Showing posts with label Kalidasa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kalidasa. Show all posts

Dating Vatsyayana's Kamasutra

Vatsyayana Kamasutra played a significant role in the history of Indian Literature, particularly Sanskrit Kavya literature in which Shringara rasa(Erotic sentiment) was one of the main rasas to be evoked by the poet. The tradition in erotics grew in association with esoteric religious practices in later Vedic period, but acquired an independent status by the the time of Babhravya of the panchala region, a pre vatsyayana authority on the subject, who traces his work to nandikeshava and Uddalaka shvetaketu. Similar to Babhravya , we have charayana, suvarnanabha, Ghotakamukha, Gonardiya, Gonikaputra,Dattaka and Kuchumara specialized in seven section namely sadharana, Samprayogika, kanyasamprayuktaka, bharyadhikarika, paradarika,vaishika and aupanishadika. Vatsyayana while condensing the individual contributions of Dattaka and others, retained the general scheme of Babhraya in his comprehensive work called kamasutra. Vatsyayana kamasutra became the standard and definitive work on the subject for years to come. It has eclipsed the previous writings on the subject and became the basis of later Kamashastras of 10th century AD.Learning of Kamasutra was mandatory in ancient and medieval India along with Dharmasastra and arthasastra. A Good poet were required to be proficient in knowledge of erotics as well as poetics, logic, grammer and other technical sciences. The work is Sanskrit Sutra Style.

Dated between 4th century BC to 4th century AD.
Vatsyayana mentions Grhya and Dharma Sutras , the Arthasastra of Kautilya and the Mahabhashya of Patanjali. Arthasastra is similar to Kamasutra and both cannot be separated by more than a century or so.They quote the same rare authorities like Charayana and Ghata(ka) mukha. Shamasastri quotes common passages in Arthasastra and Kamasastra. Kalidasa quotes Arthasastra in Sakuntala. Shamasastry also says that Kautilya did not know Panini. Varahamitra Brihatsanhita quotes Vatsyayana ,so the lowest limit can be 6th century AD. Shama Shastri says that Vatsyayana flourished between 137 AD to 209 AD, while Bhandarkar places him around 100 AD, and Keith before 4th century AD. A.K. Warder suggests that Kamasutra was probably produced in 3rd century AD. Doniger and Kakar (2003) almost agree with Warder by assuming that kamasutra must have been composed after 225 AD. Vatsyayana has referred king Satakarni by name. According to Puranas Kuntala Satakarni was 13th Andhra king in Satavahana dynasty. He was son of Mrgendra Svatikarna and he ruled in Kali era 2487-2481 (615-607 BC). The Satavahanas flourished till second century BC. So what is the date let us find out.

Two Vatsyayanas
One Vatsyayana also called Mallanaga, earlier than kalidasa wrote Kamasutra and belonging to Avanti to Banavasi. THe other Vatsyayana wrote Nyaya-Bhaya, a well known exposition on Nyayasutra. The latter is supposed by some scholars to have flourished about fourth century AD in Bihar, but not much is known. The Style of NYaya Bhasya resembles the Mahabhasya and is also comparable to Vartikas in the Astadhyayi. Subandhu, in his well-known prose-romance Vasavadatta refers to Mallanaga as the author of Kamasutra. Yasodhara, the author of Jayamangala, the most authentic commentary available in Sanskrit on this work, also says at the very outset of his commentary that the real name of the author of Kamasutra is Mallanaga, and , he again says that Vatsyayana is just the family name of the author of this text and the name given to him through Samskara (ritual for naming) is Mallanaga.

His name is sometimes confused with Mallanaga, the prophet of the Asuras, to whom the origin of erotic science is attributed. This is an error; as Danielou says -The attribution of the first name Mallanaga to Vatsyayana is due to the confusion of his role as editor of the Kama Sutra with that of the mythical creator of erotic science

Literary works

Babhravya of Panchala region
Babhravya of panchala region is pre vatsyayana authority who traces his works to uddalaka shvetaketu and Nandikeshavara. M M shastri identifies Savataketu Aryneya the highly cultured Philosopher of Upanishads. The Rig veda shows well organised family life with institution of Marriage fully developed in India, therefore the age of the institution of marriage developed should have preceded Rig veda by a very long period, since Rig veda does not discuss any development of the Institution. So the age of Svetaketu Aruneya - an age of of intense metaphysical speculation when the Upanishad literature grew, could certainly not be identical with it.

Vatsyayana quotes Auddalaki three places. One belongs to Samprayoga, another Paradarika and third Vaisika, the third is the longest quotation. Vatsyayana says Rig veda was called Dasatayi and he does not mention Auddalaki at all. Madhavavarman - II, a king of Ganga dynasty wrote a Vrtti on Datakasutras. He was the fifth ancestor of king Durvinita and lived around 380 AD. A fragment of his Vrtti has survived. So Auddalakai is prior to atleast 380AD. Besides these authors, Vatsyayana refers to the views of Babhravya, Ghotakamukha, Gonardiya, Gonikaputra, Carayana, refers to the views of Bharavya, Ghotakamukha, Gonardiya, Gonikaputra, Carayana, Ouddalaki and Suvarnanabha(All before 2nd century BC) very often in his text. He also cites the school of Babharavya or the followers of Babhravya. It seems that the texts of these Acaryas were available to Vatsyayana. But as time passed, these texts by his predecessors were made obsolete by his own work – Kamasutra.

The work follows in the footsteps of Kautilya, the author of Arthasastra, It has seven Adhikaranas or books, 36 chapters, and 64 Prakaranas or topics. Its extent in slokas is a thousand and a quarter. But unlike Kautilya, it gives the tradition of the Sastra first, and then gives its contents. Kautilya does not give the tradition at all. They are to be inferred from his quotations.  Hemacandra's Abhidhanacintamani and Yadavaprakasa's Vaijayanti say that Vatsyayana, Mallanaga, Kautilya, Paksilasvami etc. are the names of one and the same person. Another name associated with the authorship of kamasutra is that of Kamandaka, the famous author of a work Kamandakiya on ethics. We can conclude that both these works stand close to each other in respect of their period of composition. M. Krishnamachariar therefore places Vatsyayana the author of Kamasutra in 4th or 3rd century BC.

Kamasutra Tradition
The tradition of the kamasutra is exceedingly interesting. It says that Prajapati after the creation, delivered a work in one hundred thousand chapters on the three aims of human life. These three aims are : — Dharma, Artha and Kama (Law, Economics and Erotics ) Manu separated the portion assigned to Law and Vrhaspati that to Economics ,Nandi the follower of Mahadeva separated Erotics in one thousand chapters. Auddalaki Svetaketu abridged Erotics in live hundred chapters. Babhravya abridged Svetaketu's work in one hundred and fifty chapters divided into seven Adhikaranas or books, namely, :- (i) Sadharana (preliminary), (ii) Samprayogika (union), (iii) Kanyasamprayuktaka (induc- ing of girls), (iv) Bharyyadhikaranika (section about a wife) (v) Paradarika (adultery) (vi) Vaisika (about public women) (vii) Aupaniadika (secrets).

Gonardiya and Gonikaputra have been referred in the Mahabhasya of Patanjali. Kancinatha, a later author on Kamasastra also quotes from Gonikaputra, so that the work of Gonikaputra might have existed during his times. Jyotirisa, another author in Karnasastra also knew of Gonikaputra.Natyasastra prof. Batuknath Bhattacharya says it is hard to believe that kamasutra was later than Natyasastra. He says considering the style in which it is composed- distinctly Aphoristic in nature and reminiscent of Sutra period(600-200BC). Vatsyayana divides men into sasa , vrsa , Asva and woman into Mrgi,Badava, Hastini from their different capacities of Samproyoga. While Bhrarta in Natyasastra divides women into 24 varieties based on Aestheic, intellectual and Moral Standards. Kamasutra does not mention Natyasastra.

On the request of Pataliputra courtesans, Acharya Dattaka wrote work on Courtesans is used by Vatsyayana for kamasutra. Now Dattaka work is not avaialable in complete gives the vivid details of Pataliputra courtesans. The way Dattaka is mentioned in Kamasutra, it can be safely assumed that Dattaka preceded Vatsyayana by a couple of centuries. But Bana of Harshacharita quotes Dattaka, so the book was still in existence during Bana Period.

The story of dattaka is very interesting. A Brahmin from Mathiira migrated to Pataliputra. A son was born to him at his old age. The mother died at child bed, and the father gave the child to a Brahmani, who named him Dattaka (because he was given to her). The boy grew up, acquired a knowledge of all the Sastras and all the fine arts. On account of his great skill in the exposition of the Sastras, he became famous as Dattakacaryya. Attaining maturity, he was anxious to learn the ways of the world, which, he thought, could be best learnt from public-women. So he went to their quarters every day and learned their ways. So thoroughly did he learn, that at last they used to come to him for advice in matters erotic. Then Virasena and other noted courtesans of Pataliputra requested him to write a treatise on the art of winning lovers.
Father of Dattaka came from Mathnra to Pataliputra and the Brahmana who came there seem to have been attracted by the fact that it was the capital of a big monarchy. Now why are we going so much into Dattaka, because it is during his time the pataliputra was capital, so who was the king at that time.According to Puranas Pataliputra became capital during Guptas.

Vatsyana date may be uncertain ,but it is earlier than Kalidasa. But kalidasa does not talk about vatsyayana, but we have very similar techniques in kalidasa works, this may be from a common source. Kalidasa reveals the knowledge of erotics in the description of Yaksha's wife's svapnasamgama(Union in Dream), in which he specifies the exact period of kamasastra and many other instances as well.


Avagosha the buddist poet makes daring ride into Amorous depictions. The Avagosha seems to well versed with topics in Kamasastra and in Buddhacarita he describes the courtesans of Nanda king and also love-dalliance with his wife Sundari before his conversion to Buddhism.

Historical People and Places.

Vatsyayana mentions Abhiras and Andhras ruling side by side. He Speaks of Abhira Kottaraja Jayatsena, king of kotta in Gujarat, who was killed by Washerman employed by his brother. Then Again in the chapter on conduct of Woman confined to Harems, he describes the sexual abuses practiced in the seraglio of the Abhira kings among others.

King Isvarasena, son of Abhira sivadatta is mentioned as the ruling soverign in on one of the inscriptions. Now we have to get the date for inscriptions. Isvaradatta coins have been found in Malwa, Gujarat and Kathiwad(Saurastra). So there are no kshatrapas during this period. In the Inscription Abhira king names Madhariputra Isvarasena found at Nashik, Madhariputra Isvarasena is described as the son of sivadatta. It records the gift of sakani visnudatta, daughter of saka Agnivarman, wife of the Ganapaka Rebhila and mother Ganapaka visvavarman, of three investments of 2000,1000 and 500 Karspanas in the trade guilds of Govardhana for the purpose of providing medicines for the sick buddhist monks living at the monestery on mount Trirasmi. Following things can be deduced from the inscription

1. Sivadatta is not given any royal Honorific, so Isvarasena is first king of his line.
2. Satavahana mode of dating
3. Satavahanas are living in western maharastra and Guajarat possibly in the service of the Abhira lord.

Gunda inscription, shows the Abhira general Rudrabhuti referring to Rudrasimha as Ksatrapa, ignoring the existence of any Mahasatrapa altogether. This shows that though not assuming any higher title, the Abhira general was the de facto ruler in the state. Gerneral Rudrabhuti is described as the son of general Bapaka.
We have Inscription of Abhira Vasusena of the year 30 at NagarjunaKonda. We dont have any knowledge of Abhira ruling Guntur region, but the Inscripion is not about Pilgirmage. Kadamba King Mayurasarma (340-360AD) refers to a fight with Abhiras and Trikutakas (We dont know if Trikutakas are subordinates or overlords of Abhiras). But we don't have any evidence in inscriptions or Puranas of Abhiras and Andhras ruling side by side. In the Chapter Isvarakamita or the The Lust of the Rulers. Abhiras had been found from Mahabharata days. Abhiras had been found along with Alexander. Abhiras has been mentioned by Ptolemy. So dating Vatsyayana using Abhiras is not possible. And we have to find a period when Sakas were not there. Only Satavahanas and Abhiras were there. And Malwa is different from Abhira. So we can't date Vatsyayana to Gunda Inscription 180AD, when Abhira rule was in Malwa.

Saka, Bhoja, Gupta

Vatsyayana refers to Abhiras and Andhras lived side by side. And no mention of Sakas Vatsyayana refers to the scandal by Dandakya , the Bhoja who must have lived many centuries prior to him.  Guptas are not mentioned in Kamasutra. We have seen Bhoja's and Mahabhoja are just the titles of kings like Raja and Maharaja. Guptas are not mentinoed but the capital is mentioned as Pataliputra.

Vatsyayana mentions southern countries to be south of Karnata visaya and Vanavaso visya was east of Gokarna and Vaijayanti(Modern Banavasi) is place of his composition.

R. G . Bhandarkar points out that Kuntala Satkarni. According to Puranic list of Andhra's, Kuntala Svati or Svatikarna is the thirteenth in the descent from Simuka founder of the family. Vatsyayana has to be nearer to Kuntala satkarni because the sex scandal seems to be very fresh in presenatioan. K P Jayaswal points out Sri Malla Satakarni, the third monarch from the list with Hathigumpha inscription of Khravela. The difference between Kuntala and Malla is 168 Years from puranas. Again from Puranas Gautamiputra Satakarni is separated from him by 133years.

Vatsyayana mentions how Satakarni of Kuntala killed his queen Malayaevati with an instrument called kartari by striking her in the passion of love and vatsyayana quotes this case to warn people of the danger arising from some old customs of striking women when under influence of passion.. Vatsyayana mentions kuntala as tht country with Vaijayanti(Banavasi) as the capital. According to Puranas Kuntala Satakarni was 13th Andhra king. He was son of Mrgendra Svatikarna and he ruled in Kali era 2487-2481 (615-607 BC). The Satavahanas flourished till 3rd century BC.

Countries Mentioned
The tribes and tribal countries mentioned by him are Andhras, Vatsagulmakas, Vaidarbhas, Apaiantakas, Saurastrikas, Abhirakas, Strairajyakas, Gaudas, Saindhavas, Haimavatas, Pracyas, Vangas, Angas, Kalingas, Xagarakas, Madhyadesa- kas Valhikas, Avantikas, Malavas, Abhiras, the land en- closed by six rivers (with the Sindhu as the sixth). Lata, Kosala, Saketa, Ahicchatra, Saurasena Mahaiastra, Dravida, Vaaavasika and Cola. The commentator gives some accurate directions for finding out these countries or the habitations of these tribes. Vatsyayana describes various forms of sexual abuse practised by the kings. The Kings are Aparantakas, Vaidarbhas, Saurashtrakas, Vatsagulmakas and Andhras. The Andhras mentioned here is not the Imperial Andhras ,but Andhrabhrtyas or servants of Andhra dynasty. Among them Vastsyayana mentions Abhiras, Gardabinas,sakas.

Literary works
Prof Bhattacharya remarks that all the predecessors like Bhabharvya are before 4th century BC, while vatsyayana is pushed back to 3rd or 4th century AD. As Prof Bhattacharya says all the works that Vatsyayana quotes are in 4th century to 3rd Century BC. Vatsyayana does not quote Natyasastra. Varahamihira mentions Kamasutra, Virahamihira dated around 6th century AD.

Saka's are mentioned in Kamasutra, the period of sakas we know is between 6nd century BC(Darius) to 1st century AD(Saka Era). So Kamasutra can be any period between these dates, as it does not mention any Huns.

Andhra and Andhrabritya
The Only known king mentioned is Satakarni.. Shatakarni as such seems to be important position like commander of battalion in Andhra dyansty hierarchy. Now who is is this satakarni. Let us go to the basic identities. According to Puranas there are Andhra's and Andhrabritya's. However for Indology both are same. The puranas mention Andhras ruled Magadha before Guptas and dating is before 300BC. After start of Gupta rule, they Andhras lost power but Andhrabritya's (Servants of Andhra's) that is commanders, feudatories and Generals continue to rule as separate entities. Andhrabritya's are Ikshvakus, Abhiras, Chutu Nagas etc. While Andhras ruled from Magadha with Girivraja (Rajgir) as the capital. Andhrabritya's were confined to south of Vindhyas and Malwa. Without going any further let us treat Andhrabritya as different from Andhras. Now we have Satakarni, one of the Andhrabritya ruling in kuntala region. Also we have a Satakarni mentioned in Hathimgumpha inscription by Kharvela. Remember Kharvela when invading Magadha ransacks Capital Rajgir, not Pataliputra. So during Andhra shatakarni time the Magadha capital was still Rajgir.

One line of Andhrabritya Chutu Nagas have marital relation with Andhras. So we can see Andhra names in this Naga line as well. Megasthanes discusses about Andhras in south. So by time of Megasthanes the Andhra dynasty in Magadha is finished and already Andhrabritya's are ruling. As per Puranas Chutu Nagas are ruling in most parts of central and southern India. But shatakarni was ruling from kuntala. So we defintely speaking about one from kuntala or karnataka region. This Shatakarni is not before 300BC, but later. The Ashoka rock edict mention about satyaputo. We have already seen in Satavahana article, shatakarni means son of Sata, Satyaputo also means the same. Since both are same, we can come to a conclusion that Satyoputo in Edict means Andhrabritya. The chutus Nagas, who had marital relations with Andhras can be called satyoputo's. We know Saka rule ended in 78AD Saka era. So From these accounts we can say that Shatakarni of kamasutra can have ruled between 4th century BC to 1st century AD.

Kamasutra as inferred from literary sources to be after 3rd century BC as it quotes Arthasastra. Kamasutra is slightly ahead in literary style  than Kalidasa. We have already put kalidasa to be around 50BC. Now the Saka's are ruling upto 1st century AD. Our identification of Shatakarni or Abhira has hit a dead end. The Pataliputra became capital during Guptas. Now Guptas are dated to 4th and 5th century AD. So we have to date Dattaka to be that period. Then when do you date Kamasutra. This is now Indology dates ties us up in knots. We can very clearly see Guptas to be dated to 4th and 3rd century BC. So the dating of Vatsyayana Kamasutra will be century later that Dattaka (3rd Century BC) and Century Earlier than Kalidasa(1st century BC), that is 2nd century BC.

Social life in ancient India: studies in Vatsyayana's Kama Sutra By Haran Chandra Chakladar
The Positive Background of Hindu Sociology : 'Introduction to Hindu Positivism By Benoy Kumar Sarkar
Some early dynasties of South India  By S. Chattopadhyaya
Foreign influence on ancient India  By Krishna Chandra Sagar
The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland  1911
Kamasutra Of Vatsyayana by Radhavallabh Tripathi
The Encyclopaedia Of Indian Literature  By Amaresh Datta

Related Links
Date of Kalidasa
Origin of Satavahana
Did Megasthanes Meet Chandragupta

Date of Kalidasa - Gupta Myth

Kalidasa most renowned classical Sanskrit scholar is widely regarded as the greatest poet and dramatist in the classical history. His period has not been dated to precise. Most likely falls in Gupta period in 5th century AD. This is a wikipedia introduction, you will mostly come across the same in many places as well. There is very little is known about kalidasa apart from his literature. But let us not go into other questions. Stay to main question: Date of Kalidasa.  Let us see what the scholars say.

Kalidasa Works
Four poetic works, Raghuvamsa, Kumarasambhava, Meghaduta, and Ritusamhara, and three dramas, Vikramorvasiya, Malavikagnimitra, and Abhijnanasakuntala are attibuted to him, in addition to these, Indian tradition attributes to him several other works(around 30) in diverse disciplines, ranging from poetics and astrology to mathematics and astronomy. It goes without saying that he had more than a little mastery of all these disciplines.

Kalidasa was clearly closely associated with, or lived in Ujjain, the capital of Vikramarka; his love for this city and the Malwa country is particularly apparent in the Meghaduta, from the way he holds forth lovingly on this city in the poem. The Yaksha's request to the cloud messenger to make a detour to visit Ujjain, the description of the dance of the devadasis in the Mahakaleswara Temple, and the incomparable descriptions of the city and of the river Sipra leave no one in doubt of this.

Kalidasa Life
Almost nothing definite is known about Kalidasa's life, although legends abound. What one can definitely infer from his works is that he was a Brahman, a devotee of Siva but no fanatic of any Hindu sect, was widely travelled and very well versed in the arts, sciences and philosophy of his day. He lived in a city in affluent circumstances, and was well acquainted with royal courts and court politics, almost certainly because he was patronised by a powerful king.

BanaBhatta of Harsha Charita
Banabhatta, court poet of Harsavardhana (AD 606-647) in Harsacaritaoffers prefatory salutations to Kalidasa.

Aihole Inscription of Chalukya pulikesin II(634AD)
Talks about poet Ravikirti who was in the court of Chalukya Satyasraya(pulikesi II )whose poetic skills have attained the fame of Kalidasa(Sanskrit) and Bharavi(Kannada)(520AD). This inscription does not give any date of Kalidasa. But the inscription shows the kalidasa fame has reached the courts of karnataka kings and held in high esteem.

Yasodharman who is believed to have assumed the title Sakari Vikramaditya after routing the Huns (Toramana at Malva in 528 AD). Kashmir Kalhana says that Kalidasa was the court poet of Vikramaditya.

Mandasor Inscription (473AD)
Mandasor inscription 5 dated to 473 AD which names Kumaragupta, has verses borrowed from Kalidasa and imitating his style by the poet Vatsabhatti.

Hero of Kumarasambhavam  Kumaragupta son of Chandragupta-II  (Vikramaditya) is the places him in 5th century AD.

According to Kshemendra in Auchityavicharacharcha says, An envoy sent as to kuntala king capital and he was not properly received and was made to stand. King Boja of Dhara(11century AD) in Sringaraprakasa says  kalidasa was sent as envoy from court of Vikramaditya to Kuntaleshwara. There is a conflicting  reports on who is the kuntaleshwara  the envoy met . Kadamba king Kakusthavarman says Guptas sent the envoy at the time of Kadamba Bhagiratha.  Some scholars say the envoy visited Vatakata court. But Vatakata's never called themselves kuntaleshwara's , eventhough they raided kuntala few times, they never ruled kuntala. There is scribe called kalidasa in one of vatakata inscriptions, but it is not kalidasa. Some point to another royal clan in the infancy, Rastrakutas of manapura also had conflict with Vatakatas. Mananka , founder of Rastrakuta dynasty called himself Lord of Kuntala. There is one more dynasty Chutus satakarnis apart from Satavahans who called themselves kuntaleshwaras. But as far as envoy there is only one claim kadambas, so the Gupta envoy should have visited kadamba kingdom.

Astronomical Data
There are two schools of thought on the astronomical evidence.
Sengupta's discussion on astronomical evidence places Kalida sa at the middle of the 6th  century AD, between AD 525-575 during the rein of Budhagupta.
Dasgupta has quoted Jacobi's demonstration of astronomical evidence vis-à-vis influence of Greek astronomy of the period around 350 AD.

Some Say that the work Meghasandesa is the communication that Kalidasa addressed to Prabhavati, sister of Chandragupta-II when the great poet was banished to Ramagiri by the Emperor. Prabhavati Gupta, widow of Rudrasena-II who died in 390 AD and mother of Pravarasena-II who is believed to be have authored Setubandhanam and Saundaryalahari.  Popular legends say that Malavikagnimitram was written for staging on the occasion of the marrigae of Prabhavati Gupt a at Ujjayini. The Drama was staged at the wedding.

Chandragupta II
This date is propounded by Dr. A.B. Keith. According to him, Kālidāsa flourished during the reign of king Candragupta 2nd (380-413) who made Ujjainī second capital, who crushed Hūnas and as a result, assumed the title ‘Vikramāditya'. The poet expresses in his works his deep sense of gratitude for his Gupta patrons. Smith and MacDonnell support Dr. Keith. On the basis of astronomical calculations Jacobi places Kālidāsa after 3rd century A.D. Dr. Bűhler is of opinion that he should placed before 472 A.D. Sircar admits that the earliest historical Vikramāditya is Candragupta 2nd of imperil Gupta dynasty who defeated Śakas, conquered western India and made Ujjainī, as the capital of his empire. This theory founded by Dr. Keith has received support from Winternitz, Konow, Liebich, Bloch and many other scholars

Gathasapthasati mentions Kalidasa to be court poet of Vikramaditya.  Hala's Sapthasati gives glowing accounts of Vikramaditya.

Aśvaghosa, the Buddhist poet, has prepared the ground for Kālidāsa by his compositions in the field of poetry and drama. Kālidāsa took clue from this great poet and presented his own poetry and drama in polished and refined manner. The date of Aśvaghosa is definite. He enjoyed the patronage of Kusāna king Kaniska who ruled in 1st century AD.

Vikaramaditya(1st century BC)
Most of the scholars including Baladev Upaddhyaya, William Jones, Peterson, M.R. Kale, and R.N. Apte  say that kalidasa lived during King Vikramaditya of Ujjain who ruled in 1st century BC. After whom the Vikram era is known.  After he defeated  sakas. Kalidasa has consistently called Pururavas "Vikrama" in the drama Vikramorvasiya. It is generally conjuctured that Kalidasa did this to honour his patron. He included the name in the title of the drama itself to ensure propagation of his patron's name. In addition, the name Mahendra is mentioned together with Vikrama several times in the Vikramorvasiya; we know from the Kathasaritsagara that Vikramaditya's father was known by this name. Since Vikramaditya father was Mahendraditya. It suits fine.

Kalidasa mentions three historical persons, Pushyamitra(conducts horse sacrifice to pronounce supreme soverignity) his son Agnimitra (governor of vidisa and hero of the story Malavikagnimitra and vidarba princess who disguises as maid) and lastly his grandson vasumitra   the brave guardian of horse, who returns triumphantly defeating the yavanas. These are historical incidents. According to Dr. C. Kunhan Raja, on the basis of Bharatvākya of the ‘Malvikagnimitra' Kālidāsa' was the contemporary of king Agnimitra of Sunga dynasty and flourished in the 2nd century B.C. Kalidasa talks about the vasumitra grandson of pushyamitra who defeated Yavanas. This is the upper limit of the kalidasa date. Kalidasa gives lot of intimate details of pushyamitra  and sungas ,which only the closest can give.

Raghu Dynasty.
800 B.C.- Mr. Hippolyte Fauche places Kālidāsa in the 8th century B.C., on assumption that he was contemporary of Agnivarna, the last king of Raghu dynasty. Hippolyte thought Ramayana to be this date.

Having seen the scholars opinions ,Let us bring in more material to discuss.

Basic of discussion
  1. All the sources say Kalidasa was in the Royal court of King Vikramaditya
  2. Kalidas widely travelled was based out of Ujjain in malwa. He Praises  vidisha capital of 3.sungas. Kalidasa speaks of defeat of Yavanas by Pushyamitra grandson vasumitra.
  3. kalidasa knew Huns.
  4. Historical person mentioned by Kalidasa was Agnimitra of Sunga Dynasty who ruled in 2nd century BC.
  5. Guptas employed  his literary works in Inscriptions and functions.
  6. There is a close resemblances between the works of kalidasa and Avagosha's Buddha charita
  7. kumargupta is called Mahendra and father of Vikramaditya is also called Mahendra.
  8. Vikrama - Many of the Guptas have titles vikrama Chandragupta, samudragupta etc.

Raghu Victory of Hunas
The cheeks of huNa women glowed with embarrassment by the action of raghu in waging war with their husbands and that flush itself appeared as an index to raghu's valour. Now the context has to be known, he is talking about Raghu(Legendary father of Ram) and also mentions Raghu Conqured Parasikas, Kambojas,Yavanas.  Reached Oxus river. Did chandragupta II defeated these kings. Huns are there , but Parasikas, Kambojas or yavanas.

now the principal difficulty in the identification of this river has arisen by the fact that Mallinatha, the most brilliant commentator on the works of Kalidasa has chosen to read Sindhu for Vanksu. But in view of some very important reasons, given below, Mallinatha's reading is evidently erroneous. It is to be borne in mind that six manuscripts of the mallinatha, out of nine, with their commentaries read vankS (four of these) or vanksu (two). There hardly seems an occasion for Mallinatha to adopt the reading Sindhu. This reading has landed him in obvious difficulties which he has sought to explain away. The unsuitability of his reading is so patent in his own explanation that, thinking that his readers would easily confuse Sindhu with the great river Indus.

Huns Locations
The history of the Huna expansion in Central Asia is very interesting.  During the reign of Pou-non-tanjou (A. D. 46) the Huna country and their  empire suffered from severe famine. While they were yet in difficulties the  Eastern Tartars and the Chinese drove them out of their land and pushed them to  west and south. In the middle of 5th century AD, Huns formed a powerful army and starts invading far of lands. The defeated the persian empire in 225AD. The First invasion of India took place during Skandagupta time, they were soundly defeated. The second invasion during Yasovarman. So until 46AD, Huns were in Oxus basin.

Kalidasa was in the royal court of vikramaditya , that  is confirmed by everybody. The  vikramorvisya mentions Vikramaditya to be son of Mahendraditya. There are two sets Mahendraditya - vikramaditya(2-1century BC) and Gupta dynasty Kumaragupta Mahendraditya - Skandagupta Vikramaditya. So who is the vikramaditya we are speaking.

Vikramaditya the Legend.
The tales of the vampire (Vetala) tell twenty-five stories in which the king tries to capture and hold on to a vampire that tells a puzzling tale and ends it with a question for the king. In fact, earlier the king was approached by a Sadhu to bring the vampire to him but without uttering a word, otherwise the vampire would fly back to its place. The king can be quiet only if he does not know the answer, else his head would burst open. Unfortunately, the king discovers that he knows the answer to every question; therefore the cycle of catching the vampire and letting it escape continues for twenty-four times till the last question puzzles Vikramaditya. A version of these tales can be found embedded in the Katha-Saritsagara.

Bhoja and Vikramaditya
The tales of the throne are linked to the throne of Vikramaditya that is lost and recovered by king Bhoja, the Paramara king of Dhar, after many centuries. The latter king is himself famous and this set of tales are about his attempts to sit on the throne. This throne is adorned by 32 female statues who, being able to speak, challenge him to ascend the throne only if he is as magnanimous as Vikramaditya is depicted in the tale she is about to narrate. This leads to 32 attempts (and 32 tales) of Vikramaditya and in each case Bhoja acknowledges his inferiority. Finally, the statues let him ascend the throne when they are pleased with his humility. This is story created in 11th century AD by Bhoja paramara king after he declared indepndence from chalukyas.

Vikramaditya of Ujjain
Kalakacharyakathanaka a jain works says that at the instance of Kalaka ( jain teacher whose sister was abducted by Garadabilla, king of ujjain), the shakas invaded ujjain and took Garadabilla prisoner. They ruled for sometime and was overthrown by vikramaditya , king of malwa. vikramaditya started his own era. Brihatkatha of Gunadaya and kathasaritsagara endorse this event. And Gathasaptasati of Hala Satavahana also describes the event. The works say vikramaditya also called vikramasila son of mahendraditya was the founder of vikrama samvat. According to Bhavishya Purana. Vikram era started in 57 BC by Vikramaditya the Great as a commemoration of his victory upon the Shakas. There is plentiful literature on Vikramaditya, and in the Bhavishya Puran itself there are descriptions of Vikramaditya in more than 40 chapters between Pratisarg Parv I and IV. Bhavishya Purana (Pratisarg Parv I, chapter 7) says that, "After the elapse of a full 3,000 years in kali yuga (3102 - 3000 = 102 BC), a dynamic Divine personality was born who was named Vikramaditya.  Bhavishya Puran further says that  the great King Vikramaditya ruled for one hundred years. Then his son Deobhakt ruled for ten years and his grandson Shalivahan, who established Shalivahan Shaka era (in 78 AD), defeated the Shaks and ruled for sixty years."  Alberuni also mentions about Vikram era (57 BC) and also the Shalivahan Shaka era which starts 135 years after the Vikram era.

One poet quoting another

Brihat katha by Gunadaya(1st century AD)

This work is lost but there are several versions available.The story is brihat katha manjari has lot in common with kathasarit sagara  of  kalidasa.

Some of the situations and Ideas are common to both asvagosha and kalidasa plays. But the big argument is waste because we can never say that the one copied from other. The ideas and situations seems to be borrowed from the situations and ideas common at that time frame. But indologist scholars(Kowell and Keith) will say kalidasa copied and Indian scholars say Asvagosha copied. But in concluding verses of  saundarananda . The Humble Asvaghosa says he is not poet of eminence. The Subject of interest for Asvaghosa is religion and philosophy. He is monk first and then a author. He wants to preach the his ideals through a kavya, So he sets himself after famous Kavyas of his time. Hence the resemblences and similarities to kalidasa kavyas. The Master kavya writer is of course kalidasa. That gives atleast a century or more earlier to asvagosha, which puts kalidasa in 1century BC.

Yajnasri Satakarni (2nd century AD
Yajna sri satakarni releases a coins with king on one side and  with crescent on hill, crescent on ujjain symbols, zig zag lines and cirle of dots. The meaning can be found in kalidasa verses in raghu vamsa. The king's fame ascended the mountains(symbolized by the moon on hill), crossed the oceans(figured by the four circles of the ujjain symbol and crescent), penetrated into the subterrannean abode of vasuki(zig zag line) and went up to the most high(as represented by dots representing sttary heaven).

Also kamasutra of Vatsyayana has similar styles to sakuntala.

Bhita Medallion
The terrocota medallion recovered from Allahabad  depicting the scene from sakuntala, has gateways like sanchi  dated to 1st century BC. But scholars say it Buddha in kapilavastu.

Astronomical observances
The astronomical references by ketki  like dakshinayana (summer solistice) cannot be taken to be conclusive as they can go each side 100 to 200 years.
Sengupta observations based on ashada month references cannot be taken as kalidasa mention lunar months ,not solar months. The works clearly show that that Gupta system  is not followed by kalidasa.
The term Jamitra in kumarasambhava has been mischeviously  interpreted as Greek diametron and claimed that kalidasa lived in the ideas of Greek astronomy and also claiming Greek astronomy has become popular in India. In Hindu Astrology Jamitra simply means seventh zodiacal sign from the natal(lagna).
And kalidasa knew lot  about Astronomy ,but he is basically a  poet not astronomer.

yavanas were defeated in persia, which fits the time frame of 1century BC and pallavas are absent in kalidasa account. kalidasa talks about Independent Anga , which is impossible in Gupta age. Kalidasa speaks about ruler in madura again not possible during gupta period.

Pushyamitra capital was Pataliputra, his son agnimitra was governor of vidisha, when pushyamitra was the senatipati and when the capital was shifted to vidisha, it remained the capital until 57BC, Later he shifted to Ujjain.  In Megaduta and Malvakiagnimitra the scenes of the city are vidisha, not pataliputra , not ujjain. Vikramovisaya completed after the victory of vikramaditya over sakas. why he does not tell about pataliputra or Ayodhya Imperial capital of Guptas, because he has come to a independent kingdom in Ujjain.


The Dharma(Law)  followed in Kalidasa works  like  " widow cannot inherit the property"  is of the times of Apastamba and Baudhayana. Brhaspati, vyasa,sankha and likita  belonging to Gupta period rule that the widow has the right to succeed in Husband's property. In Sakuntala there is capital punishment for theft. In the days of Brhaspati, this was relaxed and a heavy fine was introduced. So clearly kalidasa is not of Gupta times.

Several revisions of the Kalidasa works has taken place and many authors have included their current events in their works. For example there is an argument between Dinnaga(6th century AD) and Kalidasa, which looks unlike kalidasa. While Dinnaga was critic of kalidasa , Nicula is friend in megaduta. Since Dinnaga cannot be dated earlier, Kalidasa is brought down. We do not know who is Nicula. Another is refrerence to kalachuri dynasty ( 6th century AD).  For some commentators Dinnaga becomes Nagarjuna
D.C.Sircar draws attention to Tibetan passage in early 18th century AD , which says kalidasa was contemproary of King Bhagabadra of Sunga Dynasty ruling from vidisha,Wima kusala Khadphises  and king savti satavahana of dakshinatya and Aparanta. He Married daughter of Khadphises by name vasanti.

In Tenth Century AD Sanskrit scholar Rajashekara gives three great kalidasa who are renowned authors and masters of aesthetic language. There are many kalidasa's and more than dozen vikramadityas, Western scholars have done what they do best to confuse and combine everybody to one kalidasa and some vikramadityas to one vikramaditya. In effect they have hit two mangoes in one. Denying kalidasa antiquity and also stricking off the glorious vikramaditya(1century BC)  from history to mythical ruler.  For the time being we can go with Puranic account and say Kalidasa lived in the era of Vikramaditya (son of Mahendraditya) around 57BC. Vikramaditya who established vikram era in 57BC.

My Theory
Now the date is settled , All our problems are solved right?
No, we have only one problem. Panini talks about Pushyamitra. Panini cannot be dated later than 4th century BC. How can Panini talk about pushyamitra who is two centuries later. We  have to see pushyamitra dated to Mauryas. But keeping Mauryas in 3rd century BC, Indologists have brought pushyamitra to that date. But Panini is struck at 4 century BC . If Mauryas are dated in 15-14century BC, how come his Senapati dated in 2nd century BC. Indology Scholar Vogel equated Bruhaspatimitra of Magada with Pushyamitra and scholars like K P Jaiswal followed suit. We have one more mythical king pushyamitra.

I feel Gupta Emperors Chandragupta I and Samundragupta are the rulers in 3rd century BC. The Raghu in Raghuvamsa  campaign eeringly follows samudragupta campaign.There are several mitras ruling in many places in North India  as per inscriptions in 2nd century BC.   Kalidasa reads samudragupta campaign into Raghu campaign. And reads Sunga rulers  Pushyamitra, Agnimitra and vasumitra tales in to local mitra tales. And we have a big confusion.  Kalidasa says Agnimitra to be kasyapa lineage and belonging to Baimbika family, According to Panini Sungas belong to Bramhana family of Bharadvaja. The Vikramaditya son of Mahendraditya are the rulers whose time kalidasa lived that is 1 century BC. But with new additional information the things will change

Giravani  by desiraju hanumanta rao
Definitive Astronomical Evidence for the Date of Kalidasa  by K. Chandra Hari
The Role of Kālidāsa in the Development of Indian Literature by Parmeshwar Gangawat
Kalidasa and Ancient India by Chhattisgarh - Ambikapur
Numismatic parallels of kalidasa by sri c.sivaramamurti
Kalidasa: Date, Life And Works by  V.V. MIRASHI N.R NAVALEKAR
The Gupta polity By V. P. Ramachandra Dikshitar, V. R. Ramachandra Dikshitar
Old Buddhist Shrines at Bodh-Gaya Inscriptions By B.M. Barua

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Myths of Rajput Origin
Origin of Satavahans - Andhra Myth
Date of Buddha
Did Megasthanes Meet Chandragupta
Origin of Yavanas - Greek Myth

Where is KalingaNagara

There is a considerable difference of opinion today among the scholars over the identification of Kalinganagara, the reputed capital of Kalingadesa. Almost all the copper-plate grants of the Ganga kings of Kalinga were issued from their capital, Kalinganagara. There is two sites Mukhalingam and Kalingapatna, let us see the arguments

Kalinganagara is to be identified with the present site of Mukhalingam or the joint site of Mukhalingam and Nagarakatakam, situated on the bank of the Vamsadhara and at a distance of about 30 miles from the sea. This identification has been arrived from the evidence of some dedicatory inscriptions found in the temple of God Madhukesvara. The inscriptions differently refer to a 'Nagara' of Kalinga, not Kalinganagara. The passages occurring in the inscriptions are: Kalingavani Nagare, Kalinga-Desa- Nagare, Nagare Madhukesvarayam (the word 'Kalinga' omitted).

The copper-plate inscription of Anantavarman,dated 1040 of an unspecified era, edited by Fleet records the fact that Kamanava II, the nephew of Kamarnava I, had a town named "Nagara," in which he built a lofty temple for an emblem of God Isa in the linga form to which he had given the name of "Madhukesa" because it was produced by a Madhuka tree. The temple still exists at Mukhalingam. The inscription further informs us that Kamarnava I, the alleged founder of the Ganga dynasty, had for his capital the town named Jantavuram. Jantavuram = Jayantapuram = Madhukesvaram = Mukhalingam.
However this is a far fetched theory.

An inscription found in the temple of Mukhalingesvara, which records a grant to the dancers and musicians of the God Madhukesvara issued from Kalinganagara itself by Anantavarman "From Kalinganagara" is to be interpreted as "in Kalinganagara." , "Svasti! Srimat Kalinganagarat! etc." meaning "Hail! From the Victorious Kalinganagara." Thus, when there is a record concerning the dancers and musicians of the temple of Madhukesvara in Kalinganagara, issued from and inscribed in a prominent place in the temple itself, in Kalinganagara, what stronger proof is required to identify Mukhalingam and Nagarakatakam with the ancient Kalinganagara?"
But this is just a guess work.

The famous Hathigumpha Inscription of Kharavela. King Kharavela clearly mentions in his inscription that just afterhis coronation, in the first year of his reign, he repaired his capital Kalinganagara, of which the gates, city-walls and buildings had been destroyed by storm (Vata-vihata- Gopura-pakara-nivesanampati-Samkharayati Kalinga-Nagaram). The storm which felled down the strong royal gate, city-walls (i.e., fort-walls) and buildings, must have been a violent one. This undoubtedly proves the metropolitan city being situated on the sea-side as such furious hurricanes are only commonly experienced in seaporttowns on the east-coast.

Kalidasa in Raghu Vamsa says, Indumati's Svayamvara, Sunanda, her companion, took the royal princes to the king of Kalinga, named Hemangada and described him as the ruler of a kingdom of which the Mahendra Hill and the sea were the two natural boundaries. The place is described as being just on the sea-beach. "......The sea itself, the waves of which are seen from the windows of his palace, and the deep resounding roars of which surpass the sound of the watch-drum being close at hand, awakes him as it were, when slept in his palace-room. Sport, O Princess, with this king on the sea-shore, where the palm-trees grove make a rustling noise. This is a clear proof of the sea- side capital of the king kalinga as kalidasa knew it.

The Dasakumara-Carita, (the Kalinga capital has been mentioned as Kalinganagara. Mention is made of the Kalinga-Raja named Karddana, as amusing himself with his friends and family in a sportive party on the sea-beach.

The reference to Kalinga in the Mahabharata is equally illuminating. Arjuna entering the Kalinga-gate (Kalinga- Rastra-Dvara) came to the sea-side. Thence, returning, he went to the Mahendra Hill.

Pliny Wrote "To the south, the territory of the Calinga extended as far as the promontory of Calingon and the town Dandagula which is said to be 625 Roman miles (or 524 British miles) from the mouth of the Ganges." This is exactly where kalinga nagara is.

The copperplate inscriptions of the Gangeya Kings. We read in the Achyutapuram grant of Indravarman (Raja-Simha,) the Chicacole plates of Devendravarman, the Parlakemdi grant of Indravarman, the Parlakemidi plates of the time of Vajrahasta , the Alamanda plates of Ananta-arman, the Vizagapatam copper-plate grant of Devendra arman, the victorious Kalinga-nagara (the issuing place of the charter) is regularly described as Sarvartu-ramaniya or Sarvarthu-Sukha-ramaniya, i.e., pleasant in all seasons. This passage is of importance as emphatically calling our attention to the pleasant and temperate climate of the capital as held by the Gangeya Kings. What other place except Kalingapatam, by its name and moderate climate can satisfy this condition?

In Sanskrit the words Nagara, Pattana, and Pura are synonymous. No Sanskrit dictionary nor a book of literature can say anything on this point to the contrary. According to some authorities, however, a nagara means a large town in the midst of 800 villages and a pattana is a place, where a king with his retinue resides.

Further lot of artifact have been found at kalingapatana to prove that it has ancient history.