About the Author :
Kesava Misra, the author of the Alamkarasekhara, was the contemporary of Manikyacandra, son of Dharmacandra and grandson of Ramacandra. These kings belonged to the family of Susarma (See Alamkasekhara, 1/4). Ramacandra apparently defeated in fierce battle an Afghan (Kabila) King of Dhilli (Delhi), which claim is laid by Kesava himself (1 bid, 1/6). Kane says: "According to Cunningham (Arch. Survey of India, Vol. V, p. 160), Manikyacandra, King of Kangra, succeeded Dharmacandra in 1563 A.D. and ruled for about ten years. Hence the Alamkarasekhara was composed in the latter half of the 16th century." (History of Sanskrit Poetics, p. 317).
About himself, Kesava says that he was well-0versed in 'tarka', and had written seven other books. None of these are available to us, though in his work there are references to 'Kavyaratna' or 'Vakyaratna' or 'Alamarasarvasva' (to be distinguished from Ruyaka's work of that name). The present work was undertaken at the instance of his patron, Manikyacandra, who wanted an interesting work on poetics to be written for the edification of ordinary people (Ibid, 1/3, 10). Kesava himself says that he has discussed his subject in brief, very simply, for the easy understanding of children (Ibid, XIII, XIV).
In this work, Kesava states outright that his is practically a commentary on karikas (or sutras composed by Sauddhodani. Nothing is know about Saudhodani, though the name seems to suggest that he was a Buddhist. He is referred to as maharsi, bhagavan and paramakarunika. According to Kane, the Karikas of Sauddhodani were written after the 11th century (History of Sanskrit Poetics, p. 316). Kesava refers to and cites from a number of other works by rhetoricians, for instance, Bharata's Natyasastra, Dhvanyaloka, Dandin's Kavyadarsa, Mammata's Kavyaprakasa, also from Vagbhata, Mahimabhatta, Bhoja, Rajasekhara, Jayadeva, Devesvara etc. He also cites another rhetorician, sripada, and the 'Kavikalpalata by a follower of Sripada. On many occasions, he cites Govardhana. No work by these rhetoricians is available to us. Among the many example quoted by him, we find profuse quotations from Kaidasa, Magha, Sriharsa and Amaru, to mention just a few.
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