Click on the titles for more information about each volume.

Bhatti’s Poem: The Death of RávanaBhaṭṭi
Oliver Fallon
To the dry bones of grammar Bhatti gave juicy flesh in his poem, telling the greatest Indian story in clear elegant Sanskrit. Composed in the seventh century CE, in South India, “Bhatti’s Poem: The Death of Rávana” is both a poetic retelling of Rama’s adventures, and a compendium of grammatical and... more »

“Bouquet of Rasa” and “River of Rasa”Bhānudatta
Sheldon I. Pollock
Bhanu is probably the most famous Sanskrit poet that no one today has ever heard of. His “Bouquet of Rasa” and “River of Rasa,” composed in the early sixteenth century, probably under the patronage of the Nizam of Ahmadnagar in western India, attracted the attention of the most celebrated commentators in... more »

Garland of the Buddha’s Past Lives (volume one of two)Āryaśūra
Justin Meiland
The “Garland of the Buddha’s Past Lives” is a collection of thirty four stories depicting the miraculous deeds performed by the Buddha in his previous rebirths. Composed in the fourth century C.E. by the Buddhist monk Arya·shura, the text’s accomplished artistry led Indian aesthetic theorists to praise its elegant mixture of... more »

Garland of the Buddha’s Past Lives (volume two of two)Āryaśūra
Justin Meiland
In this second volume of the “Garland of the Buddha’s Past Lives,” Arya·shura applies his elegant literary skill toward composing fourteen further stories that depict the Buddha’s quest for enlightenment in his former lives. Here the perfection of forbearance becomes the dominant theme, as the future Buddha suffers mutilations from the wicked... more »

Gita·govínda: Love Songs of Radha and KrishnaJayadeva
Lee Siegel
Foreword by Sudipta Kaviraj
The “Gita·govínda” of Jaya·deva is a lyrical account of the illicit springtime love affair of Krishna and Radha, a god and goddess manifesting on earth as a cowherd and milkmaid for the sake of relishing the sweet miseries and rapturous delights of erotic love. The narrative framing their bucolic songs was... more »

How Úrvashi Was WonKālidāsa
Velcheru Narayana Rao & David Shulman
How Úrvashi was Won (Vikramorvaśīya) is one of the three surviving plays by Kali·dasa (fifth century CE), universally acknowledged as the supreme poet in classical Sanskrit; like the other two works, this play is a masterpiece of lyricism, subtle characterization, and the working through of a bold theme. It tells the... more »

“How the Nagas Were Pleased” and “The Shattered Thighs”Harṣa and Bhāsa
Andrew Skilton
Two plays that break the rules: both show the hero dying on stage, a scenario forbidden in Sanskrit dramaturgy. From widely different ideological and social backgrounds, each evokes intense emotion in an exploration of love and heroism, conflict and peace, idealism and pragmatic reconciliation. Harsha’s Play, composed in the seventh century CE,... more »

The Little Clay CartŚūdraka
Diwakar Acharya
Foreword by Partha Chatterjee
The “Little Clay Cart” is, for Sanskrit drama, atypically romantic, funny, and thrilling, replete with love, humor, courage, and intrigues. As Wilson put it, the ten-act play is “in many respect the most human of all the Sanskrit plays. There is something strikingly Shakespearian in the skilful drawing of characters, the... more »

Málavika and Agni·mitraKālidāsa
Dániel Balogh & Eszter Somogyi
While the other works of Kali·dasa are populated by supernatural beings and larger-than-life people, “Málavika and Agni·mitra” derives its plot from history and features thoroughly mortal characters. Its somewhat frivolous subject may have been the reason why it is sometimes considered to be the least significant of the author’s three dramas.... more »

Maha·bhárata VI: Bhishma (volume two of two)
Alex Cherniak
This second half of ‘Bhishma’ describes the events from the beginning of the fifth day till the end of the tenth of the great battle between the Káuravas and the Pándavas. Despite grandfather Bhishma’s appeal to conclude peace with the Pándavas, Dur·yódhana continues the bloody battle. The key strategist is general... more »

Maha·bhárata VII: Drona (volume two of four)
Vaughan Pilikian
Volume Two of ‘Drona’ begins in the aftermath of tragedy. As evening falls, Árjuna journeys wearily back to camp and is greeted by the ashen faces of his brothers. Before they speak, he guesses the worst. And the worst is right: his son Abhimányu is dead. Árjuna is inconsolable. Insensible with rage,... more »

Maha·bhárata X-XI: Dead of Night & The Women
Kate Crosby
Three exhausted warriors return to their camp, stunned to find it overrun by their enemies. Their fellow soldiers all lie dead. The sound of their enemies, the five sons of Pandu and their allies the Panchálas, crowing mercilessly in jubilation, assaults their ears. The great war of the “Maha·bhárata” is over.... more »

Maha·bhárata XII: Peace: “The Book of Liberation” (volume three of five)
Alexander Wynne
“The Book of Liberation” is perhaps the most enigmatic philosophical text from ancient India. Although presented as the teachings of Bhishma as he lays dying on the battlefield, after the epic war between the Pandavas and Kauravas, it was composed by unknown authors in the last few centuries BCE, during the... more »

The Ocean of the Rivers of Story (volume two of seven)Somadeva
Sir James Mallinson
“The Ocean of the Rivers of Story” was written by Soma·deva in Kashmir in the eleventh century CE, in order to amuse queen Súryavati. Its frame narrative is so swamped in the flood of stories that it is not until volume two of this CSL edition, 3000 verses into the text,... more »

Princess Kadámbari (volume one of three)Bāṇa
David Smith
No Sanskrit poet is more interesting, original, or greater than Bana. His prose poem “Princess Kadámbari” is his supreme achievement. His patron, King Harsha, ruled much of northern India from 606 to 647 CE from his capital at Kannauj. “Princess Kadámbari,” a work of fiction set in keenly observed royal courts, has... more »

The Quartet of CauseriesŚyāmilaka, Vararuci, Śūdraka & Īśvaradatta
Csaba Dezső & Somadeva Vasudeva
“The Quartet of Causeries” date to the Gupta era, the time of Kali·dasa, but nothing certain is known about their four authors. Though stylistically divergent, they share a common plot: the hero is an inept, bungling procurer, who mismanages his client’s love-affairs to an unexpectedly successful ... more »

The Rise of Wisdom MoonKṛṣṇamiśra
Matthew Kapstein
Foreword by J.N. Mohanty
“The Rise of Wisdom Moon” (Prabodhacandrodaya) was composed during the mid-eleventh century by Krishna·mishra, an otherwise unknown poet in the service of the Chandella dynasty, whose cultural and religious capital was Khajuraho. The early popularity of Krishna·mishra’s work led to its frequent translation into the vernaculars of both North and... more »

“Self-Surrender,” “Peace,” “Compassion,” and “The Mission of the Goose”: Poems and Prayers from South IndiaAppayya Dīkṣita, Nīlakaṇṭha Dīkṣita, Vedānta Deśika
Yigal Bronner & David Shulman
Foreword by Gieve Patel
This volume offers a selection from the vast literature of prayers, devotional lyrics, and introspective meditations composed in Sanskrit in South India over the last thousand years. Three poets of particular salience and artistic genius are represented here. Vedánta Déshika (1268–1369) was perhaps the most outstanding Sanskrit author within the South... more »

Seven Hundred Elegant VersesGovardhana
Friedhelm Hardy
When Go·várdhana composed his “Seven Hundred Elegant Verses” in Sanskrit in the twelfth century CE, the very title suggested to an educated Indian audience that this was a response to the 700 verses in the more demotic Prakrit language traditionally attributed to King Hala, composed almost a thousand years earlier. Both... more »