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Kalidasa

Classical Sanskrit poet and playwright
(Redirected from Kālidāsa)
If a professor thinks what matters most
Is to have gained an academic post
Where he can earn a livelihood, and then
Neglect research, let controversy rest,
He's but a petty tradesman at the best,
Selling detail the work of other men.

Kalidasa (Devanagari: कालिदास Kālidāsa) was a Sanskrit poet and dramatist, his title Kavikulaguru (Preceptor of All Poets) bearing testimony to his stature. Known to be an ardent worshipper of Shiva, he wrote his plays and poetry largely based around Hindu mythology and philosophy. His name means, literally, "Kali's servant." His life cannot be dated with precision, but most likely falls within the Gupta period, probably in the 4th or 5th century.

QuotesEdit

  • अनुभवति हि मूर्ध्ना पादपस्तीव्रमुष्णं ।
    शमयति परितापं छायया संश्रितानाम् ॥
  • स्रजमपि शिरस्यन्धः क्षिप्तं धुनोत्यहिशंकया
  • न रत्नमन्विष्यति मृग्यते हि तत्
    • A jewel is sought after and has not to seek.
  • If a professor thinks what matters most
    Is to have gained an academic post
    Where he can earn a livelihood, and then
    Neglect research, let controversy rest,
    He's but a petty tradesman at the best,
    Selling retail the work of other men.
    • Mālavikāgnimitram, i.17. In Poems from the Sanskrit, trans. John Brough (London: Penguin, 1968), no. 165; as reported in A Dictionary of Scientific Quotations by Alan L. Mackay (Bristol: IOP Publishing, 1991), p. 136.

Quotes about KalidasaEdit

  • Kalidasa, the immortal poet and playwright, is a peerless genius whose works have won world-wide fame. The matchless qualities of his work have been lavishly praised both by the ancient Indian critics and modern scholars. [...] In modern times the translations of Kalidasa's works in numerous Indian and foreign languages have spread his fame all over the world and now he ranks among the few topmost poets and playwrights of the world.
    • Ram Gopal, Kālidāsa: His Art and Culture (1984)
  • The first time I came upon this inexhaustible work, [Shakuntala] it aroused such enthusiasm in me and so held me that I could not stop studying it. I even felt impelled to make the impossible attempt to bring it in some form to the German stage. These efforts were fruitless but they made me so thoroughly acquainted with this most valuable work, it represented such an epoch in my life, I so absorbed it, that for thirty years I did not look at either the English or the German version. It is only now that I understand the enormous impression that work made on me at an earlier age.
    • Goethe. source: Letters from Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Quoted from Gewali, Salil (2013). Great Minds on India. New Delhi: Penguin Random House.
  • I cannot easily find a product of human mind more pleasant than this [Shakuntala]… a real blossom of the Orient, and the first, most beautiful of its kind! Something like that, of course, appears once every two thousand years.
    • J. G. Herder. source: An Introduction to Eastern Ways of Thinking, N.L. Gupta. Quoted from Gewali, Salil (2013). Great Minds on India. New Delhi: Penguin Random House.

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