Kavyamimamsa of Rajasekhara (Study)

by Debabrata Barai | 2014 | 105,667 words

This page relates ‘Rajashekhara’s concepts on Nature of 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 3.12 - Rājaśekhara’s concepts on Nature of Kāvya (poetry)

From ancients times different ālaṃkārikas gives their various own concepts about the nature of kāvya (poetry). There are some ālaṃkārikas gives the both śabda (word) and artha (meaning) are the equal importance in composing kāvya (poetry) i.e.

śavdārthau sahitau kāvyaṃ gadyaṃ padyaṃ ca taddvidhā |
saṃskṛtaṃ prākṛtaṃ cānyadapabhraṃśa iti tridhā || ”

- Kāvyālaṃkāra (of Bhāmaha) of Bhāmaha: Ch-I/16


“Word and meaning taken together constitute kāvya (poetry). Some are posits only śabda (word) are the major element of kāvya (poetry)”

Thus Ācārya Daṇḍin in his Kāvyādarśa says about the Kāvyasvarūpa (nature of poetry) as:

taiḥ śarīrañca kāvyānāmalaṅkārāśca darśitāḥ |
śarīraṃ tāvadiṣṭārtha-vyavacchinnā padāvalī || ”

- Kāvyādarśa of Daṇḍin:Ch-I/10


“The form of kāvya (poetry) is that, it should be characterized by and couched in desirable words producing beauty.”

There some of the rhetoricians says about the beautifying elements of kāvya (poetry) and establish the importance of guṇas and alaṃkāras in kāvya (poetry).


kāvyaśabdo'yaṃ guṇālaṃkārasaṃskṛtayoḥ śabdārthayorvartate |”

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


“Poetry is meant by Śabda (words) and Artha (meaning) having guṇas and alaṃkāras.”

But Yāyāvarīya Rājaśekhara think, a kāvya (poetry) is nothing but a sentence having Guṇas and Alaṃkāras.


guṇavadalaṅkṛtañca vākyameva kāvyam |”

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-VI, Pp- 24

All the ancient ālaṃkārikas onwards Bhāmaha have given equal importance to both the śabda (words) and artha (meaning) for composing in a kāvya (poetry). But Rājaśekhara seems differ from them and holds that śabdas (words) are only important in the constitution of the kāvya (poetry). In this matter the definition of Viśvanātha and Jagannātha are noteworthy; because they both are says that vākya (sentences) alone are the major constituents of a kāvya (poetry).

In the definition of kāvya (poetry) Viśvanātha in his Sāhityadarpaṇa says that:

vākyaṃ rasātmakaṃ kāvyaṃ |”

- Sāhityadarpaṇa of Viśvanātha: I/ 3

And Panditarāja Jagannātha also his Rasagaṅgādhara define kāvya (poetry) as:

ramaṇīyārarthapratipādakaḥ śavdaḥ kāvyam |”

- Rasagaṅgādhara of Jagannātha

Here in the defining kāvya (poetry), Rājaśekhara possibly influenced by the Ācārya Vāmana’s definition of kāvya (poetry).

According to Vāmana kāvya (poetry) as:

kāvyaṃ grāhyamalaṃkārāt |”

- Kāvyālaṃkārasūṭra-vṛtti of Vāmana: I/1/1

Poetry becomes acceptable because of alaṃkāra. Rājaśekhara in this definition of kāvya (poetry) follow the ancient ācāryas of Alaṃkāra School’s, who are thing that in a composing kāvya (poetry) alaṃkāras as the major elements. In the works of Bhoja’s Sarasvatīkaṇṭhāvaraṇa, Jaydeva’s Chandrāloka also given the similar concepts about kāvya (poetry).

Ācārya Bhāgvata in his Kāvyalaṃkāra says that kāvya (poetry) as:

sādhuśavdārthasandarbhaṃ guṇālaṃkārabhūṣitama |
sphu ṭarītirasopetaṃ kāvyaṃ ku rvīta kīrtaye || ”

- Kāvyalaṃkāra of Bhāgbhata

If we carefully analysis the Kāvyālaṃkāra (nature of poetry) given by Rājaśekhara than we can seems that in composition of poetry he recognizes the importance of Vākya. Vākya (or sentence) constitutes by the both of the meaningful words, but in a vākya (sentences) guṇas and alaṃkāras are generally uses as for the beautifying elements.

However the follower of Ānandavardhana does not agree to importance of alaṃkāras in kāvya (poetry) but Ācārya Mammaṭa accepts the presence of alaṃkāras in poetic composition and create junction between those two doctrines of Sanskrit poetics.


tadatoṣau śavdārthau saguṇāvanalaṃkṛtī punaḥ kvāpi |”

- Kāvyaprakāśa of Mammaṭa: I/ 3


kāvya (poetry) consist of śabda (word) and artha (meaning), which are without blemishes, possessed of guṇas (excellences) and rarely devoid of alaṃkāras (poetic figures).”

Let's grow together!

For over a decade, this site has never bothered you with ads. I want to keep it that way. But I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased truth, wisdom and knowledge.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: