THE KALIVIDAMBANA OF NILAKANTHA DIKSHITA
Satire is one of the most potent styles of writing that targets the knave and the hypocrite, in the literature of every age and every tradition. It holds up the human foibles and follies to ridicule and scorn, using irony, sarcasm, invective, wit and humour as it's main instruments. Of course, it must remain impersonal if it is to retain wide appeal..
This genre of composition can be found extensively in Sanskrit literature, specially in the "Anyapadesa" and "Prahasana" class of works. Indeed guidelines for this class of literature are to be found in the "Kavyaprakasa" of the great writer and literary critic, Mammatacharya, where one verse recommends the soft approach of the woman in correcting wrong doing of her beloved.
The "Kalividambana" is a remarkable piece of satire that came from the facile pen of Nilakantha Dikshita who lived in the 17th. Century Descended from the great polymath, Appaya Dikshita who hailed from Adiappalem village near Arni in North Arcot District of Tamil Nadu, Nilakantha Dikshita was a scholar in his own right. Poet, philosopher, and also Chief Minister in the court of King Tirumal Naik of Madurai, a plethora of works of poetic beauty, and spiritual and devotional depth flowed from his pen. So great was his learning and his devotion as a Siva Bhakta that it was said he could converse with the presiding Goddess of Madurai
"Kalividamana" means Trickery of the Age of Kali, the age that is now current, when human nature is predicted to descend to it's greatest depths of degradation. It is a satire on the fraud and trickery to be found among practitioners of the different professions of that time, including those who claimed to be scholars, teachers spirtual leaders, physicians, astrologers etc. The satirical comments of Nilakantha Dikshita seems to remain relevant even to the professions of the present day. Perhaps human nature will never change and foibles will ever remain part of human nature through all the ages, not in the age of Kali alone.