Here is some fuel to burn on the altar of your imagination. We would like you to be inspired by all this, as it is only by artists responding creatively to Sanskrit poetry that it will enter the bloodstream of our culture. We would like our readers to interact with the texts in whatever medium best suits them.
Here then is a page to start from. Have a look around, choose a poem or story and use it as a point of inspiration for your art, music, poetry, film or whatever media you choose. We would love to see the results. Do contact us if you have any questions.
Also see below for a literary “whimsical action” prompted by one of our volumes.
The Birth of Kumára Kālidāsa
To win Shiva’s love, Párvati lives outdoors come rain or shine: Excessively heated by twofold fire:
by the sun in the sky and by fires fed by fuel,
at the end of the hot season drenched with fresh showers
she along with the earth gave off rising steam.
Pausing a moment on her eyelashes,
beating against her lower lip,
breaking up in the fall
on to the protrusion of her breasts,
slithering into the three folds of skin below,
the first drops of water
eventually reached her navel.
The Emperor of the Sorcerers Budhasvāmin
I said, ‘I’m worried because I don’t know how to interact with a young woman. You must quickly turn me into a man-about-town!’ He replied, ‘The saying that horses are tamed in the hour of battle has today proved to be true! One cannot become a man-about-town by instruction. It’s like spiritual liberation-mastered through repeated practice. But I’ll tell you in brief: copy whatever her ladyship does.’
The Epitome of Queen Lilávati Jinaratna
He was able to enter the palace among the throng of people, and, gaining the women’s apartments, the criminal violated the women. In his turn, the King found that they lacked sexual desire. Suspecting an intrusion, he interrogated the chamberlain, who said that he had seen no one at all. Then plumes of smoke were raised from wheat flour scattered over the ground. Having rubbed away the lampblack from his eyes, Padma·ratha became visible and was captured.
Buddhist Biographies from the Dívyavadána (volume one of six)
Then the wanderer Makándika approached the Lord and said: ‘May the Lord behold my virtuous daughter, Anúpama, a lovely young woman beautifully adorned. Since I give this amorous girl to you, live with her like a true sage, like the moon in the sky with Róhini.’ The Lord reflected, ‘If I speak conciliatory words to Anúpama, what will happen is that she will go to her death sweating with passion. Therefore I shall speak repellent words to her.’
Love Lyrics by Amaru, Bhartṛhari & Bilhaṇa
Still when alone I recollect the smile—“The Love Thief”
Which tasted nectar-sweet upon her lip;
I see the fastenings of her braided hair
Slip from their place, and see the garlands slip;
The wandering gaze, the string of pearls which rests
Kissing a pair of full uplifted breasts.
Slender lady, I came out with you to gather fruit. I got a pain in my head and fell asleep in your lap. Then I saw a terrible darkness and a mighty person. If you know, then tell me–was it my dream? Or was what I saw real?
So speaks Sátyavat, newly rescued from the god of death by Sávitri, his faithful wife, at the heart of one of the best-loved stories in the literature of India.
Much Ado About Religion Bhaṭṭa Jayanta
Boy: Look, here are buxom maids ready to serve the food and catching the eyes of the monks with their flirtatious glances. And there some kind of drink is being served in a spotless jar.
Graduate: There is wine here, masquerading as ‘fruit juice,’ and meat allegedly fit for vegetarians. Oh, how painful this asceticism is!
Ramáyana I: Boyhood Vālmīki
Who exemplifies proper conduct and is benevolent to all creatures? Who is learned, capable, and a pleasure to behold? Who is self-controlled, having subdued his anger? Who is both judicious and free from envy? Who, when his fury is aroused in battle, is feared even by the gods? This is what I want to hear, for my desire to know is very strong. Great seer, you must know of such a man.
Ramáyana II: Ayódhya Vālmīki
Sita was deeply distraught, and out of love and indignation she began to revile broad-chested Rághava. ‘What could my father Váideha, the lord of Míthila, have had in mind when he took you for a son-in-law, Rama, a woman with the body of a man? … Like a procurer, Rama, you are willing of your own accord to hand me over to others-your wife, who came to you a virgin and who has been a good woman all the long while she has lived with you. … As I follow behind you I shall no more tire on the path than on our pleasure beds. … To be with you is heaven, to be without you hell. Knowing how deep my love is, Rama, you must take me when you go.’
The Recognition of Shakúntala Kālidāsa
Buffoon: (acting fatigue, sighing) I’ve had it! I’m sick of being a side-kick to this hunt-mad king… (Laughs with malice) And now, a pimple crowns the boil. Just yesterday, as I lagged behind, his majesty, chasing some antelope or other, entered a hermitage and was, by my ill fate, shown some ascetic’s daughter called Shakúntala.
Three Satires Nīlakaṇṭha, Kṣemendra, and Bhallaṭa
When asked about the length of life, the astrologer will predict longevity. Those who survive will be in awe of him. Who will the dead complain to?
What Ten Young Men Did Daṇḍin
I then made a drawing in my likeness, saying:
‘Take this to her. Once she has seen and studied it, she is bound to ask:
“Can there exist a man who looks like this?”
Respond to her:
“What if there were?”
Then bring me her answer.’
“Whismical actions” in a blog Simplistic Art: Thoughts on my paintings, science, art and politics is the author’s verse rendering of Dandin’s What Ten Young Men Did.
The flanks were steep, as if by an axe had felled
Through the valley of green where the waters meld
The blue lotus and its nectars like flesh to bones
I came upon trees and shrubs living their loans.
Amid the expanse of green, particularly attractive,
Spied I, a circle of flowers of many colors reactive.
Young I was and least ready for what would lay
Before me, as would sages of old might say.
A gentle repast of nature in her reflection
Shimmering, dusky and swaying with flexion.
Surveying the distance from my earthen pride
There, amidst the green, a pool, I spied.
Unfettered thus, I presently alighted
Down rock steps as pale swans flighted.
I bathed and tasted the buds dripping nectar,
When, sans a ripple, a demon rose to hector
Hollering and shaking his rippling shoulders
His gaze was livid and arms thick as boulders.
He shook me asking ‘Who are you? Where are you from?’
Interrogated with menace, I answered the ugly scum:
‘Fearful giant, I was once sold for fees
From enemy to enemy I drifted over the deep seas.
I escaped on a ship and thence to these mountains,
Of fabulous colored crags and clustered fountains.
Upon spying your pool of gentle waters cresting,
After my escape, I dreamt of bathe and resting.
These explanations in him caused little cheer to flower
‘Answer my questions, and be free’, he said aglower.
I replied: ‘Go ahead, ask! your will and let me go,
Back to my ancient lands from long, long ago.
‘What is sad?’ ‘The hurt of a woman.’ – I said
‘What is dear?’ ‘Her virtues.’ To the demon I fed.
‘What is desire?’ ‘Your imagination.’ I said, bolder,
As I spied his anger now less colder.
‘What is the means to achieve the difficult?’
‘Wisdom’. I instituted with no apparent occult.
‘Tell me, what sorts of women are these?’
My answers impressed him, He begged; on his knees.
Thus I related: ‘There was a land called Trigarter.
Whose larders were wealthy and filled with barter.
In that land, lived three brothers who loved one another,
Richard, Ritchie, Rick; dusky like their mother.