Kalidasa, poet from ancient India has written a beautiful poem. Titled Meghaduta, it means cloud messenger. Though there is some controversy it is generally believed that Kalidasa lived in the Gupta period (Beginning of fourth to end of seventh century) of ancient India. He most probably flourished in the court of emperor Kumaragupta. He was among the nine gems at the Gupta court.
Nature played an important part in his writings. He has visualised nature in terms of human relationships. Meghaduta is a lyrical poem of 111 stanzas divided into purvamegha and uttaramegha, previous cloud and later cloud.
Kalidasa writing in the fourth century, illustration.
Excerpt from Meghadootam by Kalidasa.
प्रेक्षिष्यन्ते पथिकवनिताः प्रत्ययादाश्वसन्त्यः
कः संनद्धे विरहविधुरां त्वय्युपेक्षेत जायां
न स्यादन्योऽप्यहमिव जनो यः पराधीनवृत्तिः॥१.८॥
त्वां चावश्यं दिवसगणनातत्पराम एकपत्नीम
अव्यापन्नाम अविहतगतिर द्रक्ष्यसि भ्रातृजायाम
आशाबन्धः कुसुमसदृशं प्रायशो ह्य अङ्गनानां
सद्यः पाति प्रणयि हृदयं विप्रयोगे रुणद्धि॥१.९॥
Source : sa.wikisource.org/wiki/मेघदूतम्/मेघदूतम्_-_पूर्वमेघ:
It is a poem about separation and the longing to be with one’s beloved. This bitter-sweet account is vivid with description. A yaksha, an attendee of the God of wealth, Kubera,he has been banished to the thick forests on earth due to negligence of duties. He has been given this punishment by Kubera. He had started neglecting his duties because he is completely smitten with his wife.
As his days pass in the forests, one day it starts to rain. He sees a rain-cloud and requests it to take a message to his beloved who stays at Alakapuri on Mount Kailash; a mythical city in the Himalayas. The poem describes all the sights the rain cloud will see on his northward way to the city. The scenes described are as vivid as possible so that the rain-cloud is encouraged to deliver the message. Such is the longing to connect with one’s beloved. This composition is a sandesa kavya or messenger poem.
Meghaduta has been translated to English in 1813, By Horace Hayman Wilson, and also into many other languages. Many artists have made paintings based on the scenes described.
An excerpt of the translation :
…..Reflexion told what promise of delight
sprang from such gathering shades to happier sight
Where the worn traveller is joyed to trace
His home approaching and a wife’s embrace
What hope alas was his ! yet fancy found,
Some solace in the glooms that deepened around.
And bade him hail amidst the labouring stir.
A friendly envoy to his distant fair….
Utka Nayika,lady awaits her lover, late 18th century, Kangra, British Museum, London.
ज्योतिर्लेखावलयि गलितं यस्य बर्हं भवानी
पुत्रप्रेम्णा कुवलयदलप्रापि कर्णे करोति
धौतापाङ्गं हरशशिरुचा पावकेस तं मयूरं
पश्चाद अद्रिग्रहणगुरुभिर गर्जितैर नर्तयेथाः॥१.४७॥
आराद्यैनं शरवणभवं देवम उल्लङ्घिताध्वा
सिद्धद्वन्द्वैर जलकणभयाद वीणिभिर मुक्तमार्गः
व्यालम्बेथाः सुरभितनयालम्भजां मानयिष्यन
स्रोतोमूर्त्या भुवि परिणतां रन्तिदेवस्य कीर्तिम॥१.४८॥
Valley of flowers.
Clouds and mountains.
- Marg : Vol. 42 Issue no. 3; March 1991.
Image attributions in sequence :
- By Unknown – https://archive.org/details/hutchinsonsstory00londuoft, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39272105
- By Anonymous – British Museum, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20756358
- By अंग्रेज़ी Wikipedia पर Araghu(Original text: Raghuram. A) – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.(Original text: Photo taken by en:User:araghu), CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2148384
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