Much about his life is unknown, only what can be inferred from his poetry and plays. His floruit cannot be dated with precision, but most likely falls within the 5th century CE.
* 1 Early life
* 1.1 Period * 1.2 Theory of multiple Kalidasas
* 2 Works
* 2.1 Plays
* 2.2 Poems
* 2.2.1 Epics * 2.2.2 Minor poems * 2.2.3 Translations
* 3 Later culture * 4 Influences * 5 Further reading * 6 See also * 7 References * 8 Notes * 9 Citations * 10 External links
Scholars have speculated that Kalidasa may have lived near the
Lakshmi Dhar Kalla (1891-1953), a
* Description of flora and fauna that is found in Kashmir, but not
Ujjain or Kalinga: the saffron plant, the deodar trees, musk deer etc.
* Description of geographical features common to Kashmir: tarns ,
* Mention of some sites of minor importance that, according to
Kalla, can be identified with places in Kashmir. These sites are not
very famous outside Kashmir, and therefore, could not have been known
to someone not in close touch with Kashmir.
* Reference to certain legends of Kashmiri origin, such as that of
Nikumbha (mentioned in the Kashmiri text
Nilamata Purana );
mention (in Shakuntala) of the legend about
According to folklore, Kalidasa was originally an unintelligent
person, and married a princess. Challenged by his wife, he studied
poetry to become a great poet. Another legend states that he visited
Kumaradasa , the king of
Several ancient and medieval books state that Kalidasa was a court poet of a king named Vikramaditya . A legendary king named Vikramāditya is said to have ruled from Ujjain around 1st century BCE. A section of scholars believe that this legendary Vikramaditya is not a historical figure at all. There are other kings who ruled from Ujjain and adopted the title Vikramaditya, the most notable ones being Chandragupta II (r. 380 CE – 415 CE) and Yasodharman (6th century CE).
The most popular theory is that Kalidasa flourished during the reign of Chandragupta II, and therefore lived around 4th-5th century CE. Several Western scholars have supported this theory, since the days of William Jones and A. B. Keith . Many Indian scholars, such as Vasudev Vishnu Mirashi and Ram Gupta, also place Kalidasa in this period. According to this theory, his career might have extended to the reign of Kumaragupta I (r. 414 – 455 CE), and possibly, to that of Skandagupta (r. 455 – 467 CE).
The earliest paleographical evidence of Kalidasa is found in a
THEORY OF MULTIPLE KALIDASAS
Some scholars, including M. Srinivasachariar and T. S. Narayana Sastri, believe that all the works attributed to "Kalidasa" are not by a single person. According to Srinivasachariar, writers from 8th and 9th centuries hint at the existence of three noted literary figures that share the name Kalidasa. These writers include Devendra (author of Kavi-Kalpa-Lata), Rajashekhara and Abhinanda. Sastri lists the works of these three Kalidasas as follows:
* Kalidasa alias Matrigupta, author of Setu-Bandha and three plays
Mālavikāgnimitram and Vikramōrvaśīyam
* Kalidasa alias Medharudra, author of
Kumārasambhava , Meghadūta
Sastri goes on to mention six other literary figures known by the name "Kalidasa": Parimala Kalidasa alias Padmagupta (author of Navasahasanka Charita), Kalidasa alias Yamakakavi (author of Nalodaya), Nava Kalidasa (author of Champu Bhagavata), Kalidasa Akbariya (author of several samasyas or riddles), Kalidasa VIII (author of Lambodara Prahasana), and Abhinava Kalidasa alias Madhava (author of Sankshepa-Sankara-Vijayam).
According to K. Krishnamoorthy, "Vikramaditya" and "Kalidasa" were used as common nouns to describe any patron king and any court poet respectively.
Kālidāsa wrote three plays. Among them, Abhijñānaśākuntalam
Mālavikāgnimitram ("Pertaining to Mālavikā and Agnimitra")
tells the story of King
Agnimitra , who falls in love with the picture
of an exiled servant girl named Mālavikā. When the queen discovers
her husband's passion for this girl, she becomes infuriated and has
Mālavikā imprisoned, but as fate would have it, Mālavikā is in
fact a true-born princess, thus legitimizing the affair.
Abhijñānaśākuntalam ("Of the recollection of Shakuntala")
tells the story of King
Dushyanta who, while on a hunting trip, meets
Shakuntalā , the adopted daughter of a sage, and marries her. A
mishap befalls them when he is summoned back to court: Shakuntala,
pregnant with their child, inadvertently offends a visiting sage and
incurs a curse, by which
Dushyanta will forget her completely until he
sees the ring he has left with her. On her trip to Dushyanta's court
in an advanced state of pregnancy , she loses the ring, and has to
come away unrecognized. The ring is found by a fisherman who
recognizes the royal seal and returns it to Dushyanta, who regains his
Kālidāsa also wrote two khandakavyas (minor poems):
* His descriptive poem:
Ṛtusaṃhāra describes the six seasons
by narrating the experiences of two lovers in each of the seasons.
* His Elegiac poem:
Kālidāsa created his own genre of poetry with
Meghadūta or Meghasāndesa,(in English Translated to "The
Cloud Messenger" ) which is the story of a
Montgomery Schuyler, Jr. published a bibliography of the editions and
translations of the drama
Many scholars have written commentaries on the works of Kālidāsa.
Among the most studied commentaries are those by Kolāchala
Mallinātha Suri , which were written in the 15th century during the
reign of the Vijayanagar king, Deva Rāya II . The earliest surviving
commentaries appear to be those of the 10th-century Kashmirian scholar
Abhijñānaśākuntalam was one of the first works of
Indian literature to become known in Europe. It was first translated
to English and then from English to German, where it was received with
wonder and fascination by a group of eminent poets, which included
Willst du die Blüthe des frühen, die Früchte des späteren Jahres,
Willst du, was reizt und entzückt, willst du was sättigt und
Willst du den Himmel, die Erde, mit Einem Namen begreifen;
Nenn’ ich, Sakuntala, Dich, und so ist Alles gesagt. —
Wouldst thou the young year's blossoms and the fruits of its decline And all by which the soul is charmed, enraptured, feasted, fed, Wouldst thou the earth and heaven itself in one sole name combine? I name thee, O Sakuntala! and all at once is said. — translation by E. B. Eastwick
"Here the poet seems to be in the height of his talent in representation of the natural order, of the finest mode of life, of the purest moral endeavor, of the most worthy sovereign, and of the most sober divine meditation; still he remains in such a manner the lord and master of his creation." — Goethe, quoted in Winternitz
Kālidāsa's work continued to evoke inspiration among the artistic
circles of Europe during the late 19th century and early 20th century,
as evidenced by
Koodiyattam artist and
The Kannada films
Mahakavi Kalidasa (1955), featuring Honnappa
Bagavatar, B. Sarojadevi and later
Surendra Verma 's Hindi play Athavan Sarga, published in 1976, is
based on the legend that
Kālidāsa could not complete his epic
Kumārasambhava because he was cursed by the goddess
Asti Kashchid Vagarthiyam is a five-act
Bishnupada Bhattacharya's "Kalidas o Robindronath" is a comparative
study of Kalidasa and the Bengali poet
Ashadh Ka Ek Din is a play based on fictionalized elements of Kalidasa life.
Kalidasa has had great influence on several
* Miller, Barbara Stoler, ed. Theater of Memory: The Plays of
Kalidasa. NY: Columbia University Press, 1984.
K. D. Sethna . Problems of Ancient India, p. 79-120 (chapter: "The
Time of Kalidasa"), 2000 New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. ISBN
81-7742-026-7 (about the dating of Kalidasa)
V. Venkatachalam . Fresh light on Kalidasa's historical
* Poetry portal * Theatre portal * Hinduism portal * India portal * Biography portal
* ^ "Kalidasa - Kalidasa Biography - Poem Hunter".
www.poemhunter.com. Retrieved 2015-10-05.
Kālidāsa (2001). The Recognition of Sakuntala: A Play In
Seven Acts. Oxford University Press. pp. ix.
Encyclopædia Britannica . "Kalidasa (Indian author)".
* ^ Ram Gopal p.3
* ^ P. N. K. Bamzai (1 January 1994). Culture and Political History
of Kashmir. 1. M.D. Publications Pvt. Ltd. pp. 261–262. ISBN
* ^ M. K. Kaw (1 January 2004).
* ^ A B Chandra Rajan (2005). The Loom Of Time. Penguin UK. pp. 268–274. * ^ Vasudev Vishnu Mirashi and Narayan Raghunath Navlekar (1969). Kālidāsa; Date, Life, and Works. Popular Prakashan. pp. 1–35. * ^ Ram Gopal. p.14 * ^ C. R. Devadhar (1999). Works of Kālidāsa. 1. Motilal Banarsidass . pp. vii–viii. ISBN 9788120800236 . * ^ Gaurīnātha Śāstrī 1987 , pp. 77–78 * ^ Ram Gopal p.8 * ^ Gaurīnātha Śā ihihhistrī 1987 , p. 80 * ^ A B M. Srinivasachariar (1974). History of Classical Sanskrit Literature. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 112–114. ISBN 9788120802841 . * ^ K. Krishnamoorthy (1994). Eng Kalindi Charan Panigrahi. Sahitya Akad