For more than a millennium Kalidasa's long poem Raghuvarnsa ("The Lineage of Raghu") has been acknowledged as one of the masterpieces of Sanskrit literature. Many thousands of manuscripts survive, transmitting versions of the text, which often differ considerably, and many classical commentaries. Most of these have not yet been consulted by modern scholars, and as a result there is still no truly authoritative edition of the poem.
This volume presents a critical edition of the first six chapters of the oldest commentary known to survive, by the Kashmirian scholar Vallabhadeva (10th century). This commentary has never before been published, so this is the first time that one of the most important sources for the text and the interpretation of Kalidasa's poem has been made available. Vallabhadeva's work is also of intrinsic value as one of the earliest commentaries in Sanskrit on a belletristic work.
Kashmirian manuscripts of the poem have not hitherto been used by editors: ten have been collated, and their readings, which are often supported by Vallablhadeva's commentary, reported in the critical apparatus. The apparatus also records the readings of the six pre-modern commentaries that have appeared in print. The notes discuss problems of textual criticism and some questions related to the interpretation of the poem; they also report the readings of two other unpublished commentaries that are transmitted in palm-leaf manuscripts preserved in Nepal: those of Srinatha and Vaidyasrigarbha.
A lengthy Introduction discusses the transmission of the poem and the commentary and the distinctive style of the latter.