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Moving To and Fro Between Alakā and Rāmagiri in Kālidāsa’s Meghadūta

Author:

Herman Tieken

Leiden University, NL
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Abstract

The Meghadūta stands at the beginning of a highly productive genre of so-called messenger poems (sandeśakāvyas), in both Sanskrit and the vernaculars. The main variation between the poems lies in the nature of the messenger: beside Kālidāsa’s cloud, we have the wind (in Dhoyī’s Pavanadūta), a bee (in the anonymous Bhr̥ṅgasandeśa) and a whole range of birds (for instance a goose in Vedāntadeśika’s Haṃsasandeśa). In the anonymous Tamil Tamiḻviṭutūtu a woman directs the Tamil language itself to the god residing in the temple in Madurai to beg him not to neglect her. The popularity of the genre in particular in the vernacular literary traditions was no doubt due to the opportunity it offered for descriptions of sites or features of the specific (imagined) linguistic regions. The present paper argues that there is no need to assume a genre of full-fledged messenger poem genre prior to Kālidāsa's work. Instead, it argues for a rich relationship between the aerial journey of Rāma and Sītā in the Rāmāyaṇa and the Meghadūta, in which Kālidāsa plays, contrastively, with the epic tradition.

 
How to Cite: Tieken, H., 2018. Moving To and Fro Between Alakā and Rāmagiri in Kālidāsa’s Meghadūta. Asian Literature and Translation, 5(1), pp.1–10. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18573/alt.28
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Published on 19 Oct 2018.
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