The Abhijn̆ānaśākuntalam of Kālidāsa;


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The Abhijn̆ānaśākuntalam of Kālidāsa; with the commentary of Rāghavabhatta, various readings, introd., literal translation, exhaustive notes and appendices
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Physical Description:
90, 320, 217 p. : ; 23 cm.
Kāle, M. R ( Moreshvar Ramchandra ) ( ed. and tr )
Booksellers' Pub. Co.
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Publication Date:
[8th ed.]


Subjects / Keywords:
Śakuntalā (Hindu mythology)   ( lcsh )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


Sanskrit and English.
Statement of Responsibility:
Edited by M.R. Kale, with some supplementary notes by Suresh Upadhyaya.

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University of Florida
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oclc - 26226440
lcc - PK3796 .S3 1957
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With the Commentary of Righavabhat a. various Readings
Introduction, literal Translation, exhaustive
Notes and Appendices

Lat M. R. KALE; B. A.

Some Supplementary Notes


." t

A (



Oriental Booktraders
Amsterdam I Hilversum

fPblisher: D. M. Tilak, Booksellers Publishing Co., Girgaum, Bombay 4
Introduction & Notes:.Printed by V. R. Shingre. Sarvodaya Mudranalaya.
450. Budhwar, Poona 2
Text & Translation Printed by D. S. Potnis, Gaonkari Press, Agra
Road, Nasik

**The present edition of the Abijfiana S'plkuntala has
been based on:- (1) the Calc. Ed. of M/s. Iswarchandra
Vidyasagar and Jivanand; (2) Sir M. William's excellent Ed.
of the play; (3) Prof. Patankar's Ed.; (4) The Nirnayasagar
Ed. and (5) two Mss., one in my own possession and the
other with the cor. of Rdghavabhatta, procured for me
from Dharwar by Mr. G. V. Manerikar, Drawing Master,
from Mr. Dikshit's library. By the light of this Mss. of the
com. I was able to correct a few errors in the Nir. Ed. I
have adopted the Devanrgari recension. Except in a few
cases Rdghavabhatta's text has been kept unaltered. The
readings which I thought preferable I have pointed out in
the Notes.
Before concluding I must freely admit that I am quite
aware of the many misgivings about its success that it has
been offered to the public. *
Bombay, September 1898.

We have great pleasure in publishing the Eighth edition
of Abhijfiina S'akuntala by the celebrated editor late M. D.
Kalo. That the work has run into.eight editions is a suffi-
cient proof of its popularity and usefulness. The Sanskrit
commentary, variant readings, varia: lectiones and the ap-
pendices given here will simplify the work of scholars and
students. The English translation ol the text is printed
opposite to the Sanskrit text for immediate reference. We
hope that this edition will be both useful and enlightening
to our readers.
We take this opportunity to thank Prof. S. A. Upadhyaya,
M.A. (Head of the Sanskrit Dept., Kishinchand Chellaram
College, Bombay 1), who readily acceded to our request for
contributing an article to this edition.
Bombay March 1957.


Introduction 1- 64

Some Supplementary Notes 65-90

Text, Commentry and translation 91-306

Index of Verses 307-309

Additional Readings found in Calcutta Edition 310-320

Notes 1-201

I. The Subhashitas occurring in the play 2

I. Slokas 203-204

III. The Metres used in the Play, their
Defenitions and Schemes 205-208

IV. Impressions of Previous Existence 208-209

,V. Index of Important words 210-217

We shall begin with a brief outline of the general struc-
ture and arrangement of the Sanskrit drama, without a
knowledge of which the technical remarks on the construction
of the present play here, as well as those made in the Notes,
will not be intelligible to .the general reader.2 Poetry in
Sanskrit, from its inherent nature, as apart from its intrinsic
merit, is divided into two kinds-zqq 'what is capable of being
seen or exhibited' add sra 'what can only be heard or chanted'.
The drama falls under the first division. 'Rixpaka' is the
general term in Sanskrit for all dramatic compositions, which
also ,comprises a subordinate class called Upa-rhpaka. The
RFpaka,3 which has Rasa or Sentiment for its substratum is
divided into ten classes, viz. taf rsg q e WTy: srgf up : I
Gltq'im-wqrl f i %rqi"rT rtfM il. Of the Upa-rfipakas or Minor
Dramas there are eighteen species, the most important of which
are Natiki, such as the Ratnivali, the Viddhasalabhafijiki
&c., and Trotaka, such as the Vikramorvasiya, etc.
Having thus disposed of the divisionsA int which the
whole of the scenic art is capable of falling, we turn to the
principle of division among the RPfakas themselves, which is
1 The first two sections are nearly the same as those
prefixed to the Vik. and the Malav.
2 The information given here hai been mainly culled
from the Dasarlpaka. The minor particulars, not noticed
here till be found in my Sihitya-eira-samgrahq (Nirn. Ed, )
3 V! wrjqrgiA0W IT pw hrIU
-rrMT m I. D.-R.; FvrsWfTrT -' iup* fg: i ;i i--I RIq.
Nitya is another and perhaps a wider term for the drama or
the drathatic' rt, and is so called because it presentss the
different;'ituations n (the scenes presented' by ) life. The sage
Bharata is the founder of the science of music and dramaturgy,
and his work is styled the Natya-SastIa. Nai'dk :is also called
RiFpa, inasmuch as it has, dribyasf or the capability, of being
seen, and Refpaka inasmuch..-saas. subject-mitter. is. represented
by actors assuming particular characters.


threefoldl-(1) % .or.the Plot of the. play, (2) qrT or the
Hero, and (3) IT or the Sentiment nt.' T hese three are the
essential constituents, nay, the-sery life-blood, of every drama-
tic piece. Each of these. 7w1 shall- succinctly (leal with in its
order. .. .

.;.., :~:; (A) VASTU oR THE PLOT..- ", ,n
'ai.i is priiiiarily of two kinds: a if e or 'Principal'
an'.d wfe, or 'Accessary'. 'The Principal is that which
related to the chief characters or the persons concerned with
the essential. interest of the piece, and pervades the whole
arrangement. The Accessary is that which appears' ini fur-
therance of the main topic, and is concerned with characters
Sjther than the Hero or the Aeroine. This latter isd of two
kinds,;:,"' ,Patakl and Prakarti Plat.ka or 'Banner" is an
episode by whibh the progress of the plot is lluatrated, furthered
or hindered (so asto give additional interest to it).:; It is'jbf
considerable length. and sometimes extends to- the very. eqzd, of ay. 'The PAakari is also: an episodical incidentr-of
limited duration and milior importance- one in, whin thW e
principal characters take no part. Besides these two, there are
bgree.other elements requisite for the development of the plot.
These ar e* pr the seed, fgW or. the drop, and4 4 o fTi the
final "iisne. Bija2 is thg. circumstance leading to the uhtimx~t
end briefly stated. which, as the plot develops, bears. multifa-
rious results, and which is as it were the seed "of the plo.
Bindu,3 is whab cqments a break in the plojt caused by the
introduction of s6me other incident.. Karya ia the final object
of the-plot which being attained the whole is finished. These
five-are techincaly called the Arthaprakritis ( s~iqs : )
The Vastu, which is thus divided into five classes, may
again be divided into three classes according to the source of itp
derivation. It may be borrowed from history or tradition, or it

12 MRtf e ~ff fT a I

( 3r

anay be fictitiq9uVr mixed,; i. e. partly. traw.n from -history and,
artly th,creationof .thpoet's. fancy. .k Ni~aka belongs t
the first class, a Prazkrana to the second. ', ;: ,, .;.

As regards itsdevelopment, a dramatic plot has five stages
or conditions called Avasthis. They are-(]) rr;-T beginning
or setting on foot of the enterprise, (2) q~T effort, (3) rTRnTr,
prospect of success, (4) f't rTfi certain attainment through, the,
removal of obstacles and (5).',8m obtainment of the desired
object.. While these five stages are in progress there must be
some links, to, connect them with the principal and subordinate
parts of.the main action (the episodes and incidents.) These are
-called the Samdhis or junctures. They are five., in number, -an-
swering to the five Arthapr akritis, each of which they join with its
corresponding ttage, Liz., za ( Portasis or the opening juncture),
srfiT T (Epitasis), Tr (Catastasis), aqi'T (Peripateia),and fTigur
( Catastrophe), also called -ic~ or -'ITt. Thub the MIk',,,
safjdsdhi is the combination of the Bija and Arambb a i. e, i.., e-
-in the seed is sown, so'to speak, with all its Rasas. In the Pati-
mukha there is the means (-3yalna to the chief end, 'as originally
implied by the Bija in the Mfkha which herein sprouts up. In
the Garbha there is attainment and non-attaidment of the desired:
end, implying a further sprouting up of the 'original Bija. There
are impediments, but the main plot gains ground under resistance.
Thb Avaniariasamndhi is.that in which the- seed attains a more
luxuriant growth than inr the Garbha, being accompained by Niva-
iapti of the end, but whose fidal result is postponed further off by)
fresh-impedimentfor4; arious sorts, the Sakuntala the King's
forgetting of Sak. after,marriage owing to Durrvsas' curse. The
Nirvahana or consummation is the harmonioit.combination of all:
rthe aforesaid parts in the final catastrophe.

The subject-matter, whether historical, fictitious, or mixed
is from its inherent nature capable of a twofold division. It
is divided into.(1) ur deserving to be suggested or implied only, i
as being of a dry and otherwise unfit character; and (2) %~qjrq,
fit to be represented and heard, as being highly sentimental arid
pleasing. The suggestions or implications are made in five ways- -

(4) '

q ff s.*IsIqI^ aTlo :'. : '(1) For fcgi'W see Notes
Act IIL (2) -fwat is the suggestion of some incident from behind'
the Scenes (itr). (3) Au ii j is one wherein is suggested
by the actors at the time of their departure the connexion
between'the act finished and the one to be commenced, which.
otherwise would look disconnected, as the speech of Kimandaki and
others at the end of the 3rd Act of the MIl.-Midb. (4) ya~TrrT
consists in implanting the seed of the subject-matter of an act in
the previous act before it has drawn to its close, so that the act
following is a continuation of the one preceding; e. g., the sixth
Act of the Sak., the germ of which is cast at the end of the fifth
Act; 1alav II. and Mal. Madh. II. are other instances. (5) For-
S5r- see Notes, Act VI.
The subject.matter is further divided into three kinds-
wS( q or sritR, pWMrs or qlt and fi(RqT The last is of
two kinds, ;PTTf~ and q;rfe (which are explained in the-
Notes). Independent of these divisions there is one called;
ai;R n rf t (a3rIk) or Speech from the Void.
The styles or modes of action (-ir:) to be followed in a-
drama are fout in number, viz. qMk;t ifP s t M mTtrit q-T: I'
rrT w sdST RS:, gWm~t f j" Qf4hese9haSKaisiki ( used in,
the Natika) consists of musi, dancing an love-sports, assisting
the development of Sringaraad-is-delight-fnl by that and from,
the fascinating dresses worn by women. ( See S.-D., VI. 124). It.
has four angas, viz. (1) r4 or polite pleasantry, (2) ?Fq-
(op~qsr according to D.-R,) or development of Love, (3) ;4f
or the distant indication of Love and (4) qrfii or covert action,
for the furtherance of Love. ( sr nfT nt y iqfTT It-W

S2. ~T~ T qs T'rSmT WrTqTfWrTTr': I. The distinction,
however, between an Ankasva. and an Ankavatira, is considered
by some asnmerely imaginary. Visranatha actually supplants the
latter by Aukamukha which he defines as that where in one Act
the substance of all the other Acts is suggested.-: :



The Hero is required; to be modest decorous, comely, muni-
Sicent, civil, of sweet, address, eloquent, sprung from a nqhble
family, &c.1 Heroes are mentioned to -be of four kinds viz.
.Vitxa, tr-Foa, jftTli and fftatg. Dhiroddtta or the
Hero of sublime qualities, is one who is magnanimous, patient,
not given to boasting, self. possessed, of firm resolve, whose
high spirit is concealed and who is true to his engagements.
"We are not concerned with the other three classes of Heroes
here. Each of these Heroes may be of one or other of four
.sorts. He may be qfgpr or 'gallant' i. e., equally devoted to
many women, though principally attached to one: or r3 'sly,"
i. e. one who being attached to one lady, covertly acts in a way
unpleasant to her; or he may be ysI bold', openly making his
professions to another, and not ashamed even when reproached;
*or lastly, he may be arqw favourable', devoted to one Heroine
only. The fttrq Hero has eight manly qualities-- fir, faWT,
Triw, Rit*4, Tt", W, Wfn t and aristr.

Among the assistants of the Hero the principal is the ft ,
;the hero oftihe PatikA or Episode, clever in discourse, devotedito
his master, and a little inferior to him in qualities. Next domes
.the fcrq, his constant companion, whose business consists in the
repartees of wit, in helping his friend in his love-intrigues, and
;thus assisting in the general denouement of the play. Third, and
of equal rank with tbe Vidibhaka, is the fWr, who knows one art
*only and is thereby useful to the Hero. The Hero thus equipped
-may still take into his service ministers of state and ministers of
-religion, ascetics, allies &o., as well as eunuehs, mutes, barbarians
S(Yavanas) &c. Sometimes there may be a Rival-Hero called
-Trqq, who is various, bold, impetuous, criminal and of
*evil conduct.

^Tr:^- ^Tfw: 11 TiN rf ?i< nr f '

The Nayika orltHe Heroine, who"iiist be possessed of quali-
ties similar to those of the Hero, is of three kindsl. She may be
the wife of the hero ( -rT), as Sita in the Uttar; or ione belong.
'ing to another (0it or RlzTr) or a common woman ( tIT;r or
NTaT'~) as 'asantasena in the Mrich. The 'Tarqy may be a
maiden or the wife of another. But the latter must. iot be in-
troduced as the Heroine in a play2. The maiden's love, however,
better helps the Ras,' and is therefore the most favourite theme
'with many Sanskrit 'poets. Further divisions and sub-divisions
of the NaiV'iXz are not introduced here, as they have very little to
do with the construction of the drama., For her assistants the
"Heroine may' have a qF, ft' ETTIf), srftf~iT and others,
possessing qualities corresponding to those of the friends of
the Hero.

1 :'Rasa'is that lasting impression of feeling produced to hiis
overwhelming delight in -a man of :obetic susceptibility by the
proper action of the Vibhdvas and the Anubhdvas, as well as the
.Sativika bhavas and the Vyabhlucli, iblri'La :.'3' Bhava (4Tzi) or
,arFeeling is the complete pervasion of the heart by'any emotion,
whether of pleasure or of pain, arising from the object under sight.
N;ibhbva (ffrq') or an Excitant is that ,which being perceived
nourishes the main sentiment.. It is divided into (1) Alambana,
1 pmT IrniWTfT fruTT 4Tf ry f(Tqr I
S 2 a -ft -q rW T :q ;r~-f~r'itrTil qqfq; I We may observe,
,however, to the honour of Hindu drama, that the Pi7aak; 7, or she
,whP is the wife of another person. is never to be made, the, object
!of dramatic intrigue; a prohibition that would have sadly cooledi
.Athe imagint on, and curbed the,wit, of Diyden and Congreve."-
Wilson, Hindu Thedtre, Vol. I. p. 45. .;1
3 fqR +Tq .T N7Tfirftif: i aT-ftYir: 'i qTiftr
iwqt mT : II r T: 1 : T TTazT i 1i*srr7 pffzr ff [3WTTi
!WrmqOaf II TpffP4"F4WrTT. A R ff T-1 9T W( ffiVTI^ tt-
W^TTC~l r: IF '. ^

it w4hilch is, a's iti were, the support or substratum of the Rasa-'
thi.'persoiior thing.with refereone-to-whom pr.w.hich..a sentiment
arises-, such as the Hero or the Heroine, and 12) Uddipana or
what,. excites or enhances (adds to- the development of) the
sentiment, such as the moon, the beauties :of~tbe verball season,
&p,;;and 'beauty, decorations, ;&. ,of the principal characters, in
the case of -rTqrT. Anubh&va or'an Ensuant is the outward mani-
festation of the internal feeling through the eyes, face &c,:The
Stttrika or natural bhivas are a sub-division of Aniiblh 'a, and
are, mentioned as eight in number-FV~Tr yrWfTpt-; "T 4ro $O l
f'-T arif qi t I. The Vyabiichir,is or the Accessaries are -those
bhvcas which are not strictly confined to any Ra 'a, but appearing
and disappearing like waves in the ocean, they serve as feeders to
the prevailing, sentiment and strengthen, it in different, ways.
Sib i viblidia (i' 'rf n4 ) or the Permanent Sentiment' of a com-
position is one-' the ocean .iielting all salt into water.'--which
not being interrupted, by a'ny sentiment contrary or akin. o its
nature occurring at intervals, converts all of them into its own
nature. Now, a Rasa would prove contrary to another if the
a~Tp or ~bstratum of both were the same'. But as 4ywft
(principal) and a.r. (subordinate),, a;,T; may be mixed with one or
more others. .
.There are eight Sthiyibhvivas, iTf, rr, ft~', ,tr, 7nM Wzr
r.cfrT and f'~p on.which are based, respective ely the sentiments-
7TS'rt the Erotic, tTPT the Comic, qil; the Pathetic, ft, the
Purious,;:f the Heroio, WqWTq .the Ttrrible, EwNt the Loath-
some iand j ript the Marvellous. 'There is a ninth sentiment,
that of s~iT the Quietistic, having or tranquillity for its Sthbf
yibbfva' But it i not'suited to' dramatic purposes and rarely
occurs ai'a main sentiment in a'drama. Of these eight sentiments
TST7 'and (FR, *T and .idT' W, r and WT, and q and- and
w ,r are akin to each other, as they prpceed from the same condi-
tion-ofthe mind. As wve are here' Mainly: concerned with the
Eroti&,'tiat beiig the prevailing sentiment in Kfiliddsa's plays, we

r"'"wr: :


will say something about it here. q~-rR is mainly divided into
Ft sor or Love-in-separation and ; lfy r or Love-in-union. The
former, the Dagaripaka sub-divides into two kinds, a lMz the Non-
consummation of Marriage, and fNgirg the Separation of the lovers
deep in love after marriage. The former which arises from the
dependent position of one or the other of the parties or through
distance or through the intervention of adverse fate, has ten stages,
a~f4itr, f-rT &c. mentioned in the com.; f-r- occurs through
1TR, 3RT or some such cause; T' jealous anger,' arises from a
breach in the duties of love (srupipr) and may be on both sides ( the
Nayaka, however, is rarely Mini ). This InT has several varieties
such as WTW, a i' ~flr T &c. It is capable of being dispelled
in six ways--UTFrT ~T' ;T rr W :l--and is called. ,
95 or qsqq according to the greatness or the smallness of the
effort required to make the NAyikM give it up. ilftw is when the
two lovers are in the enjoyment of each other's company, engaged
in looking at each other, kissing each other &c.

Every dramatic piece opens with a Prelude or Prologue
(sT r T) which is itself introduced by what is called the NMndi.
This Nindie according to aame must suggest the gist of the whole
plot. The Sfitradhira may sometimes retire after the recital of
the Ndndi,.in which case another actor, called fqTq- (for he
establishes as it were the topic of the play), takes hisplace. In
the Prelude which may begin with a brief allusion to the poet's
literary attainment, his genealogy, &c., the Sfitradhxra or the
Sthipaka suggests the subject in the form of the Bija, or by a
simple beginning, or by naming the character about to enter, as in
the Sakuntala, He must please the audience with sweet songs
descriptive of some season and couched in the Bharati Vritti. The
rRTl~ir is of two kinds-(1) wSNrt as in the Ratn. and(2) 8 I[T,
in which the Sitradh~ra holds conversation with the actress or his
assistants, bearing on the subject to be introduced. This latter is
of three kinds, of which one is KrmfaRt. When the entry of a
character is directly indicated by the SitradhAra, saying Here he
enters', that is Proyogfti"ays.

The prelude being over, the piece is commenced, being here-
-after arranged and exhibited in the manner indicated in the three
foregoing Sections. The whole matter should be well determined
and divided into Acts and Scenes. A Nataka may consist of from
five to ten acts. The Hero should be of. the Dhiroditta class.
The Sentiment should be qqT or 4R ( or sometimes ~riT ),
others being introduced as conducive to its development. Nothing
should be introduced into the play which either misbeseems the
Hero or is discordant with the main sentiment. An Act must
not be tiresomely long, should be full of Rasa, and introduced by
Vishkambhaka &o., according to necessity. Its close is marked
by the exit of all characters. Such incidents as journeys, mas-
sacres, wars, &c., should not be represented in a play; they
may only be indicated. The death of the Hero must never be
exhibited. This accounts for the somewhat monotonous char-
acter of Sanskrit plays, and the absence of tragedies in San-
.skrit.l The play should end, as it began, with a Benediction
or prayer, called the Bharatavikya, which is repeated by the
principal personages and contains ah expression of the wishes
for general prosperity and hapinese. The Unity of interest or
action must be maintained throughout. As regards the language
to be used in a piece, the Hero and the higher charoters speak
in Classical Sanskrit, while female and other minor characters
speak in the different Prakrit dialects.
1. Wilson observes-" They (the Hindu plays) never offer
a calamitous conelnsion, which, as Johnson remarks, was enough
to constitute Tragedy in Shakespeare's days; and although they
propose to excite all the emotions of the human breast, terror and
pity included, they never effect this object by leaving a painful
impression upon the mind of the spectator. The Hindus in fact
have no Tragedy......The absence of tragic catastrophe in the
Hindu dramas is not merely an unconscious omission; such a cats.
atrophe is prohibited by a positive rule. Tha conduct. of what
may be termed the classical drama of the Hindus is exemplary
and dignified. Nor is its moral purport neglected; and one of their
writers declares, in an illustration familiar to ancient and modern
poetry, that the chief end of the Theatre is to disguise, by the
4naidious, sweet, the unpalatable, but salutary bitter, of the cup.


: ;The student Trill sec- fr6m t'he-foregoing a eitch', that. the
chracteristic peculiarities of the 'Indian di'ar a are inninly 'three--
i( I) 'its peculiar 'tfrdcture;, j('2) the absence of the distinotio
between Comedy and Tragedy and ( 3 ) the diversity of-language
to be spoken by the characters. The above-mentioned genera
characteristics of Nitaka belong with certain modifications, to
,the other divisiius of the Rupaka as well, Of these 'weah'ay
notice here the Prakeraxia and the Trotaka. The plot of a iitqo
should be fictitious and drawn from real life -in a reputable class
of society. The Hero, who must be fsrryi y,'may be of mini-
7sterial rank or'a Brahmana or a merchant (Tahi~ty),. The Heroine
may be -amaiden of noble family or a.courtesan. The.'.jost
appropriate sentiment is the Erotic. Garblersiand -other low
characters should be introduced. There should be ten Actts. The
Mkl.-Madh. and the Mrich. belong ,to this species. A Trotaka
may consist of 5, 7, 8 or 9 Acts. Theacharacters to be'represented
should be celestial as well as human, as; in the Tikramorvaii. a
the Vidfshak aishould take a prominent palt in it andbe prc-ent
in :every Act. The prevailing sentiment should- be -r- Wr.: :In
other particulars it does not differ from the Nataka.

His Life:-At the outset it uiuct be admitted that \,e have
absolutely no trustworthy information regarding the personal
history of K-lidfsa, by universal couseit, the greatest of Indian
!poets. The curiosity of the querist, who would ask-' Where and
when;was he. born ? Who were hi.parents ?'' 'When'did. he
die ?~:&c.--must ever remain unsat.isied.7. The6,oet haBistuiiius-
ly bsjtrved complete silence about hiiiself in'his wvorks. R.adI
them.. howsoever we may,: .we: fi nd no allusion, no 'in6ident
mentioned ,tfisatmay directly; shed any, light either on his pe goial
hisiorv or aniy remarkable event of, his :life. ITn'-the volfd of
"la lf'tt be'tas bthe least of an egotist that itwas possible o 'be.'
His poetical productions alone stand as an immortal monument of
his s 'passing poetic excellence. And we must content, borselhCe
w itit gathl'einig w bit..little infor&atib'ofe can abbut a -poet of'ioth

world-nide repute from-esternal sourcess, 'and ;a few- incidents
found here and there in his works, which may be supposed to have-
a distant bearing: upon the *history of his life' Reserving for
another section the question of'the date of the poet, we proceed
here to state the few facts that can this be known about him:." A
time-honoured tradition, supported by internal and external evi--
dence, associates the name of KllidaSa ~ith that of the epoch-
making king Vikramraditya of Ujjaini. 'The keen interest and
admirnti,>n with which the poet describe the Mahikdla, the Sipri
and other beauties of Ujjayini., unmistakably point to the conclu-
sion that he'must have 'been a native of that city. And the
various covert references to the name of Vikrama in fully eulogi-
stic terms, which are doubtless meant to immortalize king Vikra-
miditya, are inexplicable if that monarch be not regarded as the
poet's patron. Kalidaa also betrays considerable acquaintance
with court-life in his works. This circumstance, coupled with the
fact 'hat there is no allusion in his writings to the goddess of
wealth having ever frowned upon -him, shows that he was :in
affluent circumstances,-and bad not the misfortune of ever drinking
the bitter cup of poverty. He was a Brihmana:by-caste and was
a devout worshipper of Siva,-though by no means a sectarian. 1e
seems to have tra relied a good deal, at least in Northern India,
For, as Dr. Bhau Daji remarks, he is only poet who describes a.
living saffron-flower, of the plant 'which grows in Kashmir. His
graphic description of the Himailayan scenes looks very much like
that of one who wasan eye-witness. Unlike Bharabhuti and many
other brother-poets he appears to have enjoyed great popularity
during his life-time. He was 'an admirer of field-sports, and
describes their beneficial effects with the exactness of a true spor-
tsman.' Though fond of pleasures, he was not the unscrupulous
voluptuary he is supposed to be by some critics, as is clear from the
many noble sentiments expressed in the Sfkuntala (cf. .Brff4f'Tit
~ii'f &c. Slk:... and our note ad lo.) It also appears from the
same play that he was against loveimarriages, though always actuat
ed with the most generous sentiments towards the fair sex. His
works bear further testimony to his considerable acqaaintance
with the Vedas. the philosophy taught by the Upanishads, the
Bhagavadgita, the-Pur nas, the systems of the Samkhya, Yoga.

and Vedanta as propounded by Bidarayana, Medicine and the
rudiments of Astronomy. Beyond these few facts nothing is
known for certain about our poet at present. A few conjectures
have been advanced as to some other particulars, but to test their
Correctness or otherwise falls within the province of the antiquary.
His Works:-The.poet's silence about himself in his works gave
an opportunity to many unscrupulous inferior poets to father their
own works upon him. The following is a list of the works
generally attributed to him:-(1) f-rgr; (2) fq5FiTf (3) qT'-
fPibTmrirm (4) n-<#r (5) Tqr#T' (6) kW, (7) ytWi -
48) se R (9) aTrsTl (10) :r:qTmq" (11) wrIfif lr (12) #-r[-
-;rz til9T: (?) (13) and (14) two cTqlaT s (15) Req
(16) rf'soaqr.r (17) qjqrf (18) (s1tf)ifTor (19) esw-E
(20) O) q (21) y'FlrqM (22) grqnvoif re (23) mqamg (24) and
(25) two qRwT se-T (?) (26) rg1qw~ i (27) TKrfqT (28) T'Wffr
(29) ftrl (30) a;gj (31) f~f oirTsir (32) T rNiq i
(33) rTritht (34) uft-fkyr '(35) (6f)wp (38) qfT~FriI,
(37) r7nirsTiai (38) ~q$ yq (39) qffw (40) Wr&t~f-
TrzTur and (41) i~ t. Of these the first six are acknowledged
by all critics to be undoubtedly his. (7) is not yet discovered, but
is known only in a quotation by the Kashmirian scholar Ksheme-
ndra in his -ftFprf *. The authorship of (8) is somewhat
doubtful; while the remaining ones are certainly to be dismissed
as the productions of other poets. In Sanskrit literary history
there have been many poets who bore the name Kilidisa, and at
least three were known to Rajasekhara who wrote qStsf r Itz4
rT WtfrtmrY ; T ff4 I qTirt ffitif f ift frwftit fr% It. It
is possible, therefore, that other Kilidasas than the author of the
Raghuvamia are responsible for the trifling pieces mentioned
above. Here, therefore, we are concerned with the first six only.
The most convenient and reliable method of studying the deve-
lopment of a poet's mind and its relation to his productions would
be to read his works in their chronological order. But we have
no external evidence, whatsoever, to ascertain the chronology of
KIlid sa's works. It must, therefore, be based wholly on internal
-evidence,. Judged as suchble works would stand in.this..order--

( 130:)

Poems--pro, W l' and R; Plays--rwo, f'a ro .and
rIITT W; or, both indiscriminately, as-- qro, ri~nqlo, N~fto.
qr~p, rmw~T and xltr. Space will not permit us even to refer
to these briefly. We will only remark, in passing that the last
three are the outcome of the poet's matured poetic faculties and
riper years. Of these we shall deal fully with the Sik. in a
separate Section.
His Poetry:-Kalidasa is indisputably the greatest master-mind
in Sanskrit Poetry. His genius has been recognized in India-
from very early times. He has been and will ever be enshrined
in the hearts of his countrymen as the Prince of Indian poets.
Most Indian successors of Kalidasa have expressed in suitable
words their admiration of the poet who stood far ahead of"
them in the perfection of his art. Thus Ba.nabhatta, the famous.
author of the Kadambari, speaks of him in the following words:-

rgiriff When KAlidisa's sweet sayings, charming with sweet senti-
ment, went forth, who did not feel delight in them as in honey.
laden flowers Kumirila, who flourished about the first half'
of the eighth century, has quoted with approval the passage from
the Sakuntala, "W'fT-f- f~ T t tr WW~ t:Ti:r: : ".
There is a Subhishita which says ;--

BI T& t HPi WTTRr4Tfi TeRTsifeRfw fer WI II
While once the poets were being counted, Kilidfisa ( as
being the first) 'occupied the last finger. But the ring-finger
remained true to its name (3 rTfr ;T= nameless), since his
second has not yet been found (by whom it can be occupied)
Pandit Govardhanicharya thus speaks of ouioi6et:- :
OTassTawr~~f~Fnf owifsrfR SrT q I
fufrewisfy at rneiteirdfamte ? n "" '
Two things only, viz. love-sport and KIlidisa's poetry,
delight the heart even at the'tihe of i'istruction,'as they consist-

.of the sFwet, tender.; and. touching-: words "f-i ,piip il giri."
Ali# veiy Pandit hib in his moui~ 4ri~hy,flg wji n memorable

;; in isFT E-C aM. T Ri WFiii I ''I

: -- : r' '
Among Karyas the drama is the most charming.> Among
dramas the SAkuntala is specially charming. Evi-n there the
fourth Act is the best,. And lastly, four- -alokasl therein are
especially most -beautiful." The highest place: is assignedd 'to
kalidasa among poets f.r the construction of happy similes when-'
it is said-

qfiT;: Walred; tlaFR WW n .: 1Efi,- *f .:
Among later writers, .Jatiyeva has called-ouripoet ;fgr 5?
the lord of poets' and the RlTxr or graceful play' iof the Muse
-of Poetry.2 While a Subhishita current ariong Bengali Pandits
,bstows similar praise by means of the following quaint
metaphor- -
STsymirfr i TfWlTUTTs "ITtr eF1ft ^

wIfST T^wWTn wwq?? 4W T iT fT 4 i Ifly *r
Poetry was the sportful daughter of Vilmiki and having been
-educated by Vylsa; she chose Kilidasa for her bridegroom. She
'was the mother of Amarasimha, M'lgha and Dhanika. But now,
-old and decrepit, her beauty faded, and no lopger wearing orna-.
ments, her weak feet slipping as she walks with whatijflow) people -
,hag she not had to take shelter -
That his countrymen place him at the head of all the Sanskrit
,poets, unparalled and unsurpassed by those who have preceded or
1 They are :-- T' tl;rif~fr &c.; ,Trq1 qvr &c.,
:Fr t-f q: ^T4 sC &c.; and w ~T faTM T-ra Tf tq &c.
-2 WTft 1Tf: vft gw : Tf5TWrW1 fRTAr: I

followed-him_, isnina4ural s i ngh;.bnth:thew, evoked, SpoZntafl .u,
outpouringi-'qf-praise and .rfanifeatationv of adimiration,from for.e'-
ign scholars and poets who.bad acqef, to his works either directly
or through translations. Goethe has voluntarily bestowed the
highest meed of praise on'-him-so much was he enraptured by the
hainid o6f Kalidasa's muses'and struck with his poetic genius. This
is what he says about the S&kuntalal-
Wouldst thou the young year's blossoms and the fruits of
its decline,
A: nd altby which the s6ul1 is charmed; enraptured, feasted,
.l ofed ? ;n l i : q "
Wouldst thou th1 earth and heaven itself in one sole name
combine ?
.I name thee, 0 SakuIitils, and all at once is said."
::. 'When' we remember that. Goethe himself was the greatest poet:
of Germany and one of the greatest of the world, we realize' the
importance of his estimate of our poet. The well-known philosopher'
anf traveler, Humboldt, pronounces the following judgement-
Kalidnsa, the celebrated author of the'Sikuntala, is a masterly
described of the influence which Nature'exercises upon the minds
dWUera. 'T'endei'riess in th expression of feelings and richness
f@reative fahcy have assigned to him his lofty place among the
pibet 6f kilFnations.'" The celebrated critic, Schlegel, has also
aisighed him a very high position athongst the glorious company
of the 'Sons of Sodng-'. Several eminent orientalists have also
bfferledth'eir tribute of praise to our' Indian Shakespeare, as
iS* Wiliam' Jones was the first to call him-the very comparison
of KilHdgsa to Shakespeare is the highest form of eulogy that could
be best6oed-upon ffim by foreign critics. Sir Monier*Williamis,
kilie writing about the Sakuntala, thus expresses himself: "'No'
composition of KalidAsa displays more the richness of his poetical
genius, the exuberance of his imagination, the warmth and play
of his fancy, his profound knowledge of the human heart, his"
delicate appreciation of its most refined and tender emotions,
his familiarity with the workings and counterworkings of its

1 As translated from the German by Mr. E. B. Eastwick.


conflicting .feeling-in short more entitles him to ranx as the
Shakespeare of India." Prof. Lassen 'calls him "the brightest
star in the firmament of Indian poetry. "

We thus find that Kalidasa has established his sovereignty in
the hearts of all alike. Now it may be asked, What is that in
Kalidasa which establishes his undisputed claim to the highest
honour which is thus bestowed upon him ? Unless this question
is satisfactorily answered, Kflidisa's merits as a poet cannot be
said to be determined. His poetic genius has brought Sanskrit
poetry to the highest elegance and refinement. His style is
peouliary pure and chaste. It has neither the laxity of the
Purinas nor the extravagant colouring of later poems.' It is
unartificial and is characterized by brevity consistent with perspi.
city. An unaffected simplicity of expression and an easy-flowing
language mark his writings, which are embellished with similes
unparalleled for their beauty and appropriateness, and pithy
general saying. His diction is marked by the absence of long com-
pounds, involved constructions, overwrought rhetoric, and artificial
puns. KilidLsa excels other poets in his description of the
sublime and the beautiful. It is a principle recognized by all
modern critics that 'Nature must be the life and essence of
poetry,' and in respect of this, Kilidasa may be said to be een-
tially a poet of Nature (of course in the limited sense of the term
which it is possible to attach to it in those times of gay luxury
and general prosperity). He describes with most effective touches
the gorgeous scenery of the mountain Him~laya-its snow-clad and
mineral covered summits, the peaks where sunshine ever reigns, the
fragrant and cool breezes blowing there, the wilds with the hunters,
the musk deer, the potent herbs shedding lustre at night, the
chamara deer, the Manasa lake &c.: and his description of the
Ganges and the peaceful hermitage life is very striking and life-
like. His descriptive powers are great, and some of the scenes in
the S'ak., the Megh., and the Ragh., are so enchanting as to hold
his readers spell-bound. Andas regards v-frq~r the kind of
poetry which suggests.even more than what it expresses, he is a
master of acknowledged, skill .... .,, .:.


The only dramatic poet whom we can compare with Kiidasea
is Bhavabhbiti; and although as a poet on the whole we must place
KIlidisa abbve Bhavabhlti, as a dramatic poet the palm is
certainly disputed with him by the latter. Nay,.the tide of opi-
nion among the Pandits once ran so high as to decidedly declare
in favour of Bhavabhbti, as the author of the Uttararimacharita.1
These two poets are justly regarded ag the leading dramatists in
Sanskrit. Both are most original poets gifted with genius of the
highest order. 'Both are masters of the natural style of poetry,
and both are equally happy in their choice of words. True that
Bhavabhiti's style is rather elaborate and in a few places marked
by long compounds; but in that the poet was unconsciously yield-
ing to the tendency of his age. If Kalidasa has more fancy and
imagination, Bhavabhiti is more sentimental and passionate.
Kilidasa excels in depicting the sentiment of Love ( SiR ), while
Bhavabhuti is in his element when depicting the sentiments of
Pathos ( ;U) and Heroism (4R). Neither, however, is much in-
ferior to the other in depicting what may be called the other's
forte. As Dr. Bhandarkar remarks, the former suggests or
indicates the sentiment which the latter expresses in forcible
language'. In the language of Sanskrit critics, Kilidisa's rasa is
conveyed or abhiryakta by the lakshya or vyangya sense of words,
while Bhavabhuti's is conveyed by the vachya sense. Kilidiaa's
may be described as the synthetical method of poetry, as
opposed to Bhavabhuti's which is analytical. We shall give a few
quotations in illustration of what we have said above. When
Dushyanta sees Sakuntali after love has wounded his heart, he
simply says--' ai F~s v ~ftt'; but compare Bhavabhuti
( Mal-Midh. III. 16)-
wFwRwfw WT;n qMujf^%U qM:
;frf -?r n w'TRo fwritr: I
Mm-W4 r w~iw n Mr O, R I

snwwwm 'i~i wr ii fntriR: II
1 Cj. the memorable line ii' UOIlih Qr41a~%m '4r I For
an interesting anecdote which makes the two poets exist contem-
poraneously with each other, see Dr Bhandarkar's preface to the
3]AI.- 2Ilalh, x-.-. i. ..,

( 18 )

Here the.feeling is the same, but different forms of it are
described. Compare the scene between Dushyanta and Sakun-
tals when left alone, with, what Mdhava says when Milati
embraced him in the disguise of her friend Lavangih--

BTfag~ 75flsITT I ft I

(qunnrafnfi w n-(II.(VI. 12)
Compare also, and as an instance of Bhavabhuti's forcible
style, the first effect produced on Madhava on seeing Malati.
He says-

faWi: ^ts~samilwa W OTa W p II (I. 30 )
Compare further the meeting of Dushyanta and Sankuntald
(p. 82 R I 4wTf f &c.) with that of Madhava and Mlati-
(a "sfTe: &c.) TW:-( IPi~,1 ) qf r tmirS, &o.
fwIiwi y- &c. VIII. 1,2 Again, he says---ftr ftil-

^ fais { iF^qt*a-;i~m?-

artiwtefewass fwar g awn-
%rm fri: fsqg firwpfj Ts q II (VIII. 4)
We have drawn upon the MAl.-Madh. because like the Sik.
it is a love-play1. It may be, as Dr. Bbandarkar remarks,
that Bhavabhuti has modelled the love 'of Madhava and
Milati upon that of Dushyanta and S'akuntali. But the
love of Madhava is more ethereal than that of Dushyanta,
1 Marathi students will do well to read Mr. Chiplunkar's
aesays on the two poets.

( 19)

and perhaps Bhavabhiti as a poet is more ethereal than
KTlidisa. Bhavabhifti's delineation of the sentiment qf
pathos is simply unparalleled ( Cf. Eu, i'i-q^ "i ). As
a poet of Nature arid as a describer of the picturesque he .i
not inferior to Kilidisa. The plays of Kilidasa on the
whole do not much aim at giving a. realistic picture of the
life of the society of his times; BhaVabhiti's. do. The
characters of Kolidisa are more romantic and idealistic in their
conception; those of Bhavabhbiti are more realistic and varied.

The problem of the date of Kiliddsa is a vexed one and
it has yet to be finally settled. The earliest mention of
Kalidasa by name is in the Aihole Inscription dated 634 A. D.,
and it furnishes the 7th century A. D. as the downward
limit .,of his date. Tradition mentions Kilidasa as a con-
temporary and a court-poet of king Vikramiditya. One king
of that' name founded the era known after him, which is
accepted as commencing with 57 B. C./ Some antiquarians once
did not accept this date as the correct one, but brought Vikramn-
ditya down to A. D. 544 propounding what was known as the
Korur Theory. The battle of Korur marked a turning-point in
Indian history, Vikramiditya.having defeated the WIlenchchhas
in it. Mr. Fergusson held that to commemorate the battle an"
era was invented, and that its beginning was placed back 600
years. So he put the true date of Vikramiditya at 644 A. D.,
and this theory for a time held sway, since no inscription was
discovered bearing a date prior to 600 of the Vikrama era. But
the discovery of the Mandasor Inscription which is dated Samvat
529, made this theory untenable, and the traditional date re-
mained unshaken. Then there is the theory of the Nine Gemd.
Nine eminent men called the Nine Gems' adorned the court of
king Vikramiditya-


Of these 3aiR is said to have lived between 414 A. D. and
642: A. D. Varahamihira is believed to have died in 587 A. D.
'On the strength of these dates of Kilidisa's supposed contem-
'poraries, Dr. Kern placed him in the latter half of the sixth
'century. But in this there are many a priori' conclusions and
'speculations as to probabilities. If the tradition proves any-
'thing definitely, it proves the connexion of Kilidisa with King
Vikramaditya; but, as regards the contemporaneity of the nine
authors, the tradition cannot be true. Next there is the theory
of Renaissance propounded by Prof. Max Miller. He divided
the whole Sanskrit literary period into two parts. The first
began with the Vedas and ended with- the first century 4. D.
Then came an interregnum, a period during which foreigners in-
vaded India and so literary activity waq dormant. The Pro-
fessor placed the Renaissance of Sanskrit learning in the sixth
century A. D., with the reign of Vikramiditya. But, as has been
shown by Drs. Peterson and Buhler, the period called inter-
'regnum was really not destitute of literary productivity, and
therefore if Kalidisia is to be considered as the first poet of
the new school, he must be placed considerably earlier than.
Prof. Max Muller did.
There are some minor things which have been pushed into
the controversy. These are-the alleged covert references to
Dinnuga and Nichula in the Meghaduta, the former a foe and the
latter a friend of Kdlidasa; (2) the identity of MItrigupta, a king
of Kashmir, and KIlidasa (for, names in Sanskrit are often titles
(and Matrigupta, lit. 'protected by the mother', may also be
taken as Kiligupta of Kiliddsa); and (3) the supposed astronomical
.references in the works of Kilidisa to the astronomical theories of
Aryablata who lived in 476 A. D. Prof. R. N. Apte has examined
all these at some length, and on the first point he comes to the
conclusion that Dinniga and Nichula were not contemporaries of
the great Kilidisa, but must have been contemporaries of some
other Kilidia. On the second point he observes that Mitrigupta
and Kiliddsa were two different persons, since they are differently
quoted by Kshemendra and other writers and commentators.
The supposed astronomical references have really no astrnnmical
,ignificance at all, and it cannot be said that was acqua.-


inted with the astronomical works of Aryabhata. Mr.K.B. Pathak,.
the latest exponent of the 6th century theory, repeats the argu-
ments given above,.but principally bases his conclusion on his,-
theory about the Huna kings, allusion to whom is: made by the.
poet in the Raghuvamia. He argues that since there is no men-
tion made of the Hinas in the Ramiyana, the conclusion follows.
that KAlidisa unconsciously refers to the Hina kings of his own,
time, who heTd sway over the Punjab andKashmir, in, the second,
quarter of the sixth century. But this rests merely on assumption
for there are references to the Hunas even in the "Mahabharata.
Prof. Apte has also shown that just beyond Bactria or the thres-
hold of ancient India, the Hunas had constituted a powerful
empire from the middle of the 3rd century B. C. to the end of the
1st or the End century A. D.
Modern European scholars are generally inclined to hold that
KAlidasa must have flourished under one or more of the Gupta
kings. The Gupta period ( about 300-650 A. D.) was noted in,
ancient Indian history for a revival of Sanskrit learning and arts.
Mr. Vicent A. Smith (see his Early History of India p. 304, 3rd
edn. 1914) believes that Kilidasa must have lived in the reign of
the first two, or even in that of the third,.of the Gupta Kings:-
Chandragupta II. (c. 357-413)
Kumaragupta I. (413-455)
Skandagupta (455-480)
Both Chandragupta II and Skandagupta had adopted the
title of Vikramaditya. Mr. Smith says:-" It is not unlikely that
the earliest works of Kaliddsa........may have been compo-
sed before A. D. 413. that is to say, while Chandragupta II was'
on the throne; but I am inclined to regard the reign of Kumira-
gupta I (413-455) as the time during which the poet's later works
were composed, and it seems possible, or even probable, that the
whole of his literary career fell within the limits of that reign. It
is also possible that he may have continued writing after the
accession of Skandagupta." Mr. Smith thinks that Kalidisa's
literary career must have extended over a period of not less than
thirty years. Note that even according to Mr. Smith there is
nothing wrong in the tradition about a Vikramiditya having been

( 22 )

our poet's patron; only we must arrive at an understanding as to
which Vikramaditya is meant, because various kings in the history
of ancient India called themselves by that title. We ourselves
hold, for reasons given below, that we must accept as our poet's
patron that king Vikramaditya whose traditional era commences
at 56 B. C. The attempt to place Kilidasa in the court of the
Gupta kings rests merely on the fact that Chandragupta II was
named Vikramaditya. But the existence of prior kings of that
title is now a.certainty.1
Vatsabhfiti, the author of the Mandasor inscription, copies
several ideas from Kalidisa;.the latter must, therefore, have lived
prior to 472 A. D. Again. Asvaghosha, the author of a life of the
great Buddha in Sanskrit, has numerous passages similar to those
occurring in the works of Kalidisa. Now, KIlidasa was an origi.
'nal poet borrowing his subjects from Vdlmiki and other 'ancient
authors. Asvaghosa was more a philosopher than a poet, and
may, with greater probability, he supposed to have borrowed his
ideas from Kilidisa. The date of Asvaghosha is given as 78
A. D.; and if we suppose him to have borrowed from Kalidasa,
the latter will have to be placed earlier than 78 A. D. And in
this view Dr. Peterson also concurs when he says, Kalidasa
stands near the beginning of the Christian era, if indeed, he does
not overtop it ".
There is also internal evidence pointing to the same conclusion.
We have first the evidence obtained from the state of the law of
inheritance and the penalty for theft as they are indicated in
passages in the Sikuntala. The passage in the sixth Act of the
drama, announcing the death of the merchant Dhanamitra who
died heirless, seems to Prof. Apte to refer to a period when the
widow of a deceased person could not inherit his estate. Such a
period is to be found only before the Christian era, when Manu,
A'pastamba and Vasishtha held sway, and Brihaspati, Saiikha,
Likhita and Yajnavalkya had not yet written their Codes. The
penalty for theft, as indicated in the prologue to the sixth Act,
seems to have been the eitreme one, it being the theft of a jewel.
1 The Rajatarangini mentions an earlier Vikramiditya, a
contemporary of Pratfpiditya of Kashmir.

( 23')

There is also a passage of similar import in( the Vikramorvasiya
( leMiW rI ifro &c. V. 1 ). The penalty for theft has been from
time to time mitigated with the progress of civilization. Mann
and Apastamba lay down the extreme penalty, the option of'fine
being introduced later on as we find it in the Smriti of Brihaspatl.
These two circumstances tend to show that Kalidisa flourished at
a period which is anterior to Brishaspati, the latter being generally
placed in the first century A. D..
Prof. Apte further calls attention to the fact that there is no
reference to the Nyiya philosophy in the'works of Kalidisa (except
perhaps in Ragh. XIII. 1, in which the word iqTa ( aTr)
occurs, but which the poet might have borrowed from the S9mkh-
yas ), and concludes that he must have lived before the develop.
ment of that philosophy. Then again we have the evidence of
style. The artificiality of diction and the fondness for long com-
pounds and doublemeaning words which mark the writings of
Dandin ( who in his KavyAdrasa says that an abundance of com-
pounds forms the very strength of poetry ). Bina, Bhavabhuti
(7th century A. D. ) and other mediaeval writers, are entirely
absent in KIlidfisa's writings-a fact which shows that he must be
placed some six or seven centuries before them, a period necessary
to cause such a revolution in the art of literary composition consi-
dering the scanty means of the propagation of learning in those
times. It thus becomes clear that Kalidisa lived in the first
century B. 0. at least.'
Among the vexed questions of Indian chronology there is none
more important or interesting than the date of Kaliddsa. It has
been the subject.of many a keen controversy, and there is scarcely
1 Prof. S. Ray calls attention to the discovery in 1909-10 of
the Bhita medallion, which pictures a scene which looks exactly
like the opening scene of the Slkuntala. The medallion is assigned
to the Sunga period ( 184 B. C.-72 B. 0.), and Prof. Ray assumes
that Kiliddsa is anterior to the date of the medallion, though the
Archaeological Survey authorities, holding to the Vincent Smith
date, are inclined to dispute the identification of the scene with
the one in the Play.


an Orientalist of note, who has either directly contributed to it, or
has, at least, espoused a side of the question. "Asa result of the
numerous investigations and criticism extending over a period of
nearly a century,1 we now get two rival theories regarding the date
of the great poet-the earlier or First Century B. C., and the later
or Fourth Century A. D., theory. The former may also be called
the Indian view, as in the words of Prof. A. B. Keith; "it has
now no serious supporters outside'India "1; while the latter may
be styled as the European view for the same reason, although
there are some Indian,sch olars also who accept it as the more
probable date of KIlidisa. Widely as the two views differ in
point of time, they are in agreement as to this that Kilidtsa
flourished in the reign of a king Vikramiditya of Ujjayini,
presumably the First. But as historians have wrongly thought
till now Chandra.Gupta II, of the Gupta dynasty, to be the first
monarch who bore that name, naturally the patronage of the poet
also has come to be fathered upon him, notwithstanding the
absence of any- corroborative evidence. And thus the revolt
against the traditional view is regarded as all but complete
and fruitful.
But this identification of the first Vikramiditya with Chandra
Gupta II is no longer unchallenged. In an article published by
me a few days ago in the 'Journal of Indian History ', Vol. X,
part 2, entitled 'A puzzlelin Indian Epigraphy', I have proved
the hollowness of the epigraphic foundation on which the whole
theory is based. And as the question of the date of Kiliddsa
necessarily hinges on the date of Vikramaditya, the present article
may be regarded as only a sequel to the first. The results obtained
in the former may be summed up as follows:-
Firstly, the word gana' in the phrase gana-sthiti', which
occurs in the Mandsore inscriptions, mean 'garnarn' (reckoning),
which sense is recorded by the f abdarnava Kosi.
Secondly, the-whole phrase 'gana-sthiti' means 'the system
of reckoning', and not tribal constitution', as epigraphists have
taken it to mean!s6 far.

1. Keith, Sanskr it Drama, p. 143.


Thirdly, the theory of the Malavan Republic in the first
century B. C., which is based on nothing better than the misinter-
pretationof the above-mentioned phrase, is entirely unfounded,
tlere being absolutely no other. evidence to support it.
And fourthly, King Vikramaditya of the Pramara dynastry;
the hero of countless legends, ruled at Ujjayini at the time, as is
testified by the Rajput Chronibles and the Kathasaritsagara.
Thus the existence and monarchy of the legendary Vikrama-
ditya being placed on a firm historical footing, it now only remains
to see whether in the body of evidence adduced so far to deter-
mine the date of Kalidasa there is anything that necessitates his
dissociation from this earlier king of that name, or association with
later king of the same name. It is scarcely necessary to remark
that in the evidence there is nothing of the kind, unless we con-
found with that evidence the various fanciful theories which are
put forward to makeup its deficiency, rather than obtained as its
legitimate conclusions. That evidence, on the other hand, as I
shall now endeavour to prove, is far more favourable for the
earlier, than for the later date of the poet. Besides, the nearness
of Kalidasa to King Udayana as revealed in Megh. 30, and his
repeated use of the epithet Mahendra in the Viktamoriasiya,
furnish evidence which, as I shall prove for the first time, confirms .
the earlier date.
All external evidence, so far available, only proves that K li-
drsa lived centuries before Bana and Ravikirti and also before
Vatsabhatti, the author of the Alandorse inscription. This is, of
course, indecisive in determining his exact date. But the religious
creed of the poet and the linguistic peculiarities in his works
clearly point to the first century B. C. as the more probable date
of the two. For the Gupta kings were avowed Vaisnavas, while
Khlidasa's Saivite inclinations are quite unmistakable. Accor-
ding to the Kathdsaritsagara, Vikramiditya, ( the founder of the
Samvat era) and his father Mahendraditya, were both zealous
devotees of God Siva; so much so, that the father is described as
peculiarly favoured by that God who sent down his 'gana',
Malyavat by name, to be born on the earth as his son. And, as I
have already remarked in my former article, the whole province


of Malwa appears to have received a sort of impetus in its Saivism
from the magnificent piety of such rulers. It is far more reasona-
ble, therefore to suppose that Kiliddsa lived at a time when Sai.
vism was at its height in Malwa and enjoyed the patronage of
kings with whom he agreed in religious views, than that he lived
in the decadent period of Saivism, and was patronised by Vais-
nava, rulers.'
The linguistic evidence also points in the same direction. A
glance at the Gupta inscriptions is sufficient to convince the reader
that their style belongs to a period which is certainly later than
that of Kalidasa. Long compounds, which form the very essence
of later Sanskrit prose as well as poetry, play a far more
important part in the inscriptions than in the works of
Kalidisa. Indeed, the fondness for long compounds which
secure an economy of words unknown to any other language
seems to have been an ever-increasing passion, in the early
centuries of the Christian era till at last it reached its
culminating point about the time of Bina. During the
Gupta period it appears to be growing stronger, as even a cursory
glance at the inscriptions is sufficient to convince. As this is a
tendency that belongs to the epoch and not to individual poets,
it is certainly incorrect to assign Kiliddsa to the Gupta period.
Then again, the archaisms of Kflidasa point in the same direction.
He clearly lived at a time when the Paninian grammar had not
obtained a complete vogue. Constructions like d gtj fl Hqr
qq9r q i (Raghu IX, 61) and sVait ;W V =1i ibidd.
XIII, 36) which Mallinatha calls 'un-Paninia only, presuppose
the sanction of some other grammatical system, than the Paninian.
And such Vedic or post-Vedic forms as aTr for -1, CTbl4 for
m R-am, RFTW. for i~Wmi and fqTEs for sqrEi, must be
regarded as belonging to a period, anterior to the Guptas by sev-
eral centuries. We may, therefore safely assign Kalidasa to the
first century B. C., when the Paninian grammar, supplemented
1. Raghu. XIV 23, Kum. I, 35.
2. Sak. III.
3. Raghu. XIV, 71.
4. Kum. III, 44.

( :7 )

and commented upon by-Kgtyyyana and Patabjali respectively
was gaining, but had not gained, a full vogue; when post-Vedio
and epic words were still lingering in the,'bhbtiE' or classical
Sanskrit; and when some other grammatical systems were still
holding their own against the Paninian supremacy. That Bharavi
and other immediate successors of Kilidasa do not swerve an iota
from Panini's rule is a fact which reveals his considerable remo-
.teness from them and thus also confirms the early date.
But of greater importance than either the religious creed or
the linguistic peculiarities, is the historical allusion in stanza 30 of
the Meghaduta. In it the -cet. distinctly says that the old folks
ofAvanti in his times were deeply versed in the legends of
Vatsa-rija Udayana. This clearly shows that the legends were a
living tradition in Kiliddsa's time. As oral traditions cannot
continue very long after the death of the hero, it is but reasonable
to assign Kaliddsa to the first century B. C., when the
country of Malwa could still be resounding with Udayana's
exploits. And a distance of about for centuries between the king
and the poet is the only reasonable and maximum distance of time.
It is highly improbable that the Udayana legend should be a living
tradition, even after the lapse of nine centurie-the distance of time
which separates William the Conquerer from Edward VII-as we
are compelled to suppose if we chose the 4th century A. D. as the
date of Klidasa. From the way in which the allusion is made, it
appears that, as people of Dehli and Agra relate certain traditional
stories about the great Moghul Emperors in this twentieth century
so the people of Ujjayini told stories of Udayana in Kilidisa's
time. Besides, after Gunddhya wrote his popular Brhaikathj in
the first century A. D., the Udayana legend became widespread
throughout India, and it could not be confined to the old folks of
Ujjayini only in the 4th century A. D., as we must suppose it was,
if we accept the later date of Kllidisa. The choice of the theme
of the Malavikagninitra also confirms the earlier date. For a
poet of the fourth century A. D. could scarcely be much familiar
with the petty incidents-in the life of a king'who lived at least five
hundred years before him. Thus from the foregoing discussion
we arrive at results which are mutually harmonious. King
Udayana, who was a contemporary of Gautama and Mahlvira.

( 28 );

ras, for about five centuries, the ,-ir o cft Ic u'r romantic tales,
which bere ult imately incorpcrat d into his monumental work by
.Gunfdhya in the first century A. D. Thesetales were in the shape
of current oral traditions in the time of Kiliddsa who lived about,
century before that prolific writer. And it is that noble patron
of Kllidasa, Vikramiditya of Ujjayini, who finds a place in the
last book of the Brbatkatlji, and who was later destined to oust
Udayana from the field of romance and take that plabe for himself i
And if there are any veiled compliments to his patron in the work
'of Kilidisa, or any grounds that suggest a similarity between the
heroes of his poetical works and a living hero of his time, they
.are, as I shall now prove for the frst time, incomplete agreement
with this earlier Vikramnditya of the Brhatkatha and not with
.any other later king of that name. These are indeed, so striking
in their occurrence and appearance, and so felicitous in their result
-and corroborative force that they completely undermine the
CGupta theory which is now in vogue. The unsoundness and even
hollowness of that view, however, shall be subsequently proved
-quite apart from these considerations.
The title of the play' Vikramorvasiya', it is generally believed
is chosen by KIliddsa in order to glorify and immortalise lis
patron's name. According to the Kalhasariisa gara' which is only
an abridgement of Gunidhya's B! hatkatha, now unfortunately lost,
the name of Vikramaditya's father was Mahendfiditya. And the"
repeated use of the epithet Mahendra' in the play, from among
a large number of Indra's epithets, now reveals its mystery. Evi-
-dently the poet intends to sing the glory of the old k ing Mahendra,
-whose patronage he appears to have enjoyed in his youth. Indeed,
the repetition of that one epithet is so frequent that in the first
-act alone it occurs no less than six times. Then in the short pre-
lude to the third act, which is hardly two pages in length, we find
it repeated four times. The same number of times it i.repeated
in the last act.also. The poet's fondness for variety, .and dislike
.of repetition are so well known, that the persistent use of that one
*epithet cannot be easilyset aside. It is especially significant that,
other epithets of Indra, though employed, are not repeated in any
.sense of the word, while 'Mahendra' occurs too frequently in this
play, and in this play only. In the .7th act of the Sakuitala,


and the 3rd cahto'of the Kumnirsambhaaa' where Indra figures
prominently, we do not discover the repetition of any one of the-
names of'that god. Since the-epithet occurs in prose sentences
only, it is evidently used by preference and not by the sheer force
of necessity, as, perhaps, may be thought in the case of metricol
compositions. It is not, however, only the repetition that we are-
to take as significant in import, but there are a few sentences
also in the play, which are strikingly suggestive. They are-
as follows:-

C,, 9frkr^Ik Ur, Vik. I

meant to Vikramditya. Nos. and 4 seem to be an ecomium
on Mahendra, the father of Vikramfditya, and the ruling king of
Ujjayini at the time. No. 2 is specially important, inasmuch as it
mentions together the names of the father and the son, and that
also in such a manner as leaves no doubt in the mind of the reader
about their mutual relation. For it is clearly suggested that the
Sgreatenss ', or exploits of Vikrama, bring relief to Mahendra
( *n '',Kit). Still more important and suggestive is No.. 5,
wherein the poet clearly shows his preference for Mahendra, since
the repetition of Purandhara from the preceding stanza would fit
better in the context; and thus by a clever suggestion, seems to
echo the grief of Kingship at the intended retirement of the old
King. Such clear compliments, of course, could never be lost on
the contemporary spectators of the play when it was first enacted
on the stage of Ujjayini. Indeed, the play seems to have been
composed at the time of -the intended retirement of Mahendra
from active life, and the installation of Vikrama on the throne-
an arrangement which conforms to the poet's ideal of a venerable
old king, who finds his son grown years, .and promising in


abilities.1 That Mahendiaditya, the father of the founder of 'the
Samvat era, actually renounced the kingdom in, this manner, is
clear from the Kathasaritsagara :-
aam r y'W'f (T fifrf mirifsr
q|ifotwqsrd: W rf faIsfP W I
ist OMMfI r4iT Z ruis ftfs%* frcR II
Katha. XVIII. 59-60.
And sentence No. 6, as indeed the whole last scene in the 5th
act of the Vikramorvasiya, suggests the actual course of events
-of the times : viz., the 'Rdjyabhikeka' of the young prince, and the
-retirement of the old king to Varinasi with his queen and minister.
'The dramatist, of course, has to wind up the play in accordance
with the laws of Bharata, the supreme law-giver of Sanskrit drama-
-tist, who does not allow a sorrowful'end in Sanskrit dramas.
Thus the Vikramorvasiya reveals that Kalidas, had already
made a name as a great poet-though not yet as the greatest-in
-the reign of Mahendraditya. Very likely the Mdlavikagnimitra
had laid the foundation of his fame. He was certainly a young
:man at the time of the retirement of that king-not much older
-we may -believe, than jhe prince Vikramiditya, whose royal
patronage he appears to have enjoyed afterwards tor a longer period
and composed, during that time of maturity, those master-pieces
which easily give him the first place among Sanskrit poets.
The testimony of the Raghuvamsa is still more remarkable.
"The childlessness of Dilipa in the early part of his life and the boon
-of Visistha's celestial cow, Nandini, to which favour the birth of
Raghu is ascribed, bear a strong reesmblance to the similar
-condition of Mahendriditya, and the birth of Vikramiditya by
,Siva's favour, in the Kathdsaritsdgara. Then the education of
young Iaghu, his marriage with several princesses, his strong but
-benevolent rule after he became a king, and lastly his digvijaya
.are so strikingly parallel to the respective incidnets as given in the
Katha, that.they force the reader into the belief that the poet
chooses legendary Raghu to represent his living patron. The follow.
ing stanzas may be taken for a comparison :-
1. Cf. Raghu. I, 8; III, 70; VII, 71, etc.


tr y aTfimri s trafq. l

hath fi tlr afr 10,: fiT5,1
t 1,0 -,1.<1: II

Katha. XV II, 1,60,55,68,61.

yesiIdfTaMM I

f- WfsifMn VTsrfan iI

:fT;'' f+ 1 'i Ir ~, fta' 1

Raghu. II, 16,2933rT,: IV

Raghu. III, 16,29,33, IV, 1.

it will be easily perceived that the patrons of Kalidasa,
MIahendra and Vikrama, were the earlier and more famous kings
'of Ujjayini than the Gupta Kings who only borrowed these names
after making that city their capital. It is well known that Chan-
Gupta honoured the memory of Mahendraditya by taking that
name as an honorific title for himself. As, however, these names
did not really belong to them, but were only adopted after
Ujjayini became thetr capital, it is easy to understand the motive
that actuated them to do so. That very motive goes to show that
.Malwa was still cherishing the memory of her glorious past kings
Mahendra and his son Vikrama. However, when Chandra-Gupta
II decorated himself with the brighter name of the son, his son
Kumara-Gupta had no other choice but to content himself with
the bright name of the father. Thus the original names of the
Pramara kings of Avanti, who were related as father and son, are
found as titles, but in a reverse order, among the Gupta rulers.
Again, the same motive for imitation argues in this, as in all other
similar cases, the natural inferiority of the imitator to the person
whom he regards as his model. The patrons of Kilidisa, there-


fore, are those who are described in the Kathi., and none of t he
Gupta Emperors, as is clear from :the internal evidence furnished
by his own works. For we must not lose sight of the fact that
the Guptas were avowed Vaisnavas, while these earlier kings of
Malwa were staunch Saivas, in their creed. Also the other name
of the founder of the Samvat era, as given in the Kathb., was
Visamasila, and not Chandra or Skanda. If, therefore, any con-
fusion is likely to arise owing to the similarity of names betwcfn
the earlier and later kings of Malwa, the:above facts coupled with
the foregoing explanation sufficiently clear it up. And the
patronage of Kaliddsa can be fathered on the earlier and more'
glorious Vikramaditya onl3 -he who was to harassed Brabmanism
what Asoka was to unpatronized Buddhism, who is immortalized
in Brahmanic legends as much as the Maurya Emperor is in the
Buddhistic, and whose reign acquired a peculiar glory by the con-
solidation of Brahmanism, the expulsion of the barbarians and the
revival of Sanskrit learning; so much so that down to the time of
Bhoja in the 1lth Century A. D., all aspiring Hindu Kings looked
up to him as their model.
Thus fares the first century B.'"C. theory, which has 'no
serious supporters outside India'. It harmonizes well first, with
the time-honoured tradition, preserved through centuries,
'according to which the greatest Sanskrit poet was the protege of
one of thegreatest and most glorious kings of ancient India.
Then, secondly, it agrees with all external evidence discovered
heretofore, and from internal evidence derives a support, by
far stronger and more concordant, than" the various vague
theories which are founded more on speculation than on facts.
And lastly, it is the only theory that necessitates no. change in
the chronology of certain important works like the Brahatkatha,
which otherwise must be considered as tampered with in the
last book, though without evidence, and also perverted, though
without any conceivable motive. The date of Kaliddsa thus
being fixed as the Ist centiiry B. C., Bhasa may be assigned
t the 3rd or 4th century before Christ. In merely fixing the
date of the latter, we are not, of course, concerned with the
authenticity of the plays that go in his name. That is a question
which should be decided on its own merits. All that we want to


say here is that the renowned predecessor of Kalidisa; must have
lived at least two centuries before him, if not earlier. It is very
difficult to understand why Prof. Keith places him ohly 50 years
before Kilidisa and brings down his date to the 3rd century l
A. D. Such a chronological arrangement may be very con-
venient to the chronologist who starts with certain pre concep-
tions, no doubt; but it is against Nature, at: any rate, that shows
,neither hurry nor regularity in the production of literary or any
pther kind of greatness. :.
And now a critical examination of the theories that have
serious supporters outside India will reveal how they stand.
There is, indeed, not a jot or little of historical evidence to prove
the contemporaneity of Kilidisa with the Gupta emperors, as
these theorists tacitly assume and confidently assert. That very
assumption has its origin in the epigraphic puzzle referred to in
the beginning of his article and the confusion consequent upon
it. In other words, the association of the great poet with
Chandra Gupta II rests on nothing better than the erroneous
idea that that monarch is the first Vikram ditya in the ancient
history of India. Once the hypothesis is formed, it is not at all
difficult to prop it up by arguments which seem to lend some
support, to it. Accordingly, we find a very large amount of
ingenious speculation displayed in discovering some clue or other
that would lead to agreeable results. In the first place, much
ado is made about K(liddsa's use of the root 'gup' and its
derivatives, in order to strengthen the hypothesis. And secondly,
his used f the word Kumara in the Raghuvamsa, as well as
the choice of theme of the KirumlrasIamblhaa is taken as espe-
cially significant of his high regard for his patrons. Unhappily,
both these arguments are equally unsound in their logic and
utterly incapable of proving that which they are called upon to
prove. It is scarcely necessary to say that no word or phrase
in the work of a poet can be taken as especially significant in
import unless the same is used by clear preference or in context.
which is highly suggestive. As to the use of the root gup
in the Raghuvamsa, it is, in the first place, a common-place

1 Keith, Sanskrit Drama, p. 93.


root, a root which is used many a time, by the authors of the
Epics also. Moreover, it is a root which is very frequently
found in political writings. In Kautilya's Arthasastra, as even
a casual reader will admit, the words 'gupta', 'gupti', etc.,
are very conspicuous by their occurrence. Then in the MaTnu
Smrti also, the same words are repeated again and again, as
they necessarily belong to legal phraseology.1 KalidAsa, whose
deep acquaintance with the political science of the times is
unquestionable, uses that root and also its derivatives only
in their political or legal sense.2 Thus there is nothing peculiar
or striking in the use of that root by Kalidtsa. As a matter
of fact, he uses all the roots which mean to protect' according
to the exigency of the metre such as 'pa' raksa 'trai' while
he uses 'gup' in the legal or political sense viz., 'to guard'.
Besides, there is nothing peculiarly suggestive in the use of that
root in any one of the contexts. To associate him, therefore,
with the Guptas on such trivial or threadbare evidence is as
futile as to associate him with some S'aka king, because, of his
occasional use of the root ak' and its derivatives. And
the patronage of Bbavabhuti may as well be claimed for
some Kadamba king because of his fondness for 'Upamas'
(similies), relating to the Kadamba3 tree! The common
sense of mankind, however, will never suffer scholarship to
go so hopelessly wrong. It is impossible to arrive at any thing
like. a rational conclusion from common place usages.
Nor is the use of the word "Kumara" in any way more
significant. Those who attach any importance to the occurrence of
that word in the Raghuvamra, an occurrence which is neither very
frequent, nor striking may only be referred to the Kddambari,
the Venisamhdra and the Mudrnraksasa, where the same word is
much more frequently used. If the poet, therefore, uses that word
in the Raghuvamna, he uses it only by necessity, even as he does

]. Cf. Manu VII, 14, 56, 76; VIII, 374-78. Yajnavalkya
I, 311-321.
2. Cf. Raghu. I, 21, II, 3; IV, 26, etc. "
3. Cf. Uttar R. C. III, 42; VI, 17; Mal. M. III. 7; VIII, 1;
IX, 16, 43. ,


-the feminine form 'Kumdri 'in the sixth canto of the same poem.
-indeed, the word is too common in Sanskrit literature to be made
much ado about. It is not more frequently used than its synonyms
like suta', 'putra', 'tanaya', atmaja', 'sinu' etc., as a critical in-
vestigation of several cantos of the Raghiuvaiusis will amply bear
out. It is not, therefore, repeated in any sense of the word. Far
different' in every respect is the poet's choice of the epithet
" Mahendia" throughout the Vikramor.a'tya. As has been
already said above, it is used by preference and not by necessity;
the very repetition is striking in itself, inasmuch as noother
epithet is repeated at all. Then there are a few sentences which
are highly suggestive of an intended compliment, to him who
might bear the same name. And above all, the conclusions thus
obtained fully agaee with the independent testimony of the
Katliisariltsgra. It is therefore a theory which stands on a firn
basis, has nothing fantastic or extravagant in it, and leaves noth-
ing unexplained. The Gupta theory, on the other hand, has ito
origin in a confused, distorted history, its growth in idle conjectu-
res, and its termination in fantastic, illogical conclusions. Prof.
:Keith's oft, repeated assertion to the effect that Kilidisa's works
reveal the clear stamp of Brahmanical learning .prevalent in the
Gupta period, is hardly correct. For all the Siastras with which
the poet shows his acquaintance-Samkhya, Yoga, N.y~ya, Veddnta,
VV .ikarana, Artha-Sistra, Astrology, Astronomy-belong, beyond
doubt, to a period which is not only very considerably earlier than
the earlist'Gupta Kings, but also earlier than the birth of Christ.
What., indeed, is it that can be called as the peculiar learning of
the Gupta times ? Even the few astronomical terms, such as the
names of the signs of the Solar Zodiac, which are supposed to be
of Greek origin, and on which Prof. Keith evidently lays much
stress, are found in BanldhIyana" Grhvyd-'eqo-Stitra, not to speak
of the Rin iayvaiia and other old works. The whole question,
indeed, of India's indebtedness to Greece in the progress of her
astronomical knowledge deserves a more careful investigation
The late Mr. Tryambak Gurunath Kale was the first man to
point out this important reference to the names of the r sis in
Bau. Gr. Sesa Sutra, where the limits of spring are described as
'" ft W ,z" : ;r':" f' ,ide Tilak, Gitarahasy.-


than has been accorded to it heretofore. But in the meanwhile,
it may be safely. imagined that the knowledge of the rd'is,
or Solar Zodiac, be it whence it might, had been commonly
diffused in India in te first century B. C. And even its Greek.
origin has nothing in it that Pwould necessitate a change in the-
date of Kilidasa, which in all other respects stands unshaken.
For, the interval of more:than two centuries between Alexander's-
invasion and the foundation of the Samvat era is sufficient to-
explain the spread of so important a doctrine and especially in
a country, where astromony had been spontaneously growing up-
from Vedic times. Thus the Fourth Century A. D. theory, which,
makes Guptas the patrons of Kdliddsa, and which was, perhaps, a
plausible hypothesis at one time, is no longer tenable, Strangely
enough, these Gupta Kings, as soon as they emerge6from oblivion
to which they were consigned by later centuries, rise at once-
before us not only as powerful monarch (which ;they certainly
were), but also as great patrons of poets (which is very doubtful).
But, unfortunately, the claim is too extravagant to. be substant-
iated by facts. There was certanily not a Bina or, a Bilhana at
their court. And Sanskrit literature may be in vain ransacked to-
find the name of an author of note, except Vasubandbu, who,
beyond doubt, enjoyed their patronage. Nothing, indeed, so clearly
demonstrates the hollowness of the basis of theorists, chronologists,
and Indologists in general, as the bold attempt to connect with
the Gupta Emperors, whatever is best and most beautiful in
Sanskrit literature without any kind of evidence whatever. For,
beyond a few isolated inscriptions there is no literary composition
that may be authoritatively, called as ,belongingto the Gupta.
period. It is not, however, to be supposed that there were no-
authors during that period; but even those who lived in those
times, have not mentioned the names of the Gupta monarchs. Had.
they really been the great patrons of learning, as their modern.
advocates make them to be, they would not have been so easily
consigned to oblivion. In India the memory of a Bhoja is far
more tenacious and durable than that of a Samudra Gupta. And
yet, we are told, time and again, that the Gupta period is the
Augustan period of Sanskrit literature Never was a theory more
erroneous in its conception ormore unsubstantial in its evidence.


In fine, it is a theory that rests on the partisanship of the modern
admirers of the Gupta Kings, and on the general tendency of
'Sanskritists to assign the earliest Sanskrit poets to a period about
-the fourth century A. D.,' hen the Guptas were the overlords of
India, rather than onthe testimony of Sanskrit literature. Where
:history is silent and tradition defied or perverted, no wonder, if
-extravagant speculation proudly comes in, and holds undivided
sway. And like the ancient Greek writers who are said to be the
slaves of their own metaphors, Orientalists are the slaves of their
.own hypothesis.
Cowell's theory of KlJidisa's indebtedness to Asvaghosa now
'hardly merits a serious refutation, since it is wholly foun-
-ded on the supposed priority of the latter. It may, however, be
pointed out that the very analogy on which Cowell lays so much
stress, is very weak, and so far from proving what it aims at, only
supports its direct contrary. For, in all the literatures of the
world men of great genius are 'found as the creditors and models
-of writers of second-rate and third-rate abilities; and reminiscences
from, and imitations of, the great masters are by no means unco-
'mmon in those who come after them, and possess none of their
'greatness. Instances to the contrary, on the other hand, are so
rare that they can never form the basis of a favourable analogy.
It is scarcely necessary to say that their validity is to be judged
'by tEe clear and uncontested chronological evidence pertaining
-to each case. That the great Virgil -is laid under obligations by
-the greater Homer is a fact which clearly illustrates where the
fiistinct and motive for imitation and borrowing lie.* Asvaghosa's
works, moreover, do not seem to have been noticed by orthodox
-Brahman writers, as anything like a reference to them or to their
author is entirely wanting in anthologies or alafikara works.
'Whether a fastidious critic like MIammata would have condescended
;to criticise such a tantologous simile as
w wftifR wrfWWfthr t : ti Bu. 0, I. 19
Let my detractors try for themselves" says Virgil to his
contemporary critics when they accused him of borrowing Homer's
.deas, and they will find that it is easier to rob Hercules of his'
aod than to rob Homer of a single line. "

(38 )

may best be left to the imagination of the reader. The rela-
tion, therefore, of Asvaghosa to Kilidisa is not that of Ennius to-
Virgil, as Cowell relying on the 4th century A. D. theory would
have us believe, but that of Virgil to Homer as we may now
believe in the light of the first century B. C. theory. Dr. Keith,
however, thinks that the prakrits of Asvaghoasa "undeniably ""
point to his priority to Kilidasa. But that is scarcely correct.
The prakrits were always influenced by provincialism, and in the-
case of Buddhistic writers like Asvaghosa it is but natural that.
the influence of Pali should be predominant even when they write
prakrit. The archaisms in Kalidisa's Sanskrit, on the other hands-
point to his priority to Asvaghosa-a fact which Dr. Keith has
completely ignored. Moreover, the whole argument from the
nature of prakrits is purely hypothetical, as there is no definite
evidence to say that a particular type of prakrit belongs to a.
particular century.
Still less tenable is the theory that makes Kilidisa a contem-
porary of Difignaga, the Buddhistic philosopher. I am inclined
to admit the "dhvani" in Meghadfita 14, though several scholars
are sceptical even about that. However, that "dhvani" (suggested
idea) only shows that KIlidasa was envied by a poet of the name,
of Difignaga. But he cannot be the celebrated Buddhistic philo-
sopher as Sanskritists held so far. For, firstly, the Buddhistic
philosopher is'not known to have been a poet. Secondly, there
cannot exist anything like enmity between a poet and a philoso.
pher, who are as far as under from one another as any two literary
celebrities can be. Thirdly, Dingnaga, the Buddhistic philosopher,
is not known to have been a resident of Ujjayini or even of Malwa,
still less a protege of a king of that country, as Kilid:sa is
generally supposed to :have been. But far more important
and decisive than ;,ll these reasons which after all point to,
probabilities, is the discovery of the "KaIndilmnji "' in recent
years. The author of this drama Diignaga by name, is.
evidently a different writer from the Buddhistic philosopher
who bears the same name. For the very stanzas of the "Nandi"
prove that he:is of the Brahmanic faith,, as no Buddhistic writer-
gan show his devotion to Heramba ( Ganpati) and Siva. It would
be, indeed, as outrageous in a Jaina or a Baudha to, cherish such.

( 39 ),

a reverence for the Brahmanical gods, as it would be in a protes,
tant to attend the Mass. The ignoble rival of Kalidisa, therefore,
may be the author of the Kundamalii; or-which is also equally
probable-another writer of the same name whose petty compo-
sitions, like those of the mean rival of Euripides. Time did not
suffer to exist for long. At any rate, he is not the same as the
Buddhistic philosopher.
Dr. Pathak's theory is no longer in vogue. But really the
weak points of that theory do not seem to have attracted proper
notice. His attempt to identify Vamksu with the Oxus is
hardly justifiable. For in the first place the authenticity of the
reading is not beyond doubt; and secondly it is inconceivable that,
Kalidisa, who never misses an opportunity of describing the
grandeur of any river that he knew of, would omit one of the
grandest and the mightiest of the Indian rivers, viz., the Indus,
and hasten to mention the Oxus, which was probably as little
known to him as either the Tigris or the Euphrates. Besides, the
region of the river, whichever it may be, is described as a saffron-
growing region. And this agrees more with the Indus in her
course through Kashmere, where that precious commodity is
largely grown, than with the Oxus whose region is not famous for
it. As to the philological process by which the identification of
Vamksu with Oxus is sought to be established, I need only remark
that the Thames could be easily identified with the Tamas& by a
similar process. Moreover, as S. K. Ray points out, from descrip-
tions furnished by the Visnu and other works, Vamlisu
and Sindhu seem to be identical.1
Asto the mention of the Hiunas in Raghu's digvijaya"
(Raghu. IV. 68), which Dr. Pathak makes a capital of, no more
need be said than what BGhler says on the point. In the face
of these facts he remarks, it is hard to believe that Kilidisa,
instead of following as a good Kavi is supposed to do, the autho-
rity of the lists of people in the MahfbhArata or of the Bhuvana-
vinyisa in the Purinas, should have occupied himself with the
historico-geographical investigations regarding the conditions of
the frontier people of his times. If we look into his works more

1. S. R. Ray's Shakuntalam, 8th ed, Introduction, p. 8.


carefully, we shall find much that points atb his having made use
of the sources mentioned above. The whole of the 'digvijaya '
contains no names which are not also named in the Purinas on
similar occasions, It also mentions, side by side, peoples like the
Parasikas, the Yavanas, the Hunas, and the Kambojas, which can
never justly belong to the time of the poet, why, even to no single
period of time whatever."1 That Kalidfsa refers to contemporary
events in describing Raghu's 'digvijaya' is a supposition which is
scarcely endurable for a moment.
Besides these there are several minor theories about the date
of Kalidasa. But they are of the same tenor as the above, and merit
no special notice. They deserve, if anything at all, the compli-
ment which Mr. Belloc bestows on similar theories in European
history, viz, they are worthy of Academies only ". And thus
the first century B. C. theory now stands on a fi.m footing,
notwithstanding the general apathy of orientalists outside India.
To reject it without any insurmountable objection will not be a
scholarly refusal. Any attempt, on the other hand, to assign a
later date to KIlidisa after this, will scarcely be laudable until
some historical evidence of an unimpeachable character is brought
to light.
NoTE.-The presence of a large number of prakrit stanzas in
the fourth act of the Vikramorvasiya-a presence which has led
to a never- ending controversy among the modern editors of the
play-may now be easily accounted for. These stanzas can
hardly be spurious notwithstanding the arguments of S. P.
Pandit and others, who endeavour to prove them as such chiefly
on the ground that any prakrit pieces must be simply out of place
in an act like the fourth, which, by the sheer force of the dramatic
circumstances, must be a purely Sanskrit monologue. For even
the most audacious interpolator could scarcely hope to pass with-
out fear of instantaneous detection, first, so large a number of
stanzas into a single act, and, second, stanzas so artistically modu-
lated to movements of dancing and modes of singing. By the very
necessity of his situation, an interpolator must create a similar
stuff to fit in a particular context, and insert it cautiously and
sparingly into its place. We must, therefore. look upon these
1. Ind. Ant. 1913.


stanzas as the genuine work of Klidfsa and seek for an explana-
tion in the historical circumstances in Which, as already suggested
above, the play originated. As the Vikra,,orvai; ya was specially
composed for and enacted on, the occasion of the Riijyjbhi dki
of Vikramaiditya, the dramatist seems to have kept a special
object in view-in all likelihood, the entertainment of the royal
audience-in the introduction of'these prakrit songs. Thus they
were a sort of chorus, specially introduced to break the monotony
of the prevailing sentiment, and to treat the audience to a musical
concert. As, however, this historical origin of the play became
gradually obscure, these prakrit stanzas became only an encum-
brance, the omission of which does, in no way interfere with the
smooth course of the pure Sanskrit monologue. It is a wellknown
fact that the prakrits were a more proper vehicle for musical
delicacies than Sanskrit.

The Abhijidna-sakuntalal is a Ndtaka in seven Acts, based
on the well-known love-story of king Dushyanta and the maiden
Aakuntala, as given in the ancient Indian epic, the MIabhabbrata.
The scene of the first four Acts is laid at Kanca's hermitage at
the foot of the Himalayas, and later it shifts to the capital, Hasti-
napura (Acts V.-VI.), and finally to Maricha's hermitage on the
Hemk ita mountain. We give below a detailed analysis of the story
of the play, act by act, so that the various topics to be dealt with
subsequently will be more readily intelligible to the student:-
Act I. After the Benedictory stanza invoking Siva the Mana-
ger briefly refers to the season, which is grislhma, and then leaves,
adroitly introducing king Dushyanta in full hunting garb, followed
by his charioteer. While the King is about to shoot his arrow
at an antelope pursued by him, he is interrupted by an ascetic,
1. The word. abliijicina in the title signifies a token of
Recognition' (hi-o, a ring), which is instrumental in bringing
about the final recognition of Sakuntala by the King.


who informs him that the animal belongs to the abrama of Kula-
pati Kanva, and the sanctity of the place must not be violated
by its slaughter. The King refrains from killing, and is.thent
invited to receive such hospitalities as the aiirama could offer.
Sage Kanva is away, but his daughter Sakuntalaiis there, who-
would most surely look after the guest's comfort. The King accepts,
the invitation, and, asking his charioteer to wait out side, enters the-
hermitage. There he finds three girls of exquisite loveliness, water-
ing the flowering plants and shrubs; he at once falls in love with,
Sakuntal] who is one of them other two being her companions. At,
a suitable point in their talk the King, who was hihterto concealed'
in the background, goes forth and addresses them. In the course
of the general conversation that ensues, he learns that Sakuntald
is Kanva's adopted daughter, being born of Menakd by Vis'vamitra
and deserted by her natural parents. He thus discovered her to be-
of Kshatriya parentage, and therefore a suitable bride for him..
He, however, does not reveal his true character to them, but in.
tends for the present to remain incognito. In the meanwhile,.
news comes of an elephant running amok and causing damage,
and at that the company breaks up. The King departs, head'
over ears in love, and determined to encamp there and see it.
through. Sakuntali, too, on her part, is struck by the grace and'
charm of the new visitor ( Cf. ownM f~'vrq, etc., p. 39)

Act II. The second act introduces the King in a lovesick:
condition and the Vidfishaka, his companion and the privileged
court-jester, is trying in his own way to soothe and divert his:
royal master's mind. The King first of all directs his General to-
stop the chase and to order his followers not to disturb the hermi-
tage, and then he acquaints the Vidfishaka with his having fallen
in love, at first sight, with Sakuntali, the adopted daughter of
the great sage Kanva. The King asks his friend to find out some
means by which he can manage to stay in the vicinity without
arousing comment or suspicion, when his difficulty is solved, quite-
unexpectedly, by some ascetics coming in and requesting the King
to stay and look after the safety of their sacrificial rites, which
were being disturbed by evil spirits., It proves an opportune andy
welcome invitation, and the King accepts it. At the same time-


he sends off the Vidfishaka to the capital to be 'near his roya.
mother; and, least he might talk and make his forest-love known
to others, he tells him, with all appearance of sincerity, that the
affair of Sakuntala was all a joke, and signified nothing (q~f't -
frWR? &c. P. 62).

Act III. In the interlude it is stated that Sakuntala, too, isa
now affected by the malady of love, and is lying on a flower,bed
with her two companions ministering unto her cooling remedies.
Then the King is introduced in a: love sick condition; and chance
leads him near the same bower wherein are seated Sakuntala and
her companions. In the course of her conversation with the
latter, Sakuntall confesses her passion for Dusbyanta, who takes
advantage of this opportunity to make a formal declaration of
his suit. At this lovers' union the companions discreetly withdraw;
but Sakuntala is almost immediately called off by an elderly
relative. The disconsolate King finds active work in his accepted
occupation of keeping of the evil spirits from the sacrificial altars.
Act IV. During the interval after the last act, Dushyanta
has married S'akuntala by the gindharva form of marriage and
has then left for the capital, having promised to send a suitable
guard to take his bride to her rightful home, Dusbyanta's palace.
While S'akuntala is alone in the hermitage, her thoughts being
away with her absent husband, she fails to offer proper hospi-
tality to the choleric Sage, Durvisas, come to the aSi rana as a-
guest. The hot-tempered sage curses her with the words-"He
of whom thou art think in, neglecting to reciL'ce Mic properly as a
gutest,-he ivon't remember yon even when r'emiindcd ( of you ).'
One of S'akuitald's companions, however, pleads S'akuntali's
absent-mindedness, and obtains from the sage forgiveness and
concession in so far that curse would cease to'have effect oi the
producltio': oa some token of recognition. *(This has an important
bearing on the plot, as will be seen later.) The two companions
say nothing about the curse to anyone; they do not communicate
it even to S'akuntali, as they thought it was not advisable to
worry her with it, and especially as some token of recognition
could easily be produced when the occasion needed it. All this is.
.related in an Interlude. In the act proper, we learn that Kanva-


ihas come to know of S'akuntala's marriage and that he has
approved of It. In the meanwhile the curse has begun to operate,
and Dushyanta has completely forgotten everything about his
7forest-bride. But those in the hermitage are [not aware of that;
and, as S'akuntala has by this time developed signs of pregnancy,
they are now preparing to send her to her lawful husband. "The
whole scene depicting her departure from the penance-grove
where she had resided so long, and where every plant, creeper
and animal was bound to her by ties of affection, is very touch-
ingly portrayed. It contains also Kanva's well-known advice to
S'akuntali on the duties of a wife and A'daughter-in-law.
Act V. The scene now shifts to Dushyanta's capital. The
ascetics escorting S'akuntalS, arrive at the royal palace and wish
'to see the King, who, having forgotten everything, calmly orders
his chamberlain to admit the party into his royal presence, lit le
suspecting their mission. After an exchange of greetings, S'Arnga-
rava, the chief of the sages that accompanied S'akuntala, con-
gratulates the King on his marriage, and invites him to accept
his wife as the Queen. The King, to whom all this comes as a
complete surprise, denies all knowledge of the affair, and even
S'akuntal] fails to rouse his curse-swept memory. As a last resort
she wants to show him his ring, which'he had given her at parting,
and which would have been a sure token; but, as ill-luck would
have it, it had slipped off her fingers during the journey. Mutual
recriminations lead to nothing, and she and her party leave the
audience-hall. Outside, while she is bemoaning her fate, a
celestial lady descends from heaven and carries her away. The
-King and his courtiers are astonished at this superhuman in-
tervention, which however they are unable to explain ; and the
,curtain drops, leaving the King musing in a gloom of vexatious
Act VI. The ring which S'akuntala had dropped in a pool of
-water on her journey is discovered inside a fish by a fisherman,
'whom the police accuse of theft and take him to the King for be.
ing properly dealt with. He is of course let off by Dushyanta,
'who, at the sight of thiat oken of recognition, is freed from the in-
ffluence of sage Durvisas' curse, and iow distinctly remembers his
anarriage with the repudiated S'akuntala and all the details con-


nected with it. ,He is now deeply grieved, but. is helpless. H Eee is*
closely followed in the course of his sorrow by Sanum'iti, aheaven-
ly nymph, who is interested in S'akuutali, owing to her connexion
with lenaki, S'akuntali's mother. The King seeks to divert his-
mind in the company of his confidant, the Vidfishaka; but at-
every moment he finds his grief harrowing deep down into his
soul. And to make matters worse, he receives a letter from his
minister, announcing the death of a merchant named Dhana-
mitra,'who dies sonless and whose property, consequently, goes
to the royal treasury. This leads him to reflect pensively on his:
own sonless state, until the grief caused thereby make him un-.
conscious, A welcome diversion is created at this time by MAtali,.
Indra's charioteer, who arrives with a message from his master
to Dushyanta to come and proceed forthwith to do battle with.
certain troublesome demons, the enemies of the King of gods.
Dushyanta assents and leaves in Indra's car to proceed on his.
Act VII. The King is successful in his expedition and is dis-
missed by Indra after being received with extraordinary honour.
While returning through the sky in the car driven by Mlftali, he
alights on the mountain Hemakfita where the holy sage Kasyapa.
(MIricha) resided, and whom the king wanted to salute reverently
on his way. He goes to the hermitage. ,While MAtali is gone to.
seek Kasya pa, King Dushyanta, comes across a young boy, the
very i4mage,of himself, playing with a lion's cub. At his sight the
King experiences a strange emotionp,, a though the boy wereahis-
own son. It gradually comes out in the course of a talk with the-
boy's attendant females that he belongs to the Puru race (Dush-
yanta's own race) and that his mother's name is S'akuntala. The
King now suspects the truth, viz., that ,most likely the boy is hisi
own son ;it is confirmed by the entrance of S'akuntald herself
who recognizes her lord. Mutual explanations follow and the
pair is reconciled. Kgsyapa then enters; he explains the incident
of the curse and how it clouded Dushyanta's memory, so that
the repudiation was not the King's fault. He prononnces his
blessings on the couple and sends them off, together with their
son, in that same car of Indra, to their capital where they live


ever happily afterwards. The play then ends with the customary
stanza of Benediction (Bharatavikya).
It will be noted that the principal points in the development
fofthe plot of the play are :-(1) the introduction of Dushyanta
into the penance-grove of Kanva; (2) the mutual love-at-first-sight
*of Dushyanta and Sakuntali; (3) their gdidharra marriage; (4) the
curse of Durvdsas with its disastrous result; (5) the departure of
Sakuntald for Hastinipura; (6) the loss of the token-ring; (7) the
repudiation of Sakuntala and her being carried away to a celestial
.asylum; (8) the discovery of the ring and the consequent agony of
the King on recovering his memory; (9) Dushyanta's journey to
heaven and back again in Indra's car; (10) his unexpected meeting
with a refractory boy in the hermitage of Marich; (11) the search
for the amulet by which the boy improved to be his son; (12) the
meeting with Sakuntala; and (13) the happy union of the lovers
in the end.

The story of the love of Dushyanta and Sakuntala is narrated
at length in the MahabhArata, Adiparva,1 and also in the Padma-
purdna, Savrgakhanda. Of these the version of the Mahabhirata
is decidedly more ancient and deserves consideration first. The'
story there is so unromantic and simple in its form that one would
.scarcely imagine that it could be made the basis of the dramatic
incidents as woven in the drama, which for the plan of its execu-
tion and the charm of its denouement, hardly finds a parallel in
the dramatic literature, at least of India, if not of the world. We
shall here give the skeleton of the story into which the poet has
breathed life and animation. Dushyanta, a king of the lunar
race,'in the course of his hunting excursion, reached the hermi-
tage of Kanva, whose adopted daughter, Sakuntali, being alone
in the house, had to entertain the King,'as was wont with the
sages in those times. The King was fascinated by the matchless

1. The extracts from the two epics are given in original
Sanskrit at the end of the Sanskrit Bhimik, to which the student
is referred for details. l


charms of the sage's daughter, from whom he learnt the story of
her birth, parentage, &c. and whose Kshatriya origin made it
possible for him to marry her', Without much ceremony the King
.expressed his desire to her t.o which she yielded on his promise to
.appoint hbr son as his successor. 'He then wedded her by the
.dirfihar',l form of marriage, and having stayed with her for some
time returned to his capital. Being afraid of the sage's anger
-without whose knowledge the connexion had been formed and
who was sure to pronounce a curse if displeased with the match,
the King did not send for his new wife. The sage, however, divi-
ning what had happened in his absence, approved of the choice of
his daughter who was in course of time delivered of a son, and
*sent her to her husband without waiting for the King's message.
Dushyanta, however, afraidof the public censure, discarded her;
ibut. a heavenly voice enjoined him to receive his wife and son,
and Sakunfal was soon raised to the dignity of the chief or
crowned Queen.
This prosaic story, wanting in those dramatic elements which
give effect and life to a play, has been dramatized by our poet with
that dramatic skill and mastery over his art which have made him
immortal as the Shekespeare of India. One strange similarity in
the lives of these two poets is this; Shakespeare has nowhere
originated the main plots of his dramas, but in his hands they
received life and meaning and made him what he is-the
.unrivalled master of his art. Our poet, too, selected a mytholo-
gical love-story to serve as the basis of his drama, fully conscious
that such a story would have greater charm for his countrymen. His
poetic genius, aided by his deep dramatic insight quickly saw that
the story, though simple and unromantic in its form, was pre-emi-
nently fitted to be the nucleus of such dramatic situations and
incidents as would stir up the hearts of his countrymen, or rather
of all men of poetic susceptibility, and produce a magical effect
upon them. And who can say that he was wrong in his selection ?
Read and re-read as we may this matchless drama, it never loses
its charm for us; we relish it with renewed taste, our soul remains
uplifted as we proceed, aid it blec0m&"so much enraptured with
its beauties that it is tield'fast as by"t spell and is soon lost in the
greater soul of the poet, Goethe's words that 'the soul is charmed;


enraptured, feasted and fed', are literally true, as applied to
this illustrious production of or poet. Those who have not read
this drama can never be made to feel by anyi words of ours-for
words are but too poor to adequately describe the merits of this.
drama-what all have felt and ever will feel. Nor can those who
read it through translations appreciate fully its beauties.l
A poet to be truly great must possess the faculty of imagina-
tion in an eminent degree. That this was the case with our poet
is amply proved by the construction of the present drama, It i-
this faculty of imagination which enabled our poet to body forth
the forms of things unknown, to turn them to shapes and give to
airy nothing-the meagre story of the Mahibhlrata-its form and
the existence. The following additions, by which the skeleton
was made to move and rise into life, are all the creations of his.
imagination. In the original, Sakuntala herself narrates the
history of her birth, &c., to the King, 'and their choice-marriage
presents no difficulty to them. As the author of the Mahtbhhrata.
merely intended to relate a story belonging to past history, he
did it in that simple and dry manner. But it certainly required
a change to have a dramatic effect. So our poet created two,
female characters, a work solely of his versatile imagination, as
the friends and confidantes of .akuntall, the heroine of the
drama; these are not in the original. This contrivance, wonderful
on account of its very simplicity, has "made the entire situation
so dramatic and charming that it cannot but touch the heart of
even the most superficial reader. The guileless and simple life of
these girls, their innocent playfulness, the frankness of their minds,
and above all their sincere and disinterested friendship-all these,
introduced with great skill at the very beginning of the play, largely
1. So much of the life of the period as is shadowed forth
in the dramas of Kaliddsa can only be fully understood in the form
in which the poet's mind conceived it in the original Sanskrit.
Bereft of this the vision is blurred, indistinct and lifeless, facts
alone remaining in. anpy translation, however perfect. In the
Sanskrit alone can the lines~be~traced on which the poet's fancy
modelled a form such as grew to life in Sakuntala who spoke in a
music each note of which was skillfully attuned to her own gentle
grace.'"-Frazer. ;


enhance its beauty and produce a most pleasing effect, on the'
mind. From the very commencement we feel, we breathe purer
air of the pristine times of Aryan India, and our soul, as it comes
into contact with the purer life of the ancient Rishis, feels itself
greatly ennobled. The King, before he meets the girls face to
face, is skilfully introduced into the penance-grove and thus given
an opportunity to watch them engaged in one of the- most agree,.-
able duties of hermitage life, and in, a sweet conversation, which
gradually unfolds some of the incidents connected with their lives,
particularly with that of Sakuntal]; and the poet has put u the
Kings's mouth some of the most charming sentiments common to
humanity. The King was instantly struck with the peerless
beauty of Sakuntali ( Act I.'); his passion, however, is not fully
revealed at once, but is gradually disclosed with the greatest
dramatic skill, thus rendering the situation highly interesting.
The poet's dramatic ingenuity is again seen in the manner in which
the conversation between the King and the maidens, after their
meeting, is conducted. Here the friends of the heroine are made
the spokeswomen, the agitated state of the former's mind and her
bashfulness being delightfully delineated. The poet's profound
knowledge of human nature has manifested itself in all this. We
have spoken at length of this scene to show the results of the
poet's imagination. We will only name the other creations of
his wonderful faculty. The student need not suppose that
these are the only instances of the operation of his imaginative
faculty; for excepting the central story of the drama, his imagina-
tion pervades the entire construction of the play. In the original,
Sakuntala promises to wed Dushyanta by the gand/harva form
of marriage on condition that the son,, if any, born of the union,
should be recognized as the heir-apparent. Kalidisa has dispen-
sed with this making of a bargain. In the original, Sakuntali is
not sent to Dushyanta in a pregnant condition, but she stays in
Kanvas iirama where she gives birth to a son; when her son is
six years old, she is sent to her husband. Again, in the original,
Dushyanta deliberately pretends ignorance of his marriage and
repudiates Sakuntali. He accepts her only after their true relatio~
is established by a declaration in a speech from the celestial rgi;on
(ii hii fii). This meant a stain on his character, which thd poet


has ingeniously and successfully avoided in the play. It may be
safely said that this drama is;, in the main, the production qf
the imaginative faculty of Kilidisa. The curse; of the sage
Durvasas, the loss if the ring in the tirthia, and the consequent
fdrgetfulnegs of the King-these incidents owe their birth to
Kalidasa's creative genius. For a time these incidents enhance
the tragic effect of the drama. The last two acts are purely original.
As the student carefully studies these acts he will be struck with
the dramatic skill with which the various incidents strung therein.
are introduced and managed.
The above remarks, necessarily brief, amply bear testimony to"
the fact that Kilidasa's imaginative faculty is of the highest kind.
We will now show that he possesses fancy as well. The pursuit of
SakuntalL by a bee and her consequent flurry skilfully made the.
fit occasion for the King. to make his appearance ( Act I.), the
seizure of the skirts of her garment by a fawn (Act IV.), the
singing in the beginning of Act. V which indirectly hints at the
forgetting by the King of his former wife and which makes him as,
though love-lor though he could not account for the cause, the
unexpected recovery of the ring, the pictureof the Heroine and
the consequent mental state of the King ( Act VI. ), the soliloquy
and the swoon of the King on hearing of the death of a rich
merchant who died childless (Act VI.)-all these incidents dexte-
rously interwoven in the construction of the play are the produc-
tion of the fertile fancy of the poet. The denolicment of the drama
in all its chief and subordinate parts is so gracefully conceived
and sustained throughout that the stage-effect in all its various:
forms is maintained on the audience, and the different sentiments
(raisas) possess the soul and keep it ,entranced. There is perfect,
naturalness about the dramatic incidents; they gently rise.up in the.
progress of the plot and all tend' to make the play a perfect'crea-.
tion. The Abhijiihjai za-akluialar is thus the qcimax of the poetic
and dramatic power of KIlidisa.
The narrative of the Padmapurian differs ~aterially from'
that of the Mahibharata, but only to agree closely 'with the plot
of our play. The Padmapurana is admittedly a later work than:
the Mah.-Bhar.; and its compiler .seems to have had. both the
Mah.-Bhir. and our play before jhm, aq is evident from the


language and idiom of the passage in question. It agrees with the
Mah.-Bblr. in so far as to make Sak. extract the promise from the
'king about their son being made Yuvarfja; otherwise the story
is a close summary of our drama, including the eurse of Durvisas,
the loss of the ring and its subsequent recovery through the
agency of the fisherman &c. The author appears to paraphrase.
sometimes even the wording of KIlidisa. The Padmapurina con-
tains similarly the story of Rima which follows, not the Ramiyana
tbut the Raghuvamsa, in its outlines; this fact, coupled with others,
makes it pretty certain that its compiler was posterior to Kilidasa,
whose works he"probably admired and drew upon. Some scholars
:hold that the Sakuntala-version is an interpolation in the original
Purina. However that may be, it is clear that it cannot be
regarded as the source of Kglidasa's play, being itself based on the
Latter. As a matter of fact, many portions of the Padmapurina
are admitted to be a comparatively modern growth.

The Sakuntal& does not appear to have been written with the
strictest attention to all canons of Sanskrit dramaturgy; only the
main lines, as laid down by Bharata and other old writers, have.
been followed. Perhaps the rules had not reached that point ofO
-elaboration in Kalidsa's time which they did in the hands of
later writers, and to which such plays as those of Kalidasa perhaps
contributed. For we do not find the minute rules with- regard
the subordinate parts &c. illustrated in the Sak. as we find them
in the Ratnavali or the Venisamhara. We shall now briefly show
how the present play satisfies the general conditions. We have
the Benediction (rTm ) and the Bharalavakya as regularly as in
other plays. At the end of the prelude, Dushyanta, who is a hero
-of the Dliroddita class, beigns the play. The "pFifr commences
here and ends with t 'rf Frrf (' Act II. )" It brings
together the Hero and the Heroine and love strikes root in the"
hearts of both.' Their ibuion in marriage is the final object, and
the whole machinery is to be directed towards its achievement.
The ground' for the seed is prepared when the Vaikhanasa says
,er tqW-iQ &c. and"' it is cast when. he further says


ipTWu'*T jfk aTtf.; &c. The srywifqT corommences:
with T ET5 -- mTTsT W ae-tt :Mc1sfa &c. and terminates
with the close of the third act. We have the ffq, in that the
stream of the main action, though obstructed by such incidents.
as the talk about the chase, the double call of duty requiring the
King's attendance on the queen mother and his ,presence at the-
hermitage to the obstacles to the holy rites &c,, pro-
ceeds unhindered, as is implied by the .words of the King qnqMq
3e~i:tWsy &c. We have the ,n or the endeavour
for the principal end when the King says gafWft: ,fuqqftrrfftsfer
&c, The imTfsr takes up the whole of the forth, Act
and extends as far as Wfa rW~it "RTff in the fifth act
It consists of the curse of Durvisas which mars the hope of succ-
ess which, however, is still present in the words of Kanv.a
F-A.qRt &c. The qwd# ft spreads over the remainder
der of the fifth and the whole of the sixth act. Here the certain"
attainment of the desired end is thwarted by the curse of Dur-
visas taking effect and the King's becoming oblivious of his
marriage with Sakuntala. The way to the final catastrophe,
however, is paved by the invitation of Indra. The fhjji f"
occupies the last act wherein the various diverging incidents
converge to one end, viz., the happy union of the King with his.
Queen and son. In giving these demarcations of the divisions we-
have followed Righavabhatta. Opinions may differ as to the-
exact lines of separation between the various divisions, but the;
general principle is not much affected by such differences.

Apart from the above technical remarks, and divisions ihto'
,Sandhis', the following analysis of the Plot of the Sakuntali will
be found very interesting. Every love-drama in Sanskrit has
certain remarkable features, and they are -vry well exemplified
in the Sakuntal which, is the, best representative: of its class.
They are (1) Temporary union; (2) Separation; and (3) Re-union,
Now it is easy to perceive that the first three ,acts of the Sak. arew

n the ascending order and facilitate the temporary union. The
hunting expedition, which like many other happy accidents,
throws the Hero and the Heroine into each other's path; the invi-
tation of the Hermits to Dusyanta for keeping guard inthe her-
mitage for a few days; and the ardent mutual love in its consu-
mmation these are the three stages in the ascending order embo-
,died in the three Acts. Then the descent begins. It is a dictum
of Sanskrit Critics that there is no charm in love unless it. is
sweetened by separation. Acts 4, 5, and 6 of the Sak. delineate
this downward" progress of separation. The curse of Durvias
which is the root-cause of the whole miseryoccurs exactly in the
prelude to the Fourth Act. Its development is seen in the Fifth
Act, when we find Dushyanta repudiating Sakuntala like a
stranger. And we notice in the Sixth Act all the bitter conse-
quences of the separation culminating in disappointment near
the end of the Act which is the lowest point. Lastly the Seventh
Act reveals a sudden and unexpected rise. Dushyanta goes up not
*only to help Indra against the demons, but also to regain the
hallowed Sakuntali in those high altitudes of Hemakuta mountain
which are ordinarily inaccessible to human beings. The following
'diagram will make it perfectly clear.

The whole action of the Sikuntali is spread over a period of
about six years. We discuss below the time required by the
incidents of each Act separately.
Act I. We are told in the Prelude that the action of the play
commences in the ftaq season; it must have been in the month of
iszE (May-June), since the season is there described as
if sTiw Again it is clear from the words of Karabhaka
wherein reference is made to the r'rf4wr,% that the king recei.
-ed his mother's message on the thirteenth day of the brigh-half
-ofJyeshtha (see Notes adloc, in Act III). From the words of
Vidilshaka ( r:; fil...... r f T.....Nsr r f1 fNr R:
arEft: WsrvTrrirf ...... q-rqnT-fi' etc.), it is seen that the
*events of Act I take place on the previous day. i. e. on the twelti.


The act covers half a day only; the chase and the subsequent visit.
of tho king take place in the morning; for the Vaikhanaasa ays
WqIrr-T -frrrr mq which must have been early in the
morning. The girls, too, must have commenced watering.the-
trees early in the morning, just after finishing their morning duties,
as is clear from Kanva's words 4'iS T s~P# &'c. in Act IV.; and it
must have been about 9 A. M. by the time the King enters the-
grove, finds the girls there and enters into conversation with them.
For the sun was shining brightly enough then to make Priyam-
vadi ask the King to resort to the shade of a tree ( 'r fk s3MT
isT ftja w &c. ). And the whole interview is probably over
by ten o'clock in the morning as the bark garments hanging
on the boughs of trees in the morning are not yet completely
dried ( m-zmi ft' ).
Act II. Begins in the morning of the next day ( cf r
Tfitg rg &c.) after the events of Act I, and occupies one day
only. The ftsq season is here again referred to ( [Tf4TTIl-

Act III. About a fortnight seems to have passed between
the events of Act II and III. That much period is necessary.
for the love-sick condition of Sakuntala and Dushyanta as;
described in 3~Tif qftift 3 -:, frrf T f'fqr To and
T4itWf: fmipfil T UTlrT* r: 'r; The -season, of course, is.
ftls still. Compare 3Trmq Fr-, fqq r W4 vricTr and
qrf ftTTr etc. The events of the Act occupy one day.
They begin in the afternoon ( rqP~qr, sfrTiuft feqr.
fiqrT Trf' sf' ), and in the evening (-3cTf qm T ~i T~rA

Act IV. The Vishkambhaka of this Act occurs on the very
day on which the King leaves the hermitage ( srae : rTTrfr- fcu
fwcar, and Iit may be presumed that this was the firstt
day of Ashadha, the' f~z referred to being the qfre. performed o6n
the new-maon day: of Jyeshtha; for the King could mno't have
stayed at the hermitage for more than a fortnight. The gandharva
marriage of Dushyanta? and Sakuntalf must have taken place in


the interval. The Act proper begins in the early morning
'when the disciple 'finds it sqie. As there is o 4ifqt r r1
-',iRt', the time is somewhere near the fall-moon day of
the month ivhen the sun and the moon are clearly visible. The
Act occupies one day, since Sakuntald leaves in the same morn-
ing when the sun is i-TTITsF:. Ihe words TfrTrif-riT-
Tprr''q:, the fact that the creepers were ,~--qr T :,
and also ,he fact that Sakuntali has shown visible signs
of pregnancy (3 g-~i 'rr), indicate that ,theraidry season is
past and it is somewhere in the autumn, wherein alone the descrip-
.tion TTdWfitsf'RTif &c. (IV.)) ard ~rT9mw &c.1 (IV.;) can
properly fit. This must be about six months after the gniidharva
marriage. : '

Act V. Occupies one day, and the events obviously take
place in the afternoon, and then the King goes to sleep qiqp--
zrq qTq't.. It is difficult to say what time exactly passes
between Acts, IV and V. The sages come from f'qf rpi
to -FWrr, and this might take about a couple of days
(for the capital was about a day's journey from :iqiTos as is
implied by the King's words TWTRMf vrT at VI., giving three
days as the time necessary for going to the city and coming back).

Act VI. begins properly in the morning (for Sinumati has
waited for the abhisheka), and occupies one day.: The season is
~mc,'dl, some 15 days after the restoration of the ring in the
Pravekaka. There appear to have passed about 5 years or so
between Acts V and VI. Because (1) the son has been born-
afr t4 ft1 etc. and (2) the word 'lrf uT in ,ifT ri4c'
iffsfq ftrf ', indicates that there is no great interval between
this Act and the next; and in the next (seventh) Act, the boy is
about six years old.

Act VII. occupies one day, and begins after 'about a fort-
night after the events of Act VI, sincq the conquest of the demons,
the subsequent events in heaven, the .:fWf of the qa"Tr nT &c.
would require that time approximately.


Kalidasa's Abhijainasakuntala, like his Raghuvamsa, is most
popular and very widely read in all parts of India. It is a love-
drama, and belongs to that class of Ripakas which is known as
the Nafaka'. Its subject is taken from history in its main out-
lines. This single play has so much of the poet's genius displayed
in it that we need not go to his other works to establish the
superiority of Kflidasa's muse. Its language exhibits all the
graces of his style: it is highly elegant, being dignified where nece-
ssary; it abounds in striking and tasteful comparisons, is sublime
in the poetical portions without becoming obscure or involved,
and presents a most charming ease and simplicity in the dialogues
without ever descending to vulgarism. No forced constructions,
no offensive conceits, mar its beauty. The metres are mostly of
the shorter kind, very musical and varied, with the sonorous Ary!
prominent among them. It is also highly finished from the artistic
point of view. The action is progressive and the interest well-
sustained. Wilson's remark-" The story, the situations and the
characters, are all highly imaginative, and nothing can surpass
the beauty and justice of many of the thoughts. To select one
as an example were to disparage a number of other passages,
and they may be left to the critical acumen and taste of the
reader"-applies more appropriately to the present play. The
very fact that there have been translations, andiversions of these
translations, made of this play from time to time in the various
languages of Europe, ever since it was made known to the Euro-
pean world by Sir William Jones by his publishing a translation
of it, is a sufficient proof of its supreme elegance and growing
popularity among the learned in very country of the civilized
Though resembling its two-sister dramas in many of the
above-mentioned features and in its general dramatic structure,
the Abhijianasakuntala differs from them in many respects. It
aims at giving a realistic picture of the life of the people in a
more marked degree than the other two.l The usual expedient
1. "Any natural tendency of the classic drama to recognize
and assimilate to itself the common life-history of the people and
their modes of thought and expression was unfortunately checked
by foreign conquest. Kilidisa, therefore, remains the sole un-
rivalled exponent of the pure classic mode of representing life and
thought in the early ages."-Frazer.


-employed by writers of ertic plays, vig., the introduction of a
rival wife or wives, to give variety to the action and add interest
to the incidents by the unwelcome interruptions in the love.
meetings of the Hero and the Heroine, is not made use of in the
present play. Another distinguishing feature of it is the com-
paratively insignificant part assigned to the Vidiishaka, who is so
*conspicuous inthe other two plays. There are also no maid-
servants introduced in connexion with the love-intrigue, since
there is none such mentioned in the play.
KiXklidfisa is regarded as a master of similes and of sweet and
melodious language; and this is amply borne out by the present
play. It is hardly necessary to point out particular instances,
since such abound in it ( Vide II. 8, III. 12, VII 31, 32 &c.).
As for the music of his language, every verse in the drama, nay,
even the prose of it, bears upon it the impress of the same.
The poet's observation of Nature is very vivid and true to life.
The first Act has vivid pictures of the same (Cf. stanzas 4, 7, 8,
9, 14, 18, 19 &c.) The highest merit for which our poet is pre-
eminently distinguished is the sublimity of his thoughts. There
is nothing common-place or vulgar about them. Though the
principal sentiment is Love, we find no vulgarity or want of
decency in the expression of it. It is all pure and sublime, and
can be read without a blush. True poets like Homer, Dante and
Milton are distinguished for their sublimity of thought. Drydon's
description of Milton fitly applies to our poet-
Three poets in three distant ages born,
Greece, Italy and England did adorn.
The first in loftiness of thought surpassed,
The second in majesty, in both the last;
The force of Nature could no further go,
To make a third she joined the other two.
In the dramas of Shakespeare the sublimility of thought
runs throughout, but there are places where we find so much
coarseness that we blush to read them. Such passages are, of
course, expunged from the editions of his works intended for
young readers. But we cannot find such vulgarity in the plays
of Kilidisa, and the fact does him the greatest credit.

SI )

King Dusbyanta is the Helro :of this drama. Whatever
might be his kingly qualities or failings as related in the Pur nas
we are not concerned with them here. We will delineate hisa
character as painted by ouQipoet in the drama. ;As already
remarked, Dushyanta is a iftT1r- hero; and he is represented in
the play as possessed of almost all the qualities which form the
connotation of such a hero. We shall specify here the principal
points in the character of Dushyanta., He appears to be young,
between thirty and thirty-five, as is shown by his ardent longing
for chase, which occupation requires youthful energy., .The infe-
rence is corroborated by the Sendpati's words and by the fast that-
he is made the hero of a love drama. His love lorn condition,
so pathetically described in the third and sixth acts, again proves
the same hypothesis. His first appearance makes an imposing
impression upon Priya mradf, as is plain from her words ri-nft-
TrF' fy- iFT4TOr ~r -i This shows that he was-
youthful, handsome, majestic and of sweet address.
Another point to be noted in his character is the extreme,
nobility of his mind. Let us first point it out as regards his lover
for Sakuntali. He was youthful and had in his favour the royal
custom, which sanctioned polygamy in the case of kings. True-
that he was not a rigid monogamist; but it must be conceded to-
his honour that he was not a reckless libertine. He was fully
imbued with the high principles of moral conduct, and he never
manifests any time the least symptom of illicit and lewd passion.
It was quite natural for him to -be struck with the 'fascinating
youth and superb charms of the Heroine ( Act I. 16, 17 ); but as-
a man of honour he wished to ascertain whether Sakuntala was
married or even betrothed, He checkedhis first burst of love till
that time, though he was so confident of his nobility that he
pretty surely convinced of the legality of the connexion (I. 20).
It is only after ascertaining the real parentage of Sakuntali, and
further that she was not married, that hle allows his mind to
harbour the feeling ,of lq,:f(I. j 5). His subsequent speech proves
the same nobility of his mind. Another feature of this character


is his utmost respect for the sages and great solicitude for their
comfort., There is really something very attractive and reverence-
inspiring in the lives of hermits. Their innocent self-denying and'
pure life cannot but command respect from all who come in con-
tact with them, and as we approach such environments, we feel
we breathe aepurer air, the'higher impulses of our mind being
aroused, apdi we are naturally brought under the purifying inffu-
ence of the life of renunciation. The King, though himself com-
manding universal respect, feels unbounded reverence for the sages'
and his conduct is marked by a proper sense of what their austere
lives deserve'at the hands of worldly men. The first instance of-
thisv respect is se6n-' when the 'King withdraws his arrows;:
other instances are f l urSuTT WuTqTF rTWTfir; Twq)1tTfITr-
Tqti 'ft?4r &c'.Y 3t ftT- !TT W nrtwf.ur: &c. (Act I)-
3apmqIr|TtlTT. His regard for his mother (Act II. qyrip'
f~irrfIT: fiF : &c. ) .deserves to be noted as another praise-
worthy feature of his character. His general nobility of mind:
and moral rectitude can be demonstrated from the following inci--
dents in Act V. T- I l~~3Th' ; qgafr; .ar tr iffrr 4 : i.

His lofty sense of regal duties does the highest credit to the-
greatness of hismind. The following references, out of many,
amply bear out this point:-V. 5, 7, 8, 9; VI. 4rf r--
qmg TirwqfT;r iN, &c. His proclamation fr t fzq]-gq^r &c.
shows his regard for the subjects' weal, and his order to his mini-
ster about the disposal of Dhanamit.ra's property bears testimony
to his anxiety not to enrich his treasury by unjust means. There
are incidents in the drama which testify to his high martial power.
He was the bravest of th lbrave, so much so that even Indra the-
lordof tthe gods, sought his help (II. 15, VI. 29, 30). The'King's
love for Sakuntali though sensual to a certain extent, is deep
rooted and permanent; and his mental afflition, after the uncon-
scious dismissal and rejection of the Heroine, is so touching as to
give a full idea of what his real feelings were (Act VI). The King
was highly cultured; for his remarks are so thoughtful and weighty
that they bespeak a very high degree ,of 'refinement. He has an
observant eye which marks the beauty of natural subjects. Hisg


acquaintance with many of the fine arts is thorough, he can
.appreciate music and be sensible to its impressions;' he shows a
-deep knowledge of painting. In short, the Hero is depicted in
.such colours as make him quite worthy of the honour. He is a
:typical sovereign, and.the various traits of his character are
-shown in bold relief by the poet. His picture is thus interesting
.and noble, and completely fulfils the expectations raised by the
ppoet's genius.
Sakuntali, the Heroine of the drama, is a beautiful picture of
womanhood. The daughter of the sage VijvAmitra and the heavenly
nymph Menaka, she was abandoned by her parents in a forest, where
she was fed by birds before she was carried by Kanva and brought
up as his daughter. Brought up amidst hermitage-environments
and among men leading ascetic. lives, she too had imbibed the
spirit of that life. She thus presents the picture of a damsel influ-
enced by higher forces which greatly moulded her life. Of this we
shall speak later on. First we will say something about her personal
.Sakuntala had more than human beauty; she had heavenly
beauty inherited from her mother (1. 23 ).'Being thus a paragon
of beauty, the irresistible charms of her exceptional loveliness
:fascinated the heart of the king whose several descriptions point
to the same (Act I. 16, 17, 18; Act II. 9). Sakuntala was not a
girl; she was a youthful maiden between fifteen and eighteen with
full development of her limbs ( Act I. ar3 r~qrf-rf T Tar swt
WftrTi T-qry ; Act I. 19; II 2; III 8). There was nothing
artificial in her beauty; it was essentially natural ( r
:Ri g: ~), and free from coquettish trappings of which she
had no conception. This proves the handsomeness of her external
person, but her heart was equally beautiful. She was a lovely
young maiden, the soul of womanly modesty, and altogether
1. Gentler, more winning in her grace, more youthful than
-Gretchen or Juliet, she (Sakuntali) has a deeper note, a more
.human charm', than either. Eastern, subtle.. evasive throbbing
with love, veiled with reserve, there yet grows within her a
-passionate and seething love for the King, which she tries to stifle
fbut from which she can find o peace."-Frazer. .

insensible to the influenceof passion till she saw the King. Her
life, therefore, was one of -feminine- purity of mind andf of
womanly virtues-greatly due to the general surroundings amidst.
which she lived-which characterized her nature throughout her
life, though a change was effected in its relations by her married:
condition. Her modesty was so great that ever since the time-
when she felt herself invaded by a feeling .which was strange to.
her n her hermit-life (Act I. fi ,q fr-q-4 i 5 W mT qfq'Mtfqrf
fRrFT' ~q'fl4ftir ,lF T), sh4 kept it concealed even from her
dearest friends, till her love-affected conditions and the entreaties
of her friends forced herto reveal it to them (Act III. qg: srft
Tr izi MTT rTa: p -~ atijtjg c.c). So far she presents.
an illustration of the Aryan female modesty. When encountered
by her lover she is again the same* picture of womanly modesty,.
peculiar to Hindu women, (Vide' the latter part of Act III)..
Though troubled by the arrows of, Cupid she showed a full sense-
of female honour. Her words "q) q M, 4m I aqr4 ;-al" ;-
RTwr;r: g lT fiT" prove her lively sense of feminine dignity and
her respect for her elders. This raises her character immensely
in our eyes. When wedded to the King by the legal form of:
marriage, she presents another interesting side of Hindu woman-
hood. Though openly discarded by the King and thougli for a.
time justly angry with him, she does not in the least lose her-
affection for her lord, and does not forget her duties as a married!
woman towards him. She leads an ascetic's life during her
separation, ever keeping the image of her beloved husband in her
heart (Act VII. 21), thus fully proving the truth of KaIyapa's.
words a rfr q r#FT wT;R r &c.; ajr'' includes S'ak. also.
He: kind and sympathetic nature manifests itself in her
affection for the trees of the penance-grove and the animals
therein i She has learnt to love whole creation. The following
references will make this clear:-Act I. ;T *Wi arTfTri r "
Srf sc ; T ;-f crTt'r9Tf1fT qt tTR-
fw.: Im q #qrwnfzr; ?TrTss wTfP f-qffr rfI~ ; Act IV 9;.
^rrra RiarTfiT4f qj5zi~r aTTWRfrifq cq;, mnr i4rsrfT^^fv vft
' i;'z-r &c. Act IV, 14. Sakutali's affection for her father
was also unbounded, as is plain from the fourth act.. The


friendship, or even sisterly affection, that existed between her
.and her two friends is finely delineated, and is another attractive
trait of her character. The-picture of Sakuntali, as delineated
sby her poet, is one of his masterpieces. '' "i" I i
SThe Vidfishaka is usually a conventional character in Sanskrit
plays, being introduced more for the sake of form than plot..
Here, however, he is something more than a privileged jester.
'Thus, when the King was in a fix (Act II.) as to what to do
'when he received his mother's message, the Vidushaka acts as his
.deputy, indirectly assisting by his absence the love-affair of his'
anaster. He is simple enough. to believe the King's statement
that the love-affair was a whim of the moment and a joke
(TMrET T gret r : II 18). His simplicity in act V allows
him to be seized:and detained, by Ha.msapadika, which serves a
very important purpose; for had he been present when Sakuntala
was brought in and repudiated, he would have remembered and
recognized her, as his memory was not clouded by the curse. In
Act VI he is a ready instrument in the hands of lfatali, who is
enabled to rouse the King from his lethargy only by making an
.attack on the Vidishaka. It will thus be seen that the Vidushaka
is indirectly and unconsciously of great service in the dramatic
developments in the plot, and' in the present play his character
as a joker pure and simple remains rather in the background.

i.. JA i isiT A1D PUpnAMVADAi. I
With regard to Ahasuija and Priyamvadi, the two friends of
the Heroine, it may bte observed that they are thebesa :types of
sincere sisterly affection. The student can easily And out referen-
ces which prove.their disinterested and pure love for their friend.
Contrasted with each other, their _characters show a slight t shade .
of difference corresponding to their.differeAce in age. Both are
equally clever and courteous in their discourse. Priyamvadi,
however, as her name implies, is more gay and vivacious; Anasiiya
being the older of te two, is more' thoughtful and grave. The
former is characterized by strong feeling, the ]atteri-y a maturer
understanding. iu *.- *!;."' wi; '. '* i v 'i "


We shall close this section with a few words about Kiiayapa,
-the foster-father of the Heroine. He plays an important part in
-the fourth act, and the principal trait of his character as painted
-there is his parental affection for his adopted daughter. Though
.himself an old permit, he is so deeply affected by this feeling that
-he is moved to tears on the occasion of his separation from his
-daughter. He shows much practical wisdom in the counsel he
gives to her and the message he sends to the King. He is descri-
bed as possessed of superhuman power, the result of his ripened
asceticism. In him Kalidasa has drawn a perfect picture ofthe
ancient sage-patriarch. .

***' f ; .. i-

I -



A.:G.---Apte's Guide to Sanskrit,
Ak.-AmarakoAa. :
Bli.--Bhartrihari's Satakas.*
B'hal/.-Bhattt.Bikivya (I-.V,)*
Comn.- Commentary; commen-
H. Ch.-Harshacharita.
Kt.-Kitayavema ( commen-
tator ).
KiJv.-KAvyidaria of Dandin.
Kiv.-S. -V--Vimana's Kivyi-
lamkira Siitras.
Kir.-Kiratirjuniya (I.-III.).'
Kum -Kumarasambhava*
Annotated by the Editor.

Aralli.-Mallinitha. *
Mdgh.--Meghadita .;:
l.- W.--Sir M. Monier Williams,
Paiy.-Panini's Ashtidhyayi.
Ragh.-Raghuvama. *
Ratn.-Ratn avali.,-'
Rig.- V.-Rig-Veda.
..-The Commentator Samkara.
Veni.-Venisambh ra.


(a) li\ah.ibhli-rafa and AblhijFi'tanis:'tktina'na : n
The Mah.bharata story1 is too wellknown to need a detailed nar-
ration here. Therein King Dusyanta, losing his way while on a hunt-
ing expedition reaches Kanva's hermitage, meets S'akuntala alone,
learns from her own mouth her descent, impatiently proposes the
Gandharva marriage, accepts her condition that her son alone
. 'l:,ild be his successor, marries her, leaves for his palace, and later
,?o. being afraid of public censure discards her when she arrives there
-,.h Sheic son, Sarvadamana, nine years later. The intervention of
the Heavenly voice brings about their re-union.
The epic-story is rough and prosaic in its treatment of the theme.
There are no dramatic situations and no significant mental conflicts.
The characters are dull and lifeless. King Dusyanta appears to be
an opportunist in love, impatient in his proposal, timid in his heart
and void of any ideals. S'akuntala is an outspoken practical girl and
lacks womanly grace. Kanva is colourless. Tha marriage here
seems to be a bargain and the story a bundle of absurdities. The
potentialit:es of the theme remain unutilised and the story has hardly
any purpose to serve. In brief, the epic-story is no story at all; it
is a charmless narration of a string of events.
In this rough, prosaic, dull and lifeless epic-story, Kalidisa has
visualised the seeds of his greatest play. Kilidasa has p eked up the
main thread of the epic-story viz. the love between Dusyanta and
S'akuntala and has polished it, .twisted it with new strings and
blended them together with such skill that each is inseparably 1'nked
up with the others. Thus he evolved a heart-capturing dramatic
theme that not only delights the eye, the ear and the heart but also
ennobles the reader by leading him to a higher universal philosophical
Kalidasa's world-wide vision was not satisfied with the four
characters of the epic-story. Hence he created ;he two dearest
friends of S'akuntala the smart and mischievous Privamvad5 and
the sober and discerning Anas0yi; Vidisaka, the bosom-friend of
Ihe King; Gautami, the wise old matron -of the hermitage; choleric
S'arigarava and calm S'Rradvata, the two pupils of Kanva; the
Commander-in-chief: the policemen: the fisherman; the charioteer of
the King; Nlitali, the Charioteer of Indra; the Purohita; the door-
keeper; Karabhaka, the Queen's Messenger; the Apsaras Sinumati;
Sages like Vaikhanasa. Goutama, NLrada, Gilava etc.; Marica and
Aditi: Parabhritiku and Madhukarika, the two garden keepers;
Caturik., the clever maid servant of the King-and all these appear

1. Sakuntalopakhyana : Mababharata ( pub : Bhandarkar
Oriental Research Institute ); Adiparva, chap. 62-69.

The Abhijfidnas'akuntalam -

before us on KilidIsa's wide stage. This is not all. The 'objects of
nature like creepers, flowers, trees etc. and birds and animals like the
cuckoo, the rude Bhramara, the peacock, the deer, the pair of
Cakravaka birds, the lion's cub etc., also figure in 'our play not
merely as embelishments but as living things. Above all, the ring
- an insentient object appears almost like a living character.
Besides, the characters like Durvasas, Queen Vasumati and Queen
Hamsapadika leave permanent impression on our minds inspite of
their absence from the stage. Thus Kalidasa has given us characters
from the forest, from the city, from the heaven, from the nature;
and this world of characters is not a mass but a group of individuals
where each is distinct and vivid in its representation.
The hero and the heroine of the epic-story appear in our play
with new flesh and blood, refined feelings and noble thoughts.
Dusyanta, no doubt, is romantic in his nature, but at the same time
he is noble, conscious of his duties, firm in righteousness, self-
controlled, modest in speech, polite in behaviour and tender in heart.
S'akuntala is the life of Kanva's hermitage. She is as innocent as
a flower, shy in expressions, affectionate not only towards her
friends, but also towards deer and flowers, endowed with a high sense
of self-respect, courage to suffer and heart to forgive. The love bet-
ween these two cannot be a mere bargain settled in a few minutes
as in the epic-story. Kalidasa, therefore, in the first three acts,
depicts the conflict of emotions and the gradual development of love
culminating into marriage. Again, Kalidasa's Dusyanta cannot forget
S'akuntala through the fear of Kanva for of public censure. Hence
the dramatist has invented the curse of Durvasas. The interference
of the Heavenly voice strikes an unnatural note and therefore.
Kilidasa with his dramatic insight has invented the ring incident.
The reunion in our play takes place only after years when the hearts
of both Dusyanta and S'akuntalS are freed from their narrow vision
through the penance in the form of suffering.
Besides the main changes, Kalidasa has also made a number of
minor changes e.g. King Dusyanta's entrance into the hermitage.
alone; Kanva's going to Somatirtha and thus his long absence in the
hermitage; S'akuntald's "send-off" immediately after the arrival of
Kanva, the two hermits accompanying S ukuntald at the royal palace
The sixth and the seventh acts are Kalidisa's own creation. Thus
we find that the epic-story is completely transformed and moulded
into an heart-appealing dramatic theme, with such skill that on.
reading the play one rarely thinks of the epic framework.
(b) Padmapurmna and Abhijinanas'akunialanm
Padmapurana in its Svarga-khanda gives the story of S'akunfalai,
which is similar to that of our play, the common points in:both being
the curse, the ring, Menakd's help, the fisherman and policemen,
the. fishermanJ policemen,

Supplementary Notes

Dhanamitra's death, Dus.antas help to Indra, the hermitage of
Mrica, the lion's cub etc. This similarity has led some scholars to
suppose that Kilidasa was indebted to Padmapurana. Before accept-
ing the above view, the following facts deserve our consideration.
The Purinic story of S'akuntala is not the repetition of Kalidisa's
play, but it differs in many respects from it. Kaniva, in Padma-
purana goes out to collect fruits, and S'akuntala gives a long instruc-
tive and indignant speech to the king in the royal court. Before
going for a bath, S'akuntala gives her ring to Priyamvada, who.
drops it in a river. The Purana story mentions S'rfigarava and
S'dradvata, but does not refer to their speeches. The reunion in the
Purina is effected by the Sage Kanva who gives the proper introduc-
tion of Sarvadamana. These dissimilarities should not be over-
looked. Moreover, the date of the Purina is not indisputably settled'.
Besides, interpolations in Purdnas is a well-known fact and the
Padmapurina is known to have incorporated the stories from the
Post-Purdniic literature. The AnandWs'rama edition of Padmapurdna
omits the story of S'akuntala. Lastly, it is significant that the story
of S'akuntala in shows no familiarity with the language
of Kalidasa.
It seems that the author of S'akuntalopTkhyana in the Padma-
puraina saw the novel incidents and situations in KIlidasa's play
and was therefore tempted to incorporate them in his story. At the
same time he was also keen to have Puranic touches in the story.
Hence he narrated Kalidasa's version of the story in the epic form.

(c) Kattahari Jataka and Abbijfidnas'akuntalam :
The KattahIri Jitaka gives a story in which the ring plays art
important role. The story is as follows;- Once Brahmadatta. the
king of Benares saw a beautiful lady in a forest. He instantly fell
in love with her and married her. Before departing, the King gave.
his ring to her telling that if a daughter was born, she should sell
the ring in order to maintain her and that if a son was born, she-
should take the child to him with the ring. Later on, the lady with
her son presented herself to the King, who though he recognized
her, refused to accept her. At last a supernatural act convinced the
King who then accepted his wife and his son.
It is supposed that this Iataka story suggested the ring incident
to Kaildasa. We must note however that there is no similarity
between the ring incident in the Jitaka and that in our play.
Moreover, it is well known that a ring was often used as a token
of recognition and love. Even in Rimiyana Rama gives his ring
to Hanumdna as a token of e recognition. Thus Kilidasa might
have picked up the idea of the ring from the popular tales and not
from any particular story.

The A'bhiji nas'akuntalam

(d) Pelecritus-story and Ablijifiinas'Tikuntalam ,
In addition to .these sources, another possible source may here
ibe referred to. In Greek history, we have the story of a certain
king Pelecritus,2 who once threw his ring in the ocean in order .to
eest his future. After six days, the ring was presented to the King
by a fisherman, who found it in .the belly of a fish he had caught.
There is a striking similarity between this story and the incident in
Act VI of our play. The actual debt in such cases cannot be
definitely ascertained, but it is possible that KalidIsa knew the
story. In Act II Vidlsaka describes the King as being surrounded by
Yavani (i.e. Ionian or Greek) ladies. ( q IT rrIrffTa 1Q'fif A qttqW
r41~arftR R f': qrfrTsar r~ fq4TiEf:) Kalidasa was a Court-Poet
and it is quite possible that he may have picked up this story along
with other traditional Greek stories. Thus the ring motif may have
been due to the Greek influence.
(a) Union: King Dusyanta, modestly dressed, enters the pre-
cincts of the hermitage f Kanva. His right arm throbs, 'indicating
good luck; and the King wonders as to what luck he can have in
this peaceful As'rama.4 Immediately then, on his right, he hears
some sounds,5 and finds three girls watering the trees. He is struck
by the beauty of all the three,6 and expresses his surprise to find
:such beauty in the forest.7 Being interested, he hides himself behind
a tree with a view to listen to their sweet talk. He now learns as to
who S'akuntala is and expresses his smypathy for her.8 Now his in-
terest is concentrated on S'akuntala only.9 The implications of the com-
inents about the valkala draw his attention to her youth blooming
with peerless beauty.lo This gives rise in his heart to a sub-
,conscious desire for her. He therefore hopes that she is born in a
.caste other than Kanva's.11 At the same time, his noble heart
raises a silent question, what if she belongs to the BrRhmana
caste--? But the sub-conscious desire is gaining such a great
strength that he confidently declares that in the case of good people,
the inclination of the heart is the only authority in matters of
doubt.'2 This sub-conscious desire has now so completely over-
powered Dusyanta that he not only envies the bee but feels sorry
for. not being rash.13 Enraptured by her beauty he forgets his pur-
2. Journal of Bihar and Orissa Research Society, Vol. VII
P. 97. 3. P. 58.
4. 1.15. 5. P.24. 6. sir t
- P. 24. 7. 1.16. 8. wqTfi4 ,r w ffiT ...,~^ q P. 26.
9. ~rT ffa :..r' t ~4TFt. P. 28. 10. 1.18. 11. eii s if...
P. 34. 12. 120.

Supplementary Notes

pose and seizing the opportunity he appears on the scene all of a.
sudden, without disclosing his identity.14 He desires to look at them
and to talk with them; and so he politely refuses the formalities's
and cleverly makes all the three ladies sit with him under the Sapta-
parna tree.16 Being asked, he introduces himself in an equivocal
manner,17 as he desires to talk with them freely and perhaps also
because he is conscious of his own feelings. The presence of these
three girls has made the sub-conscious desire to subside a little and
now the noble mind of the King is at work. The doubt (as to
whether she is a Ksatriya-born girl or not) that was suppressed with
imposing self-confidence, emerges again in his mind. He therefore
asks them a few clever questions18 and learns the story of the birth
of S'akuntala. One doubt is dispelled,19 but now his mind is seized
by another doubt. Is she yet unmarried? He is so much captured
by her beauty that he is impatient and curious to know everything
about her there and then. So he makes further inquiries20 and finds:
that she is not yet married. He is now extremely delighted.21
Though Dusyanta has other queens also,22 Providence has not
endowed him with a son who would continue his race and craving
for progeny is an important factor in his desire for S'akuntala. The-
blessing of Vaikhanasa that he would beget a son endowed with
qualities like him, combined with the good-omened throbbing of the
right arm,23 goads him on. He is free to fulfil his desire and as he
has already seen the love of S'akuntala through her eyes, he is
confident too. S'akuntala, information about whom is now cleverly
revealed, feigns anger24 to reveal her love for the King. The self-
controlled King restrains himself from the temptation of freer beha-
viour and does not touch S'akuntala in presence of the other girls.25
But soon the grip becomes loose, and the King openly describes her
palms, her breath that causes tremor in her breasts, the S'irisa
flowers on her ears, the perspiration on her cheeks and her loose
hair.26 This is not all. In his eager enthusiasm, he offers his owner
ring.27 The clever Priyamvada reads the name 'DuTsanta' on the

13. 1.21. 14. 1.22. 15 P-.q 38. 16.
i...RPlTaT: P. 38. 17. d: .'i~ur...3da il: P. 40. 18. ~l
rifq fTf: :..qqjt: : P. 42. 19. PUW^ t V...W P. 44-
20. 1.24. 21.q Kw p ... isLT. P. 46. 22. Two Queens, at
:least, are mentioned in our play viz. Vasumati and Hamsa-
padika. 23. 1.12; 15. 24. sq.31q TlfasqITrrf, 4.I1T...rfE Tfierf
- 48; 25. 1.26. 26. 1.27. 27. ...a~1t siff P. 50. 28:
P. 50n30fo..w .w er .Tr: P. 50.. 29. r. -1.;3
P. 50. 30. aqq zsmr;lq. P. 52. 31. 1.28 32. 1.29; 30.

70 The Abhijfianas'dkuntalam

ring, understands the truth and looks mischievously at S'akuntali.23
On realising his mistake, the King punningly explains away the
ring,29 but ready-witted Priyamvada cleverly indicates the truth
revealed to her.30 The King once again expresses his confidence
in his belief that S'akuntala loves him.31 The shouts of soldiers
.disturb this meeting.32 The girls move towards the hermitage, but
:after a few steps, S'akuntala turns round under a false pretext33
and looks at Dusyanta and expresses her feelings through a 'longing
The speech of Vidisaka, in the beginning of the second act,
informs ;us that the thought of S'akuntala has now completely over-
whelmed the King.35 The King cannot sleep.36 He cannot enter-
tain the thought of leaving the hermitage. He does not find joy in
hunting.37 When alone he thinks of S'akuntala and tries to analyse
his own feelings.38 To Vidflsaka he passionately describes
S'akuntalt.39 He analyses the behaviour of S'akuntala. He earnestly
desires to go to the hermitage, but his noble character and self-
respect do not allow him to go there without any
proper justification.40 He readily accepts the invitation of the
sages41 and sends away Vidlsaka and, the army to the capital.42
In the third act, he expresses the pangs of separation.43 With
a hope to meet S'akuntala he goes to the creeper bower on the bank
of the river Malmni.44 He finds her there, but does not rush in with-
out confirming her feelings for himself. Therefore he hides himself
io listen to the confidential talk of the three girls.45 Importuned by
her friends S'akuntala informs them that she is in deep love with
Dusyanta.46 The friends congratulate S'akuntala for her worthy
choice47 and encourage her to write a love-letter.48 S'akuntala reads
aloud her letter49 which touches every nerve of Dusyanta's heart so
.deeply that he discloses himself all of a sudden.EO The friends
request the King to honour the love of S'akuntala.5' The King
expresses his own love52 and promises the position of highest honour
to S'akuntal."53 The friends, fully satisfied, leave the lovers alone.
Dusyanta offers his services.54 S'akuntala feels shy and tries to get
'out of the creeper-bower. Dusyanta boldly touches her for the first
:time, and restrains her from going.55 She warns the King to main-
:ain his good manners,56 and expresses her helplessness.57 He
33. w vin9 4iM...,^flFrr r. P. 5;. 34. s-';a-5

-...f;taTa P. 56. 35. ti srl Winq r ... Iht P. 58. 36. arl^
-=Tq wr...Tiit .. P. 58. 37. 11.3. 38. 112. 39. II. 9.10 40.
fa-~ Wif ...--lqjj: P. 80. 41. rini"t aly qtq ...tu P. 86. 42.
-t- :... s rlnfT P. 88. 43. II12;3;4. 44. ~rn'rq-
q5s.. P. 94.

Supplementary Notes

proposes the 'Gdndharvt-Vivaha&8 but she does not give her
consent.59 At last, he forcibly lifts up her face for 'adhara-pIna'60
but the sudden arrival of Gautami61 confuses both the lovers. The
King hides himself. S'akuntali is forced to leave the bower but be-
fore leaving it she invites the King for the next meeting.62
Such is the gradual and logical development of love in the first
three acts. In KIliddsa, we do not find two lovers meeting propos-
ing and marrying like practical businessmen as in the epic-story.
Here each one is attracted towards the other, but the passion does
not make them blind. Dusyanta here controls himself, takes all
care to know the details about S'akuntala, and only after ascertain-
ing her feelings (from her fake anger) he openly sympathizes with
her in his talk with Priyamvada. In the first meeting, the two
lovers do not exchange .a single word. During the first meeting
S'akuntala speaks ,only a few sentences in the King's presence. Yet
her silence is eloquent. Her unsteady look at objects other than
the King, her eagerness to hear the words of Dusyanta and her
longing look have clearly expressed her feelings. In the first act,
doubts are dispelled and the beginning is made. In the second act,
the overflowing passion of the King's heart, restrained well with
nobility and self-respect, is depicted. We now have full faith in
Dusyanta's feelings and we feel delighted when the sages come and
give him an opportunity of meeting S'akuntala. In the third
act. Dusyanta himself hears from S'akuntala's own mouth that she
is in deep love with the King. Dusyanta listens to her love letter.
It is only after this verbal and written proof that
Dusyanta enters and proposes a love-marriage S'akuntala
also must have noticed Dusyanta's golden bracelet, slipp-
ing off from its proper place owing to his weakness.63 Thus the
lovers unite by Gandharva-vivaha only after ascertaining their
mutual love and we are also satisfied with this gradual (and not
rash) development of love culminating into marriage.
(b) Separation:..The union of the lovers in the first three acts
marks the end of the first section of the play. The fourth marks

45. iri...if TR P. 96. 46 Urq s r IT...^^l
q ...f i )t P. 102; 104. 47. Ut fgiggr .... q P. 104.
48. is W ts f nar P. 105, 49. I1.14 50. 111i15 51
t Or;riqtQ:... arfi P. 114. 52. k rniitsi slwm: P. 114.
53. III.18 54. I[L.19. 55 f~r r f- Tft P. 118. 56 q'j
( f*Q4 P. 118. 57. ...w t P. 118. 58. 11I21.
59. ra i ...3rgiR, P. 118. 60. II.22. 61. war i ...
t} P. 118. 62. 1T2-0.... irTra P. 120.
63. I.11. 64. IV.1. 65. f% M3 firri;r r...eI; : P. 130"

The Abhijfiinas'dkuntalam

the beginning of the second part of the theme-the separation of
the lovers.
Dusyanta is noble, self-restrained and true in his love. H's
rude repudiation of S'akuntals cannot behove his character, nor will
it convince us. That S'akuntala can ever forget him is altogether
out of the question. Hence the curse of Durvssas is invented to
effect the separation and we shall see later on, that it is also rooted
in the behaviour of both the lovers. This curse is pronounced in the
beginning of the fourth act."4 The Uh S'apa is also pronounced
immediately after the curse," indicating the eventual re-union of the
The seed of the separation viz. the curse, is sown in the beginn-
ing of the fourth act and the rest of the act prepares the ground for
the curse to bear fruit. Kanva returns from the Somatirtha and
congratulates his daughter upon her worthy choice. G He immedi-
ately arranges for the departure of S'akuntala. S'akuntali's
friends are busy adorning S'akuntala. Female ascetics bless her
and all of them walk around the sacrificial fire. The blithe
notes of the cuckoo signify the consent of the hermitage.. "
S'akuntalS embraces Vanajyotsna creeper 70 and consoles the young
deer. 7l She listens to her father's message.r2 In the end, she
embraces her friends and her father and leaves the hermitage, her
heart heavy with sorrow.
No one except Priyamvadi and Anasfiya, knows the curse 73
and hence no one even dreams of the coming calamity. PrlyamvadR
and Anasiiya are not allowed to accompany S'akuntala in the royal
court. Unfortunately, they place confidence in the ring and hence did
not even talk about the curse to S'akuntala. 7' The hint that
S'akuntal~ should show Dusyanta the ring on which his name is
inscribed in case he is slow in recognizing her "7 is made in so-
passing a manner that it evokes no more than flutter of apprehen-
sion from S'akuntala.
The final fruit of the curse viz. the repudiation of S'akuntali,
is seen in the fifth act.. It is effected through the conflict between
two honest souls between two truths. Dusyanta and S'akuntala
are honest in their conviction :and hence the conflict becomes all the
more compEcated and touching. This conflict is developed as follows:
S'darhiarjv'a refers to the marriage that took place between the
two equally virtuous persons and requests the Kng: .to accept

6 66. fP--Rg~'*-^,S^?^ .* ..-.136.`67. ^ 5fi,(RfT...?r
P. 136. ,|6(V.8. 69. I1.iO 7.a.i3^i rRf...1.iTr
P.4150. 71. f ^m,....?P. 15'. 72. 1V4, _-73. fU-
*q^ 5^^ *^ g~sw...f~~i .P t_ 13D- n^74. cfq-qlp7ira.T;Rii, i.-fa

Supplementary Notes

S'akuntala. The King, who does not understand anything at all
due to the curse, expresses his surprise." Simple-minded
S'arfigarava does not understand ihe real reason of the King's sur-
prise. He feels that Dusyanta is perhaps surprised at their untime-
ly arrival. Hence he explains the behavious of the world (Loka-
vrttdnta) to the King.75 The King now puts a direct and sraight-
forward question, "' which irritates the choleric pupil of Kainva. 8
Gautami, w ith her wisdom of age, intervenes and requests S'akuntali
to reveal her face, so that the King may recognize her."1 King's mind
is captured by her beauty and for a moment he makes all possible
effort to recollect S'akuntala S'arfigarava interprets the King's silence as
his victory and openly taunts the King.3 The King denies once again
and explains his helpless position. He can accept her on the
words of sages, but how can he accept Efer child when he certain-
ly knows himself to be a 'nominal father' only.'" S'arigarava be-
comes wild, and calls the King a 'robber'. 8, He also expresses
his anger towards Kanva who has been too good to the King. 'Sard-
vata intervenes and tells S'akuntal .to give the King a convincing
reply. S'akuntala reminds Dusyanta of his noble family by
addressing him as a "Paurava". She draws his attention towards
his unrighteous behaviour." But the King tells her not to behave
improperIly. S'akuntala does not lose her self-confidence and she
expresses her readiness to show the token." The King is now
sure that the hermits are 'staging a play' in front of him. So:he
taunts not only S'akuntala but the whole womanhood. '" S'akuntald
still has confidence in her heart and so she narrates an indicent of
the past.5" To Dusyanta all this her failure in producing the
token and her plan to resort to the narration -appear as a well-
managed play and so once again he repeats the remark about the-
character of S'akuntal 2. Gautami, the patient lady, gets upset
on hearing the King's charge. She politely advises the King. '4
But the King who now definitely believes that the hermits are

76. V.15. a riif. -;.f. P. 182. 77. ]f'fig P. 18L..
78. V.17. 79. fTu- n q rFift ? P. 184. 80. V.18.
81, Wrrl .r'...f T.rafk P. 184. 82. V.19. 83, T3 yr
fqfikf tqr P- 186. 84. N) ;T: ... .gfOTq P. 186. -
85, V,20, 86, ,n?^ ,' ..,,azlP, IP 188. 87 q}(=r
" I a rar. .. Rfiikala P, 188. 88, V.21, .89, n, tL( fj:...
i i P, 190", 90 -T-...- P. 190, 91. i TT,-
q9P, 19'.1 92, r... rq...U.i: P, 192.
93, P, 1..9,m P,-12, 94. V22,. 95. -T n q P 1,gg, 95. V,3,W 97 *^ ', ?^,", 194

The Abhijfiinas'dkuntalam

playing a game" with him tells that ladies are cunning in their
nature. He supports his conclusion with a well-known illustration
and punningly refers to the loose ties of S'akuntald's family."1
This was unbearable for S'akuntall who has a high sense of self-
respect and who was honest in her heart. She loses her temper
-and calls the King 'Andrya' and a 'hypocrite'. Even Dusyanta
feels for a moment that she is correct." But he has faith in his
own convictions and therefore proudly refers to his unstained fame."
S'akuntala is defeated on all her counts; she has now lost every hope
and therefore she weeps helplessly. S'arigarava again loses his tem-
per, blames S'akuntala for irresponsible behaviour and taunts the
King indirectly. "Dusyanta requests S'arfigarava not to taunt him
indirectly,100 but the choleric S'arfigarava gets more wild and scorns
the King. "'Ducyanta wants to convince S'akuntala about his
honesty nay he wants to prove his honesty and therefore he asks
a poignant question to S'Arihaarava fPI lfTr'iTfWrawi a9: 11"'
S'drfigarava's anger becomes uncontrollable and hence he bursts ouT
with the curt reply. 'f fql:' "03 S'dradvata, the coolheaded pupil of
Kanva sees no point in arguing further and therefore he advises his
pupil-brother to return.1"" The two pupils and Gautami turn around
for leaving. Helpless S'akuntalL! Where can she go now? She follows
the hermits with tears in her eyes. Gautami, the mother, looks be-
hind and finds her daughter lamenting in the most pitiable condi-
tion. She pleads for S'akuntala, I05 but the indignant S'arfigarava has
no sympathy for her. He firmly tells S'akuntal .that for her even
slavery at her husband's place is better.107 Dusyanta feels that the
sages are playing a trick with him. He suspects that they are think-
ing that Dusyanta, being tempted by her beauty, will accept
S'akuritald privately. But he confidently tells them that such timi-
dity and immoral inclination is not iii his blood.'" S'arigarava
points out to Dusyanta his unrighteous action.109 But the king
tells S'arfigarava to advise him. What will S'arfigarava do if he
were in the place of Dusyanta?'1 S'arngarava fails 1o give any
reply and this confirms the King's victory.

98, arrT d... q P, 194, 99, V,24, 100 it 1: ft5r
...f'r P, 194, 101 '. w qT gr l P, 194; V,25. 102 P .194,
103. P. 196 104. qri~ f ui tr I... W. P. 196.
105. qt iu sr al -ow ... I P. 196.
106. fq ytgr i a rs I P. 196. 107. V. 27.
108. -t'r l'R ur f;"aRr I *P. 198; V. 28.
109. P~l g fi...a$rh : P. 198.
110. Pa r cii ~Tr~;i P. 198; V 29.

Supplementary Notes

Throughout this conflict, Dusyanta controls his temper, but be-
ing smart and confident, he seizes every opportunity of taunting
4he hermits. Three times the conflict reaches its climax: first,
*when S'arfigarava bursts out in temper at the direct question of
Dusyanta, viz. rf ql -5ft qqT qfrtoftJ t I 111 Secondly, when
S'irfigarava calls the King a 'robber';112 and thirdly, when
:S'arigarava fails to advise the King in the matters of 'Guru-
49ghava'.113 Thus choleric S'rfigarava is the 'life' of the conflict
-and thrice he leads it to a climax. But for all the three 'times, the
tense situation is saved by the intervention of Gautami,"4 Sdrad-
vata 115 and Purohita116 respectively. S'akuntala's patience is
skilfully delineated here. She does not lose her courage at the
King's repudiation. Controlling her feelings, she politely and
patiently tries her best to remind Dusyanta of the earlier incidents.
She blames her misfortune, 117 for her failure and never utters a
word against her husband. Only once and that too when
Dusyanta passes a remark about her morals, and the morals of her
family 18--she loses her temper and calls her husband' Anarya'.119
"Thus this conflict arrests 'our mind in spellbound attention, as it
is a conflict between two truths, between two honest souls and not
between truth and untruth.
(c) The Reunion: The discovery of the ring in the sixth act
paves the way for the Re-union. The King is now deeply immersed
in sorrow. He forbids the celebration of the spring festival in his
*garden.120. He cannot bear the sight of mango-blossoms.121 He
remembers the helpless look of S'akuntald and that burns every
coil of his heart.122 Forgetting the discrimination in things, he
'loudly rebukes the ring."23 He tries to divert his mind by looking
'at the picture of S'akuntala.124 He loses his consciousness when
he becomes conscious of his childlessness.125 But amidst all this
ee performs his royal duties with proper care. He does justice to
111. P. 184. 112. V. 20. 113. V. 29 114. rmggg ...
~lrrtfa. P. 184. 115. ~ Tr qf4 A ...PTr lHr;T. P. 188
116. ~ ~ f~ n~i I rswwnfr...q. P. 198. 117. awmth q
-IWrr..T.rr P. 188; awf~~ir P. 190. 118. V. 22.
119. 3 T 3iTIf:ll.
120. "q;1 selit'r; -iat P. 214. 121. VI. 8. 122. VI. 9.
123. VI. 11; 13. 124, VI. 14; 15; 17; 18. 125. VI. 25.
126. Rg i: fq= R ijP ff I P. 246. 127. eSaii-s 'T TnT-w :
4rW719 I P. 258; q,...wgr. P. 253. 128. VII, 2. 129. fir
s risftq;R... T : P. 274. 130. VII. 15. 131. 9f crf~ i
,...wi P. 276. 132. q rafqn .sft... Wf' P. 278.

The Abhijfiinas'dkuntalam

Dhanamitra's property 126 and he accepts the invitation of Indra.127
After receiving the highest honour from Indra,128 Dusyanta
awaits the opportunity of paying his respects to Sage Marica, on
the Hemakfita mountain. He looks closely at Sarvadamana and
feels affection for him as for his 'own son.129 He finds the boy
as a seed of great luster.'"s He observes the marks of a sovereign
King on the palm of Sarvadamana.13' He is then, informed that
the boy, who is similar to him in appearance,132 is born of the
Puru race.133 He also learns that the mother of Sarvadamana is
related to an Apsaras,134 and also that she is abandoned by her
husband.135 He indirectly learns the name of the mother of the
young boy.136 His success in touching the amulet convinces him,
that Sarvadamana is his own son.137 Now enters S'akuntald,
emaciated through the practice of vows, wearing a pair of dusky
garments and having a single braid of hair.138 The son introduces
Dusyanta to his mother 139 and thus the re-union is achieved.
Marica's explanation for the repudiation of S'akuntald 140 removes
all misgivings and we feel confident about the happy life after the


It has been suggested that the play must originally have been
of five acts only, and that the present version is an extended form
of the original. Various modifications of .the framework of the
play are suggested.
A closer observation will, however, prove that the design of the
play is very carefully planned, and the structural scheme is artisti-
cally commendable.
The seven acts of the play form a symmetrical design. The
Union, the separation, and the reunion of Dusyanta and S'akuntali
are the three main parts of the play. The fourth act, which follows
the union and leads to the repudiation occupies the central posi-
Stion, and links up the first three and the last three acts.
There is a close similarity in .the construction of the first two
and the last two acts. In the first act, the King enters in the hermitage
of Kanva, experiences the throbbing of his :right arm and then
meets S'akuntala. In the seventh act also we find that the King
enters in the hermitage of Marica, experiences the throbbing of his

S133. 3g : P. 280 134.;-~wm:,ii;qr... an. P. 280.
135i; m:<^a q (Riorfita. ...fird qr?. P. ;280. -, *,. 13.6. fk qT
T ...r-l, i P. 28. 137. rsfq ~ ...rF.lif P. 284.
138. MI. 2L 1 39.:i': q-T 4s' P,;.af ,if P. 286 140. "
^R^ff...3^fR:";.'P ; 288. ^QTi2,^ -:,c '. .;;Z '

Supplementary Notes

right, arm and is reunited with S'akuntala. In the second and the
sixth acts, the King and his friend Vidfisaka talk about S'akuntalS.
In both these acts the King is eager to meet S'akuntala. At the
end of the second act the sages come with a request which helps
,him to meet S'akuntala. At the end of the sixth act also Matali
oomes with a request which helps the King to be reunited with
Between the third and the fifth act also we find some simi-
larity. In the third act, the friends of S'akuntald hand her over
to the King; the King and S'akuntala have some discussion and in
the end Gautami enters and S'akuntala is led away by her. In
the fifth act also, the hermits hand over S'akuntala to Dusyanta;
the King and S'akuntala have some discussion and in the end
Menaka takes her away.
The broad framework of the play, thus, shows a close-knit
symmetry, though the acts differ to a great extent in many other
ways. The sentiment, the background, the situation, etc. are not
similar, but the structural arrangement of the play is no doubt a
conscious effort.
In the first act, the lovers see each other, and there is hardly
any conversation between them. In the third they meet and are
:spiritually united. The second act stands between these two- acts.
In the fifth act they are separated and in the seventh they are re-
.united. The sixth act stands between these two acfs. In the second
and the sixth acts, which thus intervence, we have a delineation of
the King's feelings.
They are an artistic necessity: and Kalidasa's clever artistry
is seen in this design. It is wrong to suppose that the original ar-
rangements must have had a compact organisation in five acts.
In the suggested five-act-arrangement of the play, it is argued
that the same effect can be brought about by changing the contents
of scenes.
The prelude in the beginning of the third act, it is suggested,
'can inform us about the success of Dusyanta in a battle against
:demons. The story of the ring could be given in details in the
seventh act when the King refers to it in his conversation with the
sage Mlarica.l' The main scene of the sixth act could be given
as prelude to the seventh act.
A proper analysis of the whole play reveals that the second
and the sixth-acts are indispensable. Without the. second act, the
union between Dusyanta and S'akuntala would appear to be impel-
led by senses and without proper scrutinization of each other's
feelings. To bring out Dusyanta's nobility and restrained passion,
the second act is absolutely necessary. Between the separation and
t e 're-union,' some longer, effective scene must intervene to suggest

141. wrn qn q 7tr-pT i r T;fi'T... ?fr. P. 296.

The AbhijfiBnas'ikuntalam

the gap of time, and hence the sixth act is essential. Moreover,
it makes us familiar with the innermost recesses of Dusyanta's.
heart through his remorse; and thus it inspires our confidence in
the life that follows the re-union. The fisherman-scene coming in.
the beginning of the sixth act gives us a respite and, the tension.
caused by the tragic events in the court-scene of the fifth act is-
slackened. The second act justifies the union in the third act, and.
the sixth act justifies the re-union in the seventh act. Thus from-
the dramatic point of view, these two acts are very necessary. In-
fact, the construction of these two acts indicates Kalidasa's skill
in uniting artistic design with psychologically convincing exposition-
The description of hunting (Act II), the entry of the Chamber-
lain (Act V) and the King's entry in the Fire-Chamber (Act V) may
appear unnecessarily long to the present readers. The description,
of hunting could have been shortened, but the audience in Kalidasa's.
times must have enjoyed this description as hunting was then a
popular past-time. The two verses of VaitHlikas show us how noble
and self-less Dusyanta is and the long scene that deals with the
entry of the King in the Fire-Chamber shows Dusyanta's high re-
gard for the sages, his readiness to perform duties and his polite:
behaviour. The description of the great qualities of Dusyanta that
are revealed here justifies restrained speech of Dusyanta when he
repudiates S'akuntala.
Every detail in the play has, thus, been carefully worked out
so as to serve some significant purpose.


Our play is not composed in strict accordance to Bharata's;
Natyas'dstra, yet in its broad 'outlines it follows the general princi-
ples of the Natyas'astra. We have here the Patrdvali form of
Nandi invoking the blessings of Lord S'iva. The Prastdvana not
only introduces the work and its author, but with the melodious
song prepares the audience for the main scene. It is short, sugges-
tive tnd of the Prayogitis'aya type. In the end, we have the
Bharatavakya also. Commentators have explained the arrangement
of the five Samdhis and other technical details in our play.
We give here an act-wise analysis of the play:
Act I.-The Nandi. Introduction of the play and the playwright.
Sc. i.-The Hunting Expedition. The King enters the
Sc. ii-The conversation between the King and the hermit
girls gives him information about S'akuntald. The
King falls in love with her.
Act .II-Sc. i-Vidisaka's Soliloquy. The talk between lhin
and Dusyanta. The Commander-in-Chief enters. The
hunting expedition ceases.

Supplementary Notes 79

Sc. ii-The King recounts in confidence his love for
S'akuntala to Vidusaka. The sages extend an invita-
tion to the King. Karabbaka brings the Queen-
mother's message. Vidfisaka is sent to the capital.
Act II-Prelnde. A pupil of Kanva describes the indisposi-
tion of S'akuntala.
Sc. i.-King Dusyanta, love-lorn, goes to the bank of
River Malini.
Sc. ii-He discovers S'akuntalS and her two friends
in a creeper bower. S'akuntala's love-letter. The
King's conversation with the hermit-girls which
confirms S'akuntala's love for him. They leave the
lovers alone. The private talk of the lovers is in-
terrupted by the news of Gautami's arrival. The
King hides himself, and receives an implied invita-
tion from S'akuntala who goes with Gautami.
Act IV.-Prelude. S'akuntala, engrossed in thoughts about
Dusyanta, fails to welcome Durvasas, who curses her. The appease-
ment of the sage by S'akuntala's friend, resulting in the Uhsdpa.
Sc. i-Anasiya and Priyamvada, learning the plans of
S'akuntala's departure, engage themselves in collecting
the materials for decoration.
Sc. ii-S'akuntala is blessed by the Tapasis. She is
adorned by her friends.
Sc. iii-Farewell Scene..
Act V.-Sc. i-Hamsapadiki's Song. Vidisaka is sent to appease
her. The King learns about the arrival of the sages and
leaves for the Fire Chamber.
Sc. ii-Repudiation of 'Sakuntald. The sudden disappea-
rance of S'akuntala with Menaka.
Act VI.-Prelude Conversation between the fisherman and the
Sc. i-Sanumati arrives with a desire to understand
Dusyanta's feelings. Kaficuki prohibits the Spring
Sc. ii-Dus ania gives vent to his sorrow in Vidisaka's
presence. CalurLtk enters with the portrait of
S'akuntala. Vetravati brings news of Dhanamifra's.
death. The King's proclamation. Dusyanta swoons.
Mitali extends an invitation to Dusyanta to visit'
the Heaven.
Act VII.-Sc. i-The King's descent from Heaven to Hemaktla
Sc. :ii-The King gradually learns that Sarvadamana
-is his own son. S'akuntala arrives. Reunion.
Sc. iii-Marica blesses Dusyanta, S'akuntala and
Sarvadamana. Bharatavakya.

The Abhijfianas'akuntalam

The Curse of Durvasas has changed the fate of our main chara-
cters, and therefore its critical analysis will help us to understand
the play in its proper perspective.
We have seen that in the Mahabharata story there is no such
curse; and that it is an innovation of Kalidasa which effectively
brings about the separation of Dusyanta and S'akuntala. Do they
deserve this punishment? If their behaviour is unobjectionable
why should they suffer separation? Du.lanta has shown great self-
control in the first meeting. He has taken care to know all the
necessary details about S'akuntala. He has carefully observed
S'akuntalS's feelings and analysed his own. He has learnt from
S'akuntala's own mouth that she loves him. The love-letter is a
written proof. Dusyanta is requested by her friends to take care
of her delicate feelings. It is only after he is convinced that the
love is mutual that the King proposes to her and acts somewhat
more freely. He has maintained his self-respect and nobility. He
has performed his duty towards the sages. Why, then should
Dusyanta suffer at all? Why does the curse affect this noble and
affectionate King ?
S'akuntala, too, is innocent. In the first meeting, the bashful
girl does not even talk to the King. She utters only a few
short sentences in his presence. She simply "looks at
the King, but does not 'invite' him. In the third act, she reveals
her feelings for the King only when importuned by her friends.
She writes a simple love-letter when her friends persuade her to do
Iso. She warns the King to maintain his good manners. She does
not readily accept the proposal of Gdndharva-vivaha She waits
for her friends' advice in the matter. Why, then, should S'akuntalI
suffer at all? Why has the curse acted so mercilessly towards the
innocent S'akuntal ?
In spite of their carefulness and nobility, the curse affects
Dusyanta and S'akuntali; and Kalidasa has shown that it comes
not as a heavenly mishap, but as a natural consequence of some
mistake on the part of Dusyanta and S'akuntala.
S'akuntala was all alone in her hermitage. Her duty was to wel-
come the guests with due formalities.142 Instead, she met an attrac-
tive man and fell in love with him. She is not to be blamed for
this. She is young, and therefore her falling in love with a man
-- and that too, a personality like Dusyanta is not unnatural.
,She agrees to the Gandharva-vivaha after consulting her two
friends. No doubt, it is her moral duty to take her father's ,con-
,sent, and she is.keen on it. But Dusyanta assures her that the con-
sent of Kanva could be-taken for granted and encourages her by

142. Tr Ift.... -Fde Tr iq, f['rE P. 20.,

Supplementary Notes 81

referring .to instances of love-marriages, in the past. There is no
wonder, then, if the innocent S'akuntala puts hAr faith in
Dusyanta's words and agrees to the marriage. But after the King's.
departure from the hermitage, she forgets all her duties. She is,
so completely engrossed in her thoughts about Dusyanta that she-
does not even notice the great sage Durvisas, who comes there and
announces himself.143 Love has made her blind to her duties and
also to the world. Durvisas is a Maharsi and has come of hisd
own accord to the hermitage. The opportunity of welcoming suckr;
a distinguished guest is rare, and yet S'akuntala failed even toa
notice him. It was her duty to welcome the guests. She has wel-
comed the first guest -the King with all love, and now, when-
the second guest Maharsi Durvisas arrives, she neglects her
duty.144 She is now a married lady; in a few days she will be
the Chief Queen and in a few months mother of a Cakravartin.
How will she fulfil her duties as a Queen if she is so careless
That was S'akuntald's error, and she deserved punishment through
DurvSsas' Curse.
Dusyanta, though self-restrained and noble, has not acted with
all proper consideration. He has come to the hermitage to pay
homage to Kanva;145 but on seeing S'akuntala he falls in love with
her and does not even inquire about Kanva's health or penance--
The purpose for which he came remains unfulfilled. He is a King,.
and he should not have been so impatient about the Gindharva-
viviha. It is his moral duty also to inform Kanva. It is true that
the gindharva-vivaha was popular in those days: but at the same.
time he should have kno w n that S'akuntali was not
in d e p e n d,e nt and free. S'akuntala as a matter of fact
herself informs him as much. Moreover, she has as her guardian
a great sage like Kanva, famous for his .penance and his-
'prabh7va'.146 It is altogether improper for Dusyanta to showR
utter disregard to a person like Kanva. In the absence of Kanva;
from the hermitage, he should at least have informed Gautami,
the chief matron of the hermitage, about his love for and marriage
with S'akuntala; he does not even think of that. In his infatua-
tion he forgets everyone except S'akuntal. Thus Dusyanta's
behaviour also is not completely flawless. Hence the curse:
of Durvasas had its effects also on him.
The roots of the curse are, thus, to be found in the un-
fortunate errors of S'akuntala and Dusyanta. Yet these mistakes

143. erMT tf: P. 126,
144, Note aT': a~f fi~n P, 126,
145, n r WFa'R ir a: -.T'lsfr P, 20,
146. ara n~qagnr P, 142.

The Abhajfifnas'akuntalam

are not conscious errors, and so the curse, though dreadful, is not
a permanent ne. We know that it will end some day and that
reunion will follow. The curse ends in the reunion of the two
lovers, blessed by the divine sages. It is therefore a blessing in
The curse plays a very significant part in our play, and yet it
appears only in the 'Prelude' to Act IV. The sage Durvisas does
not even appear on the stage, and yet his dreadful pronounce-
ment of the curse from a distance deafens our ears. The curse
captures our mind so strongly that we feel the grip throughout the
fourth and fifth acts. The whole episode helps us to understand
how deeply S'akuntala was engrossed in the thoughts about
Dusyanta. PriyamvadI and Anastiya, who are a little farther
away from the hermitage, can hear every word of the curse, and
yet the love-lorn S'akuntala cannot hear it. In addition to dramatic
economy, Kaliddsa has also achieved a notable psychological
effect in depicting this curse episode. The curse has also helped
to ennoble Dusyanta's character. Even though he repudiates his
pregnant wife, he does not lose our sympathy because we know
that he is under the spell of the curse.
The silence carefully maintained by Priyamvada and Anasuly
about the curse, again reveals Kdlidisa's dramatic insight-
Had Kanva known the curse, he would no.t have expressed his feel-
ings of the parting with such tenderness. In fact, the pathetic
atmosphere of the fourth act would have appeared gloomy if the
hermits had known the curse. The conflict between two truths in
the fifth act would have lost half its charm if the curse were known
to S'akuntali or to the hermits. S'akuntala learns about the curse
only after the reunion. Till then she suffers in silence, and there-
fore in Act VII she appears as an exalted, ideal Aryan wife, ever
full of love and forgiveness. In the end the Sage MWrica informs
both the lovers about the curse. S'akuntala has pardoned her
husband, yet she might feel anxious about her future. How can
she be sure that Dusyanta will not once again forget her?
Dusyanta accepts his wife with love. and respect, yet he might feel
himself to be guilty of the repudiation. All these drags of mis-
givings are removed when the curse is known to them and thus a
perfect reunion is effected.
The curse is pronounced immediately after the departure of
Dusyanta. The King has left, and on the same day Priyamvada
and Anasily are gathering flowers for the worship of the
'Saubhdgya-devata' of S'akuntala. On the same day the curse is
pronounced and the King loses his memory of S'akuntala' and of
hWs own ring. Yet other members of the palace particularlyy
Vidiisaki and the other Queens) also forget the ring. Had this
not been so, they would naturally have inquired about its where-

Supplementary Notes

about. It must be supposed that the ring escapes the memory of
all through the curse of Durvisas.
The ring motif has been utilised by Kalidasa in a very effective
manner. From the very beginning, the ring appears to be unfaith-
ful and ill-omened to the person possessing it. When, in the first
act, Dusyanta holds it out, it reveals the truth about him when he
wants to hide it. The King wants to give it, but it does not reach
S'akuntald's fingers (in Act I, doe to Priyamvadi). when the King
so desired it. Priyamvada and Anasiiya place confidence in the
ring, and it betrays their confidence. It slips away from the fingers
of S'akuntala without her knowledge. In the Rc al Court. when
it is badly needed, it is not available; and thus it puts S'akuntali
in an altogether false position. In the sixth act, it comes back to
Dusyanta's hands, only. to make him extremely sad. The ring has
been so unfaithful to S'akuntala that she has lost all confidence
in it, and therefore, at the time of the re-union she refuses to
accept it when it is offered to her by Dusyanta.
Dusyanta offers his ring to S'akuntala in order to make her
free from the debt she owes to Priyamvadd. This pretext is not
entirely free from objections. Priyamvada and Anasiiy- are
hermit girls; they do not use ornaments. Unlike worldly ladies,
they have no attachment for gold. Dusyanta was a King and
should have known this. His enthusiasm in offering the ring seems
to reveal-his ignorance about the life of hermits. The purpose of
the ring here is to disclose the identity of the King; but one feels
that that could have as well been served in some other way than the
King's offering it.
Would it not have been possible, to bring about the same
effect by making a few alterations? It may be suggested, for
instance, that after describing S'akuntala as being extremely
fatigued, the King should have requested Priyamvada. to rest at
least for some more time, and that while requesting her, jhe King
could have extended his arm, the ring thus attracting .the attention
,of these girls. Priyamvadd. being smart, could have read the name
'Dusyanta' on the ring, and the King could have punningly explain-
ed it as 'a gift from the King'.147 Then Priyamvadi could have
allowed S'akuntalI to go and rest as desired by "the Sympathetic
one 'or, say, by the King.148 The reply of S'akuntala q
fI;.g tp ( ?'ft qT I 149 would then naturally follow.

147. Tr g:tRqaf ...3rInv5g P. 50,
."148, rf ,fr...TWiTT P. 52.
149, P. 52

The Abhijfiinas'dkuntalam

We have already seen that the curse of Durvasas has had .a
:mysterious effect on the ring, as it has escaped the memory not
only of the King, but also of every other person at the royal
-yalace. Even when S'akuntala refers to the ring in Act V, neither
the King, nor the discerning Purohita remembers the missing ring.
-The curse of Durvasas seems to have worked on his mind also.
It appears that KIlidasa wanted to suggest that true love needs
eo tokens. An emblem of this kind should have been altogether
necessary : and therefore Kilidasa is unsympathetic to it. After
their union, which follows the dire suffering of both the lovers,
the ring is altogether unnecessary. That is a possible explanation
qof Kalidasa's lack of sympathy, for the ring.
The use of some supernatural agency is found in almost every
act of our play. In the first act we have S'akuntala born from an
Apsaras called Menaka.150 At the end of the second and third
acts, the demons disturb the performance of sacrifices in the hermi-
tage of Kanva.151 Gautami comes, with the 'Darbhodaka' for the
Health of S'akuntala.152 In the fourth act we have the curse of
Durvasas 153 and the gift of ornaments by the trees for the depart-
ing S'akuntala. At the end of the fifth act, Menaka ccnes and
takes her daughter away to the Hemakita mountain.155 Sanumati,
an apsaras, flies away to heaven 156 and Mitali, the charioteer of
4Indra, comes from the heaven in the sixth act.157 In the seventh
act we find Dusyanta coming down from heaven to the earth.158
'We also have Sanumati who knows 'Pranidhina' and 'Tiraskarini'
'Vidyi ;5;" Kanva who is Svidhinakus'ala 'I6 and possessing
'Tapah prabhiva'; 161 Mitali, who can remain invisible to
'others; 162 'As'aririni Vik' informing Kanva about the gindharva-
-viv-ha of Dusyanta and S'akuntala; 163 and the 'Aparajiti' herb,164
on the arm of Sarvadamana.
150. 'i-E Tr:P* P. 44. 151. awTw: Tl-~ ...wrf:
PP. 84; 111.25. 152. a~T q- w...f4 ~ 1 P. 120. 153. IV.1.
154. IV.5. 155. V.30. 156. a-: Hftr f amn -~irR ...mBt:
TP. 210; p isnm- fPtiRTa-r P. 250. 157. 3 Tfur...ri r: P.252.
158. m: TA:rfi w mo~?r...r P. 258. 159. afia f O T
--ftr'm.n P. 210; fatiftrfTi,5cT P. 210.
160. "trw rW: frftwv : P. 180.
161. mf iqW qr P. 142. 162. rftfRiftor: P. 254.
163. qr f4n uftqvq grw P. 136. 164. gsrff rrT -
f.-T: P. 282.

Supplementary Notes

These references to the supernatural elements perhaps indicate
that human life is governed, :at least to some extent, by Destiny.
The Divinit\ not only governs our life but takes interest in it. For
instance, when S'akuntala was asked to stay a.t the royal palace
till her delivery and thus was reduced to a humiliating position.
MenakN comes and helps S'akuntala. Moreover, the Gods are
taking keep interest in effecting the re-union of Dusyanta and
S'akuntala. Thus humanity and Divinity work Jogelher in harmony.
Kalidasa's pen suggests more than what it expresses. His dis-
cerning sense of artistic economy makes the play sublime and more
impressive. It reveals his refined taste and dramatic skill. In the
first act; Dusyanta offers his S'akuntala but .the dramatist
has avoided the scere of Dusyanta approaching her, putting his
ring on her finger and then expressing his feelings. At the end of
the first act, the meeting of Dusyanta and the hermit girls is dis-
turbed by an elephant.'" At this juncture, Dusyanta leaves the
hermitage and the act comes to an end. Kilidasa, is not tempted
here, to create a scene in which Dusyanta defends S'akuntala from
the elephant and thus comes in a closer contact with her. At the
end of the third act also, the discriminating KJlidisa has not conti-
nued the scene of 'adhara pana' but has brought it to an end by
the intervention of Gautami.166 The recognition of Sarvadamana
is shown in details, but the re-union is effected with the help of
only a few sentences of S'akuntala and Dusyanta.
The curse of Durvisas, though very important in our theme,
is shown only in the Prelude to the fourth act. Harhsapadiki is
not seen on the stage and yet her nature is revealed to us through
her song. Queen Vasumati is not brought on the stage and thus
KilidFst has avoided a complicated situation between the King
Dusvanta and Queen Vasumati. Even then, the nobility of Vasumati
is clearly expressed to us.
There is no sub-plot in our play. No situation is carried too
far and no where are the feelings unrestrained. Even in Act VI,
the entry of Caturika with the portrait-board, the revival of the
King's memory by Vidfisaka, helps the dramatist to delineate the
repentance of Dusyanta with considerable restrain.
Even for the development of the theme, the dramatist has not
introduced new and many situations. The whole theme, with its
three distinct parts (i.e. union, separation and re-union). is'developed
with the. help of four situations only. They are: the hunting
expedition of Dusyanta. the curse of Durvisas, the fisherman with
the King's ring and the invitation of Indra. Kanva's absence is
used not only lo show the development of love between Dusyanta

The Abhijfiinas'akuntalam

and S'akuntalL but is also used as a reason for inviting Dusyanta
for a further stay in .the hermitage.167
S'akuntala's suffering for six long years is not delineated in
detail but is vividly suggested when she appears in dusky garments,
with body emaciated through vows and wearing a single braid of
hair.168 The heart-piercing sorrow of Priyamvad~ and Anasiiya on
hearing the news of .the repudiation of S'akuntala, is also left to,
our imagination.
Thus we see that KMlidIsa brings about .the maximum effect
with the minimum material.
In our play, no incident or situation arises all of a sudden,
without any prior suggestion. The reference to Kanva's departure
to Somatirtha for pacifying the destiny of S'akuntala,j9" the failure
of the ring in reaching S'akuntalL's hands,z70 the untimely arrival
of the elephant a.t" the end of the first act and of Gautami at
the end of the third act'72 indicate that S'akuntala's life is not all
joy. The blessings of Valkhanasa473 in the first and of Tapasis
and Kanva in the fourth act"' foretell the birth of Sarvadamana.
The referenre to Menaka in the first act"' and particularly to
"prabhrtaralam jyotih"'7 (with reference to S'akuntala) indicate
the coming of Menaka in the form of lusturious band at the end
of the fifth act.17' The reference to the Anguliviyoga' of the
ring, by Priyamvadg in the first act,"' as if, foretells its separation
from the fingers of S'akuntala. The arrival of Gautami at the end
of the third act is foretold by the pupil in the beginning of that act."'
The curse of Durvdsas indicates the repudiation of S'akuntali and
his Uhs'Rpa, indicates the discovery of the ring. The description
o" the rising sun and the setting moon"z indicates the rise and fall
of- the fortune of S'akuntala. The sight of the lamenting Cakra-
vaki by the side of the Cakravaka,"8 suggests the weeping S'akun-

165. 1.30. 166 ;lra ...- P. 118.
167. arqa: q rn *W[ --q P. 84. 168 VII.21
169. r;ft t...ia i: P. 20.
170. t f r fa...ft P52 171. 1.30.
172. -q'ir:..., P.118. 173. 112.
174. I srfF1 aq P. 140. 175. IV:7.
176. irq itrou: P. 44. 177. 1.23. 178. V30.,,
179. i 4 ;~i ...T 'v .P. 52. 180. aTr, fI ..
q-rfq ry P. 90. 181. IV.2. 182. ;qf,5tE lfRt P. 154

Supplementary Notes

tali in front of her husband in the fifth act.1"8 The sudden dis-
covery of the ring indicates the unexpected re-union of S'akuntala
and Dusyanta. Dusyanta's help .to Gods in fighting against the
demons is foretold by the sage in the second act.8" S'anumat's
remark MT EH d d H rTSS' UT;R.T ;Ci;W IT Ig-i i1T-

indicates the invitation from Indra.
Dramatic irony is a very effective weapon in the hands of the
playwright, who can comment, criticize or imply in a prophetic
way events and behaviour. The deeper significance of words in-
volving dramatic irony is not known to the character who utters
them but the audience understands it. Anastly and Priyam-
vadd, for instance, are away from the As'rama (Act IV), engaged
in gathering flowers to worship S'akuntalI's Saubhagya Devat "'.
They are unaware that it is their absence from the hermitage that
is responsible for the curse of Durvasas which result in her repu-
diation- for, they could have welcomed the sage in a proper way,
thus averting S'akuntalI's misfortune. A few instances of the
clever use of dramatic irony made by KIliddsa are discussed here.
In the first act Vaikhinasa requests the King not to kill the
deer of the hermitage' and this interruption of Vaikhanasa gives
an opportunity to Dusyanta for 'hunting' the deer-like innocent
S'akuntali. Kanva has gone to Somatirtha for pacifying S'akun-
tala's adverse"' fate but during his absence only and during the
time when the adverse fate is being pacified, she falls in love and
neglects her duties.' Dusyanta's identity is revealed at the end of
the first act, though not desired by him,;88 and it gives an opportu-
nity to the sages to invite him at the end of the second act.'8'
Affectionate S'akuntalL requests her father to send her .the happy
news of the pregnant deer"' and we later on learn that .here was
nobody to inform Kanva about the birth of Sarvadamana. The
female ascetics bless S'akuntalI to be a Mahadevi ""I and
'Bhartuh bahumata '" and in the next act, the King calls her
'atmakdryanirvartini' with sweet but untrue tongue.'" S'akuntall

183. FR gi gin jq < P. 194. 184. II.15. 185. P. 250
186. (T 3rnW T:...p 188. ;eTr TTrir P. 52. 189. aTFnu: P. 84.
193. ~ t .Wq ...--fE q P. 152.
191. wilf a P. 140. 192. r |rI y P. 140.
193. qqmifit; ....ft(vr: P. 192.

The Abhijilnas'akuntalam

consoles the little deer by saying that the affectionate Kanva will
take its care in her absence,"' and in Dusyanta's court thereis
no one to console her or share misfortune.; Even the pupils of
Kanva leave her alone when she follows them."5 S'akuntalU, who
is loved by all-friends, animals, birds, creepers etc.-goes with
all eagerness to meet her husband and she is rejected and taunted
by her own husband. Kanva wishes that S'akuntali should become
the co-wife of the entire earth"'9 and in the next act, helpless
S'akuntala requests the earth for an opening."' After Hamsapa-
dike's song the King remembers 'the Jananantarasauhrdini 1""1
but not the love for S'akuntald. Dusyanta does not remember
S'akuntala but his heart, exceedingly aching convinces him about
the marriage."' The city-guards are eager to hand the
fisherman till his death and very soon they see him released and
favoured by the King. The King introduces himself in the first
act, as 'DharmEdhikare Niyuktah '"" and in the fourth act, S'akun-
tala calls him a' Dharmakaficuka pravesinah. 201 The King can
not recognize S'akuntala even after the removal of her veil202 and
in the end he finds himself recognized by her.203

Kiliddsa has always expressed himself against the background
of nature. Each of his works- particularly Rtusamhdra and
Meghadiita -breathes of nature; and it appears that nature has
entered into his bones as it were. Every act of our play, except the
fifth act has its setting amidst nature. In the first act we
find a black-spotted deer, with its neck turned and
hinder part of the body contracted, galloping fast for the fear of
the arrow of the pursuing King. In the precints of the hermitage
we find wild rice fallen under the trees that abound in the nests of
birds, deer moving fearlessly and the tender sprouts with a chang-
ed colour owing to the smoke arising from sacrificial fires. The
ground is made clear of the sharp blades of Darbha grass, and the
We have, in the hermitage, creepers like Navamilika, etc. trees
We have, in th e hermitage, creepers like Navamaliki, ect., trees
like Kesara etc., and the hovering Bhramara. Near the hermitage
we have a seat covered with the dense shade of the Saptaparna trees.

194. P. 152195. qiM it t trfirw q P. 196.
196. IV.20. 197. ;,Rf ~ ...f r P. 198.
198. V.2. 199. V.31. 200. Erif q: tior... siu: P. 40.
201. -3T aT3TT;:...Hrqi~I P. 192.
202. ~~ffwir :...R.~rrT P 186.
203. ia: Vq %tsf g 1 U i g1 r n r r, P,.286.

,Supplementary Notes

A thickly inter-woven creeperbower, in the forest and, outside the
cam p of Dusyarita, forms the back-ground of the second act. Inr
the third act. S'akuntalI is .to :beq found on the bank of the river
MLlini, in a creeper-bower enclosed by canes, and where the cool
breezss blow, with the fragrance of lotuses and cool particles of the
river. The fourth act, in br'ef; reveals the world of nature. The
scene iof the fifth act is the royal palace of Dusyanta at Hastinipura.
Here we are not in Nature and yet we are not completely away
from her. S'irfigarava, S'iradavatS and Gautami dressed in bark
garments; the reference to the story of the young deer Dirghip-
afiga and the words like 'Parabhrta' revive our memory of nature.
The sixth act begins with a scene in Parmadavana, blooming with
spring. The King and Vidfisaka talk in the bower of Madhavi
creepers. In the seventh act we have King Dusyanta coming down
from the Heaven to the Earth through the region of Pravaha Viyu
and the region of clouds. Later on, we have the hermitage of the
Sage MIrica, which abounds with trees like Mandara, Kalpavrksa
and As'oka and lakes with golden lotuses.

S'akuntala is a daughter of Nature. Nature is her mother and so
she has affection for every tree, for every creeper and for every sprout.
She will not drink water without herself watering .the trees. She
has "Saudara Sneha for trees. She can forget herself but not
the NavamIlika creeper. She will not pluck even a tender sprout
in spite of her fondness for ornaments. The flowering season of
Nature is a great festival for her. To her, deer are her own child-
ren. She will apply ingudi-oil to the mouth of a young deer, which
is wounded slightly in course of eating the Darbha grass. She, in
her own hands, will hold out the wild rice for the deer to eat.
Before leaving the hermitage, she embraces the Vanajyotsna cree-
per and leaves it under the care of her friends. She is anxious
about the pregnant deer. She writes a love letter on a lotus leaf.
She covers her breasts with the lotus-leaves, sleeps on a bed of
flowers and wears a bracelet of lotus-stalk.

Even Nature has the same deep affection for S'akuntali. The
foliage of Kesara tree invites S'akuntali. The young deer will not
allow S'akuntalI to leave the hermitage and therefore pulls her
garment. At the departure of S'akuntali, the peacocks give up
their dance; the deer throws away the half-eaten morsels of Darbha
grass and the trees shed tears in the form of leaves. The deer
Dirghlapafiga drinks water only from S'akuntali's hands. The trees
serve S'akuntali by providing her with a pair of silk garments, the
red paint and other ornaments. Certainly, the mother has to decor-
ate her daughter! The affection between Nature and S'akun-
tall is so deep that Kanva first requests nature to allow S'akuntall~
to go to her husband's place (IV9).

90 The Abhijiianas'akuntalam

Thus, we find nature, not as working against the human life,
but as working in perfect harmony with it. This blending of nature
and human feeling is complete, and it is impossible to think of one
without the other.

;r1TFWeur IN


iTF--The Manager of the play,
lqpi--King of Hastinipura, the Hero of the play.
%--The King's charioteer.
(rrf (WAgr )--The King's general.
fj qqT ( Wg ;' )-The King's confidential companion.
Qm ( ~trT ) -The King's son.
W':r.-1-The King's spiritual guide.
~jRTlfts) (a4,1i ('q r )-The King's servants.
1 -..-The King's bards.
uF ( ~}WTr )-The foster-father of Sakuntali.
q ',^ I j-Disciples of Kanva
.il-The King's brother-in-law, head of the police-officers.
r -.(-The fisherman.
qTW, Mn --Two policemen.
Mfj.,--Indra's charioteer,
mf ( ~q ) .-A sage, one of the Prajapatis.
;qg---Wife of the Stitradhra.
14,- --Kan va's adopted daughter; Dushyanta's Queen and
Heroine of the play.
OT T, F .. cT----akuntall's friends.
Tfnt--A female ascetic.
F W ag-ffl. --Maids in the King's service.
sim r-t, q4'--Attendants of the King.
'Tlf-fl-A nymph, friend of Menaka.
srff--Wife of Kasyapa.
qaqq ( z )-The king of the gods.
qmur -Indra's son.
-ri---The sage ViSvimitra, the natural father of Sakuntal*..
[q--,A heavenly nymph, mother of Sakuntali.
nW, 'rn-Sages. .


MAy Isa ( THE LORD), endowed with the eight visible forms
protect you !- (the eight forms viz.) (1) that which is the first crea-
tion of the Creator (i. e. Water), (2) that which conveys (to the gods)
the oblation offered according to customary rites (i. e. Fire), (3)
that which is the Sacrificer, (4 and 5) those two that regulate time
(i. e. the Sun and the Moon), (6)that which has sound for its quality
and which pervades the universe (i.e. Ether), (7) that which they
call the source of all seeds (i. e. the Earth), and (8) that by which
creatures possess breath (i. e. Air). (1)

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