I'm reading this famous anecdote about KalidAsa, the great Indian poet. However it is written in Sanskrit and so, I have certains gaps in my interpretation.

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Here's how I've interpreted the story in English to the best of my abilities:

Once there was a poet in the King's court. His name was KalidAsA:. He, by his skill, was the best among all the poets (no one else was better?). He was the most respected in the King's court. He alone, among the poets, is recognized as the Chakravarti**(Indian word for chief/king/leader).** Another arrogant poet, who, in the absence of other poets, scolded the king (this is where I'm confused. I'm pretty sure I've misinterpreted this line. Why would another poet who is arrogant be narrating a story about KalidAsa to the king?). Somehow, the king listened to the story with joy: Once there was a king who invited all the poets (I'm not sure what the 'ka khA ga ghA' signifies) and having solved a puzzle, he told them "whoever can solve this puzzle, he alone, will be deemed Chakravarti." All the poets abandoned what they were doing and became engaged in solving the puzzle. Many solved the puzzle. The next day, having come to King's court with dull faces, they couldn't stand there firmly**(once again, this doesn't make sense. Why would they be embarrassed if many solved it?)** (Unsure what the last paragraph says even though it is the punchline of the story...)

I've translated the text line by line, to the best of my abilities.


  1. I'm having trouble understanding this anecdote. What exactly is going on here?

  2. Where have I misinterpreted based on the text. I've translated line for line, so hopefully it is easy to pinpoint exactly which sentence I misunderstood.

  3. If I've slightly misinterpreted a sentence(tense/plurality/etc), but still captured the overall essence, please still correct me. It'll help me get better at reading Sanskrit texts and serve as a source for others to better decode Sanskrit texts.

  • You might be interested in Sanskrit proposal at Area51. Do follow if desire so, thanks. – BasedShaiva Aug 11 '17 at 10:33
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    Purely Sanskrit based questions are off-topic here. You may be interested in Sanskrit Language Proposal. – Pandya Aug 11 '17 at 13:35
  • Long ago, there were many poets in the court of King Bhoja. One of them was (a poet) named Kalidasa. His genius surpassed all the others' and was greatly regarded by King Bhoja. (To me) He alone is the emperor among poets ; noone else. Unable to bear this, the other poets disparaged the king behind his back. Bhoja heard of this somehow. – user1195 Aug 11 '17 at 14:40
  • Once the king invited all the poets and gave them the following samasya "ka, kha, ga, gha" (note: a samasya is a poetic puzzle wherein a few words- usually the last line of a stanza- is offered and the poets must create a stanza around the words. Such samasyas are deliberately made to seem absurd on first glance making the puzzle challenging. If you observe the given samsya is dry alphabet that you cannot normally form a sentence with) and declared thus " Whosoever completes this samsasya of mine shall alone be assessed as the emperor among poets" – user1195 Aug 11 '17 at 14:47
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    All the poets , having reached their homes and having forsaken (shirked) all activities, engrossed (themselves) in solving the puzzle; but not even one was able to solve the puzzle. On the next day, they arrived at the king's court and took their seats with dull faces. – user1195 Aug 11 '17 at 14:52

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