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Viṣṇu, Śiva, and Kālidāsa: References to the divinities in the Meghadūta


Feller, Danielle (2012). Viṣṇu, Śiva, and Kālidāsa: References to the divinities in the Meghadūta. Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques, 66(2):307-325.

Abstract

In Kālidāsa’s famous lyrical poem, the Meghadūta, the most frequently mentioned divinities are Śiva and Viṣṇu, along with their avatāras, family members and attendants. The two gods appear in the context of geographical or mythological references, and in comparisons. Even though they are cited practically an equal number of times, their functions in the poem are in quite a contrast: Viṣṇu is connected to the past, to the rasa of love in separation (especially in the form of Rāma) and never appears as a contextual character in the narrative. Śiva, on the contrary, is about to be met in person by the cloud, he appears as a present, even ubiquitous deity, and, in the company of his wife, is connected to the rasa of love in union. Furthermore, Śiva (unlike Viṣṇu) also appears in devotional contexts, the cloud being requested by the exiled yakṣa to worship the god and his family in various shrines on its way to the Himālaya. This last point seems to confirm the usual contention that Kālidāsa was a Śivaite.

In Kālidāsa’s famous lyrical poem, the Meghadūta, the most frequently mentioned divinities are Śiva and Viṣṇu, along with their avatāras, family members and attendants. The two gods appear in the context of geographical or mythological references, and in comparisons. Even though they are cited practically an equal number of times, their functions in the poem are in quite a contrast: Viṣṇu is connected to the past, to the rasa of love in separation (especially in the form of Rāma) and never appears as a contextual character in the narrative. Śiva, on the contrary, is about to be met in person by the cloud, he appears as a present, even ubiquitous deity, and, in the company of his wife, is connected to the rasa of love in union. Furthermore, Śiva (unlike Viṣṇu) also appears in devotional contexts, the cloud being requested by the exiled yakṣa to worship the god and his family in various shrines on its way to the Himālaya. This last point seems to confirm the usual contention that Kālidāsa was a Śivaite.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:Journals > Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques > Archive > 66 (2012) > 2
Dewey Decimal Classification:950 History of Asia
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:27 Aug 2012 08:10
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:56
Publisher:Schweizerische Asiengesellschaft / Verlag Peter Lang
ISSN:0004-4717
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-64418

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