Raghuvamsa of  Kalidasa - With Sanskrit Commentaries

Raghuvamsa of Kalidasa - With Sanskrit Commentaries

Item Code: NZA102
Author: Narayan Ram Acharya
Publisher: Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, Janakpuri
Language: Sanskrit Only
Edition: 2011
Pages: 550
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 7.5 inch X 5.0 inch
Weight 430 gm


Kalidasa's Raghuvathsa needs no introduction. This is an humble effort to present an authentic text of the same with the Sanjivini Commentary of Mallinatha and extracts from five-others.

Mallinatha's commentary is not fully exhaustive and therefore I have supplimented it by short extracts from five other commentaries. In my opinion, it is a valuable addition and as such the present edition has become very usful even to an ordinary reader.

I earnestly thank Prof. H. D. Velankar, M. A., for his valuable Introduction. He has really obliged me and the readers by his labour of love, despite of his delicate health and heavy previous engagements. I equally thank Prof. D. D. Kosambi, M. A., for getting me a number of valuable Mss. and lovingly encouraging me throughout. My thanks are also due to Bhandarkar Oriental Institute, Poona, for the Mss. and Sjt. D. N. Marshall, M. A., Dip. Lib., the ever-obliging Librarian of the Bombay University, for lending me all sorts of books for reference.


The primary object of a Sanskrit Kavya is the highest unadulterated delight which the poet as well as the hearer of a Kavya may enjoy through the rise of sentiments. Moral advice is no doubt generally conveyed through a Kavya, but in such a manner that the hearer is hardly conscious of it. The words and their meanings, both actual and suggested,employed by the poet are the- refore expected to have the power to rouse, sustain and develop one or more of the moods of the human mind, which become transformed into pleasurable sentiments, when properly assisted by the efforts of a poet. The poet's words must have the capacity to stir the imagi- nation of the hearer so as to raise him from his present surroundings and place him in the midst of quite a different set of 'circumstances, which are either totally unreal or belong to the past, but which are nevertheless conjured up into a temporary reality by the words of the poet. In the world of imagination, even things which are ordinarily unpleasant assume a pleasant form ; this is why we like to imagine the saddest and most dreadful things so long as they do not touch us or affect us physically. The poet knows this tendency of the human mind and tries to establish his influence on it by affording full scope to its power of imagination and feelings of all kinds including those of sadness.

2. The essential difference between the narration of a story and a poem is that while the former has an eye upon every minute detail of it, the latter values it only from the point of view of its ability to rouse the imagi- nation and feelings of a man in a pleasurable manner. To the poet, those events or parts of a story, which do not shake the imagination are unimportant, while those others which tickle or rouse it are all-important even though they do not form an essential part of the story itself. A skilful poet therefore must distinguish between the poetical and the dry portions of his narrative, and dwell at full length on the former, while the latter are summarily dismissed in a few words. It is for this reason that we get disproportionately long descriptions of the lovely phenomena of nature or of unusually attra- ctive actions of human beings in the Kavyas, In the Raghuvamsa itself, we may note how the whole life of king Diltpa from his birth to his arrival at Vasistha's Asrama is described with a few touches here and there in the Ist canto, while practically the whole of the 2nd canto, is devoted to a single incident in his long stay at the Asrama, namely, the test of the king by the divine cow Nandint, The situation is described with such ela- bovateness and appropriate word-picture that a reader's mind loves to linger for long at it and seems to forget everything else about the king. A similar treatment is accorded to most of the important kings of the Raghava dynasty by Kalidasa. Thus Raghu's encounter with' Indra and his extra vagent gift to Varatantu's pupil Kautsa, Aja's marriage with Indumati and his lasting grief for her at her untimely death, Dasaratha's hunting expedition, Rama's journey to Mithila, his killing of the demoness Tataka and duel with Parasurarna, his past reminiscences while returning in his Puspaka- Vim ana from Lanka and lastly his abandoment of Sita are all described by the poet at greater length than other incidents in the lives of these kings.

3. But in addition to the capacity for a proper sel- ection of events or portions of the story, the poet must also possess sweetness of expression, naturalness in the mode of conveying its meaning, and a diction which compels the attention of the hearer. The cumulative effect of all these features of a Kavya is that even when an ordinary event is described by a true poet, it becomes absorbingly interesting owing to the peculiar way in which he handles his theme. It rouses the imagination and feelings of the hearer, transforming the whole atmosphere around him into a world of enchantment as if by a magic wand.

4. In the case of a Khandakavya like the Megha duta however, the technique of the poet is somewhat different. Here we have practically no story nor plot. The poet chooses a single incident from the life of an individual and deals with it with the help of pure ima- gination. But the mode of appeal is the same. Only, here there are no minor events as in the Mahakavya, where the events forming the plot are divided into poet- ical and dry ones, the former being chosen for a lavish description and embellishment and the latter set aside for a simple but charming narration.

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