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Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Shiva Parvathi - Raghu Vamsa invocation

A nice vigraha of Shiva Parvathi as seen by Nandi deva !  - imagine where ? – and even those of us who do not know Sanskrit know the opening verse of Raghu Vamsam. 


Raghuvaśa (रघुवंशम्, lit. 'lineage of Raghu') is a Sanskrit epic poem (mahakavya) by the celebrated Sanskrit poet Kalidasa. It narrates, in 19 sargas (cantos), the stories related to the Raghu dynasty, namely the family of Dilipa and his descendants up to Agnivarna, who include Raghu, Dasharatha and Rama. The earliest surviving commentary written on the work is that of the 10th-century Kashmiri scholar Vallabhadeva.  The most popular and widely available commentary, however, is the Sanjivani, written by Mallinatha (ca.1350-1450). 

The poem opens with the customary salutation to Shiva-Parvati, the favourite divinity of Kaldasa.  After the briefest allusion to the origin of the Solar race the poet gives us an account of Dilipa the great-great-grand father of Rama. The description of his virtues and moral rectitude indicate to us Kalidasa's ideal of an aristocrat. The nucleus of the story of the first canto is the childless condition of the king.  Upon the advice of Vasishta, keeping his  faithful ministers in charge of the kingdom he journeys with his queen,  Sudakshina, to the hermitage. The description of the route, the trees on the road-side, the joltings of the rath - are highly graphical and can only be appreciated by those who have had occasions to travel in this primitive manner  Vasishta  directs them to propitiate the celestial cow Nandinf who alone, he says, has the power to fulfil the yearning desire of  their heart !!! 

The opening sloka  of Kalidasa is invocation  to deities Lord Shiva and Parvathi, seeking their blessings for proficieny in literature as he begins the epic Raghuvamsa. i.e. For the correct grasping of words and their sense I bow to Parvati and Parameshwara who are the parents of the universe and are inseperable like words and their meaning.

वागर्थाविव सम्पृक्तौ वागर्थप्रतिपत्तये ।

जगतः पितरौ वन्दे पार्वतीपरमेश्वरौ ॥

There is another meaning too, if one can split the words Parvathi Parameswarau to Partheepa Rameswara !! -    Kalidasa is praying to Lord Shiva [(Parvathi Pathi) and (Ramya Easwara – Rameshwara – Sriman Narayana)] and Lord Vishnu who are ‘Pitharau’ (fathers) to this Jagath who are inseparable like the word and the meaning.


Flirting a bit away,  Sagara Sanghamam (Salangai Oli) directed by K Vishwanath was a big musical hit – of Illayaraja and one of the songs starts with this sloka.  You may wish to hear the song again here :


The one  at the start and the other two were pictured at Hotel Rayas Grand,  Kumbakonam  recently.

With regards – S.Sampathkumar

1 comment:

  1. 🙏🙏 A divine post ! I have no way of understanding a Sanskrit verse leave alone the way to read a phrase in two ways! A great revelation! 🙏
    Adiyen, dhaasan!