Culture & Literature
Ancient Bharatiya

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Mahanubhav Literature











Apart from the Vedas and Vedic litarature, which have been dealt with separately, the ancient literature encompasses many texts. Around the period of Aranyaka etc. two Epics Ramayan and Mahabharata were composed by Valmiki and Vyas respectively. These two epics set standards for poetry in Sanskrit (as is done in Greek by Eliad of Homer).

Many works in poetry and plays are based on the stories or parts of the stories from the two epics. Subsequently many more additions in these epics are found and many more editions of them were to be written in Sanskrit and other languages.

Around the same time, Pali and Ardhamagadhi canons describing religious literature in Budhist and Jain religion were formed. Poetics (Alankar shastra) has been cultivated in India from a very early date as a science. However, earlier works are not available.Typically whenever more recent theory or interpretation of

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the old theory came into existence and became famous and proved to be more practical, the earlier work were referred to with respect.But the original text was not propagated further. Hence we know of the existence of earlier work from quotations in the work of later period. The oldest form available to us is Bharatiya Natyashastra by Bharat Muni.

Though it was meant for dramatists to give guidance in dramatic performance, it covers vast field such as mimicry, dance, music and song,hence it represents dramatic poetry. The older school of poetics are represented by three rhetoricians, Bhamah, Dandi and Vamana.

Prosody is as old as poetics. The most important work on prosody is Chandasutra of Pingala (about 150 BC). Gupta dynasty is considered to be the golden era of court poetry. The great poet Kalidasa lived during 350-413 AD. Epics Kumarasambhava and Raghuvansa, dramas Shakuntala and Vikramorvashiya and the lyric Meghdoot were the important works of this era etc.


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