Bhāsa, a renowned Sanskrit dramatist of the pre-Christian period, was the most prolific and versatile among classical Sanskrit dramatists.
Kalidasa openly declared that Bhasa was one of the celebrated dramatists of his day and that he himself was just a dwarf before the ancient giants of the dramatic art. Kalidasa in the prologue to his Malvikagnimitra, confesses that his work could be no match for the dramas of his predecessors and pleads, rather apologetically, to his discriminating audience to judge him on merits without being swayed by blind partiality for the ancients. Three dramatists are specifically mentioned, that is Bhasa, Kaviputra and Saumilla; Bhasa heads the list from amongst these three. Bhasa's works have alone survived today.
WORKS OF BHĀSA
The discovery in 1912 of thirteen dramas, by Shri T. Ganapati Śāstrī1 of Trivandrum, was momentous in the history of Sanskrit literature. The lost treasure of the plays of the famous dramatist Bhasa, —whose works till then, had only been heard of, in the praises of Kalidasa and Dandin and others, —appeared to have been recovered. The extant dramatic works of Bhasa, stand today as the earliest available specimens of the dramatic art in India. The number of these
1. See page 117 for a note on Shri T. Ganapati Śāstrī.