According to the well- established tradition of poetry, first rate poetry is marked by suggestiveness called Dhvani. But even great poets are seen to indulge in composing Chitra-type of verses, where there is not much aesthetic charm. Rhetoricians like Mammata classify `Chitram' as inferior kind of poetry which creates a sense of wonder in the reader, with no explicit suggestiveness. It is twofold: Sabdachitra and Arthachitra, if the word and sense are embellished respectively with poetic merits (gunas) and figures of speech (alankaras). They are hard to compose and difficult to understand. Some poems lend themselves to three or four interpretations; conundrums, puzzles, riddles, and hard to crack questions; and contain verses within verses, verses with a single consonant, two consonants and the like. In some verses, the subject, object and verb lie concealed. Such poetic gymnastics are mostly for the amusement of the wise and the learned. They serve the purpose of testing the mettle of poets, secretly conversing with intelligent people, confusing others and for exciting those who are not familiar with this art.The word `Chitram' also means picture. Some poets have shown another amazing craftsmanship in handling Sabdachitra. The letters and words, when arranged in a particular pattern, look like sword, arrow, wheel, chariot and lotus. The Agnipurana has mentioned 24 varieties of such pictorial patterns. Poets in the classical period had to compose such verses just for the amusement and entertainment of their patrons. Even great poets like Bharavi and Magha are seen to indulge in Sabdachitra. Anandavardhana in his Dhvanyaloka has discouraged such an effort since the main sentiment suffers a death blow in the process. [...]
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