Dasarupaka (critical study)

by Anuru Ranjan Mishra | 2015 | 106,293 words

This page relates ‘Nataka rules’ 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 3-6 - Nāṭaka rules

Rules of the Nāṭyaśāstra –

Bharata lays down the following rules (XX.10-46):

1) The plot of drama should be well known (prakhyāta).

2) Hero should be an exalted (dhīrodātta) type.

3) It should depict the story of saintly king (rājarṣi) and also divine characters.

4) It should provide the descriptions of prosperity of different kinds (wealth), gracefulness (love) and other qualities.

5) It should have several acts as well as interlude scenes (praveśaka).

6) It should have the story of the kings abounding in sentiments, moods and actions and representing pleasure and pain.

7) The selected plot should have acts, which are constructed as having actions (avasthās), elements (arthaprakṛti) and qualities.

8) It should have more than five and up to ten acts.

9) One can describe many incidents in a single act, but there should not be any obstacle to the essential requirements.

10) The story of exalted type of hero can be narrated directly with various states and situations in an act and the act should not be too long.

11) The act should have various sentiments when it is about hero, heroine, their parents, preceptor, minister and merchants.

12) Fight, dethronement, death, siege of the city etc. should be conveyed through introductory scenes (praveśakas).

13) The hero should not be killed in act (aṅka) or in introductory scenes (praveśaka).

14) Nāṭaka should not have more than four or five characters for effective display.

15) The action of the drama or poetic composition should have compactness, as in the case of the tail of the cow slanting towards the end.

16) In a Nāṭaka, praveśaka or introductory scenes are employed for many purposes. It is also used for the breaking up of the Acts.

17) The last part of the drama or Nirvahaṇa juncture should always contain the marvelous sentiment (adbhutarasa).

 Rules of the Daśarūpaka –

Dhanañjaya lays down the following rules (III.2-38):

1) Nāṭaka should begin with benedictory (nāndī), prologue (prastāvanā)and then Naṭī should introduce the plot of the drama with dress code accordingly.

2) The plot should be well-known (prakhyāta)and the hero should also be well-known, selfcontrolled and exalted (dhīrodātta), glorious, eager for fame, of great energy, knower of three Vedas, the ruler of the world, of renowned ancestry and a royal seer or a god.

3) The things that may be unsuitable to hero or sentiment should be omitted or should be arranged in another way in the plot.

4) There should be five Junctures (sandhi) and their sixty-four sub-divisions.

5) If it is appropriate action (plot), then the interlude scene (viṣkambhaka) should come after the prologue (prastavanā).

6) When the subject matter proceeds with sentiments right from the start, then there should an act at the beginning for the introduction.

7) There should not be excessive use of the sentiments. It may overwhelm or disconnect the subject matter.

8) The principal sentiment should be heroic (vīra) or erotic (śṛṅgāra) and other sentiments are subordinates and the conclusion (nirvahaṇa) must have marvelous sentiment (adbhutarasa).

9) It should not depict a visible long distant journey, murder, fightingand revolt of the kingdom, a siegeand massage of the body, eatingand bathing, intercourse, putting on clothes or the like.

10) The death of the principal character should not be shown, but unavoidable things can be shown.

11) The story of an act should be arranged in the time span of a single day and hero and other characters should be shown as taking part. At the end, all should exit including hero.

12) In a Nāṭaka, there should be a minimum of five acts and a maximum of ten acts.

Difference between the rules of the Nāṭyaśāstra and the Daśarūpaka -

1) Bharata did not stipulate any specific sentiments; however, Dhanañjaya stipulates that the principal sentiment should be either erotic (śṛṅgāra) or heroic (vīra). Further, he states that one should not use excess of sentiment in an act, which may disconnect the subject matter.

2) Bharata states that there should not be the death of the leading character or hero in the Nāṭaka. However, Dhanañjaya states that if it is something unavoidable, then the same can be shown but not the death of the hero. For instance, the offerings to the gods, ancestors involving death work can be shown.

3) Dhanañjaya has generally accepted the rules of Bharata regarding what are to be shown on the stage; however, he adds that if something unsuitable to the character of the hero or inconsistent with the sentiments, then the same should be omitted.

Implementation of rules followed by Mudrārākṣasa -

1) According to Bharata and Dhanañjaya, the plot of Nāṭaka should be well-known (prakhyāta). In the Mudrārākṣasa, the story is based on historical theme. It means it is a well known or Prakhyāta type.

2) Both Bharata and Dhanañjaya accept that the hero should be exalted (dhīrodātta) type. In the Mudrārākṣasa, the hero Candragupta, is an exalted type of hero, because he possesses the qualities like great excellence, exceedingly serious, forbearing, not boastful, resolute, with self-assertion suppressedand firm of purpose.

3) The Mudrārākṣasa follows the rules of Bharata and Dhanañjaya that the Nāṭaka should have five to ten acts as it has seven acts.

4) Dhanañjaya stipulates that Nāṭaka should contain Prologue, just after the Nāndī and Naṭī; further, he stipulates that Sūtradhāra should introduce the plot. In the Mudrārākṣasa, there is Prastāvanā after the two verses of the Nāndī, wherein Sūtradhāra and Naṭī introduced the plot.

5) The Mudrārākṣasa consists of five types of Sandhis, five types of stages (avasthā) and five types of elements of the plot (arthaprakṛti), which Bharata and Dhanañjaya both accept.

6) They hold that the number of attendants should not be too largeand more than four to five people should not be seen in action. The Mudrārākṣasa follows these rules.

7) Both Bharata and Dhanañjaya further stipulate that either in act or in introductory scene, the killing of the leading hero should not be shown. In the Mudrārākṣasa, such incident is not occurred, either in act or in introductory scene.

8) There are no battles, loss of a kingdom, deathand siege of a city etc. shown on the stage of the Mudrārākṣasa. The actions such as the murder of Parvataka, the father of Malayaketu by the poison-maid (viṣa-kanyā) occurs behind the curtain. However, in the sixth act, an attempted suicide scene of the Śreṣṭhī (which is the false suicide case by the spy of Cāṇakya, to motivate the mind of Rākṣasa to surrender) in the Jīrṇodyāna, is shown on the stage.

9) Both Bharata and Dhanañjaya agree that the last Juncture should always contain the marvellous sentiment (adbhutarasa). In the Mudrārākṣasa, the last Juncture, i.e. concluding juncture (nirvahaṇasandhi), depicts marvellous (adbhuta) sentiment. This is the seventh act, when Rākṣasa suddenly surrenders for his friend Candanadāsaand everyone from Cāṇakya to Caṇḍālas is surprised.

10) The story of the Mudrārākṣasa is based on politicsand it is full of moods, actions and representing pleasure and pain, such as the scenes like Candanadāsa’s imprisonment in the first act, his hanging in the seventh act, Malayaketu and Rākṣasa’s argument, Parvataka’s death, Cāṇakya and Candragupta’s false quarrel, which gives pleasure to Rākṣasa.

11) Bharata states that all the actors should exit from the stage at the end of the act. This rule is also implemented in the Mudrārākṣasa.

12) Thus, the Mudrārākṣasa, has properly implemented the rules of the Nāṭyaśāstra regarding acts, elements, actions, junctures etc.

Help me keep this site Ad-Free

For over a decade, this site has never bothered you with ads. I want to keep it that way. But I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased truth, wisdom and knowledge.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: