I thought reading shivarAjyodayam, by shrIdhara-bhAskara of the varNekar-s, (I have a hard copy) will put me back to sleep, but boy, how wrong I was. The reason I picked this book was to hope against hope that it would provide some hope for a solid future for hindu-s, despite our population being moron-heavy – after all, shivAji’s time was filled with even worse uncertainty, with similar problems arising from collaborators, foreign powers and native slumber. The work is high in poetic quality – I have recently adapted a habit of marking high quality verses with scores (1-5), and there were a lot of 5-s.
But beyond mere ornamentation, it exuded such vIra-rasa like warm blood from a punctured enemy chest. I’ve read large portions of raghuvaMsha, kumArasambhava, etc.., but I feel that I experienced true rasa-kAvya today. Perhaps it says as much about me (and perhaps my clan) as the works themselves, but I recall only few other cases that moved me as much (subject to defects of memory, of course): the initial sarga-s of sundarakANDa, rati’s lament and pArvati’s rebuff to shiva in disguise in kumArasambhava, sItA-parityAga in uttarakANDa. As my feeling rose to a crescendo in response to the climax of the first sarga, I felt quite ready to drink the blood of a few meccan demons, or at least, check out bAjIrAv mastAni.
This is an ideal work to present to children of sanskrit-speaking families. kAlidAsa can wait. But what one can do now is far from clear. One can emulate the patriot bAlagangAdhara tiLak in his inspiring writings in the kesarI (but towards the end, even he was broken), or one can do some rash and stupid thing like the chApekar brothers or …. Can one be a subhASha-candra, who with all his defects, felled the barbarian empire, or better yet – can one be shivAji (this time, also thoroughly dealing with the heart of the problem as well)?