The Gathasaptasati may be the oldest extant anthology of poetry from South Asia, containing our very earliest examples of secular verse. Reputed to were compiled via the Satavahana king Hala within the moment century CE, it's a celebrated choice of seven-hundred verses in Maharashtri Prakrit, composed within the compact, distilled gatha shape. The anthology has attracted a number of discovered commentaries and now, via Arvind Krishna Mehrotra’s acclaimed translation of 207 verses from the anthology, readers of English eventually have entry to its poems. The audio system are regularly girls and, even if younger or outdated, married or unmarried, they contact as regards to sexuality with frankness, sensitivity and, each sometimes, humour, which by no means ceases to surprise.
The Absent visitor contains a sublime and stimulating translator’s be aware and an afterword by means of Martha Ann Selby that gives an admirable creation to Prakrit literature normally and the Gathasaptasati particularly.
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Additional resources for The Absent Traveller: Prākrit Love Poetry from the Gāthāsaptaśatī of Sātavāhana Hāla
Verse 104, a such a lot unprecedented verse within the whole assortment, would definitely confound later rasa theoreticians incidentally it mixes the erotic sentiment with that of terror (bhayanaka-rasa): Mournfully as though on the pyre accumulating Her enjoyed one’s relics The wanton Picked The final Mahua Blossoms Poets and aestheticians of the overdue classical and medieval sessions might contemplate one of these mix a illness (doṣa) and could consequently reject it. The gāthās additionally play with the funny facets of affection. observe dumbstruck enthusiasts (162); the raucous teasing of girlfriends (145); a beautiful lady who has entranced a complete village-full of fellows (593); or the stunning boast of 1 spouse to a different in verse 830, that's worthy repeating the following. Proud, aren’t you, to demonstrate the sweetness streaks Your husband’s painted in your breasts? while I stood prior to mine, His hand misplaced all regulate over the road. Literary historians and orientalists appear to have made the overall assumption that Prākrit languages and literatures are unsophisticated and vulgar, thereby perpetuating the Prākrit as opposed to Sanskrit/‘nature’ as opposed to ‘culture’ dichotomy. The Gāthāsaptaśatī’s detractors and supporters alike have defined it as spinoff and infrequently as downright immoral. Arthur Berriedale Keith, in his now-classic reference paintings Classical Sanskrit Literature, rightly claims that Maharashtri Prākrit is ‘far from being a real vernacular’, yet then argues that the gāthās are derived from the learn of Sanskrit versions. Keith has additionally confirmed that the Gāthāsaptaśatī had a far-reaching effect on later authors and compilers of verse anthologies, and that it even ‘found imitators in Sanskrit’. He maintains to flatter the textual content, yet his actual pro-Sanskrit prejudices are transparent: ‘Govardhana’s twelfth-century anthology, the Āryāsaptaśatī, is a suite of erotic verse prepared in alphabetical order. The paintings is not as good as Hāla’s regardless of the very best fantastic thing about the Sanskrit. ’ after we flip to older poeticians, we discover gāthās embedded of their Sanskrit kāvyasāstras as examples of assorted rhetorical recommendations. The ninth-century Dhvanyāloka of Ānandavardhana and the twelfth-century paintings of Mammata, Kāvyaprakāśa, are either replete with quotations from this anthology. those quotations let us to contextualize the various gāthās whose intentions may differently look opaque, or, as within the instance given less than, as only descriptive. Verse four (not translated within the current assortment) seems within the moment bankruptcy of the Kāvyaprakāsa for example of advice (vyañ-janā, synonymous with dhvani): glance, a nonetheless, quiet crane glistens on a lotus leaf like a conch shell mendacity on a ideal emerald plate. The brilliant simile during this verse is a part of a situation: a girl and her lover are beside a riverbank and she or he spots a crane. She describes for the guy a tranquil scene with an crafty, well-matched simile. As glossy readers, our first inclination will be to learn this verse as a descriptive one and not anything extra. yet see what Mammata does with it: ‘Here, by means of (the crane’s) quietude, a country of self belief (is suggested), and by means of that (state of confidence), that where is without humans.
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