Kavyamimamsa of Rajasekhara (Study)

by Debabrata Barai | 2014 | 105,667 words

This page relates ‘Kavyalamkara of Bhamaha’ of the English study on the Kavyamimamsa of Rajasekhara: a poetical encyclopedia from the 9th century dealing with the ancient Indian science of poetics and rhetoric (also know as alankara-shastra). The Kavya-mimamsa is written in eighteen chapters representing an educational framework for the poet (kavi) and instructs him in the science of applied poetics for the sake of making literature and poetry (kavya).

Part 3 - Kāvyālaṃkāra of Bhāmaha

[Full title: Pre-dhvani theory of Sanskrit poetics (2): The Kāvyālaṃkāra of Bhāmaha (7th century A.D.)]

Bhāmaha, is well for his poetical work Kāvyālaṃkāra (of Bhāmaha), who was formulated the different topics of poetics and his work represents a major landmark of Sanskrit literary criticism. ‘This is the first attempt to deal with poetics separate from dramatic theory; and hence in other words, this can be considered the earliest extant work on Sanskrit Poetics proper’. [1] The Kāvyālaṃkāra (of Bhāmaha) is divided into six paricchedas and contains about 400 verses (exactly in all 398 verses). In this work Bhāmaha highlighted as the most important element in poetry is Alaṃkāra or the poetic figure. Then he counted as the earliest exponent of the Alaṃkāra School in Sanskrit Poetics and his treatise marks the beginning of influential literary theory. He points out the poetic figure as the factor constituting the cause i.e. as the face of the lady though beautiful does not appear as charming when bereft of embellishments, similarly the poetic texture though complete does not look charming when devoid of the instruments of decoration.

Bhāmaha also recognizes but does not define Vakrokti, he practically identifies with Atiśayokti, which is the principle underlying of all figures of speech.

sarupavarṇavinyāsamanuprāsaṃ pracakṣate |
kiṃ tayā cintayā kānte nitānteti yathoditam
|| ”

- Kāvyālaṃkāra (of Bhāmaha) of Bhāmaha: II/ 5

To him, Vakrokti signified a kind of heightened turn given to expression which distinguishes poetic expression from common place speech where facts are presented directly. Bhāmaha first time introduces the relative strength of the Śabdālaṃkāra and the Arthālaṃkāra and throw a controversy. Then he asserts that neither is adored in poetry the verbal figure nor is the ideational figure, a combination of the verbal and the ideational figures accepted.

rupakādimalaṅkāraṃ bāhyamācakṣate pare |
supāṃ tiṅāṃ ca vyutpattiṃ vācāṃ vācchantyalaṅkṛtim
|| ”

- Kāvyālaṃkāra (of Bhāmaha) of Bhāmaha: I/ 14

tadetadāhuḥ sauśabdaṃ nārthavyutpattirīdṛśī |
śabdābhidheyālaṅkārabhedādiṣṭaṃ dvayaṃ tu naḥ
|| ”

-Kāvyālaṃkāra (of Bhāmaha) of Bhāmaha: I/ 15

Bhāmaha does not agree with the Bharata’s ten Guṇas scheme and he casually mentions only three Guṇas i.e. Mādhurya, Ojas and Prasāda. He also criticizes the distinction made by the Rīti theorists of Vaidarbha and Gauḍa mārgas in poetry.

Footnotes and references:


G, Vijay. Outlines of Sanskrit Poetics. Chaukhamba Snskrit Series, 1970. Pp- 13

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