Dasarupaka (critical study)

by Anuru Ranjan Mishra | 2015 | 106,293 words

This page relates ‘description of rupa, rupaka, natya, nritya and nritta’ 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)

The description of rūpa, rūpaka, nāṭya, nṛtya and nṛtta

[Full title: The description of rūpa, rūpaka, nāṭya, nṛtya and nṛtta, their definitions and differences]

Dhanañjaya clearly states that nāṭya, rūpa and rūpaka are synonyms. Nāṭya is stated to be rūpa because it is seen (rūpam dṛśyatayoccyate–Daśarūpaka.I.7). The term rūpa is also the concise form of Rūpaka, which is not described by Bharata, though Bharata has just said that he is going to describe the characteristics of the ten varieties of drama (daśarūpavikalpanam kathayiṣyāmiNāṭyaśāstra.XVIII.1). It is called representation or rūpaka because characteristics of the real hero, is assumed on the actors (rūpakam tatsamāropāt–Daśarūpaka.I.7). It means, when the characteristics of real persons are assumed on the actors, is called drama, i.e. Nāṭaka and other types of dramas. Dhanañjaya here clarifies that rūpaka and nṛtya are different; otherwise, some of dance forms such as dombī, śrīgadita, bhāṇī could be some types of drama, as both drama and dance are not separate. Thus, Dhanañjaya differentiates them and states that rūpakas are based on the sentiments (rūpakam rasāśrayam–Daśarūpaka.I.7), but dances or nṛtyas are based on emotions (bhāvāśrayam nṛtyam–Daśarūpaka.I.9).

It should be noted here that the ten types of dramas are based on [the following four types of representations, through which the various types of sentiments can be manifested], i.e.

  1. āṅgika,
  2. vācika,
  3. sāttvika and
  4. āhārya.

However, dance is based on only physical representation (āṅgikābhinaya) and the same physical representation is not conducive to the sentiments. The sentiments need other factors also.

Further, Dhanañjaya clarifies that nṛtya and nṛtta too are different. According to Dhanañjaya, nṛtta is different from nṛtya, because nṛtya is based on emotions (bhāva); whereas nṛtta is based on rhythm (tāla) and measure (laya). That is to say that nṛtta is not based on merely representations (abhinaya), but on the movements of hands and fingers in measuring time as well. Further, Dhanañjaya clarifies that nṛtya is the representation of an object, which is also called high style (mārga), but nṛtta is the representation of mere dance form which is called popular style (deśī); and both are divided into two types, i.e. gentle dance (lāsya) and wild dance (tāṇḍava), as their natures are gentle (madhura) and vehement (uddhata) respectively.

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