ध्वन्यालोक: Dhvanyaaloka – Dr. Vanitha Ramaswamy, Lecture Series – #1


Nivedita’s notes from Dr. Vanitha Ramaswamy’s classes


Granthas are of two types namely lakshya grantha (लक्ष्य ग्रन्त:) and lakshana grantha (लक्षण ग्रन्त:). The grantha that defines poetry is a lakshana grantha. Lakshana grantha is not a poem or a drama. There will be definitions and examples which are mostly cited from other works which are Lakshya Granthas. The examples could either be from the works of other famous poets or a sample poem could be written by the author himself.

Lakshya Grantha deals with the subject or some theme or vishaya and it is in the form of a poem or a drama based on a theme or plot.

[Side Note: Initially, the intent was only spiritual. There was a time when Kavya was considered as mere gossip (आलाप) by the Rishis and Vedantins. They said — काव्यालापांश्च वर्जयेत् – Stay away from poetry which is mere gossip. But after Bharata’s period, Kavya got a formal structure. It became acceptable to create Kavyas for pleasure or Manoranjana].


Introduction – Dhvanyaaloka ध्वन्यालोका

Dhvanyaaloka is a Lakshana Grantha. It states that Dhvani or Suggestion is the soul of poetry. Aaloka means light (jyothi / prakaasha). Since it throws light on the matter regarding Dhvani or suggestion, it is named as Dhvanyaaloka. To understand why Dhvanyaaloka was written, we need to know about Alamkara Sashtra.


Shash शास् means “to command”. “शासते इति शास्त्रम्” — That which rules or commands is the scripture.  There are different shashtras like Tarka, Vyakarana, Meemaamsa, etc. Dhvanyaaloka comes under Sahitya Shashtra or Alamkaara Shashtra. Only when Veda approves, it can be accepted. Bhaamaa proved that Kavya is accepted by the Vedas.


Sahitya Shashtra

The first of such poets to think about the nature of poems was Bharata. He lived before 500 BC. There have been many Aalankarikaas or Literary critics after him. Then only Shahitya Shashtra evolved.

Classification of Sammitaa

The literary works (Sammitaa or Saahityaa) can be classified into 3 types:

Prabhu Sammitaa Peremptory or dictatorial commands – इदमित्तं – This is how it has to be done – the lord orders. Eg. Veda.
Mitra Sammitaa Friendly advice.  Itihaasa – Epics – Ramayana and Mahabharata.
Kaantaa Sammitaa Lover’s words. As Kalidasa puts it, अशिक्षित पटुत्वं– women are very smart which is not taught by anyone.

[Side note: मन्त्र+ब्राह्मणयोर्+वेदनामधेयम् | वेद साहित्यम् = सम्हिता, आरण्यक, ब्राह्मण, उपनिषद्.  Among these samhita consists of mantras. Brahmana is the description or elaboration of the matra portion in prose form. ब्राह्मण, आरण्यक and उपनिषद् come under ब्राह्मण संहिता. यज्ञार्थं वेदा: प्रवृत्ता: | The vedas are present to spread the knowledge about Yajna. य = आश्रयः ; ज्ञा = जानाति; That which helps to know the Brahman, the ultimate desired object is Yajna. Yajna = deva poojaa, sangathi karanaa, daanaa.  For the shaastra samhita, the padya bhaagaa is got from the Rig veda and the gadya bhaaga is got from the Yajurveda. Maargadarshah maharshi – The Rishis guide the entire mankind.]


Alamkara is a concept (Parikalpana) in Sanskrit. In Kavya Shastra, the term Alamkara means that which beautifies the poem. काव्य शोभाकरान् धर्मान् अलंकारान् इति प्रतक्षते | The properties (dharma) which beautify the poem are Alamkaras – says Dandi in his Kaavyaadarsha. Alankaara Shashtram is Literary Criticism. One who knows fully about Alamkara is an Aalankarika.  They are the literary critics who write about Alamkaras. These critics attempted to define soul of poetry.

Author Lakshana Grantha Soul Highlight Time
Bharata Muni Naatya Shaastra Rasa काव्यस्य आत्मा रस: |
इति वृत्तम् तुकाव्यस्य शरीरम् |
500 BC
Bhaama Kaavyaalamkaara Alamkara काव्यस्य आत्मा अलंकार: | 700 AD
Dhandi Kaavyaadharsha, Kaavyadarpanaa 10 Gunas दश गुणा: एव काव्यस्य आत्मा |  
Vaamana Kaavyaalankaara Sutra Vrutti Reeti रीतिरात्मा काव्यस्य |
(Anupraasaa – the way it is expressed – Reeti)
800 AD
Anandavardhana Dhvanyaaloka Dhvani काव्यस्य आत्मा ध्वनि: | 10th  AD


Kaavya Prakaasha (kaavya Lakshanam) तददोषौ शब्दार्थौ सगुणावनलंकृती पुनः व्कापि 12th
Kuntaka Vakrookti Jivitam (crooked speech) Vakrotti काव्यस्य आत्मावक्रोत्ति: |  


Saahitya Dharpana Ukti


उक्तिविषेशः काव्यम् |  
  (kaavya Lakshanam) कवेः कर्म काव्यम् |  
Jagannatha Pandita
Rasa Gangadhaaraa (kaavya Lakshanam) रमनीयार्थ प्रतिवादक शब्द काव्यम् | 18th

Later came these aalamkaarikaas –  Udbatta, Lolata, Rudrata, Kaiyatta, (Jaina poet) Hemachandra.

[Side Note: Bharata spoke about Vibhaavaa, Anubhaavaa and Vyabhichaari Bhaava. (Refer explanation given later). He said that Kavyanandam is also like Brahmanandam. काव्यानन्दस्तु ब्रह्मानन्द सहोदर: | After him, there were Dandi and Bhaamaa].

[Side Note: The usual structure – Sutra, Vartikas, Bhaashya; Vaartikaas are Meta rules. When one person writes something, the next person develops it further with their own contribution.  Panini – Sutra, Vaartikaas – Vararuchi, Patanjali – Bhaashyaa].
Creativity in Poetry :

To understand the difference between ordinary statements and poetry, consider these two sentences. कश्चित् वृक्ष: तिष्ठति अग्रे | नीरसतरुरिव भाति पुरा | The first one simply states that a tree is present in front. The other one describes it interestingly by saying that it seem to be a tree deviod of any life or aesthetic sentiment. It has alliteration or anupraasa alamkara due to the repeated occurrence of the same letter “ra”. Along with that shabda alamkara, it also has arthaalamkara by upama or Similie to describe the dry tree. It brings out various rasa or aesthetic pleasure to different people.  The term Niirasa conveys different feelings to different people like a traveller or a young couple.


The plot or कथा वस्तु, the theme of the story, is iti vruttam इति वृत्तम्. It is the body of the poem according to Bharata. The body is beautified with alamkaaras. Everyone accepted Bharata’s opinion about the body of the poem. Accordingly to Mammataa (or Bhamah), Kavya is word and its meaning शब्दार्थौ सहितौ काव्यम् | Also it is said that the work of the poet is poem, कवे: कर्म काव्यम् | रमणीयार्थप्रतिपादकं काव्यम् | प्रतिभायुक्तं काव्यम् | नवनवोन्मेषशालिनी प्रतिभा | That which produces newer and newer meaning is Prathibha and Poem is one that has this scope for creativity.

[Side note: चर्वित चर्वनं मा भवेत् | Let there be no imitation. So each one came up with his own idea]

[Side note: प्रयोजनम् न उद्दिश्य मन्दोऽपि न प्रवर्तते | Even a dullard does not venture into a task with considering its benefit].

On correct kavyam साधु काव्यम् and on the purpose of poetry  काव्यस्य प्रयोजनम् , Anandavardhana says this:

धर्मार्थकाममोक्षेषु वैचक्षण्यं कलासु च |

करोति कीर्थिं प्रीतिम् च साधु काव्य निषेवणम् ||

[Side Note: The goal (उद्देश) of all our shastras has been upliftment of the soul, the knowledge about the soul and the attainment of liberation (आत्मोद्धार: , आत्मज्ञानम् , मोक्षप्रप्ति: ). In the Vyaakarana Shastra, moksha is achieved through Shabda Brahma (शब्दब्रह्म). Dharma forms the nucleus of Artha, Kaama and Moksha. Through the Dharma, Artha and Kaama, the liberation or Moksha is obtained. Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita that he is the desire that is not against the dharma धर्माविरुद्धोकामोस्मि ].

There are different criteria for a Kavya to be considered as a उत्तमकाव्यम्.

  1. Provides intense, special, efficient knowledge or expertise वैचक्षणम् in the four purushaarthas namely Dharma, Artha, Kaama and Moksha.
  2. Provides the expert knowledge about the 64 Kalas.
  3. Becomes the cause for gaining the loving respect and glory करोति कीर्थिं प्रीतिम्
Shakti Expressed meaning Vaachaka Koshaarthah, Vaachyaartha, शक्यार्थ power of the word conveyed by the dictionary meaning
Bhakti Indicated or suppressed meaning Lakshana Lakshyaarthah, Lakshanaarthah,
Some element is suppressed (The word bank is suppressed in Gangaayaam goshah – Hamlet on the banks of Ganga and not in Ganges)
Vyakti Suggested meaning Vyangya Dhvaniyarthah, Vyanjanaarthah, vyangyaarthah It shows or reflects or suggests some other meaning. The tone of “Go, go!” might mean “Don’t go”.

Once Anandavardhana puts forth his theory that Dhvani is the soul of poetry, there arises among his critics the prima facie argument against it. Abhaavavaadis are those who claim that is no such thing as Dhvani. Anandavardhana partially accepts some of the earlier theories and he also denies some of the earlier theories (पूर्व सिद्धान्तानां निराकरणम्). He accepts that there is importance for Rasa, Guna, Alamkaras, Reeti, Vakroktihi, etc. But he claims that the soul is the Dhvani.
[Side Note:  Prof. N. Hiriyanna’s book “Aestetic Experience”]

—– ———–


The structure of Dhvanyaaloka consists of Kaarikas and Vrutti. Even the Vrutti is believed to be written by Anandavardhana. The commentary written by his disciple, Abhinava Gupta is called lochana. This work is written in 9th century. His point of view is that Dhvani which he clarifies as Rasa Dhvani is the soul of the poem.

[Side Note on Rasa:

When a person watches Sita Swayamvaram, he or she understands Raama’s rati bhava when Rama sees sita through vakra drushti. They forget later the theater, Ramayana, Rama and Sita.  An young boy might enjoy the feeling of Romance. In the same way, even tragedy in दुरन्त: नाटकम् when expressed nicely gives a good feeling. The tears brought out of the audience are the success.

There should be poshana of the Rasa. In another story, before Duryodhana leaves for the war, Bhanumati cries. The rise of the emotion of the feeling of Vira is hampered. Rather than poshaka, it was vighnaha. The process of catharsis happens in the minds of the connoisseur. i.e., the purging out of the inner instincts happens. It gives a sense of satisfaction.

Vira, Shringara and Karuna can only be the dominant sentiments (mukhya rasaa) of a literary work. Hasya can only be supplimentary. It will be an Anga rasa or Gauna rasa].

Example of suggestion:

A woman is living with her blind-in-laws while her husband has gone out of town for a long time. A traveller पथिक: happens to stay in her house. She is attracted. She tells him to note where each person sleeps. She points to her bed and tells him not to come over there in the night. The suggested meaning is that she wants him to come and fall on me.

श्वश्रूरत्र शेते अथवा निमज्जति अत्राहं दिवसकं प्रलोकय |
मा पथिक रात्र्यन्धः शय्यायामावयोः शयिष्ठाः ||

श्वश्रू: अत्र शेते अथवा निमज्जति अत्र अहं दिवसकं प्रलोकय |
मा पथिक रात्रि अन्धः शय्यायाम्+आवयोः शयिष्ठाः ||

“Mother-in-law lies here, fast asleep. I will be here. You shall know these before it gets dark. O traveller, don’t you tumble into our beds blinded by night”.

ध्वन्यलोक १


स्वेच्छाकेसरिणः  स्वच्छस्वच्छायायासितेन्दवः |

त्रायन्तां वो मधुरिपोः प्रपन्नार्तिच्छिदो नखाः ||

Let the claws of that Hari who manifested in the form of man-lion at His own will, which claws have outshone the moon in their crystal white hue, and which quells the afflictions of His devotees, protect you.

स्वेच्छा केसरिणः = By his own wish, he was born as a kesari or lion.

नखाः  = His nails are curved like the cresent moon.

स्वच्छ स्वच्छाया आयासित इन्दवः = By their pure splendour, the nails cause the cresent moons to feel exhaused (defeated).

त्रायन्तां व: = Let him protect you all.

प्रपन्नार्तिच्छिदो = प्रपन्न + आर्ति + छिद: = Those who surrender to god are Prapannas. आर्ति  = suffering;  छिद: = tears off

1st Kaarikaa

काव्यस्यात्मा ध्वनिरिति बुधैर्यः समाम्नातपूर्व-

स्तस्याभावं जगदुरपरे भाक्तमाहुस्तमन्ये |

केचिद्वाचाम् स्थितमविषये तत्त्वमूचुस्तदीयम्

तेन ब्रूमः  सहृदयमनःप्रीतये तत्स्वरूपम् || १ ||

काव्यस्य+आत्मा ध्वनि:+इति बुधै: य: समाम्नातपूर्व:

तस्य+अभावं जगदु:+अपरे भाक्तम्+आहु:+तम्+अन्ये |

केचित्+वाचाम् स्थितम्+अविषये तत्त्वमूचु:+तदीयम्

तेन ब्रूमः  सहृदयमनःप्रीतये तत्स्वरूपम् || १ ||


Dhvani (ध्वनि:) was declared (समाम्नातम्) to be the soul of poetry (काव्यस्यात्मा) by learned persons (बुधै:) of yore  (पूर्वै: ). All the same some would refute its existence (तस्याभावं); some would consider it as something that could be logically implied (अपरे भाक्तम्+आहु:+तम्); some others speak of its presence as being beyond the provision of expression (अन्ये केचित्+वाचाम् स्थितम्+अविषये). Hence, we hereby intend explaining (तेन ब्रूमः ) what its nature (तत्स्वरूपम्) is so as to cause delight to the hearts of sympathetic critics (सहृदय+मनः+प्रीतये).

जगदु: = वाक्, words; अपरे = earlier people like Bharata and Bhaamaa; Anandavardhana says like Yajnavalkya with a lot of confidence that what he says is right, Anandavardhana first condemns the arguments put forth by his earlier alamkaarikaas.

Some Bhaktas (which are followers of Bhakti or suppressed meaning) consider Bhakti to be supreme. There are others who consider crooked speech or indirect indication to be supreme केचित्+वाचाम् स्थितम्+अविषये. I am now telling this for the sake of the connoisseurs or enthusiasts (सहृदय+मनः+प्रीतये).

यस्मिन्नस्ति न वस्तु किंचन मनःप्रह्लादि सालंकृति

व्युत्पन्नै रचितं च नैव वचनैर्वक्रोक्तिशून्यं च यत् |

काव्यं तद्ध्वनिना समन्वितमिति प्रीत्या प्रशंसञ्जडो

नो विद्मोऽभिदधाति किं सुमतिना पृष्टः स्वरूपं ध्वनेः ||

Poetry in which there can be least delight to the mind (मनःप्रह्लादि) and no embellishment (सालंकृति), which does not present any welcoming words and artistic turn in expressions (यस्मिन्नस्ति न वस्तु किंचन), is so much praised with all vehemence by the stupids (प्रीत्या प्रशंस: जड: न: विद्म:+अभिदधाति), as being wth suggestion (Dhvani) (काव्यं तत्+ध्वनिना समन्वितम्+इति). But one fails to imagine what answer the theorist would furnish if asked to present the nature of Dhvani (स्वरूपं ध्वनेः) itself!”

यस्मिन्नस्ति न वस्तु किंचन – No plot in the kavya (small verses like Muktaka). मनःप्रह्लादि – causes happiness; सालंकृति – adorned with alamkaara; व्युत्पन्नै रचितं च – written by great scholars; नैव वचनै: वक्रोक्ति+शून्यं च यत् – not devoid of crooked speech; तत् काव्यं धवनिना समन्वितम् – that kavya has suggestion; इति प्रीत्या प्रशंसन् – praised with all enthusiasm; जड: न: विद्म: अभिदधाति – even stupid people can appreciate it; किं सुमतिना पृष्टः – what to say about the theorist when they are asked; ध्वनेः स्वरूपं – about the nature of Dhvani. They know it very well. I am not saying anything new.

At different points of time, different propositions have been made regarding the soul of poetry. This verse is cited from Manoratha’s kavya who was a contemporary of Ananda Vardhana.

2nd कारिका

य:+अर्थः सहृदय+श्लाघ्यः काव्य+आत्मा+इति व्यवस्थितः |

वाच्य+प्रतीयमाना+आख्यौ तस्य भेदौ+उभौ स्मृतौ || २ ||

That sense (य:+अर्थः) which wins the approbation of sensitive critics (सहृदय+श्लाघ्यः) is declared to be the soul of poetry (काव्य+आत्मा+इति व्यवस्थितः). The “denotative” and the “suggestive” (वाच्य+प्रतीयमाना+आख्यौ) are considered to be its two aspects (तस्य भेदौ उभौ स्मृतौ).

वाच्यः – प्रसिद्द अर्था, dictionary meaning; प्रतीयमाना – suggestive; Based on the staayibhava in the person, the experience would differ. The suggestive meaning differs from person to person. It flashes to them. The term Neerasa would bring different kinds of thoughts to travellers or young couple.

3rd कारिका

तत्र वाच्यः प्रसिद्ध:+यः प्रकारै:+उपमादिभिः |

बहुधा व्याकृतः स: अन्यैः (काव्य+लक्ष्मविधायिभिः)  तत: न इह प्रतन्यते (केवलमनूद्यते पुनर्यथोपयोगमिति) || ३ ||

Of these two, the explicit (denotative-conventional) (तत्र वाच्यः) is generally known (प्रसिद्ध:) and it has been already covered (व्याकृतः)  in many ways (बहुधा) through figures of speech such as simile (उपमादिभिः  प्रकारै:)  by other writers (अन्यैः). Therefore that is not to be discussed here in detail. (तत:ह प्रतन्यते) (3)


The expression “other writers” refers to writers on Alankaarasaastra such as Bhatta, Udbhata, etc. Though it is stated it need not be discussed here in detail, the conclusions reached by them will be referred to as and when the occasions demand.

4th Kaarikaa

प्रतीयमानं पुनरन्यदेव वस्त्वस्ति वाणीषु महाकवीनाम् |

यत्तत्प्रसिद्धावयवातिरिक्तं विभाति लावण्यमिवांगनासु || ४ ||

प्रतीयमानं पुन: अन्यदेव वस्तु+अस्ति वाणीषु महा+कवीनाम् |

यत् + तत्+ प्रसिद्ध+ अवयव+ अतिरिक्तं विभाति लावण्यम्+इवांगनासु || ४ ||

But the suggestive aspect is distinct from this (explicit – denotative  – conventional) (प्रतीयमानं पुन: अन्यत् एव). It shows itself brilliantly in the words of celebrated poets (महाकवि) and reigns supreme over and above (अतिरिक्तं विभाति) the striking external elements प्रसिद्ध+ अवयव, even as charm among ladies (लावण्यम् इव अङ्गनासु). (4)

In a lady, the charm is not due to any specific organs but it is something beyond the parts that cause the overall impression.

Example for Dhvani is shown in 2 ways. Self made example and by picking up from earlier works.

भ्रम धार्मिक विस्रब्धः स शुनकोऽद्य मारितस्तेन |

गोदावरी+नदी+कूल+लतागहन+वासिना दृप्त+सिंहेन ||

Freely (विस्रब्धः) roam (भ्रम) about, O Ascetic! That dog (स: शुनक:) which you were afraid of, has been killed (मारित:) recently (अद्य) by (तेन) the ferocious lion (दृप्त+सिंहेन) that dwells (लतागहन+वासिना) on the bank of Godavari river (गोदावरी+नदी+कूल).

Suggested meaning: Don’t worry that there is no privacy. The person who used to haunt us has been removed away. We can meet.

व्रज ममैवैकस्या भवन्तु निःश्वासरोदितव्यानि |

मा तवापि तया विना दाक्षिण्यहतस्य जनिषत ||

व्रज मम एव एकस्या भवन्तु निःश्वास+रोदितव्यानि |

मा तवापि तया विना दाक्षिण्य+हतस्य जनिषत ||

Get away, I beseach you; let all the sighs and tears be mine only and not yours who have feign consideration to me. Here the conventional meaning is of the nature of a positive stand, the suggestive sense is neither prohibition nor a positive proposal.

5th Kaarikaa

काव्यस्यात्मा स एवार्थस्तथा चादिकवेः पुरा |

क्रौञ्चद्वन्द्ववियोगोत्थः शोकः श्लोकत्वमागतः || ५||

काव्यस्यात्मा स: एव+अर्थ:+तथा च+आदिकवेः पुरा |

क्रौञ्चद्वन्द्व+वियोग+उत्थः शोकः श्लोकत्वम्+आगतः || ५ ||

That meaning (Rasadhvani) alone is the soul of poetry. This is quite evident from the very incident of the first poet’s Valmiki’s grief which become evoked (in him) due to the wailing of the separate Kraunca bird (from its male mate drenched in pool of blood), which struck the inner core of the sage so as to present the flow of poetry).

स: एव+अर्थ: = प्रतीयमान अर्थ: ;

Example of Dhvani from Valmiki – मा निषाद

मा निषाद प्रतिष्ठां त्वमगम: शाश्वती: समा: |

सत्क्रौञ्चमिथुनादेकम् अवधी: काममोहितम् ||

Anushtub was earlier only a Veda chandas. Valmiki was the first to use it as a Kavya chandas. Valmiki’s shaapaa was extempore. He had just heard the story of Rama. Even Karuna is enjoyed by the readers and leaves an impact.

Aadhibautika Meaning – at the physical level by other living entities:

निषाद ! शाश्वती: समा: प्रतिष्ठां त्वम् मा अगम: — Hey Hunter! You will not get the glory (प्रतिष्ठां) till eternity (शाश्वती:) for many years (समा:) ; सत् काममोहितम्

क्रौञ्चमिथुनात् एकम् अवधी: – Because you killed one among the two krauncha birds that were in love.

Aadidaivika Meaning – at the spiritual level: In Naandhi, the stoy has to be indicated.

मा निषाद ! शाश्वती: समा: प्रतिष्ठां त्वम् अगम: — Beloved of Lakshmi! You will get the glory (प्रतिष्ठां) till eternity (शाश्वती:) for many years (समा:) ; सत् काममोहितम्

क्रौञ्चमिथुनात् एकम् अवधी: – Because you killed the crooked (क्रौञ्च) one among the couple (मिथुन) , Ravana, who was passionate (काममोहितम्).

Adyaatmika meaning – pertaining to body and mind :  By Yoga, the desire is killed.

[Side Note: The Staayibhava of Karuna is Shoka. Kalidasa was always protected by Kings. Because of his samskaara, his poems are more on Shrungaara rasa. Even the viraga is to enhance (pooshana) Shrungaara only].

Anandavardhana mentions about three types of Dhvani namely VastuDhvani, Alamkaaradhvani and Rasadhvani. He mentions that Anandaa is got by Rasadhvani only.

6th Kaarikaa

[Side Note: Staayi Bhaava is the inherent feeling. Rasaa gets generated based on this inherent Staayi Bhaava. For example, Kalidasa lead a comfortable life under the patronage of the kings and so his poems are more romantic]

सरस्वती स्वादु तत्+अर्थ+वस्तु निःष्यन्दमाना महतां कवीनाम् |

अलोक+सामान्यम्+अभिव्यनक्ति परिस्फुरन्तम् प्रतिभा+विशेषम् || ६ ||

वस्तु तत्त्वम् = इति वृत्तम् theme; निःष्यन्दमाना = dripping; महतां कवीनाम् = great poet’s; सरस्वती = भरति, वाक्, speech; अलोक-सामान्यम् = = not ordinary, extra-ordinary; प्रतिभा+विशेषम्  = the speciality of creativity; परिस्फुरन्तम् = flashing; अभिव्यनक्ति = expresses;

This is a scale of measurement to measure the greatness of the poets – that it should bring forth the genius in them.

The speech of the celebrated poets revealing a theme infused with suggestion would certainly bring forth the striking and inspiring extra-ordinary genius in them and the same is uncommon yet brilliant (6).

तत् वस्तुतत्त्वं निःष्यन्दमाना महतां कवीनां भारती अलोकसामान्यं प्रतिभाविशेषं  परिस्फुरन्तमभिव्यनक्ति | येनास्मिन्नतिविचित्रकवि- परम्परावाहिनि संसारे कालिदासप्रभृतयो द्वित्राः पञ्चषा वा महाकवय इति गण्यन्ते |

The speech (भारती) of the celebrated poets (महतां कवीनां) manifests such subjects which are replete or brimming (निःष्यन्दमाना) with the said meaning (तत् वस्तुतत्त्वं) and brings out vividly the special genius in them. Hence it is held that there have been countless number of poets who have contributed and are yet contributing to enrich the poetic world. Still only two or three or at the most five or six among them such as Kalidaasa are counted upon as celebrated poets (महाकवय).

[Side note: Great poets were being counted. The last finger was counted for Kalidasa. For the next ring finger, a poet equal to Kalidasa could not be found and hence it was named Anaamikaa].

7th Kaarikaa

इदं च अपरं प्रतीयमानस्य अर्थस्य सद्भावसाधनं प्रमाणम् |

प्रतीयमान अर्थ = Dhvani Artha or suggested meaning.

There is another proof for establising the prevelence and significance of the suggested meaning.

शब्दार्थशासनज्ञानमात्रेणैव न वेद्यते |

वेद्यते स तु काव्यार्थतत्त्वज्ञैरेव केवलम् || ७ ||

शब्दार्थ+शासन+ज्ञान+मात्रेण एव न वेद्यते |

वेद्यते स: तु काव्यार्थ+तत्त्वज्ञै: एव केवलम् || ७ ||

शासन = rule;  This greatness cannot be achieved by merely learning the ordained word meanings. This capacity of identifying great poems is only present in those who know the Kavyaartha Tattvam.

That meaning cannot be comprehended by the mere knowledge of the rules of grammar (word and sense) but can be realised only by those who have understood the real significance of poetry. (7)

8th Kaarikaa

सोऽर्थस्तद्व्यक्तिसामर्थ्ययोगी शब्दश्च कश्चन |

यत्नतः प्रत्यभिज्ञेयौ तौ शब्दार्थौ महाकवेः || ८ ||

स: अर्थ: तत् व्यक्ति+सामर्थ्य+योगी शब्द: च कश्चन |

यत्नतः प्रत्यभिज्ञेयौ तौ शब्दार्थौ महाकवेः || ८ ||

That sense and that uncommon word which has the potency of conveying it, only those two should be marked carefully by the celebrated poets.

व्यङ्ग्य: अर्थ: तत् व्यक्ति+सामर्थ्य+योगी शब्दश्च कश्चन |  न शब्द- मात्रम् | तावेव शब्दार्थौ महाकवेः प्रत्यभिज्ञेयौ | व्यङ्ग्यव्यञ्ज-काभ्यामेव सुप्रयुक्ताभ्यां महाकवित्वलाभो महाकवीनां, न वाच्यवाचकरचनामात्रेण |

व्यङ्ग्य: अर्थ: = तत् व्यक्ति; व्युत्पत्ति = vocabulary; व्युत्पन्न: = one who has rich vocabulary;  सामर्थ्य योगी = good poet, श्रेष्ठ कवि: ;

A good poet would know in which place, in which intensity, which word has to be used to get the suggested meaning or vyangyaartha. The poet has to have a good vocabulary so that he can choose the most apt term for the situation. So Vaachyaartha is a basic necessity to produce Vengyaartha.

[Side note: In Kalidaasaa’s Megha Doota, when the cloud (megha) has to convey the message of the Yaksha to the Yakshini, it addresses her as “Hey! अविधवे (Not a widow)”.   The Yakshin was worried about the welfare of her husband. So, the cloud wants to convey first that he is alive and that she is not a widow. This news gives her maximum relief and gets her to listen to the messager with interest].

9th Kaarikaa

आलोकार्थी यथा दीपशिखायां यत्नवाञ्जनः |

तदुपायतया तद्वदर्थे वाच्ये तदादृतः || ९ ||

आलोक+अर्थी यथा दीप+शिखायां यत्नवान्+जनः |

तत्+उपायतया तद्वदर्थे वाच्ये तदादृतः || ९ ||

आलोक = to see, अवलोक;

In the same manner as a man intent upon seeing an object in darkness, puts forth his efforts towards fetching a lamp owing to its being a means to realise his goal (of seeing the object) one who is very much interested in the suggested meaning would at the outset direct his effort towards (understanding) the conventional meaning. (9)


When there is darkness, one tries to bring the light (दीप+शिखा). Only when the light is brought, the darkness can be dispelled. Only when the dictionary meaning is known (vaakyaartha), the vengyaartha can be used. The knowledge of the word is very important.

10th Kaarikaa

यथा पदार्थद्वारेण वाक्यार्थः सम्प्रतीयते |

वाच्यार्थपूर्विका तद्वत्प्रतिपत्तस्य वस्तुनः || १० ||

Just as the full meaning of a sentence can become grasped through the meaning of individual words, the kknowledge of that suggested meaning can be comprehended only through the medium of the expressed meaning. (10)


Word meaning helps to understand the sentence meaning. But once the sentence is framed, the word-meaning looses its significance. This is like the final dish having a taste of its own which is different from the ingredients though the taste is arrived due to the ingredients only. Also depending on the context the appropriate meaning has to be taken. For example, saindavam सैन्धवं could mean salt or horse.

If so much importance is to be given for the Vaachyaartha or word-import, the question arises whether the other suggested meaning is important. Anandavardhana clarifies that though the word-import is important, ultimately the suggested meaning is only more important than it.

11th Kaarikaa

स्व+सामर्थ्य+वशेन+एव वाक्यार्थं प्रतिपादयन् |

यथा व्यापारनिष्पत्तौ पदार्थो न विभाव्यते || ११ ||

Though by its own potency (स्व+सामर्थ्य+वशेन+एव), the word-import (वाक्यार्थं) becomes responsible for the sentence-import and just as it disappears when once its purpose is served. (व्यापारनिष्पत्तौ) (11)


Rasa is the feeling that is remains in the audience even after the theatre and the story is forgotten.

12th Kaarikaa

तद्वत्सचेतसां स: अर्थ: वाच्यार्थ+विमुखात्मनाम् |

बुद्धौ तत्त्वार्थ+दर्शिन्यां झटिति+एव+अवभासते || १२ ||

So also the suggested meaning flashes across the connoisseurs’ mind when they turn away from the conventional meaning.

The meaning (स: अर्थ:) flashes (अवभासते) in the mind (बुद्धौ) of the connoisseurs (तत्त्वार्थदर्शिनी), the very moment itself (झटिति+एव).

13th Kaarikaa (Important to be memorised)

यत्रार्थः शब्दो वा तमर्थमुपसर्जनीकृतस्वार्थौ .

व्यङ्क्तः काव्यविशेषः स ध्वनिरिति सूरिभिः कथितः .. १३..

यत्र+अर्थः शब्द:+वा तम्+अर्थम्+उपसर्जनी+कृतस्वार्थौ |

व्यङ्क्तः काव्य+विशेषः स: ध्वनि:+इति सूरिभिः कथितः || १३ ||


The conventional word शब्द: and the conventional meaning अर्थः   (स्व+अर्थौ =  स्व + शब्द: + अर्थः) are abandoned उपसर्जनी+कृत |  अर्थः शब्द: वा व्यङ्क्तः | They become suggested word or meaning. व्यङ्क्तः = प्रतीयमान: अर्थ: भवति | That is a speciality of the poem called Dhvani.
That kind of poetry in which the conventional meaning or the conventional word renders its meaning sub-ordinate and suggests the intended or implied meaning, is termed “Dhvani” or “suggestive poetry” by the learned people.

[Side Note: Important verse defining Dhvani]

All the parafernalia are forgotten like the theater or the actors. But the Rasa remains. In the same way, the word-meanings are forgotten but the suggested meaning remains. That vyangyaartha is Dhvani. There are vastu dhvani, alamkara dhvani and rasa dhvani. Kavyasya aatmaa is this rasa dhvani only.

परिकरश्लोकाश्चात्र: – (Supporting stanzas or reminding verse)
(सिद्धान्तस्य अनुकरणार्थं नूतन श्लोकस्य आवृत्ति: )

व्यङ्ग्य+व्यञ्जक+सम्बन्ध+निबन्धनतया ध्वनेः |

वाच्य+वाचक+चारुत्व+हेतु+अन्तःपातिता कुतः ||

Suggestion ध्वनेः, is governed (निबन्धनतया) by the relation (सम्बन्ध) between the suggested (व्यङ्ग्य) and the suggester (व्यञ्जक). How (कुतः) can it be included (अन्तःपातिता) in the source (हेतु) of beauty (चारुत्व) found in the expressed (वाचक) and the expression (वाच्य)?


There is a relationship (सम्बन्ध) between the suggester or the word (व्यञ्जक) and the suggested meaning (व्यङ्ग्य – य: प्रतीयमान: अर्थ: ध्वनित:). वाचक is the word, say the word “पुस्तकम्” | वाच्यार्थ is the dictionary meaning. In samaasokti, the vaachyaartha is only important and not vyangyaartha. There Dhvani is not present.

There are other entities like samaasaas also which give a different meaning. The question arises whether Dhvani can be considered to be subsumed in those alankaaraas where there is an element of suggested meaning. In the Lochana, Abhinava Gupta question how that can be included and refutes it. He differentiates the suggested meaning from these other entities that provide an enhanced meaning over the basic meaning of the words. In Gangaayaam Goshah, the vaakyaartha of Ganga still has its importance. Only when the word-meaning disappears and a suggested meaning stays, it is considered as Dhvani. Nevertheless, in all the uttama alamkaaras, Dhvani could be present, where the primary meaning is not considered.

Anandavardhana authoritatively declares that suggestion becomes possible only when the suggested element is absolutely prominent.

समासोक्तौ तावत् – – –

उपोढरागेण विलोलतारकं तथा गृहीतं शशिना निशामुखम् |

यथा समस्तं तिमिरांशुकं तया पुरोऽपि रागाद्गलितं न लक्षितम् ||

The twilight with twinkling stars became brightened by the moon glowing red suddenly so that the whole mass of darkness vanishing in the east due to brightness was not noticed at all.

The earlier alamkaarikas (पूर्वपक्षा) have already told about samasokthi which also includes some inherent meaning. Isn’t that Dhvani? What is new about it now? – asks the earlier alamkaarikas. Anandavardhana clarifies that these are not Dhvani as the moola shabda and moola artha is still present. There should not be importance for the Vaachya and Vaachaka. There should be importance only for Vyanjyaka and vyangya. Suggestion is possible only when the suggested element is absolutely prominent. This is not so in Samaasokti (condensed metaphor) and the like.

अनुरागवती सन्ध्या दिवसस्तत्पुरस्सरः |

अहो दैवगतिः कीदृक्तथापि न समागमः ||

Twilight (सन्ध्या) is full of love (अनुरागवती) and the day  (दिवस:)  follows (तत्पुरस्सरः) her face to face.  Alas! (अहो)  What is ordained (कीदृक्तथापि) by decree of fate (दैवगतिः) is that they never () meet (समागमः) ! 

Notes from the class on 22-7-2015:

We will see the concepts (परिकल्पनानि) that are needed to understand Dhvani.

Vaachyaartha – Dictionary Meaning

Shakti has many synonyms. Koshaarthah, Vaachyah, Vaachyaartha, शक्यार्थ, mukhyaartha, Abhidaa vruttihi, Abhidaa vyaapaarah, Sanketaartha.  Abhidhaa (अभिधा) vyaapaarah – kasmaat vyaapaarat koshartam avagantum shakyate asmaabhihi;  वृत्ति = vyaapaarah means function or activity. We all understand the word Pustakam to mean a book. So this term is Koshaartha. Abhidaa vyaapaara, Lakshanaa vyaapaara and vyanjanaa vyaapaara are the 3 vyaapaaras. पदपदार्थयो: संबन्ध: वृत्ति: |

Lakshyaartha Secondary Meaning

Why do we need Lakshanaa vyaapaara? मुख्यार्थस्य बाध: एव लक्षण व्यापारस्य आधारः | Lakshanaa obstructs the mukhyaartha. बाध:  means to reject or not accept. So we go to the indicatory or suppressed meaning. Eg. Gangaayaam gosha – Here the expressed meaning is not acceptable, so the indicatory meaning is taken. गूढं सत् चमत्करोति |  To enhance the beauty of the poem, such indicatory meanings are used. These latent / hidden / suppressed / indicatory (goodam) meanings cause fascination and excitement. There is always a relationship (संबन्धः) between the mukhyaartha and the suppressed meaning.

Dhvani or व्यङ्गार्थ – Suggestion

How is व्यङ्गार्थ different from this suppressed meaning? For dhvani, there are no conditions like it should obstruct or have a relationship with the original meaning. The characteristics of Dhvani are described later. To arrive at the suggested meaning, the characters and the context are important. Anandavardhana is referred to as Dhvanikaarah. He tells again and again that Dhvani is the Pratiyamaanaartha, the meaning that flashes in the mind. मनसि प्रकाशते | मनसि उद्बव: भवति | When the mother tells a boy going to the movie, “Go, Go!”, based on the context, it could have the opposite meaning of “Don’t go!”. So, here, it is neither the dictionary meaning nor a suppressed meaning. Here it is the suggested meaning. This is an example of Vastu Dhvani. The 3 types are Vastu Dhvani, Alamkaara Dhvani and Rasa Dhvani. The most superior amongst these is the Rasa Dhvani.

अनुबन्ध चतुष्टय:

It is a well established practice while writing a treatise to develop on four aspects namely subject matter, relationship, utility and the recipient together called technically Anubhanda Chatrustayam. Here the subject matter is to bring home the fact that the quintessence of poetry, the soul of poetry is suggestion (Dhvani). The relationship that subseves between the subject matter and the present treatise is that this is the only work which has established its view point namely, काव्यतत्त्व (Suggestion). Its utility is only to present the view point so as to discipline the mind of the poets and the critics as well since both have similar disposition – नायकस्य कवे: श्रोतु: समान: अनुभवस्तत: | says Bhattatauta, the teacher of Abhinavagupta, in viewing or appreciating a literary composition. The recicpients of the ideas presented in the work are those persons talented in writing poetry and the sympathetic or refined critics (सहृदया:)

Anubhanda = related to Bhanda; Bhanda = prabhanda = granta.  There are 4 things that the author should consider before writing a granta.  Vishayah, sambhandah, prayojanam and adhikaari are the 4 aspects.

Vishayah in this work is Dhvani. Sambhandah or relationship is pratipaadya and pratipaadaka (saahityam), for all shastra grantas. Prayojanam is the knowledge of the vishaya by the sahrudayas.  Adhikaaris are those who are interested in this knowledge.

Usually the author covers these 4 things in the mangala shloka itself. (We have come across it last year in Tarka Sangraha).

अनुबन्ध चतुष्टय:

विषय:  — ध्वनिस्वरूपस्य निरूपणम् | विषयस्य उल्लेखं (description) प्रधानम् |  There was an argument that the earlier poets have not spoken about Dhvani and so it does not exist. So, there is a need to prove that earlier poets have mentioned about Dhvani. “काव्यस्य आत्मा ध्वनि: इति  बुधै: आम्नातपूर्व: |” आम्नात = indicated or referred to.

“अत: ब्रूमः  सहृदयमनःप्रीतये तत्स्वरूपम् |”

प्रयोजनम् – तत् ज्ञानस्य प्रयोजनत्वम् | सहृदयेभ्य: ध्वने: स्वरूपस्य ज्ञानम् | What is the use of the knowledge of Dhvani in our lives? प्रयोजन्स्य प्रयोजनं सहृदयमनस्तोष: | काव्ये तु आनन्द: प्रधान-प्रयोजनम् | Gnaana is moksha.

संबन्धः – सिद्धान्त ग्रन्तेषु प्रतिपाद्य-प्रतिपादक-भाव: संबन्ध:  | सिद्धान्त: (conclusion or doctrine or theory).  प्रतिपाद्य – that which needs to be proved. प्रतिपादक – one who is proving it.

अधिकारी – सहृदयानां काव्य-रसिकानां तत् जिज्ञासूनां अधिकारित्वं | Those who want to learn are the adhikaaris. शिष्य शिक्षार्थं मङ्गलम् | This is told by  Anandavardhana himself. Once the student understands it, the work is considered to be good.

13th Kaarikaa (Important to be memorised)

यत्र+अर्थः शब्द:+वा तम्+अर्थम्+उपसर्जनी+कृत+स्व+अर्थौ |
व्यङ्क्तः काव्य+विशेषः स: ध्वनि:+इति सूरिभिः कथितः || १३ ||

Refer notes given earlier.

मा निषाद example is taken by Anandavardhana to prove that this Dhavani aspect is recognized by the earlier poets also. For that he takes the example of Aadikavi Valmiki’s lakshya granta, Raamaayanam. All that Sita wanted was that she should always be with Raama. The shoka staayibhaava is present in Valmiki. The shoka took the form of a shloka. Karuna rasa is predominant in that. He was impacted by the suffering of the women separated from their husbands – wives of Dasaratha, Tara, Mandodari and Sita. Anandavardhana says that the predominant (angi – pradhaana) rasa is Karuna. The other rasas are only secondary (anga – apradhaana) rasa. Refer notes given earlier.

[Side note: पतनात् त्रायते इति पत्नी | Mandodari advices Ravana. She praises Rama in four slokas after the death of Ravana – Mandodari chatushloki.  All men and women are considered as women and only the supreme god is considered as the single male. In Brindavan also, Krishna is considered as the supreme husband. Other relationships are considered only as being secondary.  A man’s support might be required for companionship or for getting progeny प्रजायै कन्यां दास्यामि | For other daanaas except kanyaa daanaa, they say “तवेदं न मम |” Vivekananda says that a new Smriti work has to be created for the modern men and women].

व्यङ्ग्यव्यञ्जकसम्बन्धनिबन्धनतया ध्वनेः |

वाच्यवाचकचारुत्वहेत्वन्तःपातिता कुतः ||

Refer the earlier class’s notes.
व्यङ्ग्यस्य यत्राप्राधान्यं वाच्यमात्रानुयायिनः |
समासोक्त्यादयस्तत्र वाच्यालङ्कृतयः स्फुटाः ||

व्यङ्ग्यस्य यत्र + अप्राधान्यं वाच्य+मात्र+अनुयायिनः |
समासोक्ति आदय: तत्र वाच्य+अलङ्कृतयः स्फुटाः ||
If we notice that the suggested meaning is not important (व्यङ्ग्यस्य यत्र + अप्राधान्यं) and remains secondary (अनुयायिनः) to the expressed (वाच्य+मात्र), we should understand that such examples are only to be reckoned (स्फुटाः) as figure of speech (वाच्य+अलङ्कृतयः) like Samaasokti (समासोक्ति आदय: ).

व्यङ्ग्यस्य प्रतिभामात्रे वाच्यार्थानुगमेऽपि वा |
न ध्वनिर्यत्र वा तस्य प्राधान्यं न प्रतीयते ||

व्यङ्ग्यस्य प्रतिभा+मात्रे वाच्यार्थ+अनुगमे+अपि वा |
न ध्वनि:+यत्र वा तस्य प्राधान्यं न प्रतीयते ||

If in places we have a glimpse of the suggested (व्यङ्ग्यस्य प्रतिभा+मात्रे), or the suggested remaining a second fiddle to the expressed meaning (वाच्यार्थ+अनुगमे+अपि वा), or if its primary significance cannot be easily experienced (यत्र वा तस्य प्राधान्यं न प्रतीयते), it should not be deemed suggestive poetry (न ध्वनि:).


The relation to the expressed meaning has to be given up for Dhvani.
तत्परावेव शब्दार्थौ यत्र व्यङ्ग्यं प्रति स्थितौ |
ध्वनेः स एव विषयो मन्तव्यः संकरोज्झितः ||

तत् +परौ+एव शब्द+अर्थौ यत्र व्यङ्ग्यं प्रति स्थितौ |
ध्वनेः स: एव विषय: मन्तव्यः संकर+उज्झितः ||

If we come to know that both the word and meaning (तत् +परौ+एव शब्द+अर्थौ) are in the main devoted to suggest (यत्र व्यङ्ग्यं प्रति स्थितौ), such examples should be considered as genuine instances of suggestive poetry (स: एव ध्वनेः विषय: मन्तव्यः) with all certainty (free from confusion – संकर+उज्झितः )  

यत्र = यस्मिन् काव्ये | ध्वनि: सर्वतन्त्र स्वतन्त्र: | There are no rules with respect to Dhvani. For lakshnaartha, there is a rule that there has to be some relationship to the vaachyaartha. It abandons all types of connections – संकर+उज्झितः | Dhvani need not have any connection with vaachyaartha.

There are 3 types of meaning. The first one is the pradhaanarthaa, mukhyaartha is the vaakyaartha, which is the koshaartha. The second one is the lakshnaartha where there is an objection to the mukhyaartha. Dhvani is based only on shabda and artha. It has no relationship with the Vaachyaartha, the expressed meaning and the lakshyaartha, the indicatory meaning. It can mean anything. It depends on the prathibha or talent of the poet. The sahrudayaas get into the raptours joy.

Rasa dhvani is only considered as the soul of poetry. The vastu dhvani and alamkaara dhvani are not considered to be the soul of poetry.

13th Kaarikaa continued with an example


Dhvani is classified into two, namely अविवक्षितवाच्य (unintended literal import) and विवक्षितान्यपरवाच्य (intended but further extending literal import). This is an example of avivakshitavaachya.


सुवर्णपुष्पां पृथिवीं चिन्वन्ति पुरुषास्त्रयः |
शूरश्च कृतविद्यश्च यश्च जानाति सेवितुम् ||

सुवर्ण+पुष्पां पृथिवीं चिन्वन्ति पुरुषा: त्रयः |
शूर: च कृतविद्य: च य: च जानाति सेवितुम् ||
Three men will collect flowers of gold out of the earth – the courageous, the learned and he who knows how to serve.

There are plenty of golden flowers in this world. Only 3 types of people can gather it – namely warriors (valorous in battle), Scholar (one who has mastered any vidhya) and people who know how to serve.  Suvarna pushpam = uttama jeevanam

14th Kaarikaa

Bhaaktaah = Laakshanikaah; Mahimabhatta’s work is called Vyakti Vivekah. He is a Taarkikah. He says that Anumaanam eva Dhvanihi. Anumaana pramaana is the proof by inference where the tattva is proved using the five limbed sentences – Pancha avayava vaakyaani.  Parvatho vanhimaan dhoomah – A person sees the smoke and concludes about the fire. In same way, Dhvani is also anumaanam says the Laakshanikaah.
[Side Note: An example of the five constituents of inference follows:

  1. Pratijna – There is fire on the hill.
  2. Hetu – Because (on the hill) there is smoke.
  3. Drstanta – Where there is smoke there is fire, as in the stove.
  4. Upanaya – There is smoke on this hill.
  5. Nigamana – Hence, there is fire on this hill]भक्त्या बिभर्ति नैकत्वम् रूपभेदादयं ध्वनिः || १४ A||
    भक्त्या बिभर्ति न+एकत्वम् रूपभेदात्+अयं ध्वनिः |
    Suggestion and secondary signification are not one and the same because of the innate difference between the two.


अयमुक्तप्रकारो ध्वनिर्भक्त्या नैकत्वं बिभर्ति भिन्नरूपत्वात् |

अयं उक्तप्रकार: ध्वनि: भक्त्या एकत्वम् न बिभर्ति भिन्नरूपत्वात् |
Suggestion which is explained previously cannot be considered identical with secondary significantion (bhakti) or logical implication since their nature is different.


बिभर्ति = भवति | भक्त्या = laakshaneekarthena; Among the three functions of the word, the second function is called Lakshana Vyaapaara or Bhakti. Believers of Bhakti are Bhaktaas. Suggestion and Bhakti are different since their forms are different (roopa bheda).

वाच्यव्यतिरिक्तस्यार्थस्य वाच्यवाचकाभ्यां तात्पर्येण प्रकाशनं यत्र व्यङ्ग्यप्राधान्ये स ध्वनिः | उपचारमात्रं तु भक्तिः |

वाच्य+व्यतिरिक्तस्य+अर्थस्य वाच्य+वाचकाभ्यां तात्पर्येण प्रकाशनं यत्र व्यङ्ग्य+प्राधान्ये स: ध्वनिः |

That sense in which there is the manifestation of a meaning other than the conventional through the expression and the conventional sense and in which the suggested meaning is much more preminent than the conventional, is to be deemed Dhvani. Bhakti has only secondary signification or metaphorical significance (उपचरितवृत्ति:)

भक्ति: वाच्यात् अतिरिक्तं न | वाच्य संबन्धेन एव वाच्यार्थ: भवति | Dhvani has a meaning that is over an above the vaachyaartha. The relationship between Dhvani and vaachaka is that of meaning and the word (वाच्य वाचक संबन्धः) वाचका = शब्द: = word | वाच्या = अर्थ: = meaning | The relationship happens due to some taatparya. It explains how bhakti is different from Dhvani.

अतिव्याप्तेरथाव्याप्तेर्न चासौ लक्ष्यते तया || १४ B||

अतिव्याप्ते:+अथ+अव्याप्ते: न चासौ लक्ष्यते तया

If that is considered identical with suggestion, it commits the fallacies of “too wide” a definition and “too narrow” a definition.

नैव भक्त्या ध्वनिर्लक्ष्यते | कथम् ? अतिव्याप्तेरव्याप्तेश्च |

न एव भक्त्या ध्वनि: लक्ष्यते | कथम् ? अतिव्याप्ते: अव्याप्ते: च |

Suggestion cannot be determined by indication (bhakti). Because it would involve too wide a definition and too narrow a definition.

If we consider Bhakti to be Dhvani, there will be two faults namely athivyaapti or too wide definition and avyaapti or too narrow definition.

तत्रातिव्याप्तिर्ध्वनिव्यतिरिक्तेऽपि विषये भक्तेः सम्भवात् |

तत्र+अतिव्याप्ति+र्ध्वनिव्यतिरिक्ते+अपि विषये भक्तेः सम्भवात् |

The first one occurs because indication can afford to exist in such instances and are free from suggestion.


In some of the lakshyaarthas, Dhvani could also occur. But not all. So it becomes too-wide a definition. Over-extensiveness.

यत्र हि व्यङ्ग्यकृतं महत्सौष्ठवं नास्ति तत्राप्युपचरितशब्दवृत्त्या प्रसिद्ध्यनुरोधप्रवर्तितव्यवहाराः कवयो दृश्यन्ते

When no special charm could be experienced due to the presence of situation, metaphorical indications will be used by poets following the established convention.


There are cases where Dhvani occurs even in the absence of Bhakti. There it becomes avyaapti to say that Dhvani is only bhakti.

परार्थे यः पीडामनुभवति भङ्गेऽपि मधुरो

यदीयः सर्वेषामिह खलु विकारोऽप्यभिमतः |

न सम्प्राप्तो वृद्धिं यदि स भृशमक्षेत्रपतितः

किमिक्षोर्दोषोऽसौ न पुनरगुणाया मरुभुवः ||
परार्थे यः पीडाम्+अनुभवति भङ्गे+अपि मधुर:

यदीयः सर्वेषाम्+इह खलु विकार:+अप्यभिमतः |

न सम्प्राप्त: वृद्धिं यदि स: भृशम्+अक्षेत्रपतितः

किम्+इक्षोर्दोष:+असौ न पुन:+अगुणाया मरुभुवः ||

If that which experiences pain for the sake of others (परार्थे यः पीडाम्+अनुभवति) and yet remains sweet even when split (मधुर: भङ्गे+अपि), if that whose manifold deformities (विकार:)  too are deemed to be pleasing (अप्यभिमतः), falls in a barren region (भृशम्+अक्षेत्रपतितः)  and fails to grow (न सम्प्राप्त: वृद्धिं यदि स:), could it be the default of the sugar cane (किम्+इक्षोर्दोष:) and not at all (न पुन:) of the useless (अगुणाया) desert (मरुभुवः)?

This is only indication and not Dhvani.

15th Kaarikaa

उक्त्यन्तरेणाशक्यं यत्तच्चारुत्वं प्रकाशयन् |

शब्दो व्यञ्जकतां बिभ्रद् ध्वन्युक्तेर्विषयीभवेत् || १५ ||
उक्ति +अन्तरेण+अशक्यं यत्+तत्+चारुत्वं प्रकाशयन् |

शब्द: व्यञ्जकतां बिभ्रद् ध्वनि+उक्ते: विषयी+भवेत् || १५ ||

<Meaning> … replete with the suggestive potency, becomes worthy enough to be designated as “suggestive”.


Having stated that Dhvani is different from Bhakti, now Anandavardhana explains about Dhvani.  When the word gives a meaning that is different from the vaachyaartha, then it is Dhvani.

लक्ष्यम् = padyaas that are given as examples, लक्षणम् = definition.  There were लक्ष्यम् or examples given for cases where Bhakti is not Dhvani.

16th Kaarikaa

रूढा ये विषयेऽन्यत्र शब्दाः स्वविषयादपि |

लावण्याद्याः प्रयुक्तास्ते न भवन्ति पदं ध्वनेः || १६||

रूढा ये विषये+अन्यत्र शब्दाः स्व+विषयात्+अपि |

लावण्याद्याः प्रयुक्ता:+ते न भवन्ति पदं ध्वनेः || १६||

Words which signify conventional meanings other than what they primarily denote, as for example, the word “Laavanya” do not at all become the explaes of suggestion. (16)

तेषु चोपचरितशब्दवृत्तिरस्तीति |

तेषु च+उपचरित+शब्द+वृत्ति:+अस्ति+इति |

उपचरित = explained. वृत्ति: – it is the relationship of the word with the meaning.

In such words there will be metaphorical application (पचरित+शब्द+वृत्तिJ Even in case there is a possibility of suggestion in such instances, it would be on a different criterion.

Everyone knows the meaning of Laavanya or Charming. So it cannot become Dhvani as it has a prashiddha artha.

17th Kaarikaa

मुख्यां वृत्तिं परित्यज्य गुणवृत्त्याऽर्थदर्शनम् |

यदुद्दिश्य फलं तत्र शब्दो नैव स्खलद्गतिः || १७ ||

मुख्यां वृत्तिं परित्यज्य गुण+वृत्त्या+अर्थ+दर्शनम् |

यत्+उद्दिश्य फलं तत्र शब्द: न+एव स्खलद्गतिः || १७ ||

If a word gives up its primary denotative potency (मुख्यां वृत्तिं परित्यज्य) and is understood in its secondary sense (गुण+वृत्त्या+र्थ+दर्शनम्), it is with a definite purpose (त्+उद्दिश्य फलं). In conveying this purpose, the word does not move falteringly as it moves when it indicates a secondary meaning (तत्र शब्द:+एव स्खलद्गतिः.)

Vrutti is the relationship between the word and the meaning. There are 3 vrutti. Abhida vruttihi, lakshanaa vruttihi, vyanjanaa vruttihi. Vrutti is the vyaapaara or function.

Abhida vruttihi = मुख्यां वृत्तिं, परित्यज्य – it has to be abandoned. lakshanaa vruttihi = गौणवृत्ति = secondary meaning = indicatory meaning = lakshyaartha = gauNaartha.

The purpose is to communicate a meaning full of charm, for resorting to a secondary meaning. If the word is capable of achieving this purpose in a secondary way, then … <meaning>

18th Kaarikaa

वाचकत्वाश्रयेणैव गुणवृत्तिर्व्यवस्थिता |

व्यञ्जकत्वैकमूलस्य ध्वनेः स्याल्लक्षणं कथम् || १८ ||

वाचकत्व+आश्रयेण+एव गुणवृत्ति:+व्यवस्थिता |

व्यञ्जकत्व+एक+मूलस्य ध्वनेः स्यात्+लक्षणं कथम्

In reality, indication is based on (गुणवृत्ति:+व्यवस्थिता) the primary denotative potency of words (वाचकत्व+श्रयेण+एव). How can it afford to be a definition of suggestion (ध्वनेः क्षणं कथम् स्यात् ) whose sole basis is suggestivity (व्यञ्जकत्व+ए+मूलस्य)? (18)

For gaunaartha, it is very important to have association with the primary meaning. For Dhvani, the property of suggesting some meaning is the basis. The property of indicating is the basis of Gauna Vritti. How can they be the same?

19th Kaarikaa

कस्यचिद् ध्वनिभेदस्य सा तु स्यादुपलक्षणम् || १९ A||

कस्यचिद् ध्वनि+भेदस्य सा तु स्यात्+उपलक्षणम् |

सा तु कस्यचित् ध्वनिभेदस्य उपलक्षणम्  स्यात् |

At best, it could be included under one of the sub-divisions of suggestion.

i.e., In some cases, it is possible for this to be Dhvani also.


लक्षणेऽन्यैः कृते चास्य पक्षसंसिद्धिरेव नः || १९  B||

लक्षणेन+अन्यैः कृते च + अस्य पक्षसंसिद्धि: एव नः || १९ ||

If any one is to argue that the definition of suggestion has already been provided by others (लक्षणेन+अन्यैः कृते), it would prove our stand only (अस्य नः पक्षसंसिद्धि: एव).

Some abhaavavaadis say that Dhvani is a new concept. So we cannot accept it. When they accept that sometimes Dhvani can be present in cases of indicatory meaning, then that means that they have accepted Dhvani. लक्षणेन+अन्यैः कृते – if you accept the existence of something else other than lakshna, then the existence of Dhvani is already proved.

ध्वन्यलोक २

2.1st Karika

In the first chapter itself, the lakshananikaas arguments were refuted. There were 3 abhaavavaadi’s propositions that were refuted. Then the form of Dhvani was explained.

Dhvani is classified into two, namely अविवक्षितवाच्य (unintended literal import) and विवक्षितान्यपरवाच्य (intended but further extending literal import). In the second chapter, the अविवक्षितवाच्य is discussed. विवक्षितान्यपरवाच्य was discussed.

अर्थान्तरे सङ्क्रमितमत्यन्तं वा तिरस्कृतम् |

अविवक्षितवाच्यस्य ध्वनेर्वाच्यं द्विधा मतम् || १||

अर्थ+अन्तरे सङ्क्रमितम्+अत्यन्तं वा तिरस्कृतम् |

अविवक्षितवाच्यस्य ध्वने:+ वाच्यं द्विधा मतम् || १||

The expressed meaning in the former variety i.e., अविवक्षितवाच्य is sub-divided into two, namely, अर्थान्तरसंक्रमित (transformed into some other sense) and अत्यन्ततिरस्कृत (totally discarded).

अर्थ+अन्तरे = अन्य: अर्थ: ; सङ्क्रमित – to move (to a different meaning) = गमनं कृतम्;  अत्यन्त = संपूर्णतया ; तिरस्कृतम् –discarded; ध्वने:+ वाच्यं = The Dhvani’s meaning could be either to transform to another sense or to totally discard it.

स्निग्धश्यामलकान्तिलिप्तवियतो वेल्लद्बलाका घना

वाताः शीकरिणः पयोदसुहृदामानन्दकेकाः कलाः |

कामं सन्तु दृढं कठोरहृदयो रामोऽस्मि सर्वं सहे

वैदेही तु कथम् भविश्यति हहा हा देवि धीरा भव ||

स्निग्ध+श्यामल+कान्ति+लिप्त+वियतो वेल्लद्+बलाका घना

वाताः शीकरिणः पयोद+सुहृदाम+आनन्द+केकाः कलाः |

कामं सन्तु दृढं कठोर+हृदय:+ राम:+अस्मि सर्वं सहे

वैदेही तु कथम् भविश्यति हहा हा देवि धीरा भव ||

The quarters are all painted as it was with the glistening dark clouds; the cranes are flying with excitement, forming a circle as it were. The gentle wind is full of moisture; these friends of clouds, i.e., the peococks are giving out joyous notes in the wind. Let all these confront me. I shall certainly put up with all these, for, I am Rama whose heart is quite hard as adamantine (made of very hard material). But how will Sita bear with this! Alas! Alas! O my beloved queen!  Bear these with all fortitude (courage).

The word Rama does not refer merely to the individual having that proper name but conveys the sense of a being who has braved many odds in life, by the potency of suggestion. कठोरहृदय: राम: | The dhvani is that Rama conveys that he is not a hard-hearted fellow. Just as it is affecting her, it is affecting him also. He is also affected and he is missing her.

तदा जायन्ते गुणा यदा ते सहृदयैर्गृह्यन्ते |

रविकिरणानुगृहीतानि भवन्ति कमलानि कमलानि ||

तदा जायन्ते गुणा यदा ते सहृदयै: + गृह्यन्ते |

रवि+किरण+अनुगृहीतानि भवन्ति कमलानि कमलानि ||

Merits do become merits where refined critics consider them so. Lotuses will be lotus as only when the rays of sun shelter them.

This is from Anandavardhana’s Visamsbaanalitaa. Only when you recognize it, you can reap the benefits. Here the second “Lotuses” is suggestive example of expressed meaning totally discarded. The second time usage of lotus could mean different things like the abode of Lakshmi, sakala soundarya aakara, sun’s friend, etc. The lotus grabs the opportunity and blooms. Same way people have to grab the opportunity. The second usage of lotus is the अर्थान्तरसङ्क्रमितवाच्या.

रविसङ्क्रान्तसौभाग्यस्तुषारावृतमण्डलः |

निःश्वासान्ध इवादर्शश्चन्द्रमा न प्रकाशते ||

रवि+सङ्क्रान्त+सौभाग्य: तुषार+आवृत+मण्डलः |

निःश्वास+अन्ध: इव+आदर्श:+चन्द्रमा न प्रकाशते ||

All the charm (brightness) of the moon has gone to the sun. रवि+सङ्क्रान्त+सौभाग्य:  It has disappeared now that the orb is enveloped by snow तुषार+आवृत+मण्डलः |  Like a mirror rendered blind by the heaving निःश्वास+अन्ध: इव+आदर्श:, the moon does not glow न्द्रमा न प्रकाशते |

Here the word “blinded” is suggestive of the second variety. This is also a famous stanza from epic Raamaayana. When we breathe out air on the mirror, the mirror becomes unclear for some time and then becomes bright again. Like that, Chandra has also is not bright now, but will get the light back later on. The literal meaning here is that the mirror has become blind by the breathed out air. There is Dhvani in the shabda “andha” as it means that it is unable to reflect the image clearly. This type of Dhvani is adyanta tiraskruta vaachyaa. The literal meaning is overridden. Through similarity in not being able to reflect or see clearly, the word takes the Lakshana meaning. The conventional meaning of the word “Andha” is completely discarded.

Chandra retrieves the brightness from the sun. He becomes like the mirror that is blinded or become dulled by the vapor breathed out. But chandra comes back the next day.  It becomes a common saying applying to various situations to mean that one cannot take another person’s shakti.

गगनं च मत्तमेघं धारालुलितार्जुनानि च वनानि |

निरहङ्कारमृगाङ्का हरन्ति नीला अपि निशाः ||

The sky is enveloped with intoxicated or rolling clouds गगनं मत्तमेघं च | the Arjuna trees in the forest have water drops dripping वनानि धारालुलित+अर्जुनानि च | Nights are not bright with moon bereft of pride निशाः निरहङ्कार+मृगाङ्का: | Though black in colour, they capture you नीला अपि (मन:) हरन्ति |   
मन: is अध्याहार: (supplying the missing text).

In the kavi samayaa or the poetic convention, the sky enveloping with clouds means the time for the hero to stay at home with his wife during the rainy season.

Here the words “intoxicated” and “bereft of pride” are replete with suggestions. मत्त is incompatible in relation to clouds. Since there is some similarity with a drunkard, the word indicates the sense of clouds by Laksana. Giving rise to improper acts, loss of balance and rolling are suggested here. So also the word निरहङ्कार, takes the lakshana meaning suggesting that he is not shining, not bright with the usual pride and that he is hiding. The night is dark as a moon is not shining.


गगनं च मत्तमेघं धारालुलित+अर्जुनानि च वनानि | </**>

निरहङ्कारमृगाङ्का हरन्ति नीला अपि निशाः ||  <//**>

Refer the earlier notes.

2.2nd Karika

असंलक्ष्यक्रमोद्द्योतः क्रमेण द्योतितः परः |

विवक्षिताभिधेयस्य ध्वनेरात्मा द्विधा मतः || २||

मुख्यतया प्रकाशमानो व्यङ्ग्योऽर्थो ध्वनेरात्मा | </*>  | 2.2 + |

स च वाच्यार्थापेक्षया कश्चिदलक्ष्यक्रमतया प्रकाशते , कश्चिद्क्रमेणेति द्विधा मतः |

When the vaachyaartha is recognized and then the vyengartha is recognized, there is a kramaa or process. This is samlakshyakramaa. When at the same time vyengartha is also recognized along with the vaachyaartha, it is called asamlakshyakrama.

रसभावतदाभासतत्प्रशान्त्यादिरक्रमः |

ध्वनेरात्माङ्गिभावेन भासमानो व्यवस्थितः || 2.३ ||

रस+भाव+तदा+अभास+तत्+ प्रशान्ति+आदि:+ अक्रमः |

ध्वने:+आत्मा+ अङ्गि+भावेन भासमान: व्यवस्थितः ||

There could be rasa or bhava or or rasaabhaasa or bhaavaabhaasa. These are asamlakshyakraama. Vaachyaartha could come with any one of these. When you are impressed by the upama or some other factor rather than by its dhvani, then dhyvani is secondary or gauna. The poem is called gunibhootavyangya kaavya. Where it is primary, it is the Vyangya Kaavya.

रसादिरर्थो हि सहैव वाच्येनावभासते | </**>  | 2.3 + |

रसादि: + अर्थ: हि सहैव वाच्येन+अवभासते | </**>  | 2.3 + |

स चाङ्गित्वेनावभासमानो ध्वनेरात्मा |

स: च अङ्गित्वेन+अवभासमान: ध्वने: आत्मा |

रसादि: अर्थ: सहैव वाच्येन यत्र अवभासते स: एव ध्वनि: अन्गित्वेन दृश्यते |


The minds of the sahrudayaas do not go into the vaachyaartha. It instantaneously goes to the suggested meaning. The dhvani becomes the Angi or the prominent factor rather than being an anga or a supplementary factor. The soul of the poem is dhvani. The soul of dhvani is this characteristic where the suggested meaning flashes immediately.

To enjoy the rasa, the Vibhaavaas and the Anubhaavaas are not simply declared. Yet the reader gets to know the rasa. Similarly for Dhvani, it has to be understood by the reader and should not be explained explicitly.

Samaasokti and rasavadaadi alamkaaraa are accepted by Anandavardhana as Dhvani kaavyaas. Rasavadaalamkaaraa itself becomes Rasa Dhvani.

Vibhaavaa is the stage setup. Vibhava is a medium through which an emotion arises in an actor. These Vibhaavaas are the settings, like seasons, gardens, fragrance, moonlight, etc. Anubhava are all the physical changes arising due to the vibhavas e.g.changes in facial expression and body language, the hero looking at the heroine. Vyabhichaari bhava are the instantaneous reactions of the actors, i.e., the transient emotions eg.weeping with joy. Vyabhicharati means violating the rules and regulations. There is no stated rule as to how a certain emotion has to be expressed in Vyabhichaari bhaava. A good actor will find his own way to show that emotion. Thus there are only guidelines for Vyabhichaari bhaavas. Tarkaa is reasoning. Vitarkaa is going beyong reasoning. The actor could do something different using one’s creativity for Vyabhichaari bhaavaa. It becomes relishable.

Sakrama is doing it as per the kramaa or the order. Akrama is not following the order of vaachyaartha first and vengyaartha next. This is more relishable. The unexpected action of the actor comes out as a pleasant surprise.


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