Dictionary Of Hindu Religion | Sketches


Home | Rel-Dictionary | Sketches


Back to Sketches

Maagh (Poet)

A great poet who composed the poem "Shishupaal Vadh" containing the story of the killing of Shishupaal by Shree Krishn.

He was the court poet in King Varmalaat's court in Shreemaal (then in Gujaraat, presently in Raajasthaan) in 7th century AD. Unlike most Indian poets who give no autobiographical details or allude to contemporary events at all, Maagh, in the concluding five verses of his work (known as the Prashasti), gives some autobiographical details. The verses inform that his father was Dattak and his grandfather was Suprabhaa Dev, a minister at the court of a king whose name is mentioned in different editions as Varmalaat, Dharmanaabh, Dharmanaath, Varmalaakhya, etc. These verses are therefore called the Nij-vansh-varnan or Kavi-vansh-varnan by commentators. By his own accounts and that of others, he was born wealthy and lived a carefree life, although according to one legend, he died in poverty.

His work is inspired by Bhaaravi's work, but he displays rhetorical and metrical skill more than the growth of the plot. His work is so much rich in vocabulary that people claim that it contains most of the Sanskrit Language words in it. A popular Sanskrit verse about Maagh (and hence about this poem, as it his only known work and the one his reputation rests on) says:

upamaa kaalidaasasya, bhaaraverarth gauravam,
dandinah pad laalityam - maaghe santi trayo gunah

"The similes of Kaalidaas, Bhaaravi's depth of meaning, Dandin's wordplay - in Maagh's poetry all three qualities are found." Thus, Maagh's attempt to surpass Bhaaravi appears to have been successful; even his name seems to be derived from this feat: another Sanskrit saying goes
"taavat bhaa bhairavee bhaati yaavat maaghasya nodayah",
which can mean "the luster of the Sun lasts until the advent of Maagh (the coldest month)", but also "the luster of Bhairavee lasts until the advent of Maagh (the poet)"

However, Maagh influenced Ratnaakar's "Haravijaya", an epic in 50 cantos, that suggests a thorough study of the "Shishupaal Vadh". The "Dharmaashram Abhyudaya", a Sanskrit poem by Harishchandra in 21 cantos on "Dharmanaath", the 15th Teerthankar, is modeled on the "Shishupaal Vadh".


Home | Rel-Dictionary | Sketches


Back to Sketches

Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 11/17/12