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A Hindu poet, Kalyana Malla, renders in classical Sanskrit a biblical story for his Muslim patron, a Lodhi prince of the sixteenth century, in this unusual intermingling of cultural traditions. The sensual unfolding of David and Bathsheba s love story-the bathing scene, David s infatuation, his pursuit of Bathsheba, and their eventual union-is strikingly portrayed in the language of the gods through its shringara rasa, or the erotic mode, by a writer better known for the sex manual Ananga Ranga. This marvellous, first-ever English translation of Suleiman Charitra-a delightful Sanskrit rendering of Hebraic and Arabic tales-elegantly brings together the east and the west.
chest. Gradually it spread in all directions, enveloping heaven and earth in a murky darkness. From the smoke, there emerged above the chest a gigantic demon with the most horrific visage. But it seemed frightened and spoke softly on seeing the person who had opened the chest. ‘Mercy, mercy, Suleiman,’ it cried, ‘don’t, don’t kill me!’ The catcher of the fish heard this cry. ‘I am not Suleiman,’ he said, ‘look at me. I am just a fisherman.’ (21–24) The demon was enraged, and moved as if to kill
distance, before setting him down in a woodland. (124–127) There were four high hills at the four ends of that forest. In the middle there was a splendid lake, huge and full of lotus flowers. Beautiful fish, yellow and red, black and white, played about in its waters. The demon showed them to the fisherman as they stood on the shore. ‘There are big fish in this lake,’ he said. ‘Catch four different kinds every day and take them to the king. Show them to him yourself. He will take and measure
Oxford, 7 March 2006. 4 Detailed in the paper presented by Audrey Truschke at the 15th World Sanskrit Conference of the International Association of Sanskrit Studies, New Delhi, January 2012. Two other similar works further discussed in that paper are: Parasiprakasa (Light on Persian) of Krsnadasa, 16th CE, and Samskrtaparasikapadaprakasa (Light on Sanskrit and Persian Words) of Karnapura, 17th CE. 5 M. Winternitz, History of Indian Literature, vol. III, tr. Subhadra Jha, Motilal Banarsidass
names Nila and Misr. Nile and Egypt have been added here for equivalence. For Manmatha, see note 1.3–6. 4.59–62 Unlike most other names in this text, no equivalent can be found for Simhanada. For Manmatha and Kumara, see notes 1.3–6 and 2.103–107. 4.81–86 Shuka is a well-known sage in the epic Mahabharata. The name is also a synonym for parrot, the bird. 4.135–138 It will become clear, as this story unfolds, that this king is not Suleiman. 4.157–160 For Indra, see 1.2–3 and 1.17–20. His
waist and a red silken mantle covered her breasts and graceful throat. (4–8) With the graceful gait of a swan, the damsel walked daintily to the nearby lake. Its neck-deep water was clear and full of lotus flowers. Having looked it over, she sat down by the edge of the lake and gradually took off her ornaments. She then laid down her silken mantle and removed the embroidered bodice beneath it. Turning around quickly with a hint of bashfulness, her plump breasts shielded by her hands, she swiftly