Sringara Prakasa (शृङ्गार प्रकाशŚṛṅgāra Prakāśa) is a voluminous set of Sanskrit poetry consisting of thirty-six chapters, documented in 1908. It deals mostly with Alamkara-Shastra (rhetoric) and Rasa, and is claimed to have been authored by Raja Bhoja, the king of Paramara dynasty in the early 11th century A.D. A large extent of this magnum opus is dedicated to Sringara Rasa, which according to Bhoja's theory: "is the only one Rasa admissible."[1][2]

Raja Bhojadeva, a king from Paramara dynasty and author of the epic Sringara Prakasa


A specialist on the subject, Sivaprasad Bhattacharya, considered Sringara Prakasa as the most "detailed and provocative" discourse on Rasa.[3] According to P.V. Kane, Sringara Prakasa can be considered as an encyclopaedia of various branches in Sanskrit literature such as Darsanas, poetry, and dramaturgy, written extensively by quoting numerous works which existed in that period.[4] Some have argued, however, that no Sanskrit literature was developed after Abhinavagupta's Rasa literature - Abhinavabharati. But scholars such as V Raghavan and Sheldon Pollock disagree with this view and assert that Bhojadevs's Sringara Prakasa can be considered as an equally profound Sanskrit literature as Abhinavaguptas' Abhinavabharati.[5] Carl Olson translated the title as "Revelation of Love" and described it as an expression of self-love, which according to Bhoja, was a much higher and most often expressed form of emotion in the world. He further interprets the poetry as an emotion of love which refines the human ego Ahamkara and develops self-consciousness Abhimana in a person.[6]


Though many scholars have attempted to translate this magnum opus of Raja Bhojadeva, Sheldon Pollock's and Dr. V Raghavan's works are considered as dominant interpretations.[7] Pollock notes that in spite of the fact that the Sringara Prakasa is so relevant in the current time because of its content and its similarity with existing Sanskrit literature including its organization and style, it had not attracted much attention except in South India and Bengal. During the mid-20th century, there were claims of only four incomplete manuscripts available, out of which two were transcripts of a third one. But, V. Raghavan's translated commentary based on the fourth manuscript is considered valuable among scholars even today.[8]

The CantosEdit

This work of Bhoja is different from his other, smaller works such as Sarasvatī-kaṇṭhabharaṇa. The name Sringara Prakasa bears significance as it attempts to deal with Sringara Rasa of Ahamkara and Abhimana. In chapter I, Bhoja talks about Rasa as the "greatest element by virtue", and thus, men are called Rasikas accordingly. This is invoked through Kavya drama and poetry. There, Bhoja refers to Bhamaha and attempts to unite the two by calling them "शब्दार्थो सहितौ काव्यम": Poetry is word (Sabda) and sense (Artha) united. Most of the content in chapter I-VI deals with grammar, word, sense, and Sahitya. Chapters VII-VIII deal with the relationship between Sabda and Artha, and defining Sahitya by dividing it into Sabda and Artha.[9] Chapter IX deals with poetical relations with Sahitya,[10] whereas chapter X is primarily about different kinds of Alamkaras. In chapter XI, Bhoja calls his work as "Sahitya-Prakasa"[11] and gives more importance to Rasa by saying: "A poetry may be as much flawless by adopting Alamkara, but every poet should pay apt attention to the Rasa, as it is the greatest factor of beauty and in the absence of it, all other beauties are in vain."[12] In chapter XII, Rasa, as well as the structure of drama are discussed. Chapter XIII classifies Ahamkara-Sringar into four: Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksa and briefly describes the activities to be fulfilled to achieve the four purusharthas.[13] The rest of this voluminous works deals with Rasas, the greatest Sahitya of Sabda and Artha in Kavya.[14]


  1. ^ De, Sushil Kumar. (1923). Studies in the history of Sanskrit poetics. Vol. 1. London. p. 148. OCLC 924378855.
  2. ^ Raghavan 1978, p. Preface.
  3. ^ Pollock 1998, p. 119.
  4. ^ Kane, P V. (1964). "Bhoja's Sringara Prakasa- Review". Sahitya Akademi. 7 (2): 125. JSTOR 23329261.
  5. ^ Kiyakazu, Okita (2017). "From Rasa to Bhaktirasa: The Development of a Devotional Aesthetic Theory in Early Modern South Asia". Journal of Indian and Buddhist Studies. 65 (3): 28.
  6. ^ Olson, Carl (August 2002). "Śṛṅgāraprakāśa of Bhoja. Part I, adhyāya 1-14 by Venkatarama Raghavan- Book Review". International Journal of Hindu Studies. 6 (2): 207. JSTOR 20106818.
  7. ^ Cox, Whitney (2012). "Bhoja's Alternate Universe". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland. 22 (1): 58. doi:10.1017/S1356186311000770. ISSN 0035-869X.
  8. ^ Pollock 1998, p. 117-118.
  9. ^ Raghavan 1978, p. 8.
  10. ^ Raghavan 1978, p. 89.
  11. ^ Raghavan 1978, p. 181.
  12. ^ Raghavan 1978, p. 416.
  13. ^ Raghavan 1978, p. 444.
  14. ^ Raghavan 1978, p. 9.