Dasarupaka (critical study)

by Anuru Ranjan Mishra | 2015 | 106,293 words

This page relates ‘Difference between the Dasharupaka and the Natyashastra’ of the English study of the Dasarupaka of Dhananjaya: an important work on Hindu dramaturgy (Natya-shastra) from the tenth century dealing with the ten divisions of Sanskrit drama (nata), describing their technical aspects and essential dramaturgical principals. These ten types of drama are categorised based on the plot (vastu), hero (neta) and sentiment (rasa)

Difference between the Daśarūpaka and the Nāṭyaśāstra

It should be noted that the Daśarūpaka is compactand deals with the topics directly related to dramaturgy or Nāṭya only, whereas the Nāṭyaśāstra is too elaborateand deals with all the matters related to dramaturgy, dance, music, stage construction etc. The Daśarūpaka is unique in its style. It takes into consideration the views of the Nāṭyaśāstra, in general; however, it does not follow the Nāṭyaśāstra blindlyand it has exhibited its originality on several issues. It should also be noted that the Nāṭyaśāstra is full of formulae; and hence is very difficult to understand, whereas the Daśarūpaka is full of descriptions, which are very simple and beautifuland appreciated by the Western and Indian scholars. The Nāṭyaśāstra and the Daśarūpaka differ in number of matters such as plot, hero, heroineand erotic sentiment. The Daśarūpaka has elaborated on the characteristics of the dramas, which has made it unique. From the very first chapter, we could see the difference of approach of the Daśarūpaka. For instance, the Nāṭyaśāstra states that drama is the imitation of the three-world (trailokasya sarvasya nāṭyam bhāvānukīrtanam–I.107). Again, the Nāṭyaśāstra states that drama is the imitation of emotions, situations and the actions of the world (nānābhāvopasampannam nānāvasthāntarātmakam, lokavṛttānukaraṇam nāṭyam –I.112). However, the Daśarūpaka states it in a very simple way that the drama is the imitation of the situation (avasthānukṛtirnāṭyam–I.7). Further, the Nāṭyaśāstra does not clarify that rūpa, rūpaka and nāṭya are synonyms and also does not provide the etymological description of them. It should be noted that the Daśarūpaka considers rūpa, rūpaka and nāṭya are synonyms and states that “it is rūpa, because it is seen” (rūpam dṛśyatayocyate –I.7). Similarly, the Daśarūpaka states that when avasthā is assumed in the actor or naṭa, the drama is called rūpaka (rūpakam samāropāt–I.7). However, the Nāṭyaśāstra does not mention the word rūpaka.

Again, unlike the Nāṭyaśāstra, the Daśarūpaka states that the rūpakas are ten kinds, i.e. Nāṭaka etc. and they are based on the sentiments (daśadhaiva rasāśrayam–I.7). Further, the Daśarūpaka states that the divisions of ten kinds of dramas are made according to the plot, character and the sentiments (vastu netā rasasteṣām bhedakaḥ -I.11); however, the Nāṭyaśāstra states that the divisions of the rūpakas are made by their name, action and applications (daśarūpavikalpanam, nāmataḥ karmataścaiva tathā caiva prayogataḥ -XVIII.1). Further, the Daśarūpaka states that nṛtya and nṛtta are different from nāṭya because they are based on emotion (bhāva), rhythm (tāla) and time or tempo (laya), whereas nāṭya is purely based on the sentiments (bhāvāśrayam nṛtyam, nṛttam tālalayāśrayam–Daśarūpaka.I.9). Again, Dhanañjaya in the Daśarūpaka is very clear and defines the matter ītivṛtta or plot, while Bharata just divides the plot as principal or ādhikārika and subordinate or prāsaṅgika and again subordinate plot as two kinds, i.e. episode (patākā) and episodical incident or (prakarī). Dhanañjaya agrees with these divisions of plot; however, he divides them again each into three types according to their subject matter, i.e. well-known (prakhyāta), invented by the imagination of poet (kavikalpita or utpādya) and mixed (miśra), with well known and invented. Bharata does not state about the mixed type of plot. Thus, according to Dhanañjaya, while the principal plot could be well known, invented, or mixed, the episode could be wellknown or invented or mixed and the episodical incident also could be well-known or invented or mixed.

Dhanañjaya in the Daśarūpaka does not state anything about the benedictory verse (nāndī), he does not even describe the preliminaries (pūrvaraṅga), however, in the third chapter, he states that when Sūtradhāra leaves after performing the preliminaries, another actor (naṭa) comes and establishes the matter of the plot (pūrvaraṅgam vidhāyādau sūtradhāre vinirgate, praviśya tadvadaparaḥ kāvyārtham sthāpayennaṭaḥ—Daśarūpaka.III.2). However, it should be noted that Bharata has elaborately described the preliminaries in the fifth chapter. Again, Dhanañjaya does not describe styles in a separate chapter as Bharata does (Nāṭyaśāstra.XXII). Dhanañjaya has discussed three styles (kaiśikī, sāttvatī and ārabhaṭī) in the second chapter in the context of the characteristics of hero and heroine and the verbal style in the context of ten types of dramas.

Bharata used Ītivṛtta and Vastu for the plot, whereas Dhanañjaya used Vastu, for the same; however, both terms are synonyms. Again, Bharata applies propitiation (prarocanā) in the verbal style (bhāratīvṛtti) and preliminaries, whereas Dhanañjaya applies it only in the verbal style (bhāratīvṛtti), found in the prologue (prastāvanā), which produces the matter of the plot, with pleasing verses by the actors in front of the audience.

Again, Dhanañjaya has given much importance to the hero (netā), because his division of Rūpaka is based on Vastu, Netā and Rasa. Thus, he has based Rūpaka on the Vastu, Netā and Rasa. On the other hand, Bharata never gave any importance to Netā or Nāyaka in the drama, because he believed that drama is the representation of human nature. Here the word Nāyaka represents as hero, heroine and their assistants. Bharata divides heroes according to the degree of human nature, which is of three types, i.e. superior (uttama), middle (madhyama)and lower (adhama). These three types again applied according to the divisions of the plot, i.e. Principal (ādhikārika) and Subsidiary or Subordinate (prāsaṅgika). Subordinate is again divided into two types, i.e. episode (patākā) and episodical incident (prakarī). In this way, plots are of three types, i.e. Principal, Episode and Episodical incident. Thus, hero may be divided as principal hero (ādhikārika nāyaka), episodical hero (patākā nāyaka) and episodical incident-hero (prakarī nāyaka). Accordingly, the principal hero would be superior type, episodical hero would be middle type and episodical incident hero would be lower type.

The superior types of heroes control their senses. They are expert in arts. They are merciful, high in aspiration, protectors of the weaker onesand have knowledge of various scriptures. They are brave and generous with great strength and they sacrifice for others (Nāṭyaśāstra.XXIV.84-5). The middle type of heroes are expert in worldly dealings, arts, scriptures and they have common qualities, which delight others (Nāṭyaśāstra.XXIV.86). Further, the low types of heroes are harsh-spoken, immoral, angry, violent, faithless, dull in intellectual ability, faultfinders, lazy, forget one’s deed, cruel, cannot judge good and bad and do not know when to respect and when not to respect others. They like to quarrel with others and always want to enjoy woman. They reveal confidential informationand snatch others wealth in a wrong way (Nāṭyaśāstra.XXIV.87-9).

However, Dhanañjaya has applied some of these qualities commonly for the heroes in general. He has taken hero in the sense of the principal hero, who is well bred, charming, liberal, clever, affable, popular, upright, eloquent, of exalted lineage, resolute, young, endowed with intelligence, energetic, having good memory, wisdom, skill in the arts, proud, heroic, mightyand vigorous and familiar with the codes and law (Daśarūpaka.II.1-2). These qualities are meant for the principal heroes of Nāṭaka and Prakaraṇa types of dramas. The hero, lacking in any of these qualities, is low type and he is the hero of other types of dramas like Bhāṇa, Vīthī, Ḍima, Īhāmṛga, Samavakāra, Vyāyoga, Aṅka and Prahasana. Thus, Dhanañjaya divides heroes into two types only, i.e. principal hero (nāyaka) and heroes for episode (patākā nāyaka). He has not divided heroes as upper or superior, middle and lower like Bharata, but, from his episode-hero, it can be stated that he divides heroes into two types, i.e. upper and middle (Daśarūpaka.II.8).

Bharata divides Nāyakas into four types according to their nature as selfcontrolled and vehement (dhīroddhata), self-controlled and light-hearted (dhīralalita), self-controlled and exalted (dhīrodātta) and self-controlled and calm (dhīrapraśānta). Again, Bharata has applied these four types in the upper and middle types but not in the low types. Thus, the heroes are eight in number. Further, Bharata has not given any importance to the qualities of these varieties of heroes (Nāṭyaśāstra.XXIV.2-3). Dhanañjaya accepts Bharata’s four types of heroes, i.e. dhīroddhata, dhīralalita, dhīrodātta and dhīrapraśānta, but he does not divide them as upper and middle etc., but he divides each of them as clever (dakṣiṇa), deceitful (śaṭha), shameless (dhṛṣṭa) and faithful (anukūla). However, Bharata states such type of words are used by women who are in love and angry with their beloved ones as duśśīla, durācāra, śaṭha, vāma, vikatthana, nirlajja and niṣṭhura (Nāṭyaśāstra, XXIV.298). Therefore, according to Dhanañjaya, the total numbers of heroes are sixteen (Daśarūpaka.II.3-7). Again, from Bharata’s divisions of heroes, i.e. dhīralalita, dhīrodātta, dhīroddhata and dhīrapraśānta, one could infer that he has not restricted them (dhīralalita etc.) to only the principal (ādhikārika) type of hero; but also applied them to the subordinate (prāsaṅgika) type of hero. Thus, both principal and subordinate types of heroes could be vehement, calm, exalted and light-hearted, according to their nature. However, Dhanañjaya restricts them to only the principal (ādhikārika) hero, because he has defined subordinate hero separately, who is called episode hero (patākānāyaka or pīṭhamarda).

Bharata defines each type of hero as per his personality. However, Dhanañjaya defines each type of hero, according to his qualities. For instance, Bharata states that kings should be dhīralalita types of heroes (Nāṭyaśāstra.XXIV.4), whereas Dhanañjaya states that dhīralalita type of hero should be free from anxiety, happy, gentle and fond of song, dance (Daśarūpaka.II.3).

Further, Bharata states that eight qualities, i.e. brilliant character (śobhā), graceful bearing (vilāsa), sweetness (mādhurya), steadiness (sthairya), gravity (gāmbhīrya), sportiveness (lālitya), nobility (audārya) and spirit (tejas) are the temperaments (sattva) of the male (Nāṭyaśāstra.XXII.30), whereas Dhanañjaya defines them as the natural qualities (sāttvikaguṇa) of the male (Daśarūpaka.II.10).

There is a great difference between Bharata and Dhanañjaya with respect to the division of heroines. Bharata divides them into four types, i.e. divine (divyā), wife of a king (nṛpapatnī), noble wife (kulapatnī) and courtesan (gaṇikā), according to their accompaniments. They are applied in the drama, to different types of heroes, such as self-controlled (dhīrā), elegant (lalitā)and exalted (udāttā) and quiet (nibhṛtā). Further, heroines are divided into eight kinds according to the different situations of love with hero. They are dressed up for union (vāsakasajjā), one distressed by separation (virahotkaṇṭhitā), one having her husband in subjection (svādhīnabhartṛkā), one separated from her lover by a quarrel (kalahāntaritā), one enraged with her lover (khaṇḍitā), one deceived by her lover (vipralabdhā), one with a sojourning husband (proṣitabhartṛkā) and one who moves to her lover (abhisārikā). However, Dhanañjaya divides heroines into three kinds according to their relations with the hero as one’s own wife (svīyā), woman belonging to the other (anyā)and common woman (sādhāraṇa strī). Again, svīyā is divided into three types who possessed good character and uprightness, i.e. inexperienced (mugdhā), partly experienced (madhyā) and experienced (pragalbhā). Further, he divides mugdhā and pragalbhā into three types, i.e. self-controlled (dhīrā), one that is partly self-controlled (madhyā) and one lacking in self-control (adhīrā). Again, these three (dhīrā, madhyā and adhīrā) are divided into two kinds each, i.e. elder (jyeṣṭhā) and younger (kaniṣṭhā). Thus, both madhyā and pragalbhā become twelve kinds.

Again, a woman belonging to another (anyā) is counted as married (anyoḍhā) and unmarried (kanyā) by Dhanañjaya. He states that married one is useful for the main sentiment; however, unmarried one is useful for both the main sentiment and subordinate sentiment. Further, courtesan (sādhāraṇa strī) is attached with all people, generally for the entertainment (sukhārtha), who is skilled in the arts, bold and cunning.

Bharata states that the heroines vāsakasajjā, virahotkaṇṭhitā, svādhīna-bhatṛkā, kalahāntaritā, khaṇḍtā, vipralabdhā, proṣitabhatṛkā and abhisārikā are employed in Nāṭaka etc. as the heroine in the same conditions or status (Nāṭyaśāstra.XXII.213). However, Dhanañjaya states that they are the eight stages of heroine in Nāṭaka, Prakaraṇa and other types of drama, except in Prahasana (Daśarūpaka.II.23). Here Bharata does not state that they should be excluded from Prahasana, however, he has just mentioned that they are “nāṭakāśrayā” (Nāṭyaśāstra, XXIV.217), It should be noted that Dhanañjaya clearly states that they are the eight stages of heroines of Nāṭaka etc. excluding Prahasana.

Bharata (Nāṭyaśāstra.XXIV.218-20) describes vāsakasajjā and abhisārikā separately when representing their modes of love, whereas Dhanañjaya (Daśarūpaka.II.28) prescribes svādhīnabhartṛkā and vāsakasajjā separately when he is defining the modes of love of the eight types of heroines.

Again, Bharata has mentioned the assistants of the hero as “nṛpateranucārikā”, “bāhyapuruṣa” and “vidūṣaka” (Nāṭyaśāstra.XXIV.34, 57,-115). However, Dhanañjaya has mentioned that “patākānāyaka”, who is a special person to the hero and similar to “vidūṣaka” as an assistant. He has also mentioned that “vidūṣaka” and “viṭa” are the assistants of the hero (Daśarūpaka.II.8-9).

There is not much difference between Bharata and Dhanañjaya on the matter of states (bhāva) except in the case of permanent states (sthāyibhāva). According to Bharata, the permanent state attains the condition or state of sentiment, after coming together with various other psychological states, such as vibhāva, anubhāva and vyabhicāribhāva (Nāṭyaśāstra.VI. Kedarnath edit. p.93). However, Dhanañjaya states that permanent states are not disconnected by any other psychological states in the condition of consistent or inconsistent, but it brings the others into harmony with itself (Daśarūpaka.IV.34).

Again, there is difference in the opinions of Bharata and Dhanañjaya in the case of erotic sentiment (śṛṅgārarasa). Bharata (Nāṭyaśāstra.VI.Kedarnath edit. p.95) divides erotic sentiment into two types, as enjoyment (saṃbhoga) and separation (vipralambha), whereas Dhanañjaya (Daśarūpaka.IV.50) divides the same erotic sentiment into three types, as privation (ayoga), separation (viprayoga) and union (saṃyoga). Dhanañjaya is very broad when he defines erotic sentiment. He divides viprayoga in to two kinds, i.e. honour (māna) and temporary sojourn (pravāsa) According to him, the causes of mānaviprayoga are fondness (praṇaya) and jealousy (īrṣyā). The “jealousy” he has applied for woman (Daśarūpaka.IV.58-60). Dhanañjaya’s saṃyoga does not differ from Bharata’s saṃbhoga, which happens with the complete agreement of the two lovers.

Again, Bharata describes erotic sentiment from the point of view of vibhāva and anubhāva, whereas Dhanañjaya defines it from the poet’s point of view; that is to say that poet depicts it according to his views regarding the causes of the sentiment.

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