Anandavardhana was a remarkable figure. In my Sanskrit learning I gave him the skip because the theory and practice of alaMkAra never struck a chord in me in my youth (I also had a great excuse). My mother spoke of a lot of theory and practice of alaMkAra literature but I realized soon that her way of conveying it was not at all for me. In any case my then AchArya found my excuse convincing and maintained that we could continue with analysis of the yajur vedic prose when I returned. But I had some vague knowledge of Anandavardhana from the other learned brAhmaNas who were disciples of my original aged AchArya. My teacher only said I should return to devIshataka when I got the chance. Mis-creant who had taken Sanskrit formally in the college mentioned some terrifying text called dhvanyAloka and said she had a copy of the devIshataka. But shortly there after I had to observe a major niyamas of for acquisitions of the rahasyas, and was totally cut off from all oral and even written communitication with her and never got the examining the text.
The other day in the train due to those unusual combination of events the mention of the devIshataka came up like a flashback from the past. I understand from my sources, but have not really investigated it, that Anandavardhana was in addition to his well-known commonly repeated achievements a great kaula tantrik. He is supposed to have followed the mantra of the hAdimata as was common to his regions. He also seems to have simultaneously obtained siddhi of the formula of bhAnavi kaulini. His shAkta disposition becomes clear in the little fragments of the devIshataka that I obtained, which are truely a masterpiece of Sanskrit poetry. On tasting the devIshataka I realized that for a groundling like me this is enough to see the heights that alaMkAra and chitra kAvya might have reached. I do not go to the kIrATArjunIya or such, the devIshakta and the mayurASTakaM are enough. No doubt it is said that it was composed after Anandavardhana performed a svapnavArAhI prayoga.
natApanIta-kleshAyAH surArI-jana-tApanI |
na tApanI tanur yasyAs tulyA nAdInatApanI ||
Of whom, removing the impurities of her votaries, burning the enemy folk of the gods, the body is not unlike the sun, she grants success. This shloka is a good example to the yamaka (actually a double of them) Note the sound na-tA-pa-nI-ta * 2 and na-tA-pa-nI * 2