Tag Archives: Theory of Sphota.

Critiquing Derek Walcott’s Landscape of Sounds, Wild Echoes and Cultural Form ‘Calypso’ With the Perspective of Bhartrhari’s Theory of Sphota (Published)

This paper attempts to explore and deconstruct Derek Walcott’s cultural form, Calypso in the light of Bhartrhari’s theory of Varna-sphota and Vakya-sphota.The doctrine of sphota  predominantly belonged to Bhartrhari which developed threefold doctrine of sphota related to letters or phonemes,words and sentences.Walcott’s experimentation in poetry led him to discover calypso.The Calypso is an integral part of carnival celebrations in Trinidad.The people of Trinidad have preserved the major types of traditional songs functionally associated with the lives of folk at work, at play, at worship and even in revolt.It “belongs to the borderline sphere between art and life”. It uses a comic verbal tone consisting of a variety of sounds and words. Calypso exhibits these features of mixing high and low vocabulary.Walcott uses Calypso, a dramatic monologue in rhymed couplets, in words, phrases, syntax and structure to subvert the hierarchy which undervalues Creole.Bhartrhari’s doctrine of sphota has been applied to deconstruct Walcott’s creation of sounds, words and experimentation with fusion of sounds in his poems, which don’t only refer to linguistic units but serve as conveyor of meaning also. ‘The Spoiler’s Return’ uses all above mentioned morphological and semantic characteristics of Calypso. Walcott imparts meaning and dimension to cultural forms and tradition. genres and styles, both the official and the vernacular. It further extends Bhartrhari’s concept of ‘upadana sabda’ ie linguistic sound to analyse Walcott’s calypso in manifestation of the sound and its application in conveying the meaning.Bhartrhari’s interpretation of the concept of meaning and linguistics, as evidenced from upadana sabda, sphota and nada, and their sequential synchronization to produce sound and meaning have been applied to explain the phenomenon of sounds and their relation with the universe in Walcott’s poetry. Bhartrhari’s definition of sphota takes word or sentence as indivisible meaning-unit.Sometimes it functions as a symbol or linuistic unit.V.S.Apte defines sphota as ‘’ breaking forth or disclosure and the idea that bursts out or flashes on the mind when a sound is uttered’’(Harold G.Coward, Bhartrhari, 35). Bhartrhari employs sabda /sphota, dhvani and nada as three independent but inter-related units for conveying meaning.To him sabda/sphota implies the inner unity that conveys the meaning.Dhavnis are all-pervasive, imperceptible particles which,when accompanied by the movement of vocal organs become perceptible sounds called nada.These nadas are suggestive of the word, sphota or sabda. One can understand Bhartrhari’s notion of sphota when it is applied to poetry.In these lines of  Walcott’s poem titled ‘’Omeros’’, the expression of speech pattern provides creol etymology, which implies the inner unity of sphota and further gets transformed into dhavnis.

Keywords: Calypso, Landscape of Sounds, Theory of Sphota., Wild Echoes