And the daughter of the mountain betraying her emotion by her limbs like quivering young kadamba-shoots, stood with head bent, her face all the more lovely with her turned-away glance. Then the three-eyed god [Kama], with an effort regaining command of the perturbation of his senses by reason of his power of self-control, cast his glance in all directions, desirous to see the cause of the disturbance of his mind. He saw the mind-born god [Shiva, god of destruction], his clenched fist raised to the outer corner of his right eye, his shoulder bent, his left leg bent, his delicate bow drawn into a circle, ready to strike. His anger increased by the attack on his austerity, his face terrible to look upon with its frowning brows, from his third eye of a sudden blazing glittering flame came forth. While the voices of the wind-gods passed across the sky — “Restrain, restrain your anger, Lord,” the fire born from the eye of Bhava [Shiva] reduced the god of love [Kama] to a residue of ashes. — from “The Kumara-sambhava,” by Kalidasa

Kālidāsa (fl. 4th Century) is one of the most famous Sanskrit poets of the classical period and regarded as the greatest poet of the Sanskrit language. Basing his poetry and plays on the Hindu religious texts known as the Puranas, Kalidasa is best known for two plays and three epic poems, including “The Kumara-sambhava,” excerpted above. Considered one of his greatest works, this poem describes the marriage of Shiva, god of destruction, and his consort, Parvati, who play a prominent part in Hindu mythology.


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