[INDOLOGY] Recently Published: GULMINĪ, Anthology of Sanskrit Lyrics and Gazals, by Hari Dutt Sharma

Jan E.M. Houben jemhouben at gmail.com
Tue Feb 6 23:22:19 UTC 2024

Dear List Members,

This is to announce the recent publication of
GULMINĪ, (An Anthology of Sanskrit Lyrics and Gazals)
by Prof. Hari Dutt Sharma

>From the Foreword by Jan E.M. Houben:

... it is fortunate that apart from the rare and inevitably rather closed
communities of traditional students of Vedic texts and rituals and also
apart from the modern study of Sanskrit at Indian universities along the
method of modern philology and textual studies, the tradition of creative
writing in Sanskrit is carried on by several authors in India ; and one
widely acclaimed author among these is Professor Hari Dutt Sharma. Apart
from his academic study of Sanskrit poetry and poetics, Professor Sharma
has emerged as a reputed author of modern Sanskrit literature.

... several of his poems and books have been prescribed in courses on
Modern Sanskrit Literature at several Indian universities.


Prof. Sharma’s poems and books are excellently suited for introducing
students to the lively scene of modern Sanskrit literature, and it would be
advisable to add the reading of modern Sanskrit literature in the programs
in universities outside India as well, in order to update the student’s
mastery of Sanskrit in a way that would be difficult and unthinkable 100 or
even 20 years ago. The focus on the study of Sanskrit in order to create a
basis for textual research has to be maintained at western universities,
because research is still the main professional perspective outside India.
But to add an introduction to modern Sanskrit poetry and literature would
help to open the eyes of Sanskrit students for the rich and variegated
literary production in this domain, till now almost completely neglected by
western scholars.

A recent exception is Beate Guttandin’s *Rebellionen*, Hamburg 2020, which
contains annotated translations of a number of short stories in Sanskrit
about tradition and innovation in daily life in Indian families.


In addition to the books by Prof. Sharma already mentioned above, also his
recent Mahākāvya *Vaideśikāṭanam*, containing 21 cantos in various
classical metres such as Indravajrā, Upajāti, etc., as it deals with the
author’s visits to numerous countries and cities, including the then still
separate East- and West-Germany, and his participation in academic events
such as various sessions of the World Sanskrit Conference, would make an
excellent reading for Sanskrit students at universities.

            This applies, finally, also to the current work of Prof.
Sharma, the *Gulminī*, which is a book of lyrical poetry (*gītikāvya*), in
rythmic and melodious Sanskrit in free metre, consisting of 51 poems
expressing various sentiments and emotions (*rasa* and *bhāva*) on various
subjects, from depictions of beautiful seasonal nature (3. *madhumāsakathā*)
to reflections on international travels and the transmission of Sanskrit
poetry (6. *sañcaraṇam*), and on the experience of poetic creation (1.
hi cetanā*). Other topics dealt with are recent events in the world and in
India such as the terrorist attack on a school (*vidy**ālaya*) in Peshawar
(2. *peśāvara-paiśācikam*, referring to the 16.12.2014 terrorist attack on
the Army Public School in Peshawar), the rioting on Capitol Hill on
06.01.2021 (41. *kaipīṭala-kampanam*), the storming of Delhi’s Red Fort by
protesting farmers on 26.01.2021 (42. *dillīdurgākramaṇam*). In poem
45 *yuddhaṁ
na hi ruddham*, the author regrets the continuous arising of armed
conflicts everywhere, *kāśmīraṁ vā yūkreṇaṁ vā syād aphagānistānam*.


... The theme of the author’s previous work, *Vaideśikāṭanam*, is also
continued here, with poems 22. *viśva-saṁskṛta-sammelanam *(refrain :
iha vaiṅkūvare tatam*) and 25 on Vancouver : *vaiṅkūvaraṁ varam. *Poem
48. *nīdaralaiṇḍe
ham*, deals with a recent trip to the Netherlands (with *ham* not for *aham*
but as exclamation, as elsewhere in the poem and in the work).



The subject of poem 27. *kumbhaḥ* is a regular event with a very long
history: the Prayāgrāj Kumbhamela in the author’s home city Allahabad. An
Ardha Kumbhamela took here place in 2019, the next full one will be in
2025. In 49. *kva nu hā gatāḥ* the author wonders where all relatives,
friends and dear ones who have passed away have gone, and evokes the
Upaniṣadic story of Naciketas who questions the god of death Yama about the
fate of the deceased : *maraṇottaraṁ kva nu yāti saḥ ... mṛtyoḥ rahasyaṁ
vai yamaṁ   pṛcchati ca naciketā citā*.



Hommage and congratulations to Prof. Hari Dutt Sharma who traveled for many
years to many countries outside India to attend academic events on the
study of Sanskrit, and composed the fascinating Mahākāvya – poetic work of
epic dimension – the *Vaideśikāṭana* ; who contributed significantly to
Sanskrit literature also through the current work in lyrical poetry,
*Gulminī*, and other works :

अनेकवत्सराद् येन   भूरिवैदेशिकाटनात् ।

परम् मनोहरं सृष्टं   काव्यं वैदेशिकाटनम् ॥

संस्कृतवाङ्मयं गीति – गुल्मिन्यादिभिरेव च ।

पुष्टं येन  नमस् तस्मै   हरये दत्तशर्मणे ॥


*Jan E.M. Houben*

Directeur d'Études, Professor of South Asian History and Philology

*Sources et histoire de la tradition sanskrite*

École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE, Paris Sciences et Lettres)

*Sciences historiques et philologiques *

Groupe de recherches en études indiennes (EA 2120)

*johannes.houben [at] ephe.psl.eu <johannes.houben at ephe.psl.eu>*


*https://www.classicalindia.info* <https://www.classicalindia.info>

LabEx Hastec -- *L'Inde Classique* augmentée: construction, transmission

     et transformations d'un savoir scientifique
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