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Third Plate (Outer Side).
1. श्रियमनुचिन्त्य मनुष्य जोवितं च ा सकलमिदमुदाहृतच्च यु 2. इनहि पुरुषैः परकियो विलोप्याः विजय राज्ये समम्वत्स
3. रे षोड़शाब्दे षडिवसे उत्कौर्यं सुवयकार शिवग्या
4. पाकिसुत महाराज किय मुद्रेति ।
III.-Chronology of his Works and his Learning.
By Mahamahopadhyaya Hara Prasad Shastri, M.A., C.I.E.
The young poet, Kalidasa, had to serve his apprenticeship in a beautiful country full of hills, dales, plains and small rivers. As a Brahman he held himself aloof from war and diplomacy, except so far as they form a part of the literature of the country. What is he to write? Youth is beautiful and nature is beautiful. The description of natural objects would be the most suitable subject for a novice in poetry. Kālidāsa passed his novitiate in writing the Rtus amhara. He was indeed induced to write on the seasons, because he found all round the country he inhabited, descriptions of seasons almost in every inscription. He thought perhaps it would be doing a service to his country, if he could describe all the seasons together. So he undertook to write the Rtusamhāra. The language is not yet polished. It is still full of repetitions, faults of grammar, faults of style and crudity of expressions. Thomson in his "Seasons" is full of historical allusions and he is always trying to reproduce scenes of ancient days in different
But Kālidāsa never thinks of history in his work on He delineates what he sees. He begins with the summer because in Northern India the astronomers always began their year with the vernal equinox ushering in the hot season. power of observation though poetic and keen has not yet been fully developed. He does not go deep either in describing the beauties of nature or the beauties of womanhood. But his fancy is very active. He sees beauty where others see nothing. The first shower of heavy rain carries away worms, grass and dust and Kālidāsa watches the motion with a poet's eye. The rills go
meandering and he watches its serpent-like shape which frightens the frogs. One thing is certain. The one great peculiarity of Kalidasa's early poetry is that he admires nature more ardently than the fair sex.
He reads the traditions of his country, he receives a finished education, and he devotes himself to the stage. His next work is a patriotic drama. Vidisā is a part of Malwa and the history of Vidisă forms the subject of his first histrionic work. The horizon of his travels does not go much beyond the Avantis or modern Malwa. He reproduces the history of Agnimitra and gives the heroine the name of Mālavikā. Since the fall of the Pradyot family of Ujjain and the absorption of all the Avantis into the Magadha Empire the constitution of Vidisă into a kingdom under the suzerainty of the great Brahman Agnimitra fires the imagination of the young poet and he writes a drama that would delight the people of Malwa. Indeed the fall of the Buddhist Empire of Asoka and the rise of the Brāhman Empires appear to be good themes for young poets. In this poem too, Kalidasa always prefers Nature's beauty to that of the fair sex. He often indulges in such expressions as "the motion of young shoots of flower-trees leaves the dancing girls far behind." The horizon of his travels expands and he goes beyond the boundary of Malwa in his Meghaduta. He commences from a point beyond the eastern boundries of Malwa, goes round it, entering it in the east touching various places of interest and goes far beyond it in the north. His love is still sensual, his admiration of Nature still ardent, but his language much more polished and his style much more attractive.
A change comes over the spirit of his poetry. He goes deep into the nature of things and human passions, and human sufferings interest him not. He goes to the Vedas for his heroes and picks up divine or semi-divine beings for the theme of his poetry, and produces his second drama the Vikramorvasi on the stage. The scenes are changed from earth to heaven as the celestial predominated over the terrestrial. But his love is still a passion and his admiration of nature no less ardent.
Another change comes over the spirit of his poetry. The Vedas please him not. They are too dry and too unsympathetic and he must leave them. He seeks solace in devotion and his religion becomes Saiva. Now he determines to glorify his deity in a becoming fashion. He has already mastered all that is on earth and in the air and must launch into ideas celestial. He begins with the Himalayas where he ended in his Meghaduta. The scene changes to the heaven of Indra from that to the higher heaven of Brahma and from that to the higher heaven of Siva. He atones for devoting long years of youth in the description of ardent and passionate love for the female sex by reducing Kama the embodiment of passions into ashes. Henceforth his love is an absolutely divine sentiment and no passion.
Parvati wants to be united to Siva, not a union of the flesh but a union of the spirit. Such an idea of lofty and spiritual love is unknown in the literature of any country and it is by such a union that Kalidasa wanted to sing the glory of his God.
Kalidasa first exercised his poetic mind in writing on things human and then on things divine. The first was not much elevating. Its moral aim was at best doubtful. The second was too high for ordinary humanity to understand and act upon. in his old age he tried to blend the divine with the human and produced two of his poems-one a drama and the other an epic― which have extorted the admiration of the whole world. His drama, the Sakuntala is a happy blending of the divine with the human. Sakuntala is half celestial and half human. As a human being left under the care of a human sage her love was ardent and passionate. But as soon as she was carried to the celestial world she became quite a different being with a much loftier idea of love and union with the object of her love. In Kumarasambhava and in Sakuntala, Kalidasa's conception of the beauty of the fair sex changed greatly. In the Kumarasambhavi Madan failed to attract Mahadeva and he took shelter behind Parvati. That is terrestrial beauty falling far short of the divine sentiment. In Sakuntala too she is carried to a far higher region where the beauties of the Earth cannot reach her.