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Erotic Shatakam In Sanskrit Literature

Shatakam are a collection of about 100 verses or ten/twenty added to it, each one of which is composed for depicting a single aspect. In Sataka, the verses that appear may not have any inner connection or any relation to one another. Each stanza stands independent on its own. Here is a look at some of the important Erotic Satakas:

Bhartrhari of the 7th century CE composed ‘Satakatrayi’ combining all the three categories of short lyric poetry. Sringara Sataka in erotic theme, Vairagya-satakam and Niti-satakam of gnomic and didactic nature, respectively. Historians doubted whether it was the same Bhartrhari who wrote Vakyapadiyam.

Amaruka of the 8th century CE wrote an exclusive and unique erotic lyric, namely Amaru-sataka – 100 verses describing eroticism. There is a traditional story which says that when Shankara, the philosopher, was defeated in a debate for his absence of knowledge in erotics, he entered the body of King Amaru and in that he learned everything about the erotic and wrote these verses. Each verse depicts the condition of a nayaka (hero) in a particular mood towards his nayika (heroine).

Utpreksha Vallabha of the 14th century CE had written a sataka based on an erotic theme, namely, Sundari Sataka, apart from the Bhiksatana sataka. Sundari Sataka is a highly artificial poetry in praise of feminine beauty composed in arya meter.

Danadeva, otherwise known as Danadaraja, composed three separate satakas on sringara, niti, vairagya. The author is identified as the son of Dehala, belonging to 1439 CE. The works imitate the style of Bhartrhari in every aspect.

Visvesvara, son of Lakhsmidhara, belonging to 18th century CE, wrote Romavali-Sataka, describing intimate feminine charms with elaborate skill. His other Satakas include Vakroja sataka, Holika sataka and Arya sataka which are of erotic theme.

The Sringara Satakas include the sataka works of Janardahna, Gosvamin and Narahari.

Kamaraja Dikshita composed 300 verses of erotic theme, Sringarakalikatrisati.

Nagaraja, son of Jalapa, wrote erotic lyrics in sataka form, namely, Bhava Sataka. It is collection of enigmatic verses in various meters conveying the erotic sentiment. The actions of various persons are described, with an implication of the reason for such an action/condition.