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Brhatkatha and Its Contributions

Sarla Khosla (Author)
Synopsis Brhatkatha originally was written by Gunadya (1st C.B.C.) in Paisachi language. Later on it was translated in Prakt. Both are lost. Its only available version probably written in 1st CAD and known since 4th 5th CAD is Brharkatha Sloka Samgraha. This work has elaborately been studied in this volume with its contribution to Sanskrit literature. The work narrates the adventures of many bit traders (Written in story in story style), who scaled the mountains churned the ocean in search of wealth of gold, gems, pearls etc. Narvahana Datta the son of Vatsaraja Udyana is the hero of the volume. His adventureous and romantic life (he married 26 times) is beautifully & entricately women in this volume. The work ends with his marriage with Madaumaujuska (his love), the daughter of Kalilngasena, a courtesan. The poet has evolved middle class society and lack the court and could not gain popularity perhaps scholastic protection accorded to religious writers. Instead it elaborates on the adventureous life of a common man to a trader, to woman of low character i.e. a harlot and her importance in the society and the wealth spent upon her by the big traders. As the writer has deviated from the popular themes of the life and stories of kings, queens & their courts and adopted a style of narrating the lives of common men & women it throws a flood of light on the religious, social and political life of the country. The present writer has sifted history of the period from these stray references in the volume. The greatest contribution of Brhatkatha is Mrchchkatkam its plot, theme etc, all are borrowed by sudraka with a difference which tell about the time-gap & developments pertaining to social, religious & political life of the country. The prosperity of Brhatkatha agrees with that of Gupta golden ages. A comparative study with Chaturbhan, a work of Gupta age has been done. etc.
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About the author

Sarla Khosla

Dr. Sarla Khosla is internationally known scholar of Buddhism. She is credited for writing history Political Social & Religious) of the period under reference. She sifts material provided in the philosophical, critical, sativical & detective Sanskrit works. Her works include History of Buddhism Kashmir, Gupta Civilization, Asvaghosa & his times, the evolution of Buddha Legen, Lalitavistara, Buddha bhakti and Epithets, Ksemendra and his times and various research articles includingd that of ‘Buddhism in Ladakh’ The present work ‘Brhatkatha and Its Contribution’, not only highlights the social religious and political history of the time, but also compares Brhatkatha Sloka Samgraha of Buddhaswami (a Sanskrti version of Gunadya’s Brhatkatha) with Sudraka’s Kalidasa & Bana etc. she has assigned date to Sudraka and Mrchchkatikam utilizing the material provided in the play. The deteriorating trend of already corrupt and demoralized society of Brhatkatha’s time to Mrchchkatikam’s time is also illucidated. How Buddhaswami has tried to raise the moral standard of the people (from trader to prostitute) is well explained & illustrated by Dr. Sarla Khosla, on the anatogy of Brhatkathas, Sudraka has also followed on the same lines. Both the heroes get married to harlots are (each) given the status of a wife. This great social change is beautifully narrated by both the authors & hence by the author or this work.

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Bibliographic information

Title Brhatkatha and Its Contributions
Author Sarla Khosla
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2003
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8173200513
length 336+16p., Figures; B/w plates; Maps; Appendix; Bibliography; 23cm.
Subjects History