Showing posts with label Bhartrhari. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bhartrhari. Show all posts

Hinduism - What Is Kavya?


 (“related to kavis”) is an extremely lengthy meter that lends itself well to extensive descriptions using alliteration; the poet-saint Tulsidas utilizes this meter with great effect to depict war scenes in his Kavitavali.

The most broad term for courtly poetry or lyrical prose, which is usually written in Sanskrit.

Such kavya was frequently composed and presented in a court environment, where originality and self-revelation were prized less than clever reworkings of classic forms.

The two-line stanza, which was a self-contained unit in terms of meaning, was the fundamental building block of such poetry.

Verses were written in a variety of meters, ranging from four to twenty-six syllables per half-line, and were embellished with numerous alamkaras ("figures of speech") to communicate the right mood (rasa) for the subject matter.

Single-verse epigrams, such as those of Bhartrhari, to long epic poems (mahakavyas), most famously those of Kalidasa, are examples of poetic genres.

Despite many allusions to religious life, such poetry was written largely for pleasure rather than moral exhortation, a focus that mirrors the court culture in which it was written.

The Gitagovinda of Jayadeva, a work thought to have been produced in the Jagannath temple in Puri and focusing on devotion to the deity Krishna as lord of the universe, is the lone exception to this pattern. 


You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.



Hinduism - Who Is Bhartrhari?




Bhartrhari is a 5th c. C.E.  Sanskrit poet and philosopher who wrote the Shatakatrayam (“Three Hundred”), a three-part collection of poetry on politics, love, and renunciation. 



Bhartrhari was the son of the brahmin Vidyasagara and his shudra wife, Mandakini, according to tradition. 


  • Vidyasagara was the king of Kalinga's advisor, and when the monarch died, he was granted the kingdom; following Vidyasagara's death, Bhartrhari's brothers recognized him as king. 
  • Bhartrhari was ecstatic till he discovered that his wife was cheating on him. 
  • When her secret was out, she attempted to blackmail him. 
  • Bhartrhari, completely disillusioned, abandoned the world and became an ascetic, at which time he is said to have written his poems. 
  • Bhartrhari was most likely a courtier, despite the fact that this is a nice tale. 





Many of these poems emphasize the degradation inherent in courtly life. 


  • All of life's traditional purposes are addressed in his poetry. 
  • The first two parts deal with strength (artha), sensual desire (kama), and virtuous conduct (dharma), while the third section deals with the ultimate goal, or soul liberation (moksha). 





Barbara Stoller Miller (trans. ), The Hermit and the Love-Thief, 1978, has further information.



You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.