The book under review titled Pun In Sanskrit Literature – A New Approach is a fantastic book.
All Sanskrit lovers and pun lovers should read this book without fail.
The book was first published by Mysore University, India in 1982. The author Gurupad K Hegde is a great scholar and has written this book after intense study of Sanskrit literature for many years.
The book has nine chapters.
The first chapter deals with the pun as alankara in Sanskrit literature.
The origin of pun starts with the first kavya (adi kavya) of the world written by the world’s first poet, sage Valmiki.
The origin of Ramayana is from a sloka of pun! The verse starts with ‘ma nisada’ is a curse on the hunter that he should never attain salvation for he killed the beautiful krauncha bird which was absorbed in love. And wonderfully, the verse also means that the great Lord Vishnu may attain a position for ever as he killed the demon Ravana and Valin.
The author describes in detail the root cause of the concept of fun, the nature of the words in pun and objects of the pun in the second chapter.
The author gives numerous examples to explain the figurative combinations in the great and beautiful language Sanskrit in chapter three.
Chapter four of the book deals with the role of pun in classical Sanskrit literature.The author indicates Shakespeare’s lines in Othello (III-2) The word ‘lies’ in the conversation of Desdemona and Clown is a witty use of pun to mean ‘lodging’ as well as telling a lie!
The great poets Sri Harsha, Bhavaputi,Asvaghosa,Bharavi,Magha,Dandin have used Slesha or pun in their works.
And it is to be noted that the only language which has kavyas where two or more stories are narrated throughout the full length of a poem is Sanskrit. Thus we have kavyas which describes Ramayana and Mahabharata in the same verse!
Needless to say that the author has dealt the Mahabharata kuta slokas which means the slokas with knots!
While the fifth chapter deals with functional pun and the sixth chapter deals with perceptional pun and the seventh with situational pun! The eighth chapter of the book deals with the impact of pun in iconography.
The author concludes in his concluding chapter that pun is everywhere starting from vedic literature to the modern literature which gives the experiences of day to day business of life.
Over three hundred selected verses are given as examples to understand the pun in Sanskrit literature.
On completing the book we are wonderstruck with the author’s deep reading as well as with the vastness of the wonderful t Sanskrit literature!
Index of subject and index of 300 verses will be useful to the readers.
Finally, we may pray that more such books should come to enlighten us!