Vikramorvasiya (Urvasi Won Through Valor) is based on the old legend of the love of the mortal Pururavaas for the heavenly damsel Urvasi. The legend occurs in embryonic form in a hymn of the Rig Veda and in a much amplified version in the Shatapathabrahmana. It tells the story of mortal King Pururavas and celestial nymph Urvashi who fall in love. As an immortal, she has to return to the heavens, where an unfortunate accident causes her to be sent back to the earth as a mortal with the curse that she will die (and thus return to heaven) the moment her lover lays his eyes on the child which she will bear him. After a series of mishaps, including Urvashi’s temporary transformation into a vine, the curse is lifted, and the lovers are allowed to remain together on the earth.
Vikramorvasiyam is the second of the three dramas attributed to Kalidasa, the other two being Abhijnanasakuntalam and Malavikagnimitram. The language employed in Vikramorvasiyam displays all the elegance and the beauties of Kalidasa’s style.