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Poetry, Creativity and Aesthetic Experience (Sanskrit Poetics and Literary Criticism)

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Item Code: NAP459
Author: Natavarlal Joshi
Publisher: Eastern Book Linkers
Language: English
Edition: 1994
ISBN: 8185133948
Pages: 267
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 400 gm
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Book Description
About The Book

The work 'Poetry, Creativity and Aesthetic Experience' is mainly based on the doctoral thesis submitted to the University of Bombay. It studies the three vital problems of Sanskrit literary criticism viz. the problem of defining poetic expression, creativity and making of Sanskrit poet and the problem of aesthetic experience which relates to the purpose of poetry. These problem have been conceived, developed, discussed, interpreted and commented upon by atleast twenty two exponents during a period of about one thousand five hundred years, from Bharata to Jagannatha.

Being at home in Vedanta as well as Sahitya he draws inspiration from Sadananda's Vedantasara and applies the anubandha-catu-staya method to Sahitya Sastra in his doctoral thesis. This is undeniably a unique feature of his work."

Prof. Joshi's work covers a vast .period of about one thousand five hundred years This work presents a comprehensive, critical and (analytical study of almost all the basic concepts and principles of literary criticism and aesthetics. His exposition of each and every topic is very clear and methodical and style lucid. The excellence of this work primarily rests on its expository side and the novel application of the anubandha-catustaya method... …"(from Foreword).

About The Author

Natwar Lal Joshi, was born in 1942, at Karachi then undivided India. —Received Primary and Secondary education at Mandvi, Kutch, (Gujarat).—Selection Grade Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sanskrit, K.J. Somaiya College, he has been Post-Graduate Teacher of University of Bombay.—took Master's degree in 1968. University of Bombay,—U. G. C's Teacher Fellowship was awarded in 1988,—Doctoral Thesis 'Poetic Composition its Cause and Purpose' was accepted by Bombay University. —Ph D. in 1993—took oriental degrees : Sastri in Sankarvedant 1966, "Acharya" in Sahitya-sastra, Varanaseya Sanskrit Vishvavidyalaya, Varanasi, 1971,—read papers at various Sessions of All India Oriental Conference, and Seminars arranged by Asiatic Society, Bharatiya Vidyabhavan, Department of Sanskrit, University of Bombay, K. J. Somaiya Institute of Indology etc.,- Recipient of Kulapati K.M. Munshi Gold-Medal, Maharaja Jaychamraj Vadyar Gold-Medal, Maharaja Jaychamraj Vadyur Gold-Medal, Diwan Bahadur Manibhai Jashbhai Prize,- Contributed articles to All India Radio, Broadcast talks since 1978.

Hon. Secretary ’Surabharati’ for18 years.


As I was studying Sanskrit poetics and literary criticism, my attention was drawn towards certain problems concerning creativity, poetic expression and aesthetic experience. It made me think whether I could sit down and reflect on them at length. The award of the Research Fellowship by the University Grants Commission under the F.I.P. of the Seventh Plan period made it possible for me to undertake the study of these problems as the topic of Ph.D. thesis. I am extremely thankful to the U.G.C. for the award.

I am equally thankful to the management of the Somaiya Vidyavihar and the K.J. Somaiya College of Arts and Commerce, Bombay, who forwarded my application to the U.G.C. and later on granted the necessary study leave. I am particularly thankful to Shri K.J. Somaiya, Dr. S.K. Somaiya and Shri P.M. Kavadia of the Somaiya Vidyavihar who took constant interest in promoting the cause of research in Sanskrit. I am equally indebted to my friend Shri Lalit N. Doshi, I.A.S., a noble soul and a lover of Sanskrit who extended all the help that was possible for him.

My thanks are due to Dr. S.A. Dange who with his usual warmth and affection, inspired and encouraged me to take to research work.

No words would adequately express my gratitude towards my Guide Dr. (Mrs.) S.S. Dange, R.G. Bhandarkar Professor and Head, Department of Sanskrit, University of Bombay. She took meticulous and untiring care in minutely going through the entire text, making valuable suggestions that made it possible to overcome some of the shortcomings.

My sincere thanks are due to Dr. V.M. Kulkarni, Director , mm. P.V. Kane Research Institute, Asiatic Society, Bombay for contributing a Forward to this work. I thank my Dr. G.K. Pai, Dr. K.K. Chaturvedi Dr. Hariram Acharya.

Prof. S.A. Upadhyay and Shri M.P. Taparia for their suggestions. Anagha Lele typed out the text. I thank her for carrying out the job very carefully.

Finally, I would like to thank sincerely Mr. Sham L. al Malhotra and his sons of Eastern Book Linkers for bringing out this volume very nicely.

I take this opportunity to acknowledge my debt to all those scholars whose works in the field of Sanskrit poetics and literary criticism, I have refered to.

The present work is the result not only of my modest attempt to study some of the problems of Sanskrit poetics and literary criticism, but also the assistance of diverse nature, corning from several persons. I thank them all.


It gives me great pleasure in contributing a Foreward to this Book. It is mainly based on his thesis Poetic Composition, Its cause and Purpose presented for the Ph.D Degree in Sanskrit of The University of Bombay. In addition to his Degrees M. A. and Ph.D. Prof. Natavarlal N. Joshi is Vedanta Sastri and Sahityacarya. Being at home in Vedanta as well as Sahitya he draws inspiration from Sadananda's Vedantasara and applies the anubandha-catustaya method to Sahitya Sastra in his doctoral thesis. This is undeniably a unique feature of his work.

Prof. Joshi's work covers a vast period of about one thousand and five hundred years from Bharata to Panditaraja Jagannatha. This work presents a comprehensive, critical and analytical study of almost all the basic concepts and principles of literary criticism and aesthetics. His exposition of each and every topic is very clear and methodical, and style lucid. The excellence of this work primarily rests on its expository side and the novel application of the anubandha-catustaya method.

Prof. Joshi deserves congratulations for his valuable contribution and I earnestly hope that scholars will warmly welcome it.


Having referred to the sources it was found that the topic like the nature of poetic composition, cause and purpose which formed the very basis of all enquiry into different aspects of poetry and formed a starting point of all discussion, has not received adequate attention. Kane expresses his regret on account of limitations of space imposed on his work for not referring to the criticism passed on the definitions of poetry given by different critics and for not going deep into the topic of creative imagination and for briefly pointing out their connection. While five principal theories of poetry are treated the theories of Propriety, Poetic Charm and Aesthetic Beauty are overlooked.

This thesis intends to study the problem of poetic Expression and Aesthetic Experience with which the Sanskrit Literary Criticism mainly grapples. Closely connected with it are the problems of creativity and creative process, the making of the poet and the role of the connoisseur of poetic art against the social and political backdrop.

An attempt is made to study the contribution of the individual talent to decide the soul of poetry that led to the growth of the whole tradition in which the extraneous elements like decorative principle of embellishment gave way to more subtle principles of suggestion and poetic configuration, strikingness in expression, propriety, poetic charm and Aesthetic Beauty leading to the search for the Ultimate Principle.

It is a well-known practice of the Sanskrit poeticians and the literary critics to introduce, at the commencement of their works, a discussion in which the main concern has been to consider the following problems :

(i) the first problem is to find what poetry can do for its creator, the poet and an appreciative reader. What benefits would accrue to them ? Why one should write Poetry, Creativity and Aesthetic Experience poetry or study it at all ? Why should poetry be not eschewed ? What aesthetic experience comes over the connoisseur of poetic art ?

(ii) The next problem is to consider what factors contribute to the making of a poet. What constitutes his equipment ? What should be regarded as his requisites ? In other words the problem is to decide whether the poet is born or made. If he is born, what are his inborn faculties ? If he is made, what are the modalities of making a poet ? In short, the problem relates to creativity, scholarship and training of a poet.

(iii) (iii) More intricate is the problem to consider 'what is poetry ?' What constitutes its body and the soul ? Whether poetry can be defined in specific terms ? It is this 'prime problem' of 'poetic expression' with which the Sanskrit poetics and literary criticism mainly grapple.

The Sanskrit poeticians and literary critics, soon after the benedictory verse, introduce a discussion on such topics as purpose, cause and nature of their subject matter, namely poetry. The whole edifice of Sanskrit poetics and literary criticism rests on their attempt to provide an adequate solution to these problems. The importance of these topics which form the starting point is either overlooked or under-estimated, perhaps, due to an obvious familiarity. But the fact remains that the line of thinking taken by an individual poetician or a literary critic to expound these problems, largely, decides the course of his theory of poetry.

As regards the purpose of poetry, Bharata has laid down the foundation. He lists eight basic purposes, namely, virtue, fame, intellectual progress, material wealth, delight, longevity, advice and relaxation. The later critics like Bhamaha and others, who derive inspiration from their great predecessor either improve upon what Bharata has said and lay down additional purposes or omit some and put more stress on some or the other purposes. Thus there has been a kind of interaction between the existing thought and the new contribution through the ages ; till we reach a culmination in a critic like Mammata.

An impression prevails, not quite correctly among the modern critics that the Sanskrit poetician and the literary critic did not give much attention to creativity and the creative process. The impression needs to be corrected ; for almost every critic introduces the subject of cause of poetry, in which by and large creative talent, a degree of culture and practice, under the guidance of the seniors, how to compose poetry are considered as necessary equipment of a prospective poet. Here too, a divergence of views prevails regarding the importance and comparative usefulness of any one, two or all the three factors. Some critics like Hemacandra and Jagannatha hold that 'creative faculty' alone is the cause of poetry Ksemendra and Rajagekhara believe in the efficacy of 'proficiency' as the sole cause of poetry. Arisimha and Amaracandra, authors of the Kavyakalapalatavrtti regard 'practice' alone as the sole cause of poetry. Some critics like Anandavardhana, Abhinavagupta, Kuntaka and others believe in 'Superiority of Creative Faculty'. Others like Mammata attach 'equal importance' to all the three factors. Hence the need arises to consider relative importance of the divergent views.

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