Kavyamimamsa of Rajasekhara (Study)

by Debabrata Barai | 2014 | 105,667 words

This page relates ‘Divisions of Kavi (poets)’ 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).

After giving the molecule differences of Pratibhā and Vyutpatti, Rājaśekhara try to attempt about the matter of various kind of kavi (poet) with their various types.

There he firstly gives a definition of kavi (poets) as:

pratibhāvyutpattimāṃśca kaviḥ kavirityucyate |”

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-V, Pp- 17


“A true poet is formed by a union of the both two Pratibhā and Vyutpatti.”

Then he defines poets as three types: Śāstra-kavi, Kāvya-kavi and Ubhaya-kavi.


sā ca tridhā | śāstrakaviḥ kāvyakavirubhayakaviśca |”

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-V, Pp- 17

Further, he cited Ācārya Śyāmadeva’s opinion and posits that Ubhaya-kavi is the most superior followed by Kāvya-kavi and then by Śāstra-kavi:

‘teṣāmuttarottarīyo (ro) garīyān’ iti śyāmadevaḥ |

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-V, Pp- 17

But Rājaśekhara does not agree about the views of Śyāmadeva and refutes this by saying that each kind if poet is distinct in his own way.

na” iti yāyāvarīyaḥ | yathā svaviṣaye sarvo garīyān |

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-V, Pp- 17

There Śāstra-kavi with his seriousness composes kāvya (poetry) suffused with rasa and dhvani (suggestion). And kāvya-kavi throws an aesthetic charm over harsh, logical and technical subjects also.


yacchāstrakaviḥ kāvye rasasampadaṃ vicchinatti |
yatkāvyakaviḥ śāstre tarka karka śamapyarthamuktivaicitryeṇa ślathayati |”

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-V, Pp- 17

But, the Ubhaya-kavi beings adept at both kinds of expression should be considered superior.

Thus, Śāstra-kavi and Kāvya-kavi may be considered to be a similar level.

ubhayakavistūbhayorapi varīyānyadyubhayatra paraṃ pravīṇaḥ syāt |”

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-V, Pp- 17

Śāstra-kavi and Kāvya-kavi are mutually associative and beneficial to each other. If a poet is proficient in Śāstra, so his compositions become marked with seriousness and excellence. Only knowledge of Śāstra one cannot become a poet. A profound study of Kāvya (poetry) also helps to attain a perfect understanding of technical literature. With only knowledge of Kāvya (poetry), a poet lacks in seriousness.

Rājaśekhara divided Śāstra-kavi as three classes and says:

tatra tridhā śāstrakaviḥ |
yaḥ śāstraṃ vidhatte, yaśca śāstre kāvyaṃ saṃvidhatte, yo'pi kāvye śāstrārthaṃ nidhatte |”

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-V, Pp- 17


Śāstra-kavi’s are divided into three kinds–(i) composer of Śāstra, (ii) Using Kāvya in Śāstra and (iii) Using Śāstric tenets in Kāvya (poetry).”

Then he divided Kāvya-kavi are eight verities–

  1. Racanā-kavi (poet, whose composition reflect craftsmanship of poets),
  2. Śabda-kavi (poet, whose composition are distinguished by the use of language),
  3. Artha-kavi (poet, whose composition are distinguished by ides or meaning),
  4. Alaṃkāra-kavi (rhetorical poets),
  5. Uktikavi (quotable poets),
  6. Rasa-kavi (aesthetic poets),
  7. Mārga-kavi (poets of verbal style) and
  8. Śāstrartha-kavi (poets of rational discourses).


kāvyakaviḥ punaraṣṭadhā | tadyathā racanākaviḥ, śabdakaviḥ, arthakaviḥ,
alaṃkārakavi, uktikaviḥ, rasakaviḥ, mārgakaviḥ, śāstrārthakaviriti

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-V, Pp- 17

Kavi (Poet)

Kavi (poet); Śāstra-kavi; Kāvya-kavi; Ubhaya-kavi; Entry of kāvya in Śāstra; Composer of Śāstra; Using Śāstric Tenets in kāvya; Racanā-kavi; Artha-kavi; Ukti-kavi; Mārga-kavi; Śabda-kavi; Alaṃkāra-kavi; Rasa-kavi; Nāma-kavi (Using Subanta in kāvya); Akhyāta-kavi (Using Tiṅganta words in kāvya); Nāmākhyāta-kavi (Using both words in kāvya); Śāstratha-kavi; Śabdālaṃkāra-kavi; Arthālaṃkāra-kavi.

There Rājaśekhara gives the three sub-division of Śabda-kavi and two subdivision of Alaṃkara-kavi. The Śabda-kavi is-Nāma-kavi, Ākhyāta-kavi and Nāmākhyāta-kavi.


tridhā ca śavdakavirnāmākhyātārthabhedena |”

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-V, Pp- 17

Nāma-kavi preponderance of names, nouns or subanta words. Ākhyāta-kavi discourse verbs or tiṅganta words abound and Nāmākhyāta-kavi uses languages preponderance of both kinds of words.

The two-types of Alaṃkāra-kavi are the–

  1. Śabdālaṃkāra-kavi and
  2. Arthālaṃkāra-kavi.


dvidhā'laṃkārakaviḥ śabdārthabhedena |”

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-V, Pp- 18

After discussing the nature of Pratibhā, Vyutpatti and different kind of kavi (poet), Rājaśekhara introduced on the discussion in order to determine the nature of the Kāvya-pāka with the views on his ancient rhetoricians. There Rājaśekhara whole discussion of the theory of kāvya-pāka in kāvya (poetry) means ‘maturity’ and it is originates from the constant study of kāvya (poetry) a good poet’s expression attains immutability, un-changageability, un-alterability or inevitability.

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