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Picture of two great poets.jpg
Picture of two great poets

Kshemendra (c. 990 – c. 1070 CE) was a Kashmirian poet of the 11th century, writing in Sanskrit.

Born into an old, cultured, and affluent family,[1] both his education and literary output were broad and varied. He studied literature under "the foremost teacher of his time, the celebrated Shaiva philosopher and literary exponent Abhinavagupta".[1] He also studied — and wrote about — both Vaishnavism and Buddhism.[2] His literary career extended from at least 1037 (his earliest dated work, Brihatkathāmanjari, a verse summary of the lost "Northwestern" Bṛhatkathā; itself a recension of Gunadhya's lost Bṛhatkathā — "Great Story") to 1066 (his latest dated work, Daśavataracharita, "an account of the ten incarnations of the god Visnu").[3] In addition to the genres listed below, Kshemendra also composed plays, descriptive poems, a satirical novel, a history, and possibly a commentary on the Kāma Sūtra (all now known only through references in other works).[4]

Extant works[5][edit]



  • Auchitya Vichāra Charchā
  • Kavikanthābharaṇa
  • Suvrittatilaka


  • Kalāvilasā — "A Dalliance with Deceptions"
  • Samaya Mātrikā — "The Courtesan's Keeper" (Sanskrit)
  • Narmamālā — "A Garland of Mirth"
  • Deśopadeśa — "Advice from the Countryside"

Didactic works[edit]

  • Nitikalpataru
  • Darpadalana
  • Chaturvargasaṃgraha
  • Chārucharya
  • Sevyasevakopadeśa
  • Lokaprakāśa
  • Stūpavādana — See Saratchandra Das (ed.), 'Stupavadana', Journal and Text of the Buddhist Society of India, vol.11, pt.1, p. 15.

Devotional works[edit]

  • Avadānakalpalatā — Former lives and good deeds of Buddha (English)
  • Daśavataracharita — Ten incarnations of Vishnu (Sanskrit)


  1. ^ a b Kshemendra 2011, p xv.
  2. ^ Kshemendra 2011, pp xv-xvi.
  3. ^ Kshemendra 2011, pp xvii-xviii.
  4. ^ Kshemendra 2011, p xvii.
  5. ^ Kshemendra 2011, pp 153-154.


  • Kshemendra (2011), Three Satires from Ancient Kashmir, Haksar, A. N. D. (translator), Penguin