Alamkaras mentioned by Vamana

by Pratim Bhattacharya | 2016 | 65,462 words

This page relates ‘Alamkara-shastra according to Rajashekhara (11th 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”)

11: Alaṃkāra-śāstra according to Rājaśekhara (11th century)

Rājaśekhara, the well-known poet and dramatist of Sanskrit literature, has composed a treatise on Sanskrit Rhetoric called ‘Kāvyamīmāṃsā’. Rājaśekhara belongs to the ‘yāyāvarīyafamily and his date is fixed around 10th century to 11th century A.D.

The Kāvyāmīmāṃsā is composed in eighteen (18) adhikaraṇas or chapters and it deals with the topics of ‘kaviśikṣā’ and general Poetics. Rājaśekhara cites several opinions of his predecessors like Medhāvirudra, Udbhaṭa, Vāmana, Maṅgala, Rudraṭa, Ānandavardhana etc. He himself puts forth his opinions by the name ‘yāyāvarīya’. He is the first rhetorician to recognise Rhetoric as ‘sāhityavidyā[1] . He also tries to portray the divine origin of Sanskrit Poetics in his famous ‘kāvya-puruṣa’ episode. In this episode, the figures of speech are described as the ornaments of the ‘kāvya-puruṣa[2] .

He also considers alaṃkāras as the seventh ‘aṅga’ or constituent of the Veda because the comprehension of Vedic thoughts is not properly achieved without a considerable knowledge of the alaṃkāras

upakārakatvāt alaṃkāraḥ saptamamaṅgamiti yāyāvarīyaḥ /
ṛte ca tatsvarūpaparijñānādvedārthānavagateḥ/

  —Kāvya-mīmāṃsā (of Rājaśekhara) Ch-2.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

śabdārthayoryathāvat sahabhāvena vidyāsāhityavidyā/
  —Kāvya-mīmāṃsā (of Rājaśekhara) Ch-2.

[2]:

anuprāsopamādayaśca tvāmalaṃkurvanti/
  —Kāvya-mīmāṃsā (of Rājaśekhara) Ch-3.

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