Southwest monsoons in kAvya

The life line of bhArata, the southwest monsoon wind, appears to have been an object of attention of the Hindu poets over the ages.

One example presented by vidyAkara, whose author remains unknown to me, goes thus:
vAti vyasta-lava~Nga-lodhra-lavalI-ku~njaH kara~nja-drumAn Adhunvann upabhukta mukta muralA toyormi-mAlA-jaDaH |
svairaM dakShiNa-sindhu-kUla-kadalI-kachChopakaNThodbhavaH kAverI-taTa-tADi-tADana-taTatkArottaro mArutaH ||

While the smooth and delicate alliterative effects of this verse are not easily rendered from the devabhASha, one may roughly see it thus:
The southwest monsoon wind blowing from the waves of the ocean of the muralA land (northern Kerala) which,  it has tasted and abandoned,  shakes up the trees of clove, Symplocos racemosa, star fruit and Millettia pinnata beans. The wind born in the southern sea slopes with banana groves blows at will rustling and beating the palms on the banks of the kAverI.

Several poets resort to evoking shR^i~NgAra as the primary rasa as they describe the southwest monsoon winds. One example is a poem of unknown authorship recorded by vidyAkara:
bhuktvA chiraM dakShiNa-dig-vadhUm imAM vihAya tasyA bhayataH shanaiH shanaiH |
sa-gandha-sArAdi-kR^itA~Nga-bhUShaNaH prayAty udIchIM dayitAm ivAnilaH ||

Here the southwest monsoon wind is described as having the southern direction as a wife whom he has enjoyed for long. He then silently steals away from her with his body laden with the perfumes of the south to the northern direction which is like his lover (dayitA).

Yet other poets work the classification of women of the subcontinent typical of the kAmashAstra into this expression of the shR^i~NgAra rasa. Two of the most famous of these are of the bauddha vasukalpa and the shaiva shrIkaNTha-shiva.
vasukalpa’s verse:
andhrI-nIrandhra-pIna-stana-taTa-luThanAyAsamanda-prachArAsh chArUn-nullAsayanto draviDa-vara-vadhU-hAri-dhammilla-bhArAn |
jighrantaH siMhalInAM mukha-kamala-malaM keralInAM kapolaM chuMbanto vAnti mandaM malaya-parimalA vAyavo dAkShiNAtyAH ||

It states that the fragrance bearing winds blowing from the south roll and slow down after striking the surfaces of the firm and closely set breasts of the andhra girls, then they delight among heavy flower-decked hairdo of the wives of the Tamil country, then they smell the fresheners in the lotus mouths of the girls of shrI lankA and finally kiss the cheeks of the girls of kerala.

shrIkaNTha’s verse:
kAntA-karShaNa-lola-kerala-vadhU-dhammilla-mallI-rajash chaurAsh choDa-nitambinI-stana-taTe niShpandatAm AgatAH |
revA-shIkara-dhAriNo .andhra-murala-strI-mAna-mudrAbhidaH vAtA vAnti navIna-kokila-vadhU-hU~NkAra-vAchAlitAH ||

Here the southwest monsoon winds are described as stealing the jamine pollen from the hairdo of the kerala wifes which have been loosened by the pulling by their paramours. Then the winds grow motionless upon colliding with the breasts of the women of the Tamil country endowed with good hips. Then they are said to bear the streams of water from the revA peak and remove the self-consciousness of the women of the andhra and murala countries, shrieking like a young female cuckoo.

All these are good examples of tropes working shR^i~NgAra into the description seasonal and weather patterns, a common theme in Hindu poetry though they could offend the western-conditioned modern Indian mind.

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