Must-have Classical Sanskrit Story Books For An Enthusiast

It is believed that Sanskrit language has one of the biggest pool of stories and literature when it comes to any ancient and classical language. The beauty of Sanskrit, like many other languages, is that these stories are relevant to this day.

Contrary to popular belief, Sanskrit literature does not simply contain religious or spiritual content–it has a vast treasure of scientific, technical, art-related, moral, and social value in its liteature touching almost every walk of human life.

In this post, I will list some great collection of stories and literature available online for enthusiasts who believe that Sanskrit language is their topmost hobby.

The Clay Sanskrit Library: Story Collections, Tales, Fables

This is a huge collection of stories, tales and fables from the history of Sanskrit literature brought to you in various books.

The book description itself says:

Adventure, conquest, romance, comedy, suspense, and tragedy are just a few of the themes woven together by the range of styles represented in this set of classical Sanskrit literature.

And the set of these books contain all these elements if you are up to read some classical Sanskrit stories. If you are Sanskrit nerd, you can’t miss having this collection.

The Kathakoca, or Treasury of Stories: Translated from Sanskrit Manuscripts

As clear from the name itself, this book is a treasure trove of Sanskrit stories illustrating tenets and practice of Jainism in ancient India. Without doubt, these stories will appeal more to the mind who has some interest in Jainism or at least is open to know more about it. As per the description of the book:

…though they are genuine fragments of Indian folk-lore, they have been edited by some Jain theologian for the purpose of the edification of the votaries of that religion. It seems, accordingly, desirable to give a short account of Jainism, in order to render these tales intelligible.

The Story of Vedic India as Embodied Principally in the Rig-Veda

If you have been wanting to know more about Vedic-period India and what conspired at that time, this book will give you a detailed account.

As per the description of the book itself:

…you will see the original copyright references, library stamps (as most of these works have been housed in our most important libraries around the world), and other notations in the work.

A Rasa Reader: Classical Indian Aesthetics

Just check the name of this book. What a recondite subject to touch. The place of emotion in art was explored by Indian intellectuals and documented. As per the description of the book itself:

This book is the first in any language to follow the evolution of rasa from its origins in dramaturgical thought—a concept for the stage—to its flourishing in literary thought—a concept for the page. Reader on Rasa incorporates primary texts by every significant thinker of classical Indian aesthetics, many never translated before. The arrangement of the selections captures the intellectual dynamism that has powered this debate for centuries. Headnotes explain the meaning and significance of each text, a comprehensive introduction summarizes major threads in intellectual-historical terms, and critical endnotes and an extensive bibliography add further depth to the selections. The Sanskrit theory of emotion in art is one of the most sophisticated in the ancient world, a precursor of the work being done today by critics and philosophers of aesthetics. This volume’s conceptual detail, historical precision, and clarity will appeal to any scholar interested in a full portrait of global intellectual development.

I think you can’t miss having it if you are a genuine Sanskrit lover.

Tales from the Kathasaritsagara (Penguin Classics)

A true Penguin classic, this volume contains 10 of 18 original books of Kathasaritasagara. It is believed that it these books were compiled for the queen of Kashmir around A.D. 1070. As per the description of the book:

Unlike those more familiar classics, this work contains no hidden moral lessons. Instead, it is an uninhibited and bawdy celebration of earthly life.

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