Sanskrit Literature

 

SANSKRIT LITERATURE

WRITERS



Valmiki

Vyasa
Vishnusharma
Asvaghosha
Kalidasa
Vishakadatta
Bana Bhatta
Somadeva Bhatta
Jayadeva
Kalhana








Valmiki (approx. 4th century B.C.): Valmiki is the composer of Ramayana (The Story of Rama). He was a seer, sage and a literary artist. Ramayana is the great Indian epic known for the superiority of culture it projects. Consisting of 24,000 verses arranged in seven books called khandas, Ramayana is the most sacred and holy of all the books written in Sanskrit, next only to the Bhagvad Gita.

Top


Vyasa (approx. 4th century B.C.): Vyasa, the composer of Mahabharata (The Battle of the Bharatas) is the Homer of India. Mahabharata, the largest literary work in the world, comprises 100,000 slokas (couplets). It is considered a glorious work with a high literary and philosophical profoundity. It carries a message of great moral grandeur and artistic sublimity..Mahabharata is a protean work which is at once an itahasa (epic), a purana (legendary history), a kavya (poem), a veda (the book of sacred knowledge), a Dharmasashtra (a manual of ethics) and a smriti (work of ancient tradition). Vyasa, which means the 'editor' of the 'compiler' is not a personal name but a functional or generic one. In the epic, however, he is described as the son of the ascetic Parasara. The age of the epic is unsettled.

Top



Vishnusharma (c.100-500): Vishnusharma is known throughout the world as the composer of the Panchitantra (Five Strategies). Panchitantra consists of five books of edifying tales. A large number of fairy tales have migrated from India to the rest of the world. The collection has had an influence on the literatures of West Asia and Medieval Europe.

Top


Asvaghosha (2nd century): Asvaghosha, a Buddhist monk of Saketa (Ayodhya), was a great philosopher, poet and a debater. He is known for his famous poem Buddhacharita (The Story of Buddha). Although a Buddhist writer, Asvaghosha was fully conversant with Brahmanical learning. Buddhacharita was translated into the Chinese (5th cent.) and the Tibetan (7th cent.) and was well known to the Chinese traveller Huan Tsang. The poem has a special importance in the history of classical Sanskrit literature.

Top


Kalidasa (4th century): Kalidasa was one of the great Sanskrit poets of ancient India. Not much is known about Kalidasa, but legend has it that he was an illiterate shepherd boy initiated into the art of poetic creation by godess Kali, also known as Durga. The name 'Kalidasa' implies that he was the devotee of goddess Kali. Kalidasa wrote many dramas and epic poems all having an unprecedented poetic excellence, hardly surpassed by anyone later. Abhijnanasakuntalam (Sakuntala and the Signet Ring) is considerd Kalidasa's magnum opus. Meghadutam (the Cloud-Messenger), Raghuvamsa (The Dynasty of Raghu), Kumarsambhava are the other epic-poems he has written. Kalidasa's poetry fulfills all the requirements of the Indian dramatic theory in respect of plot, characters and rasas. All his poems seve as a model for the Mahakavyas. Kakidasa has received encomiums from writers and critics all over the world ( including the German poet Goethe and Rabindranath Tagore) for the richness of his aesthetic sensibility, intensity of lyrical emotion, communion with nature, and his reconciling the earth and heaven, sensuality and spirituality, fate and free will, etc. in a vision of cosmic harmony which is the very essence of Indian culture.

Top


Vishakadatta (6th century): Vishakadatta, the son of Maharaja Bhaskaradatta or Prthu and grandson of Vatesvaradatta, belonged to a ruling royal family. He hailed, most probably, from Bihar or Bengal and wrote the famous drama Mudrarakshasa Rakshasa and the Signet Ring). His two other dramas are Devichandragupta and Abhisarikavancitaka. Vishakadatta occupies a significant place in the history of Sanskrit literature because he started the tradition of writing purely political plays devoid of the emotions of love and humour.

Top


Bana Bhatta (7th century): Bana Bhatta is the most illustrious of prose-writers in Sanskrit. Early in his life he won the favour of emperor Harshavardhana and wrote Harshacharita, the story of his patron, which has also conspicuous autobiograohical elements. His greatest work is Kadambari, the celebrated prose-romance. He, however, left it incomplete to be brought to a conclusion by his son Bushana Bhatta.

Top


Somedeva Bhatta (11th century): Somedeva Bhatta was the court-poet of King Anantha of Kashmir who flourished in the 11th century. He is known by his famous collection of short stories Kathasaritsagara (The Ocean of Stories). It is the largest collection of stories in the world. It consists of 22,000 stanzas and is divided into 18 books called lambakas (chapters) and subdivided into 124 tarangas. Somedeva was a poet of high imagination and adept in the art of story-telling. The Kathasaritsagar abounds in stories of adventurous lovers, of princes and cities, of political intrigues and battles, of magic and spells, of treachery and trickery, tales of vampires and goblins, of animals and birds, of merchants and ascetics, gamblers and prostitutes - in short, stories of every imaginable description.

Top


Jayadeva (12th century): Jayadeva is known as the author of the great laghukavya, Gita Govinda (Krishna's Song). He was born either in Bengal or in Orissa in the 12th century. Gita Govinda marks the culmination of the classical Sanskrit poetry and heralds the advent of literature and poetry in many regional languages in India.

Top


Kalhana (12th century): Kalhana was the son of Champaka, minister of King Harsha (1089-1101). Kalhana's Rajatarangini or the River of Kings is the first written history of the world. It is a poetic chronicle of the kings of Kashmir from prehistoric times to the 12th century. Kalhana belonged to distinguished family and had also an intimate acquaintance with the topography and physical conditions of Kashmir, its political kings and heroes and the facts of everyday life.

Top


Back Top
Payment Gateway And Merchant ACCount Powered By CCAvenue.