When Go*vardhana composed his "Seven Hundred Elegant Verses" in Sanskrit in the twelfth century CE, the title suggested that this was a response to the 700 verses in the more demotic Prakrit language traditionally attributed to King Hala, composed almost a thousand years earlier. Both sets of poems were composed in the arya metre. Besides being the name of a metre, in Sanskrit arya means a noble or elegant lady, and Go*vardhana wished to reflect and appeal to a sophisticated culture. These poems each consist of a single stanza, almost as condensed and allusive as a Japanese haiku. They cover the gamut of human life and emotion, though the favorite topic is love in all its aspects.
Co-published by New York University Press and the JJC Foundation
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