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Moving To and Fro Between Alakā and Rāmagiri in Kālidāsa’s Meghadūta

Tieken, Herman 2018. Moving To and Fro Between Alakā and Rāmagiri in Kālidāsa’s Meghadūta. Asian Literature and Translation (ALT) 5 (1) , pp. 1-10. 10.18573/alt.28

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The Meghadūta stands at the beginning of a highly productive genre of so-called messenger poems (sandeśakāvyas), in both Sanskrit and the vernaculars. The main variation between the poems lies in the nature of the messenger: beside Kālidāsa’s cloud, we have the wind (in Dhoyī’s Pavanadūta), a bee (in the anonymous Bhr̥ṅgasandeśa) and a whole range of birds (for instance a goose in Vedāntadeśika’s Haṃsasandeśa). In the anonymous Tamil Tamiḻviṭutūtu a woman directs the Tamil language itself to the god residing in the temple in Madurai to beg him not to neglect her. The popularity of the genre in particular in the vernacular literary traditions was no doubt due to the opportunity it offered for descriptions of sites or features of the specific (imagined) linguistic regions. The present paper argues that there is no need to assume a genre of full-fledged messenger poem genre prior to Kālidāsa's work. Instead, it argues for a rich relationship between the aerial journey of Rāma and Sītā in the Rāmāyaṇa and the Meghadūta, in which Kālidāsa plays, contrastively, with the epic tradition.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PM Hyperborean, Indian, and Artificial languages
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0441 Literary History
Additional Information: This article does not have all DOIs displayed correctly. The editor was told to amend the PDF in October 2018 but has not yet done so (8/1/19).
Publisher: Cardiff University Press
ISSN: 2051-5863
Date of Acceptance: 1 March 2018
Last Modified: 07 Jan 2020 12:00

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