"कमले कमलोत्पत्तिः श्रूयते न तु दृश्यते।
बाले तव मुखाम्भोजे कथमिन्दीवरद्वयम्॥"
(“हे बाले! तेरे मुखरूपी कमल पर नयनरुपी दो-दो कमल कैसे खिल गये हैं।")
मिथिला एवं कालिदास, पृ. 393
‘Mithila and Kalidas’ by Pandit Digambar Jha is a fascinating book in Hindi on the cultural aspects of Mithila and of course the subcontinent. The publication department of reputed Kameshwar Singh Darbhanga Sanskrit University, Bihar, has done a great job by bringing this text before the readers in 2009. The book comprises of two parts, the first: Parvati-khand and the second part: Janki-khand with more than 870 pages.
The text clarifies so many doubts about the association of Kalidas with the land of Janaka, Mithila. Elaborate research on Kalidas’s works has been presented along with the narratives of Mithila. The book engages the Maithili folklores, chronicles, and Sanskrit and Mithilli literature to establish the point that Kalidas is from Mithila by using different methods of research. Pandit. Ji has presented several literary, logical, and interpretational pieces of evidence supporting that Kalidas was a Maithil. In order to prove his hypothesis, Digambar Jha has used extensively the excerpts and contexts from different works of Mahakavi, such as Kumarsambhavam, Meghadutam, Abhijnanshakuntalam, and Raghuvamsham.
He has focused on Mithila and its van-kshetram, rivers, pilgrimage centers, the rural life and the activities of kids, dharma, rituals, different sanskaras, and finally the author says “वादे वादे जायते तत्त्वबोधः”. Many other Maithil scholars such as Adityanath Jha, Laksman Jha have also presented their arguments in the favor that Kalidas was from Mithila.
Scholars have different views regarding the identity of Kalidas, some say he is from Kashmir, some say he was a Banga, some say a Malavanivasi, while a group of scholars believes in the historiography of Indian poetry that he was a gem of Mithila. In the first part of this book, the relation between Kumarsambhawam and Mithila has been studied, and by the examination of the shlokas of Kumarsambhawam , Kalidas has been proved to be nurtured and brought up in Maithil tradition and systems(vivah, upnayan, gurukul). In the last portion of this Parvati Khand Pandit Jha has associated the relation of Shivapuran with Mithila and has proved his hypothesis. Although Kalidas’s identity is a disputed issue amongst the scholars, this book presents many new narratives and sources that are relevant and argumentative. In the second part of this book, the author emphasizes the relation between Meghdootam and Mithila.
Some points which Pandit Digambar Jha has presented :
1. Kalidas has used the term Mithila many times in his texts, including the words Maithili and Videhaja for Sita, and Videhaadhipati for Janak. He has also portrayed many customs of Mithila which shows his familiarity with Mithila, being a Maithil.
2. In the context of the marriage of Shiva-Parvati in Kumarsambhavam, Mahakavi Kalidas mentions about the "Mahakoshiprapat", which is still popularly known as Varaha-kshetra in Mithila, where 7 small streams coming out of the Himalayas join together to make "Mahakoshi" (also known as Saptakoshi) and today it is famous as the river Koshi. Mahakavi has described the Vyom-Ganga baths by the seven sages. The word “Mahavaradamshtra” mentioned in the text clearly indicates the famous pilgrimage "Varah-kshetra" of Mithila. Such a wonderful description of the rivers and pilgrimages of Mithila by Kalidas is the proof of him being a Maithil.
3. The marriage of Shiva-Parvati in the seventh sarga of Kumarsambhavam is an example of the Vajasaneyi marriage, this practice is prevalent in the region of Mithila. The bride performs “Mangalprasadhan” with mustard and durvadal before marriage, and “ubtan” is applied, the bath is taken from Mangal Kalash, the girl is brought to the ‘Kuldevata-griha’ for Matri worship. It is important to note that Kalidas has also described the same rituals for Shiva-Parvati marriage in the text. Since ancient times, the sanskar of ‘Akshar-aarambh’(beginning of alphabet learning) of children in Mithila is followed by writing on the land(Bhumi). Kalidas has written that the prince Raghu also starts his ‘Akshar-lekhan’ on land(bhumi) in Raghuvamsham.
4. Kalidas has used the very popular snack of Mithila named ‘Tilakod(तिलकोड़)’ in his works many times with the alias name ‘Adhar’.
5. Maithil kids play a game named ‘Guptmani’ in the villages of North Bihar. Kalidasa has skillfully described this game which is prevalent in the context of Alkavarnan in Meghadootam.
6. An ancient site named Uchchaith Devi temple, a 'Shakti-peeth' in Madhubani is associated with Kalidas in folklores of Mithila. Even the government documents and some scholars also mention it as 'Kalidas-dih' (Kalidas'place). It is believed by the local people since centuries that Mahakavi attained his knowledge by the blessings of Uchchaith Bhagwati. According to folk tradition and some scholars Kalidas spent his earlier life in a Gurukul near the site.
"न विद्या केवलया तपसा वापि पात्रता।
यत्रवृत्तमुभे चेमे तद्धि पात्रं प्रकीर्तितम।।"
(Copyright@ Ripunjay Kumar Thakur Department of History University of Delhi)