Alamkaras mentioned by Vamana

by Pratim Bhattacharya | 2016 | 65,462 words

This page relates ‘Alamkara-shastra according to Udbhata (8th century)’ of the study on Alamkaras (‘figure of speech’) mentioned by Vamana in his Kavyalankara-sutra Vritti, a treatise dealing with the ancient Indian science of Rhetoric and Poetic elements. Vamana flourished in the 8th century and defined thirty-one varieties of Alamkara (lit. “anything which beautifies a Kavya or poetic composition”)

4: Alaṃkāra-śāstra according to Udbhaṭa (8th century)

Udbhaṭa (c. 8th century -9th century A.D.), in his Kāvyālaṃkārasārasaṃgraha, follows Bhāmaha closely in defining and illustrating poetic figures. He has also elaborated some of the poetic figures defined by Bhāmaha. His originality can be seen in the slight alterations he makes in the definitions of Bhāmaha. He has sometimes rejected some alaṃkāras that are treated by Bhāmaha (like yamaka, upamārūpaka etc.) and on the other hand he adds some alaṃkāras of his own (like punaruktavadābhāsa, kāvyadṛṣṭānta etc.) which were invariably accepted by later rhetoricians. Alike Bhāmaha, Udbhaṭa also hardly distinguishes guṇa and alaṃkāra. Udbhaṭa considered that guṇas and alaṃkāras were essentially of the same nature, both being the inherent beautifiers of poetry. But they belong to different elements of poetry. The guṇas belong to both word and sense together, while the alaṃkāras belong to either word or sense separately. Pratīhārendurāja, a commentator on Udbhaṭa, points out that guṇas are the primary beautifiers of poetry.

The alaṃkāras generate further beauty to poetry which is already beautified by the guṇas

guṇāḥ khalu kāvyaśobhāhetavo dharmāḥ / te ca mādhuryaujaḥ prasādalakṣaṇāḥ/ yeṣāṃ tu guṇopajanitaśobhe kāvye śobhātiśayahetutvaṃ te'laṃkārāḥ/
  —Kāvyālaṃkārasārasaṃgraha (of Udbhaṭā) varga-I, Pratīhārendurāja’s commentary, p-17.

The suggested sense is altogether included in the alaṃkāras. This is because the suggested sense or ‘vyaṅga’ sense is only a beautifier of the expressed sense or the ‘vācya’ sense. The alaṃkāras like upamā, utprekṣā etc exist even when they are known by suggested sense as well as when they are expressed.

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