Rasāla eBooks

After spending the monsoon tinkering with the plethora of eReading apps, devices and formats washing about the publishing world at the moment, we have today brought out with great excitement Rasāla’s first eBook: The Message of The Koel.

The eBook version of this, and future books, will use the shiny new EPUB 3 format which means that we can include photos from the koel’s journey and audio versions of several of the verses.  Less excitingly but more importantly EPUB 3 is able to cope with complex scripts like Devanagari so that our Sanskrit verses are not a series of boxes, and which allows us to use many other under-the-hood features critical for a smooth reading experience of a book such as this.

Our eBooks have no DRM (digital rights management) which means that you can read them in any app, platform or device that can handle them; you can share them with anyone you want; and you can transfer them between your laptop and phone or any other device you use for reading books – again provided the hardware allows it.

For the moment, though, only Apple’s iBooks really and truly does justice to EPUB 3 eBooks – so if you have access to an iPad, iPhone or iPod we’d highly recommend you use that. If you’re on Android, the free FB Reader app is probably the best option. For desktop users we recommend the free Azardi eReading software, which supports almost all of the features used in our eBooks.  Amazon, despite its rapid expansion in India, still doesn’t support Indian scripts so for now you can’t read Rasāla’s eBooks on a Kindle.

Those who bought a copy of the print version of The Message of The Koel before 31st August will be sent the eBook for free.  For those who would like to buy a copy, please email us at venetia@rasalabooks.com.  The eBook is Rs 100 or £3.

We hope you enjoy reading and listening to it as much as we enjoyed making it.

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UPDATE (April 2013):

We have just tested the IDEAL Group Reader on Android and would now recommend this instead of the FB Reader app as it supports more of the features that our eBooks have.  The IDEAL Group Reader can be downloaded for free in the Google Play Store.

For those on a laptop/desktop, we would recommend the Readium app – a web app available in Google Chrome – for reading when you are online. If you prefer to read the eBook when you are offline, then Azardi is still the best option.

Kokila Sandeśa in 10 Scripts

Rasāla’s readers hail from different parts of India and further afield, and some prefer to read – or can only read – Sanskrit in a script other than Devanāgari. We have long wanted to be able to provide such readers the option to read the Sanskrit part of Rasāla’s books in the script of their choice, but practically this has proved difficult with both print and eBooks (the latter because of technological issues with font support on reading devices – although we are working on this…).

Now, though, thanks to and via the Sanskrit Documents site, we are able to offer the Sanskrit text of Rasāla’s first book, The Message of The Koel: Uddaṇḍa Śāstri’s Kokila Sandeśa, in a total of ten different scripts including Roman, Tamil, Bengali and Malayalam.

Here’s the link to the Devanāgari version of the text, from where you can easily switch back and forth to the other scripts.  We haven’t proofread the transliterations – nor in all honesty does the small Rasāla team know so many scripts – so please excuse any errors.

If you have any feedback for us on this, please do get in touch.  If we find there is demand for one script in particular, we may be able to produce versions of each book in that script alongside the standard Devanāgari versions.

The Koel Takes Wing

In lieu of a verse this week….

We are thrilled to tell you that Rasāla’s first book, The Message of the KoelUddaṇḍa Śāstrī’s Kokila Sandeśa which many of you may remember from earlier verses of the week, has just been released.  The print book is available from eRetailers such as Flipkart as well as from the Rasāla website– where you can buy the book at a 20% discount.  The eBook  – replete with photos and audio – is due out soon.  We’ll keep you posted.

As this is our first book, we have a special offer: readers who buy the print book before 31st August 2012 are entitled to a free copy of the eBook – email venetia@rasalabooks.com for more details.

In addition, readers and scholars are welcome to download the complete Sanskrit text from the Kokila Sandeśa page of our website, as well as the textual notes and bibliography.

The book’s vital statistics and a short description of the poem can be found at the bottom of this email.

As ever, we welcome your thoughts and feedback.

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The Message of The Koel: Uddaṇḍa Śāstrī’s Kokila Sandeśa

This short Sanskrit love poem takes the reader on a tour of mediaeval southern India.  A lovesick husband stranded in Kanchipuram dispatches a koel to his wife in central Kerala with a message to sustain her until he can return.  The journey will take the koel across a lush landscape thickly carpeted in betel nut or cardamom trees and criss-crossed by rivers; to temples alive with myth; and into fabulous cities whose palaces push the stars out of their orbits.   This is the first English translation of the 15th century poem.

TitleThe Message of the Koel: Uddaṇḍa Śāstrī’s Kokila Sandeśa

Translators: Shankar Rajaraman and Venetia Kotamraju

Publisher: Rasāla

ISBN: 978-81-924112-0-0

Price:

  • India: Rs.250 (Rs. 200 on the Rasāla website)
  • Rest of the world: £7.50 (or £6 on the Rasāla website)

The Message of the Koel – The Message

Finally, the hero gives voice to the message the koel must carry to his wife:

कच्चिच्चिते स्फुरति चपलापाङ्गि चूर्ण्यां कदाचित्

स्रस्तोत्तंसं धवलनयनं धौतबिम्बाधरोष्ठम् ।

स्नानान्ते ते मुखमुपसखि प्रेक्षमाणे मयि द्रा-

ग्वक्षोदघ्रे पयसि पुनरप्यावयोर्मज्जनं तत् ॥ ६२ ॥

Listen to this verse

“Do you recall,

lady of the mischievous glance,

how once in the Cūrṇī with your friends after bathing,

I suddenly caught your eye –

the wreath upon your hair slipping off,

your eyes sparkling

and your bimba-like lips washed clean –

and we both dipped down again into the chest-deep water

 

Verse 62 – Uttara Bhāga

कोकिलसन्देशः – उद्दणडशास्त्री । The Message of the Koel – Uddanda Śāstrī

 

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The Message of the Koel will soon be available as a printed book and in eBook format.  To book your copy in advance, please contact us or add a comment to this post.

The Message of the Koel – Marakkara

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mārakkara, the household of Uddaṇḍa’s wife which is still going strong today, is described in loving detail:

माहाभाग्यं रतिपतिभुजाडम्बरः पौनरुक्त्यात्

कल्याणौघः स्फुरति रसिकानन्तताप्यत्त्र हीति ।

एषामाद्यक्षरगणमुपादाय बद्धेन नाम्ना

मान्यं ‘मारक्कर’ निलयनं यत्कवीन्द्रा गृणन्ति ॥ १२ ॥

Listen to this verse

‘The best of poets pay tribute to this grand old house

by calling it ‘Mārakkara’,

forming the name with the initial syllables

of the attributes it boasts:

māhābhāgya – majesty

ratipatibhujāḍambara – raucous festival of Love

kalyāṇaugha – cascading prosperity, uttered twice

and rasikānantatā – rare and timeless elegance.

 

Verse 12 – Uttara Bhāga

कोकिलसन्देशः – उद्दणडशास्त्री । The Message of the Koel – Uddanda Śāstrī

 

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The Message of the Koel will soon be available as a printed book and in eBook format.  To book your copy in advance, please contact us or add a comment to this post.

 

The Message of the Koel – The Young Bride

अन्यामग्रे मम मणिगृहे भुक्तवानित्यवादी-

र्मुग्धे कान्तो धृतनखपदा भित्तिलीना किमेषा ।

इथं यस्यां स्मितलवजुषो ह्वेपयन्ते नवोढां

सख्यस्तस्यास्तनुमनुपमां बिम्बितां दर्शयन्त्यः ॥ ७ ॥

Listen to this verse

‘Where friends,

holding back their laughter,

embarrass a newly wed bride:

“You said that your husband had enjoyed another

in front of you in this jewelled chamber.

Silly thing!

Is this she upon the wall, covered in scratch marks?”,

they say showing her the reflection

of her own peerless beauty.

 

Verse 7 – Uttara Bhāga

कोकिलसन्देशः – उद्दणडशास्त्री । The Message of the Koel – Uddanda Śāstrī

 

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The Message of the Koel will soon be available as a printed book and in eBook format.  To book your copy in advance, please contact us or add a comment to this post.

The Message of the Koel – Chendamangalam

 

 

 

 

 

 

The hero describes at length the beautiful city of Chendamangalam where his beloved wife lives:

यस्यां रात्रौ युवतिवदनाम्भोजसौन्दर्यचौर्यात्

सत्यं सौधध्वजपटशिखाघृष्टबिम्बे हिमांशौ।

दृष्ट्वा कृष्णं किणमणिकणं हन्त गाढं प्ररूढं

मूढो लोको वदति शशको रोहितोऽन्यत्तथेति ॥ ४ ॥

Listen to this verse

‘Where at night,

seeing the small circular black scar of a deep wound

scored upon the moon’s surface

by the tips of the mansions’ flagpoles –

doubtless when he tried to steal the beauty

of girls’ lotus faces –

people proclaim it to be a hare or a deer,

or something similar,

fools that they are.

 

Verse 4 – Uttara Bhāga

कोकिलसन्देशः – उद्दणडशास्त्री । The Message of the Koel – Uddanda Śāstrī

 

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The Message of the Koel will soon be available as a printed book and in eBook format.  To book your copy in advance, please contact us or add a comment to this post.