What do Scheherazade in the lyrical Ballet by Rimsky-Korsakov have in common with Meghduth lyric poetry of the 5th century Sanskrit poet Kalidasa? Enslaved yearning to be free.

The story of Sultana Scheherazade, the wife of Sultan
Schariar, who beheaded his wives at the morning after the marriage.
Here is a small portion of
Scheherazade’s telling of the 1001 nights in ballet format.

“Sultan Schariar, convinced that all women are false and faithless, vowed to put to death each of his wives after the first nuptial night. But the Sultana Sheherazade saved her life by entertaining her lord with fascinating tales for a thousand and one nights. The Sultan, consumed with curiosity, postponed from day to day the execution of his wife, and finally repudiated his bloody vow entirely.”

Poet Kalidasa, “Please subdue the anguish of your soul. Nobody is destined only to happiness or to pain. The wheel of life takes one up and down by turn.”  Meghduth. Meghaduta, (Sanskrit: “Cloud Messenger”) lyric love poem in some 115 verses composed by Kalidasa about the 5th century CE. The verse is unique to Sanskrit literature in that the poet attempts to go beyond the trope of the unity of the short lyric, normally the form preferred for love poems, by stringing the stanzas into a narrative. This innovation did not take hold. The poem, however, has inspired imitations along precisely the same story line.  The Meghaduth is the lament of an exiled yaksha   (a benevolent spirit) who is pining for his beloved on a lonely mountain peak. When, at the beginning of a monsoon, a cloud perches on the peak, he asks it to deliver a message to his love in the Himalayan city of Alaka.

Cloudy Weather 

 Listen to the Exhortation of the Dawn! Look to this Day! For it is Life, the very Life of Life. In its brief course lie all the Verities and Realities of your Existence. The Bliss of Growth, The Glory of Action, The Splendor of Beauty; For Yesterday is but a Dream, And To-morrow is only a Vision; But Today well lived makes Every Yesterday a Dream of Happiness, And every Tomorrow a Vision of Hope. Look well therefore to this Day! Such is the Salutation of the Dawn!”

 

 

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