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Kalidasa or the servant of Kali…

« In a dark closed room I sit alone
And skim the Megaduta.
My thoughts leaves the room…”


What nice secret lies within the Megaduta that it has the facility to make a person like Rabindranath Tagore lose his thoughts? Within the surrounding darkness of a closed room, the Indian poet unfolds the swirling syllables of one other poet, having lived many centuries earlier than him, with revered piety. When Gitanjali meets Shakuntala, when Chitra beholds Sita, when the fashionable mystic embraces historic deities, bewilderment is sure to come up. Kalidasa’s poetry has burnt cultural frontiers, shattered occidental certainties and unlocked the mysteries beneath Sanskrit language. Many have skilled the dissolution of their minds upon studying Kalidasa. Goethe affirmed that Kalidasa partakes of the triple genius of Homer, Theocritus and Du Tasse. Alphonse de Lamartine spoke of the epic and dramatic sanskrit masterpieces as a mixing of the Bible’s pastoral magnificence, of Eschyle’s pathos and Racine’s ardour. Theophile Gautier directed a ballet referred to as Sacountala in 1858 in Paris. Camille Claudel labored throughout two years on a sculpture which depicted the fiery embrace of two beings, locked in burning ardour and named it Shakuntala.

In 1814, Antoine-Léonard Chézy, who occupied the primary educational chair for Sanskrit language and literature on the School de France admitted that his curiosity for one of many oldest languages of humanity, stemmed out from his distrust in the direction of William Jones’ translation of Abhijnanashakuntalam in 1789: “Is all this actually within the unique Indian model?”. Overwhelmed by such poetic wonders, in quest of fact, he thus determined to review the language first in order that he might confirm the authenticity of Jones’ translation. In The Guide of Love, Rumi as soon as stated: “There are literally thousands of wines that may take over our minds”. Such revered recognition from so many sensible minds proves how profound and potent Kalidasa’s wine of poetry actually is.

Some say he hid the totally different names of God in every of his poetical verses. Others say he’s the Shakespeare of India. From the thwarted love between a king and a servant in Malavikagnimitram to the fiery ardour between a lord and a celestial nymph in Vikramorvasiyam, from the robust lineage of the Raghus in Raghuvamsam to the fiery conflict of Kumara in Kumarasambhavam, from the singing spirits in The popularity of Shakuntala to the enchanting cloud-messenger in Megaduta, Kalidasa’s refined Sanskrit takes us on the doorstep of legendary worlds, the place custom and rituals all are likely to maintain sure religious ideologies.

“Eight types has Shiva, Lord of all and king.
And these are water, first created factor;
And hearth, which speeds the sacrifice begun;
The priest; and time’s dividers, moon and solar;
The all-embracing ether, path of sound;
The earth, whereby all seeds of life are discovered;
And air, the breath of life: might he draw close to,
Revealed in these, and bless these gathered right here”.

Thus begins the prologue which acted as a benediction upon the viewers, in The popularity of Shakuntala. Like an evanescent mist within the literary surroundings of historic India, Kalidasa’s life lies buried within the hidden recesses of the legendary previous. Not a lot is understood about him. It’s of widespread settlement that he should have written his works between the 4th and the fifth century AD. That India, at the moment, already had such a gifted poet in its midst, conversant in theatrical antics, dedicated to philosophy, is a marvel which exhibits how superior the civilisation was at the moment. Shakuntala is greater than the mere story of a repudiated forest woman who’s entangled in an internet of tormented love, divine intrusions and harsh curses. Raghuvamsam isn’t solely the chronological depiction of the Raghu lineage and Kumarasambhavam seemingly follows the evolution of Kumara however is wrought with many deep subtleties. Whereas recounting the apparently tranquil voyage of a cloud to a forlorn woman, Megaduta abounds in religious information. From carnal like to religious love, from wealthy kingdoms to forest retreats, Kalidasa’s characters evolve on the paths of artha (wealth) and kama (ardour) within the hope of perpetuating dharma (righteousness) to achieve moksha (liberation). In Kumarasambhavam, he praises Brahma. In Raghuvamsam, he glorifies Vaishnavism by establishing the lineage of Rama. In later works, Shiva is introduced as the primary deity who presides over the narrative plots. This plurality has led to many questionings about Kalidasa’s religious affiliations. Many would say that he portrays all these divinities and paths to point out that these manifestations are however reflections of a core precept, a singular entity. That’s the reason Kalidasa has typically been seen as a Vedantin. Claudel labored throughout two years on a sculpture which depicted the fi ery embrace of two beings,
locked in burning ardour and named it Shakuntala

Regardless that his performs are harking back to want and love between highly effective kings and long-forgotten princesses, formidable courtesans and poor servants, there are secret areas inside his poetry that reveal a complexity past phrases, past thoughts, as Tagore would say. He in contrast the “stanzas” of Kalidasa to “darkish layered sonorous clouds”. By her delivery itself, Shakuntala doesn’t belong to the earthly realm as her mom Menaka is a celestial nymph and her father Vishwamitra is probably the most highly effective sage of all occasions. Born out of a want which has been willed by the gods to tamper the powers of Vishwamitra, she is the kid of the disturbed penance of a sage and the crafty female seduction of a nymph. Dangling between humanity and divinity, she is prey to a long-lasting curse and is unable to cross the edge between the forest woman that she is and the queen that she ought to be. After being troubled by the tortuous pangs of separation, the lovers meet once more however not on an earthly abode. Rebuked by the king, she was taken to a hermitage, located in a realm past the world of mortals and it’s there that they’re reunited after so a few years.

That unknown realm, between earth and the universe can solely be attained by going by way of the cycles of loss and grief first. Awakening can come up after having handed via the hearth of time, the alleviation of carnal love and the promulgation of detachment. Being denied of royal robes, Shakuntala wears the “hermit’s gown of bark”. Upon beholding the pains that love incurs, Sharngarava, a disciple of sage Kanva, says: “Thus does unbridled levity burn, be sluggish to like however but extra sluggish with secret mate”. Kalidasa’s philosophy is anchored within the clown’s remaining clever phrases: “A very good man by no means lets grief get the higher hand. The mountains are calm even in a tempest”. Shakuntala may be seen as a story of gradual enlightenment the place the “factor feared as hearth” and felt to be the “jewel of want” is tamed, the place the “struggling fancies like silken banners borne towards the wind” are subdued, the place the “wreath of untamed flowers” on the king’s head dwindles away. Kanva’s knowledge nonetheless resounds from afar: “Don’t weep my youngster. Be courageous. Take a look at the trail earlier than you. True knowledge provides perception into all the things”. After the ordeals, comes mild within the type of the Bharata, the son of Shakuntala, the one who’s the founding father of the illustrious Indian lineage.
This passage to deeper religious abodes may also be seen in Megaduta. The voyage of the cloud-messenger symbolises the revealing of upper truths. The travelling from Vaishnavite to Saivite sanctuaries reveals a spiritual evolution. The forlorn husband regresses again to Ramgiri after being the thing of a curse whereas the lamenting spouse pines within the Himalayas, the place “Ganga comes thundering down, tugging at Shiva with a thousand foamy arms” amidst “distant ice shrouded peaks, misplaced in silent everlasting meditation”, “pearly peaks” which seem like “a frozen pageant of Shiva’s laughter”. Ramgiri is full of “sunbaked flanks” and the yaksha, the celestial being who’s disadvantaged of his spouse, begs the cloud to “flip his face” “to the distant north peaks”. Has Kalidasa willingly confronted the Vaishnavite and the Saivite traditions to spotlight diverging ideologies?

The religious Vedic heritage may also be perceived within the beauteous powers of Nature. The upper gods of the Rigveda are depicted as manifestations of pure phenomena resembling daybreak, hearth, wind. All the things on the planet appears to be impregnated with divine scents, secret symbols which open gateways to larger ranges of consciousness. The horses “depart the rising mud behind, they appear to drift upon the wind”. Upon approaching the hermitage, the king exclaims: “Issues at my aspect immediately seem distant, and issues within the distance, close to”. The inextricable hyperlink between animality, humanity and divinity is splendidly highlighted within the exhortation of the hermit to the king, pertaining to the chase of a deer: “Why ought to his tender type expire, as blossoms perish within the hearth? How might that mild life endure the lethal arrow, sharp and positive? To you, have been weapons lent, the broken-hearted to ship, not strike the harmless”.

Kalidasa’s poetical legacy reconciles us with historic Vedic philosophy which teaches us learn how to “view the worldly crew as in a home all lapped about with flames” and easy methods to keep indifferent from the whirlpools of feelings and the ceaseless rantings of the thoughts. The “recognition” of the “ring” of Shakuntala is the realisation of the cyclic nature of impermanent phenomenons. As Jules Lemaître as soon as stated: “The ring of Shakuntala signifies the fast and clear revelation of our superior destinies”. To such state reaches the supreme Raghu in Raghuvamsam who reaches that sacred stage the place a clod of earth and a bit of gold imply the identical factor… Kalidasa’s identify itself holds the potent metamorphosis of the self by means of the corridors of the ages and a number of births. Simply as Kali reveals the varied layers of her Self by means of her erratic dance and frenzied destruction, Kalidasa touches the poetic portals of such deep metamorphosis by means of the Sanskrit language. Kalidasa or the servant of Kali, servant of the Self, servant of the Supreme…

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