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But his last and greatest work is the Raghuvasmā in which he describes the descent of the Godhead himself on Earth. Here Kalidasa was strong enough to measure his sword with the divine poet Valmiki. But he left him far behind. Valmiki's Rama, though divine, is a mere portrait without a background. Kālidāsa gave him that background, but that is not all. Kalidasa's conception of God as the Creator and moral Governor of the world is much higher than that of Valmiki. God means to human imagination the absolute perfection of all the higher human faculties in a thoroughly cultured man and he makes his Rama the embodiment of all the perfections that human mind could conceive. But in the background he keeps his ancestors and his successors who represent not all but one or two qualities in perfection. Dilipa represents the perfection of obedience, Raghu of prowess, Aja of love, Dasaratha of kingly virtues and these usher in Rama, embodying the perfection of all the virtues represented in his ancestors.
This is the order in which Kalidasa's works were written, and this order shows the gradual development of his mind. From the fanciful appreciation of nature he rose by steps, well-marked and well-defined to the highest conception of Godhead and the highest conception of the relation in which man stands to his Creator.
I think it would be convenient to deal at this place with the question whether all the seven books attributed to Kalidasa are really the works of one and the same man. There is no doubt that the Raghuvamsa and the Kumārasambhava are both written by one poet, for there are some verses common to both and only a bit improved in the later work. It is also true that the Sakuntala is also written by the same author who wrote the two epics, for there are sentiments which are briefly expressed in one but elaborated in the other. One instance will suffice. The bees being attracted by the fragrance of Parvati's breath is elaborated in a scene in the first Act of Sakuntala. The same is true of the Meghaduta in which we find the character of the Yaksas (given in brief in the Kumārasambhava) fully and thoroughly elaborated
In the Vikramōrvasi, too, the ideas elaborated in the 4th Act are to be found in a nascent condition in the Meghadūta and even in the Kumarasambhava. But scholars differ in their opinion as to the genuineness of Rtusamhāra and Mālavikāgnimitra. An opinion was long held that Mālavikāgnimitra was an imitation of Kalidasa's work and there was some show of reason in the fact that in the prologue the poem is described as a new one but careful reading of the dramas of Kālidāsa has revealed the fact that they are all by one and the same person. It is a part of Kālidāsa's dramatic art that he introduces the female character in the very beginning and shows her beauty in three different positions. In the Sakuntala the heroine is first shown in the posture of watering the plants, then in the posture of loosening the tightness of her garment and then in the posture of surprise and dismay when the bee attacks her. In the Vikramor vasi Urvasi is introduced to the audience in a state of swoon. That is one posture. She was returning to her senses. That is the second posture. Then she expresses her interest in her saviour by a third posture. Kālidāsa is careful not to make the thing tedious by introducing many postures. He thought that these would be quite enough and he seems to be absolutely in the right. This is exactly what he has done also in Malavikāgnimitra. Mālavikā is introduced to the audience as dancing. That is the first position. She stands still after She stands still after a fatiguing dance which forms the second position. The jester's crude attempt at witticisms makes her smile by displaying her fine set of teeth over the deep red lips. This is the third position. It is scarcely possible for a later poet of India to enter so deeply into the Art of Kālidāsa so as to successfully imitate him in thus displaying the beauties of his female characters.
What these critics call imitations are really the expressions of an apprentice poet which in later age he polished and beautified. As regards the Rtusamhāra there are many points which are common with the rest of his poems. In Rtusamhāra the apprentice poet was confined to the scenes and surroundings of only one district in India. But in his later works in the description of
seasons the horizon of his observation was much enlarged. But wherever a common thing is described the germ is to be found in the Rtusamhāra and the developed ideas in the later works. One thing appears to be very striking in all these works, the fondness of Kālidāsa for the seasons in the description of which he excels in his later works.
In Meghaduta he describes the rainy season, in Sakuntalā the summer, in Vikramõrvasi the winter, again, in Kumārasambhava the untimely spring, in Malavikāgamitra the spring in a royal garden and in Raghuramsa almost all the seasons. He describes the summer in the 16th, the rains in the 12th, the autumn in the 4th and the spring in the 9th canto. But the germs of all these magnificent descriptions are to be found in the Rlusamhära. There cannot be the least shadow
of a doubt that all the seven poems are by the same great poet and it is a matter of congratulation that with a careful and deep study of his works the number of those who held that all the books were not by one man is diminishing rapidly.
His Learning and Education.
Bhavabhuti second only to Kalidasa in art poetry in India is very fond of displaying his learning. In the prologue of one of his dramas he actually gives a catalogue of the săstras studied by him and in all through his works he is full of expressions taken from the Vedas, the Upanisads and the philosophical works. But Kalidasa is very modest. He never displays his learning. He seems to delight in concealing the fact that he was a very learned man. As I have said before he is so successful in concealing his learning that Indian people think that he was ignorant even of spelling and of pronunciation.
But his learning to a close observer appears to be phenomenal. He seems to have read all sorts of works with a poet's eye and no book or no science was beneath his dignity as a poet. In the whole range of Indian literature before his time or of his own time, there was little that he did not study and litt'e from which he did not draw his inspiration. It is
redundant to say that he knew the Vedas. He drew from the Vedas his inspiration for the drama entitled Vikramõrvasi The story is taken directly from the Vedas. In the Sakuntala the benediction uttered on Sakuntala by Kāsyapa is given in one of the metres peculiar to the Rig Veda. His hymns to Brahma in Kumarasambhava and to Visnu in Raghuvamsa breathe the spirit of those Upanisads like the Katha which superimpose a monistic ideal on the ancient Sankhya doctrine.
The story of Malavikāgnimitra shows his thorough appreciation of Indian history at a critical moment of the Brahmanic faith. The history is so accurate both in its political and social aspects that European scholars drew much valuable information from it for the re-construction of Indian history. His knowledge of the Kamasastra was very deep indeed. The principal Sutras of the Bhāryyadhikarana are embodied in his advice to Sakuntala how to behave at her husband's palace. His knowledge of Economics or the Arthasastra is to be gathered from the 17th canto of Raghuvamsa in which the administration of king Atithi is given in great detail. That he knew the Gajasistra is apparent from his description of the Anga country in the 6th canto of Raghuvamsa where the authors of that Sastra are mentioned with appreciation and respect. He knew the fact that the Gajasastra was composed and promulgated in the Anga country. It is needless to dwell upon his acquaintance with the Purānas from which he takes his themes for so many of his works. The Rāmāyana he knew so thoroughly that he was eminently successful in compressing almost the entire work of Valmiki in one canto of Raghuvamsa, i.e., the 12th. In geography of the world as then known to the Hindus he is absolutely accurate not only to the political and physical geography of the country but the distributions of races, plants, wild animals, fruits and flowers. He knew Dhanurvidyā, that is the art of war. He knew Ayur-Veda in all its different branches not excluding even the rearing up of children. He knew works on hunting in which he displays such expert knowledge both in Sakuntalā and in Raghuvamsa, His knowledge of Sanskrit grammar was deep and
extensive, as he takes up similes from grammatical technicalities. He knew the Yoga sastra without a thorough knowledge of which he could not have described so powerfully the meditation of Siva in the 3rd canto of Kumarasambhava. He knew the poets that preceded him. He mentions Bhāsa by name and to him he is indebted for many happy expressions and sentiments. We do not know Saumilya and Kaviputra so we cannot gauge his indebtedness to these poets. He knew Asvaghosa's Saundarananda, some of the finest sentiments of which he has borrowed, improved, elaborated and perfected. The same is true of Asvaghosa's Buddha Charita; the same is true of Hala's Saptasati and of the Mrchhakatika. He knew the works of Dramaturgy like Bharata-Natyashastra thoroughly, for he deviates so little in his dramas, from the rules laid down in it.
His knowledge of Astronomy, Astrology and Horoscopy, the three shoulders or (Skandas) of Astronomy of the Hindus with precision. It is a well-known fact that the Hindus got their Horoscopy from the Greeks. They had very little of Horoscopy before their contact with the Greeks. The Yavanacharyya translated his work on Horoscopy from Greek to Sanskrit in the 91st year of an era most likely the Saka era because it was adopted by astronomers of all classes. In the 191st of the same era Sphujidhvaja rendered Yavanācharyya's work into 4,000 verses in the Indravajra metre. Minaraja elaborated the same work into 8,000 verses. These three works form the basis of Horoscopy of the Hindus, and if the era mentioned be the Saka era, Sphujidhvaja's work, a copy of which exists in the Durbar Library, Nepal, would be written about the year 269 A.D. and Minaraja's work later still. In his Horoscopy, Kalidasa follows these authors whom he studied thoroughly. He was fully aware of the Greek influence on Hindu Astronomy for he uses. Greek technical terms. He was aware of the theory promulgated by Aryabhatta that the moon's rays are only a reflection of the Sun's rays from the watery surface of the moon.
His knowledge of Hindu Law is seen in the division or partition of the empire of Rama, in which the eldest of the eight