Works of Kalidasa -

  • Lyrics
    • Ritusanharam
      Ritusamhara is a small lyrical poem of 144 stanzas in 6 cantos, mostly in vamshastha metre (cantos i, ii, v, vi), the variation being vasantatilaka (canto iii) and upendravajra (canto iv). The poem gives a graphic and poetic description of the six seasons of India.
      The meghaduta is smaller in extent then Ritusamahara, the first of the Purvamegha having 66 stanzas and the second half or Uttaramegha is having only 55. This is a poem describing the message of departed Yaksha to his wife, to be conveyed through a cloud.
      A Yaksha, servant of lord, Kubera, made some mistake in his duty; Kubera punished him with a curse, banishing him from Alaka in to exile for a period of one year. Therefore, Yaksha sent his message to his wife through a cloud.
  • Epics
    • Kumarasambhavam
      Kumarasambhava, a classical poem of 17 cantos, is based on the mythological myth of love and marriage of Shiva and Parvati, found in Indian epics. The deputation of Kamadeva - the cupid of Indian mythology - by the gods, to tempt the divine ascetic Shiva, to fall in love with Parvati, the destruction of Kamadeva by Shankara,Parvati’s resolve to win by renunciation and penance, what her beauty and charm failed to achieve by seduction, Shankara’s meeting with Parvati in the garb of an ascetic, their marriage and the birth of son Kumara, who destroyed the god’s’ enemy, the demon Taraka, are the highlights of this classical poem.
      According to A.B. Keith, the well-known British historian of Sanskrit literature, “ modern taste, the Kumarasambhava appeals more deeply by reason of its richer variety, the brilliance of its fancy and the greater warmth of its feeling”.
      Raghuvansha, a long classical poem of 19 cantos, contains a brilliant account of the illustrious kings of Raghu Dynasty. It is indeed a gallery of brilliant kings - Dilipa, Raghu, Aja, Dasharatha, Rama - painted exquisitely by Kalidasa in which the picture of Rama is undoubtedly the best.
      Writing about Kalidasa and his work, Raghuvansha, the reputed western scholar and critic, Monier Williams says “No (other) composition of Kalidasa displays more the richness of his poetic genius, exuberance of his imagination, the warmth and play of his fancy, his profound knowledge of the human heart, his delicate appreciation of its most refined and tender emotions, his familiarity with the workings and counter workings of its conflicting feelings - in short, more entitles him to rank as the Shakespeare of India”.
  • Drama
    • Malavikagnimitram
      Malavikagnimitra is a five-act drama based on king Agnimitra’s love for a beautiful girl, Malavika. It is a lighthearted comedy of court life, and depicts the progress of king’s desire for the lovely maiden, through various hindrances. Malavika’s ultimate discovery as belonging to a royal family and the magnanimity of the elder queen, lead to the fulfillment of Agnimitra’s desire. According to the famous critic. R.D. Karmarkar, “Malavikagnimitra is on the whole, an enjoyable play. The plot is a very simple one and the action develops in a surprisingly swift manner and the reader finds that his interest is kept up right to the end”.
      Vikramorvashiya (Uravashi won by valour), a drama of five acts relates the romantic story of the mortal king Pururava and the divine nymph Urvashi. The king, through remarkable display of valour, saves the nymph from the clutches of a demon and falls in love with her, at first sight. The fire of love is fueled by the nymph’s separation as a result of her unavoidable return to heaven. However, in view of the consideration that God Indra, the lord of heaven, had for Pururava, his ally in his wars against the demons, the lovers are united in wedlock; but fate intervenes to separate them again and it is only a miracle that reunites them. The inevitable tragedy of love between the mortal and the celestial being is obvious, but again Indra’s indulgence brings to the royal couple, the lifelong pleasure of living together.
      According to M. Winternitz, the reputed German scholar of Indology, the great popularity that this drama has enjoyed in India, is proved by the fact that there are several versions of its text. It has several times been translated in to German and other European languages. Attempts have been made for adapting it for the stage too.
      Abhigyanashakuntala, a drama of seven acts is based on the old legend of Shakuntala, described in Mahabharata. It is the love story of the king Dushyanta and the hermit girl Shakuntala. Their mutual attraction leads to their marriage by the Gandharva form of marriage in the hermitage. The curse of the sage Durvasa makes the king forget all about his wedding but the discovery of the sign ring given by Dushyanta to his bride reminds him of the happenings in the forest grove, leading to his ultimate union with his wife and son in the abode of divine beings.
      Abhigyanashakuntala is, in every respect the most finished of Kalidasa’s dramatic compositions. The play is universally recognised as the best specimen of dramatic art in the entire Sanskrit literature. The reputed German poet Goethe, after reading a translation of the play had exclaimed,
      “Wouldst thou the young year’s blossom and the fruit of its decline, And all by which the soul is charmed, enraptured, feasted, fed?
      Wouldst thou the heaven and earth itself in one sole name combine
      I name thee ‘Shakuntala, and all at once is said”.