The Penguin Book of Classical Indian Love Stories and Lyrics
A compilation of love stories and poems from the classical literature and folklore of India Set in regions of great natural beauty where Kamadeva, the god of love, picks his victims with consummate ease, these stories and lyrics celebrate the myriad aspects of love. In addition to relatively well-known works like Kalidasa's Meghadutam and Prince Ilango Adigal's Shilappadikaram, the collection features lesser-known writers of ancient India like Damodaragupta (eighth century AD), whose 'Loves of Haralata and Dundarasena' is about a high-born man's doomed affair with a courtesan; Janna (twelfth century), whose Tale of the Glory-Bearer is extracted here for the story of a queen who betrays her handsome husband for a mahout, reputed to be the ugliest man in the kingdom; and the Sanskrit poets Amaru and Mayaru (seventh century), whose lyrics display an astonishing perspective on the tenderness, the fierce passion and the playful savagery of physical love. Also featured are charming stories of Hindu gods and goddesses in love, and nineteenth-century retellings of folk tales from different regions of the country like Kashmir, Punjab, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. Both passionate and sensuous in its content, this book is sure to appeal to the romantic in all of us.