KUMARA SAMBHAVAM- Canto -4
English articles on Sanskrit Mahakavya Kumarasambhavam of Kalidasa by Prof. Radhakrishnan (Rtd Vivekananda College) for benefit of devotees and those interested to have a glimpse of our literature.
After the third canto, which is known as Kamadahana or the burning of Cupid to ashes, Kalidasa presents in this fourth canto the pangs of grief a wife would undergo at the loss of her husband. This chapter, hence , is known as RatiVilaapa or the lamentation of Rati, the wife of Manmatha.
Soon after Manmatha was burnt by Siva, Rati fell unconscious. But the cruel fate made her to regain consciousness , thus forcing her to undergo the unbearable sorrow of widowhood:
Looking at the dead body of her husband, she had some fond hope that he may perhaps be alive. But, alas !she could only see a heap of ashes in human shape, on the ground, reduced to that stage by the anger of Siva:
अयि जीवितानाथ जीवसीत्यभिधायोत्थितया तया पुरः।
ददृशे पुरुषकृति क्षितौ हरकोपानलभस्म केवलम्॥
Rati started her lamentation, which Kalidasa presents highlighting the pathos surrounding it. This is the proverbial RatiVilaapa, which is a parallel to the Aja Vilaapa in Kalidasa’sRaghuvamsa, where King Aja cries over the death of his dear wife Indumathi. In both these instances, Kalidasa has aptly used a metre( Chandas ) called Viyogini which literally means separation.
Rati laments “ Your body, which was a standard of comparison for all youth because of its resplendence, is now reduced to this state. Yet I am not shattered. Cruel hearted are the women, indeed:
उपमानमभूत्विलासिनां करणं यत्तव कान्तिमत्तया।
तदिदं गतमीदृशीं दशां न विदीर्ये कठिनाः खलु स्त्रियः॥
You have not done anything that will make me unhappy. Nor have I done anything against your wishes. Why then is it that you don’t present yourself in front of me ?:
कृतवानसि विप्रियं न मे प्रतिकूलं न च ते मया कृतम्।
किमकारणमेव दर्शनं विलपन्त्यै रतये न दीयते॥
Patikoolamna cha temayaakrtam
I deem that your utterances such as ‘You are living in my heart’ are false. Otherwise how is it that your body is perished and mine is not.
My body bears all the floral decorations done by you. But your body is not at all to be seen:
रचितं रतिपण्डित त्वया स्वयमङ्गेषु ममेदमार्तवम्।
ध्रियते कुसुमप्रसाधनं तव तच्चारु वपुर्न दृश्यते॥
Where is your best friend Madhu (Spring Season) who fashioned the arrows of flowers for you bow ? Has he also been given the same treatment by Lord Siva ? :
क्व नु ते हृदयङ्गमः सखा कुसुमायोजितकार्मुको मधुः।
न खलूग्ररुषा पिनाकिना गमितः सोऽपि सुहृद्गतां गतिम्॥
Kva nu tehrdayamgamahsakhaa
Hearing such lamentations consisting of piercing words, like darts at the heart, Madhu, the Spring Season appeared in front of Rati with a view to console her. On seeing him, she cried all the more . For, the sorrow finds an opening at the sight of a relative or a friend:
स्वजनस्य हि दु:खमग्रतो विवृतद्वारमिवोपजायते।
Svajanasya hi duhkhamagrato
O Madhu ! Your friend is gonefor ever, like a lamp struck by wind. I just remain like the wick emitting the smoke of unbearable misery:
गत एव न ते निवर्तते स सखा दीप इवानिलाहतः।
अहमस्य दशेव पश्य मामविषह्यव्यसनप्रधूषिताम्॥
Prepare, hence a pyre for me to put an end to myself so as to reach my departed husband. The moonlight goes away along with the moon. The lightning also vanishes along with the cloud. It is, thus shown, even by the non-living beings that women should follow their husband.”
With such lamentations, when Rati was so much bent upon giving up her body, a heavenly voice assured her of reunion with her husband. This assurance was like a first shower of rain for a fish which was struggling in a lake of dried water, says Kalidasa:
शफरीं ह्रदशोषविक्लवां प्रथमा वृष्टिरिवान्वकम्पत।
The death of Cupid was , in fact, due to a curse of Lord Brahma himself. But when Dharma requested the Creator, he amended the curse saying that Cupid will get back his body after Siva marries Parvati. The curse and the cure have both originated from the same Brahma. The clouds are the source for the dreaded lighting as well as the sweet water, observes Kalidasa:
अशनेरमृतस्य चोभयोर्वशिनश्चाम्बुधराश्च योनयः।
The heavenly voice further told her to preserve the body of Manmatha which will get back the life, just like a dry river will get the flow of water:
रविपीतजला तपात्यये पुनरोधेन हि युज्यते नदी।
Punaroghena hi yujyatenadee.
The agony of Rati was lessened by the assurance of the divine voice and further by the consoling done by Madhu who instilled confidence in her about the sure possibility of good times ahead in future.
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