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Tejas in Kālidāsa

Pages 719 - 738



The present paper analyses various aspects of tejas in Kālidāsa's poetry. The analysis is preceded by a brief presentation of the most important scholarly opinions about the meaning of this term in Sanskrit literature. Three main topics of Kālidāsa's use of tejas are discussed: (1) tejas of rulers, ascetics and gods; (2) tejas as semen; (3) tejas of the sun and fire. In his poetry, as in earlier literature, tejas is seen as a substance which can be separated from its bearer. Its origin and nature are divine. It is in permanent possession of the gods, but it also characterizes rulers, ascetics, the sun, fire, lightning and weapons. Its power is destructive. Tejas fills with awe those who look upon its bearers (e. g. a ruler's subjects) and is a mark of their unusual nature. It can increase or decrease. Its colour is that of the japa flower. The tejas of Śiva's semen excels even the sun in its splendour.


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