Translated by A.H. Edgren
Edited by Ramesh Chandra
About the Book
Abhijñana-Sakuntalam is Kalidasa’s best-known play and perhaps the best known seven Acts play of the classical Sanskrit repertoire. The story of Shakuntala was already in Mahabharata in the form of a dull narrative; but Kalidasa turned the same into an elegant work of art with a lot of innovations. The play takes its title from one of its central characters, a young woman raised in a forest hermitage. Her forest life is temporary and she comes into her real identity through her interaction with a king during the course of the play. In the end, the play demonstrates a consistent principle of Sanskrit drama. Love in union and love in separation are both depicted in this drama with a greater degree of perfection. The dramatic power and poetic beauty of this unique work have elicited the highest praise and admiration from the scholars all over the world.
About the Author
Kalidasa is one of the greatest classical Sanskrit poets and dramatists of ancient India, but very little is known about his life and time. His writings reveal that he was a pious Brahmana of Ujjain, and had acquired a knowledge of the various branches of Brahmanical learning. His versatile genius, his acquaintance with court etiquette, his shrewdness, his modesty, not without a due sense of self-respect, and his poetic talent are very well reflected in all his works, which are: Malavikagni-mitra, Vikramorvasiya, Abhijñana-Sakuntalam (dramas) and poems like Raghuvamsa, Kumarasambhava and Meghaduta. Both in drama and poetry, Kalidasa stands not only unsurpassed but even unrivalled.