TO POETICS AND DRAMATURGY
early Vedic Indians, like the people of man, other ancient lands, preferred
poetry to prose as the medium of expressing their thoughts. Figures of speech
and sentiments of various kinds constitute the very life-blood of poetry. This
can be said in a general way without entering into the niceties of academic
discussions about the soul (atma) of Kavya. The Rgvedic hymns contain
figures of speech like Upama (simile), Rupaka (metaphor) etc and sentiments like
the erotic pervade many of them. The hymns,for aught we know, were the
spontaneous outpourings of the Vedic Rsi (seer) who was, therefore, unconscious
of the figures of speech and Rasas employed in the hymns. The conscious
employment of these poetic devices presumably took a long time. The beginnings
of poetics as a discipline are shrouded in obscurity. To Kashmir, however,
belongs the credit of systematizing the ideas of poetics into a coherent form.
In the present state of our knowledge, we can safely make this assertion in view
of the fact that, of the writers on poetics known hitherto, the Kashmirian
Bhamaha is the earliest.
It is noteworthy that all the schools of poetics, viz.
Alankara, Riti Rasa and Dhvani, originated and developed in Kashmir. It was the
scholars of Kashmir again who propounded different theories of Rasa by
independent exposition of the celebrated Rasa-Sutra of Bharata. It is a matter
of no mean credit that Kashmir was not only the cradle of the schools of
poetics, but it also nurtured generations of poeticians through four centuries
or more. The valley saw the different systems in their formative, creative,
definitive and scholastic stages. No evidence is available to us for determining
the date of Bhamaha with absolute certainty. The testimony of Pratiharenduraja
and Abhinavagupta is clear that Udbhata wrote a commentary on Bhamaha's work. In
Udbhata's Kavyalankara-samgraha there are evidences of borrowing from
Bhamaha's rhetorical work. The rhetorician Vamana also appears to have been
acquainted with Bhamaha's text. Udbhata and Vamana flourished in the last
quarter of the eighth century A.D. which, therefore, is the lower limit to the
date of Bhamaha.
The upper terminus of his date is more difficult to
determine. The mention of Nyasakara in Bhamaha leads some scholars to
suppose that Bhamaha was later than Jinendrabuddhi, author of the Nyasa,
and exposition of the Kasika commentary on the Astadhyayi. Even if this
conjecture is correct, it does not help us materially, because the date of
Jinendrabuddhi himself is controversial. While some scholars believe that he
lived about 700 A.D., others would place him later than 878 A.D.
The supposed reference, in Bhamaha's work, to the Megha-duta
is of no consequence in this respect. Kalidasa is placed at different
times from the first century B.C. to the fifth century A.D. - a space of five
hundred years! In chapter v, Bhamaha appears to have utilised some philosophical
doctrines of the Buddhist philosopher, Dharmakirti, who is believed to have
lived in the middle of the seventh century A.D.
From the foregoing evidences Bhamaha may, perhaps, be
placed between the last quarter of the seventh century and the middle of the
The question of the chronological relationship between
Bhamaha and Bhatti, author of the Ravana-Vadha, popularly known as Bhattikavya,
is difficult. Some scholars believe that the Prasannakanda of the Bhattikavya
was designed to illustrate the figures of speech dealt with by Bhamaha. But, the
date of Bhatti himself has not been fixed with certainty. Bhatti mentions
Sridharasena as his patron. The fact of the existence of four persons of this
name makes it difficult to associate Bhatti with the right person. Again
Bhamaha's couplet in ii. 20 appears to be a dig at Bhatti's boastful reference
to his pedantry. A comparison of Bhamaha's poetic figures with the alankaras
illustrated by Bhatti, while revealing close resemblance, betrays some
discrepancies too. The conclusion seems reasonable that both Bhatti and Bhamaha
used independent sources which had close correspondence with one another and
also minor differences.
Of Bhamaha's personal history we know nothing excepting
the fact, as he himself states, that he was the son of Rakrilagomin.
Bhamaha's work, called Kavyalankara or Bhamahalankara,
consists of six Paricchedas or chapters and about 400 verses. The contents of
the chapters are: I Object, definition and classification of Kavya, reference to
the Vaidarbhi and Gaudi modes of composition, some blemishes of Kavya; II-III.
The three Gunas of Madhurya, Prasada, Ojas and Alankaras; IV Eleven blemishes
with illustrations; V Eleven blemishes arising from a faulty Pratijua, Hetu or
Drstanta; IV Grammatical correctness of words used in Kavya.
The object of Kavya, according to Bhamaha, is chiefly
twofold, viz. acquisition of fame on the part of the poet and delight for the
reader. Like most other theorists Bhamaha deals with the equipment of a poet or
the qualities that are necessary for the making of a poet. The first essential
is genius. Coupled with this is the knowledge of various arts and sciences.
While defining Kavya, Bhamaha says - sabdarthau sahitau kavyam; word and
sense together constitute Kavya. This definition obviously takes cognisance of
the external element or the body of Kavya, and is silent about its innermost
element or its soul. From his treatment of the subject it is implied that word
and sense in order to rank as Kavya must be free from blemishes (nirdosa) and
embellished with poetic figures (salankara). On poetic figures Bhamaha
lays the greatest stress. In his opinion, a literary composition, however
laudable, does not become attractive if it is devoid of embellishments. He gives
a happy analogy by saying that the face of a beloved woman, though lovely, does
not look radiant without ornaments. Alankara is, according to him,
indispensable for a composition to merit the designation of Kavya. Bhamaha is,
therefore, the earliest exponent, if not the founder, of the Alankara school of
Sanskrit Poetics. Even so, he ignores the atma (soul) of poetry of
which later rhetoricians make so much; because alankaras are nothing but
extraneous elements like ornaments to human beings.
In Bhamaha's work we get a fourfold classification of
Kavya. A Kavya may be in prose or verse. It may be written in Sanskrit, Prakrit
or Apabhramsa. The subject-matter of a Kavya may be human or divine; it may be
imaginary or based on the various arts and sciences. Coming to the conventional
classification, he divides Kavya into the following classes: Sargabandha
mahakavya(anepic poem in cantos), Abhineyartha (drama) Akhyayika (a
historical narrative), Katha (romantic tale) and Anibaddha kavya (detached
Unlike the advocates of the Riti school, Bhamaha does
not attach much importance to Riti or mode of composition; because, in his
opinion, the distinction between the Vaidarbhi and the Gaudi Riti is of no
consequence. This attitude to Riti perhaps accounts for his comparative
indifference to Gunas of which he mentions only Madhurya, Ojas and Prasada.
It is the subject of Alankaras that receives the most
detailed treatment at the hands of Bhamaha, and it is quite in the fitness of
things because he considers Alankara to be the essential element of Kavya. It
should be added that, of the Alankaras, Bhamaha thinks that Vakrokti is
an essential principle. Vakrokti of Bhamaha is strikingness or charm of
expression and not a particular poet figure as we find it in later rhetorical
works. It is interesting to note that Bhamaha was not ignorant or incognisant of
Rasa in Kavya; indeed he mentions a poetic figure called Rasavat (lit.
that which possesses Rasa). The suggested sense (vyangyartha), which is
at the root of Rasa, is implicit in the vakrokti of Bhamaha so that the
germs of the later Rasa of Dhvani school of poetics are there in Bhamaha's work
of so remote an antiquity.
The next Kashmirian poetician of note is Udbhata. Apart
front his typically Kashmirian name, he is stated by Kalhana to have adorned the
court of king Jayapida (C. 779-813 A.D.) of Kashmir. Anandavardhana, in
the middle of the 9th century, mentions Udbhata. Thus, Udthata may be placed in
the period between the close of the 8th century and the beginning of the 9th.
Besides the lost Bhamaha-vivarana (also called Kavyalankaravivrti),
a commentary on Bhamaha's work, Udbhata appears, on the tesimony of
Pratiharenduraja, to have composed a poem entitled Kumarasambhava which
is no longer extant. Udbhata probably wrote also a commentary on Bharata's Natya-sastra.
Udbhata's fame, however, rests on his Kavyalankarasamgraha.
It is written in six Vargas, or chapters. This work has two commentaries, viz
one by Pratiharenduraja and the other by an unknown author. Rajanaka Tilaka, who
was probably father of Ruyyaka, is mentioned by Jayaratha, in his commentary on
Ruyyaka's Alankarasarvasva, as author of an Udbhata-viveka. or Udbhata-vicara.
From the extant work of Udbhata, which is only a short
treatise on poetic figures, it is difficult to ascertain his views on the
general principles, e.g. the essential constituent of Kavya and such other
questions. In his brief work Udbhata follows Bhamaha in the number and even
order of the poetic figures. Bhamaha's definitions of some of the figures have
been taken verbatim by Udbhata. Udbhata's originality, however, lies in the
analysis and distinctions of the different alankaras. For example,
whereas Bhamaha mentions one kind of atisayokti Udbhata distinguishes
four varieties of it. In place of Bhamaha's two forms of anuprasa,
Udbhata gives four. In connexion with the varieties of anuprasa, Udbhata
for the first time recognises three different Vrttis or modes of
expression. In Udbhata's work again, we find a clear statement of the
grammatical basis of the divisions of Upama according as the idea of resemblance
is expressed by suffixes like -vat, -kyac, -kalpap etc. A comparison of
the characterization of the poetic figures by Bhamaha and Udbhata reveals also
the fact that the latter differs from the former on some minor points. What is
most noteworthy is that Udbhata's notion of Rasa is more developed than that of
his predecessor, so much so that he even uses the terms bhava and anubhava
which are the elements that give rise to Rasa. Thus by his advanced ideas and
critical analysis he threw Bhamaha into background; later theorists recognise
Udbhata as the highest authority, and follow in his footsteps in matters
relating to poetic figures. The seeds of the Alankara doctrine, which we
find in Bhamaha's work, grow into a flowering tree in that of his successor.
Mukula is the author of the short work entitled Abhidhavrttimatrka.
In fifteen Karikas, with Vrtti on them, he discusses the functions of words
called Abhidha (denotation) and Laksana (indication) from the grammatical and
rhetorical standpoints. We learn from the concluding verse of this work that
Mukula was the son of Bhatta Kallata who, Kalhana informs us, lived during the
reign of Avantivarman of Kashmir (855-884 A.D.).
With Vamana we reach a towering personality in the
realm of Sanskrit poetics. Vamana's quotations from Bhavabhuti's works fix the
upper limit of his date at the first quarter of the 8th. century when Bhavabhuti
is known to have flourished. The lower limit is suggested by Rajasekhara's
(9th-l0th century) quotation from Vamana's work. According to Kalhana (R. T. IV.
497), Vamana was a minister of king Jayapida of Kashmir (779-813 A.D.).
The Kavyalankara-sutra-vrtti of Vamana consists
of aphorisms and a commentary called Kavi-Priya thereon. Both the text
and the commentary appear to have been written by Vamana who says that some of
the illustrative verses are taken from others. Of the commentaries on this work,
the Kamadhenu by Gopendra Bhupala is the most well-known.
The Kavyalankara-Sutra-Vrtti is divided
into five sections (adhikarana) each of which consists of some chapters (adhyaya).
The titles of the Adhikaranas are in order: Sarira, Dosa-Darsana,
Gunavivecana, Alankarika and Prayogika. The titles of the Adhikaranas hint at
In consonance with the views of his predecessors,
Vamana holds that the body of Kavya is constituted by word and sense. It is in
the conception of the soul of Kavya that he clearly expresses an independent
view. None of his predecessors is explicit on the point. For the first time,
Vamana declares ritir-atma kavyasya, i.e. Riti is the soul of Kavya. 'Riti'
is not a new concept with Vamana, but the idea of its constituting the soul of
Kavya is his contribution to poetical speculations. Riti, according to him, is Visista
pada-racana or a particular arrangement of words. Of Ritis he distinguishes
three varieties, viz. Gaudi, Vaidarbhi and Pancali which obviously took their
names from the regions in which they originated and had been standardised in the
period preceding Vamana. Riti is closely associated with Gunas or qualities.
According to Vamana, Vaidarbhi, the Riti par excellence, possesses all the ten
conventional Gunas; to Gaudi belong Ojas and Kanti and the Pancali
has Madhurya and Saukumarya. As Riti, according to Vamana, is the
essence of Kavya so Gunas are the essential elements of the Riti. Vamana's idea
of Riti as the life-force of Kavya naturally led him to relegate the alankaras
to a subservient position. In his opinion, a Kavya cannot be so called without
Gunas which underline Ritis, but it can be so without alankaras which,
therefore, are extraneous elements. His remark kavyam grahyam alankarat
may, at first sight, seem contradictory to what we have just said about his
attitude to alankaras. But, the immediately following words clarify his
position. He says saundaryam alankarah, i.e. the charm or beauty is alankara;
this makes it clear that it is the charm of expression, but not alankara
in its technical sense of poetic figure, that imparts the status of Kavya to a
literary composition. Vamana, for the first time, makes a clear distinction
between sabda-gunas (verbal qualities) and artha-gunas (ideal
qualities). While accepting the ten traditional Gunas, Vamana brings out the
meaning of each as applied to sabda and artha. For example,
Prasada as a sabda-guna, according to him, means looseness (saithilya)
of structure; as an artha-guna it means propriety of sense.
Coming to Rasa we find that his idea about it is more
advanced than that of his predecessors. While the writers preceding him
recognise Rasa as an element of a certain poetic figure, Vamana takes it as a
constituent of Kanti which is an artha-guna, and, as such, an
essential element of Kavya written in particular Ritis.
Rudrata bears a typically Kashmirian name. His date
cannot be ascertained with certainty. The mention of Rudrata or reference to his
text or views by Rajasekhara and Vallabhadeva fixes the lower terminus of
Rudrata's date at the end of the ninth century or beginning of the tenth.
Rudrata's treatment of Vakrokti as a poetic figure, rather than as
strikingness of expression underlying all poetic figures or as the collective
name of almost all poetic figures or as a metaphorical expression based on
transferred sense, makes it probable that he was later than Bhamaha, Dandin and
Vamana. Coupled with this fact the absence of any indication of Anandavardhana's
acquaintance with his work tends to establish that Rudrata flourished between
the first quarter of the ninth century and its close.
From V. 12-14 of the Kavyalankara, as
interpreted by Namisadhu, Rudrata, also called Satananda, appears to have been
son of Bhatta Vamakha. Rudrata is sometimes identified, on no more convincing
ground than the similarity of names, with Rudra or Rudrabhatta, author of the Srngaratilaka.
The Kavyalankara of Rudrata is written in
sixteen chapters (adhyayas) and has been commented upon by Vallabhadeva,
Namisadhu and Asadhara.
As the title of his work suggests, Rudrata lays the
greatest stress on alankara as the principal element in Kavya. Indeed, he
devotes the bulk of his work to this topic. In comparison with his predecessors
he mentions more poetic figures and a larger number of the sub-divisions of many
of them. For the first time he clearly distinguishes between figures of words (sabdalankara)
and figures of sense (arthalankara). Rudrata no doubt mentions Rasas
which find a fairly lengthy treatment in his work: but the Rasas are still
considered as extrinsic elements. He mentions as many as four Ritis, viz.
Pancali, Latiya, Gaudiya and Vaidarbhi,
but these do not, in his opinion, dominate Kavya. He does not mention Dhvani,
although he makes the suggested sense an accessory to the expressed one in some
The work of Dhvanikara and Anandavardhana stand as a
prominent landmark in the literature of Indian poetics. The Dhvanyaloka,
also called Kavyaloka or Sahrdyaloka, is the last great monument
to the sound judgment and critical scholarship of the Kashmirian school of
poeticians. It was succeeded by learned works produced in Kashmir, but none
surpassed it in the original and systematic treatment of the subject.
The Dhvanyaloka consists of two parts, the text
and its running commentary with illustrations. A keen controversy has been
raging on the question as to whether or not the text (Karikas) and the
commentary (vrtti) of this work were written by one and the same person,
i.e. Anandavardhana who is known to have composed the vrtti. We have the
authority of Abhinavagupta and Mammata for the assumption that the authors of
the two portions were different persons. But, the name of the author of the Karikas
is not known so that he is generally referred to as Dhvanikrt or Dhvanikara
which appellation is sometimes used to refer to Anandavardhana also. Some
scholars have suggested that the author of the Karikas was named Sahrdaya,
but they have not succeeded in adducing conclusive evidence in support of their
contention. We have no means of determining the date of Dhvanikara or the region
to which he belonged Anandavardhana, however, is known to have been a Kashmirian
who is assigned to the middle of the ninth century on the authority of Kalhana
who states (R.T.V. 34) that this great poetician adorne the court of King
Avantivarman (885-84 A.D.) of Kashmir. This date is corroborated by Raja Sekhara
(9th -10th Century) who clearly cities him by name in the Kavya-Mimansa. From
the colophon to chapter III of the Dhvanyaloka Anandavardhana's father
appears to have been known as Nonopadhyaya. Anandavardhana appears to have
composed the following works too: -
Devi-sataka, Visamabana-lila, Arjuna-carita,
Dharmottama, Mata-Pariksa, Tattvaloka and Hari-vijaya. Of these, the Devi-sataka,
a lyric on Parvati, exists while the others are referred to either by
Anandavardhana himself or by later writers. The Visamabana-lila appears
to be a Prakrit poem which, judging from the title, perhaps dealt with an erotic
theme. The Arjuna-carita was a Mahakavya in Sanskrit. The Dharmottama
was a commentary on the Pramana-viniscaya of Dharmakirti. The Tattvaloka
is stated by Abhinavagupta, in his Locana, to have discussed, inter
alia, the relation between Kavya-nyaya (method of instruction in
Kavya) and Sastra-nyaya (method of instruction is scriptures); the
former, according to writers on poetics, is Kanta-sammita (likethe wife)
and the latter Prabhu-sammita (like the master). The Harivijaya
was a Prakrit poem.
In assessing the contribution of Dhvanikara and
Anandavardhana we must bear in mind that the Dhvanikara (lit. the maker of
Dhvani) was not the founder of the concept of Dhvani. This is evident from the
very first Karika of the Dhvanyaloka it mentions a tradition (samamnata-purva)
of this concept. Thus, it appears that long before the author of the Karikas,
the concept of Dhvani as the essence of Kavya not only originated, but also
enlisted a considerable number of adherents. It was the work of the Dhvanikara
to systematise, perhaps for the first time, the speculations of this school and
to present them in the orderly manner of memorial verses. The Karikas
being mnemonic naturally left much to be cleared up by an exposition. It was
Anandavardhana's task to write such an exposition, and to set the seal of his
erudition and authority in establishing the doctrine of this school.
We may now proceed briefly to take stock of the
contribution made by the Dhvanikara and Anandavardhana to poetical speculations.
The object of the Dhvanyaloka is twofold, viz. (1) to establish,
by arguments and counter-arguments, that dhvani or suggested sense is the
'soul' or essence of Kavya (dhoanir-atma kavyasya); (2) to examine
the existing ideas of Rasa, Alankar, Riti, Guna and Dosa with a view to
correlating them to the Dhvani doctrine propounded in it.
In trying to establish their standpoint the Dhvani-theorists
had to combat three antagonistic schools, viz. (1) the school that totally
denied the existence of the suggested sense in Kavya; (2) the school that
recognised it not as an entity conveyed by words but as something that can be
comprehended by the connoisseur (sahrdaya); (3) the school that
recognised the suggested sense, but believed that it was conveyed by the already
accepted word-functions of Abhidha, Laksana, Tatparya or by Anumana and not by
Vyanjana as the Dhvani theorists would have us believe. After establishing the
existence of suggested sense and of the word-function called Vyanjana conveying
it, the Dhvanyaloka proceeds to classify Kavyas in relation to Dhvani.
According to it, Kavyas are divided into three classes, viz.
(i) Dhvani-kavya - in it the suggested sense (vyangartha)
predominates over the expressed sense (vacyartha); this is Kavya
These three broad classes of Kavya have again been divided
and subdivided with great minuteness. The subdivisions of suggestive Kavya reach
the stupendous number of five thousand, three hundred and fifty-five! In this
connexion, it may be added that the Dhvani or suggested sense may be threefold;
it may suggest a matter or idea (vastu), a poetic figure (alankara) or
a feeling or mood (rasa).
(ii) Gunibhuta-vyangya-kavya - in it the suggested sense
is subordinated (gunibhuta) to the expressed one.
(iii) Citra-kavya - in it, the worst of Kavyas, there is
no suggested sense at all, and there is either Sabda-citra (pictorial words)
or Artha-citra (pictorial sense).
From what we have said it is clear that the Dhvanyaloka
recognises Rasa, but not as an entity divorced from Dhvani. Similarly, the other
recognized concepts of Riti, Guna, Dosa and Alankara are accepted in so far as
they are related to Dhvani. Riti is recognized not as an independent factor, but
only in so far as it suggests Rasa. The characteristics of Ritis are not dealt
with by Anandavardhana because, as Abhinavagupta points out, Ritis ultimately
merge into Gunas. The Dhvanitheorists recognise Gunas as helping the development
of Rasa, and accept only three Gunas instead of the conventional ten. These
three are Madhurya (sweetness), Ojas (energy) and Prasada (perspecuity).
The Dosas or blemishes are recognised by them in so far as they detract from the
Rasa. The Dhvani-theorists do recognise the importance of Alankara in a Kavya,
but they would not regard it as a distinct entity. Alankara is necessary to
embellish the principal element, mostly the Rasa, in a Kavya. But, an alankara
for its own sake is relegated by these theorists to an inferior position. A
literary composition having an alankara, but no suggested sense, is not a
Kavya properly so called but its counterfeit.
This in brief is the contribution of the Dhvani school
to the poetical speculations. The treatment of the subject by the writers of
this school was so logical and thorough that it survived through centuries
influencing the later writers of this school and throwing the antagonists into
One cannot think of the Dhvanyaloka without its
celebrated commentary called Kavyaloka-locana or simply Locana
written by Abhinavagupta. He tells us, in his Paratrimsika-vivarana, that
he was son of the Kasmiraka Cukhala, grandson of Varahagupta and brother of
Manorathagupta. From the dates of composition, stated by himself in some of his
works, we can assign him to a period between the last quarter of the tenth
century and first quarter of the eleventh. Abhinavagupta was a profound scholar
and a prolific writer. Besides the Locana, he composed also an
authoritative commentary called Abhinavabharati on Bharata's Natya-sastra.
In his Locana, he refers to his commentary, now lost, on the Kavya-kautaka
of Bhatta Tauta who was his Guru. A commentary on the Ghatakarpara-kavya,
called Ghatakarpara-vivrti, is attributed to Abhinava. This commentary is
interesting from the point of view of literary history; it supports the
tradition that the Kavya, on which it comments, was from the pen of Kalidasa.
Abbinava was not a mere commentator. His several philosophical works have
immortalized him in the domain of Kashmir Shaivism.
Much of the popularity of the Dhvanyaloka is
accounted for by its masterly exposition by Abhinavagupta. The most striking
feature of the exposition is that in it Abhinavagupta carries the idea of Rasa
to its logical conclusion. In the Dhvanyaloka, Rasa is recognised in
relation to Dhvani as Alankara and Vastu are also recognised in relation to this
concept. But, Abhinavagupta unequivocally declared that Rasa was really the soul
of Kavya and that Vastu-dhvani in the final analysis, merged into Rasa-dhvani.
The emphasis laid by Abhinavagupta on the element of Rasa in Kavya, earned the
acceptance of his views by the later writers.
In this connexion, mention should be made of the
contribution of Abhinavagupta to the interpretation of the basic concept of Rasa
propounded by Bharata. Before doing so we shall examine the views of the
predecessors of Abhinava in this matter in explaining the process by which Rasa
comes into being in a drama, Bharata declares:
vibhavanubhava-vyabhicari-samyogad rasa mspattih.
This means that Rasa originates out of a combination of Vibhavas
(excitants), Anubhavas (ensuants) and Vyabhicaribhavas (accessory
feelings) with the sthayi-bhava (permanent feeling). The word nispatti
in Bharata's formula touched off a keen controversy as to its real significance.
Abhinavagupta refers to the view of Bhatta Nayaka on
the above Rasa-sutra of Bharata. From the testimony of Mahimabhatta and others
Bhatta Nayaka appears to have been the author of a work entitled Hrdaya-darpana
which is lost. It appears to have been a metrical treatise with running prose
commentary. From Bhatta Nayaka's supposed familiarity with a Dhvani theory he
may be assigned to period later than Anandavardhana who flourished about the
middle of the ninth century A.D. Abhinavagupta is the earliest writer to mention
Bhatta Nayaka who, therefore, cannot be later than the first quarter of the
eleventh century. The above limits of his date accord well with the evidence of
the RT. (v. 159) to the effect that Bhatta Nayaka flourished during the reign of
Sankaravarman (883-902 A.D.), son and successor of Avantivarman, king of
Kashmir. Bhatta Nayaka's theory of Rasa, as explained by Abhinava and Mammata,
is known as Bhukti-vada. It means that Rasa is enjoyed with reference to vibhavas
(excitants) through the relation of the enjoyer and the enjoyed.
In his commentary on Bharata's Natya-sastra,
Abhinavagupta refers to one Lollata and his views on certain topics of
Dramaturgy. From this fact we may suppose that Lollata also wrote a commentary
on Bharata's work. The name of Lollata is typically Kashmirian. As he is
mentioned as rejecting Udbhata's views on certain matters he must have been
either his contemporary or a later writer, Udbhata cannot be later than 813 A.D.
Lollata's theory (Utpattivada) on Rasa has been mentioned ' by Mammata in
his Kavyaprakasa. According to this theory, vibhavas or excitants
are the direct cause (karana) of Rasa which is, therefore an effect (karya).
Abhinavagupta and some other writers refer to Sankuka
as an authoritative commentator of Bharata's Natya-shastra. In fact,
Abbinava often refers to Sankuka's opinion on various topics of Dramaturgy. By
the time of Mammata, Sankuka's theory (Anumitivada) of Rasa being inferred
must have been recognized widely enough to merit a reference in the Kavya-prakasa.
This Sankuka is generally supposed to be identical with the poet of the same
name whose verses are quoted in the authologies of Sarngadhara, Jalhana and
Vallabhadeva. The poet is perhaps to be identified with Sankuka who is mentioned
in the R.T. (IV. 703-5) as author of the poem called Bhuvanabhyudaya
which is said to have centred round the fierce fight between the regents Mamma
and Utpalaka, the incident referring to the reign of the Kashmirian king
Ajitapida of the first quarter of the ninth century A.D. This poem has not yet
Abhinava proposed a novel interpretation of the word 'Nispatti'
in Bharata's aforesaid dictum. His theory is known as Abhivyaktivada in
which he lays down that Rasa is not an effect, and it is neither enjoyed nor
inferred, but it is manifested.
The interpretations, suggested by these scholars, had a
tremendous significance in view of the fact that Bharata's Natyarasa came to be
adopted by later theorists as Kavyarasa.
Kuntaka, author of the Vakroktijivita, and hence
better known as Vakrokti-jivita-kara, was in all probability a Kashmirian; he
had the title Rajanaka which is used with the names of Kashmirian scholars.
Kuntaka's quotation from Rajasekhara, the dramatist, and Mahimabhatta's
reference to Kuntaka and his work make it likely that he flourished in a period
between the middle of the tenth century and the middle of the eleventh.
Abhinavagupta's silence about Kuntaka, whose word acquired considerable
prominence, may be explained by conjecturing that both these writers were
The entire work of Kuntaka has not yet been recovered.
From the incomplete Ms., on the basis of which editions have been prepared, it
appears that Kuntaka tries to establish Vakrokti as the soul or essential
element of Kavya. In this respect the Vakroktijivita is unique in the
whole range of the literature on poetics. Kuntaka's idea of Vakrokti as the soul
of the poetry has been derived from Bhamaha who took it in the sense of peculiar
charm. Kuntaka analyses also a poetical figure on the basis of Vakrokti, and it
has been accepted by later writers.
It is interesting to note that Kuntaka takes into
consideration all the earlier speculations with regard to the soul of Kavya, but
makes Rasa, Alankara, Riti and Dhvani subservient to Vakrokti. In the general
name of Vakrokti are included Rasa and Dhvani; Rasa or Dhvani makes a
composition enjoyable by imparting a peculiar charm to it. Alankara heightens
the beauty of a composition in so far as it contributes to the peculiar charm in
it. Riti, for which Kuntaka uses the term Marga, is not, as earlier theorists
thought, a regional characteristic of a literary composition; it is a diction
which owes its existence to the genius and skill of the poet, and, as such,
various Ritis should be differentiated with reference to the poet's Sakti
(capacity), Vyutpatti (proficiency) and Abhyasa (practice). Ritis, according to
him, may be threefold: - (i) Sukumara, (ii) Vicitra and (iii) Madhyama. Each of
the first two Ritis has certain Gunas or excellences; the third Riti combines
the excellences of both. According to him, Aucitya (propriety of words and
ideas) and Saubhagya are common to all the three Margas. By Saubhagbya is meant
'the realisation of all the resources of a composition'. Indeed his Vakrokti is vaidagdhya-bhangi-bhaniti,
that is to say, it is a peculiar expression by one who is Vidagdha, i.e.
not merely learned but versed in belles-letters.
Ksemendra Vyasadasa, whose identity with Ksemaraja,
author of works on Shaiva philosophy, is advocated by some without conclusive
evidence, is a prominent figure in the history not only of poetics but also of
Sanskrit literature as a whole. Endowed with a master mind he had a variety of
interests, and wrote quite a number of treatises on diverse subjects. He is
truly described as a polymath. Happily for us, he gives an account of his
personal history, and records the dates of the composition of some of his works.
Son of Prakasendra and grandson of Sindhu, he was a disciple of one Gangaka.
Father of Somendra, he was preceptor of Udayasimha and prince Laksanaditya.
Ksemendra wrote his works in the reign of the Kashimirian king Ananta and his
son Kalasa; a s such, he may be assigned to the second and third quarters of the
eleventh century A.D.
His works on poetics are two, viz. the Aucityavicara-carca
and the Kavi-kanthabharana. A Kavikarnika by the author is
referred to by himself in his Aucitya-vicara-carca (verse 2).
The Aucitya-vicara-carca of Ksemendra is a
unique work in the sense that it deals with the question of Aucitya or propriety
in Kavya most exhaustively, and declares it as the very soul (jivitabhuta) of
Kavya. Aucitya, in his opinion, relates to twenty-seven items, viz. word,
sentence, sense of the composition, literary excellences (gunas), poetic
figures, employment of grammatical matters like verb, preposition, etc., time,
place and so on. What renders his work more valuable is the collection of verses
culled from a wide range of classical Sanskrit literature. Some of these verses
are given as conforming to Aucitya while others are examples of compositions
devoid of it. Ksemendra follows in the footsteps of Anandavardhana who holds
Aucitya as the highest secret (para upanisat) of Rasa. The idea of
Aucitya, anticipated by Bharata in connexion with dramaturgy, and explicitly
dealt with by writers of the Dhvani school and discussed by most post-Dhvani
writers in connexion with Rasa-dosa, found the strongest exponent in Ksemendra.
He considers it to be founded on the aesthetic pleasure (camatkara) that
underlies the delectation of Rasa. No Guna or Alankara, devoid of Aucitya, has
any significance in Kavya according to Ksemendra.
In the Kavi-kanthabharana, Ksemendra deals with
the making of a poet, his defects, the peculiar charm (camatkara) of a
poetical composition, the Gunas and Dosas of words, sense and sentiment (rasa).
There are, according to Ksemendra, two things that engender in a person the
capacity for producing Kavya. The first one is Divyaprayatna (divine effort) and
the second is Paurusa or individual effort. Divya-prayatna is the name given to
prayer, incantation and the like. In discussing Paurusa-prayatna, he states that
there are three kinds of persons according as they require little effort,
strenuous effort or as they are incapable of poetic power despite effort. A
poet, in his opinion, must possess knowledge of the various arts and sciences a
list of which is given by him. The various branches of knowledge include, inter
alla, (grammar, Logic, Dramaturgy, Erotics, Astronomy etc. While discussing
the question of one poet borrowing from another, he mentions different kinds of
borrowers or plagiarists. Of them, some borrow an idea, a word or the foot of a
verse while others copy an entire composition. He mentions, apparently with
approval, the practice of borrowing from sources like the work of Vyasa.
Incidentally Ksemendra dwells on the training of a poet and the moulding of his
life and character. An important part of the work is devoted to discussion on
camatkara or the peculiar charm which is an essential requisite of a poetical
composition. Camatkara has been divided into ten varieties in accordance
with its nature and substratum. It may be readily comprehensible or realisable
after much thought. It may reside in the whole of a composition or in a part of
it and belong to sabda, artha or both, to alankara, rasa or may
relate to the nature of a famous subject-matter.
Mahimabhatta, whose title Rajanaka, appears a hint at
his Kashmirian origin. tells us that he was son of Sri Dhairya and disciple of
Mahakavi Syamala. His work, the Vyakti-viveka, betrays his familiarity
with Anandavardhana and even Abhinavagupta. He quotes certain views of Kuntaka
to criticise them, and quotes from some works of Rajasekhara. Ruyyaka is the
earliest of the later writers to quote and criticise Mahimabhatta's views. These
evidences would lead us to assign Mahimabhatta to the close of the eleventh
century. In the said work he refers to another work of his, entitled Tattvokti-kosa,
dealing with pratibhatattva, which no longer exists. On the Vyaktiviveka
there is an anonymous commentary generally attributed to Ruyyaka.
The Vyakti-viveka is written in three
chapters called Vimarsas. The work, as its very title indicates, has as its
subject the critical consideration of Vyakti or Vyanjana, i.e. suggestion in
Kavya. His chief target of attack is the concept of Dhvani. The definition of
Dhvani, given in the Dhvanyaloka, applies, in his opinion, more fittingly
to Anuman or inference which had already been recognised in poetics.
The importance, attached by him to Anumana, led him to
recognise a twofold sense of the word, viz. Vacya (expressed or denoted)
and anumeya (inferred). The latter includes the laksyartha
(indicated sense) and the vyangyartha (suggested sense). The anumeyartha
is threefold according as it is a matter (vastu), a poetic figure (alankara)
or a sentiment (rasa). Thus, the threefold Dhvani of the
earlier theorists has been taken by Mahimabhatta as the threefold anumeyartha.
He differs from the earlier writers in the process by which the expressed sense
leads to the unexpressed. He quotes som verses, given by Anandavardhana as
examples of Dhvani, to demonstrate that the unexpressed sense is
comprehended not by anything like suggestior but by inference.
Mammata is the last great figure in the galaxy of the
poeticians of Kashmir. Those who followed him in this field are not so renowned.
His Kashmirian origin is vouchasafed by his title Rajanaka and by his name.
Manikyacandra's commentary on the Kavyaprakasa is dated Samvat 1216
(1159-60 A.D.). Ruyyaka of the second-third quarters of the twelfth century
commented upon the Kavyaprakasa. The earliest of the extant Mss. of the Kavya-prakasa
appears to have been copied in 1158 A.D. All this makes it probable that Mammata
flourished in the beginning of the twelfth century at the latest.
On certain evidences of an inconclusive nature some
scholars would make him a contemporary of king Bhoja. Mammata's reference to
Bhoja in a verse (under X. 26 of the Kavya-prakasa) proves his
posteriority to that king, but does not give any clue as to his precise date. If
this Bhoja was the Paramara king of the same name of Dhara, then Mammata may be
placed approximately in the last quarter of the eleventh century. This date is
made probable by the fact that Mammata mentions Abhinavagupta.
The Kavya-prakasa is the magnum opus of
Mammata; on it rests his fame. His other work is called Sabda-vyayara-paricaya
(or, Sabdavyapara-vicara or Sabda-vyapara-carca) in which he discusses
the nature of the different functions of words. The Kavya-prakasa has
quite a number of commentaries; this is a pointer to its immense popularity.
Among the commentators Rajanaka Ruyyaka, Somesvara, Rajanaka Ananda, and
Rajanaka Ratnakantha were probably Kashmirian.
The Kavya-prakasa consists of 143 Karikas with vrtti
thereon and illustrative verses. It has ten chapters called Ullasas. The topics,
discussed chapterwise, are: -
I. Object, definition, source and division of Kavyas.
There is a controversy as to whether or not the Karikas
and the Vrtti of the Kavya-prakasa are of common authorship. There is a
view that the former were composed by Bharata while the latter was the work of
Mammata. Some have expressed the view that the Karikas are the work of Mammata
and the Vrtti was written by some other person. It is now proved, on good
grounds, that almost the entire work was written by Mammata and that a small
portion was composed by one Alata or Alaka.
II. Functions of words.
III. Power of suggestion of all kinds of senses.
IV. Divisions of Dhvani and nature of Rasa.
VIII. Differentiation of Guna and Alankara.
The reason of Mammata's popularity is that his Kavya-prakasa
combines the merits . of completeness and lucidity within a brief compass. A
glance at the contents shows that it traverses the entire field of poetics with
the exception, of course, of dramaturgy. This work is like a place where all the
streams of divergent speculations of the earlier writers have converged. Mammata,
while accepting the main thesis of the Dhvanikara and Anandavardhana, sums up
the other doctrines in an easily intelligible manner. He defines Kavya in the
following words: -
tad adosau sabdarthau sagunav-analankrti punah kvapi.
Kavya, according to him, consists of Sabda and Artha which
are free from blemishes, possessed of excellences and sometimes devoid of
embellishments. This definition reveals that he accepts the time-honoured
constituents of Kavya, viz. Sabda and Artha. The qualification sagunau
implies the acceptance of Riti. By analankrti he admits alankaras
of Sabda and Artha as necessary attributes for a composition in order to be
designated as Kavya, but denies their essentiality as urged by the writers of
the Alankara school. There is no direct mention, in the definition of Kavya, of
Dhvani and Rasa. But, his threefold classification of Kavya into Dhvani (that in
which the suggested sense predominates over the expressed one),
Gunibhuta-vyangya (that in which the suggested sense is subordinate to the
expressed one) and Citra (that which is merely pictorial having no suggested
sense at all), clearly demonstrates his acceptance of Dhvani with reference to
which Kavyas have been classified.
Rasa, according to Mamata, is included in his asamlaksya-kramavyangya
or the suggestion of imperceptible process. He refers to the different views on
Rasa-nispatti put forward by Lollata, Sankuka, Bhatta Nayaka and Abhinavagupta,
and discards the views of the first three agreeing with Abhinavagupta.
He defines Guna and Dosa in relation to Rasa which he
considers as essential in Kavya. A Guna owes its existence in so far as it
conduces to the excellence of Rasa. A Dosa is so called because it detracts from
Of Alankaras which, in his opinion, are extraneous to
Kavya as ornaments to human body, he enumerates as many as sixty-seven
Alata or Allata or Rajanaka Alaka, the supposed author
of the portion left unfinished by Mammata in his Kavya-prakasa, was
perhaps son of Rajanaka Jayanaka. He commented upon Ruyyaka's commentary on the Kavya-prakasa.
Judging from the epithet Rajanaka, prefixed to his
name, Ananda, author of the commentary called Sitikantha-vibodhana or Kavyaprakasa-nidarsana
on Mammata's Kavya-prakasa, seems to have been a Kashmirian.
Ruyyaka or Rucaka has the Kashmirian title Rajanaka. He
was son of Rajanaka Tilaka, and is supposed to have flourished in the second and
third quarters of the 12th. century.
The Alankara-sarvasva of Ruyyaka is his most
well-known work. It consists of Sutras and Vrtti. Some think that the Vrtti was
written by one Mankhuka or Mankhaka described as Sandhivigrahika (minister for
peace and war) to a Kashmirian king. According to some, the Sutras of Ruyyaka
were known as Alankara-sutra while the Vrtti was entitled Alankarasarvasra.
Ruyyaka's work concerns itself with poetic figures
which he analyses meticulously, and of which he mentions about eighty
independent varieties. He begins with the suggested sense which, he believes,
embellishes the expressed meaning which in its turn predominates in the poetic
figures. Thus, ultimately the suggested sense falls within the scope of alankaras.
Ruyyaka considers vicchittivisesa (peculiar charm) born of Kavi-pratibha
to be the foundation of Alankaras. In this respect, he appears to have accepted
Kuntaka's conception of Vakrokti.
Ruyyaka's prose-poetic work, entitled Sahrdayalila,
is composed in four chapters called Ullekhas. In the first chapter on Guna he
describes the ten attractions of a woman, viz. Rupa, Varna, Prabha and so on. In
the second chapter, entitled, Alankara, the author speaks of the ornaments of
gold, pearls etc., unguents and flowers used by women. In the third chapter on
Jivita he dwells on youth as the source of feminine charm. In the last chapter,
entitled Parikara, Ruyyaka deals with the paraphernalia of beauty.
Ruyyaka appears to have written also the following
words on poetics and dramaturgy: -
(1) Kavya-prakasa-sanketa - comm. on Mammata's Kavya-prakasa.
This is referred to by Jayaratha and Ratnakantha.
Ruyyaka himself mentions his Srikantha-stava.
Obviously a hymn in honour of Shiva, in his Alankara-sarvasra. In
the same work on poetics, as well as in his Vyaktiviveka-vyakhyana, he
refers to the Harsa-carita-vartika as his own work.
(2) Alankara-manjari - referred to by Ruyyaka
(3) Sahitya-mimamsa - it is published.
(4) Alankara-nusarini - mentioned Jayaratha.
(5) Vyakti-viveka-vicara (or - vyakhyana)
- comm. on Mahimabhatta's Vyakti-viveka. It is referred to by Jayaratha.
(6) Nataka-mimamsa - referred to by himself.
(7) Alankara-vartika - cited by Jayaratha.
Jayaratha figures in the domains of poetics philosophy
and poetical compositions. In poetics, however, he does not appear to have
written any original work. He is well-known as a commentator of Ruyyaka's Alankara-sarvasva,
the name of his commentary being Alankara-vimarsini. From the commentary,
as well as from that on Abhinavagupta's Tantraloka, we learn that his
father was Srngaranatha whose other son was named Jayadratha. From the latter we
learn that his great-grand-father's brother, Shivaratha, was a minister of king
Uccala of Kashmir (1101-1111 A.D.) Jayaratha is believed to have flourished in
the beginning of the thirteenth century. Jayaratha's other work on poetics is
the Alankarodaharana which appears to be intended mainly for supplying
illustrations to Ruyyaka's work.
CLASSIFIED LIST OF THE SANSKRIT WORKS OF KASHMIR
- Sures Chandra Banerji
The Sanskrit works, written by Kashmirians, may be
broadly classified as follows:
A. Works on Poetics and Dramaturgy (including
The titles of the works of each class, along with their
respective authors, are given below in the Sanskri alphabetical order. This list
includes also titles known by names only.
B. Poetical Compositions (including commentaries).
C. Philosophical and religious works (including
D. Miscellaneous works.
WORKS ON POETICS AND DRAMATURGY (INCLUDING
(Same as Sitikantha-vibodhana)
(Same as Bhamahalankara)
(Same as Bhamaha-vivarana)
(Same as Dhvanyaloka or Sahrdayaloka)
(Briefly called Locana)
(Also callers Kavyaloka or Sahrdayaloka)
(Same as Kavynlankara-vivrti)
(Same as Kavyalankara)
(Same as Kavyaloka-locana)
(or, - vyakhyana)
(or, - vicara, or, - carca)
(Same as Kavya-prakasa-nidarsana)
(Same as Dhoanyaloka or Kavyaloka)
(Same as Ravanarjuniya)
|Bhatta Bhima or Bhaumaka
(Same as Bodhisattva-vadana-kalpalata)
(Same as Cauri (or, Caura) -
(Same as Avadana-Kalpalata)
|Rajavali (or, Nrpavali)
|Ravanarjuniya Bhatta Bhima or
(Same as Arjuna-ravaniya)
(Same as Sukti-muktavali)
(same as Subhasita-muktavali)
PHILOSOPHICAL AND RELIGIOUS WORKS
(Same as Pratyabhijua-sutra or
(Same as Laghvi Vrtti)
(Same as Isvarn-prntyabhijna)
(Same as Isvara-pratyabhijna)
(Same as lsvara-pratyabhijna-vimarsini)
||Believed to have been revealed
(Spanda-sutra and Kallata's Vrtti thereon are
together so called)
||Class to which the work belongs
(Same as Mankha-kosa)
|| Jayanta Bhatta
(Same as Anekartha-kosa)
||Commentary on the Bhagavadgita
We set forth here information about certain authors and
works, believed to be of Kashmir, that escaped our notice while this brochure
Titles of works and names of authors have been given in
the alphabetical order.
A Tantra of the Visnuite Pancaratra sect. It is
believed to have originated in Kashmir not long after the fourth century A.D. As
it knows the three great schools of Buddhism and as the astrological term hora
occurs in it, it cannot have possibly originated before the 4th century A.D. It
is believed, on good grounds, to have been contemporaneous with, or a little
earlier than, the Samkhya-karika of Isvarakrsna.
It is in the form of a conversation between Ahirbudhnya
(Shiva) and Narada, and deals partly with philosophy and largely with occultism.
The philosophical portion includes some chapters on Creation. In connection with
creation, it gives an interesting survey of the various systems of religion and
philosophy. It is followed by rules for the castes and Asramas. Several chapters
deal with the mystic significance of the letters of the alphabet. There is a
fine description of the ideal Vaisnava teacher and there are rules about Diksa.
The usual topics of Tantra, viz., Mantra. Yantra etc. are described in the work.
Some chapters describe diagrams which are to be used as amulets too. In a few
chapters are described the cult, the theory and practice of Yoga, secret powers
by which might can be attained. Ceremonies to be performed by a king to ensure
victory in war form the subject-matter of some chapters. Several chapters are
devoted to sorcery. An appendix contains a hymn of the thousand names of the
Alamkara-ratnakara of Sobhakara.
From Peterson (Report. i, p. 12) we learn that
the Kashmirian poet Yasaskara extracted some sutras on Alamkara from a
work entitled Alamkararatnakara by Sobhakaramitra. The Ratnakara
of Jagannatha refers to this Alamkara-ratnakara of Sobhakara. Jayaratha
criticises the Kashmirian Sobhakara wlio deviates from Ruyyaka. Jagannatha says
that Appayya Diksita follows the Alamkararatnakara.
A grammarian believed to have been a Kashmirian.
Devi-stotra of Yasaskara
According to Peterson, the Kashmirian poet Yasaskara
extracted some sutras on Alamkara from the Alamkara-ratnakara by
Sobhakaramitra, and illustrated them in his Devistotra by composing
verses in praise of Devil
Son of Kapilabala, he appears to have been a Kashmirian,
and is assigned to the eighth or ninth century A.D. The extant Caraka-samhita,
believed to be the earliest available text on Ayurveda, is stated to have been
revised by Drdhabala. Drdhabala himself admits to having added the last two
chapters of the work and to having written 17 out of 28 or 30 chapters of book
Author of the grammatical work Balabodhini (1475
A.D.), and believed to have been a Kashmirian. A Stuti-kusumanjali (1450 A.D.)
is also ascribed to him.
Commentator on the Caraka-samhita, and perhaps
belonged to Kashmir.
The famous commentator on the Namalinganusasana
of Amara, he is supposed by some to have flourished in Kashmir. Others, however,
think that he was an inhabitant of Central India. He is generally assigned to
the second half of the 11th century A.D.
The work on astrology, entitled Ranavira -jyotirmahanibandha,
is stated to have been written by Mahesa under the patronage of Ranavirasimha,
king of Kashmir.
The oldest commentator on the Manu-smrti. He is
supposed by some to have been a Kashmirian. The main reasons for this assumption
are as follows :_
(i) He introduces Kashmir in explaining such word: as svarastre
and Janapadah (Manu-smrti, VII. 32 and VIII. 42). .
(ii) He states (on Manu VIII. 400) that the monopoly of
the sale of elephants is a privilege of the kings of Kashmir where saffron is
available in plenty.
(iii) He says (on Manu IV. 59) that the rainbow is
called vijnana-chaya in Kashmir.
(iv) He says (on Manu II. 24) that in the Himalayas in
Kashmir it is not possible to perform daily Samdhya (prayer) in the open
nor is it possible to bathe every day in a river in Hemanta and Sisira.
Later writers like Kamalakarabhatta, author the Smrti
digest Nirnaya-sindhu, however, regard Madhatithi as a southerner.
Author of the Mahabhasya, traditionally known a
Author of the Chandahsutra, and believed to have
been a Kashmirian.
A work on erotica, dealing with biological and
psychological problems of sex, by Koka, son of. Tejoka, believed to have been a
The title Rajanaka indicates that he was a Kashmirian.
Son of Samkarakantha and grandson of Anantakavi of the Dhaumyayana family. He
wrote the Sara-samuccaya, a commentary on thh Kavyaprakasa of
Mammata. He wrote also Stuti-kusumanjali-tika (called Sisyahita)
in 1611 A.11 and a Yudhisthiravijaya-kavya-tika in 1672 A.D Besides, he
copied the codex archetypus of the Rajatarangini, mentioned by
Stein (introduction, p. vii f), and also transcribed Mss. of the Samketa
a Ruyyaka in 1648, of Rayamukatu's commentary on the Namalinganusasana of
Amara in 1655, and of Trilocanadasa's Katantra-panjika in 1673 A.D. To
him are ascribed also the Ratna-sataka, 100 versed in praise of sun, the Surya-stuti-rahasya
and the Laghu-pancika, a commentary on the Haravijayn
A work on prosody, by Kedarabhatta who is supposed to
have been a Kashmirian.