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Bhasa, ancient Indian writer, playwright, author of Sanskrit plays

Dr. T. Ganapati Shastrikal was a scholar and the curator of the Travancore Oriental Manuscripts Library, in Trivandrum, capital of the modern Kerala, India. In 1906 he made a sensational discovery in literary history and then by publishing in 1909, a series of 13 plays, all in Sanskrit. It was a circle of Bhasa's plays, which lay in darkness for more than eight centuries.

Bhasa, the Sanskrit playwright, was one of the greats of all times, believed to have lived two or three centuries ahead of Kalidasa. Reverential references are seen about the greatness of poet Bhasa in the works of Patanjali, Kalidasa (both first century B.C.), Banabhata, Dandi (both seventh century A.D.), Vamanacharya (eighth century A.D.), and a long line of other poets and critics till 12th century. It might be because of the intermittent foreign invasions, which led to the destruction of countless works in the great literary heritage of ancient India that Bhasa remained in the darkness during the later centuries. Manuscripts of some of these were later traced up from the suburbs of Trivandrum, and the plays of Bhasa were among those. Shastrikal's find included the famous Swapnavasavadattam, Madhyamavyayogam, Karnabharam, Oorubhangam, Dutavakyam, Pratimanatakam and Abhishekanatakam. These plays are of the realm of classics and are considered from the internal evidences to belong to pre-natyshastra period.

Where he was born and when, or any clear information about his family or circumstances in which he lived is all topics of debates. But in that his works seem to ignore many of the dictums of Panini, the assumption gains approbation that he lived before Panini's period. His mastery in crafting scenes and deftness in visualizing dreams have been regarded supreme artistry, according to eminent critics. They point out the dream sequence in Swapnavasavadattam, his master piece.