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KĀLIDĀSA - कालिदास

The greatest poet and dramatist in Sanskrit. Some scholars opine that Kālidāsa flourished in the 8th Century B.C. while others place his date upto the period 11th Century A.D. At any rate most of the scholars consider the period between 1st Century B.C. and 5th Century A.D. as the most probable date of the great poet. Some of the main theories in this regard are as follows;--
(1) Eighth century B.C.
Towards the close of Raghuvaṁśa Mahākāvya Kālidāsa has referred to the son of King Agnimitra. Therefore the poet must have lived in the 8th Century B.C. This is the view of the scholar Hippolyte Fanche.
(2) Second Century B.C.
According to Dr. Kuñjan Rājā Kālidāsa lived in the second Century B.C., the reasons for the belief being as follows. The poet was a contemporary of King Agnimitra of the Suṅga dynasty. This Agnimitra is eulogised in Kālidāsa's Mālavikāgnimitra. Agnimitra is referred to in the Bharatavākya (epilogue) of the drama also.
(3) First Century B.C.
The traditional belief is that Kālidāsa was a member in the assembly of poets and scholars of the court of emperor Vikramāditya, who started the Vikrama era in B.C. 56. Dhanvantarikṣapaṇakāmarasiṁha-Śaṅku-- Vetāla-Bhaṭṭa-Ghaṭakarpara-Kālidāsāḥ / Khyato Varāhamihiro nṛpateḥ sabhāyāṁ Ratnāni vai vararucir nava vikramasya.
4) Fifth Century A.D.
According to Dr. Keith, Kālidāsa lived in the fifth Century A.D. One Candra- gupta II, who defeated the Śakas in 339 A.D. was King of Ujjain. He was known as Vikramāditya also. Dr.Keith thinks that the great poet might have been a member of this King's court. Perhaps Kālidāsa had remembered his royal patron Vikramāditya in his drama called Vikramorvaśīya. Dr. Keith is further of the view that Kālidāsa composed Kumārasambhava after attending the birth celebrations of Kumāragupta, son of King Vikramāditya.
(5) Sixth Century A.D.
Three scholars, Fergusson, Max Muller and Kern have opined that Kālidāsa lived in the sixth Century A.D. Whichever be the date of Kālidāsa it could be known from his works that he spent the major part of his life in Ujjain, and was inextricably indebted to the city in many ways. Raghuvaṁśa and Kumārasambhava are his two mahākāvyas. He had also written three dramas, Abhijñānaśākuntala, Vikramorvaśīya and Mālavikāgnimitra and a lyric called Ṛtusaṁhāra. He wrote also a world-famous poem called Meghasandeśa.

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