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Dandin Poet
6th-7th century poet

Dandin is a 6th-7th century Sanskrit author of prose romances and expounder on poetics. He lived in Kaacheepuram, in Tamilnaadu. It is said that Dandin's great grandfather was a friend of Bhaaravi.

His writings were all in Sanskrit. He is also known for his complex sentences and creation of very long compound words (some of his sentences ran for half a page, and some of his words for half a line). A Shlok that explains the strengths of different poets says: "Dandinah padalaalityam ("Dandin is the master of playful words"). Although he produced literature on his own, most notably the Dash Kumaar Charit, translated in 1927 as "The Adventures of the Ten Princes", he is best known for composing the Kaavyaadarsh (Mirror of Poetry), the handbook of classical Sanskrit poetics, or Kaavya.

Avantee Sundaree Parinayam

Dash Kumaar Charitam
Here he has described 10 princes' adventures for love and royal power and their desire to reunite their friends. These stories relate common life during the period those tales ere written. It relates human vices, supernatural magic and intervention of Deities in human affairs. It consists of (1) Poorv Peethikaa, (2) Dash Kumaar Charit proper, and (3) Uttar Peethikaa. Isabelle Onians has translated this book in 2005 as "What ten Young Men Did" and the "Kaavyaadarsh" (The Mirror of Poetry).

It is said that his Kaavyaadarsh was greatly influenced by Bhattee Kaavya of Bhatee poet. In Kaavyaadarsh, he says that the beauty of the poetry is in its rhetoric devices, and those rhetoric devices are of 36 types. This work is a highly influential work and has been translated in several languages - English, Tibetan. Sanskrit scholar Sheldon Pollock wrote in this regard that "Dandin’s…[work] can safely be adjudged the most important work on literary theory and practice in Asian history, and, in world history, a close second to Aristotle’s Poetics."

Anaamaya Stavan
Apart from the above mentioned three books, he has written a wonderful Shiv Stotra also, called "Anaamaya Stavam" in Mandaakraantaa Chhand which sounds very sweet while reading or rendering. Once the poet suffered with leprosy which could not be cured even by several medicines. As a last resort he worshipped Bhagvaan Saamb Shiv by Anaamaya Stavan and got relieved from the dreadful disease. Bhagavan Saamb Shiv is called "Prathamo Daivyak Bhishak" - means "he is the first doctor for the universe" in Ved. As such even today this Stotra has the same effect in curing several diseases, acute or chronic. Its name Anaamaya also means "no disease"

A Shlok about him says that "Dandinah Pad Laalityam" (means "Dandin is the master of the playful words")

An Event of Dandin's Life
Once the Dandin suffered from Leprosy and it was not cured by several medicines. Sadaashiv is praised in Ved as " Prathamo daivyo Bhishak " which means first doctor for the universe. Hence Dandin praised Sadaashiv with his "Anaamaya Stavam". This Stotra is having the special effect of curing several diseases. The name of this Stotra itself is "Anaamaya" means "No disease". After completion of this Stotra the poet became perfectly healthy as his disease was cured. He praised the Sadaashiv as Alp-Santoshee (in this Stotra) as such he should give big boon.

Aaastaam taawat snapanamupari ksheer Dhaaraa pravahaih
snehaabhyango bhavanakaanam gandhadhooparpanamvaa
yastekaschit kirati kusumaanyuddisan paadapeetham
bhooyonaisha bhramati jananee garbha kaaraagriheshu

Means - "Generally a devotee should perform Pooja by (Abhishekam) pouring milk on your head. He has to perform (Abhyaangam) oil bath to you. He has to build a temple for you. He has to offer sandalwood paste and incense sticks smoke. Even though the devotee was not performed all the above, you will be very happy by the simple offering of flowers which was kept by the devotee on your lotus feet. By this action of devotee you are giving him a big boon to him as such the devotee should not be in jail named as 'Gyaanee Garbh Kaaraagriham' ie. mothers stomach."


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 12/04/12