25 Feb Parvati or Extreme Love
It has been said that it is in the Indian temperament to pursue each search it undertakes to its furthest extreme and to explore its ultimate possibilities. If there is one work that strikingly illustrates the truth of this observation, it is indeed the Kumarasambhava of Kalidasa. We find side by side therein the extremes of renunciation and surrender to pleasure. Only the Indian genius with its innate taste for the pursuit of the most opposite extremes could have produced such a masterpiece.
Kumara-sambhava: The Birth of Kumara, such is the title of the poem of Kalidasa, the renowned poet. Its subject is the marriage of Shiva and Parvati, a marriage willed and arranged by the Gods for from their union a son, a warrior god, who will enable the forces of light to triumph, will be born.
This series, Tales and Legends of India, was originally started with the aim of providing the modern reader with a glimpse of the fascinating, but infinitely complex world of Indian sensibility. Today’s mind is at times taken aback by the superimposition of different worlds in the old Indian stories. This characteristic is not the fruit of a labored aestheticism, but is the sign of a mentality that always tries to describe terrestrial life not in outer terms, but in terms of what it hides. It is a mentality that sees the field of human action as always surrounded and influenced by other forces that one could qualify as cosmic in nature. For the Greek spirit the light of the sun is its natural atmosphere, but for the ancient Indian spirit the sun is a golden veil that hides wonders that it desires ardently to possess. Ours is not a scholarly venture but an attempt to suggest through certain stories, told in as living and simple a language as possible, a key to understanding the culture and genius of India.
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