A beautiful piece of literary treasure, the Meghadutam Kalidasa is a short poem of a little over 100 verses. The stanzas are uniform in length of four sentences each. This convenient length makes it a favorite among scholars and translators. The Meghaduta poem is a beautiful work of literary art and the descriptions given in it are so vivid that one visualizes what the poet wants to convey. The Meghadutam, literally translated means the Cloud Messenger. It is divided into two parts, Purvamegha (Previous cloud) and Uttaramegha (Consequent cloud). To know more about this beautiful poem called Meghadutam, continue to read this insightful article on it.
According to the story, the treasurer of Gods, Kubera has a group of divine attendants working for him, called the Yakshas. One of these Yakshas was so smitten and obsessed with his wife that he ignored his duties. He was cursed and banished into the woods on earth. Thoroughly dejected, he kept thinking about his wife and missed her a lot. His wife also kept thinking about him all day and all night.
Then one day, monsoons arrived on earth. The Yaksha saw a rain cloud pass by and requested it to carry a message to his wife. The Yaksha then starts to describe the route the cloud should be taking. The description is so captivating and so vivid, that one can actually feel like he scenes are flashing in front of you. The Yaksha makes the route seem as attractive as possible so that the cloud takes his message to his wife. The emotions portrayed are so beautiful that it couldn't have been given a better treatment by any other poet.
An Extract From The Poem
“On Rama's shady peak where hermit roam,
Mid streams by Sita's bathing sanctified,
And erring Yaksha made his hapless home,
Doomed by his master humbly to abide,
And spend a long, long year of absence from his bride.
Some months were gone; the lonely lover's pain,
Had loosed his golden bracelet day by day,
Ere he beheld the harbinger of rain,
A cloud that charged the peak in mimic fray,
As an elephant attacks a bank of earth in play.
Before this causes of lover's hopes and fears,
Long time Kubera's bondman sadly bowed,
In meditation, choking down his tears—
Even happy hearts thrill strangely to the cloud;
To him, poor wretch, the loved embrace was disallowed.
Longing to save his darling's life, unblest
With joyous tidings, through the rainy days,
He plucked fresh blossoms for his cloudy guest,
Such homage as a welcoming comrade pays,
And bravely spoke brave words of greeting and of praise.
Nor did it pass the lovelorn Yaksha's mind,
How all unfitly might his message mate,
With a cold, mere fire and water, smoke and wind—
Ne'er yet was lover could discriminate
'twixt life and lifeless things, in his love-blinded state.
I know, he said, thy far-famed princely line,
Thy state, in heaven's imperial council chief,
Thy changing forms; to thee, such fate is mine,
I come a suppliant in my widowed grief—
Better thy lordly “no” than meaner soul's relief.
O cloud, the parching spirit stirs thy pity;
My bride is far, through royal wrath and might;
Bring her my message to the Yaksha city,
Rich-gardened Alaka, where radiance bright
From Shiva's crescent bathes the palaces in light.
When thou art risen to airy paths of heaven,
Through lifted curls the wanderer's love shall peep,
And bless the sight of thee for comfort given;
Who leaves his bride through cloudy days to weep
Except he be like me, whom chains of bondage keep?
While favouring breezes waft thee gently forth,
And while upon thy left the plover sings,
His pround, sweet song, the cranes who know thy worth,
Will meet thee in the sky on joyful wings,
And for delights anticipated join their rings.
Yet hasten, O my brother, till thou see—
Counting the days that bring the lonely smart—
The faithful wife who only lives for me:
A drooping flower is woman's loving heart,
Upheld by the stem of hope when two true lovers part.
And when they hear thy welcome thunders break,
When mushrooms sprout to greet thy fertile weeks,
The swans who long for the Himalayan lake
Will be thy comrades to Kailasa's peaks,
With juicy bits of lotus-fibre in their beaks.
One last embrace upon this mount bestow
Whose flanks were pressed by Rama's holy feet,
Who yearly strives his love for thee to show,
Warmly his well-beloved friend to greet
With the tear of welcome shed when two long-parted meet.
Learn first, O cloud, the road that thou must go,
Then hear my message ere thou speed away;
Before thee mountains rise and rivers flow:
When thou art weary, on the mountains stay,
And when exhausted, drink the rivers' driven spray…”