Épigraphie et poétique : le virodha dans l’inscription du temple dit « de Gaṇeśa » à Mahābalipuram - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Bulletin d'Études Indiennes Year : 2016

Epigraphy and Poetics : the Virodha in the Inscription of the so-called "Gaṇeśa Temple" in Mahābalipuram

Épigraphie et poétique : le virodha dans l’inscription du temple dit « de Gaṇeśa » à Mahābalipuram


This study deals with the famous dedicatory inscription of the so-called “Gaṇeśa Temple” in Mahābalipuram, which has been edited, translated and commented on many times since Hultzsch published it in 1890. The study aims at laying a stress on the strong interaction between epigraphy and poetics, and at showing that inscriptions written in the style of court poetry cannot be interpreted without referring to Alaṅkārśāstra. It focuses on a particular figure of speech, the virodha, i.e. “contradiction”, which occurs not less than thirteen times in four of the eleven stanzas which the poem contains. The variety of that figure which the poet employed is, in most cases (eleven times out of the thirteen occurrences), the śleṣavirodha, i.e. “contradiction based on the double meaning”, in which the inconsistency can be solved by actualizing the “second meaning” of one or of both of the contradictory predicates. After a short presentation of the inscription’s context, the text and its translation will be provided in full. Then an attempt will be made to define the figure accurately, according to some Alaṅkāraśāśtra, with a particular attention paid to Daṇḍin’s Kāvyādarśa, which might have been written at the Pallava court of Kāñcīpuram, if not at the time of the temple’s foundation, a few decades later. After that, each and every virodha will be closely analysed, and all the meanings generated by the ambiguity of its components will be taken into account. By way of conclusion, the function of that specific figure of speech in the context of such an epigraph will be investigated : the latter will appear as linked with the genre of eulogy, in a poem which underlines the close relation of the king with the deity he is devotee of.
Le virodha est une figure de style bien connue des traités sanskrits de poétique, consistant dans l'énoncé d'une apparente contradiction. Cette contradiction se résout de diverses manières, en particulier par le double sens : l'un des prédicats contradictoires est l'objet d'une formulation ambiguë qui, selon le sens qu'on lui donne, engendre ou résout la contradiction. Cette figure est mise en oeuvre de façon répétée dans l'inscription de fondation d'un des temples du site méridional de Mahâbalipuram (VIIe ou VIIIe siècle), inscription versifiée qui nomme le souverain donateur (un membre de la dynastie des Pallava) et le dieu auquel le temple est consacré (Siva). Une étude linguistique rigoureuse des occurrences de virodha reposant sur le double sens dans cette inscription permet d'en déterminer la signification avec plus de précision et surtout d'en apprécier la portée pragmatique, sur le plan rituel et sur le plan politique.
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Dates and versions

hal-01471280 , version 1 (21-02-2017)


  • HAL Id : hal-01471280 , version 1


Sylvain Brocquet. Épigraphie et poétique : le virodha dans l’inscription du temple dit « de Gaṇeśa » à Mahābalipuram. Bulletin d'Études Indiennes, 2016, 33, pp.79-110. ⟨hal-01471280⟩
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