(Last Updated on : 31/12/2012)
Sanskrit influence on Bengali literature
is a well accepted fact. Sanskrit, one of the primitive languages of the world is of Indo-European origin, and diagnosed to be the mother of many other languages. Religions like Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism have abundant use of Sanskrit. Hindu mythology states that Lord Brahma introduced this holy language to sages and therefore, it was also referred as "Dev Vani"-'Language of Gods', in ancient times. Sanskrit was the vehicle of literature and culture for almost the whole of the subcontinent since the beginning of the Christian era.
Sanskrit models were taken by Bengali for its Mangal poems. Adaptation into Bengali meant vulgarization and emasculation of the Sanskrit originals. The inferior aspects of Sanskrit poetry like the exaggerated tenderness and sentimentality, ideology and the trickeries of its clich‚s and conceits have appealed the Bengali poets. Therefore jaded imageries from Sanskrit are often used. However Bengali could not meet Sanskrit as it was more religious in character. The religious character was created by laukik cults that remained in the service till the nineteenth century. Its main concern was religious as the laukik cults had their own separate sects of followers. Their literature was concerned with their own deities, saints, creeds and doctrines.
The classical revival which nourished Bengali in its youth was a religious movement. The resources of Sanskrit literature
were explored for authoritative religious works which was required for Hinduism to resurge. Bhagavata Purana received the attention of imitators and translators while Kalidasa
's works had no meticulous influence. In the days of old Bangla, indulgence had been observed while poetic works in Sanskrit was taken into consideration. Even after the evolution of Bangla, many well-known Bengali poets, such as Jaydev
, Umapatidhara and Govardhan acharya
, continued to compose their literary works in Sanskrit. The result was that many pure Sanskrit words entered Bangla from the very early stages.
However the present Bengali Literature no longer plays a submissive role to Sanskrit which indicates the vitality and modernity it has acquired since its impact of Western rule in the nineteenth century. Ramprasad Sen
and Rabindranath Tagore
illustrate the eclipse and the re-emergence of the Sanskrit classics. Kalidasa had influenced Rabindranath's lyric poetry. Bengali literature in the past has derived many false standards and values from Sanskrit. Many Sanskrit works enjoy an undeserved reputation in Bengal. The relationship between Bengali and Sanskrit hopefully would be freed from lingering traces of the religious influence.