Homework Question on Ancient Indian History
- For each theme write a shortessay responding to the theme.
- Your essays should average between 500-750 words. You can go beyond that if you feel you need more space to develop your ideas, but keep in mind that a well organized and succinct statement of your theme and thoughts is often more effective than writing at great length.
- Kāvya 3: Write an essay that compares and contrasts the story of the immolation of the Love God in the mahākāvya, composed by Kālidāsa c. 500 CE, and the version found in theancient Javanese “court epic” (kakawin) Smaradahana, composed by MpuDharmaja c. 1185CE.
- Historical context: Write an essay that explains and details some of the major aspects of classical Indian civilization that formed the context for composition in classical Sanskrit.Forms like the “court epics” (mahākāvya) and the closely related Sanskrit theatre
Homework Answer on Ancient Indian History
Immolation of the Love God in the mahākāvya, composed by Kālidāsa and in the Javanese “court epic” (kakawin) Smaradahana, composed by Mpu Dharmaja.Kālidāsa’s story talks about a great dynasty of ancient Indian rulers. In particular, he talks about Raghu, a great warrior that won many battles in every military expedition he was involved. Raghu was a great conqueror and would vanquish anybody or anything that stood on his way. He became known for the manner in which he dealt with his enemies.
After defeating his enemies, he would mutilate and disfigure their faces and march on. His heroism helped him to acquire more tracts of land to expand his kingdom. However, as much as Raghu is depicted as an energetic and brutal killer through his actions during battles, Kālidāsa also portrays his good qualities especially where he donates almost all his wealth to charity. Kālidāsa then brings the Immolation of the Love God when he tells about Raghu’s son, Aja.
Aja as a prince was able to defeat every bachelor prince to claim the love of a princess, Indumati. Later Raghu leaves the crown to his son, Aja and retires to solitude. The worst happens when a garland falls from the sky and hits Indumati on the head and she dies leaving Aja a widower with children. Aja’s heart is torn into pieces and he resolves to leave his son as heir to the kingdom and finally committed suicide to reunite with his wife.