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Sarga Bandha- Epic Poetry by Dandin

Updated: Aug 10, 2021


This piece of work is from Kavyadarsa, one of the earliest texts in Indian Literary Theory. Dandin is the pioneer of the Sanskrit Literary Theory. He was called ‘critique of Sanskrit Poetics’ by Edwin Gerow. Kavyadarsa is an illuminating text. It says the idea about Alankaras (figures of speech). This text offers a detailed catalogue of the linguistic virtues of poetry and illustrations for each type and sub-type of Alankaras. A Sarga- Bandha (epic poetry) is a Maha- Kavya.

Its Characteristics are:

1. Beginning or Preface: Dedication or an Indication of contents.

2. It has its sources either in a story, told in the ‘Ithihasas’ or other good (true) material.

3. It deals with the fruit (or goal) of 4 kinds:

i) Dharma

ii) Artha

iii) Kama

iv) Mokasha.

4. It has a great and generous person as the hero.

5. It is embellished with descriptions of cities, oceans, hills, the seasons, the moonrise, the sunrise, of sports in the garden and of in waters, of drinking scenes, of festivals, of enjoyment (love), of separation (of lovers), of (their) marriage and the nuptials and births of princes, of consultation and ministers, of sending messages or ambassadors, of journeys (royal progress) of war and the Hero’s victories- dealing with here at length and being full of ‘Rasa’ and ‘Bhava’ (flavor and suggestion) with ‘Sargas’ (chapters) – everything should be well performed with the pleasing qualities. The description of the Hero, the enemy, their enmity lineage should also be pleasing, a poem with such world pleasing quality will survive several ages (Kalpas).

On Regional Styles in Poetry


Indian Literary Criticism- Theory and Interpretation- G. N. Devy- 2002

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