Monday, June 29, 2015

Bhavabhuti

Courtesy:Sri.HN.Bhat

 Bhavabhuti, when told his poems are hard to understand, his answers it is already there, with modesty:

ये नाम केचिदिह न प्रथयन्त्यवज्ञां जानन्ति ते किमपि तान् प्रति नैष यत्नः। 
उत्पत्स्यते तु मम कोऽपि समानधर्मा कालो ह्मयं निरवधिः विपुला च पृथ्वी।।
.
In other words, his answer is that it is not meant for those who dislike his work without understanding him, but he is hopeful that some one would be over there in the spacious world during the unlimited time. 

The answer is from a poet with modesty. The stubborn poet would reply:

ब्रूते यः को ऽपि दोषं महदिति सुमतिर्बालरामायणे ऽस्मिन्
प्रष्टव्यो ऽसौ पटीयानिह भणितिगुणो विद्यते वा नवेति।
यद्यस्ति स्वस्ति तुभ्यं भव पठनरुचिर्विद्धि नः षट्प्रबन्धान् 
नैवं चेद् दीर्घमास्तां नटवटुवदने जर्जरा काव्यकन्था॥

If any body points out a blemish that it is too lengthy, I would ask him the wise man only this question: Is there any merit of poetry in it or not?
If the answer is yes, please read it over and enjoy. There are six more compositions you can read from me.
If the answer is in the negative, let this torn out poetry be roll in the cavity of the mouths of actors (who make their living by performing it) 
(Why should you worry about it? Leave it alone to be used by the actors to make their living.)

Now if you ask a great shrewd Pandita, the writer of निघण्टु - निरुक्त, his answer is this:

 नैष स्थाणोरपराधो यदेनमन्धो न पश्यति । पुरुषापराध: स भवति । Meaning: If  blind man cannot see a pillar then it is not the pillar's fault, rather that of the man. 

And from a Shastra-kavi, you get the answer why they wrote such poetry and not the ones that every body can read and understand easily Bhatti in his composition Ravanavadhamahakvya known as also by his name, भट्टिकाव्य where you can find examples for almost all the rules of grammatical operations explained by Panini:

व्याख्यागम्यमिदं काव्यमुत्सवः सुधियामलम्‌।
हता दुर्मेधसश्चास्मिन्‌ विद्वत्प्रियतया मया ।।

He intended his composition understood with the help of a teacher to teach and without a guide it is not understandable. This is meant to please the great scholars (and not for any lay man) and it is to be understood with the help of a commentary. By this endeavor to please the scholars, the dull witted ones will cease to exist (as they will gain scholarship by studying this poetry).

But it is has been taunted by the rhetorician Bhamaha, who is averse to such poetry:

काव्यान्यपि यदीमानि व्याख्यागम्यानि शास्त्रवत्।
उत्सवः सुधियामेव हन्त दुर्मेधसो हताः॥

If these poems are to be understood with the help of a commentary only, like the Shastra-s, it is only a pleasure to the scholars. But those who are not scholars are lost for ever.

If you ask me, because there were such qualified readers, they wrote according to the demand of the time. If we could not appreciate them, how can it be it their fault? As Kuntaka pointed out, there are three types of Poets, सुकुमर poets like Kalidasa, and विचित्र poets endowed with scholarship blended with poetic talent, like Bhavabhuti and the last one शास्त्रकवि - who is basically शास्त्रिन्--s who wanted to make the common people too scholars like them, with the help of poetry. 
द्राक्षापाकः, नारिकेलपाकः, इक्षुपाकः is another category of classification of poetry. The first just like the grapes, as you put into your mouth, you can easily enjoy them. The second with breaking the outer shell, you can enjoy the sweetness. The sugar cane, you will have to crush forcibly to get the juice and it is not easy to break the nut.