Mahfil. v 7, V. 7 ( 1971) p. 229.


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Debi Prasanna Pattanayak

SANSKRIT LITERARY FORMS AND ORIYA LITERATURE

A note with examples

Sanskrit in ancient India was the cultural gold currency against which the general worth of literatures in the regional languages was measuredo The early phase of the developmental history of all the Indo-Aryan languages present the same phenomena. There was an abundance of artistic creation in Sanskrit under the benign patronage of kings and feudal chiefs, but the distribution of the esthetic product was limitedo Supported by the esthetic tenets of the time, the writers as well as the critics took it for granted that the apprehension of beauty is a rare phenomenon, the writer is endowed with the unique talents of the "creator" and the esthetic product is meant for the chosen few. This scarcity in abundance increased the hunger of the masses and, thus, new literature geared to satisfy the mass needs emerged in the regional languages.

The new efflorescence flowed in two directions eventually to merge in one theme - love. One direction is to break the barriers of "privatization" of literary texts by the privileged castes and present even the most abstruse discourses on religion and philosophy contained in the scripturesc The second direction is the depiction of sensuality and passion for nature< The phase of merger depicts the intense anguish and ecstasy of love, be it of the mundane prince and the princess or eternal Krishna and Radha

The early phase of literary activity is one of transcreation of the

epics and the scriptural literature. The various puranas^ gitas^ samhitas^ besides the Sawla^ Mahabhamta^ Dandi Ramayana and the Bhagavata in Onya beat testimony to the omnipresence of Sanskritic form and metamorphosed content. Even the earliest popular songs - 'koiti and cautisa - which continued to flourish until the end of the eighteenth century can be traced to Sanskrit influenceso The Sanskritic Webi and loti types of musical compositions provided the refrain, whereas the Sanskrit dutakavyas provided the general background to the koztz poems in Oriya.

Addressing kciti, the cuckoo, the poet gives expression to his emotion and passion, whether it is for filial love, sensuous love for nature or sensual rapture of the lover and beloved caught in separation and longing for reunion. Even serious, abstruse discourses are presented for the layman in a very simple and forthright language with koiti as the sakshin The oautisa and sodasa provide variations of the varnaksara composition^ where the letters of the alphabet begin a whole poem, a



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