Author: Ayal Amer 1
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  • 1 La Trobe University Department of Asian Studies Victoria 3086 Australia
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In this essay I intend to textually and thematically study some of the verses found in the introductory canto of Kālidāsa’s epic poem, the Kumārasaṃbhava, perhaps one of the most famous and oftquoted works in Sanskrit poetics and yet one of the most contentious and least studied. First, I will be unpacking the main themes and images operating in the descriptions of Himālaya, which is considered according to commentators as the vastunirdeśa of the text, or’ indication of the plot’ — and thus,’ what is about to happen in the story’. I argue that these comprise an undermining statement about the poem’s ostensible aim — the so-called’ love story’ of Śiva and Pārvatī — thus covertly presenting an alternate point of view, rather poignant, about the relationship between the hero and heroine. Next, I discuss the descriptions of Pārvatī and examine their aesthetical value, their fantasy-like mood, their relationship with Himālaya’s description and the way they reveal the existence of another important, generally neglected, integral factor at work within the text, which is the presence of the recipient of poetry outside the text, the rasika, the connoisseur of poetry. I have one major hypothesis about this compelling frame of the poem, which stands as if independent from the rest of the text. I believe that what seem to be the poet’s core statement about the nature of love and its consequences in his poem is encoded within its two descriptive patterns.