Author: Sarla Khosla
Publisher: Agam Kala Prakashan
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8173200513
Brhatkatha originally was written by Gunadya (1st C B C) in Paisachi language. Later on it was translated in Prakt. Both are lost. Its only available version probably written in 1st CAD and known since 4th 5th CAD is Brharkatha Sloka Samgraha. This work has elaborately been studied in this volume with its contribution to Sanskrit literature.
The work narrates the adventures of many big traders (Written in story in story style), who scaled the mountains, churned the ocean in search of wealth of gold, gems, pearls etc. Narvahana Datta the son of Vatsaraja Udyana is the hero of the volume. His adventureous and romantic life (he married 26 times) is beautifully & entricately women in this volume. The work ends with his marriage with Madaumaujuska (his love), the daughter of Kalilngasena, a courtesan.
The poet has evolved middle class society and lack the court and could not gain popularity perhaps scholastic protection accorded to religious writers. Instead it elaborates on the adventureous life of a common man to a trader, to woman of low character i.e. a harlot and her importance in the society and the wealth spent upon her by the big traders. As the writer has deviated from the popular themes of the life and stories of kings, queens & their courts and adopted a style of narrating the lives of common men & women it throws a flood of light on the religious, social and political life of the country.
The present writer has sifted history of the period from these stray references in the volume. The greatest contribution of Brhatkatha is Mrchchkatkam its plot, theme etc, all are borrowed by sudraka with a difference which tell about the time-gap & developments pertaining to social, religious & political life of the country. The prosperity of Brhatkatha agrees with that of Gupta golden ages. A comparative study with Chaturbhan, a work of Gupta age has been done etc.
Gunadya and Brhatkatha
Food & Drinks
Sudraka and His Times
Society and the Periods of Study, Language