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The IUP Journal of English Studies :
Vasant, the Muse of Sanskrit Poets: An Exploration
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As the chilling winter recedes and the sun emerges brightly, skies turn clear and blue, and fine breeze blows from the south laden with mist through the fluttering lush green young mango leaves. Bright flowers of different hues bloom all around, while the dancing bees greet them with their sweet drone. Suddenly nature turns wondrously beautiful, suggesting the arrival of vasant—spring. And with it, certain ineffably touching gaiety comes along evoking romanticism all around. Vasant, the driving force of life painted with a fiery palette of the reds, golds, oranges, and yellows of its flowers, kindled the flame of passion among Sanskrit poets, resulting in excellent poetry that articulated the emotions of longing, desiring, pining, etc. Being the most picturesque season, it became the natural canvas for their portraying the sringara rasa. This paper is an attempt to capture that sringara—romanticism and its beauty—expounded in classical poetry.

 
 
 

The seasons that are formed by the movements of cosmos and the rhythms of earth have a profound impact on mankind: they evoke our deeply set longings and aspirations, moods and feelings, and offering varied scenario from season to season, encourage us to celebrate life and its living filled with love. Of all the human emotions, it is the romantic love that is closely tied to the changing seasons—each season having its own color of love that echoes differently in the hearts of the lover and the beloved. And of all the seasons, it is vasant—spring—that energizes the human life, awakens the love, quickens erotic feelings, and throbs the heart with excitement.

The mellifluous cooing of the koel (cuckoo) from behind the fresh mango blossoms, the hum of the bees, the freshness and the fragrance of sprouted mango leaves, opening blossoms, the stealthy perfume of wildflowers in the grass, as nature at its splendor thus hugs everyone . . . indeed muzzles ‘twixt the breasts of happiness, it dawns on the conscious that vasant has arrived. Life in vasant suddenly becomes arrestingly beautiful: feeds us joy and peace, indeed uplifts the soul to the realms above year after year.

The very word “vasant” evokes a kind of indefinable uthsaha, ullas, paravasya—heroic sentiment, delight, ecstasy. Even plants—as Vâlmîki (2001, 4.1.91) observed, “pushpa mase hitaravaha sangharshadiva pushpitaha”—would flower so profusely in vasant as though in competition with each other. As Thoreau (1995) observed, “The coming in of spring is like the creation of Cosmos out of Chaos and the realization of the Golden Age.” No wonder Krishna declared, “Rtunam kusumakarah”—of all seasons, I am vasant” (Bhagavad Gita 10.35).

 
 

Journal of English Studies ,Vasant – Spring Breezes in Cooing Melodies and Strewing Flowers, Spring and Kalidasa – Twine Like Starry Jasmines, Vasantotsava: Celebration of Kama.