Kuntaka’s evaluation of Sanskrit literature

by Nikitha. M | 2018 | 72,578 words

This page relates ‘Date of Kuntaka’ of the study on the evaluation of Sanskrit literature with special reference to Kuntaka and his Vakroktijivitam from the 10th century CE. This study reveals the relevance of Sanskrit poetics in the present time and also affirms that English poetry bears striking features like six figurativeness taught by Kuntaka in his Vakroktijivita, in which he propounds the vakrokti school of Sanskrit literary criticism.

Kuntaka does not provide any information about himself in his works like most of the other Sanskrit rhetoricians. His date has been fixed at the latter half of the 10th century C.E on the basis of some external evidences. He quotes profusely from the works Dhvanyāloka of Ānandavardhana of 9th century C.E. and from Bālarāmāyaṇa, Viddhaśālabhañjika etc. of Rājaśekhara of first half of 10th Century C.E. Moreover Mahimabhaṭṭa, a rhetorician of 11th century C.E. and the author of Vyaktiviveka, has criticized Kuntaka and the concept of vakrokti in some respects. All these references have helped to fix his date. The title rājānaka which meant ‘almost a king’ was given to Kuntaka just as it was given to the other Kashmirian poets like Ānandhavardhana and Mahimabhaṭṭa. This makes it clear that Kuntaka is also a Kashmirian.

There is a controversy about the dates of Kuntaka and Abhinavagupta, the author of the commentaries named Locana on Dhvanyāloka of Ānandhavardhana and the Abhinavabhāratī on Nāṭyśāstra of Bharata. In his text, The history of Sanskrit Poetics, P.V. Kane quotes the opinion of some scholars like Dr.P.C. Lahiri and Dr. Mookerjee that Abhinavagupta is indebted to Kuntaka. Kane supports the arguments of Dr.V. Raghavan and Dr. Sankaran that there is no adequate information to support the indebtedness of Abhinavagupta to Kuntaka.[1] Though there has been no exact solution for the problem of fixing their dates, it is interesting to note that there are numerous parallel passages in their works. Unfortunately, they did not mention each other in their works. This, in fact, points to the assumption that most probably they were contemporaries.

Footnotes and references:


P.V Kane, History of Sanskrit poetics, p.p.235-236.

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