Monday, October 15, 2007

Philosophical Reflections in the Naisadhacarita (Ph.D. Thesis: Dr.Harekrishna Meher)


The Doctoral Thesis of mine done in Banaras Hindu University in 1981 throws much light on philosophical ideas as reflected in the Sanskrit Mahakavya ‘Naisadhacaritam’ authored by the distinguished poet Sriharsa.  

This book has gained much popularity with world-wide circulation on the internet
through the websites of several renowned international publishers and booksellers.

Some extracts are presented here from my book

Published by : Punthi Pustak, 136 / 4B, Bidhan Sarani, Calcutta-4,
First Edition 1989, ISBN: 81-85094-21-7. Copyright Reserved by the Author.


Introduction :
The Naisadhacarita of poet Sriharsa enjoys a prominent position among the five great epics of Sanskrit Literature. This epic contains twenty-two cantos completed with 2827 verses. Its main theme is the story of love between Nala, the King of Nisadha and Damayanti, the Princess of Vidarbha. The story of Nala and Damayanti is found in the Mahabharata of Vyasa and Katha-Sarit-Sagara of Somadeva. The episode of the epic has been taken from the Mahabharata. Poet Sriharsa has remodelled the story and has added the sentiment of love to it. *

In the concluding verses of each canto of the epic, poet Sriharsa has laid bare his identification. Srihira was his father and Mamalla Devi his mother. As the tradition tells, Sriharsa’s maternal uncle was Mammata, the reputed rhetorician and writer of the Kavya-Prakasa.* Sriharsa himself speaks of his own tribute of getting two pieces of betel and a seat from the King of Kanyakubja. However, the name of the king is not stated by the poet. From Rajasekhara’s story and discussions of Pandit Sivadatta, it is maintained that Sriharsa was the honourable court-poet in the reign of King Vijayacandra and his son Jayantacandra of Kanyakubja. Historically, this Jayantacandra is known as Jayacandra who is associated with Prithviraja and Samyukta. So from this evidence, poet Sriharsa is assigned to the latter half of twelfth century A.D.

As a matter of fact, this epic poem in some verses appears to be critical. The poet seems to have wantonly wrought his composition stiff and not easily intelligible. He himself remarks that he has written such a literary epic in order to pulverize the pride of the vain-glorious scholars of his time. In his philosophical book ‘Khandana-Khanda-Khadya’ also, he holds such view and advises to triumph over scholars in literary and philosophical discussions. It may be recalled that challenging discussions and scholastic presentations were the intellectual fashion in his time and milieu.*

Sriharsa’s work is mainly meant for the learned society. Here allusions to the Vedas, Upanisads, Dharma-sastra, Smriti-sastra, Natya-sastra, Kama-sastra, Puranas and several scriptures on Politics, Ethics, Music, Art, Psychology, Prosody, Poetics, Rhetorics, Grammar, Philosophy, Astrology, Astronomy, Medical Science, Palmistry, Archery and the like, apprise the readers of the vast knowledge of the poet. It forms the store-house of Indian epic learnings. Sanskrit critics of India, therefore, have paid high homage to the poetic excellence of Sriharsa that supersedes the literary talent of poets like Bharavi and Magha (Udite Naisadhe Kavye kva Maghah kva ca Bharavih). Tradition also regards Naisadhacarita as the panacea of the learned (Naisadham Vidvadausadham).*

Despite verbal complexities, Sriharsa is conscious of the usage of appropriate words conveying intended meaning. As he opines, verbosity and levity of meaning are two poisons of speech, and eloquence forms the speech that is precise and essence. The Naisadhacarita gains commendable celebrity for the grace of diction (Naisadhe Pada-Lalityam). * The poet is regarded as ‘Slesa-Kavi’ (Pun-Poet). This epithet of his own is not unjustified, since the affluence of puns is oft-observed with grammatical propriety throughout his writing. In his epic, the opening verse in praise of Sun-like King Nala obviously heralds the profusion of prolific puns. Vaidarbhi is the favourite Riti of Sriharsa.

As a patron of Indian culture and heritage, the poet pays patriotic tribute to the Motherland India in the speech of Princess Damayanti. India is depicted as a holy land of deeds, enjoyment and virtues, better than heaven, the superficially attractive land of impermanent enjoyment only. So the princess cherishes her heartiest aspiration to choose Nala, the king of this mundane land, by rejecting Indra, the king of heaven. The poet also communicates philosophical message for well-being of the world.*

Sriharsa’s Naisadhacarita seems burdensome for general readers; but it serves as a repository of epical riches. This literary composition earns high admirations from many noted Sanskrit scholars, both oriental and occidental. For the felicitous expression, bold approach, intellectual relevance, emotional charm, scriptural significance, philosophical probing and above all, scholarly structure of Indian wisdom, this epic is renowned as a monumental masterpiece in Sanskrit. *

The Khandana-Khanda-Khadya (lit. “The Sweets of Refutations”) popularly known as Khandana is his masterpiece in philosophical polemics. The poet refers to the Naisadhacarita in his Khandana-Khanda-Khadya, also to the latter in the former. As a devout philosopher of Advaita Vedanta, the poet shows his scholastic refutation of Nyaya views and establishes the monistic canon in his philosophical work.* Both the literary and philosophical compositions of the poet-philosopher Sriharsa mark a new epoch in the study of Indian philosophy, especially of Advaita Vedanta and place him in the distinguished series of the Sanskrit scholars of India.

‘Philosophical Importance of Naisadhacarita’ :
In the Naisadhacarita, both Indian literature and Indian philosophy are interestingly interwoven. Indian philosophy has the celebrity all over the world for its intellectual and practical eminence. The keynote of almost all the philosophical systems is the realization of Truth and Self, annihilation of mundane sufferings and attainment of supreme happiness. Ways are many, but the destination is one. Sriharsa’s epic has several philosophical trends in the light of the thoughts revealed by the minds of the great Aryan thinkers.

Poet Sriharsa is a deep-delved philosopher. His Naisadhacarita, even with its epical characteristics, forms a philosophical profile. This literary composition addresses itself to a critical review of social norms and ethics. Romanticism of the Nala-Damayanti-episode reigns superb; yet other factors of life are also taken into account in the greater perspective of human existence.

Sriharsa has not dilated upon all the topics of all the Indian philosophical systems; still his philosophical purview provides a general survey. Various philosophical notions are compressed and communed with the literary matter of the epic. No sequence is seen in the philosophical allusions and they are found scattered in over two hundred and thirty verses of different cantos.

For the philosophical affluence with scriptural influence, Canto-XVII is really remarkable. Some definite items of almost all the systems, theist and atheist, spiritual and non-spiritual, orthodox and heterodox, are traced with unfailing philosophical focuses. This significant canto forms an excellent index of Sriharsa’s dexterous genius, originality and inviting innovations in the philosophical sphere.

It may be observed that with the infusion of philosophical phenomena, Sriharsa’s aim is to suitably embellish the aesthetic status of his literary work and to sincerely evince his philosophical acumen as well. He has successfully designed his poetic art with the philosophical features noticeable not only in plain illustrations, but also in many a double entendre.

Sriharsa’s eruditions on all the philosophical systems are very well marked and the sublimity of Monistic Vedanta has been maintained in the Naisadhacarita. Literary merit has not been belittled by the philosophical concepts inserted into the literature; rather it has been enhanced, since they have been contextually and befittingly utilized as some favourable figures of speech without causing any levity of meaning and without marring the literary beauty of the epic.

Bearing, though unsystematically, the outlines of diverse philosophical aspects, from Carvaka upto Vedanta in a bird’s eye-view, this literary epic appears as an epitome of Indian Philosophy weighed carefully by the poet-philosopher Sriharsa. Through the scriptural and canonical connections, all the thoughts signify the cultural heritage of the vast country of India and Indianness. 

Brief Sketch of the Philosophical Study :  
In the present volume accomplished with ten chapters, Chapter First embodies Introduction regarding general observations on Sriharsa and his writings.* In Chapter Second, the heterodox materialism of Carvaka has been assessed.* In Chapter Third, views of Sankhya philosophy have been summarized.* Concepts of Yoga philosophy have been discussed in Chapter Fourth.* Mimamsa philosophy has found a place of discourse in Chapter Fifth.* Chapter Sixth deals with the tenets of Bauddha philosophy.* In Chapter Seventh, doctrines of Jaina philosophy have been brought to the philosophical disquisition.* Chapter Eighth plays a principal part in comprising the concepts of Nyaya-Vaisesika philosophy.* Vedanta philosophy has been critically construed in Chapter Ninth.* Chapter Tenth forms the concluding review on the epic from different angles.* Depicting the literary theme of love, poet Sriharsa has looked into the inner sense of life through various philosophical topics in his Naisadhacarita.

* *
[ For details, please see My above-mentioned book
“Philosophical Reflections in the Naisadhacarita.”]

* * *

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Tapasvini of Gangadhara Meher : A Critical Observation / Harekrishna Meher

(My Research Article on Oriya epic poem Tapasvini, the great classic of Poet Gangadhara Meher, published in 'Kalahandi Renaissance' Vol.I/2005 is presented here.)
= = = = = = = =

Updated :
This article in revised form has been included as an Introductory in the Book

‘Tapasvini of Gangadhara Meher’ (Complete English Version of Oriya Kavya Tapasvini),

By : Dr. Harekrishna Meher.

Published by : R.N. Bhattacharya, A-127, HB.Town, Sodepur, Kolkata, 2009.

ISBN : 81-87661-63-1.


[ Abstract : The Sītā-Rāma-story of India has an indelible impression on the people of both oriental and occidental cultures. Sītā, the adorable daughter of Earth and the devoted wife of King Rāma, in her later life appears as a ‘Tapasvinī’, A Woman practising penance or An Ascetic- maid, in the pen of Poet Gańgādhara Meher.

Tapasvinī, an eleven-canto Oriya epic poem, is the magnum opus of this great poet. With the prevailing sentiment of Pathos, this kāvya depicts the post-banishment episode of Sītā in the hermitage of Sage Vālmīki. In this Rāmāyana-based literary composition, the poetic presentation is well-embellished with originality and significant innovations. Like Kālidāsa in Sanskrit and William Wordsworth in English, Gańgādhara Meher is regarded as ‘Prakriti-Kavi’, Poet of Nature, in Oriya literature.

This epic poem reveals the ambition of the poet to portray the brilliant character of a devoted wife steeped in Indian culture in the domain of literature.
With vivid and prominent delineation of Sītā’s life-deeds,Tapasvinī kāvya may be construed as a ‘Sītāyana’ in the field of Indian Literature.

In the present article, endeavours have been made to elucidate the significance of Tapasvinī and some salient features of this literary work are being discussed here in a comparative perspective.]


Gańgādhara Meher, popularly known as ‘Swabhāva-Kavi’ is one of the illustrious makers of Indian literature. In the galaxy of poets of Oriya literature, he is a scintillating star of first magnitude. On 9 August 1862, he was born at Barpāli, a small town in the then Sambalpur district. Hailing from a family weaving Sambalpuri sarees, though he had little education in school, he possessed a great poetic talent that presented a novel sensibility in the literary arena. Coming on Srāvana Pūrnimā (Rākshī Bandhan), the day of full illumination, his mortal form disappeared in the murky veil of Chaitra Amāvāsyā on 4 April 1924. Gangadhar Meher College of Sambalpur, one of the distinguished Government colleges of Orissa has been named after him.

Literary compositions of Gańgādhara comprise several kāvyas, essays, autobiography and numerous lyrics : devotional, patriotic, satirical and reformative. His main works are Tapasvinī, Pranaya-Vallarī, Kichaka-Vadha, Indumatī, Utkala-Lakshmī, Ayodhyā-Driśya, Kavitā-Kallola, Arghya-Thālī, Ahalyā-Stava, Mahimā, Bhāratī-Bhāvanā, Kavitāmāla, Padminī and Krishaka-Sańgīta. “Gańgādhara Granthāvalī”, the compilation of all his writings, has earned high appreciations through several publications. Many research works have been done on his literary writings and various aspects of his life. Ideals of Indian culture are mainly reflected in his poems. His poetic originality uniquely attracts the minds of connoisseurs in the literary sphere. He sees and shows the entire universe ever-beautiful, nectared and imbued with ambrosia.

‘Tapasvinī’ is regarded as the best creation of Gańgādhara. For wide popularization and comparative correspondence, the author of the present article has completely translated ‘Tapasvinī’ into Hindi, English and Sanskrit. From among those tri-lingual translations, Sambalpur University, Jyoti Vihar, Burla, Orissa, has published the Hindi Rendering in 2000. The passages of Tapasvinī quoted in this article have been taken from the extracts of his English Rendering published in Bartikā (1), Kantāraka (2), Saptarshi (3), Jhańkār (4) and Suntimes (5), also from his complete version.


Rāmāyana of Vālmīki and Mahābhārata of Vyāsa, the two great epics of Sanskrit literature, have profoundly inspired many poets, playwrights, thinkers, critics and litterateurs of various languages in India and abroad. Indian life has been so permeated with these epics that it can never avoid them. Cultured with Sanskrit, worthy sons of Indian soil have contributed much to make the literatures of Indian languages prosper in various ways. The Sītā-Rāma-story of India has immensely influenced the people of both oriental and occidental cultures. In Oriya literature, Sītā, the dearest daughter of Earth, in her later part of life, appears as a Tapasvinī in the poetic vision of Gańgādhara.

Tapasvinī, an eleven-canto Oriya epic poem, is a great classic of Gańgādhara Meher, who is renowned as Prakriti-Kavi in Oriya literature. The main theme of this kāvya is the post-banishment episode of Sītā in the hermitage of Sage Vālmīki. Dealing with a topic of poignant Pathos, this kāvya is basically influenced by Uttara-Kānda of Vālmīki’s Rāmāyana, Raghuvamśa mahākāvya of Kālidāsa and Uttara-Rāma-Charita drama of Bhavabhūti, still the poetic presentation is marked with originality and significant innovations.

‘Tapasvinī’ literally means ‘A woman observing penance’ or ‘An ascetic-maid’. The word ‘Tapasvinī’ used by Gańgādhara has been most probably taken from the verses of Kālidāsa. As the context in Raghuvamśa goes on, Sītā, being banished by King Rāma and deserted by Lakshmana, gives message to her life-lord. There Sītā says : “After delivery of child, I shall try my best to practise penance having fixed my eyes on Sun, so that in the next birth, you again will be my husband and there will be no separation.”(6) Again as she says, Rāma is the monarch of the world which includes even the forest-regions. Now she is one of the subjects of the forest-sites. She solicits that as a common hermitess or ascetic-maid, though banished, she should kindly be supervised by his kingship in accordance with the royal duty enumerated by Manu.(7) Further, as Kālidāsa writes, Sītā having ‘Valkala’ (bark-skin of tree) dress for penance abides in the hermitage and bears her mortal body to give heir to her husband.(8)

In the verses of Kālidāsa, ‘Tapas’ (penance) is clearly meant for Sītā in the later part of her life. Gańgādhara happens to take the word ‘Tapasvi’ from Kālidāsa and has used it as ‘Tapasvinī’ in feminine gender for Sītā. Moreover, the poet in the Preface of Tapasvinī kāvya mentions : “The main purpose of this book is to elucidate how Sītā strengthened and heightened more and more, her devotion-to-husband (pati-bhakti) by deeming exile as her own misfortune and how she as a Tapasvinī spent time by rendering her forest-dwelling into penitential austerity beneficial to her husband.”(9) The poet further expresses his hope that the wise readers would once unveil the memory’s curtain portrayed with the brilliant impeccable and sacred character of Sītā of their own hearts and would render uplift of the hearts of women.(10)

Gańgādhara is very distinct and doubtless in his writing. Sītā is the heroine of this epic poem that analyses the social condition of a married woman and contends to give appropriate honour and status even after separation from her husband. Tapasvinī mainly treats of the plight of Sītā’s later life, yet the entire story of Rāmāyana has been recounted contextually. So in this perspective, this kāvya may be regarded as a ‘Miniature Rāmāyana’ in Oriya literature. Just as Rāmāyana is named after King Rāma with depiction of his life-deeds, so in a greater sense Tapasvinī kāvya may be construed as a ‘Sītāyana’, as it prominently features the sublime character of Sītā in the entire story.(11)


As per the epical tradition of India, Gańgādhara, in the beginning of Canto-I, pays humble homage to the Goddess of Speech in an inquisitive manner. Further he expresses his desire that indicates the main theme of the kāvya. He modestly prays :

“To the hermitage of Sage Vālmīki
my mind has rushed to have a view
of the exiled Jānakī.
Her worn-out heart, alas !
how did she sew ?
Her life how with whom did she pass ?

O Compassionate Goddess ! Be kind
to bestow strength so that my mind
be sanctified by seeing
and my hand by writing.”

After the prayer, there appears the pathetic scene of the banished Sītā in the solitary site on the bank of Gańgā. The bewailing Sītā condemns her own fate for exile. Nature, in all aspects sympathetic to her, becomes stunned at her mourning.

In Canto-II, the hermitage of Vālmīki is found reigned by Queen Peace (Śānti). With the fatherly affection of Vālmīki and the motherly love of the hermit-matron Anukampā (a new creation of the poet), Sītā resides in the hermitage. In Canto-III, Rāma’s remourse after Sītā’s exile is depicted. Further kingship is assessed as a sacrifice where a king offers himself as an oblation for the public welfare. Rāma and Sītā, both forlorn in their respective places, become absorbed in pathetic thoughts of separation.

Canto-IV contains a lively and comely picture of Dawn (Ushā) in the hermitage. Sītā, accompanied by Anukampā and the hermit-girls, goes to River Tamasā who expresses all her motherly affections. After ablution, all enter the pleasure-garden where Sylvan Beauty (Vana-Lakshmī) is delineated as a maiden-friend of Sītā. Cordial welcome and parlance of both the friends are pleasantly portrayed.

Canto-V just follows the previous one. The juvenile Spring is observed in the garden. Sītā enjoys all sorts of regards and welcome from trees, creepers, flowers, birds and other various aspects of Nature. Anukampā admonishes Sītā about the three kinds of Śraddhā that are divine, human and diabolic. She further figures Sītā as a Tapasvinī endowed with the divine qualities. At about 7 a.m. all return to their abodes and perform their daily duties.

In Canto-VI, a moonlit night of Chaitra month, rich with breeze and fragrance of flowers, comes to the view. A couple of glow-worms are praised by Sītā. Before a hermitess-friend, Sītā narrates all the stories starting from her childhood up to the forest-dwelling. Canto-VII covers the subsequent part of the story till the banishment, as narrated by Sītā before the maiden-friend. The lamenting Sītā is consoled and supported by the friend and other hermit-maidens.

Canto-VIII gives a picturesque view of Summer with the beauties of Nature. Worldly behaviour is alluded with the aestival affluence. Sītā’s reminiscences come to the scene. Dame Thought (Chintā) appears before her and apprises of the arrival of some guests. Coming one by one, Chitrakūta, Mahānadī, Godāvarī and Ayodhyā, all alive, express feelings of their sorrow-stricken hearts before Sītā and retreat.

In Canto-IX, Rainy Season is described with natural colours and splendours. Nature shows her sympathy and concern for Sītā languishing under pregnancy. Birth of the twin sons, Kuśa and Lava, gladdens Nature. Canto-X speaks of the filial affection of Sītā, growth of the twins, their studying various scriptures, their melodious recitation of Rāmāyana in accompaniment of lutes and Sītā’s joys with sorrows

Canto-XI embodies Vālmīki’s pondering over the administration of King Rāma, fitness of the twins as the heirs of the royal dynasty and invitation from Rāma to attend the observance of Horse-sacrifice in Ayodhyā. Hearing the message from the Sage and deliberating about her own queenly status, Sitā suspects that Rāma might have accepted a second wife; because the presence of wife is a must for yajamāna in sacrificial performances. Then Sitā secretly and sorrowfully writes an humble letter to King Rāma. This letter is a unique and original issue of the muse of Gańgādhara. In this letter, Sitā earnestly prays Rāma to apprise her of the secrecy of incantation and penance rendered by the second queen (as suspected in Sītā’s mind), so that Sītā would practise more severe penance than hers to acquire Rāma as own life-lord in the next birth also.

After knowing from the twins the news that Rāma has kept the gold image of Sītā as the lady associate and not a second spouse, she shamefully becomes overwhelmed with beatitude. Keeping her letter secret, she inwardly apologizes to her husband-king. Sage Vālmīki and Sītā admonish the twins about their future performances in the sacrificial site. Dame Sleep (Nidrā) and Yogamāyā come to the cottage of Sītā to take her on their laps. Sītā views the royal coronation of King Rāma with herself as Queen, along with Bharata, Śatrughna, Kuśa and Lava. On this auspicious occasion, deities and demi-gods shower flowers from the firmament. Thus Tapasvinī ends with the following lines :

“In every house, in every life, in every city,
in the river-boat, in the bark of the sea,
in every cavern,
at day and night,
in the even and the morn,
in dolour and delight,
in the hearts of the affluent
as well as of the indigent,
reigns ever-reverberant
the Victory-to-Sītā-Rāma chant.
Observing all these,
stood entranced at the scene,
Crest-Crown of the chaste ladies,
the Great Queen.”


Tapasvinī, as the masterpiece of Gańgādhara Meher, enjoys an outstanding position in the arena of language and literature. The desideratum of the poet in composing this kāvya was mainly to fill in the gap of a character of devoted chaste wife flourished with Indian culture, in the domain of Oriya literature and to establish the language of Orissa with its epical excellence. Befitting the modern taste, the poet has utilized different nine melodious metres (Chaturdasākshara, Rāmakeri, Bańgalāśri, Chokhi, Rasakulyā, Kalahamsa-Kedāra, Kedāra-Kāmodī, Nata-Vānī and Kalyāna-Paditāla), collaborating the old metres with the modern ones.

Musical melody, grace of diction, serenity, rhythmic eloquence, lucidity with emotional touch and sweetness of meaning are the remarkable features of this epic poem. Various figures of speech such as alliteration, simile, metaphor, imagery and the like also find proper and praiseworthy places in this literary work. There occurs no verbosity or stiffness of speech. Predominance of meaning and sentiments is greatly appreciable. Words of Gańgādhara are pleasantly intelligible and imbued with emotions. So this kāvya has become unhesitatingly attractive and appealing.

In the beginning of his poetic life, Gańgādhara was influenced by the poets of Rīti-Yuga of Oriya literature for writing in ornate style; but later on, observing the literary milieu, he adopted the contemporary new style. Therefore a blended pattern is found in his compositions. Dr. Māyādhar Mānsinha, an eminent Oriya poet and critic, has aptly regarded Gańgādhara Meher as the ‘Classical Star’ and ‘Miniature Kālidāsa’ of Oriya literature.(12) Dr. Binod Chandra Nāik, a reputed modern poet and critic of Oriya, describes Gańgādhara as a 'Supreme
Craftsman' creating Tapasvinī kāvya with rhetoric patterns, like weaving Sambalpuri sāree with ornate designs at the loom.(13)


Pathos is the prevailing sentiment in Tapasvinī. In Canto-X, as regards the episode of Rāmāyana, especially the post-exile incident of Sītā, Gańgādhara metaphorically mentions :

“Plenteous is the Epic-mountain
with gems of sentiments.
There majestically roams Rāma-Lion.
Forming murmuring fountain
blood-stream of Rāvana-Elephant flows further.
Residing in a cavern, there laments
the Lioness suffering affliction
by tusk-tossing of the tusker.”

In Oriya literature, ancient poets have tried to avoid the particular description of Sītā’s post-banishment story in detail, as it is a matter of poignant Pathos. Gańgādhara took up this topic and composed Tapasvinī in so heart-touching manner that it appealed to the minds of the readers and became considered as the best among his kāvyas.

In Classical Sanskrit Literature, Bhavabhūti is the first poet and dramatist who advocated and elucidated the Sentiment of Pathos (Karuna Rasa) in a separate style and presented it as the original source of all sentiments.(14) Verily in Indian tradition, it may be observed that Rāmāyana known as Ādi-kāvya was originated by Sage Vālmīki who felt the Pathos in his heart by seeing the death of a Krauñcha bird killed by a hunter and the spontaneous flow of a metrical verse was emitted from the mouth of the Sage that led to the composition of the great epic Rāmāyana.(15) Kālidāsa conspicuously declares that Vālmīki’s ‘Śoka’ (pain) raised by seeing the death of Krauñcha bird turned into ‘Śloka’, the metrical verse.(16) Rhetorician Anandavardhana also clearly mentions the same thing in his work, while dealing with ‘Rasa’ as the essence or Ātmā of poetic composition.(17) Poet Śrīharsha also speaks of Vālmīki’s ‘Śoka’ and ‘Śloka’ in connection with the praise of God’s incarnation as Rāma.(18)

In this connection, a line from the great poet P.B. Shelley’s poem (19) may be recalled : “Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.” Flash of bliss intrinsically abides even in the sentiment of Pathos; otherwise nobody would be inclined to the sentiment which above all permeates the Rāmāyana. Viśvanātha Kavirāj, a reputed rhetorician and poet of Sanskrit, succinctly declares blissfulness of all the sentiments.(20) Poet Gańgādhara is influenced by Bhavabhūti. In Tapasvinī, the excellence of Pathos begins from the outset. Though other emotions are accessories in the middle, sentiment of Pathos is prominent. The poet has avoided to end the kāvya in a tragic description and made the ending comically happy, depicting Sītā’s union with King Rāma even in a dream state. Apropos filial affections of Sītā for her twin sons (Canto-X), also that of Anukampā and River Tamasā (Canto-IV) and as well as of Godāvarī (Canto-VIII), Vātsalya Rasa is contextually blended in this kāvya.

Kālidāsa’s words are mostly indicative or suggestive of sentiments, while like Bhavabhūti’s, appropriate words of Gańgādhara are mostly expressive and directly appealing to the hearts of the readers. In comparison to other sentiments, Pathos directly touches the core of heart and Gańgādhara has successfully portrayed the sentiment that leaves an ever-lasting impression in the mind. While reading different cantos of Tapasvinī, one can really experience the intensity of sentiment and the eyes emotionally get suffused with tears. Such is the speciality of Gańgādhara’s poetic pen which is capable of melting the hearts of the readers in pathetic descriptions.


In Tapasvinī, as in other literary works of Gańgādhara, conjugal love is a divine and sacred phenomenon. His words in the matter of Eros are romantically gentle, polished, descent and lovely. In the sylvan avenues, Sītā’s appearance as a beautiful Flowery Queen before Rāma is a fine illustration of such love. The muse of Gańgādhara allows not a jot of so-called obscenity in the love of the royal couple. They reciprocally pine in their separation and experience pains mixed with pleasures.

King Rāma’s love for Sītā is sincerely selfless and dedicated. He discards her simply because of the false public calumny. Forlorn and perpetually perplexed, he depreciates the royal throne. To render the regal duty, i.e. public gratification, he sacrifices his personal happiness of life; still his mind’s drone remains rapt in relishing the sweet mead of the Lotus-Queen blown in the lake of heart. In Canto-III, as the context goes on, Rāma addressing his sense-organs admonishes:

“ One thing more I like to tell,
Be united with mind and hastened to dwell
in the lake of heart where bliss sublime
you all will sportively enjoy for endless time.

There abides my life-mate
new Lotus-maiden in full efflorescence;
Ever-scintillating and never-set
remains the Sun of reminiscence.”

Sītā, as a devoted wife, understands the inner feelings of her husband who is an ideal king and ruler of the country. She reminds the words of the King within her wailings and says in Canto-I :

“For public pleasure’s sake
need arises if,
prepared I’m to forsake
even Sītā, my life-like wife.’

Thus you had declared
before Sage Ashtāvakra, O My Lord !
You must be recalling in memory
never slackening those words promissory.”

Here the idealistic supremacy of King Rāma is observed following the idealism maintained by Bhavabhūti. In his drama Rāma proclaims : “For propitiation of the subjects, I have no pain in sacrificing my personal affection, compassion and happiness, even my wife Jānakī also.”(21) In the pen of Gańgādhara, establishing own duties and status, Sītā further says :

“To the words of thy father
in disobedience you stand never.
In obeying the words of husband,
If in my heart arises no grief,
then only I’ll be worthy
of the status of your wife.
This matter certainly
my mind shall understand.

Of public contentment
Thyself, an avower ardent.
Further I’m thy wife
as per the laws of wedding life.
Every step of mine does lead
in thy foot-prints indeed.”

Sītā as a Tapasvinī incarnates all the divine qualities that place her in the highest honourable shrine among the devoted wives of Indian culture. The word ‘Satī’ (Chaste woman) is oft-used in Tapasvinī to evince her pure and unblemished character. Bhavabhūti depicts Sītā as an idol of Pathos or an embodiment of pangs of separation.(22) In the pen of Gańgādhara, Sītā is delineated as an embodiment of Pathos.

Natural love of River towards Sea is distinctly illustrated as compared to Sītā’s love for Rāma in Canto-II. Here originality of Gańgādhara is really appealing. The public censure separates the couple from each other; yet the beloved lady of vast heart patiently endures the estrangement. As the context goes on, Vālmīki consoles Sītā in the following lines :

“Spontaneous is the flow of River
to mingle with Sea, her own lover.
She firmly crosses pass and rock
that appear on the way to block.

With Sea when she enjoys union,
her all previous pains plunge into oblivion.
Between the lives of the two thence
really remains not a jot of difference.

Perchance piercing up amid
any huge mound of sands there
if raises high
and severs the hearts of the loving pair,
verily River cannot die.
Burthen of her life she bears indeed
by expanding own heart to take
the shape of a large lake.”

Contextually in Canto-IX, Sītā becomes very happy after seeing the birth of the twin sons; but owing to separation from her husband-king who is unable to partake of the happiness, she feels dejected. Here the poet speaks:

“Blissfully bright the hermitage shone;
but darkness pervaded the Lily
of Sītā’s face, bereft of Rāma-Moon alone.
Her festival was verily
amāvāsyā, the moonless night.
Darkness enhanced her greatness.
Lovable is the Moonlight
solely because of darkness.”

Residing in the hermitage of Vālmīki, Sītā feels comforted among the companions. Regarding Sītā’s Love for King Rāma in Canto-V, the poet expresses :

“Happiness emerging from affection
of hermits and hermitesses
ousted Sītā’s all the mental distresses.
Into the path of her recollection
there didn’t enter
the royal pleasure
even once by mistake.
In her lucid heart’s lake
was always sportively swimming
Rāma-Swan, supremely charming.”

Concerning Sītā’s devotion-to-husband (pati-bhakti), Gańgādhara differs from other poets by remodelling the epical episode. He presents three reasons of her exile-like misfortune.(23) As Sītā thinks, firstly she had mean-mindedly reprimanded the innocent Lakshmana and had sent him in quest of her husband, just after hearing the voice “Save me, O Lakshmana” from the interior of Pañchavatī forest. Secondly, while she was captive in Aśoka grove, Rāvana showed a severed illusory head before her eyes and she desperately bemoaned thinking the very head to be her husband’s, further seeing the head she did not die at the spot. Thirdly, deeming the happiness of service at her husband’s feet to be very slight, she became prone to have the pleasure of visiting the hermitage near Gańgā. All these three sins, as Sītā explains by introspection, account for the exile fit for her.

In the verses of Kālidāsa, Sita knowing the exile from Lakshmana sorrowfully delivers her words for her husband thus: “Knowing me pure through the fire-ordeal in front of all, you abandoned me after hearing rumours from some people. Is this deed befitting your celebrated pedigree ?”(24) Next moment, she ponders that the exile is the unbearable result of her sins acquired in the previous births.(25) In the poem of Gańgādhara, Sītā does never tell a word of rebuke to her husband and merely expresses the above-mentioned three reasons of her self-analyzed sins. This issue exhibits an originality of the poet.

While Sītā was refused by King Rāma and was asked to testify her chastity in the fire-ordeal at Lańkā, as seen in the Vālmīki-Rāmāyana (26), she expresses her feelings with tearful eyes by saying that King’s behaviour towards her is like that of a low-category man to his low-category wife and further prays to the Fire-god to save her life giving proof of her purity. In Tapasvinī, Sītā does not have any propensity to bear the life of a suspected wife and intrepidly invokes her Dharma (Righteousness or Devotion-to-husband) to enter with herself into the enkindled fire to prove her chastity. In Canto-VII, the devoted wife prays:

“O Dharma ! In my body
with your excellence entire,
have a stance steady.
Intimid with me enter into the fire.
Not possible if
in my present life,
then after my demise
for my lord’s sake
at his feet you’ll make
myself a maid-servant please.

After my body perishes,
it will turn into ashes.
For a tree, taking them
you’ll make use as manure.
Giving the wood of the same
in the hands of a carpenter,
you’ll get my being prepared
as a pair of sandals fit
for the sacred feet
of my loving life-lord.”

Such is Sita’s self-confident devotion-to-husband that reaches the pinnacle of conjugal love. This description also reveals an innovation of the poet. In true sense, Sītā has been depicted as a wife completely consigned to her husband and such love, rid of all selfishness, is a rarest phenomenon for a wife in the household affair of Indian society.


Like Kālidāsa in Sanskrit and William Wordsworth in English, Gańgādhara Meher is well known as ‘Poet of Nature’(Prakriti-Kavi) in Oriya literature. In his poem, Nature is always alive and personified. All the aspects of Nature express their joys, sorrows and other feelings corresponding to the feelings of human beings. Gańgādhara vividly and exhaustively delineates the beautiful facets of Nature. With his poetic insight, he sees human feelings, conscious life and internal beauty in her. Nature imbibes her comely, gracious, fierce, tranquil and auspicious forms in various contexts.

Gańgādhara is a prolific painter of Nature. Depiction of Dame Ushā (Dawn) in Canto-IV is most popular all over Orissa. Here Nature honours Sītā as an esteemed Queen and offers all the royal formalities of worship. Dawn, the blooming lotus-eyed lady, cherishing hearty desire to behold Sītā and bringing presentations of dew-pearls in her hands of leafage, stands in the outer courtyard of the hermitage and in cuckoo’s voice speaks to grace her with Sītā’s benign sight. The retinues of Dame Dawn perform their duties to wake up Sītā. For example, in the description of the poet :

“Musical tune Zephyr sang swinging.
Black Bee played on lute charming.
By Ushā’s bidding, in dance
rapt remained Fragrance.
Kumbhātuā bird as a royal bard
began to eulogize forward.
As the panegyrist premier
Kalińga bird appeared there,
And spake in voice gracefully sweet :
‘Wake please,
O Queen of the empire of chaste ladies !
Dawned the night.”

Dawn (Ushā) with her Sun-brown costume, blooming smile of flowers and calm countenance, appears as a Goddess of Yoga giving solace by sweet words and rendering relief from sufferings. She as if descends from heaven on earth to give a new life. Sītā pays her devotional reverence to the auspicious Dawn.

In Canto-III, Gańgādhara describes a marvellous scenery of Sunshine and Dusk with poetic imagination. The picture of Nature appears thus :

“On the bank of Bhāgīrathī, whlle
Lakshmana deserted Sītā to exile.
Sunshine had spread that moment
all over the regions
of the world along with oceans
neath the fair firmament.

As though it was a white screen
draped over by Sun
after deliberation
that shame it would be, if the affliction
of Rāma’s Queen was seen
to the deities’ dominion.

Knowing that secret discreetly,
to disclose the flaw of Sun’s race,
Dusk lifted swiftly
the screen from earth’s surface.”

As the context continues in Canto-IV, Sītā accompanied by Anukampā and the hermit-girls, goes to River Tamasā for early ablution. Tamasā, the fair-limbed and sacred-streamed hostess of the hermitage, with her wave-hands places Sītā on her lap and embraces with affections. Sītā regards Tamasā as her mother and the latter shows filial affections for the exiled daughter. In this Canto-IV, Vana-Lakshmī (Sylvan Beauty) extends her heartiest welcome to the exiled Sītā and her friendly address is emotionally expressed. For instance:

“By Pushpaka plane, when
you were returning through the sphere,
I standing here
bearing in hands the gift of flowers fine,
with gazelle’s eyes woefully gazing above
was calling you with keen love
in the voice of peahen
from a long way.
Friend dearest mine !
Did you come today
remembering this companion
after so many days gone ?”

In Canto-I, seeing the banishment of Sītā, Nature mourns with severe distress and with her army tries to take vengeance upon Fate. A fierce form of Nature is remarkable in the poem as follows:

“To fight against Fate, there roared
Palm Tree with furious figure
raising his hand with sword.
Shaking frequently the quiver
of Weaver-bird’s nest, he as if
drew an arrow of leaf.”

Knowing own banishment rendered by her husband, when Sītā falls senseless on the ground, depicting the reaction of the sympathetic Cloud, the poet says:

“Bearing the heart frustrated
and the body emaciated,
there arrived, rushing with armies
the seriously angry Cloud.
Startling others’ eyes
by the rumbling, deep and loud,
he defied Destiny and betrayed menace.
Again and again sprinkling on Sītā’s face
soothing drops of water
he vivified her.”

Description of Spring in Canto-V and of Summer in Canto-VIII manifests the glaring facets of Nature. The panoramic scenery of Chitrakūta, Godāvarī, Mahānadī and Ayodhyā in Sītā’s mind’s eye appears very much attractive. Nature of Rains in Canto-X helps at the time of Sītā’s delivery. In the merrymaking and ceremony of the birth of Kuśa-Lava, and in reciting the Rāmāyana epic emulating the songs sung by the twins, Nature presents her gracious and joyous forms.

Gańgādhara, on one side, has adopted various phases of Nature to depict the human beauty and on the other, he has inserted human aspects with a view to presenting the lively loveliness of Nature. Both internal and external beauties of Nature are well-depicted in Tapasvinī. Veritable is his epithet ‘Prakriti-Kavi’, the Poet of Nature.


The ideology of Bhavabhūti along with the naturality of Vālmīki and Kālidāsa are intertwined in the poem of Gańgādhara. The quintessence of poet’s philosophy of life has been contextually reflected in Tapasvinī. Forbearance, theistic trend, noble endeavours for the attainment of goal and high aspiration are signified in his work. He believes in both deed and destiny, but never adheres to pessimism. For instance, life of fortitude, benevolence and polite activities is indicated in Canto-IV. River Tamasā expresses before Sitā regarding the significance of life:

“Wandering over several woods wide,
never wavering astray
by illusion of any gorge,
surmounting many an impediment
in my life limpid,
never deeming darkness
as a distress,
never thinking light
to be a delight,
for a remote way
ahead I’ve continued to forge
with my head humbly bent.
Gratifying every bank-dweller
with offering of water,
fruitfulness of my birth
I’m realizing worth.”

Gańgādhara’s humanistic approach of reaching the destination through incessant practice is traced here. Simplicity, modesty, purity, harmlessness and noble services are the gem-like features of his work and life. Whatever may be the obstacle, the poet’s optimistic insight pervades the realm of life. “Simple living and high thinking” is his view-point both literary and empirical.

In spite of negative attitude of some fault-finders in social life, one should patiently and courageously go ahead to establish one’s own goodness and virtues valuable to others. In Canto-X, Ketakī’s words for Sītā are worth-mentioning:

“Conjured by the cynics’ eyes
what can the blemish do,
when one’s own noble qualities
form a divine ornament true ?
Seeing my thorns
with repugnance,
if black-bee from me returns,
shall I forgo the pride of fragrance ?”

In Canto-IV, regarding motherly affection of River Tamasā, Sītā as a wretched daughter expresses her hearty feelings. The poet says:

Sītā replied :
Like the water of coconut
sweet is this limpid water;
nay, nay, not water, but
mother’s milk real,
flowing as the stream ambrosial
for Sītā, the dead-like daughter.
Oh ! In this land you’re indeed
my mother dearest
incarnate as Tamasā having a heart
riven by my severe smart.”

In the same context, the poet exhibits the inner feelings of a mother in the words of Sita to River Tamasā :

“Mother verily knows
her daughter’s sorrows.
A burnt-faced daughter
looks moon-faced in the eyes of mother.”

Deprived of Sītā’s company in Ayodhyā, Dame Royal Beauty (Rāja-Lakshmī) becomes distressed and sends a letter to Sītā through Ayodhyā who reads the same contextually. From the letter in Canto-VIII, some lines run thus:

“Friend ! Myself Night,
You were Moonlight.
Closing my eyes
of blooming lilies
afar you went.
No more thence
remains for me in your absence
even a vestige of pleasure.
I’ve borne the figure
of a woman rid of ornament.”

In Canto-II, hearing Sītā’s mourn, the hermit-girls reach the spot and after consoling her, intimate the father-like Sage Vālmīki about the matter. Here Gańgādhara, to draw the compassion of the same female category, employs the hermit-girls only, not the hermit-boys, nor Vālmīki himself, as described in the Rāmāyana (27) and the Raghuvamśa (28) respectively. The heartiest relationship between Sītā and the hermit-girls who were companions in her previous forest-dwelling with her husband is beautifully described in the mouth of Sītā herself before a hermitess-friend in the later forest-dwelling. Some lines for example:

“Their holy affections,
endearment mingling with exhilarations,
lips lovely with soft sweet utterances
and loving calm guileless glances,
all showered ambrosia immense
on the glebe of my reminiscence.

All the names of those dear
hermit-girls, one by one,
blooming as lotuses appeared clear
in my mind’s lake gay,
when the nocturnal murk of separation,
previously poignant and piled,
vanished far away
and the day-spring of happiness smiled.”

From the above-mentioned illustrations, it may be asserted that in presenting the struggle of life, social norms and behaviours, ethical values of human relationship, sympathetic feelings and other mundane phenomena, Gańgādhara identifies his deep-delved dexterity with his intrinsic poetic vision. Several maxims are also befittingly blended. Further dramatic style and retrospective presentations can be marked very exquisitely in this epic poem.

Analysing the literary works and life of Gańgādhara, Dr. Māyādhar Mansinha regards him as a ‘Literary Hero’ referring to the various kinds of heroes of human society described by Carlyle.(29) Really Gańgādhara, being a poet, a social reformer and a patron of Indian culture, is very frank, fearless and ever-beneficial for the country and the mankind at large. As a brave and modest poet, he has tried his best to characterize nobility and brighter sides of life even in the midst of struggle and sufferings.


Tapasvinī elaborates a pathetic plot of the great epic Rāmāyana. However Gańgādhara contextually cites some sites of his own province suitable to the situations. Describing the sorrows of Sītā as well as of the hermit-girls (Canto-III), he exemplifies the river Mahānadī along with its tributaries Ańga, Iba and Tela. He refers to the gorge Rāmeśvara of Mahānadī (Canto-III) near Sambalpur, also to Hirākud (Canto-VIII). All these places are mostly attached to Sambalpur district. Expressing the love of River and Sea, he adverts to the Lake Chilikā located in the eastern coast of Orissa. This instance is conspicuous from the footnote given by himself (Canto-III). All these regional geographical environs assert loving attraction of the poet for his birth-place and do not mar the beauty of literary theme in any manner. In this kāvya, literary propriety is commendable indeed. Lapses in Gańgādhara’s writing are hardly seen.

In an epoch-making period of modern age of Oriya literature, Gańgādhara’s contributions for establishing the language, literature and culture of Orissa are worthy of appreciations. For own extraordinary literary calibre and honest guileless personality, he has earned high admirations and endearments from his contemporary noted litterateurs like Kavivar Rādhānāth Rāy, Vyāsakavi Fakīr Mohan Senāpati, Pallīkavi Nanda Kiśor Bal, Viśwanāth Kar, Kaviśekhar Chintāmani Mahānty, Pandit Nīlamani Vidyāratna, Utkala Gaurava Madhusūdan Dās and many others. For Tapasvinī that deserves a classical dignity and enviable reputation among the epic poems, Gańgadhara is heartily remembered by the lovers of literature.

From social point of view, Sītā is regarded as a daughter of King Janaka, yet she was born from the furrow of earth, and therefore an offspring of Nature. A subtle true observer and a proficient literary commentator of Nature, Gańgādhara Meher is the first and most successful poet in Oriya literature to give a complete epic form to the post-exile episode of Sītā with a beautifully impressive touch of Pathos. He is a worshipper of Truth, Good and Beauty. His is an all-encompassing artistic view with idealistic faith and sincerity. To conclude, in the present day also, Tapasvinī, a prominent poetic achievement on the ever-green Sītā-Rāma-story, may be useful in the field of comparative study among various literatures of Indian languages.

* * *

1. Meher, H.K., Kavi Gańgādharańka Tapasvinī Kāvya : Hindī-Ińgrājī-Sanskruta Anuvādara Trivenī,
‘Bartikā’, Vishuva Special Issue, 1999, pp.178-209.
Saraswat Sahitya Sanskrutika Parishad, Dasarathpur, Jajpur, Orissa.

2. Meher, H.K., Canto-IV from the Complete English Rendering of Tapasvinī Kāvya,
‘Kantāraka’, 2000, pp.14-20, Bhawanipatna, Kalahandi.

3. Meher, H.K., Kavi Gańgādharańka Tapasvinī-Kāvyara Hindī O Ingrājī Anuvāda,
‘Saptarshi’, May-June 1992, Sambalpur University, Jyoti Vihar, Burla, Sambalpur.

4. Meher, H.K., Kavi Gańgādharańka Tapasvinī Kāvyara Hindī O Ińgrājī Anuvāda :

Eka Nūtana Diganta,
‘Jhańkār’, August 1996, Prajatantra Prachar Samiti, Cuttack.

5. Meher, H.K., Excerpts from Gangadhara Meher’s Tapaswini,
‘Suntimes’, Sunday Special, Bhubaneswar, 28-8-1988, p.8.

6. Sāham tapah sūrya-nivishta-drishtir
ūrdhvam prasūteś charitum yatishye /
Bhūyo yathā me jananāntare’pi
Tvam eva bharttā na cha viprayogah // (Raghu.14/66)
Chaturvedi, Sitaram (Ed.) Kālidāsa Granthāvalī – Raghuvamśa, Samvat 2019,
Bharat Prakashan Mandir, Aligarh.

7. Nripasya varnāśrama-pālanam yat
sa eva dharmo manunā pranītah /
Nirvāsitapyevam atas tvayāham
Tapasvi-sāmānyam avekshanīyā // (Ibid. 14/67)
Chaturvedi, Sitaram op.cit. Samvat 2019.

8. Vanyena sā valkalinī śarīram
patyuh prajā-santataye babhāra // (Ibid. 14/82)

9. Meher, H.K., Preface of Tapasvinī – English Rendering.

10. Ibid.

11. Meher, H.K.,Tapasvinī (Hindi Rendering Book), 2000, p.15.
Sambalpur University, Jyoti Vihar, Burla, Sambalpur.

12. Mansinha, M.D., History of Oriya Literature, 1962, pp.199-200.
Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi.

13. Naik, B.C., Gangadhar Meher (Makers of Indian Literature Series), 1996, p.35.
Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi.

14. Eko rasah karuna eva nimitta-bhedād
bhinnah prithak prithag ivāśrayate vivarttān /
Āvartta-budbuda-tarańgamayān viśeshān
Ambho yathā salilam eva hi tat samastam // (Uttara-Rāma-Charita, 3/47)
Regmi, S.S.,(Ed.), Uttara-Rāma-Charita of Bhavabhūti, 1971,
Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, Varanasi.

15. Mā nishāda pratishthām tvam agamah śāśvatīh samāh /
Yat krauñcha-mithunād ekam avadhīh kāma-mohitam // (V. Rāmāyana, 1/2/15)
Vālmīki, Śrimad Vālmīkīya Rāmāyana, Samvat 2049, Gita Press, Gorakhpur, U.P.

16. Nishāda-viddhāndaja-darśanotthah
ślokatvam āpadyata yasya śokah // (Raghu.14/70)
Chaturvedi, Sitaram, op.cit. Samvat 2019.

17. Kāvyasyātmā sa evārthas tathā chādi-kaveh purā /
Krauñcha-dvandva-viyogotthah śokah ślokatvam āgatah // (Dhvanyāloka, 1/5)
Tripathy, R.S., (Ed.) Dhvanyāloka, 1995, p.142, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi.

18. Krauñcha-duhkham api vīkshya śuchā yah
ślokam ekam asrijat kavir ādyah /
Sa tvaduttha-karunah khalu kāvyam
śloka-sindhum uchitam prababandha // (Naishadha. 21/76)
Śrīharsha, Naishadhīya-Charitam,1952, Nirnaya Sagar Press, Bombay.

19. Palgrave, F.T., ‘To A Skylark’ (poem), The Golden Treasury, 1979, p.245.
Oxford University Press, Calcutta.

20. Sastri, S.,(Ed) Sāhitya-Darpana (Chapter 3/ 4-5), 2000, p.52,
Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi.

21. Sneham dayām cha saukhyam cha yadi va Jānakīm api /
Ārādhanāya lokasya muñchato nāsti me vyathā // (Uttara-Rāma-Charita. 1/12)
Regmi, S.S., op.cit. 1971.

22. Karunasya mūrtir athavā śarīrinī
viraha-vyatheva vanam eti Jānakī // (Ibid. 3/4)

23. Das Hemanta Kumar (Ed.), Gańgādhara Granthāvalī (Tapasvinī, Canto-1), 1977,
Pustak Bhandar, Berhampur, Orissa.

24. Vāchyas tvayā mad-vachanāt sa rājā
vahnau viśuddhām api yat samaksham /
Mām lokavāda-śravanād ahāsīh
śrutasya kim tat sadriśam kulasya // (Raghu. 14/61)
Chaturvedi, Sitaram, op. cit. Samvat 2019.

25. Mamaiva janmāntara-pātakānām
vipāka-visphūrjathur aprasahyah // (Ibid.14/62)

26. Kim mām asaḍriśam vākyam īdriśam śrotra-dārunam /
Rūksham śrāvayase Vīra prākritah prākritām iva // (Vālmīki Rāmāyana. 6/116/5)

27. Sitām tu rudatīm drishtvā te tatra muni-dārakāh /
Prādravan yatra bhagavān āste Vālmīkir ugradhīh // (Ibid. 7/49/1)
Vālmīki Rāmāyana, Samvat 2049.

28. Tām abhyagacchat ruditānusārī
Kavih kuśedhmāharanāya yātah // (Raghu.14/70)
Chaturvedi, Sitaram, op. cit. Samvat 2019.

29. ‘Meherańka Mahattva’ (Article) - Gańgādhara Granthāvalī, 1961, p.5,
Das Brothers, Berhampur-Cuttack-Sambalpur, Orissa.

* *
[ Published in ‘Kalahandi Renaissance’ (Research Journal),
Vol.-1, 2005, pp. 39-52.
Courtesy : Government Autonomous College, Bhawanipatna, Orissa, India.]

For My English Translation and related topics, please see :

* * * * *

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Oriya Kavya 'Tapasvini' Canto-4 of Poet Gangadhar Meher/ Dr.Harekrishna Meher

Extracts From Original Oriya Kavya ‘Tapasvini’
Of Poet Gangadhara Meher
Canto-IV Mangale Aila Usha’ (मङ्गळे अइला उषा)
Original Oriya written in Chokhi Raaga.
Here the readers may enjoy the beautiful expression and musical charm of Oriya literary metre ‘Chokhi’, excellence of alliterations along with emotional intimate relationship between Nature and mankind. Aspects of Nature such as Usha (Dawn), Zephyr, Black Bee, Fragrance, Cuckoo, Kumbhatua and Kalinga Birds, River Tamasa, Vana-Lakshmi (Sylvan Beauty) – all are personified here with sympathetic affinity. Hence an ecological phenomenon also finds a place of interest. 

As the context goes on, in the hermitage of Sage Valmiki, Nature greets the exiled Sita as an esteemed Queen and offers all the royal formalities of worship. Dawn, the blooming lotus-eyed lady, cherishing hearty desire to behold Sita and bringing gifts of dew-pearls in her leafage-hands, stands in the outer courtyard of ashram and in cuckoo’s voice speaks to grace her with Sita’s benign sight. The retinues of Usha do their duties to wake up Sita. Usha appears as a Goddess of Yoga having Sun-brown costume, blooming smile of flowers and calm figure. Sita extends her reverence and devotion to the auspicious Usha. 

Further accompanied by the matron Anukampa and the hermit-girls, Sita goes to River Tamasa to have an early bath. Tamasa welcomes Sita, with own wave-hands places her on the watery lap and embraces affectionately. Tamasa regards Sita as her daughter and shows filial affections. Sita, the devoted and banished wife of King Rama finds Tamasa as the Embodiment of Mother and sole peaceful resort of her later life. Here dialogues between Tamasa and Sita are really very heart-touching and impressive. In Oriya literature, significant is the epithet ‘Prakriti-Kavi’, Poet of Nature, for Gangadhara Meher.
= = = = = = = = 

For Translations and Introduction, 
See My English, Hindi and Sanskrit Versions of Tapasvini 
placed separately on this site :
* *
ओड़िआ तपस्विनी काब्यर चतुर्थ- सर्गरु कियदंश 
* Excerpts from Canto-IV of Original Oriya Tapasvini *
मङ्गळे अइला उषा
हृदये बहि ;
कर-पल्लबे नीहार-
मुक्ता धरि उपहार
सतीङ्क बास बाहार
प्राङ्गणे रहि ।
कळकण्ठ-कण्ठे कहिला,
"दरशन दिअ सति ! राति पाहिला ॥" [१]
अरुण कषाय बास
प्रशान्त रूप बिश्वास
दिअन्ति मने ;
केउँ य़ोगेश्वरी आसि
मधुर भाषे आश्वासि
डाकुछन्ति दुःखराशि
उपशमने ।
देबा पाइँ नब जीबन,
स्वर्गुँ कि ओह्लाइछन्ति मर्त्त्य भुबन ॥ [२]
समीर सङ्गीत गाए,
भ्रमर बीणा बजाए,
सुरभि नर्त्तने थाए
उषा-निदेशे ;
कुम्भाटुआ होइ भाट
आरम्भिला स्तब पाठ
कळिङ्ग अइला पाट-
मागध बेशे ।
लळित मधुरे कहिला,
"उठ सती-राज्य-राणि ! राति पाहिला ॥" [३]
पूर्ण कला श्याम बन
उठिला भेदि गगन
उच्च ॐकार ;
बैकुण्ठे देइ तृपति
अनन्त-श्रुतिकि गति
बिहिला कि सरस्वती-
बीणा-झङ्कार ।
बेळुँ बेळ बन उज्ज्वळ,
मन्त्र-बळे य़ेह्ने बढ़ि आसिला बळ ॥ [४]
एकाळे ब्रह्मचारिणी
अनुकम्पा तपस्विनी
आसि जनक-नन्दिनी
पाशे गम्भीरे ;
बोइले, "उठ बैदेहि !
उषा सुकुमार-देही
आसिछि, दर्शन देइ
तोष बिधिरे ।
तमसा रहिछि अनाइँ,
कोळ करि थरे सुख लभिबा पाइँ ॥ [५]
बिन्दुरे खर-रश्मिर
प्रतिबिम्ब परि बीर
राम-मूरति ;
शोक-जर्जरित चित्त-
फळके करि चित्रित
हेले आसनुँ उत्थित
जानकी सती ।
नमि अनुकम्पा-पयरे,
बन्दिले उषार पद सबिनयरे ॥ [६]
बोइले ताकु प्रशंसि,
"तुम्भे तिमिर-बिध्वंसि-
हुअ संसारे ;
तुम्भ कोमळ चरण
करे ज्योति आहरण
तहिँ य़ाउछि शरण
दृढ़ आशारे ।
शुभ्र-सउरभ-रसिके !
शुभ-सम्पादिनी हुअ रघुबंशिके ॥" [७]
उत्सुक-हृदये रात्री-
शेषरे आश्रम-धात्री
तमसा निर्मळ-गात्री
पबित्र-धारा ;
प्राङ्गणे कुसुम बिञ्चि
सुबासित नीर सिञ्चि
मङ्गळ प्रदीप रचि
प्रभाती तारा ।
मुहुर्मुहु मीन-नयने,
चाहुँथिला सीता-सती-शुभागमने ॥ [८]
उटजु तापस-कन्या-
गणङ्क आदर-बन्या-
प्लाबने जगत-धन्या
सती-रतन ;
बाहारि अबगाहने
अनुकम्पाङ्क गहणे
तमसा-धार बहने
कले गमन ।
सतीङ्कि तमसा अङ्करे,
घेनि स्नेहे आलिङ्गिला तरङ्ग-करे ॥ [९]
अमृत मधुर स्वरे
बोइला परितोषरे,
"माआ गो ! मो मानसरे
न थिला आशा ;
करिब अङ्के बिहार
सीता करि परिहार
भोग-पिपासा ।
भाग्यबती मोते संसारे,
बोलिबे तो य़ोगुँ एका परशंसारे ॥ [१०]
बने बने भ्रमि भ्रमि
गण्ड कुहुके न भ्रमि
बहु बाधा अतिक्रमि
स्वच्छ जीबने ;
अन्धार दुःख न गणि
आलोक सुख न मणि
चालिछि दूर सरणी
नत बदने ।
जनम करुछि सफळ,
तोय दाने तोषि तीर-बासी सकळ ॥ [११]
मन्दाकिनी गोदाबरी
से सबु गुणे मो सरि,
तथापि बर्द्धन करि
छन्ति गौरब ;
लभि तो पबित्र पद-
चिह्न अक्षय सम्पद
अङ्ग-सौरभ ।
ताहा थिला मोर बाञ्छित,
तदभाबे हेउथिलि मने लाञ्छित ॥ [१२]
*करिथिलि शुभ कर्म
बोलि आणि देला धर्म
समये तोते मो मर्म-
बासना जाणि ;
पाइछि दुर्लभ धन
करिबि तृप्ति साधन
निति करि सम्बोधन
कोळकु आणि ।
अङ्ग-परिमळ तोहर,
हेब मोर जीबनर कळुष-हर ॥ [१३]
मो कोळ केळि-चपळ
सारस मराळ-दळ
कोक य़ुगळ य़ुगळ
बक-पङ्कति ;
तो पुण्यमय शरीर-
क्षाळने पूत मो नीर-
पाने बञ्चिथिबे चिर
दिन मो कति ।
कळनाद छळे तो य़श,
गाइ मो श्रुतिकि तोषुथिबे अजस्र ॥ [१४]
पतिब्रता-अङ्गे लागि
पबित्र हेबार लागि
प्रसूनमान ;
दूरुँ दूरुँ झासि झासि
धाइँथिबे भासि भासि
भ्रमुथिबे आसि आसि
तो सन्निधान ।
स्नान समये मो पयरे,
दयामयि ! न पेलिबु ताङ्कु पयरे ॥ [१५]
मो कूळे चाळि चरण
करिबु माँ ! बिचरण
ब्यपदेशे बितरिण
अमर-कान्ति ;
ता लभि बन-पादप-
राजि होइ दप-दप
बहिबे अमर-दर्प
बिहिबे शान्ति ।
पल्लबे पाटळ श्यामळ,
रुचिर रुचि रहिब चिर निर्मळ ॥" [१६]
सीता बोइले, " पनीर-
मधुर ए स्वच्छ नीर,
नीर नुहे, जननीर
क्षीर प्रत्यक्षे ;
गिरि-स्तनुँ बिनिःसृत
होइ आसुछि अमृत-
धारा परि सीता मृत-
कळपा लक्ष्ये ।
ओहो ! तु त मो माँ ए देशे,
मो दुःखे बिदीर्ण-बक्षा तमसा-बेशे ॥ [१७]
छेद भेदिअछि पृष्ठ
से पाख हेउछि दृष्ट,
तथापि सुताकु तुष्ट
करिबा पाइँ ;
फिटाइ स्नेह-लोचन
प्रीति-मधुर बचन-
बिन्यासे चाटु रचन
करु गेह्लाइ ।
धन्य धन्य माँ ! तो हृदय,
मो दुःख-आतप पाइँ बालुकामय ॥ [१८]
राम-साम्राज्ये य़े सीता
लोक-लोचने दूषिता
होइ चिर निर्बासिता
से तोर मते ;
निज पतिब्रता-धर्म-
बळे स्थाबर जङ्गम
पबित्र-करणे क्षम
हेब जगते ।
माता बुझे सुता-बेदना,
माता-नेत्रे दग्ध-मुखी चन्द्र-बदना ॥ [१९]
तो तीर चिर आश्रय
हेलाणि मोर निश्चय
भरसा तो शान्तिमय
पद-कमळे ;
शून्य य़ार चराचर
जननी-कोळ मातर
तार आदर-आकर
मही-मण्डळे ।
जननी य़ा रत्न-गरभा,
काहिँकि से अन्य स्थान लोड़िब अबा ?" ॥ [२०]
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