By Kalidasa, A .N. D. Haksar (Trans.)
Lengthy regarded as Kalidasa s maximum paintings, Raghuvamsam is an epic poem in classical Sanskrit. It recounts the mythical stories of the Raghu dynasty, whose scions contain Rama, the hero of the Ramayana. during this majestic mahakavya, Kalidasa invokes the full gamut of literary flavours, starting from the erotic and the heroic to the tragic, terrible and peaceable. The forbears and the descendants of Rama are all delivered to existence. inside those pages we see the correct couple, Dilipa and Sudakshina, their son Raghu s valour and generosity, the tragic love of Aja and Indumati, the travails of Dasaratha, the feats of Kusha and Atithi, and at last, the dynasty s downfall with Sudarshana and Agnivarna. Composed in nineteen cantos, this spell binding, lyrical and intensely available new translation of Raghuvamsam will proceed to enthrall readers with its insights into historical India, its land, humans and seasons, and its social and cultural values which are nonetheless correct this day.
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Extra resources for Raghuvamsam: The Line of Raghu
6) * We may now turn to Raghuvamsam. It is an epic poem which narrates with elegance and great dignity the legendary stories of a famous line of kings. The heroic second sovereign provides the work with its title. Its central figure is of course the greatest hero of them all, the divine incarnation Rama, also addressed in this poem by the well-known names Raghupati and Raghava. His forebears and some descendants are described with no less detail and colour, as they are brought to life in Kalidasa’s poetry amidst settings of both natural and man-made beauty.
68 Merit from charity and penance gives bliss in the next world, you see, but progeny in a family pure gives bliss there and in this world too. 69 And seeing me deprived of that, how can you not saddened be? I am, O guru, like a tree you yourself with love have nurtured that yet stays fruitless here. 70 Lord, know this is my final debt, without release from which my pain is as unbearable as an elephant’s chafing, fettered with a chain. 71 How to be relieved from it you, O father, should ordain.
I have however devised sub-headings within each canto for their overall presentation. The text used for this translation was edited by Pandit Haragovinda Sastri and published by Chaukhamba Sanskrit Sansthan, Varanasi, in 1985 with the Sanskrit commentary of Mallinatha which I have also consulted. P. Dwivedi for Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, in 1993. Translating Raghuvamsam has been a wonderful though taxing experience. Kalidasa’s narrations and descriptions are dramatic but straightforward. His evocations of scenes and moods are sensitive and effortless.