Ānandavardhana (c. 820–890 CE) was the author of Dhvanyāloka, or A Light on Suggestion (dhvani), a work articulating the philosophy of "aesthetic suggestion" (dhvani, vyañjanā). The philosopher Abhinavagupta (c. 950 – 1016 CE)wrote an important commentary on it, the Locana, or The Eye.
Ānandavardhana is credited with creating the dhvani theory. He wrote that dhvani (meaning sound, or resonance) is the "soul" or "essence" (ātman) of poetry (kavya)." "When the poet writes," said Ānandavardhana, "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. The complete Dhvanyāloka together with Abhinavagupta's commentary on it has been translated into English by the eminent Sanskritist Daniel H.H. Ingalls and his collaborators.
Assessment by Modern Sanskritists
Modern Sanskritists have a very high opinion of Ānandavardhana. Commenting on Ānandavardhana's Dhvanyaloka, P.V. Kane writes that "the Dhvanyāloka is an epoch-making work in the history of Alaṅkāra literature. It occupies the same position in poetics as Pāṇini's Aṣtādhyāyī in grammar and Śaṅkarācarya's commentary on Vedānta". And Daniel H.H. Ingalls calls Ānandavardhana 'the most brilliant of all Sanskrit critics'.
- 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
- Anandavardhana; Abhinavagupta; Daniel H.H. Ingalls; J.M. Masson; M.V.Patwardhan, The Dhvanyaloka of Ānandavardhana with the Locana of Abhinavagupta, Harvard Oriental Series
- P. N. K Bamzai, "Kashmir—The Home of Sanskrit Language and Literature". Kashmiri Overseas Assoc.
- Vidyakara; Daniel H.H. Ingalls, An Anthology of Sanskrit Court Poetry, Harvard Oriental Series, p. 48
- Bamzai, P. M. K. Kashmir – The Home of Sanskrit Language and Literature. Retrieved on 15 November 2008.
- The Dhvanyaloka of Anandavardhana with the Locana of Abhinavagupta (for purchase only).
- revised GRETIL e-text (untranslated) of the Dhvanyāloka, based on the edition by K. Krishnamoorthy, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1982.
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