Dasarupaka (critical study)

by Anuru Ranjan Mishra | 2015 | 106,293 words

This page relates ‘Dhananjaya’s division and application of the plot (vastu)’ 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)

Dhanañjaya’s division and application of the plot (vastu)

The Western tradition accepts the six elements of drama:

  1. plot,
  2. character,
  3. diction,
  4. thought,
  5. spectacle and
  6. song;

However, Dhanañjaya accepts the three elements of drama, i.e.

  1. plot (vastu),
  2. hero or characters (netā) and
  3. the sentiment (rasa).

According to these three elements, the dramas were classified, i.e.

  1. Nāṭaka,
  2. Prakaraṇa,
  3. Bhāṇa,
  4. Vīthī,
  5. Ḍima,
  6. Īhāmṛga,
  7. Samavakāra,
  8. Vyāyoga,
  9. Aṅka and
  10. Prahasana.

Bharata, unlike Dhanañaya, has not clarified his theory of drama. Dhanañjaya accepts Bharata’s divisions of plot (principal and incidental), but he does not accept two-fold division of plot, i.e. Prakhyāta and Utpādya. However, he combines for both principal and incidental. Dhanañjaya states this mixed type of story is the mixture of both well-known and invented.

Again, unlike Bharata, Dhanañjaya divides the matters of the plot as:

  1. divine (divya),
  2. mortal (martya) and
  3. mix of divine and mortal (divyādivya).

Bharata does not elaborate on the plot and divides it into two divisions. Again, Bharata has stated that incidental plot is the subordinate one; whereas Dhanañjaya clarifies that incidental plot serves the purpose of another person; and it serves one’s own purpose incidentally (prāsaṅgikam parārthasya svārtho yasya prasaṅgataḥ -Daśarūpaka.I.13). Further, Dhanañjaya has explained the elements, actions, junctures and other aspects beautifully and this makes the Daśarūpaka unique.

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