Amaru Satakam : Sanskrit Love Poems

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Ajanta Cave Paintings

Compiled by London Swaminathan
Post No.1488; Dated 15th December 2014.

The Amaru Satakam is a collection of 100 verses in Sanskrit by one Amaruka. His identity and date are not available. This delightful lyric describes the varied moods of lovers, giving us pen pictures of several charming experiences. The style is very elegant, precise and lucid. Though the theme is familiar, the treatment is unique – it is said that in Sanskrit the highest distraction as the poet who can depict the various phases of love, desire and attainment, estrangement and reconciliation, joy and sorrow must be awarded to Amaruka.

Sri S Sankaranarayanan dealt with this recently under the auspices of Rasodaya at the KSR Institute Hall, Madras-4, citing about twenty verses. He observed: Obscenity lies only in the mind of the reader or the listener and not in the verses, which gives glimpses of the attendant emotions and reactions and not physical features (Further there is the possibility of esoteric apprehension also). Some instances –

1)A maiden casts sidelong glances brimming with love on some person. An attendant maiden enquires – who is the blessed individual on whom you cast these slow glances dripping with love of closing your eyes with shyness and then gazing with open unwinking lids for a while – fully betraying the surging feelings in your heart (sloka 2)

2)A lover intimates that he has to go afar in search of wealth assuring his lady love of his firm loyalty to her and of hopes of speedy return. She breaks out into tears, unable to bid him adieu. “Tell about your safe return to those that would survive your departure (Sloka 8 and 55. It can be compared with Akananuru 5 and Tirukkural 1151, 1156.)

3)A companion advises the lady to check the advances of her lover because of his lapses, but she says “do not slander the lord of my life loudly lest he abiding in my heart should hear it” (Sloka 68; compare it with Tirukkural 1220)

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Ajanta paintings, Maharashtra, India

4)A lady describes how her shyness stands in the way of her eagerness to clasp her lover on the first night with him (Sloka 39; can be compared with Valmiki Ramayana , Kishkinda Kanda 30-28)

5)During separation from the lover, the lady plans to upbraid him and keep aloof when he returns here, but as soon as she sees him back, all this is forgotten and she is eager to clasp him (sloka 9; Turukkural 1284) – R.R.
From Indian Express dated 3rd January 1983

References cite from Tirukkural:
1151.Speak to me if you do not depart. About your quick return, speak to those who live.
1156.If he could be cruel enough to speak of parting, meagre is the hope of being kind again.
1220.People of this town say that my husband has parted from me; is it that they see him in my dreams?.
1284.I want to huff and slight him, O maid. But my heart leaps unawares to embrace him straight away.

(I am throwing away all the old paper cuttings, before which I wanted to upload them, so that it benefits interested readers. Those who don’t have time to read the full Amaru satakam can get a glimpse of it—swami)

Contact swami_48@yahoo.com

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