Embracing Simultaneity: The Story of Śleṣa in South Asia

Authors

  • Yigal Bronner The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.12797/CIS.15.2013.15.08

Keywords:

śleṣa, polysemy, simultaneity, Kavirāja, Subandhu, Nītivarman, Daṇḍin, Jagaddhara Bhaṭṭa, Māgha, Śrīharṣa

Abstract

This essay deals with literary works that combine two or more topics, characters, or plotlines and convey them concurrently to their respective destinations. It is based on my monograph Extreme Poetry: The South Asian Movement of Simultaneous Narration (Bronner 2010), where I discuss this phenomenon at length. Here I will limit myself briefly to presenting three main points: that the dimensions of the śleṣa phenomenon in South Asia are enormous, that experiments with artistic simultaneity have a demonstrable and meaningful history, and that this is the history of a self-conscious literary movement. I conclude with three brief examples of śleṣa verses from three very different works that exemplify some of the poetic uses to which śleṣa was put and that demonstrate how the literary movement under discussion used śleṣa to advance the aesthetic projects of South Asian culture and push them to the extreme.

References

Primary Sources

Dhvanyāloka of Ānandavardhana, with commentaries by Abhinavagupta and Śrīrāmaśāraka. Ed. Pt. Pattābhirāma Śāstrī. Kashi Sanskrit Series. Vol. 135. Varanasi: Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, 1940.

Kāvyālaṃkāra of Rudraṭa, with commentaries by Namisādhu and Satyadev Chowdhri. Delhi: Vāsudev Prakāśan, 1965. Reprint, 1990.

Kīcakavadha of Nītivarman, with commentary by Janārdanasena. Ed. S. K. De. Oriental Publication Series. Vol. 1. Dacca: Dacca University, 1929.

Naiṣadhacarita of Śrīharṣa, with commentary by Nārāyaṇa. Ed. Pt. Śivadatta. Bombay: Nirṇaya Sāgara Press, 1894. Reprint, Delhi: Meharchand Lachmandas, 1986.

Rāghavapāṇḍavīya of Kavirāja, with commentary by Damodar Jha. Varanasi: Chowkhamba Vidyabhawan, 1965.

Shibram Rachana Samagra of Shibram Chakrabarti. Vol. 3. Calcutta: Annapurna Prakashani, 1985.

Śiśupālavadha of Māgha, with commentaries by Mallinātha and Haragovinda Shastri. Varanasi: Chowkhamba, 1993.

Stutikusumāñjali of Jagaddhara Bhaṭṭ a, with the commentary of Rājānaka Ratnakaṇṭ ha. Ed. Pandit Durgāprasād and Kāśī nāth Pāṇḍ uraṅg Parab. Kāvyamālā 23. Bombay: Nirnaya Sagar Press, 1891.

Vāsavadattā of Subandhu, with commentary by T. V. Srinivasachariar. Trichinopoly: St. Joseph’s College Press, 1906.

Secondary Sources

Attridge, D. 1988. Unpacking the Portmanteau; or, Who’s Afraid of Finnegans Wake? In: J. Culler (ed.). On Puns: The Foundation of Letters. New York: Blackwell: 140–155.

Brocquet, S. 1996. Stratégie du jeu de mots dans le Kāvya des panégyriques épigraphiques. In: N. Balbir and G-J. Pinault (Eds). Langue, style et structure dans le monde indien. Paris: University of Paris: 469–495.

—. 2010. La geste de Rāma: poème à double sens de Sandhyākaranandin (Introduction, texte, traduction, analyse). Pondichéry: Institut Français; Paris: Ecole française d’Extrême-Orient.

Bronner, Y. 2010. Extreme Poetry: The South Asian Movement of Simultaneous Narration. New York: Columbia University Press. Reprint, Delhi: Permanent Black.

—. 2012. A Question of Priority: Revisiting the Debate on the Relative Chronology of Daṇḍin and Bhāmaha. In: Journal of Indian Philosophy 40, 1: 67–118. DOI 10.1007/s10781-011-9128-x.

—. (Forthcoming). The Nail-Mark That Lit the Bedroom: Biography of a Compound. In: Y. Bronner, D. Shulman and G. Tubb (Eds). Innovations and Turning Points: Toward a History of Sanskrit Literature. Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Bronner, Y. and L. McCrea. 2012. To Be or Not to Be Śiśupāla: Which Version of the Key Speech in Māgha’s Great Poem Did He Really Write? In: Journal of the American Oriental Society 132, 3: 427–455.

Bronner, Y. and D. Shulman. 2009. “Self-Surrender,” “Peace,” “Compassion,” and “The Mission of the Goose”: Poems and Prayers from South India by Appayya Dīkṣita, Nīlakaṇṭha Dīkṣita and Vedānta Deśika. New York: New York University Press & JJC Foundation.

Dasgupta, S. N. and S. K. De. 1962. History of Sanskrit Literature: Classical Period. Calcutta: Calcutta University.

Desai, D. 1987. Puns and Intentional Language at Kajuraho. In: M. S. Nagaraja Rao (ed.). Kusumāñjali—New Interpretation of Indian Art and Culture: C. Sivaramamurti Commemoration Volume. Delhi: Agam Kala Prakashan: 383–387.

Ingalls, D. H. H., Masson, J. Moussaieff and Patwardhan, M. V. (1990). The Dhvanyāloka of Ānandavardhana with the Locana of Abhinavagupta. Harvard Oriental Series. Vol. 49. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Lienhard, S. 1984. A History of Classical Poetry: Sanskrit—Pali—Prakrit. Vol. 3, fasc. 1. In: J. Gonda (ed.). A History of Indian Literature. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz.

Meister, M. 1979. Juncture and Conjunction: Punning and Temple Architecture. Artibus Asiae, 1979, 41, 2/3: 226–228.

Pollock, S. 2006. The Language of the Gods in the World of Men: Sanskrit, Culture, and Power in Premodern India. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Rabe, M. 2001. The Great Penance at Māmallapuram: Deciphering a Visual Text. Chennai: Institute of Asian Studies.

Raghavan, V. 1978. Bhoja’s “Śṛṅgāra Prakāśa”. Madras: Vasanta Press.

Ramanujan, A. K. 1999. The Collected Essays of A. K. Ramanujan. Ed. Vinay Dharwadkar. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Stainton, H. 2013. Poetry and Prayer: Stotras in the Religious and Literary History of Kashmir. PhD thesis. Columbia University.

Downloads

Published

2013-12-21

How to Cite

Bronner, Yigal. 2013. “Embracing Simultaneity: The Story of Śleṣa in South Asia”. Cracow Indological Studies 15 (December):119-41. https://doi.org/10.12797/CIS.15.2013.15.08.