The Agni Purana

by N. Gangadharan | 1954 | 360,691 words | ISBN-10: 8120803590 | ISBN-13: 9788120803596

This page describes The embellishments of sound and sense (shabdartha-alankara) which is chapter 345 of the English translation of the Agni Purana, one of the eighteen major puranas dealing with all topics concerning ancient Indian culture, tradition and sciences. Containing roughly 15,000 Sanskrit metrical verses, subjects contained in the Agni-Purana include cosmology, philosophy, architecture, iconography, economics, diplomacy, pilgrimage guides, ancient geography, gemology, ayurveda, etc.

Chapter 345 - The embellishments of sound and sense (śabdārtha-alaṅkāra)

Fire-god said:

1. An embellishment of both sound and sense [i.e., śabdārtha-alaṅkāra] adorns the two simultaneously just as a necklace laid in one place (adorns both) the breast and neck of a woman.

2. Six varieties of it are explicitly in existence, namely, Praśasti, Kānti, Aucitya, Saṅkṣepa, Yāvadarthatā and Abhivyakti.

3-4a. Praśasti (eulogy) (is) skillful speech (employed) for the act of melting the subtle (heart) as if it is subservient. It is of two kinds on account of the distinction as Premokti and Stuti. A friendly speech and a panegyric are the synonyms of Premokti and Stuti (respectively).

4b-5a. Kānti (loveliness) (is) the fitness of the expressed (sense) and the expressive (word) agreeable to all the minds. (In that) the diction is befitting the theme and the mode to the sentiment.

5b. The propriety arises from strong and soft compositions.

6. Saṅkṣepa (brevity) (is) the comprehension of many meanings by means of few expressive words. Yāvadarthatā (correspondence) is neither deficiency nor excess of the word and the theme respectively.

7-9a. Abhivyakti (manifestation) (is) explicitness. It has also two (sub) divisions, Śruti and Ākṣepa. Śruti (direct hearing) is the word that gives up its own meaning. It is of two kinds—Naimittikī (occasional) and Pāribhāṣikī (technical). Technicality is convention. Hence arises the Technical. (The two) are again each divided as Mukhyā (primary) and Aupacārikī (metaphorical).

9b-10a. That is Metaphorical by which a word whose function deviates from its own primary sense expresses, for certain reason, a sense which is not primary.

10b-12a. It is Indicatory and Qualitative by association with indication and qualities (respectively). Indication is said to be the apprehension (of a secondary sense) always associated with the expressed sense. Indication is regarded as fivefold arising from connection with the primary sense, proximity, cohesion, contrariety and association through action.

12b-13. The Qualitative (is) endless in view of the endlessness of qualities in accordance with the desire of the speaker. It is known here as samādhi (transference) in which the attribute of one object is transferred to another by a person complying with worldly limits.

14-16. That is Ākṣepa (interdiction), on account of which the vital essence not available from direct hearing (of the word) becomes manifest. It is also (known as) Dhvani (suggestion), since it is implied by suggestion by means of word and sense, where the (suggested) sense (appears) by subordinating[1] its own (expressed sense). That is said to be Ākṣepa (interdiction) where there is an apparent denial of the desired sense in order to convey something special.[2] Again, this (is known as) Aprastutastotra[3] (indirect praise) where there is a praise of another object deviating from the object on hand.

17. Because of brevity of expression that is termed by the wise as Samāsokti (brevity of speech), where another object having common characteristics is suggested, when one object is described.

18. Apahnuti (concealment) (consists of) conveying another sense by concealing something. That is Paryāyokta (periphrasis) which is stated in a different way. Hence Dhvani (suggestion) is, indeed, the name of any one of these.

Footnotes and references:


The reading is taken as upasarjana [upasarjanam] instead of upārjana [upārjanam].


The reading should be viśeṣa instead of viśeṣo.


The textual reading atra stutam stotram is obviously incorrect.

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