Kavyamimamsa of Rajasekhara (Study)

by Debabrata Barai | 2014 | 105,667 words

This page relates ‘Poetic conventions regarding to the Trees and Plants’ 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 7.5 - Poetic conventions regarding to the Trees and Plants

Yāyāvarīya Rājaśekhara in his Kāvyamīmāṃsā dealt with the various kinds of poetic conventions but he does not gives any concepts about the convention of which are connected with the desires of trees and plants. But in the thirteenth chapter of Kāvyamīmāṃsā the uses of śloka which seems the Rājaśekhara though about such convention. Rājaśekhara possibly think that the Bakuḷa, Aśoka and Tilaka sprout in the corresponding season without the aid of the concerned actions of sweet ladies. This may be the causes for avoiding these types of poetic conventions.

However his successor’s rhetoricians i.e. Viśvanātha (Sāhityadarpaṇa) and Keśavamiśra (Alaṃkāraśekhara) also recognize the importance of these types of conventions. From the various works of poets in Sanskrit literature are also uses for such poetic conventions. The famous commentator Mallinātha says about these conventions by the name Kavi-prasiddhis.

There are basically ten trees are uses as the subjects of this convention i.e.

  1. Priyāṅgu,
  2. Bakula,
  3. Aśoka,
  4. Tilaka,
  5. Kurabaka,
  6. Mandara,
  7. Campaka,
  8. Amra,
  9. Nameru and
  10. Karnikara.

(1) Poetic conventions relating to the priyāṅgu tree:

In poetic convention the Priyāṅgu flower should not be described as yellow. In this convention Priyāṅgu is compare with the body of young ladies and thus the young lady’s body would be yellowish colour. This yellowness of body is a sign of ill-health. Thus the poets are debarred from the description of yellowness of Priyāṅgu flowers.

In the Kāvyamīmāṃsā Rājaśekhara illustrate these types of convention as:

priyaṅguśyāmamambhodhirandhrīṇāṃ stanamaṇḍalam |
alaṅkartumiva svacchāḥ sūte mauktikasampadaḥ || ”

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-XV, Pp- 84

In this śloka darkness is attributed to the Priyāṅgu flowers instead of its original yellowness.

In another convention of the Priyāṅgu flower, it is sprout with the touch of beautiful ladies.

In the Meghadūta of Kālidāsa, the commentator Mallinātha comments about the Priyāṅgu sprouts in the Uttaramegha as:

strīṇāṃ sparśātpriyaṅgurvikasati baku laḥsīdhugūṇḍaṣasekātpādāghātādeśokastilakaku rabakau vīkṣaṇāliṅganābhyām | mandāro narmavākyātpaṭumadṛुhasanāccampako vaktravātāccūto gītānnamerurvikasati ca puro nartanātkarṇikāraḥ ||”

- Meghadūta of Kālidāsa: with Mallinatha’s commentary on Uttaramegha/18

(2) Poetic conventions relating to the bakula tree:

In poetic conventions the poets are described the Bakula flower to Śṛṅgārarasa. In spring seasons found Bakula sprouts into flower. It may be reason that the poets uses this description for the smell of liquor that spreading from the flowers of Bakuḷa.

In the Raghuvaṃśa, Kālidāsa says about the smell of Bakuḷa as equal to the smell of the heaves of sweet ladies as:

tava niḥśvasitānukāribhirbaku lairardhacitāṃ samaṃ mayā |
asamāpya vilāsamekhalāṃ kimidaṃ kiṃ narakaṇṭhi supyate || ”

- Raghuvaṃśa of Kālidāsa: Canto-VIII/ 64

Then Kālidāsa also says about Agnivarṇa, who enjoys the remnants of liquor drank by his wives as like the smell of Bakuḷa flower:

suvadanāvadanāsavasaṃbhṛtastadanuvādiṇaḥ ku sumodgamaḥ |
madhukairarakaronmulolupairbaku lamāku lamāyatapaṅkibhiḥ || ”

- Raghuvaṃśa of Kālidāsa: Canto-IX/ 30

There after he also illustrate about this convention in his Meghadūta as:

rakyāśokaścalakisalayaḥ ke saraścātra kāntaḥ
  pratyāsannau ku rabakavṛtermādhavīmaṇḍapasya
|
ekaḥ sakhyāstava saha mayā vāmapādābhilāṣī
  kāṅkṣatyanyo vadanamadirāṃ dohadacchadmanā'syāḥ
|| ”

- Meghadūta of Kālidāsa: Uttaramegha/18

Here Keśara means Bakuḷa and Bakuḷa is as to be desirous of mouthful liquor of sweet ladies.

(3) Poetic conventions relating to the tilaka tree:

In poetic composition the convention of Tilaka is not very much popular among the poets. These types of conventions and their illustration are very rare in poetry. The sprout of Tilaka flowers are generally meditated as glance of sweet ladies in poetic descriptions.

Rājaśekhara also illustrated in his works, Karpūramañjarī about the three poetic conventions relating to the ardent desires of Kurabaka, Tilaka and Aśoka as:

ku ravaatilaaasoā āliṃgaṇadaṃsaṇaggacaraṇahaā |
viasanti kāmiṇīṇaṃ tā tāṇaṃ dehi dohalaaṃ || ”

Meaning in Sanskrit:

ku rabakatilakāśokā āliṅganadarśanāgracaraṇahatāḥ |
vikasanti kāminīnāṃ tatteṣāṃ dehi dohadakam || ”

- Karpūramañjari of Rājaśekhara: 2/43

In this śloka the Kurabaka sprouts are out of the embrace of sweet ladies, Tilaka sprouts are the meditative glances of ladies and Aśoka sprouts with the kick of beautiful ladies.

(4) Poetic conventions relating to the aśoka tree:

In poetic convention there are two types relating to the Aśoka i.e. in the description of Aśoka tree without fruits and the Aśoka sprouts in flower with the kick of sweet ladies. In poetry the poets describe Aśoka flowers at the time when they are portraying the sentiment of śṛṅgāra rasa. Women’s are wear the Aśoka leaves at their ear notes and flowers on their trees of hair for more beautification.

In the first poetic conventions Aśoka is considered to be devoid of fruits, though it possesses fruits. Here it may be seems that the fruits of Aśoka are quiet irrelevant in poetic descriptions. In the aesthetic view the sprouts and the branch of flowers of Aśoka possess excessive beauty but the fruits lack of his quality. Thus the poets do not describe the existence of fruits of Aśoka tree.

In the Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara illustrate this poetic convention not only denies the existence of fruits but also depicts it as an effect of ill-fate as:

daivāyatte hi phale kiṃ kriyatāmotadatra tu vadāmaḥ |
nāśokasya kisalayairvṛkṣāntarapallavāstulyāḥ || ”

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-XIV, Pp- 80

Other type of poetic convention of Aśoka is sprouting with the kick of sweet ladies. In the Mālakavikāgnimitra of Kālidāsa is very much relating about on this poetic convention.

In the Mālavikāgnimitra describes the sprouting of Aśoka tree with the kick of sweet lady Mālavikā’s foot by the śloka as:

navakisalayarāgeṇāgrapādena vālā sphu ritanakharucā dvau hantumarhatyanena |
aku sumitamaśokaṃ dohadāpekṣayā vā praṇamitaśirasaṃ vā kāntamārdrāparādham || ”

- Mālavikāgnimiṭra of Kālidāsa: III/ 12

In other occasion to depict the intensity of Aja’s love to Indumati in the Raghuvaṃśa, who was separated from her as:

ku sumaṃ kṛtadohadastvayā yadaśoko'yamudīrayiṣyati |
alakābharaṇaṃ kathaṃ nu tattava neṣyāmi nivāpamālyatām || ”

smarateva saśabdunūpuraṃ caraṇānugrahamanyadurlabham |
amunā ku sumāśruvarṣiṇā tvamaśoke na sugātri śocyaso || ”

- Raghuvaṃśa of Kālidāsa: VIII/ 62-63

There in this śloka concept is well explicit behind this poetic convention.

Therefore, in the Mallinātha’s ‘Sañjīvanī’ commentary of Kumārasaṃbhava

about the sprouting of Aśoka flowers with the kick of sweet ladies as:

sanūpurarveṇa strī caraṇenābhitāḍanam |
dohadaṃ yadaśokasya tataḥ puṣpodbhamo bhavet ||

- Kumārasambhava of Kālidāsa: III/26

Then Śriharṣa also connected about this type of poetic convention. In the śloka of Ratnāvalī says:

vikasitabaku lāśokakaḥ kāṅkṣitapriyajanamelakaḥ |
pratipālanasamarthakastāmyati yuvatisārthakaḥ || ”

- Ratnāvalī of Śriharṣa: 1/14

(5) Poetic conventions relating to the kurabaka tree:

In Sanskrit literature Ādikavi Vālmīki, Mahākavi Kālidāsa, Bhāravi and Jaydeva etc. various poets depicted the beauty of Kurbaka flower in their works. There most of the poets are describe it as embrace of women.

In the Mallinātha’s commentary of Uttaramegha part of Meghadūta refer a śloka which is describes about almost all ardent desire conventions of tree and plants as:

strīṇāṃ sparśātpriyaṅgurvikasati baku laḥsīdhugūṇḍaṣasekātpādāghātādeśokastilakaku rabakau vīkṣaṇāliṅganābhyām| mandāro narmavākyātpaṭu madṛुhasanāccampako vaktravātāccūto gītānnamerurvikasati ca puro nartanātkarṇikāraḥ || ”

- Meghadūta of Kālidāsa: Sañjīvanī commentary on Uttarmegha/18

(6) Poetic conventions relating to the mandara tree:

In poetic convention the Mandara is traditionally believed as the frivolous talks of sweet ladies. However it is not very much popular in poetic composition but Kālidāsa and Jaydeva also described in this convention in their works. Where the Mandara flowers blooms are used by ladies as to adorn themselves.

(7) Poetic conventions relating to the campaka tree:

The Campaka is blooming in the Varṣā-kāla and Grīṣma-kāla. In poetic convention this Campaka flowers are bloom for the intense and tender smile of beautiful ladies. There Campaka sprouts bloom into flowers in Vasanta-kāla.

In the eighteen chapter of Kāvyamīmāṃsā, Rājaśekhara describing in the the Śiśira-kāla while depicts the beauty of this flowers as:

vicakilake sarapāṭalicampakapuṣpānuvṛttayo grīṣme |
tatra ca tuhinartubhavaṃ marubakamapi ke cidicchanti || ”

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-XVIII, Pp- 110

(8) Poetic conventions relating to sahakāra tree:

In poetic convention poets are describe about the intoxicating smell of Sahakāra flowers and the excessive sweetness of its fruits. There poets are compare the intoxicating smell of Sahakāra with the smell of the heaves of sweet ladies.

In the description of Ṛtusaṃhāra, Kālidāsa says that:

ākampayanku sumitāḥ sahakāraśākhā vistārayanparabhṛtasya vacāṃsi dikṣu |
vāyu viṃvātiृhadayāni harannarāṇāṃ nīhārapātavigamātsubhago vasante || ”

- Ṛtusaṃhāra of Kālidāsa: VI/ 22

(9) Poetic conventions relating to the nameru tree:

In poetic convention the sprouts of Nameru blooming into flowers for the melodious voice of charming ladies. There is only one convention relating to Nameru. In the description of Kālidāsa’s works this flower are found but besides them there are not seen this type convention in Sanskrit literature.

(10) Poetic conventions relating to the karnikara tree:

The Karnikara flowers have excessive beauty without any smell. In poetic convention, this flowers bloom with the dancing of sweet young ladies. In the description of Ādikavi Vālmikī, Kālidāsa and Rājaśekhara works we found that of convention.

In the Rāmāyaṇa says:

supuṣpitāṃstu paśyaitān karṇikārān samantataḥ |
hāṭakapratisaṃchannān narān pītāmbarāniva || ”

- Rāmāyaṇa of Valmiki: IV/1/21

In the Kumārasambhava of Kālidāsa says:

varṇaprakarṣe sati karṇikāraṃ dunoti nirgandhatayā sma cetaḥ|
prāyeṇa sāmagrayavidhau guṇānāṃ parāṅmukhī viśvasṛjaḥ pravṛtti || ”

- Kumārasambhava of Kālidāsa: III/ 28

And in the Kāvyamīmāṃsā says:

ayaṃ prasūnodbhurakarṇikāraḥ puṣpaprapañcārcitakāñcanāraḥ|
visṛmbhaṇākovidakovidāraḥ kālo vikāśodyatasinduvāraḥ || ”

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-XVIII, Pp- 105

In the above different ten types of conventions are relating to the ardent desires of trees and plants in Sanskrit literature. Rājaśekhara seems the first and foremost pioneer ālaṃkārika who is quiet the topic of this convention. However he does not accepted these types of convention but if we study his Saṭṭaka Karpūramañjari we can found that he was also aware about these conventions. The flower ālaṃkārikas of Rājaśekhara i.e. Viśvanātha and Keśavamiśra although gives importance in these conventions in their works. It is very hazy and curicitable matter to us that, how he neglected these types of poetic conventions.

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