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

August 31, 2007

(This is the seventeenth and concluding part of the research paper that Mr. V S Bhaskara Panicker shares with narthaki readers)

Jagannatha (1610 to 1670 AD)
The study of Kavyasasthra ends with Jagannatha. He was a Telugu Brahmin. He spent his youth in Shah Jahan's Durbar. Dara, the king's son took his Sanskrit lessons from Jagannatha Pandithar. He was attracted by a Yavani by name Lavangi and married her. He spent his last days in Mathura as a devotee of Krishna.

Rasa Gangadhara
Ramaneeyartha Prathipadaka Sabda Kavya
Ramaneeyartha is that by the comprehension of which as also contemplation, transcendental Ananda is derived. Here Ramaneeyartha means "subjecting oneself to that knowledge which offers unworldly Ananda." Unworldliness does not denote unworldly aspect in a small sense or of the fullest extent. Total Ananda is Brahmananda. Unworldliness means the creative aspect of Chamathara, a component part of the Ananda, which stands witness to the experience of the Sahridaya. This Chamathkara is produced by repeated perusal. Perusal is continuous conception through imagination (Bhavana). Therefore the meaning of the unworldly Ananda need not be construed as Brahmananda. The said unworldliness is different from the unworldliness in the general sense and the transcendental Brahmananda. The Vakya "a son is born to you" creates its sense in us. The repeated contemplation over that sense would create Ananda. But that Ananda is not unworldly, and for that reason the said Vakya is not Kavya. The meaning of that word, which remains as the subject of imaginative contemplation to produce Chamathkara, the word representing that meaning in Kavya. The word-state (Sabdathua), that is congruent to the said attributes, is Kavya-state (Kavyathua).

That word (or words) is Kavya, the Bhavana produced by the meaning of which is causative for the generation of Chamathkara or the Bhavana that is instrumental for the generation of Chamathkara is the subject matter of the Artha, that is the result of continuous use of Sabda or group of Sabda. In the words of the Naiyayikas, in simple way of expression, if the Chamathkara aspect is linked to Sabda, those Sabdas which are connected to the Artha in the process of usage, with Chamathkara and combined with Chamathkara or produce Chamathkara are Kavya. Here, though Chamathkara aspect is Bhavana based, it is conceived as Artha based.

Now, what do the predecessors say? "Sabda and Artha, devoid of Dosha and combined with Guna and Alankara is Kavya." The first point for consideration is whether the word Kavya was used merely for Sabda and Artha. The pair Sabda and Artha cannot be called Kavya. It is said in a general way that "Kavya is recited loudly. Heard Kavya, but did no grasp the meaning." Speaking in the ordinary sense, Kavya is a type of Sabda, and not Artha. Though it can be said that the word Kavya by Lakshana conveys a meaning, there is no authority to show that Kavya Sabda is for the pair Sabda and Artha. The author of Kavyaprakasa has also expressed the same opinion. But it is not acceptable to me. In the absence of any authority to decide that Kavya is the name for Sabda and Artha, it is evident that Sabda is Kavya.

As it is established that Kavya is special type of Sabda, it is appropriate to give a Sabda based description for Kavya, and not Sabda/Artha combined one. This approach is as good and suitable in the case of deciding the special features of Veda and Purana.

Another argument may be advanced by the followers of Mammata. "Kavya conceives Rasa." Kavya is that which offers unworldly pleasure to the Sahridaya. Sabda and Artha possess equally that power to give pleasure. Thus it is logical to conclude that the combination of Sabda and Artha is Kavya. This argument is also not correct. If that which awakens Rasa is Kavya, love is also Kavya. Dhwanykara and other Alankarikas have said that Raga suggests Rasa. If Raga is considered as Kavya, apart from Rag, other Natyangas like Nrithya, stage etc.are also treated as Kavya. This would not be admitted by any one.

The argument that Kavya means that which makes Sahridaya, Rasa conscious, and offers pleasure to him, stands contradicted, as in the case of Veda, Sasthras and Purana, Kavya is also Sabda based and not Sabdartha oriented.

Mammata has included Guna and Alankara in the definition of Kavya. This is also not correct. The Vakya "moon has risen" is without Guna and Alankara. But if it has the background of graceful suggestion, why can't it be Kavya? If the Vakya is from a lady messenger, it means, "Moon shines, the way is clear, no fear of thorns or stones, go to the rendezvous without fear." The heroine would understand this Vyangya. If the same Vakya is told by the beloved, the Vyangya would be that "How could I go to the rendezvous in the broad moonshine? If anybody notices that would cause ill-fame." In the case of the separated beloved, the Vyangya "seeing the encouraging moonshine, the pangs of my heart have increased. I will die of it," is explicit.

How can it be said that it is not Kavya? If you are not prepared to admit as Kavya, notwithstanding the grace of Chamathkara, the soul aspect, others would not evaluate as Kavya, what you explain as ‘with Chamathkara.' Further it has not so far been decided as to what exactly is Guna and Alankara, and how much of these are required in Kavya. It is also not clear as to whether these two would co-exist. Alankara contains Rasa and it also promotes it. Guna is derived from it. Observe the palpable contradictions (doshas). Both aspects "with dosha" and "without dosha" are presented simultaneously. The word ‘Kavya' is secondary in the context of ‘with dosha' and otherwise (mukhya) in the ‘without dosha' situation. What exactly is the meaning of the word ‘Kavya' in the Lakshanic way, and its roodhi (primary meaning)?

When it is said that there is a bird at the root of the tree, and not on the branch, the tree which has no connection becomes connected. (Samyogavan Vriksha Samyogi). In the same manner, it may be argued that the Kavya aspect though not connected, becomes connected when the "with dosha" and "without dosha" concepts are employed. This parallel is not applicable in the case of Kavya, because it cannot be said that the first part of a sloka is ‘dosha' and the second part Kavya. There are also other reasons to stipulate that Guna and Alankara should not be included in the Kavya aspect. Courage is the attribute of the inner spirit and Guna the nature of the Rasa (soul of Kavya). Alankaras decorate the body of Kavya like the garlands. Courage and garlands are not used for the construction of the body, and as such these (Alankara and Guna) are not useful in making the body of Kavya. These are not parts of Sabdartha, the real body of Kavya.

According to the author of Sahithya Darpana, "Kavya is that which is with Rasa." This is also not Kavya. If it is admitted, those in which description of Vasthu (theme) and Alankara primary are not Kavyas. Further the practice followed by the ancient poets for a long time would stand smashed. They have included several other factors, like flow of water, speed, fall etc in their descriptions. Are these not Kavyas? You may say that they would have some Rasa content in them. In that case, Vakyas like ‘cow goes' would be Kavya.

KAVYA KARANA: Kavya Karana is simply the imaginative intelligence (Prathibha) of the poet, that is the juxtaposition of word and meaning favourable for Kavya making. Prathibha is the timely presence of Artha and Artha required for the Kavya. It is a type of Jathi, an indivisible concept from group (from different pots, a pot concept is developed). The identity with the knowledge on the aspects of Kavya, makes Prathibha causative in Kavya making. Prathibha has got two causes 1) Blessings of God or of great men, 2) Profound knowledge and practice in Kavya construction. This is not an absolute rule, and there are exceptions.

KAVYA PRAKARA: Kavyas are of four types 1) Uthamothama (supermost) 2) Uthama (very good) 3) Good (average) and 4) Adhama (bad)

The best Kavya is that, in which the Sabda and Artha become secondary in the normal course, and a colourful meaning is suggested through Vyanjana.

When Vyangya is too subtle, or too explicit, (in both cases) it cannot be reckoned as the best, because Vyangya loses its potential to create Chamathkara. This is also applicable in the case where the Vyangya is not graceful. Aparanga (a part of another Artha), Vachyasidhanga (without which the meaning of Vachya is obtained). Such Vyangyas should be prominent both in Sabda and Artha (vachya).

UTHAMA KAVYA: The best type of Kavya is that in which the Vyangya is graceful and at the same time not important.

MADHYAMA KAVYA: Where the Chamathkara of Vachya is at par with that of Vyangya or more graceful than the Vyangya - the beauty of the Vachya is explicit and that of the Vyangya is shadowy.

ADHAMA KAVYA: Where the Chamathkara of Sabda is prominent and the Chamathkara of Artha adds grace to that of the Sabda.

DHWANYKAVYA BHEDA: It has been said that the best type of Kavya is the Dhwany Kavya. Its classifications are many, but a few are given here. The main divisions are:
1) Abhidha moolaka and 2) Lakshana moolaka.

Abhidha moolaka may be of 1)Vasthu Dhwany 2)Alankara Dhwany and 3) Rasadhwany.
The word Rasadhwany is used in the sense of Asamlakshyakrama Dhwany (where the process of apprehension is instantaneous). Thus, the word Rasadhwany includes all aspects and stages connected with the generation of Dhwany. The other is Lakshana moolaka, which has two divisions: 1) Arthanthara Samkramitha Vachya and 2) Athyantha Thiraskritha Vachya. Of these five divisions for Dhwany Kavya, Rasadhwany is the most graceful one. The soul of Rasadhwany is Rasa, which is being described here.

RASADHWANY: Opinion of Abhinava Guptha and Mammata. In social as well as family life, we have to subject ourselves to different types of emotional situations externally and internally as the circumstances demand. Our mind set undergoes changes which we call emotions. These are otherwise called Bhavas such as Soka, Karuna etc. In Kavya these are called Sthayibhavas. There are nine such stable shades of feelings, say, Rathi, Soka, Jugupsa, Krodha, Bheethi, Uthsaha, Hasa, Vismaya, and Sama. When these experiences are felt by the self, the effulgent conscious principle (Athma-Chidbhava) which in the extreme is supreme Ananda, Rasa becomes perceptible. But this subtle Athmabhava is shrouded by the gross blanket of ignorance (Avidya) until transformed into the subtle stage or got identified with it, these perceptions remain without being experienced. A transcendental process is therefore generated to remove the outer covering of ignorance. When this Anathma aspect is wiped out, the Sthayibhava gets connected with the inner Ananda. The modus operandi of the Vibhavanubhava Sanchari is for this purpose.

How these mental activities which are enjoyed as Rasa with Athmananda are generated and developed? The factor that generates them is called Alambana. When these are produced, certain Bhavas are given rise to in the body. These are the ‘effect' of the activities of the mind. Along with these prominent activities of the mind, certain other movements are also seen produced, which help to promote and develop the former. These are Uddeepana. For the Rathi in Dushyantha's mind, Sakunthala is the Alambana. The environment is favourable for the intensification of the emotion; say moonlight, flower twigs etc promote these emotions and are therefore called Uddeepana. Dushyantha sheds tears in separation. These tears are the ‘effect' of the love, and these are Anubhavas. He starts thinking about her. This is the Vyabhichari Bhava of Rathi. All these are expressed by the poet in simple and suitable words, gracefully arranged. When this (Kavya) enters the Sahriday's heart by the Shridayatha combined with the influence of the repeated pursuit of it, it loses its worldly relevance (say, Sakunthala is the wife of Dushyantha) and perceives only the cause factor namely Vibhava, Anubhava and Vyabhichari Bhavas. By the force of this unworldly perception, the peripheral covering (Ajnana) of the subtle Ananda is removed for the time being, and the Sthayibhava gets in touch with Ananda. This perception is Rasa.

This has been explained by Mammata in a different manner. When Sthayibhavas becomes clear through Vibhavas, Rasa is felt. To make clear means, the removal of the Avarana (Ajnana) and get self-illumined, subjecting itself to the inner divinity, in the same manner as a lamp covered with a cloth (ignorance) will make itself illumined as also other objects, when the covering is removed.

Sthayibhavas are the predilections of the mind, and they are called as the Saksheebhasya. All the objects of the world are illumined by the Athma, connecting them with the Anthakarana (mind). Athma is the real seer, and the predilections of the mind are illumined through the Athma. It is therefore called the Saksheebhasa. Rathi and other feelings which remain as the inherent tastes (vasana) of the mind would be illumined only through Athma Chaithanya. But Vibhavas like Sakunthala, being extraneous objects (not the Dharma of the mind.) become capable of being illumined with the Chaithanya. The mind gets perceptions in dreams, and in the conscious state also it perceives water in the mirage. These illuminations also take place through the Athma. These are not real objects but mere conceptions. Vibhavas should also be evaluated in the same manner. Such being the case, it could be argued that Rasa is also not permanent, only transitory and its inspiration would not be long-standing. It is not Rasa that comes and goes. The covering of ignorance over the knowing principle (Ananda) and its breaking through the presence of Vibhavas are incorrectly alluded to as the generation destruction of Rasa.

The enjoyment of Vibhavas continues with masticating process only. The smashing of the covering continues along with the munching. The sthayibhava is experienced only when the covering remains smashed.

The Vibhavas cast strong impressions on the Kavya sense of the Sahridaya. The mind set created through suggestions in Kavya, as also through the influence of Vibhavas, the rasa of which he has already enjoyed makes vibrations of its own of this self-enjoyment

In Savikalpa Samadhi, the mental activities of the Yogi get themselves identified with the Yogi. In that state he is not conscious of any other object. His mind experiences the Ananda as in Sthayibhva. As influenced by enjoyment through Vibhavas, he starts enjoying the Athmananda of the Sthayibhava, apart from the activities stated early. This Ananda is not akin to other worldly pleasures. Those pleasures are of the Chaithanya linked to the mind. When enjoyed, it is linked with the Vrithis of the mind and Chaithanya. But this Kavya enjoyment is not Chaithanya roopa, but Chaithanya itself. During this experience the activities of the mind would be Anandamaya, which means that the Ananda is not disturbed by the activities of the mind.

Thus on the basis of the Siddhantha of Ananda Vardhana and Mammata, Rasa is the Chaithanya combined Sthayibhava without the hindrance of ignorance.

In my opinion also Rasa is another name for Chaithanya combined with Sthayibhava, without the obstructing Avarana. Rasa may be Sthayibhava shining through Athma which is knowledge, or the knowledge that is obtained about Sthayibhava. In both cases, Rasa contains Sthayibhava and Chaithanya, no matter in one case these assume qualitative aspects and in another primary.

Remove the screen over the Chaithanya. Munching of Rasa is the removal of ignorance. In other words, Rasacharvana is making the mental activities Anandamaya. This is the difference from Samadhi, because its Alambana is the worldly objects of Vibhavas. These are combined with Athmananda. Samadhi has no connection with Vishayas. "The Athma is Rasa. It has achieved Rasa and became Ananda." This is Ruthi. The other is practical. It is experience that munching of Rasa brings Rasa. What Abhinava Guptha says is, "munching of Rasa means making mental activities pleasurable." This is achieved through the handling of words, which are Vyanjana. It is generated by the Sabda Pramana and the supporting factors for direct enjoyment.

OPINION OF BHATTANAYAKA: The enjoyment of Rasa would not take place when the connection with it is disturbed. There is nothing between the spectator and Sakunthala, and as such Sakunthala cannot be considered Vibhava in the personal aspect. In the absence of Vibhava without Alankara, Rasa cannot be inferred. In the case of Sakunthala (Vibhava) it is not possible to believe that she has got any connection with us. It is also not possible to identify ourselves with Dushyantha, to create this sense of personal connection as Dushyantha was a great king and we are only ordinary human beings.

Still there is scope for another doubt. It may be argued that this connection is established by the force of words in Kavya. This is also not correct. We come across a lot of such words in our normal life (such words concerning men and women). But no such feeling of identity is noticed on such occasions and as such, no sense of identity is felt in the case of Sakunthala also.

In such circumstances, the only plausible explanation is that a sort of Bhavana (Bhavakathua) is created on the objects understood through the force of Abhidha. The process is that it removes all the retarding aspects such as "unapproachable," and the essential Dharma of the object, say "woman-ness" alone remains in the mind. When this essential Dharma alone is made prominent, the Bhavana subsides, and a third force is engendered. It is called Bhogakrithwa, which means to enjoy. On the emergence of this feeling the Rajas and Thamas Guna in us subside and pure Santha emanates. The presence of Santha helps us to feel the divine Ananda inherent in the inner self. There exists in this stage Ananda and nothing else, and all the worldly connections disappear. This restful state is Rasa. Thus Bhava removes the personal aspects and pure and subtle core element is made perceptible. Bhogathua is this Ananda generated by Sathua. This is Rasa and it is next in content to Brahmananda. Rasa is thus known as Brahmananda Sahodara. Rasa would have sensuous content, while in Brahmananda sensuousness is completely eliminated. Thus the essence of Kavya is three fold - Abhidha, Bhavana, and Bhogeekritha.

Modern views
According to modern critics, in Kavya and Nataka, Vibhavas created are left to the disposal of the Sahridaya. Through Vyangya we get the perception of Rathi etc in the case of Sakunthala and Dushyantha. By virtue of the poetic sense, a sort of Bhavana is generated in us. It is a Dosha. Our inner self gets deluded by this postulated Dushyanta. We consider ourselves as Dushyantha. In such a deluded self, Sakunthala appears as Saksheebhava, and a sort of vague and indistinct mindset with Rathi etc is created. A sort of love false in the practical sense for Sakunthala is generated and it gets manifested through the Chaithanya of the self. This blurred perception of the mind is Rasa. This lasts till the said Dosha exists. The difference between the perception of Sakunthala by Dushyantha, and this false love is not explicable. It is described as Vyangya and the poet explains it with a flourish of words.

V S Bhaskara Panicker has been writing mainly in Malayalam language. He offered his research paper on Bharatheeya Kavyasastra to narthaki.com and it has been featured in seventeen chapters.