The kingfisher

The great kShemendra in his characterization of the qualities of a kavI had mentioned how he should be a good naturalist. This is an old quality whose germs are seen in vAlmIki himself. Below is a little word-painting by the great vAkpatirAja in this tradition. He was kavi in the court of yashovarman, the neo-maurya, who surging from madhyadesha cut down the va~Nga-s, only to be conquered himself by lalitAditya of Kashmir.

utplutya dUraM paridhUya pakShAv adho nirIkShya kShaNa-baddha-lakShyaH |
madhye-jalaM buDDati datta-jhampaH samatsyam utsarpati matsya-ra~NkaH ||

utplutya- springing; dUram- far up; paridhUya- shaking; pakShau- two wings; adhaH- below; nirIkShya- examining; kShaNa-baddha-lakShyaH- connecting to the target in an instance; madhye-jalaM-into the water; buDDati – dives; datta-jhampaH – gives a jump; samatsyam- with a fish; utsarpati – rises up; matsya-ra~NkaH – kingfisher.

Springing far upwards, fluttering its two wings, examining below, and in an instance connecting to its target, it dives with a jump into the water, with a fish rises up the kingfisher.

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