Kalidasa, aka: Kālidāsa; 8 Definition(s)


Kalidasa means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Kavya (poetry)

Kalidāsa (कलिदास) is the name of an important person (viz., an Ācārya or Kavi) mentioned in Rājaśekhara’s 10th-century Kāvyamīmāṃsā.—In the fourth and tenth chapter of the Kāvyamīmāṃsā, YV Rājaśekhara mention the great poet Kālidasa. The fourth chapter he posit Kālidasa’s as the poet and critic. We found that Rājaśekhara cited most of the stanza’s from different works of Kālidāsa. Heis the most famous poet of Sanskrit literature and his prose describe in the various poets.

(Source): Shodhganga: The Kavyamimamsa of Rajasekhara
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Kavya (काव्य, kavya) refers to Sanskrit poetry, a popular ancient Indian tradition of literature. There have been many Sanskrit poets over the ages, hailing from ancient India and beyond. This topic includes mahakavya, or ‘epic poetry’ and natya, or ‘dramatic poetry’.

Katha (narrative stories)

Kālidāsa (कालिदास).—His best claim to eminence lies in his being our greatest poet in all the three principal departments of poetry viz., lyric, epic and dramatic. He has given us the three dramas, Malvikāgnimitra, Vikramorvaśīya and Śākuntala, two epics, the Kumarasambhava and the Raghuvaṃśa, one Khaṇḍakāvya, the Meghadūta and one lyric, the Ṛtusaṃhāra.

Scholars have convincingly shown that Kālidāsa flourished in the Gupta period, probably the fifth century A.D. Kālidāsa is known for his Vaidarbhī style. His language is sweet and simple. His poetry is free from long compounds and is rich in figures of speech. He is famous far his similies and the praise is well deserved.

(Source): Shodhganga: A critical appreciation of soddhalas udayasundarikatha
Katha book cover
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Katha (कथा, kathā) refers to narrative Sanskrit literature often inspired from epic legendry (itihasa) and poetry (mahākāvya). Some Kathas reflect socio-political instructions for the King while others remind the reader of important historical event and exploits of the Gods, Heroes and Sages.

Chandas (prosody, study of Sanskrit metres)

1) Kālidāsa (कालिदास).—There are many Kālidāsas, in the literary history of India. After the Kālidāsa (author of Raghuvaṃśa and others), a tradition established by the then learned scholars and kings as patrons were to felicitate a person of eminence by conferring on him with the title of (Kālidāsa). Hence the title Kālidāsa was instituted and the name became more popular. There were also some poets, who declared themselves as Kālidāsa.

1) Kālidāsa (कालिदास) (C. 4th-5th century) is the name of an author of works dealing with prosodoy (chandas or chandaśśāstra) quoted by Kṣemendra (11th century) in his Suvṛttatilaka. The Suvṛttatilaka is a monumental work of Sanskrit prosody in which the author discusses 27 popular metres which were used frequently by the poets (eg., Kālidāsa).

2) Kālidāsa (कालिदास) (C. 12th-15th century), the author of Śrutabodha might be different from the famous Kālidāsa, author of Raghuvaṃśa.

(Source): Shodhganga: a concise history of Sanskrit Chanda literature
Chandas book cover
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Chandas (छन्दस्) refers to Sanskrit prosody and represents one of the six Vedangas (auxiliary disciplines belonging to the study of the Vedas). The science of prosody (chandas-shastra) focusses on the study of the poetic meters such as the commonly known twenty-six metres mentioned by Pingalas.


Kālidāsa (कालिदास).—The greatest poet and dramatist in Sanskrit. Some scholars opine that Kālidāsa flourished in the 8th Century B.C. while others place his date upto the period 11th Century A.D. At any rate most of the scholars consider the period between 1st Century B.C. and 5th Century A.D. as the most probable date of the great poet. Some of the main theories in this regard are as follows;— Eighth century B.C. Towards the close of Raghuvaṃśa Mahākāvya Kālidāsa has referred to the son of King Agnimitra. Therefore the poet must have lived in the 8th Century B.C. This is the view of the scholar Hippolyte Fanche. (See full article at Story of Kālidāsa from the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani)

(Source): archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia
Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

General definition (in Hinduism)

Kalidasa (6th Century A.D.)—Kalidasa is the national poet of India and the greatest Sanskrit poet. Kalidasa has composed the lyrics Ritusamhāra and Meghadūta, the two epics Raghuvamsa and Kumārasambhava, and the three plays Malavikagnimitra, Vikramorvaśiya and Śākuntalam.

(Source): Google Books: 101 Mystics of India

Kālidāsa (कालिदास; lit: "servant of Kali") was a Classical Sanskrit writer, widely regarded as the greatest poet and dramatist in the Sanskrit language. His floruit cannot be dated with precision, but most likely falls within the 5th century AD. Scholars have speculated that Kālidāsa may have lived either near the Himalayas, or in the vicinity of Ujjain, or in Kalinga.

Kālidāsa wrote three plays.

  1. Mālavikāgnimitram ("Mālavikā and Agnimitra") tells the story of King Agnimitra, who falls in love with the picture of an exiled servant girl named Mālavikā.
  2. Abhijñānaśākuntalam ("Of Shakuntala recognised by a token") tells the story of King Dushyanta who, while on a hunting trip, meets Shakuntalā, the adopted daughter of a sage, and marries her.
  3. Vikramōrvaśīyam ("Pertaining to Vikrama and Urvashi") tells the story of mortal King Pururavas and celestial nymph Urvashi who fall in love.

Among them, Abhijñānaśākuntalam ("Of Shakuntala recognised by a token") is generally regarded as a masterpiece.

(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

In Buddhism

General definition (in Buddhism)

If Taranatha’s source is genuine, then the author of Meghadutam was the Kalidasa I who was the native of Magadha and lived in the 11th century BCE whereas Kalidasa II, the native of Ujjain lived in the 1st century BCE and authored Raghuvamsha.

(Source): academia.edu: The Chronological History of Buddhism

Languages of India and abroad

Sanskrit-English dictionary

Kālidāsa (कालिदास).—

1) Name of a celebrated poet (author of many works like Śākuntala, Raghuvaṁśa &c.).

2) Name of two other poets (author of Nalodaya and Śrutabodha).

Derivable forms: kālidāsaḥ (कालिदासः).

(Source): DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

Relevant definitions

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