On Ornaments of Sound in Gopadatta’s Jātakamālā
The Jātakamālā (GJM) by Gopadatta, a Buddhist poet active between the fifth and eighth centuries CE, is a collection of fifteen Buddhist legends written in a mixture of verse and prose. HAHN 2007a, who conducts detailed analyses of the structure of the GJM, gives little attention to its literary background. This paper considers what literary tradition influences the GJM, focusing on the examples of the repetition of the same string of syllables.
The examples of the repetition of the same string of syllables found in the GJM are classified into four groups: (a) yamaka (an ornament of sound in which a part of a verse is repeated twice or more with different meanings), (b) lāṭānuprāsa (an ornament of sound in which a word is repeated with no change in meaning but with a change in intention in a sentence), (c) pseudo-yamaka (an ornament of sound that seems to be yamaka but does not meet the conditions for yamaka), and finally (d) mixture of yamaka and lāṭānuprāsa. A closer scrutiny of these examples reveals the following:
(1) Lāṭānuprāsa is used more frequently than yamaka.
(2) Gopadatta, in the legend of Maitrakanyaka, uses lāṭānuprāsa in accordance with the rules illustrated in the Kāvyālaṃkārasārasaṃgraha by Udbhaṭa (ca. the eighth century CE).
(3) There is no consistency in the subject matter of the verses where the repetition of the same string of syllables occurs. It is to be noted in passing that the great poets (mahākavis) conventionally use yamaka in the verses that are devoted to the description of seasons or a battle.
(4) The part of a verse in which the repetition of the same string of syllables occurs is specified neither as to length nor as to position.
(5) Gopadatta often constructs a yamaka with words to which different meanings are given by the addition of prefixes as in apakāram upakāram, which is rare in the works of the great poets.
These facts show that Gopadatta lived around the beginning of the eighth century CE, and that he does not conform to the demands of the great poets who meticulously observe the rigid rules concerning yamaka. We may therefore conclude that Gopadatta, making use of dramatic works, wrote the GJM, since lāṭānuprāsa is one of the ornaments of sound of which seventh- and eighth-century dramatists are particularly fond.
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