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कादम्बरी-कथासार : Kadambari Kathasara


The Kadambari of Banabhatta does, no doubt, contain a very interesting piece of love romance, but unfortunately, an average reader can hardly enjoy the whole story, as the ‘high-flown language, long-compounds and unfamiliar construction, all together, prove a stumbling block to him. It is, of course, justly said that ojas and long compounds are the very life of prose writing, but the same have gone far beyond the tolerable limit in Kadanbari. ence, only the erudite sanskrit scholars could so far relish the sweetness of the work. T have undertaken the preparation of the present work Kadmbari Kathasara with a view to enabling the average educated public to have a glimpse ‘of the Ancient Indian culture as depicted in Kadambari of Bana as well as to obtain the practical and spiritual instructions contained therein. The Sukantsopadesa (advice of Sukandsa to Candrapida ) is the grandeur of the original work, hence the text of that portion has been retained unabridged. A reader willing to be benifited with good instrections, will find this portion to be immensely helpful for his purpose.

Both English and Hindi Translation, have been added to make the work helpful to the majority of readers. I acknowledge with a feeling of gratitude, the help that I have very profitably derived, in preparing the translations and Introduction from ‘"Kiadambari of Bana’ of C. M. Ridding and "Kadambari : Eka Samskrtika Adhyayana’ of V. S. Agrawala. I also thank to the writer cf the comme- ntaries ‘Candrakala’ and ‘Vidyotini’ for the help I derived from them in writing the notes.

thank heartily the Directors of the Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, Varanasi—1 for having kindly undertaken the publication of the book.


I. Banabhatta—His place in Sanskrit Literature.

Banabhtta is rightly called one of the brightest luminaries in the galaxy of Sanskrit poets; among the prose writers, his position is definitely unique and unapproached till today. Inspite of the adverse criticism of Dr. Weber! and his mild followers like A. B. Keith,? unstinted praise has been bestowed upon this celebrated poet by Indian Sahrdayas as well as by European scholars of modern times. Indian readers are generally acquainted with the eloquent praises that Banabhatta received, throughout centuries, from our poets and writers;? hence, we consider it sufficient to refer to Peter Peterson’s sincere appreciation! or to that of E. B. Cowell," the latter spe- cially replies enough to the unfounded adversity of Dr. Weber.

Ancient Sanskrit literature, rich in almost all the branches of poetic composition has but very few speci- mens of successful prose writing to be placed side by side with the works of Bhasa, Kalidasa, Bhavabhiti, Bharavi and Magha who produced epic-poems, lyrics etc., with the help of their power of imagination and refined style of expression. Ancient Rhetoricians could not lay down definite rules of prose-writing due to utter scantiness of concrete examples before them. Banabhatta’s greatness will be fully realised if we dwell upon the fact that later rhetoricians, while defining and analysing the character- istics of the two main varities of Sanskrit prose, viz., Katha and Akhyayika, merely described the very features they came accross in Banabatta’s works. He not only wrote two great Sanskrit romances (one of them of course is historical ), but created an ideal of writing romances in Sanskrit, to be followed by all the prose writers of the posterity. It is no wonder, therefore, that Bana, on the basis of Kadambri and Harsacarita, is regarded as the best writer of Sanskrit prose, as well as, the pioneer in the field.

It also should be remembered that Bana can claim to be the most erudite among the Sanskrit poets. Accord- ing to his own statement in Harsacarita,. Bana studied the Vedas along with their auxiliary works (i.e. angas ) and learnt other Sastras. His knowledge of grammar was perfect and profound, he acquired an unequalled mastery over the great Epics, Puranas, Philosophical treatises and other religious and profane literature, wherefrom he frequently drew his allusions. Every line of his writing bears testimony of his intensive and extensive Jearning.

II. Bana’s style

Three styles have generally been enumerated by ancient rhetoricians. They are Vaidarbhi, Gaudi and Paficali.2 While the first two are independent ones, the third is a judicious blending of them. The Gaudi style which abounds in high sounding words and long compounds to express the Ojo-guna (elegance) is described to be the very life of prose writing. But Banabatta preferred the PaficAli style and his writings are the best possible specimens of that style. He has adopted the Gaudi style when he has described various persons and natural scenes, but shows Vaidarbhi-like simplicity while recording dialogues. His diction is generally smooth and graceful but he could use the language with force and brevity when he thought it necessary for his purpose. His sense of proportion is commendable. He has expres- sed his aim regarding his style of composition in one of the openning verses of Harsacarita as, ‘That the theme of work should be original ( or it will be treated in a novel wav 1, descriptions should be free of vulgarity, use of onns .hould not be too intricate (1e., difficult to under- stan, and there should be an attractive arrangement of sylia les (ie., words ).2 7 He has shown a_ complete mastery of this particular style. Dharmadasa is quite justified to say that we find in Bana’s writings, nice selection of words and sounds that resound the idea, sentiments and emotions,

Apart from those formal qualities Bana has displayed other poetic efficiencies which must be taken account of for a judicious critical appreciation of his works.

His power of keen observation of nature and life has very little match in the world literature. He observed keenly and described very vividly not only the courtlife but the ordinary life of men in the lowest stratum of the society. His descriptions of natural scenes have no parallel in any ancient or modern literature.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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