In Sanskrit literary theory there is a dichotomy between decorations of meaning and of sound. The emphasis of most of the scholars has always been on embellishments of meaning since they considered that sentiment or emotion is the core of poetry. Poetry based on sound was relegated to a lower plane but could not be ignored altogether as great poets had used them in earlier times. So they are dealt with cursorily in a few pages.
The sweep, breadth and depth of poetry based on sound is vast and spread thinly in varicus tomes. An attempt has been made in this book to collate a comprehensive literature on the subject along with an English translation. Some poetry ahs repetition of vowels, consonants or syllables; some have repetition of whole lines of a stanza or parts of a line; some are palindromes of a stanza, half of a stanza or a single line; and some poetry has restrictions, like the use of only one, two, three or four consonants or vowels, or the use of only palatals, dentals and other groups, or the avoidance of these groups. All such poetry is treated by the rhetoricians as decorations of sound. These are dealt with in Volume I.
Poetry as entertainment is an insidious concept in Sanskrit. Certain forms of poetry are used for diversion or for testing the mettle of other poets in assemblies. These are poems with three or more interpretations, conundrums, questions and answers, ambiguous speech; poems with the verb, subject, object or the person addressed being hidden; poems involving the addition or dropping, or both, of a dot, vowel or consonant; and poems involving the restructuring of a poem where only the vowels are indicated. This genre of poetry is included in decorations of sound. They are given in Volume II.
Pictorial poetry is the composition of poems so the poem cab be inscribed in a drawing of an object like a sword, lotus, fish or snake. This group comes under the decorations of sound by applying well-accepted principles of grammar. This exotic art was labeled variously as "strange". "curiosity" and "a tremendous feat", or disparaged as tricks. These are in Volume III.
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