Kavyamimamsa of Rajasekhara (Study)

by Debabrata Barai | 2014 | 105,667 words

This page relates ‘Genesis of Kavya-purusha and metrical composition’ 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 2.1 - Genesis of Kāvya-puruṣa and metrical composition

Yāyāvarīya Rājaśekhara in his Kāvyamīmāṃsā described the story of genesis of Kāvya-puruṣa and first metrical composition in a quit fresh way. The subject matter of this story is new because there is no poetical work cannot described the origin of Kāvya, they are engaged to the other relating elements of kāvya (poetry). However, the story of birth of Sārasvteya (son of Sarasvatī) as found in such earlier works of the Vāyupurāṇas, Mahābhārata, Harṣacarita of Bāṇabhatta and Buddhacarita of Aśvaghoṣa but the description of Rājaśekhara is different in some important points. Devaguru Bṛhaṣpati, to mitigate the curicity of his pupils about the matter of Kāvya-puruṣa and Kāvyavidyā described the mythological story of origin and features of Kāvya-puruṣa.

The Sarasvatī (Goddess of Learning) was performed penance in the Himālayas with the desire of having a son.

Then pleased with her devotion, Brahmā (the supreme creator) granted her a son by saying:

‘putraṃ te sṛjāmi’ [iti] |

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-III, Pp- 6

There after she got a son, who afterword called the name Kāvya-puruṣa.

Immediately in his born, he got up and touched his Mother’s feet and proclaimed in metrical speech to addressed own-self as supreme speech. C.f.

yadetadvāṅmayaṃ viśvamarthamūrttyā vivarttate |
so'smi kāvyapumānamba pādau vandeya tāvakau || ” [ iti ]

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-III, pp- 6

Means:

“The Mother of verbal discourse round me revolves. The same Kāvyapuruṣa, I salute you in reverence. The eternal verbum is the material as well as the capable cause of the Universe.”

In this śloka (verse) of Rājaśekhara seems that the crystal clear exposition of the Śabdabrahmabāda, that is developed by Bharṭṭhari in his grammatical work Vākyapadīya. According to this school of philosophy believe that the ‘Śabdabrahma’ or ‘Nāda’ come out from God, when he desire to create the world. Which is the cause of the universe is involved in vivarta or the illusory vidyā (knowledge) remains only the ‘Śabdabrahma’ or ‘Nāda’. This Nāda also known by Parāvāka and this Parāvāka is produces the three other kinds of speech Paśyanti, Madhyamā and Vaikhari. There Madhyamavāka has property of Sphoṭa, which is reveals, the vīdya (knowledge) of ‘Artha’ from the ‘Śabda’. The things of words have not separate existence from the words, though they appear to exist separately.

So in the Vākyapadīya supporting this theory says:

anādinidhanaṃ brahma śabdatattvaṃ yadakṣaram |
vivartate'rthabhāvena prakriyā jagato yataḥ ||

- Vākyapadīya of Bhatrihari: I/ 1

yo vā'rtho buddhiviṣayo'bāhyavastunibandhanaḥ |
sa bāhyaṃ vastviti ñjātaḥ śabdārthaḥ samyagiṣyate ||
śabdapahitarūpāṃśca buddherviṣayatāṃ gatān |
pratyakṣamiva kaṃ sādīn sādhanatvena manyate ||
na so'sti pratyayo loke yaḥ śabdānugamādṛte |
anuviddhamiva ñjānaṃ sarvaṃ śabdena bhāsate ||
atyantāsatyapi hyarthe ñjānaṃ śabdaḥ karoti hi |

- Vākyapadīya of Bhatrihari: Brahma-kānda

After hearing the metrical composition by Kāvya-puruṣa in familiar language, Sarasvatī was overjoyed and fondly said him, the ancient scholars have to introduced and create prose but them not composer of any poetry. You are first creator of Śloka or verse. Therefore you are to be appreciated in this universe.

Then she blessing to Kāvya-puruṣa by:

śavdārthau te śarīraṃ , saṃskṛtaṃ mukhaṃ, prākṛtaṃ bāhu jaghanamapabhraṃśaḥ, paiśācaṃ pādau, uro miśram | samaḥ prasanno madhura udāra ojasvī cāsi | ukticaṇaṃ ca te vaco, rasa ātmā, romāṇi chandsi,

praśnottarapravalhikādikaṃ ca vākke liḥ, anuprāsopamādayaśca tvāmalaṅaku rvanti |
bhaviṣyatoharthasyābhidhātri śrutirapi bhavantamabhistauti |”

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-III, Pp- 6

Means:

“May word (sound) and meaning (sense) be your body, Sanskrit your Mouth, Prākṛta dialects your limbs (arms) Apabhraṃśa your thighs (legs), Paiśācī your feet and Miśra (mixture of different language) your bosom (breast). You are complete, happy, sweet and large-hearted. Your chiseled expressions constitute its speech; the delectable state of Rasa is the soul, metrical composition the pore (hair), the jugglery of words its play and the poetic figures of Alliteration and smiles its means of embellishment. There Sarasvatī also included Śruti (Vedas) as the sing of Kāvya-puruṣa praise.”

C.f.

catvāri śṛṅgāstra (tra) yo'sya pādā dve śīrṣe saptahastāso'sya |
tridhā vaddho vṛṣabho roravīti maho devo martyamā(rtyāṃ ā)viveśa || ” iti

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-III, Pp- 6

Means:

“You are the one with four horns, three feet, two heads and seven hands tied in three ways and uttering word has been born on this earth.”

Here we seem that in this description of Kāvya-puruṣa is different from ancient tradition. In the long history, Vālmīki was considered as the first composer of classical Śloka (Ādikavi) but Rājaśekhara posits Kāvya-puruṣa as the place of (Ādikavi) first composer of metrical composition. There he also notices as an advocate to the Rasa theory for his saying: ‘rasa ātmā’ and places Rasa as the soul of Kāvya (poetry). The theory of Rasa first formulated and developed by Bharatamuni in his Nāṭyaśāstra for the relation of dramatic composition. However the later ālaṃkārika’s of Bharatamuni i.e. Bhāmaha, Daṇḍin, Vāmana and Kuntaka etc. not fully recognized the importance of Rasa as a standard of poetics with reference to composition other than the Rūpaka (drama). They are established different doctrine of Alaṃkāra, Guṇa, Rīti, Dhvani, Vakrokti, Anumiti and Aucitya etc. are the principal and gives importance in poetical composition. But Ānandavardhana in the middle of 9th century A. D. flourished with the revived theory of Rasa and established Rasa-Dhvani as the chief principal in all poetic compositions. There are also a large number of Ālaṃkārikas i.e. Rudraṭa, Bhaṭṭanāyaka, Dhanañjaya and Dhanika etc. were content with the Bharata’s Rasa School and applied the same principal of poetic composition.

Though, Rājaśekhara flourished during this time and adopt the trend of literary criticism in this time, but he held that Rasa is the soul of Kāvya-puruṣa (poetry) but not Dhvani is the soul of poetry (Kāvyāsyātmā). Rājaśekhara did not mention anywhere Dhvani as the element of Kāvya (poetry) in the whole of eighteen chapters of Kāvyamīmāṃsā However, in the end of 10th century A. D. the Rasa-Dhvani theory was revived by the hand of great Kashmirian Ālaṃkārika Abhinavagupta in his Dhvanyāloka-Locana

Then the sing śloka catvāri śṛṅgā’ of Kāvya-puruṣa, which is lay down as poetical view by Rājaśekhara, seems borrowing from the Ṛgveda Veda[1] in this same śloka also uses by the different interpretation by examples of Sāyana Bhāṣya of Ṛgveda Veda, Yāṣka’s Nirukta[2] , Patañjali’s Mahābhaṣya[3] and Nāṭyaśāstra of Bharatamuni[4] . Sāyanācarya has directed this śloka to purpose of Yajña. In the first Āhinika of Mahābhāṣya, Patañjali employed this śloka to donate the nature of language and Bharatamuni in his Nāṭyaśāstra employed it from the view of ‘Nātya’ and ‘Kāvya’.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Ṛgveda Veda: 3.8.10.3

[2]:

Nirukta: XIII.18

[3]:

Mahābhaṣya: Āhnikas-I.3

[4]:

Nāṭyaśāstra of Bharata: Ch-XVII

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