Dasarupaka (critical study)

by Anuru Ranjan Mishra | 2015 | 106,293 words

This page relates ‘Styles (vrittis) of the Nataka’ 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 8 - Styles (vṛttis) of the Nāṭaka

According to the Nāṭyaśāstra, Nāṭaka should contain all four types of styles (vṛttis) [cf. Nāṭyaśāstra.XXII.7.], i.e.

  1. verbal style (bhāratīvṛtti),
  2. grand style (sāttvatīvṛtti),
  3. gay style (kaiśikīvṛtti) and
  4. violent style (arabhaṭīvṛtti).

1) Verbal Style (Bhāratīvṛtti)–

The Verbal Style is generally used in the prologue of the drama, because it has four elements, i.e.

  1. propitiation (prarocanā),
  2. preface (āmukha),
  3. garland (vīthī) and
  4. the farce (prahasana).

The propitiation is the part of preface (āmukha). The ancillaries of vīthī (vīthyaṅgas) and farce (prahasana) are separate types of dramas, stated in the Daśarūpaka.

Preface (āmukha) and prologue (prastāvanā) are synonym. It has five parts, i.e.

  1. abrupt dialogue (udghātyaka),
  2. story caught up (kathodghāta),
  3. excess of representation (prayogātiśaya),
  4. entrance (pravṛttaka) and
  5. continuance (avalagita).

Out of these, udghātyaka and avalagita are the parts of vīthyaṅgas. According to the Nāṭyaśāstra (XXII.35), the poet may construct prologue (āmukha) skillfully, taking the relevant one (out of five parts of preface). The Mudrārākṣasa has applied all of these varieties of preface and all thirteen types of ancillaries of vīthī (vithyaṅgas) as given below:

Story caught up (Kathodghāta) –

When a character enters following the word of Sūtradhāra, it is called kathodghāta. In the Mudrārākṣasa, Cāṇakya enters following the word of Sutradhāra, viz. “krūragrahaḥ sa ketuḥ candram abhibhavitum icchati” is the kathodghāta.

Entrance (Pravṛttaka) –

When a character enters following the description of a season, it is called pravṛttaka. In the Mudrārākṣasa, the verse (I.3), viz. “cīyate bāliśasyāpi………vapturguṇamapekṣate” is the description of the autumn season and Cāṇakya enters following the description of the verse and hence it is pravṛttaka.

Excess of representation (Prayogātiśaya) –

When a character enters through the observation of Sūtradhāra, it is called prayogātiśaya. In the Mudrārākṣasa, Cāṇakya enters through the observation of Sūtradhāra who describes in the seventh verse, viz. ‘kauṭilyaḥ kuṭilamatiḥ sa eṣa ……… viṣadabhiyoga ityavaiti” and hence it is prayogātiśaya.

Continuance (Avalagita) –

When an idea is transferred to another for desired effect, it is called avalagita. In the prologue of the Mudrārākṣasa, on the occasion of house matter, the word “krūragrahaḥ sa ketu” transfers the desired ideaand hence it is avalagita.

Abrupt dialogue (Udghātyaka) –

Udghātyaka is the accidental interpretation, which brings out the intended meaning in the correct form. It is of two types, i.e. of the form of alternate word of secret sense (gūḍhārthapadaparyāyarūpa) and of the form of the sets of the question and answer (praśnottaramālārūpa). In the Mudrārākṣasa, the first type of udghātyaka is used when the Sūtradhāra utters the word “krūragrahaḥ sa ketuḥ”. The second type of udghātyaka is used in the first benedictory verse.

Humorous speech (Vyāhāra) –

Vyāhāra is the word with enticement. In the drārākṣasa, it is applied in the statement of Sūtradhāra, when he asked Naṭī as to “Whether she has invited venerable Brāhmaṇas favouring his family or she has just welcome them as guests for these special preparation of meals? (kathaya kimadya bhavatyā………pākaviṣeśārambhaḥ -udrārākṣasa, Telang, p.58).

Deception (Chala) –

Chala is making enticement by the favourable words. In the Mudrārākṣasa, it is applied when Naṭī answers to Sūtradhāra that she has invited Brāhmaṇas because the moon is to be eclipsed (uparajyate kila bhagavān candra iti–Mudrārākṣasa, Telang, p.58).

Incoherent (Asatpralāpa) –

Asatpralāpa is the useless advice to make someone fool by unrelated words. In the Mudrārākṣasa, it is applied when Naṭī gets false advice about the lunar eclipseand Sūtradhāra asks her as to who told her about this. (ārye, ka evamāha–Mudrārākṣasa, Telang, p.58).

Mildness (Mṛdava) –

Mṛdava is the falsification of good qualities and praise of bad qualities through the argument in opposite mode. In the Mudrārā kṣasa, it is applied when Sūtradhāra says to Naṭī that preparing meals for Brahmaṇas is useless and then allows her to prepare meals for worthy Brāhmaṇas because she is deceived by someone (tat pravartytām bhagavato brāhmaṇānuddiśya pākaḥ, candroparāgam prati tu kenāpi vipralabdhāsi -Mudrārākṣasa, Telang, p.59).

Abrupt remark (Gaṇḍa) –

Gaṇḍa is the excess use of words with anger and excitement in the form of altercation. In the Mudrārākṣasa, it is applied when Sūtradhāra recites “krūragrahaḥ sa ketuścandra………abhibhavitumicchati balāt” (Mudrārākṣasa, Telang, p.59)and it creates anger in the mind of Cāṇakyaand being excited he says from behind the curtain “āḥ, ka eṣa mayi sthite” (Mudrārākṣasa, Telang, p.60), relating to Candragupta.

Enigma (Nālikā) –

Nālikā is the enigmatic speech in the form of making fun of others. In the Mudrārākṣasa, it is applied when after listening, the word of Cāṇakya, i.e. “āḥ, ka eṣa mayi sthite” from behind the curtain, Naṭī asks Sūtradhāra, “ārya kaḥ punareṣa…” Here the word “ārya” has the hidden meaning, which makes fun of Cāṇakya.

Out vying (Adhivala) –

Adhivala is the arguments between two persons comparing each other and both find their respective positions. In the Mudrārākṣasa, it is applied when Sūtradhāra recites “kruragraha..” from behind the curtainand Cāṇakya says “kaḥ eṣa..”.

Re-interpretation (Avasyandita) –

When one’s intelligence interprets the auspicious or inauspicious meaning is called avasyandita. In the Mudrārākṣasa, it is applied when the intelligence of Cāṇakya interprets the word “krūragraha……” with Candragupta. Therefore, “krūragraha..” is called avasyandita.

Triple explanation (Trigata) –

Trigata is that wherein more than one meaning is sheltered with the support of reasoning. It is applied when in the verse of the Mudrārākṣasa, i.e. “guṇavatyupāyanilaye……drutamupehi” (Mudrārākṣasa, I.5), Sūtradhāra shows that the qualities of his wife are the cause of the stability of meritorious worldly life, expertise in devising expedientsand accomplishment of three objects (dharma, artha and kāma).

Compliment (Prapañca) –

Prapañca is the praising of someone, which creates the comic relief. In the Mudrārākṣasa, it is applied in the verse ‘guṇavatyupāyanilaye……drutamupehi” (Mudrārākṣasa, I.5), when Sūtradhāra praises the qualities of his wife, as she is the ideal woman of morals in his house, instructor in all duties and she presents herself quickly when he needs her. She is the accomplisher of trivargas, also meritorious.

Repartee (Vākkeli) –

Vākkeli is the playful talk in the form of question and answer. In the Mudrārākṣasa, it is applied when Sūtradhāra comes to know that something is going on in his house, because everybody is engaged in the work and it is looking like a festival. Therefore, he wants to know it from his wife and calls her. Naṭī comes and orders to maintain formality. However, Sūtradhāra asks her to let aside the order for a moment (ārye, tiṣṭhatu tāvadājñāniyogaḥ -Mudrārākṣasa, Telang, p.58)and wants to know what is going on in the house. Such amusing conversation with Naṭī, is vākkeli.

2) Grand Style (Sāttvatīvṛtti) -

The possessing of the good qualities is the predominant feature of the grand style (sāttvatīvṛtti). It requires appropriate words and actions in proper way. Therefore, it requires the application of sentiments like heroic (vīra), marvellous (adbhuta) and furious (raudra). The other features are like challenging, using abusive dialogues, breach of alliance. The Mudrārākṣasa is based on sāttvatīvṛtti, because it possesses heroic sentiment as its main sentiment. The heroic sentiment is applied through the characters like Rākṣasa and Candanadāsa. In addition to this, the Mudrārākṣasa has also applied marvellous (adbhuta) and furious (raudra) sentiments in various places, which are also the part of grand style (sāttvatīvṛtti), known through the characters like Candragupta, Malayaketu, Cāṇakya and Candanadāsa.

3) Gay Style (Kaiśikīvṛtti) –

The Mudrārākṣasa however, has not made much use of gay style (kaiśikīvṛtti). The kaiśikīvṛtti is based on the erotic (śṛṅgāra) and laughter (hāsya) sentiments with other aspects like dance, song and sport. However these are not abundantly employed in the drama, except the laughter (hāsya) sentiment is just reflected in some places of the Mudrārākṣasa, through the characters like Rākṣasa, Ahituṇḍika, Nipuṇaka, Śārṅgarava, Siddhārthaka and Kṣapaṇaka.

4) Violent Style (Ārabhaṭīvṛtti) –

The violent style (ārabhaṭīvṛtti) is less used in the Mudrārākṣasa. There is no use of fight, battle or any type of violence, except the killing of Parvataka in the off stage by viṣa-kanyā. However, there are some conflicts and altercations happen between Candragupta, Cāṇakya, Malayaketu and Rākṣasa,. The violent style (ārabhaṭīvṛtti) is mainly applied when the sentiments like terrible (bhayānaka), furious (raudra) and odious (bībhatsa) are observed. There is no use of odious (bībhatsa) sentiment, but the furious (raudra) and terrible (bhayānaka) sentiments are made use of in some cases through the characters like Candraguptaand Candanadāsa and other characters.

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