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A Critique of Dhvanikarikas (Dhvanyaloka)

A Critique of Dhvanikarikas (Dhvanyaloka)

A Critique of Dhvanikarikas (Dhvanyaloka)

Item Code: NAD109
Author: Professor Bidyut Baran Ghose
Publisher: Debashish Bhattacharya
Edition: 2005
Pages: 532
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 8.7 inch X 5.6 inch
weight of the book: 683 gms
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About The Book

Dhvanyaloka is an epoch making treatise in ancient Indian literary criticism. This magnum opus consists of one hundred and sixteen Karikas and Anandavardhana’s prose Vrtti. Our present work is a searching and elaborate analysis of all these Karikas keeping in view Ananda-vardhana’s Vrtti and important observations of Abhinavagupta n the Locana. Other sub-commentaries like Balapriya and Kaumudi etc. have also been taken into account for our analysis. The impact of Dhvanyaloka on later critics like Bhoja, Mahimabhatta, Mammata, Ruyyaka, Vidyadhara, Vidyanatha, Viswa-natha and jagannatha has been dealt with and some variant readings in the Kãrikas have also been discussed.

About The Author

Born in the Village.-Senai, Dist.—Hooghly in 1950, Bidyut Baran Ghosh attended R.K. Mission Multipurpose School, Kamarpukur, Hooghly; R.K. Mission Vidyarnandira, Belurmath, Howrah; Sanskrit College, Kolkata and the University of Calcutta. His was a first class academic career throughout. He was awarded M.Phii. and Ph.D. by Jadavpur University later in 1985 and in 1993 respectively. He joined in the Educational Service of the Govt. of West Bengal 1974 and was posted at Chandernagore College. He also served Jhargram Raj College and Taki Govt. College. After his selection in the West Bengal Senior Educational Service he joined Acharya B.N. Seal College, Cooch Behar in 1997 as Professor of Sanskrit and is now posted as Professor and Head of the Deptt. of Sanskrit, Sanskrit College, Kolkata. He has presented several Papers in All India Oriental Conferences and in World Sanskrit Conferences. He has to his credit more than twenty published Research Papers and Articles. He has been awarded Anandaram Barooah Medal, 2001, by the University of Calcutta. His area of interest includes Sanskrit literature, literary theories grammar. Ancient Indian scientific awareness as reflected in Sanskrit texts is of no little interest to the author.


Anandavardhana happens to be the greatest literary critic which humanity has ever produced, because the Doctrine of Dhvani propounded by him did influence not only Indian literary critics, but it could create a revolution in the entire field of literary criticism by projecting the fact that a single poetry is capable of unfolding different tiers of meaning. Unless one understands the implications of the Doctrine of Dhvani propounded by Ananclavardhana to which a fuller exposition had been given by his great commentator, Abhinavagupta, he is not in a position to understand the implication of the statement that Poetry is in a position to lead to emancipation.

Indian tradition does not consider application of Poetry as a means of entertainment; it, on the other hand, declares that it is a means for attainment of emancipation, in a similar manner as Knowledge and Devotion are means for attainment of enlightenment. The question as to how application of Poetry leads to enlightenment and emancipation, — realization of identity of the spirit of the man with the spirit of the universe,—. naturally arises; and in order to arrive at a reply to this perplexing question one is required to draw clues from the Doctrine of Dhvani.

In the view of Anandavardhana and Abhinavagupta, this symbolic content appears sometimes in the form of a fact and sometimes in the form of a figure, it is the suggested emotional mood or the ‘Rasa’ that constitutes the real essence, — the suggestion of the fact and the figure terminating ultimately in the suggestion of the emotive content. It is interesting that the Upanishads declare the Rasa as identical with the Absolute Reality or the Infinite, — the Grand and the Sublime and resting his observation on the Theory broached by Anandavardhana, Viswanatha defines Poetry as a composition, ensouled by Rasa or in otherwords, reflecting in its small compass the image of the Infinite. When the function of Suggestion is triggered into action in Poetry it goes on unfolding multiple tiers of meaning till it arrives at the Infinite, the store-house of Bliss and Beauty and when this meaning is comprehended or, in otherwords, the Bliss and Unfragmented Beauty associated with the Grand and the Sublime are experienced, the connoisseur of poetry tastes supramundane delight. In order to appreciate Poetry, therefore, it is necessary to understand the different tiers of meaning and to catch finally the symbolic content lying>hidden at the secret chamber of Poetry.

The champions of the Doctrine of Dhvani proclaim that in order to understand this content one is required to have a ‘spiritual eye’ which can catch the reflection of the Infinite in the poetical painting structured by the artist. The Dhvanyaloka of Anandavardhana has discussed the symbolic content and function of symbolisation in detail making it easily comprehensible to the connoisseurs of Potxy. As a matter of fact, in the opening stanza of this monumental work Anandavardhana has stated that his objective was to establish the Doctrine of Dhvani on a solid foundation by demolishing the viewpoints of opponents, some of whom did deny the existence of Dhvani, some tried to identify it with the secondary and indicated meaning and some declared it as lying beyond the comprehension of words. Though Anandavardhana mentioned only these three viewpoints of opponents there are actually twelve schools opposed to the Doctrine of Dhvani, the foremost of which is represented by the school of Inference, according to which the symbolic content is capable of being comprehended through the process of Inference and consequently postulation of the function of Suggestion is unwarranted and unnecessary. It is to the credit of Anandavardhana that he could demolish all the opposite views and establish the essentiality of the process of symbolisation in appreciation of Poetry as also in adjudicating the greatness of poetic structure.

All this shows the difficult nature of the text of Dhvanyaloka. The text has been rendered more difficult partly through adoption of the technique followed by Logic and partly through terse references to views propounded by earlier theoreticians. It requires critical intellect and wide reading to dive deep into the statements of Anandavardhana and present them in a cogent manner for understanding of the modern mind. If the modern mind is to be made appreciative to the text of Anandavardhana then what is further required is a comparative analysis of this Doctrine with the Doctrines projected by other Symbolists belonging to different countries This means that unless one has critical intellect and thorough acquaintance with all the representative works of Sanskrit Poetics as also with writings of the major Western critics, one cannot expound the implication of the theory broached by Anandavardhana. It is a matter of great joy that all these requirements have combined in Dr. Bidyut Baran Ghosh, Professor of Sanskrit, Government Sanskrit College, Kolkata, who has already established himself as one of the most profound scholars in the field of Sanskrit Poetics and Comparative Aesthetics. Dr. Bidyut Barah Ghosh possesses not only the critical intellect but also the ‘spiritual eye’ and a responsive heart that have enabled him to expound the details of the Theory of Anandavardhana in a befitting manner. The technique and style adopted by Dr. Ghosh are fascinating, and I consider his analysis as one of the most profound expositions on the Doctrine of Dhvani along with its details I am sure, this analysis will not only be treated as a significant contribution made by Dr. Ghosh but also will be regarded as a source book, competent to guide research scholars working in the field of Comparative Aesthetics.

I congratulate Dr. Bidyut Baran Ghosh for his contribution to the stock of human knowledge and welcome his work to the arena of Indian Aesthetics.


The present work substantially represents my Thesis — ‘A Critique of Dhvanikãrikãs’ admitted to Ph.D. Degree of Jadavpur University in 1993 with some improvements suggested by Professor K. Krishnmoorthy of Mysore, an authority on Dhvanyaloka in India and abroad and by Professor Biswanath Bhattacharyya of Benaras. In this work we have sincerely endeavoured to explain 116 Kãrikãs popularly known as Dhvanikãrikãs with the help of. Abhinavagupta’s illuminating commentary called ‘Locana’ and other sub-commentaries like ‘Balapriya’‘Kaumudi’ and ‘Upalocana’, etc. The impact of Dhvanyaloka on later Alamkarikas beginning from Bhoja to Jagannatha has been dealt with and some variant readings in the Körikãs have also been discussed.

First of all I would like to express my deep sense of gratitude and respect from the core of my heart to Late Professor Rabishankar Banerjee, ex-Professor of Sanskrit and ex-Co-ordinator, D.S.A. (U.G.C.), Jadavpur University, who with his pertinacious encouragement and careful supervision always stood by my side. Not only that he had also gone through my whole work, and guided me to add colour to or to adorn with embellishments the bulk of my work.

Late Professor Kalidas Bhattacharyya, A renowned teacher of Sanskrit Literature, Poetics and Grammar, who retired from Govt. Sanskrit College, under whose feet I had the opportunity of having my lessons on the A1azkarIö.stra and who happened to be a teacher of my supervisor also urged upon both of us to read a text thoroughly from cover to cover.

Professor K. Krishnamoorthy, when he had once occasion to visit Jadavpur University to conduct my Viva-Voce for M.Phil. Dissertation — ‘The Uniqueness of Dhvanyaloka-Vrtti’ advised me to continue researches on Dhvanyaloka. Being inspired by

Prof. K. Krishnamoorthy and my teacher Late Professor Kalidas Bhattacharyya I took up this task which was obviously ambitious. I had succeeded to complete my study by persistent effort for a long period. I pray the blessings of both of my departed teachers and in this connection I express my indebtedness to Prof. K. Krishnamoorthy for receiving help from his editions of Dhvanyloka (Dharwar, 1974 and M.L.B.D., 1982) and also for adapting his renderings of the Vrttis and of the Udaharanas or examples cited therein. The translations of the Locana passages used in my work •are also from Prof. Krishnamoorthy’s renderings in Meherchand Lachhmandas edition. All these are not mentioned separately inside my work.

I had the previlage of getting some lessons on Dhvanyaloka from my teacher Professor Ramaranjan Mukherji ex-Vice Chancellor of Burdwan & Rabindra Bharati Universities and EX Chancellor, Tirupati Sanskrit University during my M.Phil. Study in J. U. His class lectures inspired me to step in the field of Dhvanyaloka. I express my adoration to this renowned Professor and Venerable ‘Kulapati’. I am really grateful to him for his help and kind consent to pen a ‘Foreword’ for my edition inspite of his very busy schedule.

I remember with respect Late Professor Heramba Nath Chatterjee, ex-professor and Head of the Deptt. of Pãli, Sanskrit College, without whose help I would not have joined Govt. College.

I had the opportunity of studying some texts on Alamkarasastra from Late Principal Bishnupada Bhattacharyya of Sanskrit College. I express my reverence to this departed eminent scholar and Indologist.

I take the opportunity of expressing my reverence to Professor Sukumari Bhattacharyya, ex-Professor, Deptt. Of Sanskrit, Jadavpur University and to Professor Mrinal Kanti Gangopadhyay, Ashutosh Professor of Sanskrit, University of Calcutta, for their encouragement and advice regarding the publication of this book.

I convey my regards to all the learned Professors, Deptt. of Sanskrit, J.U — Prof. Dr. B.P. Bhattacharyya, Prof. Dr. M.

Banerjee, Prof. Dr. Mrs. N. Banerjee, Prof. Dr. Mrs. B. Goswarni, Prof. Dr. Mrs. S Gangopadhyay and also to Dr. S. Bose, Librarian, Deptt. of Sanskrit.

I am fortunate to have’ a long list of my well-wishers. I have served Chandernagore College, Jhargram Raj College, Taki govt. College, Acharya B.N. Seal College, Coóchbehar, Sanskrit College and Rabindra Bharati University (as a Part-time Lecturer) in which I have received help and encouragement from my friends and respected colleagues I am thankful to all of them. Here I express my gratitude to Late Prof. Prafulla Kr. Chakrabarti, Dr. Debabrata Sen, Dr. Nirmalya Banerjee, Dr Bholanath Mallick, Prof. R. K Sarkar and Prof. D. P. Dassharma.

Professor Dr. Karunasindhu Das, ex-Dean, (Arts Faculty) R.B.U. has always expressed his eagerness regarding the publication. Professor Dr. Satyanarayan Chakraborty, Deptt. of Sanskrit, R.B.U. has always inspired me by offering some of his valuable publications. Here are my regards for Professor Das and my heartfelt wishes for Professor Chakraborty.

My warm thanks are due to Shri Tapomay Das, Asstt. Professor, Deptt of English, Jhargram Raj College, for his academic assistance.

I must not fail to put on record the assistance rendered by Rarnakrishna Mission, throughout my life. Without its help I could not have reached to this present position. In this connection I pray the blessings of Late Swami Saradeswarananda, ex-Secretary, R.K. Math & Mission, Kamarpukur, who initiated me first to the study of Sanskrit and also of Late Swami Dhyanatmananda, ex-Secretary R.K. Mission, Calcutta. Students’ Home, Belgharia, Kolkata - 700 056, who was a lover of History and Sanskrit and who always took interest regarding my study.

I am grateful to my elder brother Sasanka Sekhar Ghosh, ex-Teacher-in-Charge, Bhurkunda High School, Hooghly, who guided me in the track of study when I was not in a mood to do so in my early life.

I remember with gratitude and respect the support extended to me by Mr. Santosh Kumar Bhattacharyya and Smt.

Santi Bhattacharyya, especially at the time of my M.Phil. programme and latter research.

I am really grateful to my wife Smt. Shashwati Ghosh, who singly, took the burden of my family with smiling face and enabled me to go on with my research work smoothly. My daughter ‘Mitti’ with her curious comments on the subjects of research e.g. ‘Thisis, Misis’‘Dhanyolok’, ‘Khisik Khisik’ (as she used to designate dia-critical marks). Durghatavitti, (as she used to call Durghatavrtti of Saranadeva) amused me much and kept me mentally fresh. She demands that her name should, be acknowledged in the first chance. She does not want to miss this chance because I may not be able to publish a second book. I shower my affectionate blessings upon her.

Without the financial assistance of Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, my publication would not have come to light I have no sufficient words to express my indebtedness to this Sansthan which is performing a good job by this type of assistance.

Lastly, I put on record my thanks to Debashis Bhattacharyya, Proprietor, Sanskrit Pustak Bhandar, without whose help my research work would have remained only for the ravages of time.

With these words, I humbly offer this publication to the members of the academic community i.e. affectionate students, respected teachers, esteemed researchers and scholars, appreciative readers and critics and eminent Indologists. Any suggestion from any corner will be cordially received by the author.


Ananda and Abhinava, two short names of the two astounding personalities and two venerable Acaryas (Anandavardhana and- Abhinavagupta) of mediaeval India conjure up a sensation of delight in the hearts of literary connoisseurs within this Subcontinent when literature as the most refined expression of life- force and the topic of literary criticism come into reckoning. Delight and Novelty, the two essentials of literature as these two short names Ananda and Abhinava represent have been the exclusive topic of Dhvanyaloka, the key A lamkara text in the field of Indian literary criticism. This Dhvanyãloka or Kavyaloka or Sahidayäloka is a lucid elaborate and dazzling interpretative pre text on some Dhvani verses numbering 116.

Biihler retrieved in 1877 A.D. three manuscripts of the great Alamkara classic Dhvanyãloka and Nirnaya Sagar Press, Bombay, brought out first in 1890 a hurriedly constructed Text with Abhinavagupta’s Locana (For all the references in this part Vide Dhvanyaloka Bibliography at the end of our work).

Hermann Jacobi brought out its rendering in German in 1904. An attempt was made at rendering the Dhvanyaloka with Locana into English by Prof. K. Rama Pisharoti in 1916-1918. But his attempt did not achieve success as it was done upto Karika — 16, Uddyota II only,. An edition of Dhvanyaloka with Avadhna commentary only was published by Shri Madhusudan Misra Sharma, in Calcutta Sanskrit Series in 1938 (Samvat -1995). MM. Pattabhiram Shastri published a complete edition of Dhvanyaloka with Locana, Balapriya of Pt. Ramasaraka and Divyanjana of Mahadeva Sastri in 1940.

The edition of Dhvanyaloka, Uddyota I with Locana and Kaumudi of Uttungodaya published by Prof. S. Kuppuswami Sastri from Kuppuswami Shastri Research Institute, Madras, in 1944 is also an incomplete one.

In 1953 an edition with Hindi commentary was published by Sobhit Mishra from Benaras. A Bengali edition of Dhvanyaloka with Dhv. Vrtti and Locana translated into Bengali by K.P. Bhattacharya and Prof. S.C. Sengupta appeared in 1955. In the same year i.e. 1955 an edition bearing English translation and notes by Prof. K. Krishnamoorthy was published from Poona.

After this some College and University editions of Dhvanyaloka were published. Among them mention may be made of Principal Bishnupada Bhattacharyya’s edition on the first two chapters of Dhvanyaloka with various quotations and parallel citations in 1956-1957.

In the sixties some Hindi editions of DhvanyAloka by Ram Sagar Tripathi (Motilal Banarsidass, 1963) and by Jagannath Pathak (Chowkhamba Vidyabhavan, 1965) appeared. But a connected rendering in lucid English of the critically edited and dependable text of Dhvanyaloka was first presented by Prof. K. Krishnamoorthy in 1974. The learned Professor has thrilled us with an idiomatic rendering of the Kãrikã verses and the Vrtti of Ananda. The succinct notes appended at the back pages are interesting for parallel citations from comparative Aesthetics, but Prof. Krishnamoorthy had little space to provide for determining the exact impact of Dhv. upon later critics and he had little space also for explaining the literary theories that flourished in the pre-dhvani period and reassessed by Ananda in the wider context of the theory of Dhvani. Hence we feel an urgent need to interpret the Dhvanyaloka Text along with Ananda’s Vrtti by taking into consideration all relevant available Texts, Papers etc. on Dhv. and have taken great pains at explaining Ananda’s contention in Dhv. Vrtti in the light of Abhinava’s lucid, penetrative and precise analysis in the Dhv. Locana. The impact of Dhvanyaloka on later Alamkarikas like Bhoja, Mahimabhatta, Mammata, Ruyyaka, Vidyadhara,. Vidyanatha, Viswanãtha and Jagannatha has been discussed. We have discussed also some variant readings of the Kãrikas as noted in the valuable Krishnamoorthy edition.

The study of this magnum opus received little attention for a considerable period in the fifties of this century when great Scholars like MM P.V. Kane, Dr. Satkari Mukherjee, Dr. S.K. De, MM Kuppuswamy Shastri and others went for one singular issue like consideration of identity of the authorship of the Kãrikãs and the Vrttis. We do not regard such a topic so much relevant and interesting for the different issues centering round this great Dhvani concept. Ananda and Abhinava’s great contributions to the field of Indian literary criticism is the exposition of the sentiment of .Santa in the greater context of Dhvani principles and noting exactly this preponderating importance in the domain of aesthetic gestation. Udbhata, Rudrata and Rudratabhatta - three formidable predecessors of Ananda, noted this .Santa for the first time but Ananda and Abhinava in this Dhv. have interpreted this Santa in a lucid and connected fashion stressing it as the basic principle in the matter of aesthetic relish. We have discussed the text on .Santa in the Abhinavabharati on Bharata’s Natya.4astra, at the close of Chap W. We draw attention of the scholars to examine our analysis of Santa under Kãrikãs 111.26 and IV.5. The figure Slesa as harbinger of more than one poetic meaning was a challenger of this Dhvani and we have judged all intricate issues relating to scopes of this Slesa and Sabdi-vyanjand (Dhvani) under such Karikas II. 16-19. We have also discussed at length the topic of Rasavadalarnkara and its relation with Rasadhvani under Kãrikas 11,4-5. The exact scope of the literary figures like Upama, Rupaka and others in the scheme of Dhvani and the place of other concepts like, Alamkara, Guna, Vrtti, Samghatanã has also been dealt with by us in a detailed fashion under such Kirikãs as 11.6, 16,111.6. The idea of Stmaghatana relating to usage of compound words in a historical poem or in an inscription cannot be located in the extent Alamkara text of the pre-dhvani authors like Dandin. Vamana, Bhamaha and Udbhata. But Anan discussed it at length and we have dealt with it in all possible details. Ananda’s exposition of the Dhvani definition (I. 13) raked up bitter controversy and Mahimabhatta carried on massive onslaught on Ananda starting right from this Dhvani definition. We have dealt with the motto of this definition and all controversial issues connected with it in an elaborate analysis

of the Kãrtkã 1.13. The exact aim of this defining Kariká is to show preponderance of Dhvani poetry over all other types of literature. Under Kãrikas III. 34-40 we have shown place of other types of poetry other than Dhvani.

The claim of this novel Dhvani principle cannot be established till the contention of all Dhvani opponents are reviewed and their contentions are thoroughly examined. Under Kãrikã 111.33 Ananda has appended the longest Vrtti in the whole of this Dhvanyaloka. We have analysed that longest Dhv. Vrtti in our own way taking maximum help from Professor K’s illuminating rendering. All famous examples of Dhvani have been traced to their origin and their reappraisal if any in later Alamkãra texts has also been discussed.

The renderings of the Kãrikãs are m own. In some places I have taken help from the extant renderings. While rendering these Kãrikas I have tried my best to maintain the flavour of the original for an average English reader. I have made use of brilliant renderings of the Vrttis, most of the examples (Udãharas) cited in the Vrtti and also of the Locana passages wherever necessary by Prof. Krishnamoorthy in the present work and we have already expressed our gratitude to that learned Professor. Some of the renderings of the examples are from other sources as mentioned in our work.

We want to emphasise that the whole of the Dhv. Vrtti covering 116 Karikas should be studied with care to have a grasp of Indian and comparative Aesthetics. Ananda and Abhinava’s joint great venture this unique Dhvanyaloka with Locana holds sway on Indian literary criticism and we have examined in detail the exact potentials behind this novel Dhvani concept in the foregoing pages. We have appended a few short Chapters before our Critique of Dhvani K4rikds to help readers get at our contention as expressed in our detailed analysis.


Preface and Acknowledgement I
List of Abbreviations used in the present work IX
Anandavcardhana, his Date and Works 1
Abhinavagupata, the versatile6
Dhvanyaloka –A Unique Alamkara-Classic9
Authorship of Dhavanyaloka16
Sublime and Dhavani (Suggestion) 21
Anti-Dhavani Critics28
First Flash (Uddyota) 34
Second Flash (Uddyota) 186
Third Flash (Uddyota) 325
Fourth flash (Uddyota) 451
Conclusion 513
Index of Karikas514
Bibliography (General) 519
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