Kavya, aka: Kāvya; 9 Definition(s)


Kavya means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Buddhism, Pali, Marathi. 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

Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

[Kavya in Natyashastra glossaries]

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: The Kavyavilasa of Ciranjiva Bhattacarya (natyashastra)
Natyashastra book cover
context information

Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).

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[Kavya in Purana glossaries]

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): archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia

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.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
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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)

[Kavya in Hinduism glossaries]

“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): Oxford Reference: Indian Philosophy

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.

(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

[Kavya in Pali glossaries]

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

—kāra a poet J. VI, 216. (Page 201)

(Source): Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
Pali book cover
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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

[Kavya in Marathi glossaries]

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

--- OR ---

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

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

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

--- OR ---

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

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

[Kavya in Sanskrit glossaries]

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

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

Derivable forms: kavyam (कव्यम्).

--- OR ---

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) Rv.8.8.11.

-vyaḥ Name of Śukra, preceptor of the Asuras; Mb.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; Ms.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) Mb.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): DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. 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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Relevant definitions

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