Kavyamimamsa of Rajasekhara (Study)

by Debabrata Barai | 2014 | 105,667 words

This page relates ‘Kavyadarsha of Dandin’ 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 5 - Kāvyādarśa of Daṇḍin

[Full title: Pre-dhvani theory of Sanskrit poetics (4): The Kāvyādarśa of Daṇḍin (8th century A.D.)

The next available work on Sanskrit literary criticism is Daṇḍin’s Kāvyādarśa. He is known as the author of three works: Kāvyādarśa, Daśakumāracharita and Avantīsundarikathā, but he also says in his Kāvyādarśa that another work name is chandaviciti:

chandovicityāṃ sakalastatprāpañco nidarśitaḥ|
vidyā naustitīrṣaṇāṃ gambhīraṃ kāvyasāgaraḥ || ”

- Kāvyādarśa of Daṇḍin: I/ 12

Meaning is: in my Daṇḍin own treatise on metre named chandaviciti all about metres have been shown. And this knowledge of metres is like a raft to cross over the deep sea of kāvya (poetry). He was a poet, a critic and pioneer of Sanskrit poetics with regard to his predecessors Bhāmaha in many respects. Daṇḍins criticism of the distinction made by Bhāmaha between Kathā and Ākhyāyikā, preference of the Vaidarbha mārga etc. Daṇḍin’s importance in the field of Sanskrit literary theory for the more systematic presentation of Alaṃkāra theory and he was the earliest theorist who devote attention to the Rīti-Guṇa aspects of poetry. The Kāvyādarśa is divided into three prarecchedas, where he exponent of the both Rīti School and Alaṃkāra School of poetics.

Daṇḍin does not seem to make the clear distinction between Alaṃkāras and Guṇas and according to him Alaṃkāra and Guṇa both are the causing main factor to embellish of poetry.

kāvyaśobhākarān dharmmānalaṅkārān pracakṣate |
te cādyāpi vikalpyante kastān kātsraryena vakṣyati || ”

- Kāvyādarśa of Daṇḍin: II/ 1

However, he does not attempt to build the poetic theory on the concepts of Rīti but he try to introduce Rīti and explain its nature in the term of Guṇas. So we can see that his aim was to present a critic of poetry with incorporating ritis, Guṇas, Alaṃkāras and Doṣas. The main contribution of Daṇḍin is the concepts of mārga-rīti, regional variations of poetic languages and the description of the Gauḍa and Vaidarbha verities of literary diction.

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