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Dhvani. Dhvani. Echo – a good poem is one that haunts one after reading Taken from grammar In grammar – sounds of utterances which reveal the integral linguistic sign ( sphota ). Dhvani.

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  • Echo – a good poem is one that haunts one after reading
  • Taken from grammar
  • In grammar – sounds of utterances which reveal the integral linguistic sign (sphota)
  • A good poem with its sound as well as the literal sense reveals, over & above the literal sense, a charming sense which has great aesthetic value
  • The term ‘Dhvani’ is referred to –
    • suggestive poetry where the suggested sense predominates over literal sense
    • The suggested sense
    • The function of suggestion
  • Anandavardhana – Dhvanyaloka(9thcen)

“The quality of poetry depends upon the imp. given to the element of suggestion”

Suggestion – the soul of poetry

  • There are 2 kinds of beautiful ideas in poetry
  • Vacya (literal)
  • Pratiyamana (implied)
vacya pratiyamana
  • Vacya is invariably –
  • An idea, or
  • A figure of speech
    • But suggested sense, pratiyamana may be –
    • An idea, or
    • A figure of speech, or
    • An emotion
  • Bharata – main objective of dramatic work –to arouse rasa
  • Anandavardhana extended it to poetry
  • Dhvani the soul of poetry
  • Dhvani-stresses on the method of treatment
  • Rasa – the ultimate effect
  • Suggestion alone is not enough, the suggested sense must be charming
rasa realization
Rasa Realization
  • Abhinavagupta (अभिनवगुप्त) (c. 950 – 1020 AD) - one of India's greatest philosophers, mystics and aestheticians He was also considered an important musician, poet, dramatist, theologian, and logician — a polymathic personality who exercised strong influences on Indian culture.
rasa realization1
Rasa Realization

“when thus the formal or intellectual, imaginative & emotional elements of a poem blend into one predominant sentiment & making a simultaneous appeal, awaken the sthayibhava of the reader or spectator, the relish of rasa is manifested as a unity in the heart, leaving no trace of the constituent elements; & this is why rasa dhvani is called asamlaksyakrama-vyangya or the suggested sense with imperceptible stages"

criticisms against dhvani
Criticisms against Dhvani
  • Nyaya & Mimamsaka schools do not recognize dhvani
  • Jayaratha’s commentary on Alamkaravasva 12 anti dhvani theories are mentioned
  • Anandhavardhana himself mentioned many of the views against dhvani in Dhvanyaloka
criticisms against dhvani1
Criticisms against Dhvani
  • DhvanivsAnumana
  • DhvanivsArthapatti
  • DhvanivsLaksana
  • DhvanivsAbhidha
  • DhvanivsTatparyavrtti
  • DhvanivsVakrokti
anumana inference
Anumana (Inference)
  • Naiyayika school rejected the suggestive power of dhvani
  • Mahimabhatta wrote his Vyaktivivekawith the specific purpose of proving that dhvai is included in anumana. But Anandhavardhana anticipated this & justified his stand in 3rd chap. Dhvanyaloka
anumana inference1
Anumana (Inference)
  • Anandhavardhana-
  • Inference depends on the knowledge of vyapti or the invariable concomitance bet. the middle & major terms of a proposition.

Eg. The landscape lay as still as a painted picture. Here, the word still is an instance of inference and not suggestion

  • Dhvani- the relationship between the expressed sense & the implied sense is something similar bet. light and a pot. As light reveals the pot so the expressed sense reveals the suggested sense
dhvani vs arthapatti
  • Immediate inference based on universal relation between the absence of the major & the absence of the middle terms
  • Samsargamaryada
  • But, arthapatti means to a valid knowledge, demands of suggested sensee accuracy & definiteness,
  • But-
  • In dhvani, implied sense is vague
  • Z
dhvani vs laksana
  • Figure of speech
  • Alamkarikas like Mukulabhattasay at times sentences convey ideas diff. from literal sense, but all such instances come under laksana
  • Acc. To Anandhavardhanalaksana operates when there is some inconsistencyin the primary sense & cancels it, but in Dhvani primary sense neednt be cancelled
  • Z
dhvani vs abhidha
  • Mimamsakas of Prabhakara school
  • Anandhavardhana –
  • Abhidha only primary meaning
  • Dhvani can be there even without abhidha
  • Z
dhvani vs tatparyavrtt i
  • Function of the sentence to explain the verbal comprehensions arising from it
  • Dhanika, Dhanamjaya
  • Abhinavagupta answers -

The power of tatparyavrtti is exhausted by establishing the logical connection of the word meanings & cannot givefurther suggestions

dhvani vs vakrokti
  • Kuntakasvakrokti is almost similar to dhvani
  • Mahimabhatta rejects vakrokti as dhvani theory in disguise
  • Yet both complimentary
    • Dhvani from the point of view of the reader
    • Vakrokti from the point of view of the writer
    • Dhvani the imaginative content
    • Vakrokti poets imaginative skill

Classification of Dhvani


(based on abhidha, so called abhidhamula)


(based on laksana, so called laksanamula)
















I. vivaksitanyayaparavacya

I.3. gunibhuta-vyangya

I.2. asamlaksyakrama-vyangya

I.1.Samlaksyakrama vyangya

(A.)I.1.a.Pada-prakasya I.1.b vacya-prakasya

(B.)I.1.a. vastudhvani I.1.b. alamkaradhvani

(C.)I.1.a.sabdasaktimula I.1.b. arthasaktimula I.1.c.Ubhayasaktimula

Kaku (intonation) {quality in the mode of expression which brings out the intention of the speaker clearly}
  • Sakamksakaku (expectant intonation)
  • Objection (asksephgarbha)
  • Question (prasnagarbha)
  • Doubt (vitarkagarbha)
  • Nirakamksakaku

(non expectant intonation)

  • Vidhirupa (statement)
  • Uttararupa (answer)
  • Nirnayarupa(assertion)