Kavyadarsa (Bharatheeya Kavyasastra: Part III)
- V S Bhaskara Panicker
C/o e-mail: jayraj@darpana.com


June 24, 2006

(This is the third part of the research paper that Mr. V S Bhaskara Panicker would like to share with narthaki readers)

KAVYADARSA
Dandi (600 - 750AD)
After Natyasasthra, KAVYADARSA is the earliest composition available on Kavyasasthra. The interval is pretty long, extending to about seven centuries. This does not mean that no effort had been made by anybody in the field of study of Kavyasasthra. Lollada and Sankuka who wrote commentaries on Natyasasthra belonged to this period. Rama Varma, a scholar and poet also lived during this period. But no original work on the subject has been traced so far. The first one available is Dandi's Kavyadarsa. The ancestors of Dandi came down from Punjab and settled in Nasik. Dandi was born in Kancheepuram where his father had finally settled. Thus Dandi is considered as a Dakshinathya. He was an erudite scholar, poet and multi-linguist. Apart from Kavyadarsa, the Gadyakavya, Dasakumaracharitha and Avanthi Sundarikatha and the Sargabandha Kavya, Dwisanghana Kavya are his works. A multi-linguist, he has written books in Sinhalese, Kannada and Tamil.

Kavya Sareera
Kavya is the combination of words denoting profound meanings. It is on account of the blessings bestowed by the words stipulated by the learned men of yore, that social interaction has become possible. The world would have been in utter darkness if the light of the words did not exist. Properly used words (Vani-Gou) is Kamadhenu fulfilling your wants, and the profane ones indicate the bull character of the user.

Kavya Roopabheda
Kavyas are of three types - Gadya, Padya, and Misra. Poetry has two divisions - Vritha and Jathi.

Mahakavya
Mahakavyas are divided into Sargas. It opens with invocation to God (deva) or Guru or with an indication of the subject matter dealt with.

Composition and structure
  1. The story should be based on Ithihasas, or if otherwise an imaginary one, it should be suitable to taste.
  2. It should explain the aspects of Purusharthas.
  3. The hero should be courageous and noble.
  4. It should contain beautiful description of cities, oceans, sunrise, moonshine, ardent play of lovers, sportive water plays, drinking, love plays, marriage, child-birth, political intrigues, triumphant journeys, battles, victory to the hero etc.
  5. It should not be too brief.
  6. Rasa and Bhava should be elaborated.
  7. Composed in beautiful Vrithas.
  8. Attractive for Sahridays.
  9. Intermixed with graceful Alankaras.
  10. The qualities of the heroes and villains should be explained in detail to bring out the superiority of the former.
Gadya Kavya
  1. AKHYAYIKAS - LIFE STORIES: Gadya is the collection of words without the restrictions of Padas and Vritha (Gana/Mathra) arrangements. It has two divisions - Akhyayika and Katha. Akhyayikas are in first person as related by the hero. Katha is in third person as told by the hero or a third person.
  2. MISRA KAVYA: Natake comes under this category. Champu is another type of Misra Kavya.
  3. The language may be Sanskrit, Prakrit, Apabhramsa, or Misra. Sanskrit includes Thadbhava, Thadsama, or Desi. Those in Sanskrit are called Sargabandha, when in Prakrit, Skandhaka, and in Apabhramsa, Osara.
  4. VINIYOGA- PRESENTATION:
    1. Drisyakavya: When Drisyakavyas are presented on stage, the following dance forms are added: a) Lasya: Sringara based Nrithya by ladies. b) Schalitha: Male dance with Sringara and Veera: c) Sallya: Dance with hands on the head.
    2. Sravya Kavya.
  5. MARGA - RITHI:
    1. Vaidarbha: The style possessing the ten Gunas namely Slashah, Prasada, Samata, Madhurya, Sukumaratha, Ardhavyakthi, Udarata, Ojass, Kanthi and Samadhi.
    2. Gaudeeya: Those which are bereft of the prescribed characteristics for Vaidarbha.
Guna Lakshana
  1. Slesha: Light sounding Varnas are used in abundance. This avoids Sidhila Dosha.
  2. Prasada: The meaning of the words used should be direct and well known.
  3. Samatha: Construction should be facile and well balanced.
  4. Madhurya: The language should generally be enjoyable, that it should be Rasa based.
  5. Sukumara: Consonants which are pleasing to the ear should be used without reserve. There is no harm in using hard ones occasionally.
  6. Arthavyakthi: The style should be such that Arthas are interconnected, one unfolding another (Niyatha).
  7. Udaratha: The Vakya should instill a great and profound thought or message.
  8. Ojaguna: Long combination of words with Samasa is the life force of the prose.
  9. Kanthi: Use of well known and commonly accepted words would be pleasing to the reader.
  10. Samadhi: It is superimposing the Dharma of one object on another. It is the predominant principle in Kavya, and best used in verse making.
Alankaras
  1. SWABHAVOKTHI: An object may assume different shapes when placed in varied circumstances. The Alankara used to express these qualitative changes in the true form is Swabhavokthi. It is also called Jathi.
  2. When two objects assume similarity in their projected form, their comparison is Upama.
  3. ROOPAKA: When similarity between two objects leads to a sense of identity, it is Roopaka.
  4. ARTHANTHARANYASA: After establishing a meaning in the direct process, for its confirmation an extraneous object or principle is alluded in this Alankara.
  5. ATHISAYOKTHI: Presenting an object in over colourful fashion, using uncommon terminology with a view to glorify it is Athisayokthi.
  6. PREYAS: Describing an object in a pleasing manner is Preyas.
  7. RASAVAD: While describing an object, if Rasa aspect comes to play, the Alankara is Rasavad.
  8. OORJASWI: Projecting the inner qualities through indirect means is Oorjaswi.
  9. UDARATHA: The unworldly superiority of an idea or a special attribute when described is Udatha.
  10. SESHA: Vakrokthi which adds to the grace of objects and Alankara is Sesha (as opposed to Swabhavokthi).
Kavya Dosha
  1. Apartha: That without a common meaning is Apartha.
  2. Vyartha: That which contradicts what is already stated.
  3. Ekartha: Repetition
  4. Samsaya: Equivocal
  5. Apakrama: Without proper arrangement.
  6. Sabdaheena: without sound culture.
  7. Yathibhrashta: Ignoring Vritha and Yathi.
  8. Bhinnavritha: Non observance of the rules of Vritha.
  9. Visandhika: Non observance of the rules of conjunctions (Sandhi) in compound words.
Inborn imaginative intelligence (Prathibha), extensive and unstinted studies and hard endeavour, all these together contribute to Kavyasidhi. Even in the absence of inborn Prathibha, hard work and consistent perseverance would definitely contribute to some achievement.


V S Bhaskara Panicker has been an ardent writer since childhood, writing mainly in Malayalam language. Some of his literary expulsions have seen light and many are still left unpublished. He is 77 years old and still continuing his passion. In June/July 2004, when he visited his son in Gujarat, he typed out his research paper on Bharatheeya Kavyasastra.