Life

Amaru (ah-MAH-rew) was a Sanskrit poet who has been identified as a prominent member in the court of a king named Vikramāditya (c. 95 b.c.e.-78 c.e., not to be confused with the seventh and eighth century Cālukya kings of the same name) who ruled over Ujjain, a city located on the Sipra River in central India and a meeting ground for many nations, including the Greeks. He may, however, have been a contemporary of Kālidāsa (c. 340-c. 400 c.e.), the greatest Sanskrit dramatist, or he may have been the king Amaru (c. 640-700 c.e.), whose dead body was believed to have been occupied by the philosopher Śankara when the king desired to acquaint himself with the arts of love.

Influence

Amaru’s Amaru-śataka (seventh or eighth century c.e.; Amarusatakam, 1984) is sometimes classed as a kāvya, a poem in Sanskrit literature with serious intent. Its goal is the creation of a series of emotional word-pictures, often within the compass of a brief stanza, similar to the Sattasai (the seven hundred), compiled by Hāla. Amaru’s Amaru-śataka is considered an important lyrical work that portrays sensuous and erotic love rather than romantic love. Its theme, however, is also interpreted in religious terms as illuminating the passionate quest of the soul for god.

Additional Resources

Keith, A. Berriedale. Classical Sanskrit Literature. Calcutta: YMCA Publishing House, 1958.

Walker, Benjamin. Hindu World: An Encyclopedic Survey of Hinduism. London: George Allen and Unwin, 1968.