Bhavabhūti Analysis

Life

(Literature and the Ancient World, Critical Edition)

Bhavabhūti (BUH-vah-BEW-tee) was born in Vidarbha (modern Berar), in central India, of the Brahman caste. He lived in the court of the Yaśovarman, king of Kanauj, a famous city located on the Ganges River at the rishi hermitage, and was given the title Śrikantha (“Splendid Voice,” or “Throat of Experience”). He was second only to the Sanskrit dramatist Kālidāsa (c. 340-c. 400 c.e.). Bhavabhūti’s plays depict the grandiose and sublime rather than the simple and commonplace. Replete with learning, logic, metaphysics, and passion, his plays are noted for their suspensefulness and characterization, and his plots are considered superior to Kālidāsa’s.