Author:Vasuki H A

As noted earlier, Kālidāsa has been the greatest yet most graceful exponent of Indian values. He has upheld the highest values of our tradition at the individual, societal and universal levels. He advocates an austere but aggressive pursuit of prosperity. Likewise, he advocates a moral but intense pursuit of desires. It is summed up in one verse describing how King Dilīpa was.

The fifty-seventh adhyāya of the Ādi-parva starts with the story of King Uparicara. Some scholars opine that this is the real beginning of the Bhārata epic because Uparicara’s daughter Matysagandhī (also called Satyvavatī, Kālī, Yojanagandhī, and Gandhavatī) is the mother of Vyāsa, who is the ancestor of both the Kauravas and the Pāṇḍavas. This section narrates the incidents that led to her becoming the daughter of a fisherman and the birth of Vyāsa through Parāśara; several fantastic explanations have been given to support these episodes.

In the Indian tradition, the deities Shiva, Rama, and Krishna have been revered by the learned and the lay for millennia. While Rama and Krishna were historical figures, Shiva is a mythological ideal. Whether one is a believer or a non-believer in the Supreme, one will greatly benefit from realizing the values that these three greats embody. Such is the conception of Shiva-Rama-Krishna.

The personalities of Chanakya and Chandragupta were of similar eminence, similar spirit; the supreme testimony to this fact is that such a large empire was managed efficiently for several years and the onslaught of the ambitious, war-hungry Alexander was quelled without leaving even a trace of its memory. From this we learn how sharp their developmental strategy must have been. We see how bright that patriotism must have been, which found inspiration from their strong sense of identity.

Kālidāsa has probably provided us with the finest pictures of the pure life led by sages in hermitages. It is among the many things that he has pioneered. From his description of life in hermitages, it is clear that a sage is one who is more humane than most humans. It is because of this that he becomes divine in the larger sense. It is not as if he has no concerns; it is just that he is concerned about everything around him. And it is not as if he has given up everything; it is just that he accommodates everything.

Adhyāyas 54-61 : Ādivaṃśāvataraṇa -parva


The epic opens with a magnificent hyperbole describing the great Himalayan mountains:

स्थितः पृथिव्या इव मानदण्डः ||
The Himalayas is like a great measuring scale used to measure the earth.

The narrative then moves to describing his daughter Pārvatī. We can look at a few descriptions of Pārvatī.

One of the fascinating things about travelling across India especially on our national highways is the sheer number of milestones of history, seemingly casually erected so elevated and steep that one is compelled to pause or stop and listen to their stories. We’re reminded of the scene in Dr. S L Bhyrappa’s Aavarana where Razia (or Lakshmi) mulls at a train station about visiting the temples destroyed in the vicinity and learning all about their tragic histories.

A paper titled “The Perspective of Practical Vedānta in the Works of M. Hiriyanna” was presented by Arjun Bharadwaj at the international conference “New Frontiers in Sanskrit and Indic Knowledge” (NFSI) on 12th June 2017 organized by the Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth. The current article contains excerpts from the paper.

Kālidāsa is known as the master of similes. The Sanskrit tradition has proclaimed it as ‘Upamā Kālidāsasya.’ The variety, depth and appropriateness of his similes remains unsurpassed to this day. A study of his similes is itself an education in many branches of knowledge. Instead of confining ourselves strictly to the similes, we can look at the superset called sādṛṣyamūlālaṅkāra. Dṛṣṭānta (Analogy) and atiśayokti (hyperbole) also fall into the same category. The following selection from his works will be a veritable treat to rasikas.