Kavyamimamsa of Rajasekhara (Study)

by Debabrata Barai | 2014 | 105,667 words

This page relates ‘Vakrokti theory and position of the Kavyamimamsa’ 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 - Vakrokti theory and position of the Kāvyamīmāṃsā

The Vakrokti (expressional Strikingness) has been regarded as the basal principal of all poetic language in Indian poetics. Kuntaka, is the greatest exponent of the theory of Vakrokti and defined it as the ‘vital essence of poetryC.f.

vakrokti kāvyajīvitam |”

- Vakroktijīvita of Kuntaka: I

It may seems that Kuntaka established his Vakrokti theory by the unwillingly of Vāmana’s Rīti theory of kāvya (poetry). In his Vakroktijīvita, Kuntaka rejected and defines Rīti is not the soul of poetry by Vāmana and established his own concepts Vakrokti as the ‘kāvyāsātmā’ (soul of poetry).

However it is not that Kuntaka first time says about the concepts of Vakrokti, his previous ālaṃkārikas also accepted this concept. In the first time Bhāmaha in his poetical work Kāvyālaṃkāra (of Bhāmaha) gives the detail treatment of Vakrokti in the Sanskrit poetics world:

saiṣā sarvatra vakroktiranayārtho vibhāvyate |
yatnohasyāṃ kavinā kāryāḥ kohalaṅkārohanayāvinā || ”

- Kāvyālaṃkāra (of Bhāmaha) of Bhāmaha: Ch-II/85

Ācārya Daṇḍin in his Kāvyādarśa recognized the importance of Vakrokti by saying:

śle ṣaḥ sarvāstu puṣṇāti prāyovakroktiṣu śriyam |
bhinnaṃ dvidhā svabhvāvoktiḥ vakroktiśceti vāṅmayam || ”

- Kāvyādarśa of Daṇḍin: II/ 363


Śleṣa is ‘saṃkīrṇa’ in many and adds grace to many Alaṃkāras specially where there is covert saying; so kāvya may be classed as ‘svabhāvyākhāna’ and ‘bhaṅgiviśeṣāsvyāna’ due to Śleṣa.”

Then the Vāmana says about importance of Vakrokti in the poetry. C.f.

sādṛśyāllakṣaṇā vakroktiḥ |”

- Kāvyālaṃkārasūṭra-vṛtti of Vāmana-IV/3/8

So we see that the earlier ālaṃkārika’s of Kuntaka i.e. Bhāmaha, Daṇḍin and Vāmana accepted Vakrokti as the alaṃkāras. But Kuntaka is the first ālaṃkārika who gives the prominent place of Vakrokti beyond alaṃkāras in poetry and gloriously established it as the soul of poetry. It is the causes for Kuntaka he is known as the founder Ācārya of Vakrokti School.

Beside those Ācāryas, Rudraṭā’s view also described about Vakrokti, which is very much limited under the Śabdālaṃkāra (verbal figure). Rudraṭa think that the two well known types of Vakrokti as: i) Śleṣa vakrokti (vakrokti based on paronomasia) and ii) Kāku vakrokti (vakrokti based on intonation).

In the Śleṣa vakrokti, the listener consciously distorts the speaker’s words and meaning and spoken with a different way. viz.

vaktā tadanyayoktaṃ vācyaṣte cānyarthā tat utaḥ |
vacana ṃ yat padabhaṅgairañjā sā ślaṣe vakroktiḥ ||

- Kāvyālaṃkāra (of Rudraṭa) of Rudraṭa: II/ 14

The other Kāku vakrokti, is those contexts where a different meaning is conveyed by a simple substitution of another intonation pattern. i.e.

visapastaṃ kriyamāṇādakliṣṭa sarviśreṣṭo bhavati |
arthāntarapratītira yatrāsai kāku vakrokti || ”

- Kāvyālaṃkāra (of Rudraṭa) of Rudraṭa: II/ 16

But almost ālaṃkārikas does not agree with the view of Rudraṭa’s definition, types and significance of Vakrokti. In the seventh chapter of Kāvyamīmāṃsā, Rājaśekhara discusses Kāku (intonation) and mentions Rudraṭa’s figure of Kāku vakrokti also rejected by saying:

kāku rvakroktirnāmaśavdālaṅkāro'yam” iti rudraṭaḥ |
abhiprāyavānpāṭhadharmaḥ kākuḥ sa kathamalaṅkāraḥ syāt ” iti yāyāvarīyaḥ |

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

Ācārya Kuntaka in his Vakroktijīvita define Vakrokti as ‘striking denotation’ (victirā-abhidhā) and conceives of it as a striking mode of expression depending on the peculiar turn given to it by the skill of kavi (poet). In poetic composition the languages always be differ from the ordinary mood of speech and also from the established manner of expression in scientific treatise. C.f.

vakroktire va vaidagdhyabhaṃgībhaṇitirucyate |”

vakroktiḥ prasiddhābhidhānavyatire kiṇī vicitraivābhidhā | kīdṛśī-vaidagdhyabhaṅgībhaṇitiḥ | vaidagdhaṃ vidagdhabhāvaḥ kavikarmakauśalaṃ tasya bhaṅgī vicchitiḥ, tayā bhaṇitiḥ vicitravābhidhā vakroktirucyate |

- Vakroktijīvita of Kuntaka: I/ 10 & vṛtti

There ‘vaidagdhyabhaṃgībhaṇiti’ is the Vakrokti and established this as the major essence of poetry. Here Kuntaka also accepted and follows the Rājaśekhara’s kāvyasyāpyeṣa jīvitam’ concept and defines his own view of poetry. Thus Kuntaka may be established as the founder of Vakrokti School but it seems that, before Kuntaka Rājaśekhara also think about this matter by saying “kāvyasyāpyeṣa jīvitam”. Therefore if we properly notice the views on Vakrokti thus it can be seemed that the Rājaśekhara’s concept on Vakrokti is much elaborated than the Kuntaka’s view. Kuntaka’s Vakrokti theory limited only for the kāvya (poetry) but there Rājaśekhara’s concepts on Vakrokti also touches the ‘Lokas’ and ‘Śāstras’ beyond the kāvya (poetry).

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