The first drop of rain stayed momentarily on her eyelids, dropped on her lips, shattered on her hard breasts and trickled down her triple fold and after a long time disapperaed in her navel

Characteristics of Kalidasa's works
Kalidasa is considered as the greatest poet of shringaaram (or romance, beauty). His works is brimming with shringaara-rasa. Sometimes he has used haasyam (comedy) and karuNa (pathos). There are two aspects of shringaar -
sambhoga (sam = together,
bhoga = to enjoy, consume as in consumer;
so sambhoga = the being together, the romance of being
together, the happy love poems etc)
vipralambha - that of separation

Kalidasa was expert at both. Meghadoot is immersed in the vipralambha-shringaar. Kumara-sambhavam's 8th chapter is epitome of sambhoga-shringaar. 4th chapter of KumarS (Rati-vilaapa) and 8th chapter of Raghu-vansha (aja-vilaapa) are superb examples of karuN.-rasa (pathos). Kalidasa's comedy is of the highest order. (Bharata in his NaTya-shaastra mentions 8 types of comedy from the crudest of physical comedy resulting in guffawing loud laughter to the most subtle where the heart smiles). Kalidasa's comdey brings a gentle smile, not a loud guffaw.

Alankaraa (figure of speech) is of two types -
shabda-alankaara = beauty of sound
artha-alankaar = beauty of meaning

Kalidasa uses artha-alankaar more than the former. He is famous for his `upamaa (metaphor). Indian pundits say, ``upamaa kaalidaasasya (upamaa like Kalidasa s). His upamaa are clear, complete and beautiful. His observation is sharp and subtle. He knows the nature and human nature in and out. He has a sound knowledge of the scriptures. His `utprekshaa (simile) and `artha-antaranyaas (transfer of meaning) are also very beautiful. He has used some `shabda-alankaaram s as well. `anupraasa (alliteration), `yamaka (same word repeated with different meaning), and `shlesha (pun; one word two meanings). Kalidasa loves the softer side of nature. He mentions serene and beautiful ashramas, river banks, gardens, palaces, bumblebee, deer, cuckoo etc. He loves Himalayas more than the Vindhyaachal (both mountain chains).

Kalidasa knew the human psychology deeply. What humans think in what situation. He also knew women s psychology very well. He is a master of expressing emotions through actions. This brings extra dimension to his work (Remember the shlok about Parvati counting the lotus leaves when her marriage proposal was being discussed?). In continuation to the shlok (about The great rishi asking parvati s hand from Himalaya for Shiva), Kalidasa says, ``and then Himalaya glanced at Mena It is uderstood that he was seeking Mena s approval ``as every good householder should include his wife s opinion in every decision . (So, women s oppression is a pretty later development)

Kalidasa expresses inner world and the external world equally well. Among the objects of metaphors, he knows exactly how much importance to give to which one. He only describes the major attribute of the thing being compared. He also maintains the chronological order of events (else you get what is called kaala-dosha = time decrepancy). e.g. here is a shlok about Parvati meditating hard to win Shiva:

stithaaH xa.Nam paxmasu taaDita-adharaaH payodhara-utsedhanipaata-chur.Nitaa
valeeshu tasyaaH skhalitaaH prapedire chire.N naabhim prathama-oda-bindavaH

prathama-oda-bindavaH tasyaaH paxmasu xa.Nam stithaaH taaDita-adharaaH
payodhara-utsedhanipaata-chur.Nitaa valeeshu skhalitaaH chire.N naabhim

prathama-oda-bindavaH = first water drop
tasyaaH = her
paxmasu = on eyelids
xa.Nam = momentarily
stithaaH = stayed
taaDita-adharaaH = fell on the lips
payodhara-utsedhanipaata-chur.Nitaa = shattered on hard breasts
valeeshu = in the tri-vali (triple fold on the belly, a mark of beauty)
skhalitaaH = slid
chire.N = in a long time
naabhim = in the navel
prapedire = disappeared

i.e. The first drop of rain stayed momentarily on her eyelids, dropped on her lips, shattered on her hard breasts and trickled down her triple fold and after a long time disapperaed in her navel.

Notice the time order of events!

Plays and Poems

Last Updated: December 11, 1998