Sanskrit Works Discussed in Basham's The Wonder That Was India (Vol 1) Chapter IX: Language and Literature

Regarding the Indian tradtion, Basham's is the classic work which covers the "Hindu" portion up to roughly 13th century, and excludes discussion of Islamic influence - which got covered by Vol 2 written by another scholar. I have just bought Vol 2, and is still awaiting the book to arrive in my mail box. In the mean time, some notes on texts mentioned: (more important ones in Bold)


Rg Veda - earliest surviving form of Sanskrit

Atharva Veda

Brahmanas - prose, e.g. Satapatha Brahmana

Yajur Veda

early Upanisands - religious significance

Yaska's Nirukta - oldest Indian linguistic text, dates from 5th century B.C.

Panini's Astadhyayi ("Eight Chapters") - composed towards the end of the 4th century B.C.

>  Patanjali's Mahabhasya - 2nd century B.C.

Kasika Vrtti of Jayaditya and Vamana - 7th century A.D.

Mahabharata - more important of the two Epics; includes Santi Parvan (Bhisma's sermon in his death), Bhagavad Gita, stories of Rama and Sita, Sakuntala, Savitri, Nala/Damayanti (longest narrative episode)   



Dharma Sastras


Buddhacarita - 1st century A.D.

> fragment of plays 

Bhasa: (author of 13 surviving plays, before Kalidasa)

> Svapnavasavadatta ("The Visions of Vasavadatta")

> Pratijnayaugandharayana ("Yaugandharayana's Vows")


> Abhijnanasakuntala ("The Recognition of Sakuntala") - play

> Vikramorvasi ("Urvasi Won by Valour") - play

> "Malavika and Agnimitra - play, comedy of harem intrigue

> Meghaduta ("Cloud-messenger")

> Rtusamhara ("Garland of the Seasons")

> Kumarasambhava ('The Birth of the War-god"

> Raghuvamsa ("Dynasty of Raghu") - incomplete 

Sudraka's Mrcchakatika ("The Little Clay Cart") - play; probably contemporary of Kalidasa

Visakhadatta: (?6th century) - dramatist of politics

> Mudraraksasa ("The Minister's Signet Ring")

> Devicandragupta ("The Queen and Chandra Gupta") - in fragments only

Plays ascribed to Harsa:

> Ratnavali

> Priyadarsika

> Nagananda ("The Joy of the Serpents")

Mahendravikramavarman's Mattavilasa ("The Sport of the Drunkards"): M is Pallava King; play is a farce

Pancatantra ("Five Treatises") - translated into Pahlavi in the 6th century

> Narayana's Hitopadesa ("Salutary Instruction") - composed in Bengal in 12th century, as reader for Sanskrit students

Dandin's Dasakumaracarita ("Tales of the Ten Princes") - prose, late 6th/early 7th century

Subandhu's Vasavadatta - good because of mastery of language, difficult to translate - late 6th/early 7th century

Bhavabhuti: (early 8th century, Kanyakubja; marks end of great Sanskrit dramatists; Indian critics regard him as second to Kalidasa)

> Malati and Madhava

> Mahaviracarita ("The Deeds of the Great Hero")

> Uttararamacarita ("The LAter Deeds of Rama")

Kumaradasa's Janaki-harana ("Rape of Sita")

Bharavi's Kiratarjuniya ("Arjuna and the Kirata")

Bhatti's Bhattikavya - 7th century, poem on the story of Rama

Magha's Sisupala-vadha ("Slaying of Sisupala") - 7th century 

Sandhyakara's Ramacarita ("Deeds of Rama") - 12th century - allows for dual reading as story of Rama of Ayodhya or to the king Ramapala of Bengal - untranslatable

Bhartrhari's short poems - 7th century

Amaru's short poems - 7th century


> Harsacarita ("Deeds of Harsha") - 7th-century; gives fragment of autobography; apparently unfinished

> Kadambari - prose work, finshed by his son

Bilhana: (Kashmiri; 11th or 12th century)

Caurapancasika ("Fifty Stanzas of the Thief")

> Vikramankadevacarita  

Jayadeva's Gita Govinda ("Song of the Cowherd") - written in Bengal in the 12th century, still sung at the festivals of the Bengali Vaisnavite sects; rhymed

Somadeva's Ocean of Story - 11th century

Kalhana's Rajatarangini ("The River of Kings") - important for Kashmiri history

Nayacandra Suri's Hammira-mahakavya - Jaina monk, among the latest important works of Sanskrit literature


Other later dramatists:

Bhatta Narayana (?8th century)

Murari (early 9th century)

Rajasekhara (9th-10th centuries)

Krsnamisra (11th century)


Literary theorists:

Dandin's Kavyadarsa - 6th to 7th cenutry A.D.

Bhamaha's Kavyalamkara, 7th cenutry A.D.

Anandavardhana's Dhvanyaloka, 9th century A.D.

Mammata's Kavyaprakasa, early 12th century A.D.

Visvanatha's Sahityadarpana, 14th century A.D.

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