Clay Sanskrit Library Newsletter: November 06

Just in time for the selection of Christmas gifts, welcome to the final Clay Sanskrit Library Newsletter of 2006. This month we have in store more volumes of the famous epics of the Maha·bhárata and Ramáyana. We also present the first ever translation of the Kashmiri recension of Kali·dasa's masterpiece, Shakúntala. These great books will be shortly followed in December by three more volumes of the Maha·bhárata and three plays and the first volume of the Ocean of the Rivers of Story.

CONTENTS:

  1. Now Available
  2. New! More Book Extras
  3. New Releases in December
  4. CSL Wallpaper for Download
  5. CSL in The Guardian Review
1. NOW AVAILABLE

These three new volumes are now available. You can also read excerpts from these volumes.

Maha·bhárata Book Two: The Great Hall
Paul Wilmot
Download excerpt

Ramáyana Book Five: Súndara by Vālmīki
Robert P. Goldman and Sally Sutherland Goldman
Download excerpt

The Recognition of Shakúntala (Kashmir Recension) by Kālidāsa
Somadeva Vasudeva
Download excerpt

2. NEW! MORE BOOK EXTRAS

We have added more items for you to read and download for the first three volumes of the Ramáyana. Follow this link to read the full introduction, notes to the text, glossary and the list of emendations and corrections of the critical edition for these three books.

3. NEW RELEASES IN DECEMBER 2006

These six new volumes are scheduled for January 2007. You can also read translators’ Insights on these volumes.

“The Lady of the Jewel Necklace” & “The Lady who Shows her Love” by Harṣa
Wendy Doniger
King Harsha, who reigned over the kingdom of Kanauj from 606 to 647 CE, composed two Sanskrit plays about the mythical figures of King Udayana, his queen, Vásava·datta, and two of his co-wives. The plays abound in mistaken identities, both political and erotic. The characters masquerade as one another and, occasionally, as themselves, and each play refers simultaneously to itself and to the other.
Read Translator’s Insights

Maha·bhárata Book Four: Viráta
Kathleen Garbutt
“The Book of Viráta” details the Pándavas’ 13th year in exile, when they live disguised in King Viráta’s court. They suffer the humiliation of becoming servants; a topic explored both through comedy and pathos. Having maintained their disguise until the very end of the year, then their troubles really begin. Bhima is forced to come to Dráupadi’s rescue when King Viráta’s general, Kíchaka, sets his sights on her. Duryódhana and the Tri·gartas decide to invade the defeated Viráta’s kingdom, unaware the Pándavas are hidden there. In the ensuing battles the Pándavas play a crucial role, save Viráta and reveal their true identities. The book ends in celebration, with the Pándavas ready to return from exile and reclaim their kingdom. However, the battles in “Viráta” foreshadow the war to come, proving it will not be easy.
Read Translator’s Insights

Maha·bhárata Book Seven: Drona (volume one of three)
Vaughan Pilikian
After Bhishma is cut down at the end of the previous book of the Maha·bhárata, Duryódhana selects Drona as leader of his forces. Drona accepts the honor with Bhishma’s blessing, despite his ongoing personal conflicts as mentor to both the Pándava and Káurava heroes in their youth. The fighting rages on, with heavy losses on both sides. Furious and frustrated, Duryódhana accuses Drona of collaborating with the enemy, but he replies that as long as Árjuna is on the field, the Pándavas will remain invincible. When Árjuna is diverted from the main action of the battle, Yudhi·shthira entrusts Árjuna’s son Abhimányu with the task of making a breach in the Káurava formation. Abhimányu rampages through Drona’s army, but at last is cornered by several Káurava warriors and finally killed by Jayad·ratha.
Read Translator’s Insights

Maha·bhárata Book Eight: Karna (volume one of two)
Adam Bowles
“The Book of Karna” relates the events of the two dramatic days after the defeat of the great warriors and generals Bhishma and Drona, in which Karna – great hero and the eldest Pándava – leads the Káurava army into combat. This first volume of “Karna” depicts mighty battles in gory detail, sets the scene for Karna’s tragic death, and includes a remarkable verbal duel between Karna and his reluctant charioteer Shalya, the king of the Madras, as they hurl abuse at each other before entering the fray.
Read Translator’s Insights

The Ocean of the Rivers of Story (volume one) by Somadeva
Sir James Mallinson
Soma·deva composed his “Ocean of the Rivers of Story” in Kashmir in the eleventh century CE. It is a vast collection of tales based on “The Long Story,” a now lost (and perhaps legendary) repository of Indian fables, in which prince Nara·váhana·datta wins twenty-six wives and becomes the emperor of the sorcerers. There are tales within tales within tales. By turns funny, exciting, or didactic, they illustrate points within the frame narrative or are told simply to provide entertainment for the protagonists. Its twenty thousand plus verses are written in simple but elegant Sanskrit and it has long been used as an introductory text for students of the language.
Read Translator’s Insights

Rama Beyond Price by Murāri
Judit Törzsök
Rama Beyond Price, a dramatized remake of the Ramáyana, is one of the most challenging pieces of Sanskrit poetry to read. Because of its elegant style, learned allusions, and often striking imagery, the poem has been a favorite among pundits. The well-known epic story of Rama’s exploits is presented as a series of political intrigues and battles, and contrasted with lyrical passages of various kinds: on love and war, pride and honor, gods and demons, rites and myths, regions and cities of ancient India. This is the first English translation of the only surviving work by Murári, a brahmin court poet, who lived some time between the eighth and tenth century CE, perhaps in Orissa or in neighboring South India.
Read Translator’s Insights

4. CSL WALLPAPER FOR DOWNLOAD

A new CSL wallpaper is available for you to download. Simply right-click and select ‘Save Link As’ then install as desktop background.

5. CSL IN THE GUARDIAN REVIEW

Pankaj Mishra, a writer and critic, mentions the Clay Sanskrit Library and singles out “What Ten Young Men Did” in Books of the Year 2006 in The Guardian, a British national daily newspaper. Read the article by following the link from here.