Kavyamimamsa of Rajasekhara (Study)

by Debabrata Barai | 2014 | 105,667 words

This page relates ‘Distinguish between Pratibha and Vyutpatti’ 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 3.6 - Distinguish between Pratibhā and Vyutpatti

In the causes of poetic composition most of the rhetoricians recognized that the factor of Pratibhā, Vyutpatti and Abhyāsa is the main causes. There are Pratibhā is inborn poetic faculty, Vyutpatti is polished by the study of various kind of Śāstras and Abhyāsa is given by repeated practices.

There decide the superior importance among the Pratibhā and Vyutpatti, Rājaśekhara quotes the views of Ānandavardhana and Maṅgala.

To Ānandavardhana, ‘Pratibhā is more importance to a poet than Vyutpatti

‘pratibhāvyutpattyoḥ pratibhā śreyasī’ ityānandaḥ |
sā hi kaveravyutpattikṛtaṃ doṣamaśeṣamācchādayati |

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-V, Pp- 16

Because, Pratibhā helps to hide the lack of Vyutpatti. To proves his contention, he citing form Kumārsaṃbhava the work of Kālidāsa, where describes the amorous sports of Śiva and Pārvatī. There he seems to think is improper and is the result of kavi (poet) wanted of Vyutpatti, but the propriety has been maintained admirably by the Pratibhā of kavi (poetics).

In support of this view of AV, Rājaśekhara cites a verse form Kāvyānuśāsana (of Hemacandra) C.f.

etaktiṃ śirasi sthitaṃ mama pituḥ khaṇḍaṃ sudhājanmano
  lalāṭaṃ kimidaṃ vilocanamidaṃ haste'sya kiṃ pannagāḥ
itthaṃ krauñcaripoḥ kramādupagate digvāsasaḥ śūlinaḥ
  praśne vāmakaroparodhasubhagaṃ devyāḥ smitaṃ pātu vaḥ”
|| ”

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-V, Pp- 16


“Seeing Śiva standing, the Kārttikeya innocently asked his mother Pārvatī, “what is the shiny curve on father’s head?” Pārvatī replied that it was a piece of the moon. He then asked, what is this on the forehead? Then Pārvatī replied that it was an eye. Kumāra then asked, what is there in the hand? Pārvatī answered, it was a snake. Observing on the series of questions Pārvatī raised her left hand to hide a half smile. This may benign smile blesses and protects you.”

There it is noticeable that Ānandavardhana uses the word Śakti as mean of Pratibhā, while Rājaśekhara limits the use of Śakti to denote the cause of Pratibhā. The impropriety due to want of Vyutpatti, may be discovered because the son Kārtikeya is said to have asked questions his mother Pārvatī regarding his father when he had the quarters as his garments. This type of impropriety does not find full expression owing to the Pratibhā of the poet who concludes the topics by smiled and stopped her son from asking further question of an improper nature.

Then Ācārya Mammaṭa realized that, the three i.e. Pratibhā, Vyutpatti and Abhyāsa all are the not individually but both are combined causes of poetry.


trayaḥ samuditā na tu vyastāḥ, tasya kāvyasyodbhave nirmāṇe samullāse ca heturna ca hetavaḥ |”

- Kāvyaprakāśa of Mammaṭa: I, Vrtti-3

But Yāyāvarīya Rājaśekhara recognizes only Śakti is the chief causes of poetic composition.


sā ke valaṃ kāvye hetuḥ” iti yāyāvarīyaḥ |

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-V, Pp- 11

This Śakti is the main causes of Pratibhā. In the ‘udyota-ṭīkā’ (Uddota commentary) Nāgesbhaṭṭa of Kāvyaprakāśa of Mammaṭa also says Śakti is another causes of understanding poetical composition by saying:

‘śaktipadena ca karaṇaśaktirvoृddhatvaśaktiścocyate’

- Kāvyaprakāśa of Mammata: I, Vrtti-3

This type of ‘voddhṛtvaśakti’, Rājaśekhara identifies as the name of Bhāvayitrī Pratibhā. Rājaśekhara observe Pratibhā as that power, which causes all the constituents of kāvya (poetry) to shine in the mind of the kavi (poet). Their choice of words, suitable sense, arrangement of poetical figures, style of presentation etc. all these appear in the mind of the kavi (poet) due to his Pratibhā.

This Pratibhā possessed to one as visualizes things and that are not visible to others C.f

yā śavdagrāmamarthasārthamalaṅkāratantramuktimārgamanyadapi tathāvidhamadhihṛdayaṃ pratibhāsayati sā pratibhā | apratibhasya padārthasārthaḥ parokṣa iva, pratibhāvataḥ punarapaśyato'pi pratyakṣa iva |”

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-IV, Pp- 11

To him, Pratibhā and Vyutpati is the different thing, so he says that, Vyatpatti is nothing but discretion between proper and improper things of ideas.


ucitānucitaviveko vyutpattiḥ” iti yāyāvarīyaḥ |

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-V, Pp- 16

There he (Rājaśekhara) cited the Dhvanikāra Ānandavardhana’s views and says:

pratibhāvyutpattyoḥ pratibhā śreyasī” ityānandaḥ |

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-V, Pp- 16


“Between the two Pratibhā and Vyutpatti, Pratibhā is superior, because it helps to hide the lack of Vyutpatti.”

Ānandavardhana think that, loss of poetic beauty stems from two different kinds of doṣas (demerits) -

  1. Vyutpattikritya doṣa or doṣas manifesting itself on account of delticiency of poetic genius of a kavi (poet) and
  2. Āśaktikṛtya doṣas or doṣas arising out of ignorance of the poet.


dvividha hi doṣaḥ - kaveravyutpattikṛto'śaktikṛtaśca |”

- Dhvanyāloka of Ānandavardhana: Ch-III, vṛtti-5

Sometimes, any loss of poetic beauty emerging out of ignorance of a poet may be covered up by the preponderating nature of the Pratibhā (poetic genius), but that loss which results from sheer lack of Śakti (poetic insight) becomes too pronounced to be overlooked.

Thus Ānandavardhana cites one parikara-śloka to substantiate this point:

avyutpattikṛto doṣaḥ śaktyā saṃvriyate kaveḥ |
yastvaśaktikṛtastasya sa jhaṭityavabhāsate || ”

- Dhvanyāloka of Ānandavardhana: Ch-III, kārikā -6

To Rājaśekhara, Vyutpatti is the riding power, which is gained by the study of chandas (metre) and Upākaranas (grammar). This type of power can be justified between proper and improper. Ānandavardhana posits Pratibhā is greater than Vyutpatti and gives an example from Kālidāsa’s Kumārasaṃbhava description on Hara-pārvatī Saṃbhagyo:


yathā ku mārasambhave devīsambhogavarṇanam |”

- Dhvanyāloka of Ānandavardhana: Ch-III, kārikā -6

However, in this types of description is full of Anauchitya-doṣas identified the negation of Vyutpatti of a kavi (poet). But the influence of Pratibhā (poetic genius) of a kavi (poet) it can be fulfill the lapse very easily and becomes poetry very charm full.

In the commentary of Dhvanyāloka, Ācārya Abhinavagupta in his Locana identifies the difference between Pratibhā and Vyutpatti by saying:

śaktiḥ pratibhānaṃ varṇanīyavastuviṣayanūtanollekhaśālitvam,
  vyutpattistadupayogi samastavastupaurvāparyaparāmarśakauśalam

- Dhvanyāloka-Locana of Abhinavagupta:

There Abhinavagupta joins with Ānandavardhana in supporting Kālidāsa’s embarrassing eloquence in delineation of crude erotic details concerning the divine pair in Kumārsaṃbhava, canto -viii downwards. There he remarks that, such type of erotic frank details are laid out by a kavi (poet) like Kālidāsa possessing matchless poetic genius and this feat keeps a connoisseur oblivious about the detailed context of such details. A connoisseur is supposed to be engrossed in all these details without taking into least consideration the persons who are concerned here.

There Maṅgala is posits in different views and says, Vyutpatti is superior to Pratibhā.

‘vyutpattiśreyasī’ iti maṅgalaḥ|

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-V, Pp- 16

After the giving Maṅgala’s view, Rājaśekhara has given an example of Vyutpatti from the Kāmasūtra of Vātsāyaṇa as:

kṛtaḥ kaṇṭhe niṣko nahi kimuta tanvī maṇilatā
  kṛśaṃ līlāpatraṃ śravāsi nihitaṃ ku ṇḍalamuci
na kauśeyaṃ citraṃ vasanamavadātaṃ tu vasitaṃ
  samāsannībhūte nidhuvanavilāse vanitayāḥ
|| ”

- KSV of Vātsāyaṇa: Ch-IV/1 and
- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-V, Pp- 16


“At night as the time for union with the husband came nearer, the wife removed a hassle (a thick neck band) and wore a thin necklace of beads, long hanging earring were exchanged with flower and leaves in the ear-lobes and a heavy intricately woven silk sāri was exchanged for an ordinary clean sāri. In this śloka the poet exhibits his power of discrimination or Vyutpatti, when he state that a leady removes her heavy ornaments, dress from her body but put on a light negligee in silk when directly she engages herself in amorous sports.”

This type of description arises out of the poet’s Vyutpatti, which is the result of his study of Kāmasūtra of Vātsāyana, where we see the passage.


vahubhūṣaṇaṃ vividhaku sumāntalepanaṃ vividhāṅgarāgasamujjvalaṃ vāsa ityābhigāmiko veṣaḥ |”

- KSV of Vātsāyaṇa: Ch-IV/1/24


pratanuślakṣṇālpaduूkalatā parimitamābharaṇaṃ sugandhitā
  nātyulbaṇamanulepanaṃ tathā śullānyanyāni puṣpāṇīti vaihāriko veṣaḥ
|| ”

- KSV of Vātsāyaṇa: Ch-IV/1/25

After giving different views of various ācārya’s Yāyāvarīya Rājaśekhara says his own opinion about the position of Pratibhā and Vyutpatti in the poetical composition as:

‘pratibhāvyutpattī mithaḥ samavete śreyasyau’ iti yāyāvarīyaḥ ||

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-V, Pp- 16


“In poetical composition the presence of both Pratibhā and Vyutpatti together is beneficial for creating kāvya (poetry).”

Then he compares Pratibhā with shape of body and Vyutpatti with the lāvanya (beauty or charm).


na khalu lāvaṇyalābhādṛte rupasampadṛte rupasampado vā lāvaṇyalabdhirmahate saindaryāya |”

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-V, Pp- 16

Means: without Lāvanya (beauty or charm) the beauty of form and shape remains incomplete and unattractive. So in the charming poetical composition both of the union of (sahajāta) inborn Pratibhā and (arjita) innate faculty Vyutpatti are equally very much important.

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