Kavyamimamsa of Rajasekhara (Study)

by Debabrata Barai | 2014 | 105,667 words

This page relates ‘Distinguish between Kavi (poet) and Bhavaka (critic)’ 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 3.4 - Distinguish between Kavi (poet) and Bhāvaka (critic)

In this chapter Rājaśekhara also touches the concepts on the differences between kavi (poet) and Bhāvaka (critic), when he discusses about the pratibhā. There Rājaśekhara uses the word Bhāvaka on the position of Reader or Critic. Generally poet’s are involved about the composing poetry and Reader’s are always engaged the justifying the merit and demerit of poetic compositions.

But Rājaśekhara discussing both of the relation between poet and critic there he also cited some ancient Ācārya’s name saying:

kaḥ punaranayorbhedo yatkavirbhāvayati bhāvakaśca kaviḥ” ityācāryāḥ |

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-IV, Pp- 13


“If a poet becomes a critic and a critic is sometimes composes poetry.”

So there is no difference between a poet and a critic. Replied with this question Rājaśekhara answered:

pratibhātāratamyema pratiṣṭhā bhuvi bhūridhā |
bhāvakastu kaviḥ prāyo na bhajatyadhāmāṃ daśām || ”

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-IV, Pp- 13


Pratibhā imparts abundant prestige in this world. A poet who is himself a critic usually not be in an unfavorable state.”

There Rājaśekhara posits the different views of Kālidāsa and gives his opinion that the critical and poetical faculties are quite distinct are rarely found together in one and the same person. The subject of one is word formation while that if the other is aesthetic appreciation.

na” iti kālidāsaḥ | pṛthageva hi kavitvadbhāvakatvaṃ,
bhāvakatvācca kavitvam |svarupabhedādviṣayabhedācca

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-IV, Pp- 14

Kālidāsa here represented as refuting the view accepted by the Ācāryas. His opinion seems that the poetical and critical faculties are quite distinct, which are rarely found combined in a same person. In the drama Abhijñānaśakuntalā, Kālidāsa feels that until the composition is well-received by the Sahṛdaya (critic or reader) the poet would not satisfied with his poetical work.


ā paritoṣādviduṣāṃ na jātu manye prayogaviñjānam |
valavadapi śikṣitānāmātmanyapratyayaṃ cet || ”

- Abhijñānaśakuntalā of Kālidāsa: Ch- 1/2

Beside this his other works i.e. Raghuvaṃśa and Mālavikāgnimitra he also express same views. i.e.

taṃ santaḥ śrotumarhanti sadasadvayaktihetavaḥ |
hemnaḥ saṃlakṣyate hyagnau viśuddhiḥ śyāmikāpi vā || ”

- Raghuvaṃśa of Kālidāsa: Ch- 1/10


santaḥ parīkṣanyataradbhajante mūṭhaḥ parapratyayaneyavuddhiḥ |”

- Mālavikāgnīmitra of Kālidāsa: I

There Bhattatouta, the guru of Ānandavardhana also describes about the mystery of kavi-pratibhā in his Kāvyakoutuka as:

nānṛṣiḥ kavirityukta ṛṣiśca kila darśanāt|
darśanād varṇanāccātha rūḍhā loke kaviśrutiḥ || ”

- Kāvyakoutuka of Bhaṭṭatouta

In poetry, poets always describe the things in past and present as like as sages. But critics always engage to take the taste of poetry and justify their excellence and blemished.

Thus Abhinavagupta in his Dhvanyāloka-Locana says:

yeṣāṃ kāvyānuśīlanābhyāsavaśād viśadībhūte manomukure
varṇanīyatanmayībhavanayogyatā te svṛhadayasaṃvādabhājaḥ sṛhadayāḥ

- Dhvanyāloka-Locana of Abhinavagupta

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