Natyashastra (English)

by Bharata-muni | 1951 | 240,273 words | ISBN-13: 9789385005831

The English translation of the Natyashastra, a Sanskrit work on drama, performing arts, theater, dance, music and various other topics. The word natyashastra also refers to a global category of literature encompassing this ancient Indian tradition of dramatic performance. The authorship of this work dates back to as far as at least the 1st millenn...

Chapter XVII - Diction of a Play (lakṣaṇa)

Excellent points of a dramatic composition (lakṣaṇa)

1-5. The thirty-six excellent points (laksaṇa)[1] of [a good] dramatic composition (kāvya[2]) are as follows: Ornateness (bhūṣaṇa), Compactness (akṣara-saṃghāta), Brilliance (śobhā), Parallelism (udāharaṇa), Causation (hetu), Hesitation (saṃśaya) Favourable Precedent (dṛṣṭānta), Discovery (prāpti), Fancy (abhiprāya), Unfavourable Precedent (nidarśana), Additional Explanation (nirukta), Persuasion, (siddhi), Distinction (viśeṣaṇa) Accusation of Virtue (guṇātipāta), Excellence (guṇātiśaya), Inference from Similitude (tulya-tarka), Multiplex Predication (padoccaya), Apt Description (diṣṭa), Pointed Utterance (upadiṣṭa), Deliberation (vicāra), Inversion (viparyaya), Slip of Tongue (bhraṃśa), Mediation (anunaya), Series of Offers (mālā), Clever Manner (dākṣiṇya), Censure (garhaṇa), Presumption (arthāpatti), Celebrity (prasiddhi), Interrogation (pṛcchā), Identity (sārūpya), Indirect Expression of one’s Desire (manoratha), Wit (leśa), Concealment (saṃkṣobha), Enumeration of Merits (guṇa-kīrtana), Semi-uttered Expression (anukta-siddhi) and Compliment (priyavacana = priyokti).


6.[3]To provide a composition with many figures of speech (alaṃkāra), and Guṇas placed like ornaments, is called Ornateness (bhūṣaṇa, lit. ornament).


7.1When a wonderful sense is expressed by means of a small number of syllables with double entendre, it is called the mark named Compactness (akṣara-saṃghāta, lit. assemblage of syllables).


8.[4] Where for the purpose of giving distinction to a case of double entendre (śleṣa), a less-known meaning is called forth along with the well-known meanings, it is called Brilliance (śobhā, lit. beauty).


9. When by a sentence expressing a similar situation a suggestion is made by clever people to accomplish some objects, it is called Prarallelism (udāharaṇa, lit. example).[5]


10. When a brief and pleasing sentence by the force of its [tactful] use achieves the desired object, it is called Causation (hetu)[6].


11. When due to many considerations a sentence is brought to an end without fully communicating the essential theme [in view], it is called Hesitation (saṃśaya, lit. doubt).[7]

Favourable Precedent

12. That which supporting the case in hand[8] is an expression of its reason and is pleasing to all people, is a Precedent Favourable to the speaker (dṛṣṭānta, lit. example),


13. When on seeing some indications, the existence of something is assumed, it becomes [an instance of] Discovery (prāpti, lit. attainment)[9] which is included among the marks of a [good] drama.


14. When an idea interesting to people [but] hitherto non-existent, is conceived on the basis of similarity [of two objects], it is [an instance of] Fancy (abhiprāya, lit. belief)[10]

Unfavourable Precedent

15. When well-known instances are mentioned for rejecting the contrary view, it is [an instance of] Unfavourable Precedent (nidarśana, lit. example)[11]

Convincing Explanation

16. Words that ate spoken in support some unobjectionable statement made before, constitute Additional Explanation (nirukta, lit. etymology)[12]


17. When name of many relevant[13] persons are mentioned with a view to accomplish the object aimed at, it is [an instance of] Persuasion (siddhi, lit. success).


18. When after mentioning many well-known great objects something is said to distinguish a thing from them, it is [an instance of] Distinction (viśeṣaṇa)[14].

Accusation of Virtues

19. When virtues are mentioned with sweet words of harsh import, which carry a contrary implication, it is [an instance of] Accusation of Virtues (guṇātīpāta, lit. opposition of virtue)[15].


20. When after enumerating the qualities available in common men, one mentions some special qualities, it is [an instance of] Excellence (atiśaya)[16].

Inference from Similitude

21. When an object not believable, is inferred from a metaphor or a simile applied in a similar sense, it is [an instance of] Inference from Similitude (tulya-tarka, lit. reasoning from the comparables)[17].

Multiplex Predication

22. When a number of words are used along with a number of other words to form [different] groups for the same purpose, it becomes [an instance of] Multiplex Predication (padoccaya, lit. collection of words)[18].


23. When any object or incident directly seen or not, is described in harmony with locality, time or from related to it, it becomes [an instance of] Apt Description (diṣṭa lit. described)[19].

Pointed Utterance

24. When one says something with a happy end on the basis of Śāstras and thereby pleases the learned, it is a Pointed Utterance (upadiṣṭa, lit. utterance)[20]


25. That which establishes something not direcrty perceived and is in harmony with the meaning expressed earlier[21] and includes much elimination of errors (apoha), is called Deliberation (vicāra).


26. When due to seeing [something], an alteration of Deliberation, is made on account of a doubt, it is called Inversion (viparyaya).[22]

Slip of Tongue

27. Manifold and sudden deviation of haughty and such other persons from the intended words to something else, is called Slip of Tongue (bhraṃśa, lit. lapse)[23].


28. [Words] which [are used to] please two persons with mutually opposed resolution and [are aimed at] accomplishing some object, constitute Mediation (anunaya, lit. imploring)[24].

Series of Offers

29. When for the purpose of accomplishing a desired object one (lit. learned men) suggests to a person his many needs [that may be met], it is [an instance of] Series of Offers (mālā, lit. garland)[25].

Clever Manners

30. When one attends another person with a happy and pleased face, [sweet] speech and other [agreeable] movements, it [is an instance of] Clever Manners (dākṣiṇya).[26]


31. If any one mentions [someone’s] faults and explain them as merits, or decries one’s merits and calls them faults, it becomes [an instance of] Censure (garhaṇa)[27].


32. When from a sweetly-worded mention of something, some other object is to be understood, it is [an instance of] Presumption (arthāpatti).[28]


33. That which is expressed with excellent words mentioning many well-known exploits, gives rise to Celebrity (prasiddhi)[29].


34. When with gesticulating[30] words one questions oneself or another and speaks something, it is [an instance of] Interrogation (pṛcchā).


35. When from seeing, hearing or feeling something [suddenly] one is excited by its likeness [with another, it is [an instance of] Identity (sārūpya)[31].

Indirect Expression of Desire

36. Expressing one’s secret desire of the heart[32] by a pretence of referring to somebody else’s condition, is called Indirect Expression of Desire (manoratha, lit. object of the mind).


37. Words which are spoken in a [clever] manner by expert disputants and which relate to accomplishment of similar objects1, constitute Wit (leśa)[33].


38. When being faultless one takes upon oneself various faults of another, or ascribes them to another blameless person, it is [an instance of] Concealment (saṃkṣobha, lit. upsetting)[34].

Enumeration of Merits

39. When merits of men who excel [others] in qualities in this world, are ascribed to one single person, it is [an instance of] Enumeration of Merits (guṇa-kīrtana)[35].

Semi-uttered Expression

40. When from the mere commencement of subject the rest of it is comprehended without being actually expressed in words[36] it is [an instance of] Semi-uttered Expression (anukta-siddhi, lit. unuttered achievement).


41. When words are uttered in a pleasant mood to honour an honourable person and to express joy [for his acts] it is [an instance of] Compliment (priyokti, lit. pleasing utterance)[37].

42. These thirty-six excellent points of a dramatic (lit. poetical) composition conducing to the object in view (i.e. writing plays) will beautify a play (lit. composition) and [hence they] should be properly used according to the Sentiment [introduced in it].

Four figures of speech

43. Four figures of speech available in drama are: Simile (upamā,) Metaphor (rūpaka), Condensed Expression (dīpaka, lit. lamp) and Yamaka.


44. When in a poetical composition anything is compared on the basis of some similarity, it is [an instance of] Simile (upamā). It relates to quality and form,

Number of objects compared

45-48. This comparison may be of one with one or many, or of many with one, or of many with many. (Examples of these are as follows): your face is like the moon (one compared with one), stars shine like the moon (many compared with one), having an eye like that of a hawk, a peacock and a vulture (one compared with many); and elephants are like clouds (many compared with many).

Five kinds of simile

49. A Simile is of five kinds, viz. [that of] praise (praśaṃsā), censure (nindā), conceit (kalpitā), uniqueness (sadṛśī). and partial likeness (kiṃcit sadṛśī).

Example of Simile of praise

50. The king was pleased to see that large-eyed lady just as the sages are pleased to see the success incarnate after it has been achieved with austerity.

Example of Simile of censure

51. The woman clung to that rough-looking person devoid of all good qualities just as a creeper clings round a thorny tree which has been searched by the forest-fire.

Example of Simile of conceit

52. Elephants exuding ichor and moving slowly with gracefulness look like mobile mountains.

Example of Simile of uniqueness

53. What you have done today to satisfy someone else’s desire, is worthy of you and is comparable only to your [other] superhuman deeds.

Example of Simile of partial likeness

54. Here has come my lady friend whose face is like the full moon, eyes are like the petals of a blue lotus and the gait is like that of an elephant in rut.

55. These briefly are the varieties of similes. Those not described here are to be gathered from [different] poetical works and from the people (i.e. the folk-poems).


56. An image of slight likeness which is conceived due to indecision [from objects] characterised by similar limbs, is called Metaphor (rūpaka)[38]. Example:

57. Lake-women, with their lotus-faces, Kumuda-smiles, open and beautiful Nīlotpala-eyes and swans cackling around, seem to be calling one another.

Condensed Expression

58. Combining of words in different topics in a single sentence for their mutual illumination, is called Condensed Expression (dīpaka, lit. light)[39]. Example:

59. In that region (lit. there) fullness (lit. want of emptiness) was always effected[40] by swans in the lakes, by flowers in the trees, intoxicated, bees in the lotuses and by friendly groups [of men and women] in the gardens and the parks.


60. Repetition of words at the beginning of the feet and the other places, constitute Yamaka (lit. twin). Listen to their characteristics which I am going to tell [you][41].

Ten kinds of Yamaka

61-63.[42] Yamakas are of the ten kinds: Pādānta-Yamaka, Kāñci-Yamaka, Samudga-Yamaka, Vikrānta-Yamaka, Cakravāla-Yamaka, and Sandaṣṭa-Yamaka, Pādādi-Yamaka, Āmreḍita-Yamaka, Catur-vyavasita-Yamaka and Mālā-Yamaka.


64. When similar syllables occur at the end of all the four feet, they constitute Pādānta-Yamaka. Example:

65. dina-kṣayāt saṃhṛta-raśmi-maṇḍalaṃ divīva lagnaṃ tapanīya-maṇḍalaṃ |
vibhāti tāmraṃ divi sūrya-maṇḍalaṃ yathā taruṇyāḥ stana-bhāra-maṇḍalaṃ ||

Tr. At the decline of the day, the reddish (lit. copper-coloured) orb of the sun shorn of its cluster of rays, shining like a golden disc in the heavens, looks like the big round breast of a young maiden.[43]


66. Two similar words occurring at the beginning and at the end of each foot constitute Kāñcī-Yamaka.

67. yāmāyāmāś-candravatīnāṃ dravatīnāṃ vyaktāvyaktā sāra-janīnāṃ rajanīnām |
phulle phulle sa-bhramare vā’bhramare vā rāmā’rāmā vismayate ca smayate ca ||

Tr. The length of hours (yāma) of the moon-lit nights, passing swiftly in the company of women are scarcely perceived.
Flowers having blown whether with or without bees, the lady looks at them admiringly, and has a beautiful smile.


68.[44] When the same Hemistich by its repetition completes the verse, it is [an instance of] Samudga-Yamaka. Example:

69. ketakī-mukul-pāṇḍara-dantaḥ śobhate pravara-kānana-hastī |
ketakī-mukul-pāṇḍara-dantaḥ śobhate pravara-kānana-hastī ||

Tr. The very big wild elephant with its tusks as pale-white as Ketakī buds looks beautiful; and the elephant-like large forest looks beautiful with Ketakī buds as its pale-white tusks.


70. When two alternate feet are similar, it is [an instance of] Vikrānta-Yamaka.

71. sa pūrvaṃ vāraṇo bhūtvā dviśṛaṅga iva parvataḥ |
abhavad danta-vaikalyād-viśṛṅga iva parvaraḥ ||

Tr. Formerly being an elephant comparable to a two-peaked mountain, [now] its two tusks being broken it has become like a mountain without any peak.


72. When the word at the end of a foot is similar to the word at the beginning to the next foot, it is [an instance of] Cakravāla-Yamaka[45]. Example:

73. [śarais] tathā śatrubhir āhatā hatā hatāś ca bhūyas tv anupuṃkhagaiḥ khagaiḥ |
khagaiś ca sarvair yudhi sañcitāś citāś citâdhirūḍhā nihatās talais talaiḥ ||

Tr. Thus they were killed after being struck by arrows of the enemies as well as by birds of prey flying closely behind such missiles; the pyres of the battle-field were surrounded with such birds and the dead bodies placed on the funeral pyre were being repeatedly pounced upon by them with their [sharp] talons.


74. When the two words at the beginning of a foot are similar, it is [an instance of] Sandaṣṭa-Yamaka[46]. Example:

75. paśya paśya me ramaṇasya guṇān yena yena vaśagāṃ karoti mām |
yena yena hi mamaiti darśanaṃ tena tena vaśagāṃ karoti mām ||

Tr. Look at the qualities of my lover, by which he makes me bow to him, and he charms me by those qualities with which he comes to my view.


76. When the same word occurs at the beginning of each foot, it is [an instance of] Pādādi-Yamaka.


77. viṣṇuḥ sṛjati bhūtāni viṣṇuḥ saṃharate prajāḥ |
viṣṇuḥ prasūte trailokyaṃ viṣṇur lokādhi-daivataṃ ||

Tr. Viṣṇu creates all living beings; Viṣṇu destroyes all creatures; Viṣṇu creates (lit. gives birth to) the three worlds and Viṣṇu is the overlord of [all] the worlds.


78. When the last words of a foot are reduplicated, it becomes [an instance of] Āmreḍita-Yamaka. Example:

79. vijṛmbhitaṃ niḥśvasitaṃ muhur-muhuḥ yathābhidhānaṃ smaraṇam pade pade |
yathā ca te dhyānam idaṃ punaḥ punar dhruvaṃ gatā tāṃ rajanī vinā vinā ||

Tr. You yawned and had deep repeated sighs, as you remembered her name frequently and as [you were] in constant meditation [of her] your [sad] night passed absolutely without her.[47]


80. When all the feet consist of similar syllables, it is [an instance of] Catur-vyavasita-Yamaka. Examples:

81. vāraṇānām ayam eva kalo vāraṇānām ayam eva kālaḥ |
vāraḥānām ayam eva kālo vā raṇānām ayam eva kālaḥ ||

Tr. This is the time of the Vārana [flower]; this is the season when the elephants (vāraṇa) are free from disease. This is the time [for] the enemies to come; or this is the time for [going to] battle. [48]

Mālā Yamaka

82. When one consonant with different vowels occurs in various words, it is [an instance of] Mālā Yamaka. Example:

83. hali balī halī mālī śūlī khelī lalī jalī |
balo balocca-lolākṣo muṣalī tv-ābhirakṣatu ||

Tr. Let the strong Balarāma, the garlanded Balarāma (hali) who holds a spike, is sportive, faltering [in gait] and is full of wine and Balarāma who is high in strength and who has his eyes rolling and who holds a club, protect you.

84. asau hi rāmā rati-vigraha-priyā rahaḥ-pragalbhā ramaṇaṃ raho-gatam |
ratena rātrau a[g]mayet parena vā na ced udeṣyaty aruṇah puro ripuḥ ||

Tr. This beautiful woman who is fond of love’s fight and is unashamed in bed[49] will go on secretly pleasing her dear one in bed at night with her best embrace if the sun will not rise in the east as her enemy.

85. sa puṣkarākṣaḥ kṣatajokṣitākṣaḍ kṣarat kṣatebhyaḥ kṣatajaṃ durīkṣam |
kṣatair gavākṣair iva saṃvṛtāṅgaḥ sākṣāt sahasrākṣa ivāvabhāti ||

Tr. The lotus-eyed one having his eyes bathed in blood, letting fall from his wounds awful blood and having his body covered with wounds like cow’s eyes appeared as the thousand-eyed god (Indra) in person.

86. A play (lit. poetical work) should be composed by [introducing] these [excellent] points after considering their objects and functions. I shall speak hereafter about faults (doṣa) in such works.

Ten faults

87. Faults in a play (lit. poetical work) may be of ten kinds, such as Circumlocution (gūḍhārtha), Superfluous Expression (arthāntara), Want of Significance (arthahīna), Defective Significance (bhinnārtha), Tautology (ekārtha), Want of Synthesis (abhiplutārtha), Logical Defect (nyāyādapeta), Metrical Defect (viṣama), Hiatus (visandhi) and Slang (śabdacyuta)[50].

Circumlocution and Superfluous Expression

88. Mentioning [anything] by means of a [manufactured] synonym, is to cause Circumlocution (gūḍhārtha, lit. hidden meaning)[51].

When anything not necessary is mentioned it is [a case of] Superfluous Expression (arthāntara)[52].

Want of Significance

89. An expression which is irrelevant[53] or which remains incomplete[54] is [an instance of] Want of Significance (arthahīna)3

Defective Significance

Defective Significance (bhinnārtha, lit. broken meaning) includes an expression which is not refined[55] or is worthy of a rustic.[56]

90. When the intended sense is changed into another sense it is also called Defective Significance.

Tautology and Want of Synthesis

91. Tautology (ekārtha), means [indiscriminating] use of [many] words for a single purpose[57].

[When a sentence is] completed within [each] foot [of a verse] it [is an instance of] Want of Synthesis (abhiplutārtha)[58].

Logical Defect

92. Anything devoid of reasoning is an example of Logical Defect (nyāyād-apeta)[59].

Metrical Defect

Lapse in the metrical structure is called Metrical Defect (viṣama, lit. unevenness).


93. When words [which should combine in Sandhi] are kept separate, it is [an instance of] Hiatus (visandhi).


When a vulgar word is added, it is an instance of slang (śabha-cyuta, lit. lapse in a word)[60].


94. These are the faults of a poetical work properly described by me. Guṇas (merit) are their negation and are characterised by sweetness and depth of meaning[61].

Ten Guṇas

95.[62] The ten Guṇas are: Synthesis (śleṣa, lit. union), Perspicuity (prasāda), Smoothness (samatā), Concentration (samādhi), Sweetness (mādhurya), Grandeur (ojas) Agreeableness (saukumārya, lit. delicacy), Directness of Expression (artha-vyakti, lit. expression of meaning), Exaltedness (udāra, lit. deep) and Loveliness (kānti).


96. Union of words connected through meaning intended is called Synthesis (śleṣa)[63].


97. Where the unexpressed word or sense is comprehended through a use of easily understood words and sense, it is [an instance of] Perspicuity (prasāda)[64].


98. When alaṃkāras and guṇas match and illuminate one another it is called [an instance of] Smoothness (samatā)[65].


99. Careful condensation of meanings suggested by and derived from similes and other figures of speech is called Concentration (samādhi)[66].


100. When a sentence heard or uttered many times does not tire or disgust [anyone], it [is an instance of] Sweetness (mādhurya)[67].


101. If a [composition otherwise] censured and deficient in quality reflects an exalted sense through its words and is rich in sound and sense it becomes [an instance of] Grandeur (ojas)[68].


102. When a composition consists of words easy to pronounce, euphonically combined, and giving agreeable impression [even when treating some unpleasant topic], it is [an instance of] Agreeableness (saukumārya)[69].

Directness of Expression

103. When the meaning of a composition can be grasped by the penetrating mind just after its recital (lit. use) it is [an instance of] Directness of Expression (artha-vyakti)[70].


104. When the composition includes witty and graceful words having many special senses which are marvellous, it is [an instance of] Exaltedness (udātta)[71].


105. When a composition gives delight to the ears as well as to the mind on account of its well-put-together words, it is [an instance of] Loveliness (kānti)[72].

Alaṃkāras, and, Guṇas according to Sentiments

106. These are the figures of speech, faults and Guṇas [available in a poetical composition]; I shall now describe their application in connexion with different Sentiments.

Sounds and Figures of Speech according to Sentiments

107. The poetical composition in connexion with the Heroic, the Furious and the Marvellous Sentiments should consist mostly of light syllables and should include similes and metaphors.

108-109. In the Odious and the Pathetic Sentiments it [the composition] should likewise consist mostly of heavy syllables.

Metres according to Sentiments:

In the Heroic and the Furious Sentiments

Sometimes when any act of boldness is described (lit. occurs) in connexion with the Heroic and the Furious Sentiments, it (the composition) should be in the Āryā metre and should have Metaphor and Condensed Expression in it.

In the Erotic Sentiment

In the Erotic Sentiment the composition should be in gentle metres.

In the Heroic Sentiment

110-111. In the Heroic Sentiment when the recitative includes a dialogue, it should be in metres of the Jagatī, Atijagatī and Śaṃkṛti types. In the description of battles and tumults, the Utkṛti has been prescribed by the experts.

In the Pathetic Sentiment

The Śakkarī and the Atidhṛti would be the proper metres in the Pathetic Sentiment.

In the Heroic and the Furious Sentiments

112. The metres prescribed for the Heroic Sentiment may be applied in the Furious Sentimeñt as well; and as for metres in the rest of the cases (i.e. those not mentioned) they should be made suitable to the mening intended.

Vowel-length in different Sentiments arid States

113. In connexion with the drama the poets should use short, long and prolated (pluta) vowels for representing different Sentiments and States.

114. In the intonation [in Recitation] a vowel consisting of one Mātrā is short, of two Mātrās is long and of three Mātrās is prolated (pluta).

Uses of the frolated vowel

115. In remembering anything, in [expressing] indignation, in lamenting or in the reading of [the Vedas] by Brahmins, the prolated (pluta) vowels occur.

116. [Syllables concerned in these connexions] will be ‘ā’ in remembering, ‘ū’ in indignation, ‘hā’ in lamentation and ‘om’ in the reading of [the Vedas] by Brahmins.

117. Besides these, other syllables in a play (lit. poetical composition) should also be made short, Jong or prolated according to the Sentiment and the State [they express].

118. The even and the uneven metres which have been described before should be used in composition with agreeable and soft sounds according to the meaning [intended].

119. The playwright should make efforts to use in his dramatic composition sweet and agreeable words which can be recited by women. For, furnished with these (i.e. such words) a play will appear very much beautiful just as lotus-lake [will appear] adorned with swans.

120. The delicate dramatic art with harsh words, such as cekrīḍita[73], does not appear beautiful, just as a hetaera does not fit in with the company of Brahmins who carry the Ruru-skin,[74] are annointed with ghee, are clad in the skin of black antelopes[75] and have a rosary, (a Kamaṇḍalu) and a staff in hand.

121. A play abounding in agreeable sounds and senses, containing no obscure and difficult words, intelligible to country-people including clever speeches fit to be interpreted with (lit. fit for) dances, developing Sentiments by many [characters]8 and having suitable Segments (sandhi) and their [proper] union, becomes in this world fit for presentation to spectators.

Here ends chapter XVII of Bharata’s Nāṭyaśāstra which treats of the Excellent Points of a good play in connexion with the Verbal Representation.

Footnotes and references:


About the significance of the term lakṣaṇa, the commentators of the NŚ, are not at all unanimous. Ag. mentions no less than ten different views on the subject. Evidently some of these are far-fetched and off the mark. It seems that lakṣaṇa in this connexion is comparable to the same word occurring in the compound word mahāpuruṣa-lakṣaṇa (characteristic marks of a superman). According to one view this lakṣaṇa differs from the alaṃkāra (ornament) and the guṇa (qualities) of a person as figures of speech (alaṃkāra) and excellences (guṇa) of a composition differ from its characteristic marks (lakṣaṇa). The composition in this connexion is evidently a dramatic one though some of the commentators think otherwise. For a discussion on the position of lakṣaṇas in the history of the Alaṃkāra literature see S. K. De, Skt. Poetics, II. pp. 4-5; see also Ramakrishna Kavi, (B.II.pp. 348-349) and V. Raghavan’s paper on Lakṣaṇas in the Journal of Oriental Research, Vol. VI. pp. 70, 71, 81, 82. Mss. of the NŚ. fall into two distinct recensions as regards the text treating the thirty-six lakṣaṇas. According R. Kavi (loc. cit.) one recension followed by older commentators, and late writers like Viśvanātha, and Śiṅgabhūpāla, uses ślokas for defining lakṣaṇas. We have adopted this. The second recension (our 42ka-42ṣa) which seems to be later, has been followed by commentators like Kīrtidhara, Abhinavagupta and late writers like Dhanañjaya and others. This greatly varies from the first with which it has not more than seventeen names (of lakṣaṇas) in common, and among these, definitions of seven only are similar in both the recensions. (XVII, 6-8, 11, 17, 34, 37.),


Kāvya in this connexion means the dṛśya-kāvya or dramatic composition.


A close study of Ag’s. commentary on passages dealing with lakṣaṇas is liable to give one an impression that the exact meaning of some of the terms at least relating to this subject, has been to some extent lost, and various explanations have been partly based on guess. But in the absence of anything better we are to depend on them though very cautiously. Definitions of various lakṣaṇas are mostly not at all clear without examples which have been very liberally given by Ag. To avoid prolixity we refrain from quoting them here. Interested persons may see them in the Baroda ed. of the NŚ. (Vol. II. pp. 294ff.). As any old commentary to these (NŚ.) passages dealing with lakṣaṇas, has not come down to us, we used in this connexion the one prepared by M. Ramakrishna Kavi. See B. II. pp. 348ff. (Referred to as Kavi).


Ag. reads this with a slight difference, cf. SD. 437.


Cf. SD. 438. Ag’s text in trans. is as follows: When from the occurrence (lit, sight) of a single word good many unmentioned ones can be inferred (lit. accomplished) it is called Sample (udāharaṇa), B. XVI. 11.


Cf. SD. 439. Ag. reads this definition as follows: “vahṛnāṃ bhāṣamānānāṃ tvekasyārthavinirṇayam | siddhopamānavacanaṃ heturityabhisaṃjñitam” (B.XVI. 14). Its meaning is not clear, Ag’s explanation does not seem to be convincing.


Cf. SD. 440.


Cf. SD. 341. Ag’s text (B. XVI. 25) in trans. is as follows: That a learned person discovers similarity [of anything] with something perceived by him earlier, is called Illustration (dṛṣṭānta). Cf. the figure of speech of this name in SD. 697.


Cf. SD. 446, Ag. similar (B.XVI.32).


SD, 445, Ag, reads this as a variant of yukti (B. XVI. 36) which in translation is as follows: The meaning which is made up only of many mutually compatible objects combining with one another, is called Combination (yukti). Cf. SD. 501.


See SD, 444. Ag. reads this as a variant āśīḥ (B. XVI. 28). The meaning of this def. is not clear. Ag. offers no explanation of this, but gives an example which it is very difficult to fit in with the definition. Cf. SD. 471.


Cf. SD. 453. Ag.’s text (B. XVI. 12) in trans. is as follows: Explanation (nirukta) is two kinds: factual and non-factual, [Of these] the factual [explanation] is that which is well-known (lit, accomplished before), and the non-factual is that which has not been so (lit, not accomplished).


Cf. SD. 454. Ag. (B. XVI. 17) reads this with a slight variation.


Cf. SD. 452, Ag. (B. XVI. 31) reads this as a variant of kṣamā which in translation is as follows: When one being hurt by harsh and provoking words utterred by a wicked person in the presence of good people, remains without anger, it is [an instance of] Forgiveness (kṣamā),


Cf. SD. 450. Ag. reads this as a variant of guṇānuvāda (B. XVI. 13a) which is translation is as follows: Eulogy (guṇānuvāda) relates to inferior subjects compared with superior ones.


Cf. SD. 451 Ag.’s reading (B. XV. 13b) in translation is as follows: When anything compares favourably with the best thing [to which it can be compared] it is [an instance of] Excellence (atiśaya).


Cf. SD. 442. Ag. reads this is as a variant of the definition of ākranda (B.XVI. 19) which in translation is as follows: To say something very pointedly through suggesting one’s own idea by means of likening it to others’ actions, is called Exhortation (ākranda). Cf. SD. 472.


Cf. SD. 443 Ag.’s reading (B. XVI. 18) in trans. is as follows: When anything is described as possessing different aspects by means of many words of similar import, it is [an instance of] Multiplex Predication (padoccaya) which puts together many objects.


BC. dṛṣṭa for diṣṭa, Cf. SD. 448. Ag. reads this as a variant of sārūpya (B. XVI, 15) which is different from XVI. 35


Cf. SD. 449; Ag. reads this is as a variant of Argumentation (upa-patti). The def. (B. XVI. 35), in translation is as follows: When faults discovered are explained away as being otherwise, it is called Argumentation (upapatti) in connexion with drama. Cf. SD. 482.


Cf. SD. 447. Ag.’s reading of the definition in translation is as follows: Deliberation (vicāra) is the critical examination of many things (B. XVI. 33). Ag. reads this as a variant of paścāttāpa, The def. in trans. is follows: Mental agony after doing something improper or failing to do what was proper is called Remorse (paścāttāpa).


Cf. SD. 456. Ag. reads this as a variant of the def. of mithyâdhya - vasāya (B. XVI, 16) which in translation is as follows: When in place of a non-existent object one takes for certain something similar to it, it [become an instance of] Wrong Perception (mithyâdhyavasāya).


Cf. dṛptādīnāṃ bhaved bhraṃśo vācyād anyatarād vacaḥ, SD. 455. Ag. reads this as a variant of the def. of priyavacana which in trans, is as follows: That which is apparently liable to provoke anger, but brings joy in the end and includes a blessing, is called Witty Compliment (priyavacana—priyokti), B. XVI, 29.


Cf. SD. 458 Ag. reads this as a variant of the def. of Subservience anuvṛtti which in trans. is as follows: To follow with a purpose another person as a matter of courtesy, love or favour, is called Subservience (anuvṛtti), B.XV1. 34. Ag. reads this differently. Cf. SD. 494.


Cf. SD. 439, Ag, (B. XVI. 26) reads this as a variant of the def. of bhāsana, which in trans. is as follows: When a statement with many agreements is made in many sentences for different purposes, it is called Shining (bhāsana).


Cf. SD. 457. Ag. reads this as a variant of the def. of Clever Request (yācñā) which in translation is as follows: Words which are apparently liable to provoke anger, but bring joy in the end and turn favourable, are called Clever Request (yācñā) See B. XVI. 22 Cf. SD. 496.


Cf. SD. 461, Ag. reads this as a variant of the def. of Deceit (kapaṭa-saṃghāta) B. XVI. 30) which in translation is as follows: Application of some stratagem for the deception or defeat of others, is called Deceit (kapaṭa). When two or three (stratagems) are applied together it becomes a Multiplex Deceit (kapaṭa-saṃghāta). Cf. SD, 473.


Cf. SD. 460. Ag. reads this as a variant of the def. of Embellishment (kārya, B.XVI. 37) which in translation is as follows; When defects of an object are explained as merits or merits are derived from the defects it is [an instance of] Embellishment (kārya lit. action).


Cf. SD. 463. Ag. reads this as a variant of the def. of Submission (anunīti, B.XVI, 38) which in translation is as follows: Sweet words which are uttered, to please one after forgiving one’s singular offence due to anger, is called submission (anunīti). See also under B.XVI. 21.


Cf. abhyarthanāparair vākyair, SD. 462. Ag. (B. XVI. 24) reads this identically.


Cf. SD. 464. Ag. reads this as a variant of the def. of Wounded Self-respect (abhimāna, B.XVI. 8) which in translation is as follows: When one is not pacified even when one is consoled by means of many words and acts, it is [an instance of] Wounded Self-respect (abhimāna). Cf, SD. 493.


Cf. SD. 468. Ag. reads this in a substantially identical manner (B.XVI. 20).


Cf. SD. 467, Ag, reads this as a variant of the def. of Obstruction (pratiṣedha B.XVI.23) which in translation is as follows: When one sets out to do something contrary to another’s desire and is opposed by clever persons (lit. those who know the business) it is called Obstruction (pratiṣedha).


Cf. SD. 465, saṃkṣepo yat tu saṃkṣepād ātmanyarthe prayujyate. Ag. reads this as a variant of the def. of paridevana (parivādana of Bhoja, parivāda of Śāradātanaya, parivedana of Sarveśvara) See B.XVI.39 foot note (*). The meaning of its def. is not clear.


Cf. SD. 466. Ag. reads this def. in translation as follows: When a proclamation of various qualities of a person takes place, but his faults are not given out, it is [called an instance of] Enumeration of Merits (guṇa-kīrtana). See B.XVI. 9.


Cf. SD. 469. Ag. reads this as a variant of the def. paridevana etc, (see 38 note above).


Cf. SD. 470. Ag. reads this differently. See above 27 note 1.


(C.58; B.XVI. 56).1 (B.XVL57) and (C.57) give a second def. which does not appear in all mss.


B. gives an additional def. (XVI. 54).


The plain meaning is that the lakes were full of swans, the trees full of flowers, lotuses full of bees, and the parks and gardens full of friendly groups of people.


For an old definition of Yamaka see Bhāmaha, II. 17.


Bhāmaha mentions a fivefold division of Yamaka. See II. 9. He seems to have known the tenfold division of the NŚ., and is of opinion that his fivefold includes at least Sandaṣṭa and Samudga Yamakas. See II, 10.


B. gives an additional def. (B. XVI.65).


(C.70; B.XVI, 68).1 (C). This Yamaka occurs in Bhāmaha, II. 10, and Daṇḍin, III.53-54.


B. has an additional definition (B.XVI.73) of Cakravāla Yamaka.


This term occurs in Bhāmaha. II. 10, and Daṇḍin, III. 51-52. But the latter’s def. is different.


The trans. is not very literal.


Trans. followed Ag.


Rahas means bed. Cf, Gk. lekhos.


For a discussion of the faults in NŚ. see S. K. De, Skt. Poetics, II, pp. 19.


An example of such a synonym is Ekādhīka-nava-vimāna for Daśasatha, Cf. Bhāmaha (I. 37.) seems to be using gūdhaśabdābhidbāna in an identical sense. See 1.45-46. S. K. De translates this term as “use of difficult expressions” (loc cit.)


An example of such an expression is “cintāmoham anaṅgam aṅga tanute viprekṣitaṃ” The beautiful lady’s look injects (lit. spreads) indeed love as well as anxiety and insensibility. Here “anxiety and insensibility” are superfluous, for love includes these two states of the mind.


An example of such an expression is “adyāpi smarasi (smarati) rasālasaṃ mano me mugdhāyāḥ smaracaturāṇi.”. To say that a mugdhā heroine can be smara-catura (expert in love) as well, is incoherent. (Ag.).


The ex. of sāvaśeṣa is “sa mahātmā bhāgyavaśān mahāpatham upāgataḥ”. For mahātmā bhāgyavaśāt may be construed as rnahātmā abhāgyavaśāt and thereby its meaning may remain incomplete or undecided without a reference to the context (Ag.).


Ag’s ex. is not clear.


Ag’s ex. “bhadre bhajasva māmidaṃ te dāsyāmi.”


An example of Tautology (ekārtha) is kundendu-hāra-hara-hāsa-sitam. White like a Kunda flower, the moon and the laughter of Śiva. Any one simile would have been enough. Each simile here serves the same purpose and hence Tautology has occurred (Ag.). See Bhāmaha, IV. 12.


An example of this is “sa rājā gītikuśalaḥ saraḥ kumudaśobhitam | sarvapriyā vasantaśrīrgrīṣme”. Here all the four feet contain four complete sentences which are not connected with one another by sense.


nyāyād-apetam=deśakāla-viruddhaṃ etc. (Ag.) ‘defying the limitation of place and time,’ Bhāmaha’s deśa-kāla-kalā-loka-nyāyāgamā-virodhitā (IV, 28ff) seems to be included in this.


Such a fault occurred probably due to the Prakritic habit in Speech.


Vāmana holds the opposite view (guṇaviparyayātmāno doṣaḥ II. 1.1.) and according to him Guṇas are positive entities (kāvya-śobhāyāḥ kartāro dharmā guṇāḥ, III, 1. 1).


Bhāmaha, III. 1. 4., and Daṇḍin, 1. 41-94., have ten Guṇas and name them similarly. But their descriptions are different. Cf. De, Skt. Poetics, II. pp. 15ff, Nobel, Foundations, pp. 104ff.


Cf. Vāmana, III. I. n; Daṇḍin I. 43-44, BC. give another description (C. 98, B.XVI. 98) of this Guṇa, which in translation is as follows: A [composition] which is, imbued with deep logic but from its nature is [very] plain and is very well-knit-together is called Compact (śliṣṭa).


Cf. Vāmana III. 1. 6; Daṇḍin I. 45.


Cf. Vāmana III. 1. 12; Daṇḍin I-47-50. (B. XVI. 100) and C. (100 f.n) gives an additional description of this Guṇa which in translation is as follows: When a composition does not contain too many uncompounded words, redundant expressions and words difficult to understand it is [an instance of] Smoothness (samatā).


Cf. Vāmana, III. 1. 13; Daṇḍin I. 93-94. B. (XVI. 102) and C (101 f.n) gives an additional description of samādhi, which in translation is as follows: Possessing some special sense which the men of genius can find out in a composition (lit. here) is called Concentration (samādhi).


Cf, Vāmana III. 1. 11-21; Daṇḍin I. 51-53.


Cf. Vāmana III. 1. 5; Daṇdin I. 80-85. B. (XVI, 106) and C. (103) gives a second definition of this Guṇa which in translation is as follows: When a composition consists of a use of many and varied compound words exalted [in sense] and agreeable [in sound] it is [an instance of] Grandeur (ojaḥ).


Cf. Vāmana III. 1. 22; Daṇdin calls this sukumāratā.


and C. (105). gives a second definition of this Guṇa, which in translation is as follows: It any subject (lit. action) relating to the [common] events occurring in the world gets expressed by means of well-known predicates, it becomes [an instance of] Directness of Expression (arthavyakti).


Cf. Vāmana, III, 1. 23; Daṇḍin, I. 76-78. B. (XVI. III.) and C (106) give along with this a definition of the Guṇa named udāra. In translation it is as follows: When in a composition superhuman characters are described in relation to the Erotic and the Marvellous Sentiments and the various States, it is [an instance of] Exaltedness (udātta).


Cf. Vāmana, III. 1. 25; Daṇḍin, I. 85-88. C (107), gives an additional definition of this Guṇa, which in translation is as follows: That which [in a composition ] while describing the sportive movement of [a character) delights the ear and the mind fust as the moon [ pleases us] is (an instance of) Loveliness (kānti).


The word cekrīḍayatāṃ occurs in the Avi. (III.18) ascribed to Bhāsa. (See A.D. Pusalker, Bhāsa, Lahore, 1940, p. 131).


As the upper garment (uttarīya).


As the lower garment.

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