Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume VIII.djvu/35

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29 INTRODUCTION.

quotes from Kâlidâsa a passage which there is good reason to believe formed part of the Pañkatantra when it was translated for king Nushirvan of Persia about the beginning of the sixth century a.c.[1] Allowing for the time required to raise Kâlidâsa to the position of being cited as an authority, and for the time required for the spread of the fame of an Indian work to Persia in those early days, I think, that the middle of the fifth century is a date to which Kâlidâsa cannot well have been subsequent. Now in the works of Kâlidâsa we have some very remarkable allusions to the Bhagavadgîtâ. It is not necessary to go through all these allusions. I will only mention the most remarkable, one from the Raghuvamsa, and one from the Kumârasambhava. In Raghu, canto X, stanza 67, the gods addressing Vishnu say, 'There is nothing for you to acquire which has not been acquired. The one motive in your birth and work is the good of the worlds.' The first sentence here reminds one at once of Gîtâ, chapter III, stanza 22, the coincidence with which in sense as well as expression is very striking. The second sentence contains the words 'birth and work,' the precise words employed at Gîtâ IV, 9; and the idea of 'good of the worlds' is identical with the idea expressed in Gîtâ III, 20-24, the words only in which it is clothed being different. Couple this passage with the one from Kumârasambhava, canto VI, 67, where the seven Rishis say to the Himâlaya mountain, 'Well hast thou been called Vishnu in a firmly-fixed form.' The allusion there to the Gîtâ, chapter X, stanza 25 (p. 89), is, I venture to think, unmistakable. The word 'firmly-fixed' is identical in both passages; the idea is identical, and Mallinâtha refers to the passage in the Gîtâ as the authority which Kâlidâsa had in view. It follows, therefore, that the Gîtâ must be prior to Kâlidâsa's time. It may be added, that Kâlidâsa in his Raghu XV, 67, cites Manu as an authority


  1. I am indebted to Professor M. M. Kunte for a loan of Vallabhâkârya's commentary on the Sûtras noted in the text. I had not seen it in 1875, when I last discussed this question.