Friday, May 29, 2009

Some critics opine that only the first eight cantos are original

Kumārasambhava (Canto-VII) / H.K.Meher
from Dr. Harekrishna Meher by Dr. Harekrishna Meher
Kumāra-Sambhava (Canto-VII) Original Sanskrit Kāvya by : Mahākavi Kālidāsa Oriya Metrical Translation by : Dr. Harekrishna Meher (Theme : Wedding Ceremony of Śiva-Pārvatī ) Introduction :

Kumārasambhava enjoys a prominent position among the five great epics of Classical Sanskrit Literature. The word ’Kumāra’ means ‘Kārttikeya’ and ‘Sambhava’ means ‘Birth’. This kāvya contains 17 cantos and treats of the birth of Kārttikeya, the son of God Śiva and Pārvatī. Some critics opine that the first eight cantos are the original writing of Poet Kālidāsa and the rest cantos are spurious. But this opinion does not seem appropriate; because the main theme of this kāvya is ‘birth of Kumāra’ and hence it has been named ‘Kumāra-Sambhava’. Kārttikeya’s birth is described in Canto-X, while Marriage of Śiva-Pārvatī is depicted in Canto-VII and the union of the couple in Canto-VIII and IX. Birth of Kumāra is meant for killing of the demon-king Tāraka. So the remaining cantos after Canto-VIII do bear significance for completion of the main theme.

Tortured by Tārakāsura, all the gods prays before Brahmā, the Creator God, for the solution. Brahmā tells that Kumāra, the son of Śiva-Pārvatī would slay the demon Tāraka and protect the heaven. Advised by Brahmā, the gods make necessary arrangements to attract Śiva’s mind towards princess Pārvatī. Contextually Pārvatī by her severe penance becomes able to propitiate Mahāyogī Śiva for marriage with herself.

Canto-VII, bearing 95 verses, deals with the topic of Śiva-Pārvatī’s marriage ceremony. Lord Śiva weds princess Pārvatī, the daughter of the mountain-king Himālaya and Queen Menā. In accordance with social customs, from Śiva’s side, Saptarshi, the seven rishis place before Himālaya, the proposal of his daughter Pārvatī’s marriage with Śiva. After heartiest consent given by bride’s parents, the wedding is accomplished with much pomp and ceremony in the royal palace of Oshadhiprastha city, the residence of the mountain-king.

Just before marriage, decorations with ornaments and costume-design of princess Pārvatī are performed as per social and traditional customs, as seen in human society. Brahmā, Vishņu, Lakshmī, Sarasvatī and all the gods headed by Indra with enthusiastic and hilarious hearts, attend the wedding celebration. The priest performs the marriage function. Goddess Lakshmī holds white lotus-umbrella above the heads of the bride and groom. Sarasvatī, the Goddess of Speech and Learning, congratulates the couple with bilingual greetings ; she offers homage to Śiva in Sanskrit language and to Pārvatī in delicate Prākrit language. All other gods heartily extend their salutations and prayers to the newly-wed couple.

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