"Shatakatrayam Questions for Alfred J. Drake's English 242: World Literature 400-1600 CE, Spring 2009 at Chapman University"

SHATAKATRAYAM QUESTIONS

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Assigned: Shatakatrayam (1332-37).

Shatakatrayam

1. Compare two poems from this collection on the difference between worldly pursuits (wealth, reputation, political power, etc) and a desire to achieve spiritual purity and liberation (moksha) from the cycle of attachment, karma, and rebirth. What tension emerges as the lyric voice or "speaker" tries to keep these imperatives separate or to place one above the other?

2. There is some distrust of the power of love in these lyrics. But to what extent and in what ways does the speaker question this perspective? Consider the poems' references to love and its representation of or references to women.

3. Our introductions (I mean the general one about the Gupta period in India and the one about the assigned poet) explains that Bhartrhari's poetry is of a very "aesthetic" kind but also that it is admirably epigrammatical and intellectual. Explain in your own way how a few of the poems strike you with regard to their style or form: what is distinctive about the way they convey feelings and ideas or construct images for us?

Edition: Lawall, Sarah, ed. The Norton Anthology of World Literature. 2nd edition. Volumes 1ABC. New York: Norton, 2002. ISBN A = 0-393-97755-2, B = 0-393-97756-0, C = 0-393-97757-9.