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A Naiyayika and A Poet on Existence of Kalidasa


In Sanskrit there are different forms of arguments. Here is an imagined comic conversation between a Naiyayika, a logician and a poet. The author initially gives the imaginary Naiyayika argument along with his reply as a poet.  This is a parody on how Sanskrit Shastric debates are sometimes conducted, especially on the topic of the existence of god.  The imaginary Naiyayika produces arguments to prove the non-existence of Kalidasa, and the poet responds to these arguments.

Imagined logician says:

किं नाम कालिदासत्वम्? कोऽवच्छेदको धर्म: कालिदासत्वस्य? क: कालिदासत्वाश्रय: । कालिदासत्वं न जाति: । अनेकानुगतत्वाभावात् । अपि कालिदासत्वम् आश्रयासिद्धम् । कालिदासत्वाश्रयस्य गगनारविन्दसाधर्म्यं केनाप्यदृष्टत्वात् । कालिदासत्वाश्रयस्य सद्भावे किं प्रमाणम्? न तावत् प्रत्यक्षम् । सम्प्रति अविद्यमानेन वस्तुना इन्द्रियसन्निकर्षासम्भवात् । नाप्यनुमानम् । न चोपमानम् । शाब्दं प्रमाणमिति चेत् कस्याप्तस्य वचनं प्रमाणीकरणीयम् । भूतकाले तदस्तित्वसम्भवेऽपि विदुषां तत्कालनिर्णये वैमत्यात् अनेकेषामाप्तानां परस्परविरोधे सर्वेषामनाप्तत्वात् शाब्दमपि प्रमाणं तदस्तित्वे न सिद्ध्यति । एवं प्रमाणाभावात् आश्रयासिद्धौ असिद्धाश्रयवर्तिन: कालिदासत्वस्य कथं सिद्धिरिति कथ्यताम् ।

What exactly is this property of Kalidasa-hood? What is the defining quality of this Kalidasa-hood? Where does this Kalidasa-hood reside? This Kalidasa-hood is not a generic property, as it clearly does not reside in multiple individuals. Is the individual locus of Kalidasa-hood proven to exist? Such a locus is like a lotus flower in the sky, as no one has seen either. What is the proof that Kalidasa-hood resides in some individual? It cannot be sense perception, since no sense organ can relate to an entity that does not exist at present. There is no inference, or analogy either. If you say that we should trust the testimony of some reliable person, who might such a person be? Even though one may grant the possibility of the existence of someone like Kalidasa in the past, scholars disagree on his time, and that disagreement makes all of them untrustworthy, and thus there is no proof that anyone like Kalidasa ever existed. Since there is no proof for the existence of such an individual, how can you prove the existence of Kalidasa-hood that resides in such a person?

वयं ब्रूम: –
We poets reply to the logician:

“असिद्धं कालिदासत्वं” भाषते न्यायवित्तम: ।
कथमेनां निराकुर्मो लोभयन्तीं शकुन्तलाम् ।।

The logician says that there is proof that someone named Kalidasa actually existed. However, how can we set aside the attractive Shakuntala?

असता कालिदासेन प्रणीतं काव्यमुत्तमम् ।
असती च यथा माया निर्मिमीतेऽखिलं जगत् ।।

The non-existent Kalidasa produced excellent poetry, like the non-existent illusion created this whole world

रमणीयानि काव्यानि प्रत्यक्षीकुर्महे वयम् ।
अथवा निश्चचारैषा कापि वागशरीरिणी ।।

We see the beautiful poetry in front of our eyes, or perhaps it is some formless speech that just got manifested.

अथवा मेनकारूपधारिणी वागवातरत् ।
शकुन्तलां निधायैषा भुवि याता पुनर्दिवम् ।।

Or perhaps, speech assuming the form of the nymph Menaka descended and she placed Shakuntala on earth and returned to heaven.

कालिदासत्वचिन्ता मां बाधते न कदाचन ।
इङ्गुदीतैलहस्ता मे हृदये सा शकुन्तला ।।

The worry over “who was Kalidasa?” never bothers me, because Shakuntala, holding the soothing oil of Ingudi in her hands, lives in my heart.

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