Thursday, 1 May 2014

Highways of Literary Criticism in Sanskrit S. Kuppuswami Sastri

S. Kuppuswami Sastri was a Sanskrit scholar, well versed in the ‘Sastras’ and ‘Kavyas. His chief works are “Sri Bhagavatpada Sankaracharya and a commentary on Dhvanyaloka. In his essay titled “Highways of Literary Criticism in Sanskrit” Kuppuswami Sastri writes about the synthesis between literary law and literary freedom which is mainly achieved through Vyanjana (suggestion).
A. Answer in two or three sentences each:
1. Explain the synthesis between law and liberty in literature  OR  Vyanjana
Prof.S. Kuppuswami Sastri establishes the synthesis between law and liberty in poetry, in his lecture on Highways of Literary Criticism in Sanskrit. He says that law is the first step towards freedom. But absolute freedom without law is very dangerous. Therefore we always make a synthesis between law and liberty in our social life. Similarly there is a synthesis between law and liberty in literature for the attainment of beauty. This liberty is achieved in literature by the principle of Vyanjana or suggestion. It is by the recognition and acceptance of the principle of ‘Vynjana (suggestion). Vynjana is an extraordinary significative power which all works of art possess. In all speech, there are three important things which are expression, suppression and impression. “All expression is art” because even in our day-to-day speech, we cannot explain everything, it is so long and boring. For example “ Please, a second class ticket to Chennai” we tell at the Rly. ticket counter. In this sentence there is a large number of suppression which leads to suggestion and impression. It is important to note that impression is always produced by suppression. Therefore ‘Vyanjana (suggestion) is impression through suppression. Thus the beauty of a poem comes from Vyanjana (suggestion) which in turn comes from suppression. The beauty of a poem is bound by its laws, yet it transcends them. The laws are its wings and they carry it to freedom. Its form is in law, but its spirit is in beauty. Thus the principle of suggestion (Vyanjana) establishes a synthesis between law and liberty.
2. What is genuine poetry?           According to Kuppuswami Sastri, genuine poetry is a spontaneous overflow from a ‘RASA-filled heart. A beautiful thought is covered by a beautiful dress without any conscious effort on the part of the poet. There is complete harmony in sound and sense in the poem through skilful suppression. It means a beautiful thought is skilfully suppressed by the poet with artistic ornamented lines leading to suggestion (Vyanjana) which gives the reader wonderful impression. This is the highest test of true poetry.
3. What is Dhvani?     The synthesis of the various aspects of form and the synthesis of the various aspects of content makes a great work of art. This is made possible by the principle of Dhvani. There are three important schools of thought in Sanskrit literary criticism. According to one school of thought, Dhvani is Vyanjana. Another school of thought says Dhvani is a sort of inference. Dhvani, Rasa and Unnaya or Anumana refer to the literary content.
4.  What is Vakrokti?   Vakrokti has been translated as eccentric expression or is a deviation in expression from the commonplace. It is also a part of Aucitya.  This deviation (Vakrokti) may be due to various causes, but when the deviation is effective, it is termed Vakrokti. Vakrokti is a special speech or expression where an idea is expressed with a view to attain strikingness.  Vakrokti is also called ‘Vaicitrya is the essence of poetic speech.
5.  What is the source of poetic charm, according to Anandavardhana and Abhinavagupta?
Vyanjana is regarded as the central principle of literary criticism in Sanskrit. Vyanjana (suggestion) in poetry is different from the Vynjana we find in ordinary sentence. It is the soul of poetic charm. An element of suppression is necessary to attract the reader or the hearer. This element of suppression may be increased or improved in many ways and in poetry Vyanjana is the source of charm. In fact it was discovered in the 9th and 10th centuries by Anandavardhana and Abhinavagupta that Vyanjana (suggestion) is the centre, the source of poetic charm.
6.  What is the secret of the force of the charm of Vyanjana?   The secret of the force of the charm of Vyanjana is that there is an element of novelty in Vyanjana (suggestion).  The suggested idea is envisaged (imagined) with a certain degree of novelty. More over there is scope for some sort of intellectual quest in the process of Vyanjana provided and finally this quest leads to conquest. Thus intellectual quest in Vyanjana certainly leads to some conquest. Now these two things – quest and conquest are enough to create some interest. Thirdly Vyanjana means something is concealed for a moment tend to increase the degree of charm just like distance or a partly concealed beauty.
7. What is Uttama kavya?      Anandavardhana, the great critic and artist of Sanskrit literature poetic expression is divided into three heads. The names are Uttama, Madhyama and Adhama. This classification is based on how far the suggested element is allowed to rule supreme in a poem. If, in a poem the suggested element is allowed to rule supreme and never lets itself to be subordinated to anything else is called Uttama kavya.
Write short essays of 100 words each:
8. How does literature achieve the synthesis between law and liberty? – answer is given in Q.No.1
9. Sabda and Artha     - The principle of Vyanjana (suggestion) has made possible another beautiful synthesis. It is the synthesis between speech and thought, or sound and sense or “Sabda and “Artha”. The ancient writers of India have given significant place to this synthesis between “Sabda” meaning ‘word’ and “Artha” meaning sense.  We are aware of the fact that the literary art or an expression of literary art involves two important aspects. They are form and content. Every artist or poet has to pay special attention to literary form and literary content. Literary form consists of ‘Sabda’ and ‘Artha’ or Sabda and certain types of ‘Artha.  Ordinary words grouped in an artistic way with some ideas, that is “Vacyartha’ (primary sense) constitute form. It must be bright, free from defects. The other elements connected with form are technically referred to as “Gunas”, “Alamkaras, Ritis etc. Alamkara means decorative devices. ‘Dhvani’, ‘Rasa’, and ‘Unnaya or ‘Anumana’ refer to the literary content (artistic thought). Literary form contains ‘Gunas’, ‘Alamkaras and ‘Ritis’
10. Literary form and literary content.     ( same answer as above Q.No.9)
11. How does the intellectual quest in Vyanjana lead to conquest? – Answer of Q.No.6

 12. Vyanjana is Lokottara, not Laukika  - 
 Vyanjana is an essentially an artistic process of expression. It is not an ordinary process of expression, as it involves suppression of the agreeable type. This agreeable type of Vyanjana is quite different from the vyanjana of ordinary day-to-day language. It is essentially an artistic process because it gives us an impression of very high order, and not the impression of the craftsmanlike or mechanical type but a delicate impression described as artistic thrill. It is an extraordinary process which can be done by only skilled poets such as Valmiki, Kalidasa, Shakespeare, Keats and Shelley. Vyanjana adds beauty and glory to the poem. And Alamkarikas described this principle of Vyanjana as extreme process and called it Lokottara-Vritti and not Laukika. Therefore Anandavardhana,the great Sanskrit scholar and author of Dhvanyaloka raised the principle of Vyanjana (suggestion) to the rank of the central principle of literary criticism.
13. Why is Vyanjana regarded as an essentially artistic process? – same answser of Q.No.12
14. The contribution of Anandavardhana to Vyanjana            Anandavardhana made extensive researches and envisaged the fruitfulness of this principle of Vyanjana (suggestion) and on the basis of his research and he re-classified the poetic expression of Vyanajana under three heads. He divided poetry into three classes such as (1) Uttama or the best, (2) Madhyama ( middle) and (3) Adhama (third class)  Uttama specimen of poetry allows the suggested element (Vyanjana) to reign supreme and never allows itself to be subordinated to anything else. Madhyma specimen of poetry in which the suggested element is not raised to the supreme rank but at the same time there is minimum degree of agreeableness, beauty and attractiveness. In Adhama poetry, the suggested element is allowed to lie hidden or buried.  Anandavardhana says that the central principle of Vyanjana (suggestion) makes the unity of poetry and can be used as the leading principle of art criticism and as the source of literary beauty by making Vyanjana as a magic wand. This is the great contribution of Anandavardhana to Vyanjana (suggestion).
15.  Anandavardhana’s reclassification of poetic art – same answer of Q.No.14
Write long essays of 300 words each:
1.      How does Prof.S.Kuppuswami Sastri establish the synthesis between law and liberty in poetry, in his lecture on Highways of Literary Criticism in Sanskrit?
2.      Elucidate how Vyanjana works as the leading principle of art criticism, the source of literary charm and the magic wand.  Answer to Q.No.1, Q.No.6 and Q.No.12 can be used for these two essays,
 My dear students, this note has been prepared by me on the basis of the questions given in your text book titled LITERARY CRITICISM AND THEORY page 55-56. Study the notes well and prepare your own answers. May God bless you!


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