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* 5 Sep 2021
The Mānasollāsa, also known as Abhilashitartha Chintamani, is an early 12th-century Sanskrit text composed by the Kalyani Chalukya king Someshvara III, who ruled in present-day South India. It is an encyclopedic work covering topics such as polity, governance, ethics, economics, astronomy, astrology, rhetoric, veterinary medicine, horticulture, perfumes, food, architecture, games, painting, poetry and music. The text is a valuable source of socio-cultural information on 11th- and 12th-century India.

Abhilashitartha Chintamani dedicated a complete chapter to the techniques and making of mural paintings (bhitti chitra).

It is said Someshvara commenced compiling the Manasollasa, while he was a Prince; and completed it during 1129 (1051 Saka Samvatsara), which is about two-three years after he ascended the throne. The Manasollasa  covering a wide variety of subjects ranging from the means of acquiring a kingdom, methods of establishing it, to medicine, magic, veterinary science, valuation of precious stones , fortifications, painting , art, games ,  amusements , culinary art , dance , music and so on , is a monumental work of encyclopedic nature. The text, in general, provides valuable information on the life of those times. It is also of historical importance as it gives the geographical description of Karnataka of 12th century; as also of the contemporary socio-cultural and economic conditions; and of the varied occupations  of its people.
The entire work of the Manasollasa extends to about 8000 Granthas or verse-stanzas; and, it is composed in the Anustubh Chhandas (metre), with few prose passages interspersed in between. Its Sanskrit is simple and graceful; making it one among the elegant works of Sanskrit literature that reflect the life and culture of medieval India.

Manasollasa defines chaste Music as that which educates (Shikshartham), entertains (Vinodartham), delights (Moda-Sadanam) and liberates (Moksha Sadanam).
Source:  The texts of the Indian Dance traditions - Part Sixteen - Lakshana Granthas - 11. Sangita-ratnakara of Sarangadeva, sreenivasarao's blogs

* 4 Aug 2021
Classical Sanskrit literature
Works by
Kalidasa (Meghaduta, Abhijnanashakuntalam, Kumrasambhava, Raghuvamsa)
Jayadeva (Gita Govinda, Madala Panji)
Chanakya (Arthashastra)
Banabhatta (Kadambari, Harshacharitra)
Bhavabhuti (Uttar Ramayana, Mahaviracharita, Malatimadhava)

Sanskrit literature can be classified under six orthodox heads and four secular heads. The six orthodox sections form the authoritative scriptures of the Hindus. The four secular sections embody the later developments in classical Sanskrit literature.
The six scriptures are: (i) Srutis, (ii) Smritis, (iii) Itihasas, (iv) Puranas, (v) Agamas and (vi) Darsanas.
The four secular writings are: (i) Subhashitas, (ii) Kavyas, (iii) Natakas and (iv) Alankaras.
References: Excerpt from All About Hinduism by Sri Swami Sivananda,

* Jul 2021
Abhigyana Shakuntalam
abhijnana means an identifying token; a keep sake ; an identity card ; a letter of introduction.
The story of Shakuntala and King Dushyanta appears in the Aadi Parva of The Indian Great epic Mahabharata. Kalidas adapted the story for his play Abhigyana Shakuntalam. Mahakavi Kalidasa, India's greatest Sanskrit poet and dramatist, has authored severalmaster pieces including Raghuvamsham, Meghasandesham (Meghdhootam), Kumarasambhavam, Ritu Samaharam, Malavikaagnimitram and others.

* Jul 2021
Kalidasa (Kaalidhaasaa)
Mahakavi Kalidasa, India's greatest Sanskrit poet and dramatist, has authored severalmaster pieces - The plays Maalavikaagnimitram, Abhijnaanashaakuntalam, Vikramoervasiyam, the epic poems Raghuvamsam, Kumarasambhavam, and the Khanda Kayvas Ritusamhaara, Meghadootha or Meghasandesa.
The play was the first Indian drama to be translated into a Western language, by Sir William Jones in 1789. In the next 100 years, there were at least 46 translations in twelve European languages.
English translations include:
Sacontalį or The Fatal Ring: an Indian drama (1789) by Sir William Jones
Śakoontalį or The Lost Ring: an Indian drama (1855) by Sir Monier Monier-Williams
Translations of Shakuntala and Other Works (1914) by Arthur W. Ryder
Bengali translations include:
Shakuntala (1854) by Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar
Shakuntala (1895) by Abanindranath Tagore
References: Translations of Shakuntala, and Other Works by Arthur W. Ryder (1914),  ; ;
Shakuntala, painting by Raja Ravi Varma
Image courtesy:

* Jul 2021
Sanskrit is one of the oldest languages of the world. Among the current languages which possess a hoary antiquity like Latin or Greek, Sanskrit is the only language which has retained its pristine purity. It has maintained its structure and vocabulary even today as it was in the past.

Sanskrit is a language for humanity and not merely a means for communication within a society. The oldest surviving literature of the world, viz. the Vedas, encompass knowledge in virtually every sphere of human activity.

The grammar of Sanskrit has attracted scholars world over. It is very precise and upto date and remains well defined even today. Of late, several persons have expressed the opinion that Sanskrit is the best language for use with computers. Sanskrit, the vocabulary of which is derived from root syllables, is ideal for coining new scientific and technological terms. The need to borrow words or special scientific terms does not arise.

Sanskrit comprises fifty one letters or aksharas. In other languages, we refer to the letters of the alphabet of the language. We know that the word alphabet is derived from the names of the first two letters of Greek. The term alphabet has no other meaning except to denote the set of letters in the language. In contrast, the word "akshara" in Sanskrit denotes something fundamental and significant. One of the direct meanings of the word is that it denotes the set of letters of Sanskrit from the first to the last. The word also means that the sound of the letter does not ever get destroyed and thus signifies the eternal quality of the sound of the letters. The consequence of this meaning is that the sound of a word is essentially the sounds of the aksharas in the word, a concept which will help simplify text to speech applications with computers.
Source: Learn Sanskrit through self study,