Dasarupaka (critical study)

by Anuru Ranjan Mishra | 2015 | 106,293 words

This page relates ‘Vishakhadatta—Author of the drama (Mudrarakshasa)’ 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)

Part 1 - Viśākhadatta—Author of the drama (Mudrārākṣasa)

The Mudrārākṣasa, a historical play, is mainly concerned with Candragupta Maurya’s elevation to the throne of Magadha (322-298 B.C.), on the fall of the Nanda dynasty, with the help of great politician Cāṇakya. In the Prologue (prastāvanā) of the Mudrārākṣasa, poet Viśākhadatta introduces himself as the writer of the play and he is the grandson of Vaṭeśvara, who was a Sāmanta and the son of Pṛthu. According to a number of scholars like M. R. Kale (1983, Mudrārākṣasa, Introduction, p.xiii), the date of Mudrārākṣasa, can be ascribed to eighth century and most probably it was composed at a time prior to the eighth Century.

Telang (1915, Introduction, Mudrārākṣasa, p.ix) states that:

“it is a very unique work in the Sanskrit literature. Its plot is not a pure invention; also, it is not derived from the usual storehouse of legends from which Sanskrit authors have generally drawn their materials. It has no female among its prominent dramatic personneland the business of the play, accordingly, is diplomacy and politics to the entire exclusion of love. There is, however, one female character, with one little child, introduced into the play; and these are Candanadāsa’s wife and son, who come in at the beginning of the last act. But even their appearance introduces no tenderness on the purely domestic virtues, but only of sacrifice as a stern sense of duty.”

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