Satirical works of Kshemendra (study)

by Arpana Devi | 2017 | 60,954 words

This page relates ‘Conclusion’ part of the study on the Satirical works of Kshemendra: an 11th century poet from Kashmir, who composed three satirical works. Kshemendra himself says that in composing the satirical works his only motive is to reform the mindset of the people.—He exposes all the vices and follies prevailing in the society with the intention to reform it.

Chapter 6 - Conclusion

In Sanskrit literature, satire as a literary form is not common. Sanskrit compositions in which vices and follies are criticized or ridiculed are not much available in Sanskrit literature. It was Kṣemendra, an eminent scholar of Kashmir who utilized satire as an effective weapon to expose vices and follies prevailing in the society. He is such an unusual literary figure who enriched the Sanskrit literature with his numerous works on variety of subjects. But, his contribution to the Sanskrit literature as a satirist is remarkable. His satirical compositions namely the Kalāvilāsa, the Deśopadeśa and the Narmamālā depict a real picture of the society and such narratives are not so much in volume and character in regard to most of the writers of Sanskrit literature. The works reflect a degenerate society, where corruption and wickedness of all type are present. In Sanskrit, indeed there are vigorous writers, who are gifted in respect of Śṛṅgāra and other literary sentiments and possess keen observation of life. But unlike Kṣemendra there is none in portraying the reality of life using satire. In the works, he brings out all the shortcomings or loopholes of the society and then he ridicules them. He brings into light all the frailties not to criticize but to make people conscious of all their shortcomings.

Kṣemendra’s satirical writings can pinch the readers but sweetly. He also gives constructive suggestions for the development of social and moral values in the society. He prefers humour rather than the satirical or sarcastic language in instructing values to the youths. Therefore, he is not a writer for the scholars only but for the common people also.

The first chapter

The present study is divided into six chapters. In the first chapter, at the very beginning, the meaning of satire has been discussed. It is not easy to put a satisfactory definition of satire. Actually, there exists no universally accepted definition of satire. Generally, satire is used in ridiculing or exposing vices and follies. Satire also exposes barrenness of values. It is a special type of composition of which the motive is to arouse disdain, fun and abhorrence at what is unbecoming and ridiculous. Satire is a commonly used literary form in almost all literature and it may exist anywhere in literature incidentally or as a whole. After that, the purpose of satire has been briefly discussed. Satire arises with specific purpose. All writers who have made use of satire have clearly expressed the purpose. A good satire is always curative, its purpose is not only to reproach. The opinions of different scholars like Samuel Butler, G.K. Chesterson, Dryden, James Sutherland etc. have been mentioned in this regard. It is the opinion of the scholars that the main purpose of all satirist is to moralize. The function of the satirist is the next topic of discussion. A satirist can be called a great social worker. A satirist’s main function is not only to ridicule the vices and follies but also to correct all such frailties. He can teach people how to live a value based life. He is a true satirist, who follows all the responsibilities to protect the society from all kinds of wickedness. In this regard, different opinions of the scholars have been enumerated. The next topic of discussion is the origin of satire. It is claimed that originally the Greek poets were involved in writing the actual satirical works. On the other hand, it is also said that the Romans invented the satire as a literary form. However, both the Greeks and the Romans formalized the use of satire in one form or another. Roman satire tended to be presented as poetry whilst Greek satire would be presented in plays and performance. Then, a discussion has been made on the distinction between satire, humour and wit. Satire, humour and wit are often used to mean different literary species. Like humour and wit, satire is also an intellectual activity and arouses laughter. But, satire is different from both humour and wit. Herein, in this regard, several points are enumerated. Next, a discussion on the synonymous word(s) in Sanskrit for satire has been made. It is observed that, in Sanskrit literature, a particular word for English ‘satire’ is wanting. Most probably, the reason is that satire as a separate type of literature is neither mentioned in the rhetorics nor in the history of Sanskrit literature. Therefore, exact synonym for English ‘satire’ is not available in Sanskrit literature. Neither Kṣemendra nor any other poet is also using a particular word for satire. But, after going through a number of dictionaries of Sanskrit, it is found that the word upahāsa is more applicable as a synonym for English ‘satire’ than the word parihāsa. Thereafter, a brief note on the prominent satirical works of Sanskrit, English and Assamese has been presented. In Sanskrit pure satirical writing is not much in quantity. Generally, what is understood by the word ‘satire’ such as caricature, ridicule, skit etc.; all these were totally absent from the purport of Sanskrit literary compositions. Ancient literature was based on devotional themes narrating the doings of divine or semi-divine personages. Hence, there was little scope for depicting humour and satire on the part of the poet. Most of the Sanskrit literature is based on the theme of love story of kings and queens and lacks in depicting the common life of people. Therefore, there is hardly any scope for satire. It was Kṣemendra who utilized satire as an effective weapon to expose vices and follies prevailing in the society. In his works namely the Kalāvilāsa, the Narmamālā, the Deśopadeśa, he depicts a real picture of the society. In Sanskrit literature, there is no other work like Kṣemendra having amusing social picture. However, if one is pinning down to a beginning of Sanskrit satire then some earliest datable bhāṇa works like Padmapābhṛtaka, Ubhayābhicārikā, Dvs, Pādatāḍitaka may be helpful in which satire is incidentally introduced. These bhāṇa works prove ideal for Sanskrit satire. Besides these bhāṇa works, there are some other Sanskrit works in which satire is incidentally introduced. While discussing prominent satirical works of Sanskrit, the works prior to or contempories of Kṣemendra have been discussed. These are as follows-Padmapābhṛtakam of Śūdraka, Ubhayābhicārikā of Vararuci, Dhūrtaviṭasaṃvādam of Īśvaradatta, Pādatāḍitakam of Śyāmilaka, Kuṭṭanīmatam of Dāmodaragupta, Bhagavadajjukam of king Mahendravarman, Mattavilāsam of king Mahendravarman, Mṛcchakaṭikam of Śūdraka, Daśakumāracaritam of Daṇḍin, Pañcatantram of Viṣṇuśarmā, Bhallaṭaśatakam of Bhallaṭa, Prabodhacandrodayam of Śrīkṛṣṇamiśra. In Assamese literature, satire was properly developed in the hand of renowned author Hemchandra Barua.

He is known as the ‘father of Assamese satire’. Among the medieval Assamese literature, however, satirical elements are observed on and off in the compositions of Sankardeva. In the Harichandra Upākhyāna, the Kathāgurucarita etc. satiric tendency is observed. A discussion has been made on some prominent satirical works of Assamese literature. These are as follows-Rāmnavamī of Gunabhiram Barua, Kāniyā Kīrtan and Bāhire Rong Chong Bhitare Kowābhāturī of Hemchandra Barua, Gaonboorā and Bhut Ne Bhram of Padmanath Gohain Baruah, Rahgharā and Bahurupī of Dandinath Kalita, Ranjan of Chandradhar Barua, Sadānandar Kalāghumati of Lambodar Bora, Kṛpābor Baruar Kākator Topolā, Kṛpābar Baruar Obhatani, Kṛpābor Baruar Burburaṇi and Kṛpābor Baruar Bulani of Lakshminath Bezbaroa. Satire as a form of literature is occupying an important position in English literature. Throughout all the phases of literary creativity, English literature can rightly boast of a vast treasury of satirical works. However, critics are of the opinion that during the period of two centuries, namely the 17th and 18th, satirical literature reached its height and as such this period is often said to be the ‘golden age’ of satire in English. A discussion has been made on some prominent satirical works of English literature. These are as follows—Hudibras, Absalom and Achitophel, The Battle of the Book, A Tale of a Tub, The Rape of the Lock, The Gulliver Travels, A Modest Proposal.

The second chapter

The second chapter of the present study deals with the life and works of Kṣemendra. Like other Sanskrit scholars the biographical account of Kṣemendra is in obscurity. Still, Kṣemendra is not completely silent in giving his bio-graphical account. In the colophons of some of his notable works, he provides information about his ancestors, educational life, date etc. Kalhaṇa’s Rājataraṅgiṇī, Somendra’s Introduction to Bauddhāvadānakalpalatā also provides some data in this regard.

The colophons of Kṣemendra’s works inform that the name of his father was Prakāśendra and the name of his grandfather was Sindhu. His forefathers enjoyed a good position in the society. Somendra, son of Kṣemendra puts more light on the genealogy of Kṣemendra’s forefather. Kṣemendra was born in the land of Kashmir. In some of his works, Kṣemendra is found showing respect and reverence for his native land. But Kṣemendra does not mention definitely anything about his place of residence. However, it may be assumed that Tripureśaśaila was his place of birth. But there is no definite evidence to prove it. Kṣemendra is silent regarding his date. Still some of his works and other external evidences help in determining his date. The date of Kṣemendra may be fixed between the last quarter of the 10th century A.D. and the end of the third quarter of the 11th century A.D. In most of his works, Kṣemendra informs about the ruling king Ananta and in the Daśāvatāracarita, he mentions the name of king Kalaśa, son and successor of king Ananta. Hence, it is clear that Kṣemendra enjoyed the rule of both the kings. But there is no clear evidence to show that Kṣemendra was ever a court-poet either under Ananta or Kalaśa. On the other hand, it is not much difficult to determine the period of his literary activity as Kṣemendra himself mentions the date of composition of some of his works. From the evidences it is proved that Kṣemendra’s literary activity span over 1037 century A.D. to 1066 century A.D. Thus, Kṣemendra’s literary career may be assigned to the second and the third quarter of the 11th CE. The works of Kṣemendra gives information that he had his education under the supervision of the best teachers of his times, like Abhinavagupta, Gaṅgaka, Ācārya Soma etc. Kṣemendra exhibits his great respect to all his teachers. He says that in order to earn scholarship, one must try his best and should always serve his teacher. The mention of lord Śiva in the works of Kṣemendra, indicates his ardent devotion to lord Śiva. His father Prakāśendra was a great admirer of Saivism. Later on, Kṣemendra becomes a Vaiṣṇava even being a son of Saivite and a disciple of Saiva philosopher namely Abhinavagupta. In the benedictory verses of many of his works, he eulogises Viṣṇu. In the Bṛhatkathāmañjarī, he himself states that he is a devotee of Nārāyaṇa. For him, one should eulogise Viṣṇu till the end of his life. It indicates that till the end of his life he was a Vaiṣṇava. However, in spite of his having his own religious inclination, Kṣemendra advises to pay homage to all the gods. Kṣemendra’s impartial and liberal mind was also greatly influenced by the Buddhist cult. Being influenced by Buddhist thoughts and ideas, he composed Bauddhāvadānakalpalatā based on Buddhism. Kṣemendra himself states that his other name is Vyāsadāsa. In most of his works he mentions himself as Vyāsadāsa. He is a brilliant writer like Vedavyāsa as is indicated by this title. In the Lokaprakāśa of Kṣemendra, it is mentioned that he was a disciple of sage Vyāsa, son of Parāśara. Most probably, Kṣemendra expresses his reverence to sage Vyāsa by naming himself with that name. However, there are different opinions regarding the other name of Kṣemendra. Some scholars identify Kṣemendra with Kṣemarāja. It was Peterson who first of all proposed identification of Kṣemarāja with Kṣemendra. Later on, he admits that he was wrong. However, from the study of their date, lineage, place of birth, religion etc., it can be concluded that both of them are two different personalities. Kṣemendra also gives importance in offering gratitude to those great poets who are ideal for him. Vyāsa and Vālmīki were the ideal poets for him and he shows his great reverence for them. Kṣemendra takes the name of Vyāsa along with Prajāpati and Brahmā.

He refers the name of Vyāsa in most of his works with great respect. In the Rāmāyaṇamañjarī, he eulogises Vālmīki-the first poet. In many of his works, Kṣemendra mentions the names of his friends and disciples. Among them some belonged to royal family. He mentions one Rāmayaśas on the request of whom he composed the Mahābhāratamañjarī and the Bṛhatkathāmañjarī In the Aucityavicāracarcā, he calls Ratnasiṃha as his friend. Somendra mentions the name of Sajjanānanda, Nakka and Sūryaśrī in this regard. Kṣemendra also mentions the name of Udayasiṃha and Lakṣmaṇāditya as his disciples. Lakṣmaṇāditya is mentioned by him as Rājaputra.

Next, a discussion has been made on the works composed by Kṣemendra. Kṣemendra is such an unusual literary figure who enriched the Sanskrit literature with his numerous works on variety of subjects. There does not seem any branch which was not illuminated by his facile pen. Not only Indian scholars but also Western scholars have recognized him as a great contributor to Sanskrit literature. Kṣemendra composed outstanding works on rhetoric, prosody, kāvya, mahākāvya etc. Many didactic and satirical works also came from his fertile pen. Until 1871, the works of Kṣemendra were not obtainable. Different works composed by him were recovered from 1871 onwards by many scholars of India and abroad. From the recoveries, it is found that Kṣemendra composed more than thirty works. It is to be mentioned that all his works are not met with in printed form. Some of them are located in manuscript and some works are known by name only. In some of his own works, he mentions the name of his unknown works, while quoting verses as an example of rhetorics and prosody. In this chapter, a list of published works of Kṣemendra has been placed on the basis of their nature. After that, a list of Kṣemendra’s unknown works are also enumerated along with the works in which it has been mentioned. Besides these works, Kṣemendra is ascribed to compose some other works also, which are mentioned here in this chapter. Thereafter, a discussion has been made on the chronological order of both the published and the works which are known only by name. It is not easy to arrange the works of Kṣemendra in a chronological order. Different scholars have divergence of opinion in this regard. However, it seems that in the first period, Kṣemendra most probably composed the poetical works and in the later period some of his didactic and satiric poems. Between the works of these two periods, it is not easy to fix the chronological order of the other works of Kṣemendra.

The third chapter

The third chapter of the present study deals with the brief discussion on the contents of the satirical works of Kṣemendra. First of all, the summary of the contents of the Kalāvilāsa are presented. The Kalāvilāsa or the Display of Arts is a satirical work of Kṣemendra having ten cantos containing 551 verses. In the work, Kṣemendra depicts a society where all kinds of trickery or deception were practised by different sections of people. In the work, the arts (kalā) which the author discloses are those that a rogue employs, those that noble one should exercise. In the work, the author also instructs that one should know all the tricks but should not apply them in their own lives. In the Kalāvilāsa, in each canto, a story is placed to illustrate his explanation and strengthen his moral judgment.

Thereafter, the summary of the contents of the Deśopadeśa are enumerated. The Deśopadeśa is another satirical work of Kṣemendra containing 300 verses in eight chapters called Upadeśas. The last two verses presumably are not from the pen of the author and might be an interpolation as is clear from their being irrelevant to the subject dealt with. The work is written in the form of Upadeśa (advice). The Deśopadeśa depicts a morally degraded society. In the work, Kṣemendra ridicules all the classes of people of the society for their wickedness and corrupt practices. The wicked, the miser, the prostitute, the student and many other scandalous characters and their immoral activities and behaviours are beautifully portrayed in a humorous way. He satires all the frailties of the people and at the same time he has the intention to correct it.

After that, the summary of the contents of the Narmamālā has been presented. The Narmamālā consists of three Parihāsas having 406 verses. In the Narmamālā, the chapters are named Parihāsa in lieu of traditional divisions of poetry. Most probably, he divides the chapter after this name for his own convenience. In the Narmamālā, Kṣemendra openly criticizes the oppression and misdeeds of the corrupt Kāyastha bureaucrats. Kṣemendra also discloses various evil practices prevailing in the society. The work also contains reformative elements. The first Parihāsa narrates the corrupt bureaucrats. The second Parihāsa gives special emphasis upon the morally degraded wife of Kāyastha bureaucrat and other wicked characters. The third Parihāsa narrates the notorious guru with his fallen disciples and ends with the tragic ending of the Kāyastha official (Gṛhakṛtyādhipati).

The fourth chapter

The fourth chapter deals with the literary study of the Kalāvilāsa, the Deśopadeśa and the Narmamālā These works of Kṣemendra are difficult to study and assess from literary perspective as is usually done in the case of conventional Sanskrit kāvyas, because, the very objective and therefore the nature of composition of these works are quite different as well as exceptional. But it does not mean that these works of Kṣemendra are wanting in literary merits. First of all, the alaṃkāra or the figures of speech has been assessed in these works. Prior to that at the very outset, a brief note has been presented on alaṃkāra. From the study, it is observed that Kṣemendra, in his satirical compositions uses simple alaṃkāras. He has not employed much alaṃkāras. The alaṃkāras used by Kṣemendra are apt to the occasion and are drawn from the sphere of daily life. The alaṃkāras used in the Kalāvilāsa, the Deśopadeśa and the Narmamālā are as follows: among the śabdālaṃkāras-Anuprāsa, Yamaka and Śleṣa are used. Again among the arthālaṃkāras-Upamā, Rūpaka, Utprekṣā, Vibhāvanā, Viśeṣokti, Ullekha and Virodhābhāsa have been employed by the author. Thereafter, a discussion on the Chandas has been made. Chandas or the metre adds charm to poetry, hiding the unappealing expressions. Chandas is an indispensable part of versified poetry. Kṣemendra shows his expertise in handling various metres in all the satirical compositions. He proves his efficiency in composing the verses with the two type of metres namely vṛtta and jāti. Almost all the verses of the Kalāvilāsa are composed in jāti metre. In the Deśopadeśa, the verses are composed in both vṛtta and jāti metre. Again, almost all the verses of the Narmamālā are composed in Anuṣṭubh metre. The vṛtta type of metres used in the works are-Anuṣṭubh, Indravajrā, Vaṃśasthavila, Vasantatilaka, Mālinī and Śārdūlavikrīḍita. The jāti type of metres are as follows-Āryā, Gīti, Upagīti and Udgīti. Then, the Kavisamayas are discussed. Kavisamaya or poetic convention is a technical term which is used to narrate certain objects and ideas in an unnatural form or manner. The Kavisamayas are, in reality, a poet’s inventions which may not be present in the real world. In the satirical works, Kṣemendra depicts a real picture of the society, therefore, conventional poetic description is not much observed in the works. Hence, Kavisamayas are not observed to be fully employed by the author. However, in some places of the works, a few example of Kavisamaya are observed. Rasa or sentiment is the next point of discussion herein. Rasa is the life par excellence of a poem. For Viśvanātha Kavirāja, without rasa, a literary piece cannot be called a poem. But, in case of satirical works, rasa, in the true sense, sometimes may not be present. In the satirical works, Kṣemendra has not chosen heroes and heroines like other traditional Sanskrit works and depicts the common people with all their frailties. Therefore, there is not met with conventional elements for producing different rasas. However, the primary object of the works appears to be to arouse humour by satirizing vices and follies prevailing in the society. Thus, in the works, humour comes out of satire and it is not the typical comic relief as is observed in Sanskrit dramas and kāvyas. In all the satirical works, different rhetorical devices are applied by the author to arouse humour.

The fifth chapter

The fifth chapter is entitled ‘Kṣemendra’s objectives of satire: concern for social and moral values’. At the very beginning of the chapter, there is presented a brief note on the concept of values. Values are undoubtedly regarded as the indispensable component for the welfare of a human society. Values help one to know the right way from the wrong one. Values are virtues, qualities and ideals on which actions and beliefs are based. If a person is truly guided by values, it will develop his personality, social morality and will also guide him to be a responsible member of the society. A value based society is always progressive and full of peace and happiness. In such an ideal society, the values like moral and social ones would be upheld and respected by the people. On the other hand, where there is crisis in values, the society itself becomes degenerative, because, if the values leave their place, vices will occupy it. Thereafter, the definition of values of different educationists and philosophers has been incorporated herein. After that, types of values have been enumerated. There are different types of values. Scholars have classified them in different ways. In general, values can be classified as moral, social, political, spiritual, religious etc. Among these values the concept of moral and social values has been briefly discussed. Moral values refer to those values which are related to an individual’s character and personality conforming to what is right and virtuous. Modesty, respect, honesty etc. may be included in moral values. On the other hand, social values refer to ‘code of conduct’ which an individual have to follow within a society. Harmony, peace, non-violence etc. are the social values. Then, the objectives of

Kṣemendra’s satire have been dealt with. In this chapter, it is attempted to study how Kṣemendra has satirized each and every immorality prevailing in the society for the uplift of social and moral values. In the Kalāvilāsa, the Deśopadeśa and the Narmamālā, Kṣemendra clearly indicates his purpose in composing his satirical works. He expresses that his only endeavour is to rescue all the classes of people from doing evil deeds. He says that in the guise of humour he wants to give some advice to the people. Kṣemendra utilizes satire as a powerful instrument against all kinds of nefarious deeds to make aware all the people of such anti-social and immoral deeds. He realizes that satire is the best way to make people ashamed of which helps in eradicating vices and follies. Thus, the only objective in composing satirical works is to moralize the society and the life around him, as Kṣemendra believes that without social and moral values, a society cannot be termed as good. Kṣemendra wants to raise the society from the degraded state by revealing social truth. Next, it is discussed how Kṣemendra has satirized all the wickedness prevailing in the society to make the masses conscious. To moralize and upgrade all classes of people from the top position to the lowest common man, he criticizes and mocks people belonging to different fields. He also brings in to focus various ways of scoundrel to deceive innocent people. Next, an overview of the previous discussion has been presented herein. This section reflects different social evils prevailing in the society and lack of morality of the people. The discussion indicates the degradation of values in the society. Thereafter, a discussion on Kṣemendra’s observations has been presented here. Kṣemendra condemns all kinds of vices as diseases. He condemns lust, greed, wickedness, arrogance, hypocrisy as the root cause of all evils. He also condemns gambling, drinking wine and womanizing as the worst intoxicants. Further, he warns all to protect themselves from different swindlers. For him, fools may fall in the captivity just like a fish in the net set by fishermen. He advises that one should be aware of all evil practices but should not apply them in his or her life. He advises to follow the virtuous arts, which are practised by the noble one. According to him, one who is expert in understanding the inner sense of all the virtuous arts, may be considered to be knower of everything in real sense. For him, one who knows all the arts having the result of both good and bad and does works in accordance to it, becomes successful. Thereafter, Kṣemendra’s focal points are enumerated. Herein, Kṣemendra suggests different virtues to be followed by each individual to be a true human being. For example, in order to build a good character he suggests seven virtues like keeping good company, good conduct etc. Besides these qualities, Kṣemendra also highlights on the importance of various moral and social values to be upheld by one for the improvement of human behaviour and to make a peaceful and harmonious society. For example, for him, sympathy is the highest moral act, truth always makes one pure, absence of malice is the highest purity etc. Along with these, Kṣemendra also highlights upon the evil qualities so that one can make judgment between good and bad. For example, for him, of the sources of all heat, anger is severest; among all types of darkness, vanity is the darkest one.

Thus, the Kalāvilāsa, the Deśopadeśa and the Narmamālā are pure satirical works of Kṣemendra having moral idealism. The themes of these works are purposefully placed for making certain improvement in the society and he utilizes his calibre as a satirist, for achieving that purpose. He has depended upon some characters (persons) of different stages of life of the society, who are placed in the works as representatives of the contemporary society. Generally, satire is used to create fun; but it is more focused upon criticism of the absurdities of the society with an intention to reform it. From this point of view, it can be said that Kṣemendra fulfils all the criteria of a true satirist cum reformist. He, as a true satirist not only criticizes the vices and follies but also follows all the responsibilities to protect the society from all kinds of evils. He, in a suggestive way, instructs people to lead a value based life. The characters he depicts are still there in our midst even today and therefore, it can be said that the satirical works of Kṣemendra not only teach values to the contemporary people, but they are also relevant even today.

Another speciality of Kṣemendra’s satirical works is that the works do not have heroes and heroines like other Sanskrit works. He introduces common people like the physician, the student, the miser, the prostitute etc. He violated the existing tradition that the hero and heroine should be either super human, a semi-god or a god. His is therefore a revolutionary attempt to introduce a special type of literature. He is also not selecting the theme of all the satirical works from other sources like other conventional Sanskrit works. On the other hand, he depicts the real characters with all their frailties. He gives an interesting and realistic picture of the society.

Kṣemendra’s works are not story based, these can be called character based ones. In the works, to moralize and upgrade all classes of people from the top position to the lowest common man, he criticizes and mocks people belonging to different fields. The works are narratives of evil practices of the people and therefore a particular story is not created.

It is believed that satire is best suited to prose, but Kṣemendra applies the more difficult medium of versified poetry. In the works, Kṣemendra describes the ways of the prostitute, different wicked characters, and sexual lewdness in different places of his works. These kind of vulgar descriptions, though often create bad taste, but he depicts it elegantly.

The satirical works of Kṣemendra is difficult to study and assess from literary perspective as is usually done in the case of Sanskrit Dṛśyakāvyas and Śravyakāvyas etc. In respect of characterization, delineation of rasa and other basic components of Sanskrit kāvyas, much should not be expected in the works as in the case of other conventional

Sanskrit kāvyas, because the very objective and therefore the nature of composition of these works are quite different as well as exceptional. However, a few alaṃkāras are found to be employed in these works. Conventional description in the works is not much observed. Therefore, the poetic convention employed in the works is also a few in numbers. In Sanskrit literature, satire as a separate literary form or genre does not find its position. As a result the criteria of this type of works are not available in rhetorics and hence there is no prescription regarding rasa to be employed in this type of works. Though the nature of content does not allow for the accommodation of rasa like other Sanskrit Kāvyas, yet it does not mean that these works are not kāvya. This type of kāvya contains a flavour of scriptures (śāstra), since the objective of such composition is to impart some kind of ethical or moral lessons to the reader in an indirect way.

Hence, it will not be improper to accept the inclusion of these satirical works into a special class of kāvya, while considering the comment of Daṇḍin that even the absence of a few elements; a kāvya can be considered as belonging to a particular genre—

nyūnamapyatra yaiḥ kaiścidaṅgaiḥ kāvyaṃ na duṣyati/
yadyupātteṣu sampattirārādhayati tadvidaḥ//[1]

In this context our observation is that from the consideration of the existence of dvani (suggestion), a Sanskrit kāvya is classified into three varieties namely Vyaṅgya, Guṇībhūtavyaṅgya and Citrakāvya. In the three satirical works of Kṣemendra, the existence of dhvani cannot be ruled out, though not in the proper conventional spirit. At the same time

Kṣemendra shows ability to an extent in playing with words, which is a requisite for Citrakāvya. However, an examination of the three satirical works leads to think that these are difficult to be placed in either of the three classes of kāvya.

In Sanskrit literature, there are many works belonging to different genres in which satirical elements are noticed but unlike the satirical works of Kṣemendra, pure satirical works are not much there. Before and after Kṣemendra, satire as a separate branch of literature is not found taken seriously by any other writer. Later on, different works containing wit and humour are composed, but unlike Kṣemendra’s satirical works having a real picture of the society are not met with in the history of Sanskrit literature. It is not improper to say that in the hands of Kṣemendra satire is fully blossomed. However, it is rather lamentable that after Kṣemendra, the tradition of satire is never developed properly in Sanskrit literature. Hence, Kṣemendra occupies an unrivalled place as one of the greatest satirists in the history of Sanskrit literature.

Footnotes and references:


Kāvyādarśa I.20

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