Page:A history of Sanskrit literature (1900), Macdonell, Arthur Anthony.djvu/336

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the historical ground of the sixth century into the realm of myth. With Vikramāditya an often-quoted but ill-authenticated verse occurring in a work of the sixteenth century associates Dhanvantari, Kshapaṇaka, Amarasiṃha, Varāhamihira, and Vararuchi as among the "nine gems" of his court. With the disappearance of Vikrama from the sixth century A.D. this verse has lost all chronological validity with reference to the date of the authors it enumerates; it is even inadmissible to conclude from such legendary testimony that they were contemporaries. Even though one of them, Varāhamihira, actually does belong to the sixth century, each of them can now only be placed in the sixth century separately and by other arguments. Apart from the mythical Vikramāditya, there is now no reason to suppose that court poetry attained a special development in that century, for Harisheṇa's paneygyric, and some other epigraphic poems of the Gupta period, show that it flourished greatly at least two hundred years earlier.

None of the other arguments by which it has been attempted to place Kālidāsa separately in the sixth century have any cogency. One of the chief of these is derived from the explanation given by the fourteenth-century commentator, Mallinātha, of the word dignāga, "world-elephant," occurring in the 14th stanza of Kālidāsa's Meghadūta. He sees in it a punning allusion to Dignāga, a hated rival of the poet. This explanation, to begin with, is extremely dubious in itself. Then it is uncertain whether Mallinātha means the Buddhist teacher Dignāga. Thirdly, little weight can be attached to the Buddhistic tradition that Dignāga was a pupil of Vasubandhu, for this