Kavya, Kāvya: 22 definitions


Kavya means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Buddhism, Pali, Marathi, Hindi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Kavyashastra (science of poetry)

Source: Shodhganga: The Kavyavilasa of Ciranjiva Bhattacarya (kavyashastra)

Kāvya (काव्य, “poetry”).—Ācārya Mammaṭa (in his Kāvyaprakāśa) defines poetry (kāvya) as a combination of sound and sense, free from blemishes, endowed with qualities and sometimes devoid also of poetic figures or embellishments. Cirañjīva has explained this definition of poetry as follows—word and sense conjointly form the genus of poetry and absence of defect, use of guṇas and employment of alaṃkāras constitute its distinguishing features. It has also been said that in poetry rarely a distinct figure of speech may be absent. As Mammaṭa has said Cirañjīva is also of opinion that word and meaning constitute poetry.

Kāvya defined according to the Śaradāgama:—“The expression which is endowed with rasa, alaṃkāra, guṇa, rīti, lakṣaṇa and which is devoid of doṣas has the appellation of kāvya”. According to this view the presence of rasa, rīti and lakṣaṇa is essential in a poetry.

Kāvya (poetry) as defined by the most modern critics, hold that to be poetry only an exclusive charmingness in composition is necessary. So a composition which is capable of generating exclusive charmingness and having some minor blemishes may be designated as a poetry with blemishes, but not as non-poetry (akāvya). Even in the presence of rasa etc. if there is no exclusive type of charmingness, the impression of experienced critics that this poetry does not take place and this view is well accepted by the modern critics.

Source: Shodhganga: Bhismacaritam a critical study

Kāvya (काव्य) literally and in its widest sense connotes all that is the work of a poet. In that sense kāvya is the subject of Classical Sanskrit Literature. Numerous definitions of poetry have been attempted from time to time by Sanskrit theorists. These definitions have generally been influenced by the author’s conception of the essence of poetry. In some cases, however, the definitions are attempts on the part of their authors to describe rather than to define. In earlier definitions, the emphasis lies on the unique relationship between the word and meaning. Bhāmaha’s definition of poetry is one of the earliest definitions of poetry. According to him “A happy fusion of Śabda (Sound) and Artha (sense) is called poetry.

Kāvya is that which touches the inmost cords of the human mind and diffuses itself into the crevices of the heart, working up a lasting sense of delight. It is an expression in the beautiful form and melodious language of the best thoughts and noblest emotions, which is the spectacle of life, awakening the finest souls.

Kāvya is divided broadly into two classes viz. śravya-kāvya, dṛśya-kāvya. [...] Some call kāvyas, artificial epics. Kāvya is three-fold viz. prabandha, muktaka and campu. In it Prabandhakāvya is two-fold viz. Mahākāvya and Khaṇḍakāvya.

Source: DASH: The Theology of Literary Emotions in Medieval Kashmir

Kāvya (काव्य) refers to “poetry”, according to the Ānandavardhana’s 9th century Dhvanyāloka, an important philosophical work on the theory of poetic manifestation (dhvani) or ‘the soul of poetry’.—Accordingly, “In view of such disagreements [over the existence and nature of poetic manifestation], we shall state its true nature in order to delight the hearts of sensitive readers. For the nature of this [poetic manifestation], which is the secret of all good poets' poetry (sat-kavi-kāvya), which, moreover, is clearly seen to be at work in such great poems as the Rāmāyaṇa and the Mahābhārata, will here be revealed so that the bliss [which arises] in the hearts of sensitive readers. . . may take firm hold in their hearts”.

Source: Shodhganga: Elements of Art and Architecture in the Trtiyakhanda of the Visnudharmottarapurana (kavya)

Kāvya (काव्य) refers to “poetry” while Rasa (“the sentiment”) is that which touches our heart and fills it with a great sensation, after reading or hearing a piece of poetry or viewing a performing art.

According to the Sāhityadarpaṇa, there are two broad divisions of kāvya (poetry) viz.,

  1. dṛśya-kāvya and
  2. śravya-kāvya.

Mammaṭabhaṭṭa, the author of the Kāvyaprakāśa accepts three kinds of kāvya viz.,

  1. dhvani-kāvya,
  2. guṇībhūtavyaṅga-kāvya and
  3. citra-kāvya.

In the Sāhityadarpaṇa, only two varieties of kāvya are accepted which are—

  1. dhvani-kāvya and
  2. guṇībhūtavyaṅga-kāvya.
Kavyashastra book cover
context information

Kavyashastra (काव्यशास्त्र, kāvyaśāstra) refers to the ancient Indian tradition of poetry (kavya). Canonical literature (shastra) of the includes encyclopedic manuals dealing with prosody, rhetoric and various other guidelines serving to teach the poet how to compose literature.

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: archive.org: Puranic Encyclopedia

1) Kāvya (काव्य).—Son of Kavi, one of the Prajāpatis. (Anuśāsana Parva, Chapter 85). Also, a synonym of Śukra.

2) Kāvya (काव्य).—Agni Purāṇa, Chapters 390 to 400 contain a discussion on poetry, which is the basis for literary criticism in India. The above discussion in Agni Purāṇa, comprehends the forms and features of poetry, rasa (sentiment), style, the art of acting and the drama, and other matters related to poetry and art.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

1a) Kavya (कव्य).—Offering to Pitṛs.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 19. 1; Vāyu-purāṇa 79. 69; 97. 27.

1b) A class of Pitṛs.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 52. 67.

2a) Kāvya (काव्य).—A son of Bhṛgu and Divyā; also śukra, uśana, the ācārya for devas and asuras; Kavisuta and the name of a planet; wife Gonāma, had four sons, Tvaṣṭa, Varūtrī, Śaṇḍa, and Marka;1 the lord of Bhṛgus;2 cursed Yayāti.3 Asuras defeated by Indra appealed to Kāvya and resolved to go to Rasātala; Kāvya encouraged them and said that rains, vegetation, etc., would stand completely with them and only (1/4) with the devas; at that time the devas appealed to him for help; but Kāvya went to Mahādeva and learnt the mantra for their success; in the meantime he asked them to keep quiet and perform austerities after laying their weapons down. Mahādeva insisted on kuṇḍadhūma observance for a thousand years with their heads down; while so engaged the asuras got afraid of the devas and appealed to his mother and the wife of Bhṛgu; she offered them shelter but finding them being killed by the devas she resolved to deprive Indra of his place; then Indra appealed to Viṣṇu whose body he entered; but she set on fire the whole world of devas, when out of rage Viṣṇu killed her; Bhṛgu cursed him to be born seven times among men; then by power of tapas he restored his wife to life; Śukra's religious observance so as to please him; penance over, Maheśvara granted him three things: non-defeat by others, lordship over wealth, and eternal life; on this he praised nīlalohita by many names; pleased, Śiva disappeared; then Śukra was attracted towards Jayantī the daughter of Indra and promised to be with her for ten years unknown to the asuras by means of māyā; when Kāvya returned the asuras were pleased; but during the ten years Bṛhaspati appeared before the asuras in the guise of Kāvya and pretended to speak to them the mantra he had heard; the asuras accepted him; ten years were over and a daughter Devayāni was born to Śukra who appeared before the asuras; finding two Kāvyas the asuras became mystified and Kāvya said that he was Bṛhaspati in disguise; the asuras did not believe in the real Śukra who left them in anger; soon they found out the mistake and approached Śukra through Prahlāda and he became pleased; then he approached Brahmā who said that after ten yugas and in the Svārociṣa Yuga the asuras would get back their kingdom; saying this he pointed out to two disciples Saṇḍa and Marka equal to Bṛhaspati, and at last the devas were defeated. Seeing the success of the asuras Viṣnu took different avatars to put them down.4

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 1. 76; 68. 86; 72. 95; 73. 1, 37. Vāyu-purāṇa 59. 90; 62. 41; 65. 74-7.
  • 2) Viṣṇu-purāṇa 70. 4.
  • 3) Viṣṇu-purāṇa IV. 10. 7.
  • 4) Vāyu-purāṇa 97. 94 to end and ch. 98; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III, 72. 96 to the end; 73. 1-64.

2b) An Aṅgirasa, and one of the seven sages of Tāmasa Manu;1 a mantrakṛt.2

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 32. 98 and 104; 33. 7; 36. 47.
  • 2) Vāyu-purāṇa 59. 96.

2c) A son of Senājit.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 49. 50; Vāyu-purāṇa 99. 173.

2d) A son of Bharatāgni.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 29. 8.

2e) A group of Pitṛs who drink Soma's svadhā. Their mind-born daughter is Yogotpatti; other names are saṃvatsaras, pañcābdas, ājyapas, being presiding deities of aṣtakas and others. They drink ghee.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 23. 39 and 73-5; 28. 4, 23 and 70; III. 10. 85; Matsya-purāṇa 141. 4-16; Vāyu-purāṇa 56. 13, 16.
Purana book cover
context information

The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Source: Oxford Reference: Indian Philosophy

“Kāvya” is a Sanskrit term used to designate poetry variously characterized as classical, ornate, courtly, or stylized. To be sure, kavya usually involves erudition and elegance, but a poet (kavi) might equally spurn the many available conventions to create a work for simpler tastes. India’s critics debated how to define kavya for over a millennium. Its simplest formulation is sound and sense combined, or “the output of poets.” However, connoisseurs have long understood it as something more elegant, more crafted than gnomic, didactic, or narrative versification—so much so that the prestige of kavya extended even to those who wrote technical treatises in the exact sciences. This article covers works in Sanskrit with brief references to the related literatures in the Prākrits, old Tamil, Apabhraṃśa, and the various literary precursors to India’s modern languages.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

Kāvya (काव्य, “poetry”) refers to the Sanskrit literary style used by Indian court poets flourishing from the first half of the seventh century AD. This literary style is characterised by abundant usage of figures of speech, metaphors, similes, and hyperbole to create its emotional effects. The result is a short lyrical work, court epic, narrative or dramatic work. "Kavya" can refer to the style or the completed body of literature. Asvaghosa (c. 80-150 AD), a philosopher and poet considered the father of Sanskrit drama, is attributed with first using the word.

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary

Kavya, (cp. Vedic kavya wise; sacrificer) poetry; ballad, ode (cp. kabba) J. VI, 213, 216.

Pali book cover
context information

Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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Marathi-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

kavya (कव्य).—n S An oblation to deceased ancestors.

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kāvya (काव्य).—n (S) A poem or piece of poetry.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English

kavya (कव्य).—n An oblation to deceased ancestors.

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kāvya (काव्य).—n A poem or piece of poetry.

context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Kavya (कव्य).—(opp. havya) An oblation of food to deceased ancestors; एष वै प्रथमः कल्पः प्रदाने हव्यकव्ययोः (eṣa vai prathamaḥ kalpaḥ pradāne havyakavyayoḥ) Manusmṛti 3.147, 97,128.

-vyaḥ A class of manes. कव्योऽसि हव्यसूदन (kavyo'si havyasūdana) Mahābhārata on P.VI.4.3.

Derivable forms: kavyam (कव्यम्).

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Kāvya (काव्य).—a. [kavi-yaṇ]

1) Possessed of the qualities of a sage or a poet.

2) Praiseworthy, fit to be described

3) Prophetic, inspired, poetical; अशंसीत् काव्यः कविः (aśaṃsīt kāvyaḥ kaviḥ) Ṛgveda 8.8.11.

-vyaḥ Name of Śukra, preceptor of the Asuras; Mahābhārata (Bombay) 1.76.6; दानवेन्द्रैर्हतं दूरात् काव्यः कचमजीवयत् (dānavendrairhataṃ dūrāt kāvyaḥ kacamajīvayat) Bm.1.289.

-vyā 1 Intelligence.

2) A female fiend;

-vyāḥ m. (pl.) A class of manes; Manusmṛti 3.199.

-vyam 1 A poem; महाकाव्यम् (mahākāvyam); मेघदूतं नाम काव्यम् (meghadūtaṃ nāma kāvyam) &c.

2) Poetics, poetry, a poetical composition. (kāvya is defined by writers on Poetics in different ways; tadadoṣau śabdārthau saguṇāvanalaṅkṛtī punaḥ kvāpi K. P.1; vākyaṃ rasātmakaṃ kāvyam S. D.1; ramaṇīyārthapratipādakaḥ śabdaḥ kāvyam R. G.; śarīraṃ tāvadiṣṭārthavyavacchinnā padāvalī Kāv.1.1; nirdoṣā lakṣaṇavatī sarītirguṇabhūṣitā | sālaṅkārarasā'nekavṛttirvāk kāvyanāmabhāk || Chandr.1.7.)

3) Happiness, welfare.

4) Wisdom; काव्यानि वदतां तेषां संयच्छामि वहामि च (kāvyāni vadatāṃ teṣāṃ saṃyacchāmi vahāmi ca) Mahābhārata (Bombay) 12.124.34.

5) Inspiration. (The purposes of a Kāvya as mentioned by Mammaṭa are :-kāvyaṃ yaśase'rthakṛte vyavahāravide śivetarakṣa- taye | sadyaḥparanirvṛtaye kāntāsaṃmitatayopadeśayuje || K. P.1.)

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Kavya (कव्य).—n.

(-vyaṃ) An oblation or offering of food to deceased ancestors. E. ku to sound or praise, yat aff.

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Kāvya (काव्य).—m.

(-vyaḥ) A name of Sukracharya, the preceptor of the demons. f.

(-vyā) 1. Understanding, intelligence. 2. A female fiend: see pūtanā. 3. A Pitri of a particular order, the son of Kavi or Sukra. n.

(-vyaṃ) A poem, poetical composition. E. kavi a poet, &c. ñyat derivative or pleonastic aff.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Benfey Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Kavya (कव्य).—i. e. kavi + ya, n. An oblation to deceased ancestors (the wise men of old), [Mānavadharmaśāstra] 1, 95.

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Kāvya (काव्य).—i. e. kavi + ya, I. adj., f. , Coming from old sages, Mahābhārata 2, 2097. Ii. m. 1. A class of Pitṛs or Manes, [Mānavadharmaśāstra] 3, 199. 2. patron. Surname of Uśanas, Mahābhārata 1, 3188. Iii. m. A bard, Mahābhārata 2, 453. Iv. n. A poem, [Rāmāyaṇa] 1, 2, 38.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Cappeller Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Kavya (कव्य).—[adjective] = kavi [adjective]; [masculine] [plural] a class of Manes; [neuter] an oblation to the Manes (mostly connected with havya).

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Kāvya (काव्य).—1. [adjective] having the qualities of a sage; wise, inspired; [masculine] patr. of Uśanas.

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Kāvya (काव्य).—2. [adjective] the same; [neuter] wisdom, inspiration; poetry, poem; [masculine] [plural] a class of Manes.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

1) Kavya (कव्य):—[from kavi] 1. kavya mfn. (= kavi, [Kāśikā-vṛtti on Pāṇini 5-4, 30]) wise, [Ṛg-veda x, 15, 9] (at, [Vājasaneyi-saṃhitā xxii, 2] read kavyāḥ)

2) [v.s. ...] a sacrificer, sacrificial priest, [Ṛg-veda ix, 91, 2]

3) [v.s. ...] Name of a class of deities associated with Aṅgiras and Ṛkvan ([Grassmann]; a class of manes), [Ṛg-veda x, 14, 3; Atharva-veda]

4) [v.s. ...] Name of one of the seven sages of the fourth Manv-antara, [Harivaṃśa]

5) [v.s. ...] n. (generally in connection with havya See havya-kavya) ‘what must be offered to the wise’, an oblation of food to deceased ancestors, [Mahābhārata; Manu-smṛti]

6) [from kavi] 2. kavya [Nominal verb] [Parasmaipada] kavyati, to be wise, [Pāṇini 7-4, 39.]

7) Kāvya (काव्य):—mfn. ([from] kavi), endowed with the qualities of a sage or poet, descended or coming from a sage, prophetic, inspired, poetical, [Ṛg-veda i, 117, 12; viii, 8, 11; Vājasaneyi-saṃhitā; Atharva-veda]

8) idem, [Ṛg-veda v, 39, 5; x, 144, 2; Vājasaneyi-saṃhitā]

9) mf(ā)n. coming from or uttered by the sage Uśanas, [Parāśara-smṛti; Mahābhārata ii, 2097]

10) m. (gaṇa kurv-ādi) a [patronymic] of Uśanas, [Ṛg-veda; Taittirīya-saṃhitā] etc.

11) mf(ā)n. of the planet Śukra, [Varāha-mihira’s Bṛhat-saṃhitā; Sarvadarśana-saṃgraha]

12) m. [plural] poems, [Mahābhārata ii, 453]

13) m. a class of Manes, [Śāṅkhāyana-śrauta-sūtra; Lāṭyāyana; Manu-smṛti iii, 199]

14) the descendants of Kavi, [Viṣṇu-purāṇa]

15) Kāvyā (काव्या):—[from kāvya] f. intelligence, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

16) [v.s. ...] Name of a female fiend (= pūtanā), [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

17) Kāvya (काव्य):—n. wisdom, intelligence, prophetic inspiration, high power and art (often in [plural]), [Ṛg-veda; Atharva-veda; Śatapatha-brāhmaṇa xi]

18) a poem, poetical composition with a coherent plot by a single author (opposed to an Itihāsa), [Rāmāyaṇa; Sāhitya-darpaṇa] etc.

19) term for the first tetrastich in the metre Ṣaṭ-pada

20) a kind of drama of one act, [Sāhitya-darpaṇa 546]

21) a kind of poem (composed in Sanskṛt interspersed with Prākṛt), [Sāhitya-darpaṇa 563]

22) happiness, welfare, [cf. Lexicographers, esp. such as amarasiṃha, halāyudha, hemacandra, etc.]

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Yates Sanskrit-English Dictionary

1) Kavya (कव्य):—(vyaṃ) 1. n. An oblation made to the manes, or deceased ancestors.

2) Kāvya (काव्य):—(vyaḥ) 1. m. A name of Sucrāchārya, preceptor of the demons. f. (vyā) Intelligence; a fiend. n. A poem, poetical composition.

Source: DDSA: Paia-sadda-mahannavo; a comprehensive Prakrit Hindi dictionary (S)

Kāvya (काव्य) in the Sanskrit language is related to the Prakrit word: Kavva.

[Sanskrit to German]

Kavya in German

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Hindi dictionary

Source: DDSA: A practical Hindi-English dictionary

Kāvya (काव्य) [Also spelled kavy]:—(nm) poetry; —[kalā] the art of poetry; ~[kāra] a poet; —[kṛti] a poetic work; —[pāṭha] recitation; -[marmajña/ —marmī] a connoisseur of poetry; hence —[marmajñatā; kāvyātmaka] poetic; hence [kāvyātmakatā] (nf).

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Kannada-English dictionary

Source: Alar: Kannada-English corpus

Kavya (ಕವ್ಯ):—

1) [noun] an oblation of food to deceased ancestors.

2) [noun] a class of dead ancestors (manes).

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Kāvya (ಕಾವ್ಯ):—

1) [noun] a poetical work; poetry; (gen.) a literary work.

2) [noun] the theory or structure of poetry; poetics.

3) [noun] Śukra, the preceptor of demons, and the regent-deity of the planet Venus.

context information

Kannada is a Dravidian language (as opposed to the Indo-European language family) mainly spoken in the southwestern region of India.

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