Video – Kaavya Prakaasha – Sessions by Smt. Harini



Granthas are of two types namely lakhshiya grantha and lakshana grantha . 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 Lakhshiya 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 vishaya and it is in the form of a poem or a drama based on a theme or plot.

Kavya prakasha is a Lakshana grantha [that which explains about rules of poetry etc] written by Mammata. Starting from Bharata there have been various thinkers and writers who have propounded many theories like Rasa, Bhava, guna, Dosha, Alamkara etc. while authors like Bhamaha, Dandin, Udbhata and Rudrata focused on Alamkara, Vamana emphasized the concept of Riti. However it was Anandavardhana who changed the entire course of discussion by introducing the concept of Dhvani. Dhananjaya the author of Dasharupaka, Dhanika the commentator of Dasharupaka and Mahimabhatta the author of Vyaktiviveka , firmly opposed the concept of Dhvani.

Author Lakshana Grantha Soul Highlight Time
Bharata Muni Naatya Shaastra Rasa काव्यस्य आत्मा रस: | इति वृत्तम् तु काव्यस्य शरीरम् | 500 BC
Bhaamaha Kaavyaalamkaara Alamkara काव्यस्य आत्मा अलंकार: | 700 AD
Dhandi Kaavyaadharsha 10 Gunas दश गुणा: एव काव्यस्य आत्मा |  
Vaamana Kaavyaalankaara Sutra Vrutti Reeti रीतिरात्मा काव्यस्य | 800 AD
Mammata Kavyaprakasha Dhvani काव्यस्य आत्मा ध्वनि: | 1200 AD
Jagannatha Rasa Gangadhaaraa      
Anandavardhana Dhvanyaaloka Dhvani काव्यस्य आत्मा ध्वनि: | 1000 AD
Kuntaka Vakrookti Jivitam (crooked speech) Vakrotti काव्यस्य आत्मा वक्रोत्ति: |  

The confusion and chaos that prevailed in the literary circles at that time prompted Mammata to defend the theory of Dhvani. Kavyaprakasha was written to establish a firm footing for the dhvani theory and refute the arguments of the opponents.

Date and place : Mammata is believed to have lived in Kashmir [shaaradadesha] during the latter half of 11th cen AD and first half of 12th cen AD. He had the title Rajanaka which is peculiar to poets from Kashmir and was also called Saraswathi avatara  by his admirers.

Kavyaprakasha is divided into 10 chapters called Ullaasas. The Ullasaas have kaarikas [142] and vritti which gives illustration. Popularity of the text can be known by the number of commentaries available. Independent authors like Ruyyaka and Viswanatha have written commentaries. Sudhasagara is a famous commentary written by Bhimasena Dikshitha.

1st ullaasa.

Mangala shloka:

नियतिकृतनियमरहितां ह्लादैकमयीमनन्यपरतन्त्राम्  ।
नवरसरुचिरां निर्मितिमादधती भारती कवेर्जयति  ॥ कारिका १ ॥

नियतिकृतनियमरहिता = a creation which has no limitations imposed by the laws of nature.   नियति – creation is a concept or tattva among the concepts in shaivism.  Brahman’s creation is of a form fixed by the power of the laws of nature.

ह्लादैकमयी = full of pleasure alone;  Brahman’s creation has aspects of pleasure (sattva), pain (rajas) and delusion (tamas).

अनन्यपरतन्त्रा = independent of other’s help;  Brahman’s creation is dependent on material causes like the atoms and auxiliary causes like action. Upaadaana kaarana – mud is required for making pot. Nimitta Kaarana  or sahakaari kaarana – the potter and the wheel.

नवरसरुचिरा = Charming with nine rasas; Brahman’s creation has only six relishes and it is not necessarily enjoyable. नवरसः च  रुचिरा च |

निर्मितिम् आदधती = (kavi’s vaani poet’s speech) gives this creation.

कवेः भारती  जयति | prostration is implied by jayati.

The nirmiti of Brahma is the upamaana. The nirmiti of Kavi is the upameya. उपमानात् उपमेयस्य आधिक्यम् अस्ति | This is Vyatireka Alamkaara Dhvani as the upameya is superior to upamaana.

Here the author is trying to draw a comparison between the creations of the supreme creator brahma and a poet. He boasts that the creation of a poet is superior to that of Brahma because it is not restricted by the laws of nature, not dependent on others, full of pleasure and is enriched with 9 rasas. Brahma’s creation is limited by the laws of nature , is dependent on other kaaranas [upadana and nimitta], has rajas [pain] and tamas[delusion] apart from sattva [pleasure] and has only 6 rasas.

Since the poet is described as having an upper hand, he says Goddess Bharati [who manifests in the speech of poet] is victorious.

Kavya prayojanam or purpose of a kavya:

काव्यं यशसेऽर्थकृते व्यवहारविदे शिवेतरक्षतये  ।
सद्यः परनिर्वृतये कान्तासंमिततयोपदेशयुजे  ॥ कारिका २ ॥

  • Yashas: poetry brings about fame. Kalidasa is alive even today after many centuries through his works.
  • Arthakrthe: Poetry brings in wealth as in the case of Dhavaka who got money from Sriharsha.
  • Vyavaharavidhe: Imparts knowledge about general behaviour.
  • Shivetarakshaye: Removes bad afflictions. As in the case of Mayura who composed Mayurashtaka in praise of Sun God and was cured of illness.
  • Sadyah (immediate) paranivrtaye: Aesthetic bliss is obtained through poetry. This is the foremost of all benefits as it is exclusive to poetry.
  • Kantasammita upadesha: gives advice to the reader, sweetly like a beloved. Prabhu sammita (order. Eg. Veda says do certain soma yaaga if you want svarga praapti – one can’t question that  – importance is for word),  mitra sammita ( suggestion.  Eg Friends’ advice. Can be adhered to or ignored – importance is for meaning) , and Kaantaa sammita (Sweet Persuasion. Eg Lover’s words are carried even without realizing that one is being persuaded to do something – importance is for the message). रामादिवद्वर्तितव्यं न रावणादिवदित् – One should live like Rama and not Ravana. Rama created a gold idol and did the ashvamedha yaaga.  He was the only person who was ekapatni vrata.

Kavya Hetu: Equipments required for poetry.

शक्तिर्निपुणता लोकशास्त्रकाव्याद्यवेक्षणात् ।
काव्यज्ञशिक्षयाभ्यास इति हेतुस्तदुद्भवे  ॥ कारिका ३ ॥

The saamagri required to compose poems can be grouped under 3 heads.

  1. Shakti – prathibha शक्तिः कवित्वबीजरूपः संस्कारविशेषः [inherent genius]
    1. It is a samskaara that comes over the ages. संस्कारविशेषः
    2. काव्यं तु जायतेजातु कस्यचित्प्रतिभावतः – Bhaamaha – kaavyaalamkaara – Only from a person with Prathibha only, the poem can arise.
    3. यां विना काव्यं नप्रसरेत् – Not possible to write poetry without this.
    4. प्रसृतं वा उपहसनीयं स्यात् – If it happens to be created without prathibha, it will be ridiculed.
  2. Nipunata – expertise gained by lokagnaana, shaashtragnaana, kaavya gnaana
    1. Lokagnaana is gained by observation of worldly things, Sthavara jangama etc
    2. Shaastra gnaana is obtained by studying shastras like chandas, vyakarana, chaturvarga, about elephants, horses and other lakshana granthas.
    3. Kaavya gnaana is obtained by reading works of great poets and also itihasa puranas.
  3. Abhyaasa – repeated constant practice under the guidance of experts.
    1. Practice writing as per the chandas
    2. There are shikshaa granthas that explain how it is to be written.
    3. काव्यं कर्तुं विचारयितुं च ये जानन्ति ते काव्यज्ञाः | Learn under knowledgeable people who can write and be a critic of poetry.

These three together is the single cause. हेतुः तु हेतवः |

This is supported by नैसर्गिकी च प्रतिभा श्रुतं च बहुनिर्मलम् । अमन्द पूर्वाभियोगोस्या: कारणं काव्य सम्पदा | Dandin says in Kaavyaadarsha that in case prathibha is not present, but the other two are present, in certain cases, one might get some blessings to create poetry – श्रतेन यत्नेन च वागुपासिताध्रुवं करोत्येव कमप्यनुग्रहम् |

Kavya swaroopam:

तददोषौ शब्दार्थौ सगुणावनलङ्कृती पुनः क्वापि ।

He states that the word-meaning devoid of faults, endowed with Guna and Alamkaara is kaavya. But he adds that there is no compulsion (अनुरोधः) that there should be Alamkaara when there is prominence of Rasa.  यत्र सर्वत्र शब्दार्थौ सालंकारौ स्यातां, यत्र रसस्य प्राधान्यमस्ति तत्र स्पष्ट-अलंकारस्य अनुरोधः मास्तु | In his words, he says यत्सर्वत्र सालङ्कारौ क्वचित्तु स्फुटालङ्कारविरहेऽपि न काव्यत्वहानिः | He cites this example.

यः कौमरहरः स एव हि वरस्ता एव चैत्रक्षपास्ते
चोन्मीलितमालतीसुरभयः प्रौढाः कदम्बानिलाः ।
सा चैवास्मि तथापि तत्र सुरतव्यापारलीलाविदौ
रेवारोधसि वेतसीतरुतले चेतः समुत्कण्ठते ॥१॥

An example to prove that rasa can be predominant without alamkara.

He who stole my virginity is my beloved now, the nights of spring, the strong breezes from the Kadamba trees carrying the fragrance of malati flowers are also the same. I too am same as before. But still on the banks of Reva, under the Vetasa tree my heart longs for amorous sports.

Classification of kavya.

Prior to Dhvanyaaloka, the classification was Dhrushya (Naataka) and Shravya (Gadya – kathaa and Aakyaayikaa, Padya – Kanda kavya, mahaa kavya, shataka, …  and Champu which is a combination of Gadya and Padya)

Based on the concept of dhvani the kavya was classified as Uthama, madhyama and adhama.

इदमुत्तममतिशयिनि व्यङ्ग्ये वाच्याद्ध्वनिर्बुधैः कथितः  ॥ कारिका ४ ॥

वाच्यात् व्यङ्ग्ये अतिशयिनि सति इदम् उत्तमं काव्यम् ध्वनिः इति बुधैः कथितः

Uthama kavya is also called dhvani kavya, that which is rich in Dhvani or suggestion. The charming suggested meaning should surpass the denoted meaning, as mentioned by Anandavardhana in Dhvanyaloka.

यत्रार्थः शब्दो वा तमर्थमुपसर्जनीकृतस्वार्थौ | व्यङ्क्तः काव्यविशेषः स ध्वनिरिति सूरिभिः कथितः || (ध्वन्यालोकः) १.१३ ||

अतादृशि गुणीभूतव्यङ्ग्यं व्यङ्ग्ये तु मध्यमम्।

Madhyama kavya is also called Gunibhoota vyangya. Here the suggested meaning though present does not excel. It may be equal or less charming or subordinated to the denoted meaning.

Eg. ग्रामतरुणं तरुण्या नववञ्जुलमञ्जरीसनाथकरम् । पश्यन्त्या भवति मुहुर्नितरां मलिना मुखच्छाया ॥३॥ In this, the literal meaning is that the brightness of the young woman’s face becomes acutely faded when she sees the youthful villager who carries in his hand a bunch of fresh Vanjula flowers”. Here the suggested meaning is that she did not go to the meeting point even though she had promised to meet her lover there. Since the denoted meaning is more charming, in this example, the suggested meaning is subordinated to the denoted meaning.

शब्दचित्रं वाच्यचित्रमव्यङ्ग्यं त्ववरं स्मृतम्

Adhama kavya or chitrakavya. It has no relishable suggested meaning. It is more of a verbal circus where the poet is interested in conveying his skills. Kuntaka raises an objection on classifying a poem to be inferior. Chitrakavya can be of 2 types shabda chitra and artha chitra. Shabda chitra is just repeated use of same word or rhyming words to create an alliteration. Arthachitra is superior to shabdachitra and involves the use of arthalamkaras.

भिद्यादुद्यदुदारदर्दुरदरी दीर्गादरिद्रद्रुम- द्रोहोद्रेकमहोर्मिमेदुरमदा मन्दाकिनी मन्दताम् ।।4।।

Second ullasa

शब्दार्थयोः स्वरूपमाह— (सूदृ 5) Vaamana explains in the Kaavyaalankaara Sutra Vrutti |

स्याद्वाचको लाक्षणिकः शब्दोऽत्र व्यञ्जकस्त्रिधा

Word is of 3 kinds: Vachaka [denotative], Lakshanika [indicative] and Vyanjaka [suggestive]. The respective functions [vyaapara] of these 3 words are Abhidhaa, Lakshana and vyanjana. The meanings conveyed by these 3 types of words are Vachya [denoted] Lakshya [indicated] and vyangya[suggested] respectively.

3 main functions of a word or shabda vyaapaara

Vaachaka denotative Expressed or denoted meaning Abhida vyapara Koshaarthah, Vaachyaartha, शक्यार्थ power of the word conveyed by the dictionary meaning
Laakshanika indicative Indicated or suppressed meaning Lakshana vyapara Lakshyaarthah, Lakshanaarthah,
Some element is suppressed (The word bank is suppressed in Gangaayaam goshah – Hamlet on the banks of Ganga and not in Ganges)
Vyanjaka suggestive Suggested meaning Vyangya vyapara Dhvaniyarthah, Vyanjanaarthah, vyangyaarthah It shows or reflects or suggests some other meaning. The tone of “Go, go!” might mean “Don’t go”.


तात्पर्यार्थोऽपि केषुचित् I some [abhihitanvayavada of Bhatta school of mimamsa] say that Tatparyartha or the meaning of a sentence is the fourth category.

The Denoted meaning or the Vachyartha is the mukhyartha or the principal one. It is assigned to the word by Sanketa or Ishvarechcha. Since the word has a sanketa it is also called sanketita.

Abhihitanvayavada and anvitabhidanavada:

The opponents of dhvani theory also refute vyanjana vyapara. The Bhatta and the Prabhakara school of mimamsa do not accept vyanjana function of a word.

Every word has a sanketa or a denoted meaning. The relationship between the individual word meaning and the sentence meaning as a whole has been dealt by Kumarila Bhatta and Prabhakara.

Kumarila Bhatta came up with Abhihitanvayavada, which says that the meaning of the sentence is not merely the total meanings of the individual words. But the syntactic combination on the basis of Akanksha[expectancy], Yogyata[compatibility] and sannidhi[proximity in pronounciation].

Eg: devadutta tandulam pachati.

Here the individual denoted meanings are first understood as… Devadutta [karta], tandulam [rice, karma] pachati [cooking present tense ekavachana]. Since these unconnected word meanings, presented by the function abhida, don’t make complete sense, another function called tatparyavritti was introduced. Here with the aid of Akanksha, yogyata and sannidhi one is able to understand that “cooking of rice is going on [present tense] under the agentship singular agent named Devadutta”.

Thus the meaning of the sentence called tatparyartha is different from the individual meanings of the words known by abhida. The words denote their individual meanings and then those meanings are correlated to obtain the sentence meaning. Abhida gets exhausted after denoting the individual word meaning and so we resort to tatparyartha or tatparya vritti for sentence meaning.

According to Anvitabhidaanavada, the words of a sentence do not convey unconnected meanings but always syntactically connected meanings only. As soon as the sentence is uttered, the meanings of the words are grasped in a connected way.

वाच्य एव वाक्यार्थ इत्यन्विताभिधानवादिनः

So Vakyartha and Padartha are the same and there is no need for a separate function like tatparyartha.

विशिष्टा एव पदार्था वाक्यार्थः। न तु पदार्थानां वैशिष्ट्यम् [5th ullasa] the meaning of the sentence is the correlated meanings of words and not the correlation of the meanings of the words.

Mammata’s opinion:

In Abhihitanvayavada and Anvitabhidanavada, the function of abhida is given prominence. This cannot explain the function of suggestion. In arthashakthimula dhvani, the denoted meaning is only contextual. We see from many examples where the convention may be positive but however the suggested meaning is actually negative.

According to Abhihitanvayavada, the function abhida cannot even give the normal expressed meaning of the sentence, so how can it give suggested meaning which may be different or even opposite to the expressed sense?

According to Anvitabhidanavada, the denoted meanings of the words are related to each other in a general non-specific way. Eg. Each of these sentences have the word gaam [cow] with different verb. Gaam aanaya [bring the cow], Gaam naya [take away the cow] and Gaam badhaana [tie down the cow].

The relation of the meaning of the word gaam and the words aanaya, naya and badhaana are related only in a general non-specific way. When words occur in a sentence, the sanketa of each word is cognised only when the sanketa of meanings related to other meanings is grasped

Since the number of words and number of sentences are infinite, it becomes difficult to understand the sanketa of each and every word in infinite sentences.

Also the denoted meaning itself is something correlated only in a general non-specific way with the meanings of other words. So a particular meaning of a word related to another particular meaning of another word in a sentence cannot be known by denoted meaning at all, since it has no sanketa.

Therefore the suggested meaning which is further different from the sentence meaning cannot be denoted by abhida. [to be elaborated]

सर्वेषां प्रायशोऽर्थानां व्यञ्जकत्वमपीष्यते

Vyanjakatva or suggestiveness of all 3 functions of the word are accepted

  1. Suggestiveness of denoted meaning: eg. माए घरोवअरणं अज्ज हु णत्थि त्ति साहिअं तुमए। ता भण किं करणिज्जं एमेअ ण वासरो ठाइ II Mother, you proved that provisions are not available today. Tell me, what should be done? Day light will not stay like this for long. Here the denoted meaning suggests that the daughter wants to roam freely.
  2. Suggestiveness of indicated meaning: eg. साहेन्ती सहि सुहअं खणे खणे दूम्मिआसि मज्झकए। सब्भावणेहकरणिज्जसरिसअं दाव विरइअं तुमए II oh friend, you have been subjected to much exertion almost every minute in persuading that handsome youth. You have definitely done what is proper for your good nature and friendship.  Here the indicated meaning is that “you have become my enemy by entertaining my beloved amorously”. The suggested meaning is that the paramour of the speaker has committed an offense and she wants to express it.
  3. Suggestiveness of suggested meaning: eg. उअ णिच्चलणिप्पंदा भिसिणीपत्तम्मि रेहइ बलाआ। णिम्मलमरगअभाअणपरिठ्ठिआ संखसुत्ति व्व  II See the white crane is shining on the lotus leaf still and motionless like a conch shell resting on a clean plate of emerald. Here the security of the place is suggested by the motionless crane. This in turn suggests the absence of people in that place and it being suitable for rendezvous. OR there can be another suggestion where the young woman is telling her lover “ you are telling a lie, you did not come here”

Definitions of Vachaka, lakshana and vyanjana 

Vachaka:   साक्षात्संकेतितं योऽर्थमभिधत्ते वाचकः

Vachaka is that which directly denotes the conventional meaning. It is not possible to comprehend the meaning of a word if the convention [sanketa] related to the meaning is not known. So vachaka is a word with reference to a meaning in which the relationship between the word and the meaning has been uninterruptedly grasped.

सङ्केतितश्चतुर्भेदो जात्यादिर्जातिरेव वा

Sanketa or convention is of 4 types as Jati etc or just one Jati itself.

Since the words are infinite in number it is not possible to come up with a convention for each individual word. Hence a concept or Upadhi has been introduced. Convention is of 4 types.

  1. Jati – genus. It is also called Praanaprada. An eternal property which is universally one and exists in many individual things is called Jati. Eg. Gotva in all go, ghatatva in all ghata etc. all words denoting the property of a genus belong to this group.
  2. Guna – quality. Also called visheshadanahetu. Words denoting guna or quality fall into this group. It adds a special feature like shuklatva, krishnatva etc.
  3. Kriya – action. Words denoting actions like chalanam, pachanam etc .
  4. Vaktryadrichchasanniveshita- arbitrary names. These are fixed according to the whims and fancies of a speaker. It includes proper nouns, Rama, Ravana, Diththa etc.

The guna , kriya and yadrichasanniveshita categories all exist only in a dravya and not independently. So he says Jati etc 4 or Jati alone.

स मुख्योऽर्थस्तत्र मुख्यो व्यापारोऽस्याभिधोच्यते  II

That primary meaning which has sanketa [convention] is called Mukhyartha and the function of the word that conveys it is Abhida [denotation]

Lakshana and its types  [short notes]

 मुख्यार्थबाधे तद्योगे रूढितोऽथ प्रयोजनात।

अन्योऽर्थो लक्ष्यते यत्सा लक्षणारोपिता क्रिया ।। 9

The function by virtue of which a meaning other than the primary meaning is grasped either due to incompatibility of primary meaning [mukhyarthabhada] or a relation of the other meaning due to usage [roodhi] or purpose [prayojana] is called Lakshana.

Eg. “कर्मणि कुशलः” इत्यादौ दर्भग्रहणाद्ययोगात्  II गङ्गायां घोषः” इत्यादौ च गङ्गादीनां घोषाद्याधारत्वासंभवोत् II

In both cases there is mukhyartha bhada. Karmani kushala cannot simply denote a person holding Darbha grass but the indicated meaning is that the person is an expert at work. This is understood by roodhi.

In गङ्गायां घोषः there is incompatibility of the primary meaning as it is not possible for a river to be the locus of a hamlet. Here there is a specific purpose or prayojana of the said expression. It could indicate the pavanatva, sheetalatva etc of the banks of ganga river where the hamlet is situated.

Types of Lakshana: Lakshana is broadly classifies into 3 types.

  1. Shuddha Lakshana: The relation between the primary and indicated meanings are not similarity but some other thing, it is called Suddha Lakshana. This is again divided into 2 types.
  1. Upadaana Lakshana – Here the primary meaning implies the secondary meaning for accomplishing its own completion. Eg. कुन्ताः प्रविशन्ति , the lances enter. Since the lances cannot enter on their own, the phrase implies the persons holding the lances. This is called स्वसिद्धये पराक्षेपः I
  2. Lakshanalakshana – Here the primary meaning is given up for the sake of secondary meaning. Eg. गङ्गायां घोषः. A village where cowherds live cannot exist on the stream named Ganga. So the primary meaning is given up and the indicated meaning namely , the bank is accepted. This is called परार्थं स्वसमर्पणम् I
  3. Saaropa Lakshana : सारोपान्या तु यत्रोक्तौ विषयी विषयस्यथा II here the the Vishaya [that on which something is superimposed] and Vishayin [that which is superimposed] , both are mentioned. This is again of 2 types.
  1. Gauni saaropa: Aaropa is based on relationship of similarity in guna [quality] eg. गौर्वाहीकः  here Gauh is the vishayin, the qualities of it like Jaadya, Maandya etc are superimposed on the vishaya, Vaahika [a member of the vaahika tribe]. So it is indicated that the qualities of slothfulness, stupidity etc seen in an ox is present in the Vaahika.
  2. Shudda Saaropa: Aaropa is based on some other relationship. Eg. आयुर्घृतम् ghee is long life. Here relationship can be explained on the basis of cause and effect. Consumption of Ghrita gives strength and ensures longevity in the consumer, hence Ayush is superimposed on ghrita.
  1. Saadhyavasana Lakshana: विषय्यन्तःकृतेऽन्यस्मिन् सा स्यात्साध्यवसानिका I Here the Vishaya on which the vishayin is superimposed is not mentioned. This is again of 2 types.
  1. Gauni saadhyavasana: Similar to Gauni saaropa except that the vishaya is not mentioned. Eg. गौरयम् I The term Vaahika is understood and not mentioned explicitly.
  2. Shudda saadhyavasana: Similar to Shudda saaropa except that the term Ghritam is not explicitly mentioned. Eg. आयुरेवेदम् I

Mammata again classifies lakshana on the basis of presence of vyanjana.

व्यङ्ग्येन रहिता रूढौ सहिता तु प्रयोजने। 

  1. Roodhi Lakshana: This kind has no suggested meaning in it. Just indicated meaning alone. Hence it is also called अव्यङ्ग्या I eg. “कर्मणि कुशलः
  2. Prayojanavati Lakshana: This is further divided into of 2 types.
  1. गूढव्यङ्ग्या – it has hidden suggested meaning.
  2. अगूढव्यङ्ग्या – The suggested meaning is explicit.

Function of vyanjana

Vyanjana is that function of the word which unfolds the vyangya or the suggested meaning. The importance of vyanjana in poetry cannot be overstated. Rasa which is the quintessence of poetry can manifest only through vyanjana and it is the suggested sense which makes kavya beautiful and charming.

Vyanjana is understood as 1.based on lakshana and 2. based on abhidaa.

When we say gangayam goshah, the word ganga denotes the stream. This is the abhidaa or denoted meaning. Further since there is an incompatibility between ganga and gosha (hamlet), we adopt the indicated meaning [lakshana] which helps us understand ganga as ganga tata – the bank.  The prayojana or purpose for resorting to the indicated meaning is to highlight that the qualities of ganga [sacredness, coolness, etc.] are present in the hamlet also due to its closeness.

The question here is if lakshana is able to express the indicated meaning along with the prayojana then why have vyanjana separately? Mammata replies..

प्रयोजनेन सहितं लक्षणीयं युज्यते ।। 17 ।।

Lakshana or the indicated meaning does not include the prayojana.

हेत्वभावात्   लक्षणा ।। 15 ।। मुख्यार्थबाधादित्रयं हेतुः

It cannot be Lakshana due to the absence of the hetu [conditions] required for lakshana ie; incompatibility of primary meaning, relation of the other sense with the indicated meaning and purpose.

ज्ञानस्य विषयो ह्यन्यः फलमन्यदुदाहृतम्।

An example is given to explain this. When we see a pot, the object of perception is the black pot. Here the prayojana or result of perception is Prakatata [state of being known] or samvitti [consciousness]. This prakatata or samvitti , which is the prayojana is not included in the pot.

So, Ganga —à lakshanaàganga thata —àvyanjanaàcoolness sacredness etc

Thus Vyanjana is required to realise the prayojana or phala or the intended purpose.

For example in gangayam goshah, the special qualities which are cognised in the bank ie., sacredness and so on are grasped through a function which is different from abhidhaa, lakshanaa and tatparyaa. That function is called vyanjanaa, dhvananaa, dyotanaa etc. This is an example for vyanjana based on lakshana.

The next category is Vyanjanaa based on Abhidaa. There are 14 conditions in this category.

“संयोगो विप्रयोगश्व साहचर्यं विरोधिता। अर्थः प्रकरणं लिङ्गं शब्दस्यान्यस्य संनिधिः।। सामथ्र्यमौचिती देशः कालो व्यक्तिः स्वरादयः। शब्दार्थस्यानवच्छेदे विशेषस्मृतिहेतवः

  1. Samyoga: Contact. सशङ्खचक्रो हरिः
    The meaning is restricted to Vishnu because he is known to have a contact with shankha and chakra. Hari has different meanings like Vishnu, Monkey, Lion, Horse, etc.
  2. Viprayoga: Separation. अशङ्खचक्रो हरिरित्यच्युते
    Again we understand Hari as Vishnu because he is the only one capable of being separated from them.
  3. Saahacharya: Association. रामलक्ष्मणाविति दाशरथौ।
    Here meaning of the word Rama is restricted to son of Dasharatha due to his association with Lakshmana.
  4. Virodhita: Enmity. रामार्जुनगतिस्तयोरिति भार्गवकार्तवीर्ययोः।
    Here Rama is Parashurama and Arjuna is Kartaveeryarjuna. Their known enmity is referred here.
  5. Artha: Purpose. स्थाणुं भज भवच्छिदे, इति हर।
    Here Sthanu can mean pole or Shiva. Here it refers to Lord Shiva due to the purpose of bhavachedana that can be attributed to him.
  6. Prakarana: Context. सर्वं जानाति देव इति युष्मदर्थे।
    Here the meaning is based on the context. Devah can mean God or a king. Here it refers to the person addressed to in that context.
  7. Linga: Peculiar feature. कुपितो मकरध्वज इति कामे।
    Here makaradhwajah can mean Manmatha or the ocean. Here kopa or anger can be linked to Manmatha only.
  8. Shabdantarasannidhi: Proximity of another word. देवस्य पुरारातेरिति शंभौ।
    Here again deva can have different meanings. But due to the proximity with the word purarathe, we understand Deva as Lord Shiva.
  9. Saamarthyam: Ability. मधुना मत्तः कोकिल इति वसन्ते।
    The word madhu has various meanings liquor, nectar, honey etc. but the ability to produce intoxication in kokila exists only in vasanta ritu. So madhu here refers to the season vasanta.
  10. Auchiti: Propriety. पातु वो दयितामुखमिति सांमुख्ये
    Here mukham can mean face, presence, beginning etc. based on propriety here it means presence.
  11. Deshah: Place. भात्यत्र परमेश्वर इति राजधानीरूपात् देशाद्राजनि।
    Parameshwara can refer to God and king. The meaning here is king as the sentence is spoken in the capital city of a kingdom.
  12. Kalah: Time. चित्रबानुर्विभातीति दिने रवौ रात्रौ वढद्धठ्ठड़
    Chitrabhanu means sun and fire. If the sentence is spoken during day, it refers to sun and at night it refers to fire.
  13. Vyaktih: Gender. मित्रं भातीति सुहृदि, मित्रो भातीति रवौ।
    Mitram neuter gender means friend while mitrah masculine gender means sun.
  14. Svara: Accents used in Vedas, Udaatta Anudaatta and Svarita. इन्द्रशत्रुरित्यादौ वेते एव, न काव्ये, स्वेरो विशेषप्रतीतिकृत्
    Based on the accents, Indrashatru can mean 1. One for whom Indra will be the killer and 2. Indra’s killer. The first one is a Bahuvrihi compound and will have Purvapadaprakritiswara or Adyodaatta. While the second is Tatpurusha compound and is Antodaatta.

Role of vyanjaka in contextual and non-contextual meanings.

भद्रात्मनो दुरधिरोहतनोर्विशालवंशोन्नतेः कृतशिलीमुखसंग्रहस्य। यस्यानुपप्लुतगतेः परवारणस्य दानाम्बुसेकसुभगः सततं करोऽभूत्।।12।। (सूदृ 33)

There are 2 possible meanings of the above verse, contextual and non-contextual.

Contextual meaning: the king has a peaceful nature, his persona is difficult to be gauged, he has the high stature due to his vamsha, he has mastered several weapons, his knowledge never goes awry, he gets rid of his foes easily, his hands are charming and always wet with the water being poured while giving gifts [daana].

Non-contextual meaning: Describes an elephant. It is of the Bhadra variety, body is so high that it is difficult to mount, backbone is large and lofty, attracts many bees, its movement never falters, it is an elephant par excellence, the trunk is beautiful and always has the liquid rut flowing.

तद्युक्तो व्यञ्जकः शब्दः I  तद्युक्तो व्यञ्जनर्युक्तः (सूदृ 34)

The word which has that function is called Vyanjaka. तद्युक्तो means that which has the function of vyanjana.

So vyanjana is that function by which the non-contextual meaning is expressed.

यत्सोऽर्थान्तरयुक् तथा। अर्थोऽपि व्यञ्जकस्तत्र सहकारितया मतः ।। 20 ।।

Since the word expresses the non-contextual meaning with the interruption of the contextual meaning, the contextual meaning is considered as suggestive in a co-operative manner सहकारितयाव्यञ्जक:

<End of Part 1>

<Start of Part 2>

3rd ullaasa

Arthavyanjakata – suggestiveness

अर्थाः प्रोक्ताः पुरा तेषाम् अर्थाः, वाच्यलक्ष्यव्यङ्ग्याः। तेषां वाचकलाक्षणिकव्यञ्जकानाम्।। (सूदृ 36) अर्थव्यञ्जकतोच्यते।

The meanings of these have already been explained. “ The meanings” are vachya, lakshya and vyangya “of these” means vachaka, lakshanika and vyanjaka. Now we shall deal with suggestiveness of the meanings.

Mammata has given a list of factors which can bring about vyanjana of the meaning.

  1. Vaktr: speaker talking in first person about himself / herself.
  2. Bodhavya: speaker addresses another person.
  3. Kaku: tone of the speaker.
  4. Vakya: the entire sentence can be suggestive.
  5. Vachya: Based on the denoted meaning.
  6. Anyasannidhi: in the presence of another person.
  7. Prastava: Occasion. One may suggest that “it is improper now”.
  8. Desha: Place.
  9. Kala: time.
  10. Adi: by etc he has included chesta [gesture] etc.

Mammata says that the above can coexist in a given example.

Short notes

Dosha: It is a flaw or blemish that causes suppression or hindrance of the main meaning of a kavya. Doshas can occur in pada, vakya, artha and rasa. Mammata emphasises that the kavya has to be adoshau – blemish free. Dandin says, even a small dosha should not be neglected. It is like an ugly spot of vitiligo [shvitra] on the most beautiful body.

Guna: It may be understood as quality of excellence. They are the properties [dharmas] of rasa. Again Mammata says that the kavya has to be enriched with gunas – sagunau. Bharata has listed 10 gunas namely, Shlehsa, prasada, samata, madhurya, sukumarata, arthavyakti, udaratvam, ojas, kanti and Samadhi. Vamana says that gunas increase kavyashobha. Mammata who follows Anandavardhana has accepted only 3 gunas namely Madhurya, Ojas and prasada. He defines gunas as those qualities which heighten the Rasa [ut-harsha hetu] and stay with it permanently [achalasthita]

Madhurya ojaha prasaadaakhyaaha trayaste na punardasha

He says that the other 7 gunas are either included under the above 3 or are just absence of doshas. So they are definitely not 10 in number.

Alankara: These are the properties [dharmas] of shabda and artha. Although Mammata says that alankara is optional in kavyaswaroopa, he later adds that shabda and artha should generally have alankaras. They may not be explicit always. While defining alankara Mammata saya, those factors which at times beautify the existing rasa through its limbs [anga] shabda and artha are called alankaras. They are like necklace etc [haaradivad]. Eg. Anuprasa, upama etc.

Alam poornam karoti iti alankaraha.  Alankara brings about fullness to a kavya. They should be employed judiciously and should never over shadow rasa. In the absence of rasa, alankaras are mere fanciful expressions.

Alankarya is the prominent factor that is getting embellished. Factors like guna, alankara etc enhance rasa, so rasa is called alankarya. In certain cases, rasa may not enjoy prominence and may be subservient to some other factor. Then it is called Rasavadalankara and it belongs to gunibhoota vyangya category.

Viparitalakshana: One of the 3 factors required for adopting lakshana or secondary meaning is the relation to the other meaning. It may be nearness as in Gangayaam goshah or similarity as in mukham chandrah. Another relation is contrariness or irony. An extremely dull person may be called Brihaspathi. The indicated meaning is the opposite of the denoted meaning. This is called viparitalakshana.

Rasanishpatti or Rasasutra

कारणान्यथ कार्याणि सहकारीणि यानि च। रत्यादेः स्थायिनो लोके तानि चेन्नाठ्यकाव्ययोः ।। 27 ।।

विभावा अनुभावास्तत् कथ्यन्ते व्यभिचारिणः। व्यक्तः स तैर्विभावाद्यैः स्थायी भावो रसः स्मृतः ।। 28

There are causes, effects and auxiliary feelings of rati etc. when they occur in a kavya or natya they are respectively called Vibhavas, Anubhavas and Vyabhicharibhavas. The permanent mood [sthayibhava] which is manifested by these vibhavas etc is known as Rasa.

Sthayibhava: Bhavas [permanent mood] which permanently exist in the mind [or antahkarana] in the form of vasana [latent imprints] are called sthayibhavas. When excited, it evokes a heightened aesthetic experience called rasa. Sthayibhavas are 9 in number namely. Rati [love], haasa [mirth], shoka [sorrow or grief], krodha [anger], utsaaha [enthusiasm], bhayam [fear], jugupsa [disgust], vismaya [wonder] and nirveda [tranquillity]

रतिर्हासश्च शोकश्च क्रोधोत्साहौ भयं तथा । जुगुप्सा विस्मयश्चेति स्थायिभावाः प्रकीर्तिताः  ॥ कारिका ३० ॥

Vibhava: Exciting causes that make the sthayibhavas relishable are called vibhavas. They are of 2 kinds Aalambana vibhava and Uddeepana vibhava. The person or object which is the cause of the given sthayibhava is called aalambina a woman is the alambana vibhava for rati sthayibhava in a man. a tiger is the alambana vibhava of bhaya sthayibhava.

Uddeepana vibhavas are associated factors like moonlight, breeze, fragrance etc in shringara, darkness, shrill sounds etc in bhayanaka.

Anubhava: these are supporting factors that bring the sthayibhavas within the reach of experience. Glances, change of colour of the face etc are anubhavas.

Vyabhicharibhava: These are transitory feelings. They come and go like the waves in the ocean. They are also called sancharibhavas. They are 33 in number. Nirveda, glani, shanka, asuya, mada, shrama, alasyam, dainyam, chinta, moha, smriti, dhriti, vrida, chapalata, harsha, avega, jadata, garva, vishada, autsukyam, nidra, apasmara, suptam, prabodha, amarsha, avahitham, ugrata, mati, vyadhi, unmade, maranam, trasa and vitarka.

Rasa Sthayibhava vibhava anubhava vyabhichari
Sringara 2 types vipralambha and sambhoga Rati hero heroine with splendid dress, garlands, seasons, ornaments Skill of eye movements, eye glances, limb movements All except nirveda
Hasya Haasa Strange attire, fickleness, irrelevant talks, His crying Throbbing of lips, nose cheeks, perspiration Alasya, tandra, nidra, prabodha, asuya
Karuna Shoka Separation and loss of dear ones, burning of body Weeping, lamentation and crying Sthamba, vepathu vaivarnya, ashru
Raudra Krodha Anger, striking, abusing, false allegations, raising of weapons Reddened eyes, knitting of eyebrows, grinding the teeth. Sammoha, utsaha, avega, amarsha, chapalata, gadgada, vepathu
Vira Utsaha Heroes, great feats like crossing oceans Braveness, firmness, generosity, efficiency Dhriti, mati, garva, avega
Bhayanaka Bhaya Strange sounds, cruel animals Agitations of jackal, owls, Imprisonment of near and dear Shaking hands and feet, throbbing eyes, , change of face color Sthamba, sveda, gadgada, romancha, moha, dainya
Bhibhatsa Jugupsa Hearing or sight of ugly undesirable, unpleasant things Shrinking of limbs, contraction of face, looking slyly, vomiting Apasmara, udvega, avega, moha, marana
Adbhuta Vismaya Sight of divine beings, fulfilment of desire, vimana Dilation of eyes, seeing without winking, tears, perspiration Sthamba, gadgada, romancha, sambhrama, pralaya
Shanta Nirveda knowledge of philosophy, renunciation, yama niyama adhyatma dhyana, dharana. nirveda, smriti, dhriti, sthambha



Shanta rasa was not mentioned by Bharata. Mammata follows Anandavardhana who has accepted it. He also argues that shanta is the main rasa of Mahabharata. Nirveda which can be both sthayibhava and vyabhichari bhava. When it is born of tatvajnana it is permanent and is the sthayibhava of shanta rasa. Otherwise it is only a vyabhicharibhava. Some argue that shanta rasa can occur in kavya but cannot occur in nataka, as it is not possible to enact it on stage. But this argument is unacceptable as we see the successful presentation of the role of Buddha. Natakas like Prabodhachandrodaya and sankalpasuryodaya can be mentioned as examples.

Rasasutras deal with the theories that try to explain how Rasa is conveyed to the spectators. Some prominent theories are..

Lollata: He must have been from Kashmir, believed to have lived between 800AD and 840 AD.  He has written a commentary on Bharata’s Natyashastra. He was one of the earliest thinkers who attempted to explain Rasasutra of Bharata. His theory on Rasa sutra is called utpatti vada. According to him, Rasa is in the anukarya [characters] represented on the stage. But it is conceived as existing in the actor who represents the character.

Rasa in primary sense belongs to the hero, Rama etc. The spectator’s understanding of imputed love in the actor brings delight to the spectator. Lollata thinks that the actor cleverly represents Rama’s activities. Vibhavas produce rasa, anubhavas make it perceivable and vyabhicharins consummate it. This cognition of rasa by the spectator gives him unadulterated joy. A rope though not a serpent but mistaken to be one can produce fear. Similarly, shell mistaken as silver produces desire. Likewise, love of Rama for Sita is observed in the actor [who is not Rama and has no love for Sita]. Such things, although not genuine, produces aesthetic joy according to Lollata.

Argument:  How can an observer who has already seen silver mistake shell to be silver? A serpent could be seen as a rope and this can be life threatening. If rasanishpatti is actually in Rama the actor, how can the spectator enjoy it?

Srisankuka: His personal details are not known. He has criticised Lollata so we can know that he lived after Lollata. He believes that the spectator infers the rati of Rama and Sita on the basis of what is presented on the stage. Hence his theory is called anumiti vada.

Even though what is presented on stage is not true, he deliberately accepts them to be true. This is called “willing suspension of disbelief”. A well-trained actor imitates the hero Rama etc, and the spectator of the drama assumes that the actor is really Rama. From the vibhavas, anubhavas etc the spectator infers the sthayibhava of rati in him. This rati gets manifested as sringara rasa and the spectator relishes it.

Argument: The spectators relish rasa as a direct perception. Nobody thinks that he or she has inferred the love of Rama for Sita, but it is the transcendental joy of direct experience. What happens when one reads a poem or drama? There are no actors or imitation there. There is no basis of inference at all. But Rasanubhava is not denied there. So his theory of inference was rejected.

Bhattanayaka: He has written a commentary on Bharata’s Natyashastra. He was an opponent of dhvani theory and wrote Hridayadarpana to refute Anandavardhana’s theory. His main contribution is the introduction of the concept of Sadharaneekarana or the concept of universalization of vibhavas etc.

He has accepted 3 distinct functions of poetic word which are called abhida, bhaavana and bhoga. Abhida presents the content. Bhaavana universalises the content and Bhoga brings about the aesthetic relish. A spectator cannot have rati in respect of any heroine, say shakuntala, because he knows that she is wife of Dushyanta. Hence she cannot be the alambanavibhava. Then how can the spectator relish shringara rasa? To overcome this Bhattanayaka suggested Saadharanikarana by the function of Bhavakatva. By this, dharmas like Shakuntalatva etc are forgotten for a moment and she is visualised just as a nayika. This helps in enjoying shringara rasa.

Argument:  No theoretical objection but Abhinavagupta rejects it because he thinks it is a burden to accept 2 separate functions like Bhavana and Bhoga.

Abhinavagupta: he is one of the most remarkable personalities of medieval India. He was the son of Narasimhagupta and great-grandson of Atrigupta and lived in Kashmir in the 11th cen AD. He was a prolific writer and a great teacher. Tantraaloka is his magnum opus. He also wrote commentaries named Abhinavabharati [on Natyashastra of Bharata] and Lochana [on Dhvanyaloka]. He was an authority on Pratyyabhijnadarshana. His other works include Malinivijayavartika, Paraatrimshikaavivarana and Tantralokasaara. It is through his works that we get details about Lollata, Bhattanayaka and Srisankuka. Mammata has revered him as Srimadacharya Abhinavagupta.

He has put forth the theory of Vyanjana to explain the relation between vibhava etc and rati. He calls it the vyangyavyanjakabhava. He follows the footsteps of Bhattanayaka by saying that the locus of rasa is with the spectator.

According to him it is not possible to accept that the anukarya [character like Rama] is the locus because he does not exist now. Also many works have fictitious characters.

The anukarta [actor on stage] cannot be the locus because he would get carried away by the intensity of it and cannot continue to act as required. And so he rejects Srisankuka and Lollata.

Finally he changed focus on to the sahrdaya or the spectator. He says that the sthayibhavas exist in the antahkarana in the form of vasana or samskara. Poetry or drama evokes these latent sthayibhava and make it relishable.

Rasaabhaasa and Bhaavabhaasa

Difference between Rasa and Bhava:

रतिर्देवादिविषया व्यभिचारी तथाञ्जितः ।।35।। भावः प्रोक्तः

आदिशब्दान्मुनिगुरुनृपपुत्रादिविषया। कान्ताविषया तु व्यक्ता शृङ्गारः।

When rati is expressed in respect of God etc, then the suggested mood is called Bhava. This includes muni [sage], guru [teacher], nrupa [king], putra [son] etc. When the love is suggested or manifested for a beloved it is termed as Sringara rasa.

तदाभासा अनौचित्यप्रवर्तिताः। तदाभासा रसाभासा भावाभासाश्च

Abhaasa or improper manifestation of these leads to anauchitya [impropriety]. Of these means Rasabhasa and bhavabhasa.

Rasa or bhava is considered as an aberration [abhasa] if it occurs improperly. This is called impropriety or anauchitya. In sringara, rati is considered as improper if it occurs in the upanayaka. Love for another man’s wife especially wife of a sage, guru are also considered as anauchitya. [Ravana’s love for Sita]. One woman having rati for many men and one side love are also termed as abhasa.

In Hasya rasa, humour directed against a Guru is considered abhasa. Raudra or Vira against one’s own parents is abhasa. Bhayanaka depicted in a well-known hero like Rama is abhasa.

Rasabhasa and Bhavabhasa can be examples of Dhvani. Such a kavya can be categorised as Uttama but shall not be called Rasadhvani or bhavadhvani.

भावस्य शान्तिरुदयः संधिः शबलता तथा ।।36।।

Bhava also occurs in various stages and these stages are termed as Bhavodaya, bhavashanti etc.

Bhavodaya is the birth or rise of sentiment.

एकस्मिञ् शयने विपक्षरमणीनामग्रहे मुग्धया सद्यो मानपरिग्रहग्लपितया चाटूनि कुर्वन्नपि। आवेगादवधीरितः प्रियतमस्तूष्णीं स्थितस्तत्क्षणं माभूत्सुप्त इवेत्यमन्दवलितग्रीवं पुनर्वीक्षितः ।। 51 ।। अत्रौत्सुक्यस्य।

They were on the same bed, he mentioned the name of another wife. Her indignation was aroused, she disdained him in anger. In spite of his flattering speech, she stayed silent for a moment. Fearing that he might fall asleep she looked at him turning her neck.  Here there is the rise of Utsukata or anxiety.

Bhavashanti is the subsiding of the sentiment.

तस्याः सान्द्रविलेपनस्तनतटप्र श्लेषमुद्राङ्कितं किं वक्षश्वरणानतिव्यतिकरव्याजेन गोपाय्यते। इत्युक्ते व्क तदित्युदीर्य सहसा तत् संप्रमाष्र्टुं मया साश्लिष्टा रभसेन तत्सुखवशात्तन्व्या च तद्विस्मृतम् ।। 50 ।। अत्र कोपस्य।

She said “Are you trying to conceal the marks of her sandal-painted breasts which are stamped on your chest”. I asked “where is it?” and to get those marks erased, I embraced her suddenly and she the slim one, forgot everything under the ecstasy. In this example we see anger subsiding. So this is Bhavashanti.

Bhavasandhi is the junction of 2 sentiments.

उत्सिक्तस्य तपःपराक्रमनिधेरब्यागमादेकतः सत्संगप्रियता च वीररभसोत्फालश्व मां कर्षतः। वैदैहीपरिरम्भ एष च मुहुश्वैतन्यमामीलयन् आनन्दी हरिचन्दनेन्दुशिशिरस्निग्धो रुणद्ध्यन्यतः ।। 52 ।। अत्रावेगहर्षयोः।

On seeing this treasure of austerities and prowess, my love for association with good people and the sudden burst of heroism attract me. On the other hand, Sita’s embrace that enlivens my soul, cool and soft like the divine sandal paste stops me, immersing me in bliss.   Here there is a conjunction of avega and harsa.

Bhavashabalata is the admixture of a number of sentiments.

व्काकार्यं शशलक्ष्मणः व्क च कुलं भूयोऽपि दृश्येत सा दोषाणां प्रशमाय नःश्रुतमहो कोपेऽपि कान्तं मुखम्। किं वक्ष्यन्त्यपकल्मषाः कृतधियः स्वप्नेऽपि सा दुर्लभा चेतः स्वास्थयमुपैहि कः खलु युवा धन्योऽधरं धास्यति ।। 53 ।। अत्र वितर्कौत्सुक्यमतिस्मरणदैन्यधृतिचिन्तानां शबलता

“Where the flawless lunar dynasty and where this unbecoming act? May I see her again and again! I was educated so that faults would subside. But oh! Her face was so charming even in anger. What will the wise and pure say about this? I think she is not accessible even in dreams. O mind, steady yourself. But which blessed young fellow will kiss her lips!”  Here there is an admixture of vitarka, autsukya, mati, smarana, shanka, dainya, dhriti and chinta.

Rasa is the predominant factor in poetry. But sometimes bhavodaya, bhavashanti etc may gain predominance. This is compared to the importance of a servant in whose marriage the King is merely present. All these are types of asamlakshyakrama dhvani.

Anuranana: It means reverberation. When a sound is made near a cave it reverberates and produces echo. . This is like ringing a bell. The sound does not stop at one stroke, but continues for some time. Similarly in poetry, one meaning is understood first, it then produces another meaning and that leads to another and so on. Such examples are said to have anuranana dhvani. This usually occurs in samlakshyakramavyangya. It is of three types shabdashakti yukta, arthashakti yukta and ubhayashakti yukta.

Virodhabhasa. The figure of virodhabhasa occurs when there is an apparent contradiction, which is solved when the other meaning is grasped.

Vinaapi tanvi haareNa vakshojau tava haariNau

Here, that which has no Haara [necklace] is said to possess Haara and so there is an apparent contradiction. It is solved when we understand that the other meaning of the word HaariNau is attractive. Now the sentence means your breasts are attractive even without a necklace.


A Brahmana gets converted to Buddhism and becomes a Shramana. He is no longer a Brahmana. But people who have known him since a long time cannot forget that was a Brahmana previously and so they call him Brahmana-shramana. Similarly when figures of speech are suggested they belong to dhvani class and are not alankaras. In fact they are alankaryas or factors that get embellished. But still they are called alankaras. Here the analog of Brahmana-shramana is utilised.

4th Ullaasa                Types of Dhvani

  • Dhvani
    • अविवक्षितवाच्यध्वनिः – lakshanaa mula Dhvani
      • अर्थान्तरसङ्क्रमितवाच्यध्वनिः – किञ्चित् विवक्षिता
      • अत्यन्ततिरस्कृतवाच्यध्वनिः – अविवक्षित
    • विवक्षितान्यपरवाच्यध्वनिः – abhidhaa mula Dhvani

नञ् means full absence and also little presence. So अविवक्षित is not विवक्षिता and also किञ्चित् विवक्षिता.


अविवक्षितवाच्यो यस्तत्र वाच्यं भवेद्ध्वनौ। अर्थान्तरे संक्रमितमत्यन्तं वा तिरस्कृतम् ।। 24 ।।

Avivakshitavachya is one where there is an unintended literary import of the primary meaning. It is of 2 types Arthantarasamkramita and Atyantatiraskrta.

Arthantharasamkramita: Here the primary meaning is transformed into another suggested meaning. Eg.

त्वामस्मि वच्मि विदुषां समवायोऽत्र तिष्ठति। आत्मीयां मतिमास्थाय स्थितिमत्र विधेहि तत्।।23।।

I am telling you this, here sits an assembly of scholars. Hence remain here keeping your mind alert. We see that in the suggested meaning, “telling” gets transformed into “advicing”.

Atyantaratiraskrita: Here the primary meaning is totally rejected for the sake of the suggested meaning. Eg.

उपकृतं बहु तत्र किमुच्यते सुजनता प्रथिता भवता परम्।
विदधदीदृशमेव सदा सखे सुखितमास्स्व ततः शरदां शतम् II

You have helped me greatly what can I say? You have exhibited extremely good humaneness. O my friend! Live for a hundred years happily, doing acts of the very same kind. The entire verse is filled with irony to express one’s displeasure. Live for a hundred years happily is not intended. In fact the intended meaning is just the opposite.

एतदपकारिणं प्रति विपरीतलक्षणया कश्चिद्वक्ति ॥२४॥

Here the primary meaning is total rejected and the suggested meaning adopted is actually in contrast to the primary meaning due to irony. This is called viparitalakshana.


विवक्षितं चान्यपरं वच्यं यत्रापरस्तु सः। अन्यपरं व्यङ्ग्यनिष्ठम्।।

Vivakshitanyaparavachya is one where the primary meaning is intended to be conveyed but in such a way that it is subservient to the other [suggested] meaning.

कोऽप्यलक्ष्यक्रमव्यङ्ग चो लक्ष्यव्यङ्ग्यक्रमः परः।। 25 ।।

It is of 2 types namely, alakshyakramavyangya and lakshyakramavyanga.

Alakshyakramavyangya: Rasa gets manifested through vibhavas, anubhavas and vyabhichari bhavas. But this sequence is too subtle and happens very quickly and hence is not comprehended.

विभावानुभावव्यभिचारिण एव रसः। अपि तु रसस्तैः, इत्यस्तिक्रमः। स तु लाघवान्न लक्ष्यते।।

Apart from rasa, bhava, rasabhasa, bhavabhasa, bhavashanti, bhavodaya, bhavasandhi and bhavashabalatva are considered to be alakshyakramavyangya. [alakshyakramavyangya is sometimes called akrama]

Lakshyakramavyangya is where the sequence is perceptible. It is of 3 types, Shabdashaktimula, arthashaktimula and ubhayashaktimula.


Shabdashaktimuladhvani, Arthashaktimuladhvani and Ubhayashaktimuladhvani belong to the main type called abhidamuladhvani.

Shabdashaktimuladhvani is one where the power of the shabda [words] that have more than one primary meaning plays a role [haara]. The words may suggest a vastu [idea] or a figure of speech [alankara]. Hence it is of 2 types.

In arthashaktimuladhvani, the meaning of the word plays a role in conveying the suggested idea [vastu] or figure of speech [alankara].

अर्थशक्त्युद्भवोऽप्यर्थो व्यञ्जकः संभवी स्वतः ।।39।। प्रौढोक्तिमात्रात्सिद्धो वा कवेस्तेनोम्भितस्य वा। वस्तु वालंकृतिर्वेति षड्भेदोऽसौ व्यनक्ति यत् ।।40।। वस्त्वलंकारमथ वा तेनायं द्वादशात्मकः।

The meaning in arthashaktimuladhvani becomes vyanjaka [suggestive]. It is of 3 types svatah sambhavi, kavipraudoktimatrasiddha and kavinibaddhavaktru – praudoktisiddha. Each of these 3 types is categorised as 2 on the basis of vastu and alamkara thereby making the total count 6. The 6 is again divided on the basis of vastu and alankara and we finally have 12 types of arthashaktimuladhvani.

Svatah sambhavi Kavipraudoktisiddha Kavinibaddha vaktrupraudokti siddha
Vastunavastu Vastunavastu Vastunavastu
Vastuna alankara Vastuna alankara Vastuna alankara
Alankarena vastu Alankarena vastu Alankarena vastu
Alankarena alankara Alankarena alankara Alankarena alankara


Svatah sambhavi: That which exists in the world. Not the imagination of the poet. [Side note: Valmiki or Hanuman describing Lanka in Ramayana – description of something that exists in the world ]

Kavipraudokti siddha: Concepts arising from the imagination of the poet and conveyed by the poet himself. [ Side note: pure imagination – something that does not exist in the world ]

Kavinibaddhavaktru praudokti siddha: Here again it is the imagination of the poet. But it is conveyed through the speech of the character. [ Side note: Some character in the work describing something that does not exist in the world ]

Ubhayashaktimula dhvani शब्दार्थोभयभूरेकः It has only one type – vastuna alankara dhvani. It occurs only in a sentence वाक्ये द्वयुत्थः II  द्वयुत्थ इति शब्दार्थोभयशक्तिमूलःII

पदेऽप्यन्ये Others, ie; shabdashakti and arthashaktimula dhvani can occur in a word and sentence also. अपिशब्दाद्वाक्येऽपि। एकावयवस्थितेन भूषणेन कामिनीव पदद्योत्येन व्यङ्ग्येन वाक्यव्यङ्ग्यापि भारती भासते। Just as a beautiful woman shines more by a jewel worn on her limb, poetic speech or idea suggested by a sentence shines more by the suggested meaning of a word.

Number of types of dhvani

भेदा अष्टादशास्य तत् ।।41।। अस्येति ध्वनेः।।

There are 18 types of dhvani [arthantarasankramita, atyantatiraskrita, rasadidhvani, 2 types of shabdashaktimula, 12 types of arthashaktimula and 1 ubhayashaktimula]. Each of these 18 can either manifest in a pada [word] or vakya [sentence]. Sok –

we have 18×2=36. But Ubhayashaktimula can occur only in vakya and not pada. Hence 36 – 1=35 . So dhvani is of 35 types totally according to Mammata  शब्दार्थोभयशक्त्युद्भवस्तु पदप्रकाश्यो न भवतीति पञ्चतिं्रशद्भेदाः

ननु रसादीनां बहुभेदत्वेन कथमष्टादशेत्यत आह। रसादीनामनन्तत्वाद्भेद एको हि गण्यते।

How is it that the count is just 18 when there are many rasa etc? since the rasadis are innumerable, they have been taken as one.

Rasas are 9. Of these shringara is of 2 types, vipralamba and samboga. The permutation combination of all possible alambana and uddeepana vibhavas, anubhavas and vyabhicharins is innumerable. If this is the case with one rasa, we have 8 more rasas and then the bhavadis. Therefore they are taken as one type only considering that they have the common factor of belonging to asamlakshyakramavyangya.

Prabandha dhvani : प्रबन्धेऽप्यर्थशक्तिभूः ।।42

Suggestion based on the power of meaning [arthashaktimula] can occur also in Prabandha. An example given is the conversation between a vulture and a jackal. It is called गृद्रगोमायुसंवाद and has been taken from the Shantiparva of Mahabharata.

यथा गृद्रगोमायुसंवादादौ। अलं स्थित्वा श्मसानेऽस्मिन् गृध्रगोमायुसंकुले। कङ्कालबहले घोरे सर्वप्राणिभयंकरे ।। 93 ।। न चेह जीवितः कश्वित् कालधर्ममुपागतः। प्रियो वा यदि वा द्वेष्यः प्राणिनां गतिरीदृशी ।। 94 ।

Enough of your stay in the burial ground which is replete with vultures and jackals. The presence of many skeletons is horrible and can produce fear in all animals. None in this world has become alive after meeting death, whether he is a dear or a hated one. This is the way of all living beings”

इति दिवा प्रभवतो गृध्रस्य पुरुषविसर्जनपरमिदं वचनम्। This is told by the vulture who has power only during the day, in order to send people away from that place.

आदित्योऽयं स्थितो मूढाः स्नेहं कुरुत सांप्रतम्। बहुविघ्नो मुहूर्तोऽयं जीवेदपि कदाचन ।। 95 ।। अमुं कनकवर्णाभं बालमप्राप्तयौवनम्। गृध्रवाक्यात्कर्थ मूढास्त्यजध्वमविशङ्किताः ।। 96 ।।

“Oh fools, the sun is still there. Show your love now. This time has many obstacles. The dead boy may possibly live. Oh fools, how can you trust the words of the vulture and abandon this boy, who has not yet attained youth and whose complexion is golden?”

इति निशि विजृम्भमाणस्य गोमायोर्जनव्यावर्तननिष्ठं च वचनमिति प्रबन्ध एव प्रथते। this has been told by the jackal who is active at night.

Neither the vulture nor the jackal care for the boy or the feelings of other people. Each of them have the selfish motive of devouring the body. So the vulture wants them to abandon the body immediately [when there is sunlight] while the jackal wants people to wait till sun sets.

Sankara : It is a combination of 2 or more dhvanis in one stanza or sentence and these have a mutual relationship. Based on the relationship, Sankara is of 3 types.

  1. Anugrahyaanugrahaka sankaraha: Here one dhvani assists or blesses the other dhvani.
  2. Sandeha sankaraha: Here there is a doubt as to which type of dhvani needs to be accepted.
  3. Ekavyanjakaanupravesha sankaraha: Here 2 types of dhvanis occur in one and the same suggestive expression.

Samsristi : Here again there are 2 or more dhvani in one stanza or sentence. But unlike sankara, here there is no mutual relation or dependence.


Mammata classifies kavya as Uthama, Madhyama and Adhama. Uthama kavya is one filled with dhvani or rich in suggested meaning. Madhyama kavya is one in which dhvani becomes subordinated. It is also called Gunibhootavyangya. Adhama kavya is one which is lacking of dhvani and it is also called chitra kavya.

अगूढमपरस्याङ्गं वाच्यसिद्धयङ्गमस्फुटम्। संदिग्धतुल्यप्राधान्ये काव्काक्षिप्तँमसुन्दरम् ।।45।। व्यङ्ग्यमेवं गुणीभूतव्यङ्ग्यस्याष्टौ भिदाः स्मृताः।

Mammata has mentioned 8 types of Gunibhootavyangya.

  1. Agoodavyangya: Not properly concealed.

The suggested meaning or dhvani has importance only when it is subtly implied and not too obvious. In this case however the subtlety is lacking and the meaning is too obvious.

  1. Aparangavyangya: Suggested meaning is subservient to something else.

Here the rasa etc or the reverberated meaning becomes subsidiary to another rasa or the denoted meaning. For example, Sringara rasa becoming subservient to karuna rasa in Ramayana.

  1. Vachyasiddyanga vyangya: Suggested meaning is for the accomplishment of the denoted meaning.

Vyangya is applied for Vachya siddhi i.e., better clarity of the denoted meaning is obtained through vyangya.

  1. Asphutavyangya: Unclear or obtuse.

The suggested meaning is not clearly conveyed.

अदृष्टे दर्सनोत्कण्ठा दृष्टे विच्छेदभीरुता। नादृष्टेन न दृष्टेन भवता लभ्यते सुखम् ।। 128 ।।

When you are out of sight, there is a longing to see you. When you are seen there is the fear of separation. There is no happiness from you even when you are seen or not seen. Here the suggested meaning is “Do something by which you are seen and there is no fear of separation too.” This idea is not very clearly conveyed.

  1. Sandigdhapradhanya:

There is a doubt as to which one of the 2 is prominent – the denoted meaning or the suggested meaning.

  1. Tulyapradhanya: Equal prominence.

Here there is equal scope for the denoted as well as the suggested meanings.

  1. Kaakvakshiptam:

Here the suggested meaning is implied by the tone of the speaker [kaku]. The vachyartha negates the actions but the vyangyartha affirms it.

  1. Asundara: Not beautiful.

Here the suggested meaning is not as charming as the denoted meaning. The vachyartha nourishes and enhances the rasa better and so it is more beautiful than the suggested meaning.

Refutation of opponents of Vyanjana

Mammata establishes the role of vyanjana firmly by defeating the opponents of Vyanjana vada. 2 main theories that were proposed to oppose vyanjana are

  1. नैमित्तिकानुसारेण निमित्तानि कल्प्यन्ते
  2. सोऽयमिषोरिव दीर्घदीर्घतरो व्यापारः ll  यत्परः शब्दः स शब्दार्थः ll

नैमित्तिकानुसारेण निमित्तानि कल्प्यन्तेcauses are guessed from the effects.

Nimitta means cause and Naimittika is that which results from a Nimitta, ie; effect. Nimitta is of 2 types – Kaaraka and Jnaapaka.

Kaaraka is the actual cause like mud or wheel in respect of the effect ghata and Jnaapaka could be just an indicator or illuminator like the lamp. If there is an object X, a lamp only illuminates and helps us cognise it [see it]. It does not help us to know what the object is unless we know the convention associated with it.

Something becomes known [by a word] only if a convention is established. This convention happens only when there is a correlation. So as long as the correlation of the cause and effect has not been ascertained, how can one know the effect from the cause or cause from the effect. Therefore it is not proper to accept that causes are guessed from the effects.

“सोऽयमिषोरिव दीर्घदीर्घतरो व्यापारः” इति “यत्परः शब्दः शब्दार्थः” इति च विधिरेवात्र वाच्य इति

Some say “that the function of a word is like the action of an arrow and so is very very long. So the meaning of the word is the sense finally desired to be conveyed.” And so Vidhi [affirmative] of the denoted meaning is what is being conveyed.

It is like saying that tatparyartha which arises on the basis of abhida or denoted meaning is the sense that is desired to be finally conveyed. [side note when a lady sarcastically says to her lover “go, no one is stopping you” the final sense conveyed is that the lover is allowed to go. But in reality it is just the other way. Here the tone of the speaker suggests sarcasm. This cannot be known by the function of abhida or tatparyartha]

भूतभव्यसमुच्चारणे भूतं भव्यायोपदिश्यते

When that which is accomplished [bhuta] and that which is to be accomplished [bhavya] are both mentioned, the former is only for enjoining the later.

[When something new is added to an already known fact, the enjoining is only for understanding the new factor. So the sentence need not be understood from scratch.]

ऋत्विक्प्रचरणे प्रमाणान्तरात् सिद्धे “”लोहितोष्णीषा ऋत्विजः प्रचरन्ति”” इत्यत्र लोहितोष्णीषत्वमात्रं विधेयम्। for instance consider the Vedic statement “the red-turbaned priests move”. Here the movement of priests is already known [bhuta] and so what is enjoined here is that the priests should wear red turbans while moving [bhavya].

This is called Adagdadahana nyaya”.  Fire burns everything. But everything includes only unburned things and not ash. Therefore only that which is already not known is enjoined.

Arguments in favour of Vyanjana :

  • If comprehension of meaning of a sentence happens only on the basis of abhida, then how can one explain different emotions like happiness [when one hears that a son is born] and sorrow [when one hears that his unmarried daughter is pregnant]?
  • Both the schools of Mimamsa accept Lakshana. Mammata’s argument is why accept Laksha when even that can be explained as a longer function of abhida?
  • Doshas are classified as nitya [permanent] and anitya [temporary]. Asaadhutva or grammatical error is a permanent dosha while Kashtatva [harshness] is a dosha in sringara and shanta rasas, but is allowed in Vira rasa. So it is classified as a temporary dosha based on the context.  Mammata says if everythings is based on abhida then why have the category of anitya dosha?
  • The phrase गतोऽस्तमर्कः has only one denoted meaning “the sun has set”. The suggested meaning may be any of the following. 1) This is the opportunity to attack the enemy. 2) Begin the voyage to meet your lover. 3) Your beloved has almost come. 4) Let us retire from our work. 5) Let us begin our evening rituals. 6) Don’t go far. 7) Allow the cows to enter the house. 8) No longer will the heat be here now. 9) Let the merchandise be packed. 10) My beloved has not come till now.
  • There is also a difference of time between the 2 because denoted meaning always flashes first and the suggested appears afterwards.
  • The Ashraya [locus] of the 2 functions is also different. Denotation always depends on the word while suggestion may depend on word, part of the word, its meaning, varnas or the structure [rachana].
  • Denoted meaning is known from grammar while the suggested meaning requires grammar and clarity of imagination assisted by the context etc.
  • The effect also varies. Denoted meaning produces ordinary knowledge in every hearer while suggested meaning produces aesthetic delight in sahrdayas.
  • Vachakas [denotative words] require a meaning fixed by convention, while Vyanjakas [suggestive words] do not require it.

तत्क्वचिदपि नीलपीतादौ भेदो न स्यात् । Despite the above arguments if still one believes that Vachaktva and Vyanjakatva are the same then there would be no difference between blue and yellow. With the above arguments Mammata has established that Vachakatva is not Vyanjakatva  न वाचकत्वमेव व्यञ्जकत्वम्।

Refutation of Bhaaktavadins:  Mammata then proceeds to refute scholars who say that Vyanjana is nothing but Bhakti or Lakshana. Lakshana is of many types and is always regularly related to the primary meaning.

  • Unlike lakshana, Vyanjana 1) may have a regular relation with primary meaning 2) may not have a regular relation with the primary meaning or 3) may have an indirect relation.
  • Lakshana is said to be a tail of abhida as it always depends on abhida, while Vyanjana may or may not follow abhida and lakshana. In some cases suggestion depends on the varnas which have no abhida at all. Also vyanjana can occur from gestures like side glances where words are not at all involved.

Chitrakavya: While classifying kavya, Mammata says that chitrakavya is of the Adhama category, as it is devoid of dhvani. It is of 2 types shabdachitra and arthachitra.

शब्दचित्रेऽर्थस्याचित्रत्वम् अर्थचित्रे वा शब्दस्य। It is to be remembered that in shabdachitra, shabda is predominant and artha is subsidiary. Similarly in arthachitra, artha is pradhana and shabda is subordinate.

रूपकादिरलंकारस्तस्यान्यैर्बहुधोदितः। कान्तमपि निर्भूषं विभाति वनिताननम्।

The face of a beautiful lady does not shine, if it is totally devoid of ornamentation.

The need for rupaka, upama etc alankaras have been mentioned here.

Some feel that figures of speech like Rupaka are exterior. Elegant nouns and verbs [saushabdya] is the real ornament. Bhamaha too opposes this view. He affirms that upama, rupaka etc are arthalankaras, while anuprasa, yamaka etc are shabdalankaras.

Chitrakavya can have the description of a vibhava or anubhava or vyabhicharibhava of some rasa. But this does not result in the relishment of the rasa. For example, moonrise is a well-known vibhava of sringara rasa. If the description of moon rise occurs in a kavya where the meeting of lovers is describes, then it enhances the relishment of sringara rasa and becomes dhvani. If it stops at the description of moonrise as a natural occurrence then it is not dhvani.

Chitra Mimamsa by Appayya Dheekshitar

This is an elaborate descriptive work with full examples of the Lakshana of the more important Arthalankaras. Following this pattern, Sri Jagannadha Pandita wrote his famous Rasagangadhara. The Chitra Mimamsa has been written in the traditional sastraic manner. Chitramimamsa-khandana was a work by Jagannatha Pandita that includes his uncompromising and abusive criticisms of Appaya.


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