Kavyamimamsa of Rajasekhara (Study)

by Debabrata Barai | 2014 | 105,667 words

This page relates ‘Genesis of Riti, Vritti and Pravritti’ 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 2.5 - Genesis of Rīti, Vṛtti and Pravṛtti

In a Kāvya (poetry) on which types of style are followed by the Kavi (poet) also known as rīti. In the history of Sanskrit poetics the earlier Ācārya Bharatamuni in his Nāṭyaśāstra does not discusses about the matter of Rīti. There Ācārya Bhāmaha is the first Ālaṃkārika who discusses about Rīti in an indifference manner, but he does not gives any difference between Vaidarbhī and Gauḍīya Rīti. But the Ācārya Daṇḍin in his Kāvyādarśa gives the prominent place of Vaidarbhī than Gauḍīya Rīti but there he uses the word ‘mārga’ in the position of rīti.

There he says about the ten major part of Vaidarbhī mārga as:

śle ṣaḥ prasādaḥ samatā mādhuryyaṃ suku māratā |
arthavyaktirudāratvamojaḥ kāntisamādhayaḥ || ”

- Kāvyādarśa of Daṇḍin: Ch-1/ 41

iti vaidarbhamārgasya prāṇāḥ daśaguṇā smṛtāḥ |
eṣāṃ viparyyayaḥ prāyo dṛśyate gauḍavartmani || ”

- Kāvyādarśa of Daṇḍin: Ch-1/ 42

Vāmana also accepted three kinds of rīti i.e. Vaidarbhī, Gauḍīya and Pāñcālī.

sā tredhā vaidarbhī gauḍīyā pāñcālī ceti |”

- Kāvyālaṃkārasūṭra-vṛtti of Vāmana: Ch- 1/9

Then Rudraṭa also says rīti is the Ātmā (soul) of poetry. C.f.

rītirātmā kāvyasya

- Kāvyālaṃkāra (of Rudraṭa) of Rudraṭa: 1/6


Rīti is the soul of kāvya (poetry).”

The relation between rīti (style) and Kāvya (poetry) is that between Ātmā (soul) and Śarīra (body). Rīti is the most important element in Kāvya (poetry). Then Ācārya Rudraṭa in his Kāvyālaṃkāra (of Rudraṭa) established four rīti (style) added another one rīti named Lātīya with the Daṇḍin’s recognized three rīti’s[1]. However in the time of Rājaśekhara four types of rīti’s are prevalent but Rājaśekhara accepted only three rīti’s i.e. Gauḍīya, Vaidarbhī and Pāñcālī.

Rājaśekhara says that the speaking style of people in a known as rīti (style). C.f.

vacanavinyāsakrama rītiḥ |”

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-III, Pp- 9

In the time, Sāhitya-Vidyā-Vadhū followed the Kāvya-puruṣa than he first goes to the eastern side of India i.e. Aṅga, Vaṅga, Sahu, Brahma and Puṇḍṛa. In this time Sāhitya-Vidyā-Vadhū tried to attract Kāvya-puruṣa with her dress and speech, which was composed of Samāsa (compound), Anuprāśa (alliteration) and Yoga-Vṛtti, known by the name of Gauḍīya rīti. In the province of Pāñcāla-deśa Kāvya-puruṣa was enamored of Kāvya-vidyā and than Sāhitya-Vidyā-Vadhū uses the Samāsa (compound) and Anuprāśa (alliteration) in her sentences which was known as Pāñcālī-rīti. In this way, when Kāvya-puruṣa proceeded to the southern part of India like Malaya, Mekala, Kuntala, Kerala, Pāla, Mahārāṣṭra and Kaliṅga. In this time Sāhitya-Vidyā-Vadhū sported various types of dresses and performed dances with songs and music.

There Kāvya-puruṣa’s composition were devoid of Sāmāsa (compound) but characterized by Anuprāsa and Yoga-Vṛttī also known as Vaidarbhī rīti. In this description Rājaśekhara does not uses anywhere Lātiya rīti of Avantīdeśa, because he think that there is no any difference between Pāñcāli and Latīya rīti.

When Kāvya-puruṣa left the place and Gourī created Sāhitya-Vidyā-Vadhū as wife of Kāvya-puruṣa then she ordered to Sāhitya-Vidyā-Vadhū for run after Kāvya-puruṣa and pleads with him to return home by saying:

eṣa te ruṣā dharmapatiḥ puraḥ pratiṣṭhate, tadanuvarttaistanaṃ nivarttaya ca |”

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-III, Pp- 7

Then, Sāhitya-Vidyā-Vadhū followed the Kāvya-puruṣaḥ. There Rājaśekhara described various parts of India with their various types of shorts, customs and languages of people. Here we can see the similar with concepts of Bharatamuni, who think that, in this world, there are different types of people, customs, food-habit, language, behavior based on their region. But there have some of the things are universally accepted by all the people, which is known as the Pravṛtti.

So we can see in the Nāṭyaśāstra says:

‘pṛthivyāṃ nānādeśa - veṣa - bhāṣācāravārtāḥ khyāpayatīti pravṛttiḥ| vṛttiśca nivedane |’

- Nāṭyaśāstra of Bharata: XIII

Where Pravṛtti’s are expressing by man it is called by Vṛtti. In this time, Rājaśekhara says about Pravṛtti as: ‘tatra veśavinyāsakramaḥ pravṛttiḥ[2], which four Pravṛtti’s are found in Auḍhamāgadhī, Avantī, Pāncālamadhyamā and Dakṣinātya. Vṛtti means Vyapāra and says: ‘vilāsavinyāsakramo vṛttiḥ[3], which are two Kauśiki and Āravatī.

However, Bharatamuni says about the genesis of Vṛtti from the Vedas as:

ṛgvedād bhāratīvṛttiryajurvedāttu sāttvatī |
kaiśikī sāmavedācca śeṣācātharvaṇāttathā || ”

- Nāṭyaśāstra of Bharata: Ch-XX/25

But, Rājaśekhara also follow the ancient tradition and established his own views. There he thinks, it is impossible to gives the all the description of Vṛtti’s and Pravṛtti’s in all regions. So he divided all the country into four parts and there he applied four types of Vṛtti’s and Pravṛtti’s.

Footnotes and references:


Kāvyālaṃkāra (of Rudraṭa) of Rudraṭa: II/4/6.


Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-III, Pp- 9


Ibid, Ch-III, Pp- 9

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