A Story from the Past – 8

Editor’s Note from Story – 3 reproduced
After a couple of stories from the Ved, we take a turn towards Kavya. The collection of Samskrut Kavya (poetry) and Vangmaya (Literature) is massive. Why should we be surprised given that Samskrut was the dominant language for at least 1,000 years? Yet, very few students are taught the names and history of these poets, dramatists and writers. We hope to bring these great literary masters to our readers via these stories.

Consistent with our focus on stories about Kavya or poetry, we featured a couple of stories from the works of the great Kali-Das, considered to be the greatest poet of all times in any language. Today we tell the brief story of Bhav-Bhuti, considered to be the second greatest poet of Samskrut Kavya.

It seems that poets had to struggle mightily to win the praise of critics in India. For example, the great Kali-Das himself asked his critics to not deride any new Kavya just because it is new and not praise the ancient Kavya just because it is ancient. The verse Kali-Das used for his case has become immortal. We discussed this story and listed the verse in Story from the Past – 4 .

It seems that Bhav-Bhuti had even a tougher time than Kali-Das in getting recognized. For some time, Bhav-Bhuti did find support at the court of King Yasho-Varma of Kanauj. But it seems clear that Bhav-Bhuti survived mainly on the support of his rasiks. 

BhavBhuti’s first play was Mahavir-Charitam or the Story of the Great Warrior. This was a play about Shri Ram. This play, now praised as great work, must have been panned by his critics. Because in his second play, Bhav-Bhuti took direct aim at his critics and confidently proclaimed:
                   उत्पद्येत खलु कोपि समानधर्मा
                   Utpadyeta Khalu Kopi Samaan-Dharma
                   There will indeed arise someone of kindred thought (because)

                   कालो ही अयं निरवधीर विपुला चा प्रुथ्वी
                   Kalo Hee Ayam Nir-Avadheer Vipula cha Pruthvee
                   Time is Eternal (without-limit) and the Earth is Vast       .

Bhav-Bhuti was right. It did not take long for his works to be recognized as among the greatest in Eternal-Dharma.

This is indeed a lesson to anyone, young, middle-aged or old. When you start a new venture, the majority of people you meet are likely to deride your venture or put you down in some way. But remember Bhav-Bhuti’s words. There are many many people in this world and you have all the time in the world. There will be someone one somewhere who will recognize the worth of what you are trying to do.

Or as the Brokerage Firm managers tell their new and eager trainees, it is a numbers game!

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