the Princess is trying to frighten him ! Wants to give him a Punch on his face So he showed his both hands as he was going to Punch wth them.
Again the the princess asked the Pundits What the Sage means?
The Pundits said U Honurable and scholar Princess of our King dom asked the sage:
“Is the Maya constitutes by only five Indryas? “
Our Sage replied “No Maya constitutes not only the five Indryas
but also the the five Indryiya Vishayas” .
The princess was suitably impressed, and the couple was married without much delay.
Vidyottma married him and only later came to know of the truth
das’s stupidity could be concealed for only so long, and the night of the wedding das blurted out something inane. The princess realized that she had married a prize fool. Furious &greif striken she insulted him by saying his head is full of mud and stones Dont show her his face till he is rid of all that ,threw him out of her palace, and her life.
The dejected das wandered around, till he came to the bank of the river. He contemplated taking his life when he suddenly saw some women washing clothes on the edge of the river bank. As the words of the Princess mud an Stones rounded in his mind , He observed that the stones which the women were pounding with clothes, were smooth and rounded, while the other stones were rough and ragged. This observation hit him like a thunderbolt, and it dawned upon him that if stones could be worn through and change their shape by being pounded upon by clothes, then why couldn’t his thick brains change, by being pounded upon by knowledge!
Das thus grew determined to become the wisest and most learned man in the country, and to achieve this end he started his journey through a the forest in search of Guru .
After many days of wanderng without much food , tired dasa was able to find a Great Yogi meditating under a big &grand Banyan tree
Dasa fell on the holy feets of the Yogi and begged for his blessings.
The Mercyfull yogi opened his eyes & gave him fruits & water from the near by water fall and asked him to rest till next morning.The next morning in Brahma Muhurta Dasa was present before the Yogi.The Yogi asked dasa to start his Sadhana by first taking the bath in the river and then Worship Goddess Kali in the Temple in mid of the deep forest.
The Yogi accpeted Dasa as his disciple and gave him the Guru Mantra for pleasing the Goddess Kali and ordered him to recite the Mantra day and night in the temple all alone.
Dasa as per his Guru’s instructions did sadhana for many days & nights indulging in intellectual pastimes, reading, meditating and praying to his goddess Kali to grant him divine knowledge..
One night Godesss appeared before Dasa in her most fierce form ,but being ignorant about fear dasa closed the temple Main door of the holy Sanctruom. The Goddess asked him to open the Sanctorum , Dasa said O Mother ! I will only allow you to enter if Godesses Kali gave me the Buddhi Intellect.
The Goddess was pleased with his devotionand simplicity and blessed him with extraodinay Intellect and Excellence in Art of Poetry.
Dasa wish was fulfilled The prayer was granted; education and poetical power descended miraculously to dwell , who in gratitude assumed the name Kalidasa, devotee of Kali.
After some time Kalidas was happened to meet Princess Vidyottma again.Time has brought many changes in both minds.The Princess requested him to return to the palace and accept her.
Feeling that he owed this happy change in his very nature to his princess, he swore that he would ever treat her as his teacher, with profound respect but without familiarity. This was more than the lady had bargained for; her anger burst forth anew, and she cursed Kalidasa to meet his death at the hands of a woman
King Vikramaditya –Sun of Valour
King Vikramaditya ruled in the city of Ujjain. He was mighty both in war and in peace, winning especial glory by a decisive victory over the barbarians who pressed into India through the northern passes.
King Vikramaditya was a great patron of learning and of poetry. Ujjain during his reign was the most brilliant capital in the world, nor has it to this day lost all the lustre shed upon it by that splendid court. Among the eminent men gathered there, nine were particularly distinguished, and these nine are known as the “nine gems.” Kalidas was honoured to become one of the nine gems or Nava Ratnas.
Information about Kalidasa’s life gathered from his own writings. He mentions his own name only in the prologues to his three plays, and here with a modesty that is charming indeed, yet tantalising. One wishes for a portion of the communicativeness that characterises some of the Indian poets. He speaks in the first person only once, in the verses introductory to his epic poem The Dynasty of Raghu. 1 Here also we feel his modesty, and here once more we are balked of details as to his life.
Kalidas life in the city of Ujjain.
He refers to Ujjain more than once, and in a manner hardly possible to one who did not know and love the city. Especially in his poem The Cloud-Messenger does he dwell upon the city’s charms, and even bids the cloud make a detour in his long journey lest he should miss making its acquaintance
Kalidasa travelled widely in Bharta The fourth canto of The Dynasty of Raghu describes a tour about the whole of India and even into regions which are beyond the borders It is hard to believe that Kalidasa had not himself made such a “grand tour”; so much of truth there may be in the tradition which sends him on a pilgrimage to Southern India. The thirteenth canto of the same epic and The Cloud-Messenger also describe long journeys over India, for the most part through regions far from Ujjain. It is the mountains which impress him most deeply. His works are full of the Himalayas. Apart from his earliest drama and the slight poem called The Seasons, there is not one of them which is not fairly redolent of mountains.
One, Kumarsambhavam The Birth of the War-god, might be said to be all mountains. Nor was it only Himalayan grandeur and sublimity which attracted him; for, as a Hindu critic has acutely observed, he is the only Sanskrit poet who has described a certain flower that grows in Kashmir.
The religion of any great poet is always a matter of interest, especially the religion of a Hindu poet; for the Hindus have ever been a deeply and creatively religious people.
Kalidas & Dandi
There arose a question on who was the best poet, Kalidasa or Dandi? After realising no Sanskrit scholar of their time was capable of evaluating their competence, they go to the goddess of knowledge: Saraswati. Upon being asked who was a great poet, goddess answers it was Dandi who was the best. Disappointed Kalidasa asks the mother goddess, “Am I nothing mother?”A well known word/phrase to all the students of Sanskrit is then uttered. “tvamEvAham” (You are none other than me)
In his works is found an excellent combination of art-consciousness, unmatched wordpower and an unparalleled capacity for vivid portrayals.
Kalidasa wrote seven works. ‘Kumarasambhava’ and ‘Raghuvamsha’are his two epic poems. ‘Malavikagnimitra’, ‘Vikramorvashiya’ and ‘Abhijnana Shakuntala’ are his celebrated plays. ‘Meghaduta’ and ‘Ritusamhara’ are also poetical works of great distinction.
Kalidas’s contribution to Indian literature is tremendous. Though hiswritings were in Sanskrit, they have been translated into numerous languages. While numerous writings have been attributed to him, only seven works are proved to be genuinely his.
1.Malavikaagnimitra (Malavikaa and Agnimitra)
2.Vikramorvashiiya (The story of Urvashi and Pururavas)
Of these plays, Kalidas is best known for the play Shakuntala, which has gone on to receive worldwide attention. Shakuntala was first translated into English, then into German, and then into several other western languages. The other four works were poems.
Kalidasa’s writing is his love of external nature. No doubt it is easier for a Hindu, with his almost instinctive belief in reincarnation, to feel that all life, from plant to god, is truly one;
No one has expressed this feeling with such convincing beauty as has Kalidasa. true to say that he personifies rivers and mountains and trees; to him they have a conscious individuality as truly and as certainly as animals or men or gods .
Kalidasa’s character, by virtue of which he found himself equally at home in a palace and in a wilderness. Kalidasa possessed that distinct intellect which makes one a great poet. He was a scholar and his works display his poetic genius as well as scholarship. Also they are marked by a belief of what is good in life and people’s noble goals of life. He could describe the rich and wealthy life of a royal palace and the serene, simple and peaceful life at a hermitage with equal understanding.
Kalidasa’ knowledge of nature is so amazing.and beautiful that one gets absorbed in tothe world created by the poet .Not only are the snows and windy music of the Himalayas, the mighty current of the sacred Ganges, his possession; his too are smaller streams and trees and every littlest flower.