Verses of Uddaṇḍa-śāstri - Entertainment and sarcasm

Uddaṇḍa-śāstri was well-known for his ability to compose fine poems on the move. He authored works such as Mallikāmāruta, Kokilasandeśa, Naṭāṅkuśa, and Svātīmuktaka. There are innumerable verses—some entertaining and some caustic—associated with Uddaṇḍa-śāstri’s life and works. At times, these verses can be enjoyed even without a context and stand as independent poems (muktakas). Here are a few verses that are neither contextual nor independent, but are related to a certain person or a circumstance requiring just a line by way of background.

The Iliad and the Odyssey of Homer - Introduction

The current series on the epics of Homer is in six parts. The series contains a brief synopsis of the stories, analysis of the main characters and events, figures of speech and a discussion on the Greek epic structure. A talk on this topic was delivered by the author on 20th June 2016 in a seminar on Mahakavyas organized by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bangalore

The current article adopts anglicized versions of proper nouns and the English translations provided in [1] and [2]

काव्यप्रकारवैविध्यसाधने अलङ्काराणां योगदानम्

विदितमेव खलु काव्यं दृश्यं श्रव्यं चेत्यादौ द्वेधा विभक्तं; पश्चाद्गद्य-पद्य-चम्पूभेदत्वेन त्रेधा चेत्यपि । तथा च मुक्तक-युग्मक-सान्दानितक-कलापक-कुलक-अष्टक-शतकादिपद्यसङ्ख्यानुसारं विभागा वर्तन्त एव । अपि च गद्ये पद्यगन्धि-उत्कलिका-चूर्णिकाप्रायादयः सन्ति नैके विभागाः । महाकाव्यं, खण्डकाव्यं, आख्यायिका, कथा इत्यादयः श्रव्यकाव्यप्रभेदास्तथा नाटक-प्रकरण-भाणादिदशररूपकत्वेन च नाटिका-त्रोटक-सट्टकाद्यष्टादशाधिकोपरूपकत्वेन दृश्यकाव्यप्रकारा अपि राजन्ते । एवमेव नूतनसंप्रदायानुसारं लघुकथा (short story), दीर्घकथा (novel), प्रवासकथनं (travelogue), ललितप्रबन्धः (essay),  जल्पकथानकं (comic writing) इत्या

Stories Behind Verses: Romance and Royalty

The contribution of Kerala to Sanskrit literature is tremendous. Just recalling the name of Śrī Śaṅkarācārya is enough to evoke in our minds the vast magnitude of the literary contribution from Kerala. The state had a unique setup, where anyone could learn Sanskrit irrespective of their caste or creed, and such indeed is the outlook of sanātana-dharma. Women in particular used to be trained in Sanskrit. One such Sanskrit scholar was Manoramā Tampuraṭṭi, who was born in 1760 CE.

Stories Behind Verses: Father and Son

Sarisava, a village near Amarāvatīpura of the Mithila province, was home to several erudite poets in the past. Mahāmahopādhyāya Bhavanātha-miśra, who lived in Sarisava in the latter half of the fifteenth century, was a great scholar, a connoisseur of the arts, and a gifted poet. Just like him, his son Śaṅkara-miśra was a polymath and a poet. Śaṅkara was a scholar of the four śāstras: pada-vākya-pramāṇa-vedānta and wrote several works on these, apart from composing a few poems and plays. A few episodes connected with them are narrated here.

Stories Behind Verses: Acumen and Argument

There are many anecdotes associated with the life and works of Veṅkaṭanātha, a poet and tārkika (logician), popularly known as Vedānta-deśika. Some of them, though fabricated, are good entertainers. Among these is the debate between Vedānta-deśika and Ḍiṇḍima-bhaṭṭa, which is in the form of verses displaying their intellectual valour. Historically speaking, however, the two were not contemporaries at all. Vedānta-deśika lived between 1269 and 1369 CE and Ḍiṇḍima-bhaṭṭa lived during the times of Prauḍha-devarāya, who ruled from 1424 to 1446.

Satirical Humour in Modern Sanskrit Literature – 2

It is impossible for anyone to observe the unobstructed flow of literary tradition across India through the ages. Also since most of the endeavours are at the level of an individual or a close-knit team, a consolidated knowledge about this is difficult. So I can only present here a small bit of whatever I have gleaned from my observations.

Satirical Humour in Modern Sanskrit Literature – 1

The credit for the first ever literary characterization of humour as a Rasa (hāsya-rasa), and according it, its rightful place, goes to the Sanskrit ālaṅkārikas, scholars who specialize in the study of literary embellishments and undertake critical investigation of literature. The Nāṭya-śāstra of Bharata was the first and primary work of this kind. According to it, hāsya-rasa is revealed from hāsa (a bout of laughter). Feelings are all personal and culminate in happiness or grief.