Dr. Meena Kumari Devi is a Sanskrit teacher of Kaliram Barooah Girls’ High school of Guwahati. She received the M.A. Degree is Sanskrit from Gauhati University. Born in a family of traditional Sanskrit a family of traditional Sanskrit scholars in Nalbari District of Assam, Meena Kumari Devi has earned proficiency in different branches of Sanskrit literature like Kavya and Vyakarana. She has studied a vast range of Sanskrit literature. At present, she is engaged in the popularization of Sanskrit in Assam as a member of Asom Sanskrit Mahasabha.
Dr. Meena Kumari Devi’s present book “Nala and the Swan Messenger” is an appropriate critical exposition of the first available Campu Kavya of the world “Nalacampu” written by Trivikramabhatta (10th century A.D.) on the legendary love edpisode of Nala and Damayanti narrated in the great epic of Vedavyasa. The story in its initial appearance in the Mahabharata is a long but lucid narration of the love affair of king and a princess Nala and Damayanti – who started a happy married life after their initial victory of ideal love, and then banished from the kingdom due to the mischievous game-plan of injurious Kali. The couple was separated for a long time. They were, however, reunited when fortune favoured them again. The story has earned a great popularity in India. Several Sanskrit writers tried to rewrite the epic story in a new form through poetry and drama. The Naisadhacarita mahakavya of poet Sriharsa, the Nalavilasa of Ramacandra Kavi (a drama) and the Nalodayakavya attributed to Kalidasa are some such works which deserve the attention of readers. The Nalacampu of Trivikaramabhatta is another work written in prose and verse (campu) on the Nala-Damayanti theme which has earned a wide popularity and admiration from the literary circle of the world. It has earned a frame not only as the first Campu Kavya of the world but also as a great literary product of a great writer. Indian writer has proved their excellence through the art of writing beautiful poems of mahakavyas and lyrical poems and famous drama like the Abihijana-sankutalam and the Uttraramacarita. This trend continued till the beginning of the 10th century. Trivikramabhata was an eye-opener to Sanskrit writers, who showed that a highly attractive Sanskrit Kavya can be composed even by blending prose and poetry in a single literary piece. Though there is a reference to campu in Dandin’s Kavyadarsa also (7th century A.D.). Trivikrama’s work is the historically first available prose-poem Kavya. It is an excellent kavya in all respects. The author had endeared himself to the readers by introducing a lucid and elegant style of writing, and by effectively employing different types of figures like upama and bhrantiman (bharantiman in particular). and by appropriately portraying different characters, and also presenting a set of excellent visual and auditory images. The Nalacampu also stands out as a great poetical writing for my wise sayings of immense moral and practical value, which is an important duty of great writers.
Meena Kumari Devi’s present book is an exhaustive critical study of the Nalacampu of Trivikramabhatta. In readers critical study of the Nalacampu of Trivikramabhatta. In fact, it is the pioneer work in English in the field. Though readers were acquainted with the famous Camopu Kavya long before, there was no such critical work in English on this best known literary composition of the author. The author of the critical study has removed a long felt need of scholars of such a work. Meena Kumari has a good study of the Sanskrit literature which she had adequately proved in her book. Above all she has good command over the English language. The writer has appropriately dealt with all the different aspaects of the Nalacampu in her book.
One special feature of the Nalacampu is that the author employs puns which are the storehouse of two or more different meaning at every step. Ordinarly such a technical problem by dint of his artistic power. The writer of the present book explains the puns as far as practicable which is a very useful service to the readers of the Nalacampu. She discusses the figures of speech most elaborately referring to the eminent works on the poets poetics wherever necessary. She given an appropriate idea of the speciality of each character of the campu specially laying an emphasis of the complex psychology of the female characters confronting difficult situations. The author explains the poetic beauty and novelty of the entire set of imagery presented by the writer of the Nalacampu, which is possible only for a critic with a subtle power of observation. A comparative study of Trivikramabhatta’s Campu and the two prose romances of Bana. Subandhu’s Vasavadatta and Kalidasa’s Meghaduta and Raghuvarnsa, while critically examining the different aspects of the first work has made the present book of Menna Kumari Devi a lively, scholastic and an entertaining critical work of great value. A chapter on the onteporary society of India, nd another chapter on the contempary society of Trivikramabhatta have made the book more useful for scholars. In fine, meena Kumari’s critical literary product is a great contribution to the storehouses of Sanskrit literature. It is hoped that the present work will immensely benefit the literary circle of world.
I always found a deep interest Campu Kavyas as a student of Sanskrit literature. The definition “gadyapadyamayam Kavyam Campuritya-bhidhiyate” formed a nice note in my ears. The Nalacampu of Trivikramabhatta is the pioneer among the Campu Kavyas which was included in my B.A. Examination in Sanskrit, an idea suddenly flashed in my mind that a critical work can be written out on the Nalacampu under an able research guide. Accordingly I choose the topic viz. ‘A critical study of the Nalacampu of Trivikramabhatta’ for a ph.D. thesis of Gauhati University under the guidance of Dr. Apurba Chandra Bharthakuriya, M.A., ph.D (Cal) Veda-sastri, Sahitya-satri, Professor and Head of the Department of Sanskrit, Gauhati University, President of India’s ‘Certificate of Honour’ recipient, 2004.
The present book viz. “Nala and the Swan Messanger” is a new name of the vary thesis I submitted in Gauhati University.
I am grateful to my respectable guide who is an eminent scholar of country. He is a formidable researcher in Sanskrit literature. He has written 9 (nine) books in different aspects of Sanskrit literature which has earned fame and popularity throughout the continents. It is but for his untiring help and guidance it wold have been a difficult tusk for me to bring the present book to the light of academic circle.
I offer y heatful respect to my mother Smt. Hareswari Priya Devi and a lot of thanks to my dear friend Mrs. Golapi Das who has always ispired me to publish my book.
I shall remain ever grateful to my husband Mr. Ramani Datta Sarma for whose inspiration and help in different aspect of my life has helped me to publish this work.
I shall be very happy if the present work benefits the literary circle of the world.
The Nalacampu of Trikramabhatta is monumental work in Sanskrit literature. It is recognized as the pioneer work in the field of Campu Kavyas. The main theme of the Nalacompu is the love story of King Nala and princess Damayanti. The story has its origin in the Vanaparva of the Mahaharata. The book is divided into seven Ucchvasas.
King Nala of Nisadha heard about damayanti. The beautiful princess of Vidarbha country from the mouth of swan, Thus, Damayanti also heard about Nala, the king of Nisadha from the same swan. As a result of this, both of them were attracted towards each other. King Bhima father of Damayanti arranged a Svayamvara assembly for his daughter. Nala became present in the assembly.
The very story of the Nalacampu is an incomplete one. The author abruptly terminates the story immediately before the Svayamvara sabha was held. But through incomplete, the story is made lively by illuminating descriptions of the rainy season, a hunting scene, the beauties of nature, and nice and elegant poetical passages, and excellent characters duly portrayed by the author.
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