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Kavyalankara of Bhamaha

Kavyalankara of Bhamaha
Item Code: IDJ380
Author: P. V. Naganatha Sastry
Publisher: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
Language: (Sanskrit Text with English Translation and Notes)
Edition: 1991
ISBN: 9788120808638
Pages: 134
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 8.3 X 5.3"

Perhaps no explanation in needed for bringing out an edition of Bhamaha's Kavyalankara, though one may be needed for bringing out any work at all on the subject. For, the subject of poetic criticism depends on the interest which people take in poetry. This is a practical age and everywhere people manifest very little interest in the study or practice of poetry. Good poetry is produced, however, here and there and contributes to the real enjoyment of Sahrdayas who, fortunately, have not become extinct. By such at least, it is hoped that an edition of Bhamaha may be appreciated. Further, Bhamaha's claim on our remembrance is very great. He was one of the earliest critics to systematize Poetic Criticism and present it in a condensed form. (See Par. II verses 95-96): That some treatises on the subject should have existed before Bhamaha is clear from the fact that he refers to having discarded portions of his subject matter. (See verse 95 mentioned above). That the definitions are his is also clear from Par. III verse 58 and that these definitions have been copied bodily by many eminent subsequent rhetoricians-Locanakara and Mammata among other - constitutes an unmistakable tribute to their excellence.

That such a work should be made available to the public is not only to their advantage but also constitutes a legitimate act of homage to the first Great Rhetorician. I have been actuated more by the latter feeling. Instead, however, of merely printing the text (which also has been done) it was suggested to me that a translation and notes, which I had first made for my own use, may be thrown into shape and tacked on to the text. I agreed to do so because I thought they might be of some help, however small, to others, I am acutely conscious of my inadequate equipment for the task of an efficient translator or commentator and anticipate the discovery of very many errors both of matter and of language. But still, I have ventured into print, because no one has, till now, attempted to bring out an edition of this work, though the late K. P. Trivedi printed the text only as App. VIII to the edition of his Prataparudrayaso-bhusana. (B. S. & P. Series No. LXV.)

Bhamaha's date:-

I do not propose in this introduction to do anything more than indicate the authorities who have made considerable research as regards the date of Bhamaha, his parentage, religion, works, position in literature etc. For fuller information the reader must go to the authorities themselves.

Is 'Bhamaha's a pen-name?

The root "Bhama" means "to be angry" and the word "Bhamini" (one who is angry) as applying to women in general is referable to this root, though perhaps it is neither chivalrous nor just to do so. The derivative meaning of "Bhamaha" would be "one who has killed or given up anger" That meaning will fit in excellently with one of the very few personal traits of the writer which we can gather from this work; or Bhamaha seems to have been an extremely modest person who had great respect for his predecessors. (vide Par. IV. Verse 51). That it may be a pen-name is also gatherable from the following considerations. His father's name is given as Rakrila Gomin. The second word 'Gomin' has been understood to be a contraction for 'Gosvamin', a family name which exists in its original form among many Mahratta and Bengali families of to-day. It is unlikely that this writer dropped his family name and adopted that of "Bhamaha" as his name for his every-day transactions. Further, his true name must bear some resemblance to that of his father and to a host of similar names such as Rahula, Ramila, etc. (See a paper by Mr. T. Narasimha Iyengar mentioned later on). Hence it is very likely that "Bhamaha" was a nom-de-plume.

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