Meghaduta is separated into two parts — Purvamegha Previous cloud and Uttaramegha Consequent cloud. According to the story, Kubera, treasurer to the Gods, possesses a band of celestial attendees working for him, named the Yakshas. One of these Yakshas was so besotted and preoccupied with his wife that he absolutely disregarded his duties. As a consequence, he was cursed and banished into the thickness of earthly woods. Wholly demoralised, he kept thinking about his wife and felt her absence terribly.
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Under this fiction, Kalidasa presents a sympathetic portrait of northern India, and weaves in the various moods of love traditional in classical Sanskrit poetry. Early translations sacrificed the meaning to the exigencies of English verse. The version here by the poet Colin John Holcombe is taken from the standard Hultzsch text, and employs accomplished English verse to render the simple magnificence of the original while remaining faithful to the meaning.
About its author, who wrote five or six other great works, little is known, but he may have served one of the pre-Gupta rulers of northern India at Ujjain.
The poem is written in unrhymed stanzas of four lines in the slow-moving Mandakrata measure. The work here adopts the Hultzsch text, and uses five-line stanzas of rhymed pentameters to render the simple magnificence of the poetry while remaining faithful to the prose sense. The few occasions where my intrepretations differ from those of previous translators, or I have been unable to fully encompass the meaning in a particular stanza, are noted in the Appendix, which also contains a short treatment of metrical issues, an introduction to Sanskrit poetry, and a glossary of unfamiliar words and allusions.
The translation is for the general reader, and includes a brief treatments of alternative readings, metrical issues, the aims of Sanskrit poetry, and a glossary of unfamiliar words and allusions. A free e-book in pdf format. A year from amorousness: it passes slowly. And mixed his pleasure as a cloud came down so playfully to hug the summit mist, as elephants in heat will butt the ground.
In tears withheld he took his fall from grace, from wealth attending on the King of Kings. With now the rainy month stood close at hand, to fresh Kutaja blooms he adds his plea and asks most courteously the cloud bring news of welfare to his loved-one — words that she, revived to hear of him, will understand.
How can a cloud so moving, mixed and got of water vapour, fire and wind be used by Yaksha appropriately as messenger? Such clouds the ending of the world presage; you minister to form at will. Though kin I plead for are by power detained, better to be by majesty refused than win an approbation of base parentage. References and Sources I have found these to be the most useful in making the translation: 1.
Hultzsch, E. Kalidasa: Poems: Meghaduta. Monier-Williams, Monier. Cologne Digital Sanskrit Lexicon. MacDonell, Arthur, A. A Sanskrit Grammar for Students O. Devadhar, C. Kale, M. Taylor, McComas trans. Nathan, Leonard trans. Keith, A. Sabnis, S. Kalidasa: His Style and Times N. Tripathi, Bombay, Jain, K.
This it obviously is not. It is fair enough to call it an elegiac poem, though a precisian might object to the term. We have already seen, in speaking of The Dynasty of Raghu, what admiration Kalidasa felt for his great predecessor Valmiki, the author of the Ramayana; and it is quite possible that an episode of the early epic suggested to him the idea which he has exquisitely treated in The Cloud-Messenger. In the Ramayana, after the defeat and death of Ravana, Rama returns with his wife and certain heroes of the struggle from Ceylon to his home in Northern India. The journey, made in an aerial car, gives the author an opportunity to describe the country over which the car must pass in travelling from one end of India to the other. The hint thus given him was taken by Kalidasa; a whole canto of The Dynasty of Raghu the thirteenth is concerned with the aerial journey.
Early life[ edit ] Scholars have speculated that Kalidasa may have lived near the Himalayas , in the vicinity of Ujjain , and in Kalinga. Lakshmi Dhar Kalla — , a Sanskrit scholar and a Kashmiri Pandit , wrote a book titled The birth-place of Kalidasa , which tries to trace the birthplace of Kalidasa based on his writings. He concluded that Kalidasa was born in Kashmir , but moved southwards, and sought the patronage of local rulers to prosper. Description of geographical features common to Kashmir, such as tarns and glades Mention of some sites of minor importance that, according to Kalla, can be identified with places in Kashmir. These sites are not very famous outside Kashmir, and therefore, could not have been known to someone not in close touch with Kashmir.
Meghadutam of Kalidasa with Sanskrit Commentary and English Translation