The Adyar library and Research center was founded in 1886 by Henry Steel Olcott first president of the Theosophical society first research in eastern civilization philosophy and Religion. Its aim is to promote understanding among the peoples of the world through knowledge of the higher aspects of their respective cultures.
The collections of the library consist of about 18,000 manuscript containing about 45,000 works both palm leaf and paper and some 2,00,000 printed volumes. The manuscripts are mostly form India and in Sanskrit. The printed books include old and rare ideological religions and philosophies is Sanskrit English and various other languages eastern and western and volumes of important ideological journals.
Brahmavidya the Adyar library bulletin is being published annually since 1937 presenting papers and studies on religion philosophy and various aspects of Sanskrit and other oriental as well as editions of ancient texts and translations.
India has a long and a great tradition of poetics aesthetics dermatology and literary criticism vouched for by the vast Sanskrit literature on these topics. Dr. Raghavan in his thesis makes detailed studies of them all. Particularly interesting are his treatment of characteristics of poetry style beauty propriety use and abuse of figures of speech etc.
It is my privilege to introduce to the world of scholarship Dr. V. Raghvan second book in the Adyar Library services entitled studies concepts of Alamkara sastra. His first book the number of Rasa-s was published by the Adyar Library in 1940 and the uniformly good reception which it ahs had at the hands of literary critics has made me hasten with the work of bringing out this second publication.
The subject of Indian aesthetics has yet to be built up by research work only in Gita Natya Silpa and Citra but also in the important field of Sanskrit Alamkara Sastra. The vast and noteworthy contributions of Indian minds on the subject of literary criticism have not received the attention which scholars here and in other countries have shown to Indian contribution to philosophy.
Bharata who defined Drama as representation of moods and said that rasa-anubhava (experience of Rasa) is its essence Bhamaha and (Vakrokti or Alamkara) is the Vital thing in poetry Vamana who stress Saundraya and Declared style (Riti) as the soul (Atman) of expression Ananda-vardhana to whom it was given to show that the revelation in art takes place through suggestion (dhvani) Abhinavagupta who expressly of beauty and formulated along with others the ultimately harmony is the life of kanvya; bhatta Nayaka who distinguished poetry form other utterances as mode of expression subordinating both word and idea (sabda and artha) Kuntaka who based style on the poet’s character Mahima Bhatta Bhoja these would rank with the world’s eminent literary critics. It may well be claimed that Rasa Dhvani and Aucitya form the three great contributions of Sanskrit poetics to the world’s literature on the subject.
Among the more important topics dealt with in this book Alamkara, Riti Aucitya Saundarya and Camatkara, deserve to be specially mentioned. The treatment is original and some topics have been dealt studies not only printed books but a number of works available only in manuscript. The accounts are historical and given in great detail so that a complete examination of the ideas of all the writers on a particular concept may lead to the discovery of several ideas which will be of value for a proper appreciation of the finer aspects of the rich contributions of the Alamkara Sastra. It will be seen that some of the western writers also and it is hoped that the comparative study which the author mentions on p. 80 will be published soon.
It is with great pleasure that I record my sincere thanks to the author for th co-operation which he ahs been extending to me in the publication of the Adyar Library series.
I have dealt with Shitya Ukti, Dosa, Guna, Vakrokti, Alamkara, Dhvani and Rasa in my book on Bhoja’s Srngara Prakasa. The contents of this volume supplement the studies contained in my book on the Srngara Prakasa. The opening study here of the Laksana forms the first exhaustive account of that little studied concept. In the study of the Riti here I have discussed it in relation to the conception of style in the west. The study of Aucitya presented in this book forms the only account of that important concept. In these and the other studies in this book I have on the basis of a detailed historical survey of the concepts as developed by the several Sanskrit Alamkariaka-s endeavored to understand and interpret their underlying ideas and the value of these for the art and appreciation of literature.
I am thankful to the authorities of the journal of Oriental Research Madras the journal of the Madra university Madras the Indian historical quarterly Calcutta and Indian culture Calcutta for their permission to bring out in the form of this book these studies of mine on concepts of the Alamkara Sastra which originally appeared in those journals in the forms of articles. I am thankful to the authorities of the Madras University for permitting this publication and to Dr. Srinivasa Murti Director Adyar Library for accepting to publish this book in the Adyar Library series as also to Dr. C. Kunhan Raja, D. Phil, Curator, Eastern Section, Adyar Library and head of the Department of Sanskrit university of Madras.
My studies on some concepts of the Alamkara Sastra published by the Adyar Library in 1942 was received well and was also included among books prescribed for study for those who studied Alamkara Sastra in many university in India. It has long been out of print and myself and the Adyar Library have been receiving continuously inquires regarding the book. Because of my many and heavy undertakings in the fields of research as well as organizational work for the promotion of Sanskrit studies I could not despite my best efforts complete the press copy of the revised and enlarged edition of this book before 1971.
As many be seen presentation in the second edition has been improved by the elimination as far as possible of untranslated Sanskrit terms printed in Devanagari occurring in the midst of the English exposition. On the side of the textual study of Sanskrit works as well as on that of comparative criticism a good deal of fresh material which I had gathered since the forties during my continuous pursuit of this subject has been added.
I must express my thanks to the authorities of the Adyar Library and Research Center for their interest in my work and for bringing out with their usual speed and efficiency this second edition of the work. Mrs. Radha Burnier, Mrs. Seetha Neelkantan and Prof. A.A Ramanthan have all bestowed much care on the MS and the proofs of the book. In my own reading of the proofs I have received the help of my former student Dr. S.S Janaki to these as well as the Vasanta press Adyar and its manage Sri K. Ramanathan I express my thanks.
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