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


September 22, 2006

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

Dhwanyaloka

Anandavardhana (840 - 890 AD)
After Rudrata, Anandavardhana is the prominent scholar in the history of Kavyasasthra. His Dhwany Sidhantha stands as a turning point in Kavya studies. His name appears in Rajatharangini.

He has written five books, namely, Vishamabanaleela, Arjunacharitha, Devisathaka, Thathualoka and Dhwanyaloka.

Dhwanikavya
Word represents a meaning (artha). Artha has its own subtle aspects. Artha represents something wholesome, or rather connotes something beyond Sabda and Artha, and the perception behind are made irrelevant by the innermost qualitative impression that the mind records. This palpable impression that the mind conceives is Dhwany.

Here the concept of meaning has two aspects. Firstly, the subtle meaning of what is spoken about (Vachya). Secondly the meaning of what is said (Vachaka), which is inherent and to be inferred. When the latter (Vachaka) truly exposes the former (Vachya) Dhwanikavya is produced.

Vachyartha and Pratheeyamana Artha
The meaning that is considered as the soul of Kavya, on subtle analysis would contain two layers. 1) Its direct meaning (Vachyartha). 2) A meaning, which is more subtle and conceived in a suggestive form. This is the Pratheeyamana Artha. The word ‘man' superficially speaking represents the body, its grace and the faculties discernable in its totality, which we call personality. But he has got a soul which is the real man. But the soul aspect can be conceived as a suggestive. This is Pratheeyamana.

In Kavya Vachyartha the meaning is explained and established with the help of Alankaras. It is the first hand knowledge elaborated through Alankara, Guna, Rithi etc. But Pratheeyamana is the essential impression in its totality. The poet may describe beautifully the eyes, nose, etc. of a girl applying Alankaras. But the real Lavanya and its conception in totality is different and it is a mind-experience.

Dhwanyswaroopa
That particular word which acts as a pointer and gives suggestive indication of the beautiful, which cannot be fully expressed by any other word alone, is worthy to be called Dhwany. This Pratheeyamana Rasa (suggestive) is the soul of Kavya. It was on account of this Pratheeyamana Soka that the wailings of the separated pigeon culminated in the evoking of poetic as Sloka from Valmiki. The core essence of the beautiful Kavya that is expressed through the multitude of Sabda, Artha and construction is nothing but the Pratheeyamana Rasa. The wailing of the pigeon evoked Soka (Sthayeebhava) in Valmiki, which was transformed into Karuna Rasa which forced its outlet through the Sloka. Thus from Soka, Slokathua was generated. Here the dead pigeon was Alamba, its blood stained body Uddeepana, its wailing Anubhava and the culmination was the evocation of the Sthayeebhava Soka.

The poet's duty is to co-relate what is spoken about (Vachya) with what is spoken (Vachaka) looking into the suitability of Rasa. Vachya is the theme (Kathavasthu or Kathithavasthu). The Vachaka pertains to the Sabda which truly represents it. The combination of these two should be done in such a way, adopting the means that the poet thinks suitable, that it generates Rasa. He has to construct words and meanings appropriate to achieve this. The narration by the poet with suffusing meanings drifting into the precincts of aesthetic experience, would show his transcendentally phenomenal imaginative faculties. This being the essential truth, in the world of word play there are only five or six poets of the status of Kalidasa. The poet should therefore endeavour to discriminate this Pratheeyamana (suggestive) meaning as also the word and word combinations potential enough to elucidate Vachyartha in this sense. Nothing is achieved by mere combination of words. The ideal Kavya is therefore Dhwanikavya. The soul of Kavya is this force (Dhwany) which produces Rasa.

Dhwany Sthapana
Learned ones describe Dhwany as the soul of Kavya. But a few repudiate it as an Abhava. A few others consider it as Bhaktha, Gouna, Lakshanagamya. Still others hold the view that it is abstruse and beyond comprehension. A critical study is therefore needed on these aspects.
  1. Those who deny the very presence of Dhwany may say that the body of Kavya is word/meaning combination. This is undisputedly correct. The beauty of Vagartha is two-fold in essence, the first being Swaroopagatha, (beauty of its external aspects) and the second Sanghatanagatha (beauty in the construction). Swaroopagatha is the beauty of Sabdalankara (Anuprasa etc). Arthagatha is the beauty of the Alankaras. The beauty of construction is mainly Guna (Mathurya etc) Rithi (Vaidarbhi etc) and Vrithi (Upanagarika etc) as established by Udbhata and others. Here Dhwany does not come to picture at all.
  2. The second type of Abhava Vadins may argue thus:- There is no such attribute as Dhwany. We have a long and well established tradition in poetics. If we accept Dhwany which is opposed to traditional concepts, it is a negation of the age old system. The true Kavyalakshana is the appropriate blending of word (Sabda) and meaning (Artha). It cannot be denied that this combination gives aesthetic pleasure to the reader. In such circumstances, how can Dhwany which is opposed to these concepts be accepted?
  3. A new concept as Dhwany is impossible. It is Alankara and Guna that add beauty to Kavya. There is no scope for a separate factor as Dhwany, in so far as it does not contribute anything new to the beauty concept.
  4. Bhakthivada: They argue that Dhwany is involved in Gunavrithi, and there is no scope for a separate Siddhantha on this: Bhakthi means Lakshana (transferred sense). Apart from the primary meaning (Mukhyartha) a word may possess another import. This process of superimposition or accrual by usage another import is Lakshana, otherwise known as Bhakthi. This assuming of another meaning happens on account of the following reasons. 1) Abhidha-direct meaning 2) Proximity (Sameepyadi Sambandha, 3) Utility (Prayojana). When Dhwany is described as Gunavrithi, it naturally comes under any of these three aspects. Acharyas have not defined it as Dhwany though they had touched upon Vyangya (indirect meaning) to express Guna aspect of the word.
Dhwany is not Vachya

Vasthudhwany
Anandavardhana starts contradicting the counter arguments. The Vachyavasthu (objects presented), Alamkara and Rasa can be presented in varied forms by the proficient use of Pratheeyamana. This Pratheeyamana Vachya will be different from normal Vachya to represent the object. Vachya may appear in a positive sense. But the suggestive meaning would be negative.

Ex 1: The fierce lion in the forest has killed the worrying dog. You may go straight. The direction to go is fraught with danger because though the dog is killed the more dangerous lion is there. Here Vachya is positive, but the suggestion is negative.

Ex. 2: For Vachya being in the negative, but suggestive meaning in the positive: "The mother-in-law sleeps there and I am here on the cot. In the dark, don't stumble against my cot."

Bhakthi is not Dhwany
The essence of Vyanjana is not the meaning of what is spoken about (Vachya). But this Vachya is the frame work for expressing the Vyangya. This is Dhwany. But Bhakthi is only a formal statement of expression without any suggestive connotation.

Use of Lakshana does not indicate Dhwany. As this is employed even in such contexts where there is any scope for Dhwany, it suffers Athivyapthi (over pervasive) dosha. Even in such contexts when Vyangya does not add to beauty, poets used Lakshana in a secondary sense of importance (Gouni) to cover up the inadequacy with flourishes.

Lakshanartha may either be Roodhi (accepted other meanings) or Prayojanavath (meaning accrued due to utility). For Roodhi aspect, the word Lavanya is examined. Lavanya - salty - beauty. Saltishness has no Vyangya aspect of beauty and it is not Dhwany. In the statement Gangayam Khosa, the word Ganga only conveys the meaning river bank, through Lakshana and nothing else. The other aspects of the word Ganga are to be inferred through Vyanjana (Dhwany). It is therefore evident that Lakshana / Bhakthi with or without Vyangya is different from Dhwany.

Dhwany classifications
These are of two types; Avivakshitha Vachya, Vivakshithanypara Vachya:

1. Avivakshitha Vachya:

Ex: Suvarna Pushpam Prithwim - Chinvanthi Purushasthraya
Soorascha Krithavidyascha - Yascha Janathi Sevithum

Here construction appears to be abstruse, as gold is not flower, nor earth a twig and the collection of these two is impossible. Through Lakshana the meaning “achieve prosperity through wealth amassed with ease” is deduced. The use of Lakshana is to indicate efforts of the brave, Krithavidya and Sevaka, that is expressed not through words (Vachya) but by Dhwany.

2. Vivakshithanypara Vachya:

Ex: “From where the parrots that eats the bimba, which better compares to the face,

Here the literal sense is meant, but a deeper suggestion is indicated in Vyangya.

In Avivakshitha Vachya there are two divisions;
    1. Where Vachya of the Dhwany is Arthanthara Samremith, ie. Pervading fully the meaning, or

    2. Totally rejecting the meaning.
But in both cases, Vyangya is qualitatively explicit.

The second division, Vivakshithanypara Vachya has also got two main sub divisions. Viz. 1) Asamlakshya Krama 2) Samlakshya Krama. Here the intended Vachya is represented by Abhidha and Dhwany with equal force. Abhidheya sense depends upon Abhdha Sakthi, and Dhwany on Vyanjana force. The simultaneous presence of both makes Abhidheya extraneous. The meaning of the intended Abhidheya (Vachya in Abhidha sense) transforms into something other than the intended sense and it evolves as Dhwany. In the former case (Asamlakshya Krama) the perception maybe instantaneous in regard to the suggestion of Rasa. In the second one (Samlakshya Krama) it becomes perceptible due to the process in Dhwany of Vasthu and Alankara. For Asamlakshya Krama, there are eight sub heads. Viz. Rasa, Rasabhasa, Bhava, Bhavabhasa, Bhavaprasama, Bhavodaya, Bhavasandhi and Bhavasabalatha.

Further where Sabda, (Vachaka) Artha (Vachya) and Alankara suggest Rasa, these become the ingredients for Rasa.

Guna and Alankara
Rasa is the Angi aspect (essential). The other ingredients like Mathurya etc, are attributes (guna) of the Angi. These attributes are Angas, and the Sabdartha which attributes to the Anga are Alankaras.

Expression of Rasa in Mahakavya
Sargabandhas are expected to be Rasa-based, and as such Ouchitya should be maintained to make it rasa-oriented. It cannot be denied that there are also Mahakavyas resorting to mere story telling. These are mere Kamachara. Mahakavyas giving prominence to Rasa are definitely superior. Full efforts should be made to make Natakas rasa-oriented.

Kathas and Akhyayikas are mostly in prose. Ouchithya appropriate for the generation of Rasa should be maintained in its construction. Propriety in regard to Vachaka and Vachya is the rule for good construction. This is equally applicable to prose also. If devoid of Rasa, prose would also become degraded and remain mere Kamachara. In prose, Samasa would sometimes be long and at other times of medium length. Construction with hard sounding words has its own beauty, because artificiality in style has its own artistic values in certain contexts. If it is too hard, propriety (Ouchithya) in Rasa aspect should always be kept in mind. The long Samas are not suitable in Karuna and Vipralamba. In Nataka, long Samsokthi should be avoided.

Prabandha Vyanjakatha
Principles to be followed when compiling Prabandhas based on Ithihasas are outlined below:-

1. The Ithihasic story context should be reproduced in the prescribed order of Vibhava, Anubhava, Sanchari aspects (Mere narration is not Kavya, it is Kamachara).

2. Though based on Ithihasas, in case a particular context is found to be opposed to the appropriate Rasa required, make imaginative innovations and save the story.

3. Compose Sandhi with the pure intention of expressing Rasa and not merely to satisfy technical requirements as prescribed in Sasthras.

4. When the purpose of Angarasa is fulfilled, follow Angi Rasa.

5. Even if the scope for Alankara is splendid, restrict it to the extent required for the generation of Rasa.

It is established that Prabandha Kavya are also indicative of Rasa. The process to be followed to express Rasa should be as follows:-

Firstly by the proper use of Vibhava, Anubhava and Sanchari Bhava, a beautiful story-body is created. This is the primary step in generating Rasa.

The propriety (Ouchithya) of Vibhava is well known as has been explained by Bharatha. The propriety of Sthayeebhava depends upon the suitability of Prakrithi (human nature, divine nature etc). Prakrithi exists as superior, ordinary, inferior, divine, human assuming different forms. It should be assimilated properly by inter- mixing. The Sthayeebhava thus created would be the proper one. When human aspects are described, superhuman qualities should not come into play. Impropriety would cause Rasabhanga.
    Q. What is inappropriate when journey to Nagaloka by Sathwahana is described, as it indicates his divine capacity to control the whole world?
    A. Here also ignoring propriety is disastrous. If the hero/ heroine are of superior character, it is ludicrous to attribute to them inferior aspects of Rathi.

    Q. In Bharathvarsha (loka), Sringara has got three characteristics. Are these to be observed in stories depicting Deva life?
    A. The priority is in no way different from what is applicable to human life

    Q. In Nataka which are to be staged, Abhinaya of Sambhogasringara seems to be inappropriate. In Kavya, no Abhinaya is involved. Why not then it be described in Kavya?
    A. Description of Sambhogasringara in Kavya has also to be avoided. Sringara is not mere description of Rathi between the hero and heroine. It is also mutual love, meeting, love-making etc. These can be described, of course, keeping in view propriety. Strictly observing the dictum laid down by Bharatha, and following the methodology of great poets of lore, not deviating from the propriety of Vibhavas etc. the poet may with his own talents make sincere efforts.
While selecting tales from Ithihasas, or creating stories in ones own imagination, care should be taken to ensure that such episodes are potential enough to exhibit Rasabhava, that they contain suitable Vibhavas. In handling new stories, of ones own making the poet should be doubly careful. An error on these would tell upon his proficiency. The creation of such stories should be done in such a manner that they should have scope for all Rasas. The only means for this is to observe propriety of Vibhavas etc.

But in stories like Ramayana no alteration can be made according to the whims and fancies which would lead to Rasabhanga.

Even in stories adopted from Ithihasas, in contexts where the requirements of Rasa cannot be fulfilled, there is no harm in interpolating any story by imagination or otherwise, which satisfies the requirements of Rasa. While making Kavya the poet should always be Rasa dependent.

Another factor in the process of expressing Rasa is the observance of Panchasandhi with Rasa aspect in view. The Sandhis are Mukha, Prathimukha, Garbha, Vimarsa, and Nirvahana. The connected 64 Angas are also to be used in the same manner.

Rasa should also be promoted or demoted occasionally rather than allowing them to flow in a uniform, manner. If any damage to Angi Rasa is caused, it should be restored without loss of time.

Alankaras used should have the inherent quality conducive to produce the required Rasa. Alankara for its own sake is harmful.

Anga Rasa
Rasa is aesthetic pleasure, the ultimate purpose of Kavya, actually the whole body of Kavya in a subtle sense. It is not a part. How could then it be called Anga Rasa? What differentiates Anga Rasa from Angi Rasa?

Altogether there are eight Rasas (santha is omitted here). Of these one particularly could be the main Rasa, and that permeates the Kavya as its main rasa force. But the other Rasa intermittently come and go. Its combination or juxtaposition with the Angi Rasa would not in any way affect the main one.

A Prabandha has a central story or theme running from the beginning to the end. But in the process, several other matters are dealt with according to the requirements of the contexts. But these would not in any way impair the main theme, on the other hand only supplement it. In the same manner, the other rasas which are touched upon occasionally would not mar the main (Angi Rasa). In Kavya and Nataka, the principles of Sandhi are observed. But the main theme and its force remain unaffected by such secondary aspects, though they go along with the former. In the same way, Anga Rasa would not in any way degrade the Angi Rasa.

Conflict with the two entities has two aspects, namely Sahanavastha and Vaddhyangatha. Two objects cannot co-exist in the same form and state (Sahanavastha Virodha). Another is Vaddhyakhathaka Virodha, in which on the rising up of the killer, the killed one is effaced. Where this Virodha Bhava is absent, retain the Anga-angi Bhava. For example, the Angangi Bhava between (1) Soora and Sringara, (2) Sringara and Hasya (3) Roudra and Sringara (4) Veera and Adbudha (5) Veera and Roudra (6) Sringara and Adbudha are permissible. But in the case of opposing
Rasas like Sringara and Beebhathsa, the rasa which is opposed to the main (mukhya) should not be promoted. The procedure for promotion in such cases is as follows:-

i) The promotion of the opposing Anga Rasa should be done in a moderate fashion that both should keep the balance.
ii) Refrain from introducing Vyabhicharibhavas opposed to Angi Rasa. If it happens convert Angi Rasa to Vyabhichari.
iii) After promoting the Anga Rasa, take care to demote it.

Rasabhanga Hethu
The opposing aspects of Rasa are as follows:-

i. Vibhavas which are opposed to the Rasa.
ii. Though connected to the Rasa elaborate description of objects
iii. Generation of Rasa at ill-times as also its consummation.
iv. Even after reaching the culmination point, start rekindling it.
v. Inappropriate treatment (Ouchithya Dosha)

Guneebhootha Vyangya Kavya
Another Kavyabheda is Guneebhootha Vyangya. The beauty of a statement or description (Vachya) becomes far more enhanced, when it has a hidden meaning (Vyangya). Guneebhootha Vyangya means this secondary meaning.

It has earlier been said that Vyangyartha is like the beauty of the ladies. When Vyangya assumes a secondary sense, Guneebhootha Kavya is generated. In Vachya there is a flow of words along with a flow of meanings. Along with this flow there is another flow of meaning (secondary) not represented by the corresponding meaning (Vachyartha). Here the original words used become irrelevant (thiraskritha). This is Guneebhootha Kavya, Kavya with a secondary connotation.

Ex: A lady comes to the river for a bath. It is described as follows: The lotus is swimming with the moon. The skull heads of the elephants are projected. A plantain trunk and a lotus are also seen. What is this river of beauty? The river represents the full form of the lady and her organs. The Mukhyartha (Abhidha) of the description is different and Guneebhootha is projected.

Guneebhootha is also produced when the Vyangya object is ex pressed through one's own words or actions.

Ex: Understanding the curiosity she expressed her opinion through her eyes and stopped playing of the flower in her hand.

Alankara Roopaka and Deepaka are examples of Guneebhava. The full meaning of Alankara are not understood by their simple definition. It becomes comprehensible only when used in the context of Guneebhootha Vyangya. The flow of Dhwany also makes Alankara purposeful.

The shadow of Vyanyartha makes Alankara graceful. It is indeed the main decoration for the poet's words. It makes Artha more graceful….


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.