--> Skip to main content

Ratna Samuchaya – 4th Century CE Literary Work Of Rhetoric

Ratna Samuchaya of Vagbhatta is well known as the science and art of rhetoric and poetics. These are of three kinds, represented in three different forms or figures of speech, viz., sabda (sound), artha (meaning), and sabdartha (sound and meaning). They adorn any work like ornaments and decorations. The literary work is believed to have been composed during the 4th century CE.

The author wrote this in 300 AD. Melody, interest, and prosody make an epic more popular. Absence of these, due to faults, is discussed at length in this book. It is very useful for understanding an epic. His father was Soma, who guided and initiated him to study the epics. He was a great poet (mahakavi) and was also a maha amathya (chief minister of the then ruler). There are five chapters, as detailed below, in this work:

  1. Vyutpatti (origin, production, derivation, conversancy, etymology) and the usage of poetic compositions.
  2. Prakrtadi bhasalakshana (characteristics of Prakrit language), the faults and defects found in epics are detailed in this chapter, along with illustrations for justification.
  3. Characteristics of equality, generosity and extravagance in the epics are discussed in detail.
  4. Sound, prosody, rhetoric and poetic features are detailed.
  5. Characteristics of nine rasas (types of expression)

  • Sringara (the sentiment of love, sexual passion)
  • Hasya (amusement, mirth and jocular expression and humor)
  • Karuna (tender, pathetic, mournful, exciting)
  • Raudra (terrific, frightful and formidable)
  • Vira (heroism, valor)
  • Bhayanaka (fearful, perilous, dangerous)
  • Vibhatsa (dreadful, intimidating, alarming, shaking)
  • Adbhuta (wonderful)
  • Santa (tranquility)

Vibhava (specialities) and anubhava (experience) are all vividly explained in this work.