Alamkaras mentioned by Vamana

by Pratim Bhattacharya | 2016 | 65,462 words

This page relates ‘Definition of Samsrishti Alamkara’ 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”)

29: Definition of Saṃsṛṣṭi Alaṃkāra

Vāmana, after dealing with the individual figures of sense, finally proceeds to a figure which arises from the commixture of two or more figures. He designates the term ‘saṃsṛṣṭi’ to this conglomeration of figures.

Saṃsṛṣṭi along with saṃkara are the two common and popular figures which are created from the combination of figures. Bhāmaha, Daṇḍin, Vāmana and Bhoja have only accepted saṃsṛṣṭi while Rudraṭā, Hemacandra and the two Vāgbhaṭas have only recognised saṃkara. Later rhetoricians like Mammaṭā, Ruyyaka and Viśvanātha have accepted both these two figures and they have also clearly differentiated between the two figures. Udbhaṭa is the first rhetorician to recognise both these two figures but his distinction between the two figures is different from later writers like Mammaṭā. He regards the independent commixture of figures based on word and sense (śabdālaṃkāra and arthālaṃkāra) as a variety of saṃkara while Mammaṭāconsiders it to be a variety of saṃsṛṣṭi.

Later rhetoricians have put forth two popular maxims to describe the nature of the two figures saṃsṛṣṭi and saṃkara. When the relation between the combining figures is independent and they can be easily recognised and differentiated in the commixture, the figure is called saṃsṛṣṭi. This type of combination of figures is like the mixture of rice and sesame (tilataṇḍulanyāya) which can be separately recognised at ease even if they are in a conglomeration. If the relation between the combining figures is mutually inter-dependent and their individual identity is not distinct or evident, the figure is called saṃkara. This combination of figures is like the mixture of milk and water (kṣīranīranyāya) in which the individual identity of the components are impossible to recognise separately. Bhoja (Sarasvatī-kaṇṭhābharaṇa 4.87-89.), Ruyyaka (Alaṃkārasarvasva p-192.), Vidyādhara (Ekāvalī 8.76.) and Vidyānātha (Pratāparudrayaśobhūṣaṇa Chapter-VIII, p-472.) have included the maxim ‘tilataṇḍulanyāya’ in their definition of the figure saṃsṛṣṭi. The feature ‘nirapekṣatā’ or the mutual independent nature of the combining figures involved in saṃsṛṣṭi has been mentioned in the definitions of the figure furnished by Udbhaṭā (Kāvyālaṃkārasārasaṃgraha 6.5.), Mammaṭa (Kāvya-prakāśa 10.207.), Viśvanātha (Sāhitya-darpaṇa 10. 97.) etc.

Ruyyaka has justified the claim of saṃsṛṣṭi (or even saṃkara) as a separate figure. According to him, the combination of figures in saṃsṛṣṭi renders an additional charm to a poetic combination just like the wearing of multiple ornaments brings out an additional tinge of beauty to a lady[1] . Bhāmaha has also asserted the beauty of the figure saṃsṛṣṭi.

He regards it as superior among figures because beautiful and striking figures are stringed together in it just like a necklace studded with gems—

racitāratnamāleva sācaivamuditāyathā//

  —Kāvyālaṃkāra (of Bhāmaha) 3.49.

Daṇḍin (Kāvyādarśa 2.359.) designates ‘alaṅkārasaṃsṛṣṭi’ as ‘saṅkīrṇa’. He observes that the fusion of figures can be accomplished in two modes—by ‘aṅgāṅgibhāvāvasthana’ (in a preponderating relationship) and by ‘sarveṣāṃ samakakṣatā’ (in a coordinating relationship). Later rhetoricians like Mammaṭā, Ruyyaka, Vidyānātha etc. have furnished three basic types of the figure saṃsṛṣṭi depending upon the nature of figures involved in the fusion.

They are—

i) When all the combining figures are śabdālaṃkāras, it is called śabdālaṃkārasaṃsṛṣṭi.

ii) When all the combining figures are arthālaṃkāras, it is called arthālaṃkārasaṃsṛṣṭi.

iii) When the figures involved in commixture are both śabdālaṃkāras and arthālaṃkāras, the figure is called ubhayasaṃsṛṣṭi.

Vidyādhara furnishes two basic varieties of the figure—

  1. sajātīyasaṃsṛṣṭi (combination of figures of the same sort) and
  2. vijātīyasaṃsṛṣṭi (commixture of figures of different types).

Vāmana defines saṃsṛṣṭi as the general combination of figures—

alaṅkārasyālaṅkārayonitvaṃ saṃsṛṣṭiḥ/
  —Kāvyālaṃkārasūtravṛtti (of Vāmana) 4.3.30.

According to him, the word saṃsṛṣṭi means relation or conjunction—

saṃsṛṣṭiḥ saṃsargaḥ sambandha iti/
  —Kāvyālaṃkārasūtravṛtti (of Vāmana) 4.3.30. vṛtti.

The Kāmadhenu commentator adds that the relation of figures bound by the rule of cause and effect is called saṃsṛṣṭi

kāryakāraṇabhāvāpannayoralaṃkārayoḥ sambandhaḥ saṃsṛṣṭirityarthaḥ /
  —Kāmadhenu, Kāvyālaṃkārasūtravṛtti (of Vāmana) 4.3.30.

Vāmana gives a two-fold classification of the figure—

  —Kāvyālaṃkārasūtravṛtti (of Vāmana) 4.3.31.

Upamārūpaka and utprekṣāvayava are the divisions of saṃsṛṣṭi.

He first defines upamārūpaka as—

upamājanyaṃ rūpakamupamārūpakam/
  —Kāvyālaṃkārasūtravṛtti (of Vāmana) 4.3.32.

The rūpaka which is based on upamā is called upamārūpaka.

He illustrates upamārūpaka with the following verse—

niravadhi ca nirāśrayaṃ ca yasya sthitamanivartitakautukaprapañcam/
prathama iha bhavān sa kūrmamūrtirjayati caturdaśalokavallikandaḥ//

—(Oh Lord!) The endless, independent and magnificent world is resting upon you. You are one and like the Tortoise-incarnation being the root of the creeperlike fourteen worlds.

Here the rūpaka is present in the word ‘caturdaśalokavallikandaḥ’ and it is based upon upamā present in the root of the verse. The Kāmadhenu commentator raises an argument in this context. According to him, this verse can be considered by someone as a case of rūpakajanyarūpaka or paramparitarūpaka because the imposition of ‘kandatva’ on the ‘kūrmamūrti’ is the reason for further imposition of ‘vallitva’ on the ‘lokas’. The commentator refutes this possibility by admitting upamitakarmadhārayasamāsa in the word ‘lokavalliḥ’. He thus shows the ‘upamājanyatva’ of the rūpaka in the verse.

Vāmana gives another example of upamārūpaka as—

rajanīpurandhrilodhratilakaḥ (śaśī)/

—The moon is like a sectarian mark painted on the forehead of the nightwoman.

Upamārūpaka has been treated as a separate individual figure by Bhāmaha. He defines the figure as—

upamānena tadbhāvamupameyasya sādhayan/
yāṃ vadatyupamāmetadupamārūpakaṃ yathā//

  —Kāvyālaṃkāra (of Bhāmaha) 3.35.

—If a description of similarity is made by assuming the identity of the upameya with the upamāna, the figure is called upamārūpaka. The full force of rūpaka in upamārūpaka is not felt as it is hindered by an upamā which prevails in the background.

Daṇḍin is the only other rhetorician who treats the figure. He, however, does not consider it as an individual distinct figure but rather recognizes it as a sub-variety of rūpaka[2] . He regards upamārūpaka as a rūpaka which states similarity between the principal and the secondary objects. This concept of the figure is very much different from that of Bhāmaha. But it has a certain proximity to the idea of the figure put forth by Vāmana. The basic area of difference between the concepts of Daṇḍin and Vāmana is that in Daṇḍin’s upamārūpaka the rūpaka which exists earlier than the upamā actually brings out an idea of similarity whereas in Vāmana’s upamārūpaka the upamā pr-eexists rūpaka and it is the cause for the super-imposition involved in the figure.

Vāmana defines utprekṣāvayava as—

  —Kāvyālaṃkārasūtravṛtti (of Vāmana) 4.3.33.

—The utprekṣāvayava is the root of the figure utprekṣā i.e. if a figure of speech serves as the root cause for the introduction of the figure utprekṣā in a verse, the figure is called utprekṣāvayava.

The Kāmadhenu commentator remarks that the term ‘avayava’ used to designate the figure means ‘ārambhaka’ or ‘hetu’ (cause)[3] . Vāmana illustrates the figure as—

aṅgulībhiriva keśasañcayaṃ sannigṛhya timiraṃ marīcibhiḥ/
kuḍmalīkṛtasarojalocanaṃ cumbatīva rajanīmukhaṃ śaśī//

—After having grabbed (removed) the hair-like darkness of the night-lady by his finger-like beams, the moon kisses the night-lady who has blooming lotuslike eyes.

Here the figure śleṣa which is instigated by upamārūpaka form the root cause of the utprekṣā present in the verse. The Kāmadhenu commentator thus asserts—

atropamārūpakānuprāṇitasya śleṣasya utprekṣopapādakatvādutprekṣāvayavatvam /
  —Kāmadhenu, Kāvyālaṃkārasūtravṛtti (of Vāmana) 4.3.33.

Bhāmaha has also recommended the use of the figures śleṣa, rūpaka and utprekṣā in an utprekṣāvayava

śliṣṭasyārthena saṃyuktaḥ kiṃcidutprekṣayānvitaḥ/
rūpakārthena ca punarutprekṣāvayavo yathā//

  —Kāvyālaṃkāra (of Bhāmaha) 3.47.

Daṇḍin (Kāvyādarśa 2.358.) has only mentioned this figure and he observes that this figure can be easily included under a regular figure like utprekṣā. Bhoja (Sarasvatī-kaṇṭhābharaṇa 4.51.) has incorporated the figure under the broad sphere of utprekṣā. He also cites the same example verse of the figure put forth by Vāmana. According to him, in the example verse the kissing of the face is the primary action and the grabbing of the hair etc. are all secondary actions. When the primary action incites the secondary actions to create poetic fancy, the figure is called utprekṣāvayava. Bhoja, however, states that there is a different school of thought which considers that when the secondary actions instigate the poetic fancy of the primary action, the figure is called utprekṣāvayava[4] . The followers of this school of thought reject the verse “aṅgulībhiriva” etc. as an instance of the figure utprekṣāvayava.

It is clear from the above discussion that the concept of saṃsṛṣṭi advocated by Vāmana is unique in Sanskrit Poetics. He recognises the saṃsṛṣṭi only as a commixture of arthālaṃkāras which naturally limits the scope of the figure. Again, by admitting upamārūpaka and utprekṣāvayava as two basic varieties of the figure he indicates that the figures which are spontaneously created by the fusion of figures and are designated likewise can only be regarded as variants of saṃsṛṣṭi. Thus he discards all other cases of commixture of figures which can be anonymously formed by combining various figures of both word and sense. These combinations are considered as either saṃsṛṣṭi or saṃkara by later rhetoricians depending upon the nature of their conjunction.

Footnotes and references:


yathāvāhyālaṃkārāṇāṃ sauvarṇamaṇimayaprabhṛtīnāṃ pṛthak -
cārutvahetutve'pi saṃghaṭanākṛtaṃ cārutvāntaraṃ jāyate tadvat
prakṛtālaṃkārāṇāmapi saṃyojane cārutvāntaramupalabhyate/

  —Alaṃkārasarvasva (of Ruyyaka) p-193.


iṣṭaṃ sādharmyavaidharmyadarśanād gauṇamukhyayoḥ/
upamāvyatirekākhyaṃ rūpakadvitayaṃ yathā//

  —Kāvyādarśa (of Daṇḍin) 2.88.


avayava ārambhako heturityarthaḥ/
  —Kāmadhenu, Kāvyālaṃkārasūtravṛtti (of Vāmana) 4.3.33.


anye punaryatra pradhānakriyānotprekṣyate, avayavakriyātūtprekṣyate tamutprekṣāvayavaṃ varṇayanti/
  —Sarasvatī-kaṇṭhābharaṇa (of Bhoja) 4.51. vṛtti.

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