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Anandavardhana (820–890) was the author of Dhvanyaloka, a work articulating the philosophy of "aesthetic suggestion". The philosopher Abhinavagupta wrote an important commentary on it.

Anandavardhana is credited with creating the dhvani theory. He wrote of dhvani (meaning sound, or resonance) in regard to the "soul of poetry."[1] "When the poet writes," said Anandavardhana, "he creates a resonant field of emotions." To understand the poetry, the reader or hearer must be on the same "wavelength." The method requires sensitivity on the parts of the writer and the reader.[1] The complete Dhvanyaloka together with Abhinavagupta's commentary on it has been translated into English by the eminent sanskritist Daniel H.H. Ingalls and his collaborators.[2]

Assessment by Modern Sanskritists[edit]

Modern Sanskritists have a very high opinion of Anandavardhana. Commenting on Anandavardhana's Dhvanyaloka, P.V. Kane writes that "the Dhvanyaloka is an epoch-making work in the history of Alankara literature. It occupies the same position in poetics as Panini's Ashadhyayi in grammar and Sankracarya's commentary on Vedanta".[3] And Daniel H.H. Ingalls calls Anandavardhana 'the most brilliant of all Sanskrit critics'.[4]


  1. ^ a b Premnath, Devadasan; Foskett (Ed.), Mary; Kuan (Ed.), Kah-Jin (15 November 2006), Ways of Being, Ways of Reading: Asian American Biblical Interpretation, Chalice Press, p. 11, ISBN 978-0-8272-4254-8 
  2. ^ Anandavardhana; Abhinavagupta; Daniel H.H. Ingalls; J.M. Masson; M.V.Patwardhan, The Dhvanyaloka of Anandavardhana with the Locana of Abhinavagupta, Harvard Oriental Series 
  3. ^ P. N. K Bamzai, "Kashmir—The Home of Sanskrit Language and Literature". Kashmiri Overseas Assoc.
  4. ^ Vidyakara; Daniel H.H. Ingalls, An Anthology of Sanskrit Court Poetry, Harvard Oriental Series, p. 48 

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