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Kalidasa writing The Cloud Messenger (Meghaduta), 375 CE illustration

Meghadūta (Sanskrit: ममेघददत literally Cloud Messenger)[1] is a lyric poem written by Kālidāsa,
considered to be one of the greatest Sanskrit poets.


 1About the poem

 2Visualisation of Meghadūta

 3See also

 4Editions

 5Translations

 6References

 7External links

About the poem[edit]

A poem of 111 stanzas, it is one of Kālidāsa's most famous works. The work is divided into two
parts, Purva-megha and Uttara-megha. It recounts how a yakṣa, a subject of King Kubera (the
god of wealth), after being exiled for a year to Central India for neglecting his duties, convinces a
passing cloud to take a message to his wife at Alaka on Mount Kailāsa in the Himālaya
mountains.[2] The yakṣa accomplishes this by describing the many beautiful sights the cloud will
see on its northward course to the city of Alakā, where his wife awaits his return.
In Sanskrit literature, the poetic conceit used in the Meghaduta spawned the genre of Sandesa
Kavya or messenger poems, most of which are modeled on the Meghaduta (and are often
written in the Meghaduta's "mandakranta" metre). Examples include the Hamsa-sandesha, in
which Rama asks a hamsa bird to carry a message to Sita, describing sights along the journey.
In 1813, the poem was first translated into English by Horace Hayman Wilson. Since then, it has
been translated several times into various languages. As with the other major works of Sanskrit
literature, the most famous traditional commentary on the poem is by Mallinātha.
An excerpt is quoted in Canadian director Deepa Mehta's film, Water. The poem was also the
inspiration for Gustav Holst's The Cloud Messenger Op. 30 (1909–10).

Visualisation of Meghadūta[edit]
Meghadūta describes several scenes and is a rich source of inspiration for many artists.
An example are the drawings by Nana Joshi.[3]
Composer Fred Momotenko wrote the composition 'Cloud-Messenger', music for a multimedia
performance with recorder, dance, projected animation and electronics in surround audio. The
world premiere was at Festival November Music, with Hans Tuerlings (choreography), Jasper
Kuipers (animation), Jorge Isaac (blockflutes) and dancers Gilles Viandier and Daniela Lehmann.