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Amaruka – 8th century Author Of Amarusataka

Amaruka was the author 8th century Sanskrit work Amarustaka, literally a hundred love letters. Amaruka was also called Amaru, Amara, Amaraka and Amraka. As a collection of songs depicting various emotions and situations of love within the confining limits of a stanza, Amarusataka holds the same distinguished status as Gahasattasai in Prakrit language. Verses from Amarusataka are copiously cited in works on poetics.

Unfortunately, we have absolutely no information about the life and time of the poet, Amaruka, and consequently unbelievable legends have grown around him. But the name Amaruka and the fact that the earliest reference to and citations of his poetry are met with in Anandavardhana’s commentary in Dhvanyaloka (III.7) suggests that Amaru belonged to Kashmir. And the fact that Anandavardhana (850 CE) mentions his name, and three verses from Amarusataka are quoted by Vamana (800 CE) would suggest that he poet lived around mid-8th century CE.

According to a popular stanza, Amaruka was a goldsmith by caste. Going by the fact that in the first two stanzas of his composition he invokes Goddess Ambika and prays to Shambhu, he was most probably a Shaiva.

The widespread popularity of Amarustaka is demonstrated by the fact that it has come down to us in several recensions from different regions and with an exceptionally large number of commentaries.

The work is a product of urban culture, and men and women depicted by Amaruka breathe in an urban atmosphere of comfort. The sentiments and emotions described have an urban sophistication. There is a fundamental difference between this poem and other similar lyrical anthologies; it deals with love of lawfully wedded men and women.