Kavyamimamsa of Rajasekhara (Study)

by Debabrata Barai | 2014 | 105,667 words

This page relates ‘Region of Madhyadesha (central part)’ 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 8.8 - Region of Madhyadeśa (central part)

In this region situated in the middle of the above said four regions. In the Purāṇas, Epics, Manusmṛti and Kāmasūtra also speak about this region and all ancient geographers also approved it. In the Kāvyamīmāṃsā, Rājaśekhara says that he is not much try to delineate a detailed description of the country, river and mountain of this region since they are very much popular. In the Āryāvartta refer by Baudhāyana’s Dharmasūtra and the Madhya-deśa of Manusmṛti described as Antarvedī by Yāyāvarīya Rājaśekhara. In this region is extends up to Benārasa in the eastern side.

Ancient Ācārya state that the division of direction should be based on Antarvedī.


vinaśanaprayāgayorgaṅgāyamunayoścāntaramantarvedī (di) |
tadapokṣayā diśo vibhajota” ityācāryāḥ

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-XVII, Pp- 94

But Rājaśekhara says that, in Antarvedī, this is based on Mahodaya (or Kanauja), should be used for division of direction.


tatrāpi mahodayaṃ mūlamavadhīkṛtya”iti yāyāvarīyaḥ |

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-XVII, Pp- 94

There the some people state that the division of direction is not stable due to the uncertainly of the quarters.


aniyatatvāddiśāmaniścito digvibhāgaḥ” ityeka |

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-XVII, Pp- 94

There other people holds that the four division of direction i.e.

  1. Prācī,
  2. Avācī,
  3. Pratīcī and
  4. Udīcī.

But some others state the division of eighteen as:

  1. Aindrī,
  2. Āgneyī,
  3. Yāmya,
  4. Maiṛṛti,
  5. Vāruṇī,
  6. Vāyavya,
  7. Kavberī and
  8. Aiśanī.


prācyavācīpratīcyudīcyaḥ catasro diśaḥ” ityeke |

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-XVII, Pp- 94


aindrī, ārre yī, yāmāyā, narṛ tī, vāruṇī, vāyavyā, kauborī, aiśānī cāṣṭau diśaḥ” ityeke |

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-XVII, Pp- 95

Therefore, with them adding two more Brāhmī and Nāgīya, some posit it as ten.


brāhmī nāgarīyā ca dve | tābhyāṃ saha daiśatāḥ” ityapare |

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-XVII, Pp- 95

Then Rājaśekhara agree about all these views and say that whether they are four, eight or ten, there remains no difference. Because the number of direction is within the control of the kavi (poet).


sarvamastu, vivakṣāparatantrā hi diśimiyattā”

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-XVII, Pp- 95

The direction between the two star Citrā and Svātī constellations is east and in front of it is west. North and south are determined on the basis of the pole star. Brahmī is upwards and Nāgīya is downwards, thus the directions are determined.

Then Rājaśekhara gives the description of colour of people residing in the different regions, which are also helpful to the poet. The colour of people living in east is śyāma (glossy-blackish) and the people of southern regions are kṛṣṇa (dark). Western regions peoples are pāṇḍu (yellowish white) and the people residing in the north are Gaura (white). Beside those the people of Madhya-deśa (central region) are a mixture of kṛṣṇa (dark), shyām (black) and Gaura (white) colours. Rājaśekhara’s this type of division of colour is generally accepted by most of the kavi (poets).

Rajashekhara’s concepts on Regional distribution of Complexions

[Rājaśekhara’s concepts on regional distribution of complexions—Gaura (fair); Pāṇḍu (fair); Gaura śyāma and kṛṣṇa (fair, light-dark and dark); Śyāma (light-dark); Kṛṣṇa (dark)]

In this way we can seems that the geographical concepts of Rājaśekhara takes resemblance by the earlier text Purāṇas. In the regard of geographical concepts, Rājaśekhara has mostly utilized the Vāyupurāṇas. However, sometimes Purāṇa mentions the east but the Kāvyamīmāṃsā mentions this as west. Thus there we found some doubts and dispute on the place of different regions which are refers in the Kāvyamīmāṃsā

In the eighteen chapter of Rājaśekhara’s Kāvyamīmāṃsā deals with the kāla-vibhāga (divisions of season) as a part of poetics. In a literary composition kāla or seasons have a great prominence since the time of Vedas. In the Ṛgveda Veda we found that the performer of sacrifice of ‘Ṛtvig’ means the one who sacrifice at the kāla or Ṛtu or seasons. In the Puruṣasukta of Ṛgveda Veda described the four seasons i.e. Vasanta, Grīṣma, Śarata and Prāvṛḍ. This concept of seasons is connected with the Yajña or sacrifice and says, Vasanta is to be the ājya (Shee) for the oblation, Grīṣma as the fuel and Śarata as the food offering.

In the Āyurveda deal with ṛtus in connection of health and behavior. In the sixth chapter Sūtrasthāna of Carakasamhita and Ṛtucaryā in the Śuṣrutasamhitā deal with the seasons, this is very much important.

In classical Sanskrit literature, kavi (poets) are described the various seasons and different seasonal changes in their works. Since the Adikāvya Rāmāyaṇa, the author Vālmikī also describes different seasons in the context of Rasa. Therefore Kālidāsa, the great poet of Sanskrit literature was very influenced by the Vālmiki’s Rāmāyaṇa. Then he devotes one of his work Ṛtusaṃhāra to describe the characteristics of various ṛtus or seasons. Out of those, all the poets of any literature does not avoid the characteristics of seasons, they all are directly or indirectly treated about the different season in their writing.

Not only the poet but also the poeticians are recognized the importance and characteristic of different seasons in their works and also advices to the poet that to described the seasons in their works. Ācārya Bharatamuni in the twenty-fifth chapter of his Nātyaśāstra relates the ṛtus or seasons with the description of sṛṅgāra rasa. There he includes the six-seasons in the themes for abhinaya or composite acting.

Then Kāvyadarśakāra Daṇḍin says that the description of seasons is important characteristic for the Mahākāvya.


nagarāraṇavarśiliṛtucandrākodayavarṇanīyaḥ |”

- Kāvyādarśa of Daṇḍin: I/16

Ācārya Bhojarāja in the four chapter of his Sṛṅgāraprakaśa deal with the matter of kāla or ṛtu and Vāgbhata follows the method of Śuśrūta to describe the different ṛtu or seasons. In there the concept of Ṛtusandhi is very much interesting. Ācārya Kauṭilya does not miss about this tradition, who deals in his Arthaśāstra with kāla or seasons with its divisions in a scientific way. Here Ācārya Yāyāvarīya Rājaśekhara possibly seems to the influenced by him on the matter of kāla or seasons.

In the Kāvyamīmāṃsā, Rājaśekhara describes the concepts of time or seasons with applying the various sciences and astronomy. In the beginning of kāla-vibhāga chapter, Rājaśekhara divided the kāla or time into two i.e. Kāṣṭhā and Nimeṣa to follow the Kauṭilya’s divisions of kāla.

The śloka of the Kāvyamīmāṃsā about the various divisions of seasons bears a similar resemblance with Vāyupurāṇa;

kāṣṭhā nimeṣā daśa pañcaicava triṃśacca kāṣṭhāḥ kathitāḥ kaleti |
triṃśatkalaścaiva bhavenmuhurttastaistriṃśatā rātryahanī samete || ”

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-XVIII, Pp- 98

Fifteen nimeṣas makes one kāṣṭhā, thirty kāṣṭhās makes one kāla, thirty kālas makes one muhūrta and thirty muhūrtas consists a day and night.

However the time is boundless for convenience but we can divide it in carious way of fifteen-nimeṣas. This divisions of kāla also approved by the all the people from ancient to present times.

In the two months of Caitra and Aśvin, the days and night are an equal rate that is fifteen of muhūrtas are for days and fifteen of muhūrtas for night.

After the Caitra month, in the Vaiśākha to three months there is an increase of one muhūrta each for everyday and month, the night gets shorter. This is in the reverse order for the next three months. From the Aśvin month the day and night becomes equal and after this for next three months the opposite cycle starts. In this time the night get longer and the days shorter.

In the transition of sun from one ‘Rāśi’ or sign of the Zodiac into another is called a month.

There are the two ‘Ayanas’ (solstices) divided a years:—

  1. The Dakṣiṇāyana (southern solstice), the six month period following to the rain season and
  2. The Uttarāyaṇa (northern solstice), the next six month following to the winter season.

In this way the two ‘Ayanas’ constitute the Saṃvatasara (solar-year).

In fifteen days and nights constitutes a Pakṣa or fortnight. In this Pakṣa the moon increases in Śukla-Pakṣa and when the darkness increases thus it is called Kṛṣṇa-Pakṣa. The Vedic rituals and rites are performed in the Śukla-Pakṣa and parental rituals performed in the Kṛṣṇa-Pakṣa. In this way the two-Pakṣa constitute one month, two months makes one ṛtu (season) and the six (seasons) ṛtu make a lunar year.

Here it is noticeable that, astronomers think that the year begins from the Caitra month and ancient tradition believe that the year start with the month of Śrāvana. But Rājaśekhara posits concepts is different from them and he is there much influenced to the seasonal concepts of Taittrīya-Saṃhitā and discusses the different concepts and characteristics of seasons[1].

The six-seasons that constitute a solar-year are:

  1. Varṣā (rainy season), it includes the months of Śrāvana and Bhādra;
  2. Śarata (autumn season), it includes the months of Āśvina and Kārtika;
  3. Hemanta (dewy season), it includes the month of Agrahāyaṇa and Pauṣa;
  4. Śiśira (winter season), it includes the months of Māgha and Phālguna;
  5. Vasanta (spring season), it includes the months of Chitra and Vaiśākha and
  6. Gṛīṣma (summer season), it included the months of Jaiṣṭha and Āṣādha.

However Rājaśekhara mentions the [following Vedic terms of twelve month in the connection with each ṛtus or seasons and he follows the Vedic order.] i.e.

  1. Nabha,
  2. Nabhasya,
  3. Iṣa,
  4. Urja,
  5. Saha,
  6. Sahasya,
  7. Tapa,
  8. Tapasya,
  9. Madhu,
  10. Mādhava,
  11. Śukra and
  12. Śuci.


tatra nabhā nabhasyaśca varṣāḥ, iṣa ūrjaśca śarat, sahaḥ sahasyaśca hemantaḥ,
tapastapasyaśca śiśiraḥ, madhurmādhavaśca vasantaḥ, śuktaḥ śuciśca grīṣmaḥ

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-XVIII, Pp- 99

In the Varṣā (rainy-season) the eastern-wind flows believe the poets.

Thus mahākavi Kālidāsa in his Vikramorvaśīya described the waves the crest of peacocks watching the fast moving rain clouds as:

ālokayati payedān prabalapurovātatāḍitaśikhaṇḍaḥ |
ke kāgarbheṇa śiravo dūronnamitena kaṇṭhena || ”

- Vikramorvaśīya of Kālidāsa: Ch-IV/ 8

But the ancient ācārya does not agree with this and argue that the western wind blows in rainy season and eastern winds oppose it.


pāścātyaḥ paurastyastu pratihantā” ityācāryāḥ |

- Kāvyamīmāṃsā of Rājaśekhara: Ch-XVIII, Pp- 99

But Rājaśekhara does not agree with this view and accepts the first. In the Śiśira (winter season) blows the eastern wind and the Śarata (autumn season) there is no fixed direction of winds. In the Hemanta-kāla (dewy season) and Śiśira (winter) both eastern and northern winds are generally blows. Therefore in the Vasanta (spring season) blows the southern wind and the Gṛīṣma (summer season) both south and eastern winds are blows. In this way after describing the different characteristics of winds of various seasons Rājaśekhara take his concentration into the details discussion of different six-seasons.

Footnotes and references:


Taittriyasaṃhitā: I/ IV/ 14. Ed. By. N.S. Santakke and T.M. Dharmadhikari, Vaidika Sahsodhana Mandala, Poona.1970

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