--> Skip to main content

Neyartha And Nityartha In Hindu Philosophy

Neyartha and Nityartha are secondary and primary imports in Hindu philosophy. The concepts of neyartha (secondary imports) and nityartha (primary imports) are quite significant in the domain of Sanskrit poetics. In fact, the whole gamut of Sanskrit poetics of Alankarasastra has a two-fold broad classification of the alankaras (figures of speech), viz., shabdalankar (figure of speech of sound), and arthalankar (figure of speech of sense).

In the entire range of poetics, the concepts of guna, dosha, alankara, dhvani and rasa are very significant. In poetics, doshas (flaws or defects) are contrary to gunas (qualities). Neyartha is enumerated by Bhamaha in his Kavyalankara among one of the ten doshas of meaning. In fact, this is one of the flaws pertaining to the meanings of words (padartha dosha or simply artha dosha). If the speaker invents new words at will without any purpose, the listeners will not be able to understand him; hence, it is a poetic flaw. Neyartha is difficult to grasp and its interpretation requires great effort on the part of the listener (Kavyalankara, 1.37, p.12). According to Vamana, this neyartha is a fanciful imagined meaning (Kavyalankara Sutra 2.1.13). according to Saraswati Kanthabharana, neyartha is an imagined sense having far-fetched connotation (94.1 (1); 125.4 (1). In fact, neyartha and others are veritable pitfalls in poetics, which a poet should guard against.

Thus, it is clear that neyartha is a poetic flaw, whereas, nityartha is a positive quality in a poetic composition.