For Earth Day: Bedecked in flowers*

हस्ते लीलाकमलमलके बालकुन्दानुविद्धं

नीता लॊध्रप्रसवरजसा पाण्डुतामानने श्रीः /

चूडापाशे नवकुरबकं चारु कर्णॆ शिरीषं

सीमन्ते च त्वदुपगमजं यत्र नीपं वधूनाम् //

hasthE lIlAkamalamalakE bAlakundhAnuvidhDHam

nIthA lODHraprasavarajasA pANduthAmAnanE shrIhi /

chUdApAshE navakurabakam chAru karNE shirISHam

sImanthE cha tvadhupagamajam yathra nIpam vaDHUnAm //

[You’ll find the young women alluring thought they use mere flowers to add to their beauty] They bleach their faces with lodhra flowers, sport lotuses in their hands and fresh kunda and kurabaka blossoms in their braids; they decorate their ears with the delicate shirisha blooms and nipa flowers strung together marks the parting in their hair.

*A verse from Kalidasa’s Meghadootam [Verse 2, Uttaramegha]

lodhraSymplocos racemosa Roxb; kunda – Jasminum multiflorum also Thevetia peruviana merrill; kurabaka – Barleria prionitis L; nipa – Neolamarckia cadamba (Roxb.) Bosser; shirisha – Albizia odoratissima (L.F.) Benth.

Uttararamacharitam [contd., post 3]

नटः वैदेशिकोस्मीति पृच्छामि / कः पुनर्जामाता /

nataha : vaidhEshikOsmIthi prchCHAmi I kaha punar jAmAthA /

ACTOR: I’m new to these parts, so please tell me – who is this son-in-law?

सूत्रधारः –

कन्यां दशरथो राजा शान्तां नाम व्यजीजनत् / अपत्यकृतिकां राज्ञे लोमपादाय तां ददौ ////

विभाण्डकसुतस्तामृष्यशृङ्ग उपयेमे / तेन द्वादशवार्षिकं सत्रमारब्धम् / तदनुरोधात् कठोरगर्भामपि वधूं जानकीं विमुच्य गुरुजनस्तत्र गतः / तत् किमनेन / एहि / राजद्वारमेव स्वजातिसमयेनोपतिष्ठावः /

sUthraDHAraha : kanyAm dhasharaTHO rAjA shAnthAm nAma vyajIjanath / apathyakrthikAm rAgnyE lOmapAdhAya yAm dhadhou // 4 //

vibhANdakasuthasthAm rshyashrnga upayEmE I thEna dhvAdhashavArSHikam sathram ArabDHam / thadhanurODHAth kaTOragarbhAm api vaDHUm jAnakIm vimuchya gurujanasthathra gathaha I thath kimanEna / Ehi I rAjadhvAram Eva svajAthisamayEnOpathiSHTAvaha/

SUTRADHARA: King Dasharatha had a daughter called Shantha. She was given in adoption to King Lomapada. Rishyashringa, sage Vibhandaka’s son, married her. Rishyashringa has started a a religious performance that will go on for the next twelve years. Out of respect for him, all the elders in the palace have gone to his hermitage, leaving Sita, though  she is in an advanced state of pregnancy. Well, how does that matter to us? Come along. Let’s go to the palace with the others.

Bhavabhuti’s Uttararamacharitam [contd., post 2]


नटःभाव / प्रेषिता हि ते स्वगृहान् महाराजेन लङ्कासमरसुहृदो महात्मनः प्लवङ्गराक्षसाः सभाजनोपस्थायिनश्च नानादिगन्तपावना ब्रह्मर्षयो राजर्षयश्च यदाराधनायैतावतो दिवसान् उत्सव आसीत् /

संप्रति हि

वसिष्ठाधिष्ठिता देव्यो गता रामस्य मातरः / अरुन्धतीं पुरस्कृत्य यज्ञे जामातुराश्रमम् ////


nataha: bhAva I prESHithA hi thE svagrhAn mahArAjEna lankAsamarasuhrdhO mahAthmanaha plavangarAkshasAha sabhAjanOpasTHAyinashcha nAnAdhiganthapAvanA brahmarSHayO rAjrSHayashcha yadhArADHanAyaithAvathO dhivasAn uthsava AsIth I

samprathi hi

vasiSHTADHiSHTithA dhEvyO ghathA rAmasya mAtharaha I arunDHathIm puraskrthya yagnyE jAmAthurAshramam // 3 //


ACTOR: Sir! I understand that the great monkeys and demons, who were befriended during the Lanka war, and also the sages and the wise kings, to honour whom there was a festival all these days, have all returned home after being thanked adequately by the king.


I believe that as per Vasishta’s advice, all the three queens of Dasaratha, the mothers of Rama, have gone with Arundhati (Vasishta’s wife) to attend the performance of a sacred event at their son-in-law’s hermitage. This is what I have heard.

SUthraDHAraha : EvamEthath /

सूत्रधारः – एवमेतत् /

SUTRADHARA: Ah, yes, That is so.

Bhavabhuti’s Uttararamacharitam

Starting today, we are hoping to post, as frequently as possible, a few verses from the play

Uttararamacharitam by Bhavabhuti.

The idea is to have the whole play translated, in due course.


इदम् कविभ्यः पूर्वेभ्यो नमोवाक्यम् प्रशास्महे /वन्देमहि ताम् वाचम् अमृताम् आत्मनः कलाम् ////

idham kavibhyaha pUrvEbhyO namOvAkyam prashAsmahE / vandhEmahi cha thAm vAcham amrthAm Athmanah kalAm // 1 //

Let us begin by expressing our respect to the poets of yore and saluting the Goddess of Speech, Saraswati, who is like nectar and who is an aspect of the Almighty.


सूत्रधारःअलम् अतिविस्तरेण / अद्य खलु भगवतः कालप्रियानाथस्य यात्रायाम् आर्यमिश्रान् विज्ञापयामि / एवम् अत्रभवन्तो विदांकुर्वन्तु / अस्ति तत्रभवान् काश्यपः श्रीकण्ठपदलाञ्छ्नॊ भवभूतिर्नाम /

यं ब्रह्माणम् इयं देवी वाग्वश्यॆवानुवर्तते / उत्तरं रामचरितं तत्प्रणीतं प्रयुज्यते ////

एषोस्मि कार्यवशाद् आयोध्यकस्तदानींतनश्च संवृत्तः / (समन्तादवलोक्य) भो भोः / यदा तावदत्रभवतः पौलस्त्यकुलधूमकेतोर्महाराजरामस्यायम् अभिषेकसमयो रात्रिंदिवम् असंहृतनान्दीकस्तत् किमद्य विश्रान्तचारणानि चत्वरस्थानानि /

sUthraDHAraha: alam athivistharENa I adhya khalu bhagavathaha kAlapriyAnATHasya yAthrAyAm AryamishrAn vignyApayAmi I Evam athrabhavanthO vidhAnkurvanthu I asthi thathrabhavAn kAshyapaha shrIkaNTapadhalAnCHanO bhavabhUthirnAma I

yam brahmANam iyam dhEvI vAg vashyEvAnuvarthathE I uththaram rAmacharitham thathpraNItham prayujyathE // 2 //

ESHOsmi kAryavashAdh AyODHyakasthadhAnInthanashcha samvrththaha I

(samanthAdh avalOkya)

bhO bhOho I yadhA thAvadh athrabhavanthaha paulasthyakulaDHUmakEthOr mahArAjarAmasya ayam abhiSHEkasamayO rAthrimdhivam asamhrthAnandhanAndhIkasthath kimadhya vishrAnthachAraNAni chathvarasTH AnAni I

(After the prayer)

SUTRADHARA: Let me not take too much time to give you the details. Today, on the occasion of the festival in honour of Lord Kalapriyanatha, I wish to make a submission before this august audience. Hear this, all of you: There is, in the lineage of Kashyapa, one called Bhavabhuti, who has been conferred the title ‘Srikanta’.

This brahmin is followed everywhere by the Goddess of Speech as though she is under a spell. We will now enact Uttararamacharitam written by him.

Now, because of my job, I have become a citizen of Ayodhya and have gone back in time.

(Looking all around)

Oh people! During the coronation of the great Rama, who came like a comet of misfortune to Ravana’s family, the popular centres of the town were full of activity day in and day out. How is it that the streets are deserted now?

Of virtue and the vicious

मृगमीनसज्जनानां तृणजलसंतोषविहितवृत्तीनाम् /

लुब्धकधीवरपिशुना निष्कारणवैरिणो जगति // ६० //

mrugamInasajjanAnAm thruNajalasamthOSHavihithavruththInAm /

lubDHakaDHIvarapishunA niSHkAraNavairiNO jagathi // 60 //

Animals, fish and good people ask for just grass, water and peace to thrive. Regardless of their modest demands, which hurt none, they get hunted, killed and maligned by enemies.

Wither virtues?

जाड्यम् ह्रीमिति गण्यते व्रतरुचौ दम्भः शुचौ कैतवं

शूरे निर्घृणता मुनौ विमतिता दैन्यं प्रियालापिनि /

तेजस्विन्यवलिप्तता मुखरता वक्तर्यशक्तिस्स्थिरे

तत्को नाम गुणो भवेत्स गुणिनां यो दुर्जनैर्नाङ्कितः //

jADyam hrImithi gaNyathe vratharuchau dhamBHaha shuchau kaithavam

shUrE nirGrNathA munau vimathithA dhainyam priyAlApini /

thEjasvinyavalipthathA muKHarathA vaktharyashakthissTHirE

thathkO nAma guNO BHavEthsa guNinAm yO dhurjanairnAnkithaha //

In the modest, they see dumbness; in the religious, hypocrisy; in the ethical, they see deceit; in the valiant, lack of compassion;

In the ascetic they see madness; in pleasant talk, timidity.

in the brilliant, arrogance; in an orator, verbosity; In the stable, they see weakness;

Be it any trait of high acclaim, are there any that the malevolent will not see with a jaundiced eye?*

*With due acknowledgement to Dr. H. K. Ramapriyan. Please see earlier post for details

शास्त्रॊपस्कृतशब्दसुन्दरगिरः शिष्यप्रदेयागमाः

विख्याताः कवयॊ वसन्ति विषयॆ यस्य प्रभोर्निर्धनाः /

तज्जाड्यं वसुधाधिपस्य कवयस्त्वर्थं विनाऽपीश्वराः

कुत्स्यास्स्युः कुपरीक्षका हि मणयॊ यैरर्घतः पातिताः //

shAsthrOpaskrthashabdhasundharagiraha shiSHyapradhEyAgamAha

viKHyAthAha kavayO vasanthi viSHayE yasya praBHOrnirDHanAha /

thajjADyam vasuDHADHipasya kavayastvarTHam vinApIshvarAha

kuthsyAssyuhu kuparIkSHakA hi maNyO yairarGHathaha pAthithAha //

Rich with scriptural nuances, beautiful language and literary merit are their works; ready and willing are they to share their knowledge. Despite the richness of their scholarship, were such poets to be found destitute, the indignity vests not in them, but in the ruler of their land. The merit of the scholar is not diminished by their penury just as undervaluing a jewel does not reduce its worth.