Kavyamimamsa of Rajasekhara (Study)

by Debabrata Barai | 2014 | 105,667 words

This page relates ‘Alamkara (1): Vakrokti’ of the 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).

In the Kāvyālaṃkāra (of Bhāmaha), Ācārya Bhāmaha says that Vakrokti as emerges a full-fledged concepts and assigned a prominent place in Kāvya (poetry). To whom, Vakrokti transgresses all mundane experiences (lokatikranta-gocaram) and highly desirable for the purpose of adorning poetic speech.[1] Then Ācārya Daṇḍin try to establish in his Kāvyādarśa, alaṃkāra as ‘sarvālaṅkārādhāratva’. He uses the term Vakrokti as a collective designation for all figures except svavābhāvokti (natural description), which he regards as the ‘ādyālaṃkṛti’ first and foremost figure of speech.[2] Daṇḍin first time clearly differentiation between Svabhāvokti and Vakrokti. He realizes all literature can be divided into the two categories of Svabhāvokti (naturastic) and Vakrokti (obliquetic compositions). Like Bhāmaha, Daṇḍin also regards atiśayokti as the basis of all poetic figures.

The view of Vāmaṇa and Daṇḍin on Vakrokti are in general similar, both of them regards it as an in common striking modes of speech different from the popular, matter of fact, way of communication. It also considers being the basis of all figures of speech. However there is a significant difference between their viewpoints, where Daṇḍin concepts is something crowed from Bhāmaha.

Ācārya Vāmaṇa uses the Vakrokti in a restricted sense. He conceives of it as a peculiar mode of metaphorical expression based on similarity. The Vakrokti is thus as an arthālaṃkāra (figure of sense). Rudraṭa in the second chapter of his Kāvyālaṃkāra (of Rudraṭa) described Vakrokti as a Sabdālaṃkāra (verbal figure) by the saying:

kāku vakroktirnāmaśavdālaṅkāro\'yam’ iti rudraṭaḥ |”

-Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-VII, Pp- 31

Which is consisting on Vakrokti, Yamaka, Anuprāśa, Śleṣa and Citra, of which Śleṣa is also an Arthālaṃkāra.[3] Rudraṭa again says the two well known types of Vakrokti: Śleṣa Vakrokti (vakrokti based on paronomasia) and Kāku-Vakrokti (vakrokti based on intonation) originated. In the Śleṣa Vakrokti, the listeners consciously distorts the speakers word and meaning, spoken with a specific purpose with a view to answering him back in a difference way. The other Kāku Vakrokti is where difference meaning is conveyed by a simple substitution of another intonation pattern.

Then, Rājaśekhara in the seventh chapter of Kāvyamīmāṃsā mention about the Vakrokti and extension to this meaning as:

‘abhiprāyavān pāṭhadharmaḥ kākuḥ sā kathamalaṅkārī syāt ?’ iti yāyāvarīya |

-Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-VII, Pp- 31


Kāku is the quality of recitation on reading (pāthadharmah), how can it be designated as an alaṃkāra.”

Here Rājaśekhara disagree with the ancient scholars concepts on Vakrokti. In this way we see that the Rājaśekhara’s views as the figure of Vakrokti by the name of Auktika. Further he also mentions the extension of meaning in the ninth chapter by the statements quotes of his wife, Avantīsundarī as: There is no constant nature of thing, so far as poetry is concerned for the poets’ artistic mind and his ingenuous terms of expression conceive of things in all sorts of ways. C.f

‘vidagdhabhaṇitibhaṅginivedyaṃ vastuno rupaṃ na niyatasvabhāvam’ iti avantisundarī |

-Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-IX, Pp- 46

In this way we can find out the Rājaśekhara’s views about the Vakrokti concepts on Sanskrit Poetics.

Footnotes and references:


Vakroktijīvita of Kuntaka: I/ 10

vakroktire va vaidagdhabhaṅgībhaṇitirucyate |
vakroktiḥ prasiddhābhidhānavyatire kinī vicitraivābhidhā |”


Vakroktijīvita of Kuntaka: III

yasyāma atiśayaḥ ko'pi vicittā pratipādate |
varṇanīyasya dharmāṇāṃ tadvida āhlādadyāyinām || ”


Abhinavabhāratī of Abhinavagupta: Pp-364, “lakṣaṇāneva i pradhānam | tat prasaṅge guṇālaṅkārā iti tātparyam |”

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