Vidusaka is a stock comic character in ancient Sanskrit drama; there has been much ink spilled as to whether he was a jester or not, and many of the arguments against this proposition seem rather to confirm it. We’ll be featuring more quotes and stories about vidusaka, so we can build a fully rounded picture of him, as well as enjoying his jesterish cheek.
A common trait is fearless irreverence, including mocking the master’s love-lorn pinings. Says one vidusaka in Kalidasa’s Urvasi Won by Valor:
`Oh Lord! Thank God! After frolicking a long time with Urvasi around paradise grove and who-knows-where-else, my dear friend has finally returned’ (Urvasi, V.).
In the same vein, vidusaka can equate regal heartache to the jester’s ever-griping stomach:
King. Enough, friend, I need compassion!
Gautama. And so do I! The pit of my stomach burns like a cooking pot in the market. (Malavika, II.)
See another vidusaka character, Maitreya, who is proud of his sense of timing.
Source: Kalidasa (fl.c. fifth century), Urvasi Won By Valor, trans. by David Gitomer, in Theater of Memory: The Plays of Kalidasa, ed. by Barbara S. Miller (Columbia: Columbia University Press, 1984), p. 239; Malavika and Agnimitra, trans. by Edwin Gerow, ibid., p. 273.
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