Kavyalankara Sara Sangraha of Udbhata (An Old and Rare Book)
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Kavyalankara Sara Sangraha of Udbhata (An Old and Rare Book)

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Item Code: NAM148
Author: Narayana Daso Banhatti
Publisher: Bhandarkar Oriental Research Insitute, Pune
Language: Sanskrit and English
Edition: 1982
Pages: 347
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.5 inch x 5.5 inch
Weight 330 gm
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The idea of preparing an edition of Udbhata’s kavyalankara-sara-sangraha was conceived as far back as the year 1898 under peculiar circumstances. The editor was, at the time, in charge of the Government Mss. Library at the Deccan College, and as such he had to examine and read the Mss, carefully. Thhe collections of 1872-73, 1873-74 and 1874-75, acquired for the Government by Dr. Biihler, consisted of very rare and valuable works on Alankara, Kashmirian History and General Literature. A good MS. Of Udbhata’s work with commentary of Induraja among them attracted the notice of the edition as being a fit subjectfor careful study. The celebrity of the author Udbhata, whose name was familiar to Kavyaprakasa of Mammata, who along with Anandavardhana, Ruyyaka and Jagannatha, him with great respect, together with the acuteness and learning of the commentator Induraja, added to the solicitude of the editor for taking up the work immediately. Accordingly he started preparing the text with a view to edit it in the Bombay Sanskrit Series; and the necessary permission of the Educational Department was obtained in the year 1900 for inclusion of the work in the Series. The work of the edition was being carried along with his official and other duties. In course of time the press copy of the text was prepared, but before any arrangement for printing could be made the editor was, in 1907, suddenly transferred from his post at the Deccan College. Owing to the transfer from Poona to other inconvenient places and owing to various other causes the work of this edition was laid aside indefinitely, till at the suggestion of the authorities at the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (to whose care, in the meanwhile, the management and publication of the B.S. Series was transferred) it was taken up again. During the closing months of 1919 and the beginning of 1920 the work of finally preparing the edition for the press was pushed through and the complete press copy was delivered to the B.O.R. Institute in August 1920. The press copy l ay with the Bhandarkar Institute for two more years awaiting the printer. One was at last found and the printing began in about October 1922 which, however, took three more years. Such is the very long history of the present sedition.

Critical Notice of the Mss.

Two MSS. have been utilized in preparing this Edition. The first, coming from the Deccan College, is No. 64 of the 1873-74 College MSS. Library (now deposited at the B. O. R. Institute, Poona). This MS. Named ‘Udbhatalankara Laghutikasahita’ was bought for the MSS. Library by Dr. G. Biihler in one of his famous tours, in search of Sanskrit MSS., made in Kashmir, Rajputana and Central India. This Particular MS. was obtained at Jesalmir in his tour of 1873-74. It is a new copy made by a scribe from the original, in fairly legible and bold Nagari characters. It contains 62 folios with 26 lines on each folio written on one side only. It begins thus:- etc., and ends in this manner:-

The text of Udbhata and Induraja presented in this Edition is mainly based on this MS.

Another MS. Containing Udbhata’s text and a commentary different from that of Induraja is deposited in the Govt. MSS. Library, Madras. This also is a transcript from the original. A description of it as kindly furnished to me by the Curator, is as follows:-


From the general chaos and the consequent blind conjectures of many of the modern researchers, some of the Kashmirian poets and authors are saved by the great genius of the Kashmirian poets and authors are saved by the great genius of Kalhana and our author is fortunate enough to belong to that to that category. Kalhana’s Rajatarangini contains distinct mention of one Udbhata whom, from the authority of his (Kalhana’s) commentators and from other circumstantial evidence, we can definitely identify with the author of Kavyalankarasarasangraha.

(i) His place

Udbhata was evidently a born Kashmirian as his name clearly shows. The name Udbhata is one of the class of names of authors such as Jaiyata. Kaiyata, Allata, Rudrata and Mammata who are acknowledged Kashmirians. He was also a resident of Kashmir as he was the Sabhapati of Jayapida one of the kings of Kashmir.

(ii) His place

In the first place we can ascertain with precision that Udbhata came after Bhamaha and preceded Anandavardhana. Udbhata had written a commentary on Bhaamaha and besides, the present work of his contains many distinct adaptations and verbal borrowings from Bhamaha’s kavyalankara. Anandavardhana pointedly mentions Udbhata in more than one place, and we may conclude from his manner of referring that Udbhata was regarded by him as a venerable elderly author within memory of the people of those times. The times of Udbhata and Anandavardhana given by Rajatarangini are perfectly consistent with this our conclusion. Udbhata belonged to the reign of Jayaypida (779-813 A.S.), and Anandavardhana flourished in the reign of Avantivarman (857-884 A.D.). Thus there exists a difference of about 40 or 50 years between the careers of both these Alankarikas and the date of the end of Udbhata and the birth of Anandavardhana would still be much nearer each other. Thus it is quite possible, Udbhata might have lived within memory of the people of Anandavardhana’s times.

(iii) Other particulars

Exceedingly little is known at present about the details of the private life of our author; and this is quite natural with vast gulf of more than eleven hundred years between his and our own times. Man lives by his works. But the peculiar misfortune of Udbhata was that his works were enveloped before his name, which had existed in the works such as and the like, to remind us of the individual; and present work, one of his numerous compositions, was discovered about 45 years ago, we were only wondering at the importance given to his name and the school of thought installed by him, by such writers as and others. No mention of his parentage, his teachers, his friends or even his own name exists in this work, and without the commentary of Induraja we could not have learnt that the work belonged to the famous Alankarika Udbhata. The only reliable information about the life and activities of Udbhata is what is given to us Kalhana in his Rajatarangini. Kalhana thus mentions Udbhata:-

From this we learn that Bhatta Udbhata was the Sabhapati or the Head of the assembly of Pandits, at the court of the Kashmirian king Jayapida. It appears from his present work that he was a profound grammarian. A hundred thousand Dinaras per day seem to be exhorbitant a tax on the treasury of the king even for those of unbounded wealth. Possibly Udbhata was not going to the court of the king every day but once in many days or months; and the remuneration of Laksa Dinaras probably pertained to the day when he attended the court.

Whatever the case might be, we need not at this time either envy or ridicule the learned man and the author for being the recipient of such a gift. In this connection we can only overlook the unjustifiable remarks made by Biihler upon Udbhata. He says:-“The oldest text books on alankara, those Bhamaha and Bhattanayaka, have been lost, but a great number are still extant, the earliest of which belong to the times of king Jayapida, 779-813 A.D. One of these, the Alankarasastra of Bhatta Udbhata, I found, together with a commentary of Pratihara Induraja, in Jesalmir. Of this Bhatodbhata Kalhana says that he was jayapida’s Sabhapati, or Chief Pandit, and that he was paid daily a lakh of Dinaras. It is to be regretted that the recipient pay munificent pay did not write a more extensive book, and did not give us extracts from contemporaneous poets. He has only composed a short treatise on Alankaras or oranaments to be used in poetry, and most egotistically takes his examples from his own work, a kumarasambhava”. It was not the fault of Udbhata if his works did not survive till the age of our modern research; still less was in his fault if the researcher had remained blind to Induraja’s statement that Udbhata had written ‘a gloss on Bhamaha’ or even if after reading the statement, had refused to admit the ‘Gloss on Bhamaha’ as a ‘book’. Udbhata Bhatta certainly does not deserve such a mention in a ridiculous tone if he did not dream in his time that his insertion of examples from contemporaneous poets would prove of great value to the researchers that were destined, eleven hundred years later, to wield the fate of writers like him in their hands, It was the practice of very many writers on poetics to give their own verses as illustrations. Dandin, Bhamaha, Rudrata, Jagannatha and many others have done the same more or less. Nay, the great Alankarika poets even to think it a matter of pride to have been able to give examples of their own composition in illustration of the several items of poetics.

II Works of Udbhata

We know that Udbhata was the author of at least three works including the present one, the other two works which are not available at present, being (1) a commentary on Bhamaha’s wok, and (2) a poem named Kumarasambhava.


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