According to various historical sources Bharavi can be placed as early as 500 A.D. Kiratarjunya was based on an episode from the epic Mahabharata. In Mahabharata when Pandavas are sent to forest as a part of their exile it is Draupadi who urges them to break the pledge. Thereafter a council is held. It has been decide that Arjuna needs to obtain divine weapons of Lord Shiva. Arjuna obeying the order practices in the Himalayas. Here he struggles with a Kirata which is Shiva himself. Lord Shiva grants the boon. Based on this theme Bharavi has penned the epic poem.
The opening shows the skill of the poet. Bharavi begins with the return of a spy whom Yudhisthir has sent to report on the deeds of Duryodhana. Draupadi becomes anxious and urges swift battle. Bhima offers his support. The poet's imagination is proved by the introduction of Shiva's host; struggles under Skanda's leadership with the hero and the chapter of the contest with magic weapons. However it is made necessary to duplicate the episode of the force of the penance that causes fear and evokes divine intervention. In the first two Cantos the political principles of the day have been a major influence.
His style has a calm dignity which is attractive, while he stands outs in the observation and record of the beauties of nature. The very first line strikes the true note of high policy. His one verse has the first and third, second and fourth lines identical. In another all four are alike. He eschews long compounds though it is not essentially obscure. However he sets a bad example by showing his fondness in grammar. He in many ways is the beginner of mannerisms for the later poets. He takes utmost care in the use of the narrative tenses. In metrical form Bharavi is developed as he is in the use of the figures of speech. Bharavi is famed in history for Kiratarjunya a Sanskrit poem that describes the fight between Arjun and Lord Shiva. The Mahabharata mentions tells how Draupadi urges the Pandavas to break their pledge when the Pandavas with Draupadi have retired under their vow of twelve years' banishment to the Dvaita forest. A meeting is held where Yudhisthir pleads for the bond. Bhima challenges his argument. Vyasa advices Pandavas to apt for retirement from the Dvaita forest and go to the Kamyaka wood. Yudhisthir takes the wise course of bidding Arjuna in order to secure from Shiva divine weapons.
Magha was the poet at King Varmalata's court at Srimala. His main work is Shishupalavadha. He has borrowed the theme of this epic from Mahabharata. In this epic Shishupala's head is cut off by Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna encourages Yudhisthir to perform royal dedication. The rite proceeds and Bhishma's advice results Lord Krishna getting the award. Shishupala, king of Chedi becomes angry and leaves the hall. Yudhisthir tries to appease him. However Bhishma praises Krishna and restrains him. Shishupala revolts and seeks to devastate the sacrifice.
Yudhisthir seeks out for Bhishma's guidance. He is advised to have trust on Krishna and challenge the king. The latter insults Bhishma. Shishupala then abuses Krishna. Magha has treated the theme with originality. In Canto one there is a new motif as the sage Narada appears in the house of Vasudeva where Krishna lives. Magha's skill in politics is also shown. In Cantos four to nine Magha imitates Bharavi. Thereafter through a series of descriptions he exhibits his skill.
The changes made in the epic narrative are not minor. The rival speeches have been shortened. Bharavi's procedure is imitated as far as making a struggle between rival armies preceding the contest is concerned.
These stories have high qualities of poetry and the plot and characterization is not that great. However he lacks the conciseness, the serenity and dignity of Bharavi. His poem has luxuriance of expression and imagination. He admits his indebtedness to Kama Sutra and exhibits intimate knowledge. He imitates good sense and simplicity of Bharavi. Magha is capable of effective strength and simplicity that is visible in the speeches of his heroes.
His use of figures is free and his alliterations have point and effect. He is adept in language as well as gives an abundant illustration of grammatical rules which is probably under Bhatti's influence. He has borrowed certain techniques from Panini. Magha's chief accomplishment is in Canto IV when he manages to use twenty-two metres. The sloka is the most common; Upajati of Vancastha type; Indra Vajra type; the Udgata; the Aupacchandasika; the Drutavilambita; the Puspitagra and many more metres have been used. He has used one Vipula in every three or four verses. Magha allows the usage of weak caesura. Magha in the Prasasti gives some autobiographical details which is a rarity among Indian poets. Magha belonged to the state of Gujarat.
Rajasekhara was a popular Sanskrit poet and playwright. He belonged to the Brahmin lineage in the ninth-tenth century. His father was a high priest and his grandfather, Akalajalada was a great poet. They appear to have originated from Maharashtra. Rajasekhara married Avantisundari, an accomplished Kshatriya princess. She was the 'crest jewel of the Chauhana family. ' The poet travelled widely, his familiarity with south India being particularly remarkable.
Somadeva (1035 - 1085) preserved lot of India's ancient folklore in the form of tales in verse. He is the son of Rama. He was the court poet to King Ananta of Kashmir. He wrote Kathasaritasagara in order to divert the troubled mind of Suryamati, a princess of Jalandhara. She was the wife of Ananta and mother of Kalasha. His work was after a considerable period of Ksemendra. Somadeva has one of his own compositions that are divided into Tarangas. It is believed that Kalhana was influenced in his choice of title for his account by Somadeva. His Kathasaritasagara reveals that his efforts have not succeeded in producing a unified work. However its merit does not rest on construction. It was presented in an attractive, elegant, simple and unpretentious form. Several stories present a varied appeal, either as amusing or gruesome or romantic.
Asvaghosha's famous work is the Buddhacarita, a court epic in excellent style and spirit on the life of the Buddha. He is also said to be the author of the Sutralankara and Mahayanasraddhopada. The Saundarananda is another famous work of Ashvaghosa, which is in the epic manner devoted to the effective exposition of Buddhism. Three Buddhist dramas have been discovered from the fragments of manuscripts on palm-leaf, at Turfan. One of them named Sariputraprakarana is ascribed to Ashvaghosa, who was a contemporary of Kanishka. The drama has nine acts and its theme is based on the events which led up to the conversion of the young Maudgalayana and Sariputra by the Buddha. The drama has a close relation with the classical type as laid down in the Natyashastra. The other two dramas of the same manuscript may also be attributed to Ashvaghosa because they have the same appearance as the Sariputraprakarana. One of them is allegorical and no earlier specimen of this type of drama than the Prabodhacandrodaya of Kisnamisra is known. In this drama one can find the allegorical figures of Buddhi (wisdom), Kirti (fame) and Dhriti (firmness) appearing and conversing. Ashvaghosa usually confined to religious themes.
Banabhatta wrote Harsha Charita late in Harsha's reign that ended in 647 A.D. Bana is also credited with Kadambari, Chandikasataka and Parvatiparinaya. He died before completing the novel. It was completed by his son Bhusanabhatta. However, Chandikasataka and Parvatiparinaya possess feeble construction and style. He was a poet who received rich rewards from his royal patron. He exhibits his knowledge of grammar and adheres to the due use of the perfect. He is not tired of using the figures of speech. He is produces prose that is rather rhythmical. The long compounds are clearly built up and intermingled with shorter words. His skilful use of sound effects and figures of speech has been imitated by many writers. He is not capable of epigrammatic brevity. The description of the doorkeeper in the Kadambari reveals his normal style. He did realize the humorous side of exaggerations.
Bhatti is the author of the Mahakavya Bhattikavya that consists of short cantos. The name Bhatti has been taken from the Prakriti name Bhartr. His work gave Magha the drive to show his grammatical skills to the extent that he does. He was known to Bhamaha. The list of Alamkaras given by Bhatti is in a certain measure though the source is still unknown. Bhatti's poem serves the double plan of describing Rama's history as well as illustrating the rules of Sanskrit grammar. The twenty-two cantos fall into four sections; the first four cantos describe miscellaneous rules; then the next five give the leading rules, cantos ten to thirteen illustrate the ornaments of poetry and the rest of the cantos illustrates the use of the tempers and tenses. Pleasure and profit has been devised carefully. Bhatti has given the rank of a Mahakavi. Bhatti plots to produce interesting and effective verse. His aim helps his style as it does not allow the adoption of long compounds or obscure allusions.
Jayadeva also went on to become a teaching faculty in the school of Kumarapataka. The earliest reference of this saintly poet is found in "Prithviraj Raso" written in old Hindi by Chand Bardai who is generally assigned to the 13th century. Jaydev wrote Geeta Gobinda
which is popular all over India. In Orissa the collection of palm leaf manuscripts of Geeta Gobinda prove that Geeta Gobinda was only next in popularity to the Oriya Bhagavata of Jagannath Das. Geeta Gobinda depicts the love of Radha and Lord Krishna.
The Tribhangi pose of Lord Krishna playing the flute had gained popularity due to Jayadeva. He had also institutionalised the system of Devadasis in the temples of Orissa and also helped to spread the message of Vaishnavism in a clearer manner.
Vatsabhatti initially wrote for the guild of silk-weavers of a provincial town. Again his compositions also reveal the use of Kavya in his time. He firmly says that his work is done carefully and the truth is depicted in his compositions. According to the laws of poetry he inserts in his forty-four stanzas descriptions of the town, of the seasons and shows by the use of twelve metres. His skill in versification is clearly evident though the effect is spoiled by his inability to use caesura. His style is that of the eastern or Gauda where in one stanza the sound of the verses has been fitted to the altering sentiment, advancing from soft harmonious sounds to discords.
One can find abundant use of alliterations, similes and metaphors in all his Kavya. His poem is disfigured by tautologies. However his eulogy is a priceless testimony to the prevalent cultivation of Sanskrit poetry. It helps to aid us in determining the date of India's greatest poet.
Apart from them Harisena, Sudraka, Subandhu, Amaru, Bhartrihari, Kalhana are the other Sanskrit Litterateurs of Sanskrit Literature.