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

July 17, 2006

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

Bhamaha (750 - 850 AD)
Following Dandi, it was Bhamaha who had made valuable contribution in the field of poetic studies. He was well known among the Acharyas of the time and he lived in the North. He was also acquainted with the studies of the contemporary Acharyas, say, Medhavi, Rama Varma, Asmakavamsan, Rathnaharana, and Dandi.

Except Kavyalankara, no other composition by him is available. Raghava Bhattan, his Tika on Abhinjana Sakunthalam has referred to his works on Chandasastha and Alankara Sasthra. Prakrithamanorama, a Tika by him on Vararuchi's Prakrithiprakasa is available.

Kavya Lakshana
Kavya is Sabda and Artha combined. Gadya and Padya are its two divisions. Kavyas were composed in Sanskrit, Prakrith and Apabhramsa

Kavyas are of four types:-
1) Explaining in a graceful manner the stories of Devas and other noble people.
2) Describing a particular idea or object conceived through imagination.
3) Critical study of art and
4) Such study of Sasthras.

From the point of view of structure there are five divisions: 1) Sargabandha 2) Abhinayavasthu (natake) 3) Akhyayika (life stories) 4) tales and 5) Anibadha (Mukthaka)

Kavya Prayojana (Purpose)
With the composition of a good Kavya, one becomes well versed in the Purusharthas as also in art forms. One gets both pleasure and reputation.

These are divided into Sargas and are elaborate. Noble subjects are dealt with in Mahakavyas. Refined words, graceful meanings with Alankaras around a profound story content are the main features of Mahakavyas.

Manthra (state matters), Doothaprayana (emissaries-relation with other states), battles, prosperity of heroes, the five Sandhis are the inevitable factors. It should be comprehensible without detailed explanation, as also profound in all aspects.

Though it deals with all Purusharthas, Artha should be given prominence. Worldly matters should be depicted. All Rasas should be brought out separately.

Stress should be given on the prominence of the heroes, describing his noble birth, prowess, training in Sasthras etc. On the stage he should never be shown as having been killed. His initial glorification would become meaningless if his presence is not made felt throughout the body of the Kavya.

NATAKA: Narrations should be interposed with instances suitable for being enacted on the stage. This includes Dwipadi, Sammya, Rasaka, Skandhaka.

AKHYAYIKA: For Akhyayika, the process of construction is easy. It is in prose. The Sabda, Artha and Pada are more attuned to be heard (Sravya) in contra distinction to Drisia. It should have a story base. The hero describes his life and life activities.

KATHA: Katha is the poet's own making. The theme may be abduction, battle or separation. Sanskrit and Apabhamsa are used. The story is told in the third person.

GADHA: Compositions not solely consisting of Slokas is Gatha. Vakrokthi and Swabhavokthi are used.

TRAINING IN KAVYA: A person who desires to write Kavya should bestow attention to Sabda and its technical meaning. He should also be conversant with Ithihasa stories, common man's life aspects, branches of learning like logic (nyaya) and arts. Having acquired this basic knowledge, he should live in the company of scholars who are well versed in these faculties, and learn thoroughly what they have written on the subjects and then engage themselves in writing the work.

SIKSHA: Words featuring Dosha should be avoided. Inappropriate usages should also be kept away. Words which carry technical meanings in other branches of learning should not be used in a general way. Words which are well arranged and offer pleasure alone should be used. The beauty of hidden meanings (Abhi Vyanjana) i.e. more attractive than Alankara.

ALANKARA: Alankaras are absolutely necessary, in the same manner as ornaments for a girl. The argument that Sabdalankara is more important than Arthalankara is not correct. Both are of equal importance.

VAIDARBHA AND GOUDEEYA: Some hold the view that Vaidarbhi is superior to Goudeeya. This is not correct. Both are beautiful in the context in which they are used effectively.

In Vaidarbhi, the meaning would not be fully developed. If Vakrokthi is avoided, Prasada Guna would be in abundance. The language would be simple and graceful. Like a song it would be pleasing for the ears.

Goudi is rich in Alankaras, bereft of Gramyadosha, forceful and throbbing with meaning. Vaidarbhi also possesses the same features and actually there is no difference between the two from the angle of perception and force.

DOSHAS: Meanings brought out with effort, difficult meanings, different meanings, unexpected ones, inappropriate and obtuse meanings are the main Doshas.

VAG DOSHA: Sruthidushta, Arthadushta, Kalpanadushta, and Sruthikashta are the four Vag Doshas.

OTHER DOSHAS: Meanings that cannot be drawn out, meaning less, singular meanings (Ekartha), doubtful meanings, improper arrangement of words, Yathibhrishta, Vrithabhanga, Visandhi, opposed to local usage, out of time, non-assertive, purposeless, devoid of example (Drishtanthaheena)

KAVYA GUNA: Long Samasas should be avoided, especially in Drishykavya.

VAKROKTHI: is the stress on meaning and Alankara for Sabda.

ATHISAYOKTHI AND VAKROKTHI: Any statement for any reason that transgresses normal limits is Athisayokthi. This is also Vakrokthi. The meaning becomes graceful by its presence. The poet should try to achieve this. Kavya is not mere statement of facts.

How Doshas are transformed into Guna
1. When placed in certain meaningful contexts, a bad statement would look beautiful.
2. An inappropriate word would become meaningful in certain suitable places (eg. Black dye in the girl's eye)

KAVYA PRASAMSA: Without poetry, eloquence is not possible. Kavya flows out from the talented ones only. Even after death, one's poetic profile would remain for ever.

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.