Alamkaras mentioned by Vamana

by Pratim Bhattacharya | 2016 | 65,462 words

This page relates ‘19-20: Alamkara-shastra according to Vagbhata (12th and 14th 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”)

19-20: Alaṃkāra-śāstra according to Vāgbhaṭa (12th and 14th Century)

Vāgbhaṭa I

Vāgbhaṭa I, also known as the senior Vāgbhaṭā, has composed a concise work on Sanskrit Rhetoric named ‘Vāgbhaṭālaṃkāra’. Senior Vāgbhaṭā’s date has been assigned to the 1st half of the 12th century. The Vāgbhaṭālaṃkāra consists of five (05) paricchedas or chapters and it contains 260 verses mainly composed in anuṣṭup metre. The 4th chapter of the work deals with the poetic figures.

Vāgbhaṭa I has admitted four (04) figures of word (śabdālaṃkāras) and thirty-five (35) figures of sense (arthālaṃkāras). Alike many of his predecessors he also considers alaṃkāras as indispensible part of poetry[1] .

Vāgbhaṭa II

Junior Vāgbhaṭāor VāgbhaṭāII probably flourished in the 14th century. This Jaina rhetorician has been greatly influenced by senior Vāgbhaṭā and Hemacandra. Vāgbhaṭa II even borrows the name of his work ‘Kāvyānuśāsana’ from Hemacandra. The ‘Kāvyānuśāsana’ of VāgbhaṭāII is written in the sūtravṛtti style and it contains five (05) adhyāyas or chapters. Vāgbhaṭa II adopts Hemacandra’s definition of poetry and considers the alaṃkāras as crucial part of the body of poetry. But he declares rasa as the soul of poetry[2] .

Vāgbhaṭa II has admitted two (02) types of alaṃkārasśabdālaṃkāra and arthālaṃkāra[3] . He deals with sixty-three (63) arthālaṃkāras in the 3rd chapter and six (06) śabdālaṃkāras (citra, śleṣa, anuprāsa, vakrokti, yamaka and punaruktavadābhāsa) in the 4th chapter of his work.

Footnotes and references:


sādhuśabdārthasandarbhaṃ guṇālaṃkārabhūṣitam/
sphuṭarītirasopetaṃ kāvyaṃ kurvīta kīrtaye//

  — Vāgbhaṭālaṃkāra (of Vāgbhaṭa I) 1.2.


doṣamuktaṃ guṇayuktamalaṃkārabhūṣitaṃ śabdartharūpamuktaṃ
kāvyaśarīram/ paraṃ tattvaprāṇiśarīramiva nirātmakaṃ na pratibhāsate/
ataḥ kāvyasya prāṇabhūtān rasānāha/

  — Kāvyānuśāsana (of Vāgbhaṭā II) Chapter-V, p-53..


alaṃkārāḥ khalu dvividhāḥ/śabdālaṃkārāarthālaṃkārāśca/
Kāvyānuśāsana (of Vāgbhaṭā II) Chapter-III, p-32.

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