Thursday, 8 November 2012

Kalidasa's Raghuvamsa Chapter 4 Verse 17 "Autumn"

Diwali sometimes brings Rama's role as a husband into question. Feminists criticise him fiercely, while devotees defend him staunchly. That Rama told Sita after (defeating Ravana) that she was as impure as a sacrificial oblation licked by a dog & was free to go her own way, is the eye of the storm. 

But let's leave the controversy to the feminists and the devotees. I'd like to salute the season with a beautiful verse from Kalidasa. The splendour of Autumn is described in this verse from chapter 4 of Kalidasa's Raghuvamsa, comparing it to Raghu, who is Rama's ancestor. Autumn tries to imitate Raghu's 'Shri' (splendour) but fails so resplendent is the 'dharmavijayi' & 'digvijayi' ancestor of Rama. 

The verse: 

 पुण्डरिकातपत्रस्तं विकसत्काश्चामरः रितुर्विडंबायमास न पुनः प्राप तच्छ्रीयम् 

(By the way it's a long ई in pundareeka, but I just couldn't fix it. Sorry)

(With these attributes) पुण्डरीक lotus आतपत्रः umbrella विकसत् blossomed काश grass (as) चामरः chowrie  ऋतुः the season (Autumn) तम् Him (Raghu) विडंबयमास imitated न पुनः प्राप still did not obtain तत् His (Raghu's) श्रियम् splendour.

What's beautiful about this verse is that the umbrella and the chowrie are royal insignia and would be carried by Raghu, and they also mark the Autumnal lotuses and white grass which blossoms in that season. 


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