Syamala Dandaka: The Fifth Quarter

After the sensuous description of the first three parts, the poem changes both in format and topic. The goddess is now described in terms of her divine paraphernalia and attendants, and the esteem and love with which she is held by many familiar characters from Sanskrit kāvya and lore.

The fifth part has a musical prose poetry description of the parrot Śyāmalā is so fond of:

सर्वविद्याविशेषात्मकं चाटुगाथासमुच्चारणं कण्ठमूलोल्लसद्वर्णराजित्रयं कोमलश्यामलोदारपक्षद्वयं तुण्डशोभातिदूरीभवत्किंशुकं तं शुकं लालयन्ती परिक्रीडसे

Woman,

blithely caressing the parrot,

spirit of cognizance,

enfolded in darkling wings of down,

with tri-coloured neck of sparkling sheen,

with shimmering beak surpassing the crimson of kiṃśuka flowers,

beguiling the world in rapturous song.

The work ends with powerful echoing invocations to the mighty goddess that linger in the mind’s ear long after you have closed the book.

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This is the third and final post in the series on Śyāmalā Daṇḍaka. To learn more about the Rasāla edition, and/or to purchase a copy of the print or eBook, please click here.

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