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Lokottara In Sanskrit Poems In Hinduism

Lokottara is a term meaning meta-empirical related to Sanskrit poems in Hinduism. It is something which transcends worldly levels of perception or enjoyment. In the field of poetics, it refers to the immense joy that the connoisseur experiences while reading the work of a poet or while witnessing a drama.

Critics in the field of poetics point out that though sound and sense, or rather word and meaning, are in common parlance and in poetry, there is an inexplicable joy that is derived from the latter.

According to another school of thought, supported by critics like Jagannatha Panditaraja (17th century), a poem is a collection of combination of words which conveys a charming idea. By this is meant not the kind of joy a person feels on being informed of the birth of a child.

The principal charm of poetry lies in its being impersonal. While the natural emotion is individualistic and immediately personal, poetic joy is generic and impersonal.

While emotions on the mundane level cause happiness, sorrow, fear, laughter or hatred, the sentiments as relished through a poem become idealistic and universal. A real suffering in life brings sorrow, but its portrayal through a poem or a drama wins approbation.

The immense joy that poetry causes is something to be felt and experienced. It can never be explained in words, only the connoisseurs appreciated it, since they attune themselves to the same level as that of a creator of the poem, namely the poet himself. The others, who lack literary appreciation, will be at a loss to understand this.

  • Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume VI page 298- 299
  • History of Sanskrit Poetics (1976) S K De – Firmal KLM Private Limited Kolkata.