Kavyamimamsa of Rajasekhara (Study)

by Debabrata Barai | 2014 | 105,667 words

This page relates ‘Poet King: his court and assembly’ 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 5.8 - A Poet King: his court and assembly

In the end part of the tenth chapter of Rājaśekhara’s Kāvyamīmāṃsā have been described the king who wishes to promote literary activities. If we can look at the history of ancient India, thus we can that; the kings were very much popular for their patronage of literary activities. Ācārya Kauṭilya in his Arthaśāstra has been explicitly mentioned that a king should be study all Śāstras (science of knowledge) and be acquainted with other branches of knowledge.[1] In this time the poet-king Vikramāditya, Harṣa and Bhojarāja were very popular as devotees of literary activities. So they are generally arranging assemblies to evaluate the merits and demerits of poetic compositions of a kavi (poet).

A poet-king should meet time to time in an assembly of kavi (poet) and scholars for the appreciation of new poet. If the king himself is a poet, thus his people are expected to have gifted with poet-like qualities. In these assemblies kavi (poet) and scholars are should be honored for their achievements. For such types of conventions of kavi (poet) and scholars, the poet-king should construct an assembly hall for particular purpose with sixteen columns, four gates and a mattavarni (a lofty and well-decorated) gate. The poet-king should be seated on a platform at the centre of this court, with 1+½ (one and half) higher alter in the last four columns. There the kavis (poets) should be seated on the stage just by the side of the poet-king. In his north-side poet of Sanskrit languages, Vedic scholars, Philosophers, Mythists, Ritualists, Physicians and Astronomers should be sited in order of merit and recognitions. Prākṛt poets should be at the east and other also sited actors, dancers, singers and musicians etc. In the western side of this court should be adorned by Apabhraṃśa poets, painters, jewelers, goldsmiths, blacksmiths and other traders. The southern wing seats are allotted for poets of people’s speech, warriors, fighters, harlot, gamblers etc. Be sitting on his reputed seat, the poet-king should conduct his assembly as like as the king Vāsudeva Sāhāsaṅka [Sāhasāṅka?], Kaṇva, Sātavāhana and Śūdraka etc. In this place extra-ordinary poets and poetess should be appreciated by befitting honors. In this assembly, which is associated to the literary assembly there should also be a scientists assembly. There the auspicious literatures and scientist should be duly appreciated and honoured by befitting honorarium i.e. which is sufficient to lead a life and may be as desired above of that.

In ancient India, the poet-king should be arranges great poetic assemblies as a custom to conduct for justify the merits and demerits for the poetic composition. There have to be honoured kavi (poet) with hoods and chariots. Poet like Kālidāsa, Bhārabi, Meṇṭha, Amara, Rūpā, Hariśchandra and Chandragupta etc. some of the kavi (poet) were examined and duly rewarded by the poetic assembly at Ujjain. Panini, Piṅgala, Vyādi and Patañjali etc. were evaluated their works and rewarded in the poetic assembly of scholars at Pātaliputra. The scholars, having earned the honour of the president in a scholastic assembly of poets and philosophers, evaluate poetry and thus they attain a worldwide honour, fame and fortune, in this worlds and thereafter.[2] The poet-king who is conducts such types of assemblies, their fame spreads all over the world. Here we found Rājaśekhara have integrated and quotes from different works of great poets like Kālidāsa, Bhāravi and Kalhaṇa for supporting his arguments.

Footnotes and references:


Arthaśāstra-of Kauṭilya: I/ 1/ 1


Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-VI, Pp- 54-55

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