After listening to these words, Padmāvatī thought for a while and said “It wasn’t right of you to tell me only now about your friend. I consider him now as my elder brother. So, mustn’t I receive him with due honours?”
Language is perhaps the best mode of communication available to humans. Literature—poetry in particular—is the acme of language. There are several ancient classical languages, but Sanskrit is the only one with an unbroken tradition of thousands of years. It has produced numerous poetic works of an astounding variety.
Mṛgāṅkadatta spent the night there and left for Ujjayini the following morning. On his way, he saw a terrible-looking person carrying away his minister Vikramakesarin in the skies. Looking at Mṛgāṅkadatta, he stopped at the point and let the minister down. Vikramakesarin prostrated at the king’s feet. They embraced each other. Then he told the man who had brought him, “You may reappear when I think of you. Now carry on!” before sending him away.
Bhavabhūti valued love and friendship deeply. His expression assumes a rare depth and force while describing human affection. In Mālatī-mādhava, he has pictured the unfolding of various shades of love: infatuation, the yearning and ‘sweet agony’ that follows, the physical and mental turmoil that unrequited love brings, the inexplicable thrill of union, romance, amorous escapades, and so on. Friendship finds a mirror to see itself in Mādhava and Makaranda. Kāmandakī and her disciples go out of their way to assist young lovers.
There lived a wealthy brāhmaṇa by name Śivadatta in the city of Hastināpura. I am his son; my name is Vasudatta; even in my boyhood I learnt the Vedas and the śāstras; my father got me married to an illustrious girl from a noble family.
Bhavabhūti epitomizes the vicitra-mārga that Kuntaka propounds. A word that captures his use of language and delineation of emotions is fulness – fulness bordering on excess. He likes repetition and overemphasis. He has repeated several verses in his plays. What is atyukti to most people is to him a nyūnokti.
Let us briefly examine the literary scene prevalent in Sanskrit when Bhavabhūti began writing plays. While dramatists respected the compositions of past masters such as Bhāsa, Śūdraka and Kālidāsa, they mostly took to writing risqué ‘causeries’ (bhāṇa) and ‘harem romances’ (nāṭikā). Examples include such plays as Padma-prābhṛtaka, Pāda-tāḍitaka, Dhūrta-viṭa-saṃvāda, Ubhayābhisārikā (collectively termed as Caturbhāṇī), Priyadarśikā and Ratnāvalī (both by Harṣavardhana).
Thus after reuniting with his ministers, Mṛgāṅkadatta continued his journey through the jungles of the Vindhyās. When they reached a place which had ample shade and water, they took a bath and ate the fruits they had gathered. Right then, from behind a shrub nearby, they overheard someone talking. Out of curiosity they slowly went there. To their surprise they saw a huge elephant taking care of a tired blind man who lay on the ground. It was offering him fruits and water and fanning cool air upon him with its huge ears.
Bhavabhūti was a Sanskrit poet par excellence. He lived in the eighth century CE. A thorough scholar of many branches of Indian learning, he composed three plays: Mahāvīra-carita, Mālatī-mādhava and Uttara-rāma-carita. All his works bear an indelible imprint of his personality – a feature rarely seen in Sanskrit poems. This essay attempts to sketch a portrait of the great playwright using the hues and strokes available in his works.
There, he found a yakṣiṇī, who had a divine charm. She was in the company of her maidens. Śrīdarśana saw that they were carrying varieties of delicacies and drinks; he gathered courage and went to them seeking the share of a guest. One of the women was impressed with his courage and offered food that would suffice for three people. After the three ate their portions of food, Mukhuraka said – “Ārya! You really are a man filled with divine qualities. I will offer my sister, this charming girl, in marriage to you!” He agreed and said – “So be it!