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2-Literature in Sanskrit-1

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2-Famous Literature of India in Sanskrit

Raamaayan by Vaalmeeeki
This work is supposed the earliest poetry work in Sanskrit and Vaalmeeki is called as the Aadi Kavi (first poet).

Mahaabhaarat by Ved Vyaas
This work, a huge book, is written by Ved Vyaas Jee, an incarnation of Vishnu Himself. It is said about this book that -
--Whatever is not here, is not found anywhere else
--Ved Vyaas Jee could not write it himself, so he asked Ganesh Jee to help him in writing it. Ganesh Jee put a condition that while writing his pen will not stop at all, then only he can agree on writing it. At this Vyaas Jee said - "Do not write anything which you don't understand it." Both agreed and the writing work began. It is also said that while writing many of Vyaas jee's Shlok were so complex that ganesh Jee took some to understand them, meanwhile Vyaas Jee created many Shlok. It is also said that while writing, once Ganesh Jee's pen broke, so he uprooted his tusk to write the remaining Mahaabhaarat.
--It is much more huge than well-known western Greek poet Homer's both the epics "Iliad" and "Odyssey" combined (around 850 BC).

Besides these two epics, there are five more great Epic poems in Sanskrit Language. They are --
(1) Raghuvansh of Kaalidaas
(2) Kumaar Sambhav of Kaalidaas
(3) Kirataarjuneeya of Bhaaravi
(4) Shishupaal Vadh of Shree Maagh and
(5) Naishadham of Shreeharsh (not the King Harshvardhan).

Raghuvansh by Kaalidaas
This is the work of Kaalidaas. It describes the lives of the kings of the Solar dynasty beginning with the King Dileep. It consists of 19 cantos. Shree Raam’s story is also described in this. But the list of ancestors was not followed as mentioned in Vaalmeeki Raamaayan. The life history of King Dileep, Raghu, Aj, Dasharath, Raam and his three descendants are described in detail. He gives the list of kings of Solar dynasty till Agnivarn, who died without a child. Later one of his wives, who was pregnant was made as the queen. The work stops here. The description of greatness of Solar dynasty, Dileep’s journey to Vashishth’s Aashram, Nandi, Raghu Digvijaya, Indumatee Swayamvar are very interesting for the readers.

Kumaar Sambhav by Kaalidaas
Kaalidaas also composed this. This work consists of 17 cantos. It deals with the birth of the war God Kumaar or Subrahmanya and killing the enemy Taarak (Taarakaasur). There was a controversy in this work. Some say that Kaalidaas composed up to 7 cantos only and some accept the 8th one also. But some more strongly argue that Kaalidaas himself composed the full work. Every canto is unique in this work. The descriptions of Paarvatee, her penance, Shiv’s penance, Manmath’s death, Shiv Stuti by the the seven sages (Saptarshi), conversation of Shiv Paarvati, and their marriage are all very interesting.

Kiraataarjuneeya by Bhaaravi
Bhaaravi has composed this long poem in 18 cantos. It describes the story of Arjun acquiring the Pashupat Astra from Shiv. At the end of the penance Shiv in the disguise of a hunter (Kiraat) tests the strength and ability of Arjun in an encounter. This incident is narrated in Van Parv of Mahaabhaarat. Bhaaravi is transformed it in a beautiful Kaavya. The style of Bhaaravaee is said ‘Bharaveh Arth Gauravam’. His date was somewhere in the 6th century AD. The 15th canto contains a number of stanzas illustrating all kinds of puns and alliterations. The descriptions of forest and mountains create brilliant images before our eyes. Only one Shlok from Kiraataarjuneeya is enough to describe the greatness of Bhaaravi says that "if someone does the work in hurry becomes fool and the wealth which follow good characters reach a person one who acts wise."

Shishupaal Vadham by Maagh
The great poet Maagh has composed this long poem in 7th century AD. A simple incident from Mahaabhaarat where Krishn kills Shishupaal, the King of Chedi Desh during the Yudhishthir’s Raajasooya Yagya. It is said that Maagh is also a remarkable poet. There is a proverb which says that "the life of a person will end by reading Maagh’s work (Shishupaal Vadh) and Kaalidaas’s Meghdoot". Maagh excels Bhaaravi in the artificiality of his style. He imitates Bhaaravi in many respects. Maagh is admired for his delightful style, profound thoughts and beautiful similes. His vocabulary is very vast and his knowledge of grammar is deep. Also it is said that "if one studies the 9th canto of this work then there will be no new word for him to study."

--Bhaaravi uses 19 different types of meters while Maagh uses 23 types.
--Bhaaravi praise Shiv, while Maagh praises Vishnu, and
--Like Bhaaravi, Maagh also has his own instances of one-consonant (dādadoduddaduddādī…) and Sarvatobhadra palindrome verses.

Naishadheeya Charitam by Shreeharsh
Shreeharsh (not king Harshvardhan) composed this in 12th AD. He was the son of Heeraa and Maamalla Devee. He was patronized by the kings Vijayachand and Jayachand of Kannauj, UP. Although he has composed many works, but this work is in 60 cantos. Only 22 cantos are available now and the work is incomplete. The theme of this work was taken from Nalopaakhyaan (story of Nal and Damayantee) of Mahaabhaarat. The style of Harsh is called “Naarikel Paakam” like the coconut sweets. The praise of the book is that “this work is the medicine for Scholars”. He also describes that his work is not for fools to play with. He had written other works called "Khandana Khanda Khadya", "Vijaya Prashasti" and "Gaudorvisa Prashasti". Reports are that once his father was disgraced in a poetry contest in King Vijayachand's court. After that he retired and asked his son Shreeharsh to take revenge for it. Shreeharsh became the King's patron and on his request he wrote "Naishadheeyacharit".


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 10/31/12