Kavyamimamsa of Rajasekhara (Study)

by Debabrata Barai | 2014 | 105,667 words

This page relates ‘Rajashekhara’s view on Kavya (poetry)’ 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 2.4 - Rājaśekhara’s view on Kāvya (poetry)

However, Rājaśekhara in this part directly not given any definition of Kāvya (poetry), but there also reflected his concepts about Kāvya (poetry) by the description of Kāvya-puruṣa.

In this chapter when Sarasvatī (Goddess of Learning) say to Kāvyapuruṣa

as: “śavdārthau te śarīraṃ , saṃskṛtaṃ mukhaṃ, prākṛtaṃ bāhu jaghanamapabhraṃśaḥ”.

There he also defines the characteristic of a kāvya (poetry). There Rājaśekhara gives the equal importance Śabda (word) and Artha (meaning) in a Kāvya (poetry).

Here this concept may be the echo of Bhāmaha’s definition of Kāvya (poetry). As:

śavdārthau sahitau kāvyam[1].

There Rājaśekhara also says about the Kāvya (poetry) is always:

samaḥ prasanno madhura udāra ojasvī cāsi[2].


kāvya (poetry) is complete, happy, sweet and large-hearted.”

In the middle of ninth century A.D. Ānandavardhana says, in a Kāvya (poetry) Rasa-dhvani is soul of poetry (kāvyasātamā) when he tries to establish the Dhvani School in Sanskrit poetics. But in this view of Ānandavardhana have go to the vast controversy and this time flourished Yāyāvarīya Rājaśekhara in the domain of Sanskrit poetics with his magnum-opus Kāvyamīmāṃsā.

Thus Rājaśekhara may be says only rasa is Ātmā (soul) of Kāvya (poetry) and says:

rasa ātmā, romāṇi chandsi, praśnottarapravalhikādikaṃ ca vākke liḥ, anuprāsopamādayaśca tvāmalaṅaku rvanti |”

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

In this way according to Rājaśekhara, in a kāvya (poetry) Śabda (word) and Artha (meaning) is the major element. There Artha (meaning) are based on the Śabda (word) and both are called by the word ‘śavdārthau’.

Footnotes and references:


Kāvyālaṃkāra (of Bhāmaha) of Bhāmaha: I/ 16


Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-III, Pp- 6

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