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See also    Kaalidaas,     Raajaa Bhoj,

Controversy of Kaalidaas
There were 3 Kaalidaas stated by Raajashekhar in his Kaavya Meemaansaa.
एकोऽपिजीयते हन्त कालिदासो नकेनचित ्। शृङ्गारे ललितोद्गारे कालिदासत्रयी किमु॥

A fourth person Harishen also had a pseudonym as Kaalidaas as stated in Krishn Charit of Samudragupt.

(1) One Kaalidaas was in the court of Vikramaaditya. He has stated in his Jyotirvid Bharan (34 BC) that prior to that he had written 3 epics (Raghuvansh, Kumaar Sambhav, Meghadoot). Date given by him has been disputed by S B Dixit, but if one analyses reasons and logic of change of month from bright half to dark half (Poornimaant month) in Vikramaaditya period, his dates are highly accurate. Details are in 'Vikramaaditya'. (2) Second Kaalidaas was the author of 3 dramas during the period of Agnimitra (151-141 BC) as indicated in ending sentence of Malavikagnimitram.
--Harishen was slightly before Shree Harsh (456 BC) whose Raghu Charit was the basis of Raghuvnash.
--Maatrigupt was with Shree Harsh who had made him king of Kashmeer for 5 years after the death of Pravarasen who was without any son (Raaj Taranginee)
(3) Third Kaalidaas was contemporary of Raajaa Bhoj, the King of Maalava who had helped Prophet Mohammad, as per Islaamik history published by Ahmadiyaa organization. He was a Taantrik and Ashu-kavi whose stray poems are famous as dialog between Raajaa Bhoj and Kaalidaas. In his "Chid-gagan Chandrikaa", he has stated his place near Poonaa of Mahaaraashtra.

Kaalidaas has been a great poet of his times. Although the time of his existence is not certain, but he is believed to be the poet in Vikramaaditya's court. Bhavishya Puraan, 3/17 says that he was living in the court of Raajaa Bhoj of Shaalivaahan Vansh. He holds the same status in Indian literature as Shakespeare hold in English literature. His works are based on Hindu religious literature. Not much is known about him and is life except his works.

How Kaalidaas Became a Poet?
There is another interesting story about how he became the great poet. It is similar to the story of Tulasee Daas.

There was a very learned woman named Vidyottamaa. She was so learned that she was always on the look out of more learned person than herself. Finding many people less learned than herself, she declared that she would marry only that boy who will be more learned than herself. Many boys came but nobody could compete with her abilities. So a few defeated boys thought as she was very proud of her wisdom, she should be made fool somehow. They started looking for a fool so that they can manage to marry her with that fool. Once they were passing through a forest that they saw a man cutting the same branch of a tree on which he was sitting. They thought "who can be a greater fool than him who is cutting the same branch on which he was sitting", so they asked him to come down from the tree and explained the whole matter. They told him they would marry him to a very good woman if he will do what they say to him.

The man got very happy to hear this and agreed with their condition. Their main condition was that during the conversation or discussion he would not speak at all, he would use only signals to convey his thoughts or ideas. So those men took him to that girl's house and invited her to have discussion with Kaalidaas. The girl got ready with all their strange conditions. She showed her one finger to him with the purpose to say that "God is one". Kaalidaas thought, "she wants to pierce my one eye, so I will pierce her both eyes"; thinking thus he showed her his two fingers. On asking its meaning the men replied that he wanted to say that "God are two - Aatmaa and Paramaatmaa".

In the same way the discussion proceeded with signals and the men were able to convince her that she had lost. So she had to marry Kaalidaas. But when she tried to talk to him in Sanskrit language (as it was the language at that time), he could not even talk properly. Vidyuttamaa got very angry at this and in anger he sent Kaalidaas out of the house saying, "Do not come here until you can defeat me." Kaalidaas also went out and got very sad abut the whole situation. He started his studies and became very learned.

Later one night, he knocked at Vidyottamaa's door and said "Open the door" in Sanskrit. Vidyottamaa opened the door. She did not recognize the man so she asked in Sanskrit - "Who are you?" And Kaalidaas replied her in beautiful Sanskrit. She was very much surprised and delighted to see her husband back and then they lived together happily.

How Kaalidaas Became a Poet-Another Story
Wikipedia gives one story. According to it, Kaalidaas was very handsome which brought him to the attention of a princess who married him. However, as legend has it, Kaalidaas had grown up without much education, and the princess was ashamed of his ignorance and coarseness. A devoted worshipper of Kaalee (by other accounts she was Goddess Saraswatee), Kaalidaas is said to have called upon his goddess to help him when he was going to commit suicide in a pond after he was humiliated by his wife, and was rewarded with a sudden and extraordinary gift of wit. He is then said to have become the most brilliant of the "nine gems" at the court of the king Vikramaaditya of Ujjain. Legend also has it that he was murdered by a courtesan in Sri Lankaa during the reign of Kumaar Daas.

Kaalidaas in the King Bhoj's Court
Read his two stories in Raajaa Bhoj.

His Works
His characters of his plays are from Shung Dynasty only, still people believe that he was one of the nine gems of Vikramaaditya's court. His works include -
(1) Maalavikaagnimitra - This is the story of Maalavikaa and Agnimitra of Shung Dynasty who sat on the throne in c 152 BC, this proves that he did not live before 152 BC. Besides the dialect of Praakrit language used by some of his minor characters show that he could not have lived before the 3rd century AD. One scientist conducted a thorough research on Kaalidaas and after analyzing 627 archaeological evidences which included 104 sculptures, 30 pictures and 493 scriptural words determined that Kaalidaas lived in the period 370-450 AD.
(2) Vikramorvasheeyam - A play about Pururavaa and Urvashee
(3) Kumaarsambhav - An epic poem. It is about Kaarttikeya, the son of Shiv and Paarvatee. Kumaargupt was the son of Chandragupt II Vikramaaditya. This play could be the tribute to any of these two.
(4) Raghuvansh - An epic poem. The mention of Hoon in Raghuvansh could be a veiled reference to the victory of Hoon over Skandgupt. Alternatively the campaign of Raghu may have been modeled on Chandragupt Vikramaadity's father Samudragupt.
(5) Abhigyaan Shaakuntalam (of Shakuntalaa recognized by a token)
(6) Ritu Sanhaar - describes the six seasons by narrating the experiences of two lovers in each of the seasons.
(7) Meghdoot - Megh (Baadal or clouds) as messenger, story of a Yaksh trying to send a message to his beloved through clouds. Set this poem into the "Mandaakraantaa" meter (Chhand) known for its lyrical sweetness. It is one of Kaalidaas' most popular poems and numerous commentaries on the work have been written.

Kaali Daas has written a book as "Jyotirvid Aabharan" and that is the only text which indicates that Raghuvansh, Kumaarsambhav and Meghdoot were written by Kaalidaas, not stated in those texts themselves. The 3 epics are being taught as Kaalidaas work on that basis only for 2000 years with commentaries by Malla Naath etc.


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 04/25/13