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Sanskrit Poetics (An Old and Rare Book)

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Item Code: NAO588
Author: P. K. Misra
Language: English
Edition: 1988
ISBN: 812170037X
Pages: 368
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 8.5 inch x 5.5 inch
Weight 560 gm
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Book Description
About the Book

The study of Sanskrit Poetics has not received the attention of the scholars, that It deserves. Poetics being a significant aspect of literature, which enables a reader in appreciating a work of art in its right perspective, the contribution of the Orissan rhetoricians to Sanskrit Poetics has yet to be adequately evaluated. In fact, Orissa, as a gold mine of rhetoricians, is yet unknown to the academic world. Most of the works of the Orissan rhetoricians are still in the form of palm-leaf manuscripts.

About the Author

Dr. Prafulla Kumar Misra (b. 1954),is an eminent young scholar on Sanskrit poetics and aesthetics. He got his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees both from the Utkal University, Bhubaneswar, Orissa, where he serves as a Reader in the Post-Graduate Department of Sanskrit at present, An active enthusiast, he is now engaged in research work based on the Prachi Valley Civilization as well as on the Vaishnavite Rhetorics. He is the Founder-Secretary of the Prachi Valley Cultural Academic and Historical Research Society, Purl.


It gives me great pleasure to find that the work entitled, SANSKRIT POETICS: ORISSAN CONTRIBUTION' of Dr. prafulla Kumar Misra, Reader of the Post-Graduate Department of Sanskrit, University now goes to see the light of the day. Some years age Dr. Misra worked with me to prepare the doctoral dissertation for the award of the Ph. D. degree by this University, the result of which was the work mentioned above.

Orissa has to its credit a long tradition of eminent poets and hetoricians in Sanskrit literature who have become famous for their immortal works. Among the rhetoricians mention must be Vidyadhara, Visvanatha Kaviraja and Baladeva Vidysbhusana. Among these Visvanatha Kaviraja is credited not only with composing his monumental treatise on Sanskrit Poetics, Sahityadarpana, but also with the composition of a number of works including poetry and drama. His Sahityadarpana exhaustively covers the field of both poetics and dramaturgy. His commentary on Kavya- prakasa of Mammata going by the name of Kavya prakasadarpana is unique exposition of the author's own point of view on the numerus intricacies of rhetorics. Visvanatha's father, grand father and eat grand father, whom he quotes by name, such as Candrasekhara, candidasa and Narayana respectivelv were stalwarts in the field of sanskrit poetics. His son, Anantadasa inheriting the genius of his father both as a rhetorician and Sandhivigrahika who also wrote a commentary called Ratnapana on his father's work, Sahityadarpana as also a reputed figure in his own time.

The Orissan authors, for the cultivation, creation and propagation of Sanskrit literature in its various branches, found their patrons among the Ganga rulers and the famous Gajapati kings of Orissa who had their cultural centre and sometimes the capital at Puri, the earthly sacred abode of Lord Jagannath. The cultural tradition which had its sway over centuries in Orissa and spread all over the country by crossing the provincial boundaries remained unbroken being nurtured by royal patronage from time to time.

Dr. Misra, being himself a resident of Puri and having a strong cultural tradition behind him has the unique privilege of exploring the details of the originals preserved in the palm-leaf manuscripts at several academic institutions in the State. His untiring pursuits in- this regard have helped him in making a clear cut assessment of the wealth of learning handed down to posterity for generations by the. native scholars in the field of Sanskrit poetics.

Sanskrit poetics, being an eternal source of delight, through, which, a connoisseur can derive the pleasure of reading or witnessing a creative art either in the shape of poetry or drama embodying the unmatched experience of the poet or the writer, the present work of Dr. Misra will prove a fruitful addition to the works of similar nature in this area and be admired by all lovers of Indian poetics.

Sri K.C Jain, the Publisher, Bharatiya Vidya Prakasan, New Delhi, who has kindly undertaken the publication of the present work so promptly and ungrudgingly, specially deserves our grateful thanks.


In the vast scope of the universe human mind and intellect have failed to achieve the perfection of learning and profundity of knowledge. This being the state of affairs one is at a loss to carve out a path in the vast field of Sanskrit literature. My keen interest in literary criticism led me and my guru to agree on the point of making a Systematic and scientific study of the contributions made to the field of Sanskrit poetics by the known and unknown rhetoricians of Orissa. Though they deserve a long discussion, they had not come to the lime light. I thought it to be my earnest duty to discover the worthy sons of my soil from the old palm-leaf manuscripts of different libraries hitherto unexplored and present them to the scholarly world, thus making all know to what extent Orissa had access to this particular branch of Sanskrit literature. kalinga, Odisa, Udisa or latter known as Utkala is place of high cultural heritage from times immemorial. The historical record support the legends of its vast territory once extending from river Ganga (the Ganges) to Godavari. Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas like Harivamsa, Skandapurana and Kurmapuran refer frequently to its existence so also sastras like Manusmrti, Kapilasamhita Utkalamahatmya, Saktisangamatantra, Tantrayamala have identified the land ef Utkala in disitincitive terms. Historians like Fleet. Hunter, Sterling Jchn Bc s me s and others have said a lot for Odisa.

It is not only a historic place but also a land of first ranking learned philosophers, poets and critics. It was a citadel of learning and discussion of sastras as the (rulers) monarchs of Orissa were highly patronising the scholars in their own interest as well as in the interest of the land. Sanskrit was the medium of instruction then. The inscriptions, copper-plates, tablets and innumer able numbers of palm-leaf manuscripts prove this.

Anargharaghava of Murari Misra, Prabodhacandrodaya of Krsna Misra, Candrakala and prabhavatinatika of Visvanatha Kavi- raja Puspamala of Candrasekhara and thus a large number of dramas had achieved their wide popularity in those days. A lot of Campu literature also came to prominence in ancient Orissa namely-Kaliyanigraha Campu of Raja Visvanatha Deva, Anandadamodara Campa of Bhuvanesvara Badapanda and so on. Kavyas, Khandakavyas of, Orissa are not less significant. Gangavamsanucarita of Vasudeva, Sulocanamadhava of Brajasundara Pattanayaka and Siddhantadarpana of Samanta Candrasekhara are at the apex of their literary merit. The charming songs of Jayadeva's Gitagovinda have been reverberating in the ears of millions from Kashmir to cape Comorin.


Alamkara Sastra or Sahitya Vidya

1. Alamkara Sastra is the name of the treatieses on literary criticism. According to Rajasekhara it occupies the fifth place in the sphere of knowledge.' Ancient authors used to say that alamkara is the judgement of poetry and the law book of the poetic world. The concept of Kavya and Kavi, the utility, cause, effect; gunas, dosas, alatukaras, riti, rasa and so on of kavya constitute the scope of sankrit poetics. Alamksra is useful for the kavyas as. nidanasastra or pathology is useful for treatment of disease and as grammar is useful for language. When there are many aspects of Sanskrit poetics like rasa, guna etc. why is it that the term alamkara sastra should be used for poetics'"? Because, Bhamaha, Udbhata, Rudrata and Vamana etc. identify guna with alamkara and say, as alamkara is the main aspect of kavya, the name of the sastra should be given accordingly. As alamkara is the important element in kiivya, the name of the particular sastra should be alamkara sastra It is based on the logic of "pradhanyena vyapadeso. bhavati' or on the chatrinyaya poetics is often called the philosophyand science of fine art in its final analysis. It is a part of philosophy because the majority of the writers on it have been influenced in their theories by philosophical, psychological and. ethical ideas. Whether the theories have been propounded on the basis of such ideas is a point which requires close attention and investigation. Further, it is called the science of art because it deals with the techniques of art.

2. A Brief History of the Alamlkara Sastra

The origin of alamkera sastra takes us back to the age of Rgveda." We get reference of alamkaras in Nirukta" of Yaska, Astadhyayt of Panini and NS of BH. But BH is practically the first known writer on the subject. He is extremely simple in his statements. All writers and schools of thoughts take inspiration from him. His primary topic, as already stated, is the drama. According to him there can be no poetry without rasa. After a fairly long interval of time he was followed by Bhamaha, Dandin (C. 7th century A.D.) and A V, none of whom can be hailed as the sole founder of the system which he represents. During the time of Bhcmaha poetics was trying to make its appearance as an independent science. The Poetic embellishment formed the subject of his study. It is very likely that the alamkara school co-existed with rasa school. The older writer seems to be content with saying that poetry would bestow fame on the poet and pleasure on the reader. In the work of Bhamaha and Udbhata we find that the essential sign of a kavya is the existence of the poetic figures. There does not appear to exist a thorough critical system in either of them. Laten writers like Mammata analysed various aspects of poetry and have pointed out that it is not only a source of pleasure but it has also a greater and nobler aim such as warding off evil and helping in the attainment of salvation. Poetry in effect should not be pedagogic.

Literary criticism took its name differently in course of history. At the outset it carries the name alamkara Sastra based -on the influence of the then critics and the names of their texts. For instance, the name of the book of Bhamaha is Kavyalamkara. His commentator Udbhata gave the name to his work as Kavyalamkara- sara-samgraha. The works of Vamana and Rudrata bear the same title, Kavyalarhkara. So also Dandin accepts the importance of alamkara in poetry to its fullest extent. Though he did not lay much stress on the theory of alamkara, he made an exhaustive description of the alamkaras. Dtpakalamkara, paryayokta and tulya- yogita are the basic alements out of which dhvani theory emerged. So also the Vakrokti theory is the contribution of alamkara school. The meaning of alasakam was not simply to beautify" but also to turn it into an essential factor of poetry. In the middle age (1Oth century A.D.) the lastra changed its name to Sahitya sastra. The 'Word Sahity oiginated from the kavya alamkara of Bhamaha", The name is also accepted and expanded by Bhoja and Kuntaka. Its zeal significance was revealed in Kuntaka's use of the word sahitya. After him its significance was enhanced by Ruyyaka by naming his work as Sahitya Mimamsa. Finally VK made it prominent by naming his work as Sahityadarpanah, When it became popular, it made the word Sahitya more popular. In the history of literary criticism at 'the outset rhetoricians attached utmost importance to alamkara, That was the main ingredient of kavya then for which for a considerable period rhetorics or poetics was called the science of alamkara or alamkara Sastra. BH showed that alamkaras are four in number. Bhamaha focussed on Vakrokti and said all are inclusive of it. But Daudin keeps intact the theory of his own, i.e. atisayokti and slesa alamkaras. Dandin gives the idea of alasakaras as the soul of poetry, which Bhamaha termed as the beautifying elements of poetry or Kavy alamkara." Dandin's statement gives stress on the importance of alamkara and shows how -it is indispensable for kavya. Without alamkara there is no place of kavya, worth the name and all others rest on it. Daudin's definition" of kavya is shaken by the definition laid down by Vamana because the latter contends that alamkara is not the indispensable quality of kavya, but it merely beautifies kavya.": This upsets a popular theory of alatiiakiira by denying the indispensability of the concept of alamkara amongst rhetoricians. By this alamakara be- comes secondary to kavya whereas it had the primary importance in the kavya. But the name alamkara became the last reminiscence of the importance of kiivya and the name alamkiira sastra was widely used to mean rhetorics. Udbhata attached no importance to guna and alamkiira, Rudiata in his Kavyalamkara. clearly -discussed rasa and alamkara, rasavat, urjasvi, samahita, and preyas. Those rasa, rasavat etc. are not excluded from alamkaras. This issue is yet a matter of dispute. Even AV did not deny rasavat etc. as -different from alamkara. Up to the time of Appayyadiksita, ,bhavodaya, bhavasavalata, bhavasamdhi, and darsanagata parthaka, pramanas (proofs) such as anumsna, upamana etc. were also included in alamkara. Rudrata's attempt opened the field of alamkara and alamkarya.


1 Foreword i-ii
2 Preface iii-viii
3 Abbreviations vi
4 Chapter I: Introduction 1-22
A Alamkara Sastra 1
B Orissa: Its extent, History, Traditions, culture, its wide learning and contribution 7
5 Chapter II: Ekavali of Vidyadhara 23-56
6 Chapter III: Sahitya Darpana of Visvanatha 57-102
7 Chapter IV_ Sahitya Bhusana of Raghunatha Dasa 103-128
8 Chapter V: Baladeva Vidyabhusana 129-170
A Kavyakaustubha 129
B Sahitya Kaumudi 149
9 Chapter VI: Rasakalpadruma of Jagannatha Misra 171-202
10 Chapter VII: Kavicintamani of Kavibhusana Gopinatha Patra 203-230
11 Chapter VIII: Other Minor Authors on Poetics 31-252
12 Chapter IX: Commentators on Poetics 253-284
13 Chapter X: authors on Dance and Music 285+328
14 Chapter XI: Epilogue 329-334
15 Bibliography 335-348
16 Index 349-352


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