Dasarupaka (critical study)

by Anuru Ranjan Mishra | 2015 | 106,293 words

This page relates ‘Sentiments (rasa) used in a 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 9 - Sentiments (rasa) used in a Nāṭaka

According to the Nāṭyaśāstra and the Daśarūpaka, the sentiments like heroic (vīra) or erotic (śṛṅgāra) should be the main sentiments and others should be the subordinate sentiments in a Nāṭaka. Since the Mudrārākṣasa has a political plot; the main sentiment is the heroic (vīra) sentiment.

The heroic (vīra) sentiment:

The heroic (vīra) sentiment is prevalent in the entire drama. For example: in prologue (prastāvanā), the heroic sentiment is depicted through the words of Cāṇakya, “āḥ ka eṣa mayi sthite candraguptambhibhavitumicchati” (Mudrārākṣasa, Telang, p.60) after the stage manager recites the verse; “krūragraha……..abhibhavitumicchatibalāt’ (Mudrārākṣasa, I.6). Then in the first act, it is reflected through Candanadāsa’s fearless words towards Cāṇakya that whatever you want to do, please do, I would not return Rākṣasa’s family to you and this is my firm resolve, “ārya kim me bhayam darśayasi……na samarpayāmi kim punarasantam…..bāḍhameṣa dhīro me niścayaḥ” (Mudrārākṣasa, Telang, p.101). Again, in the third act, it is reflected when Candragupta says that the literates too are boasting, in answer to Cāṇakya that “the illiterate believe in fate”. Cāṇakya gets angry and says that he wants again to loosen the knot of hair though it is tied up now and eager to pledge upon another vow (śikhām moktum……mama krodhadahanam–III. 29)”.

The pathetic (karuṇa) sentiment:

The pathetic (karuṇa) sentiment is depicted when Candanadāsa says, that “Oh child, when death is sure, die in doing a service to a friend, (jāta, avaśyam bhavitavye vināśe mitrakārye samudvahamāne vināśamanubhavāmi -Mudrārākṣasa, Telang, p.302). The pathetic sentiment is depicted again in the seventh act, when Candanadāsa is taken for hanging by Cāṇḍālas and his wife cries for help; the scene is heart-rending. For instance, his son says, “Need this be said, father? This is our family-rule. (tāta, kimidamapi bhaṇitavyam. kuladharmaḥ khalveṣo’smākam -Mudrārākṣasa, Telang, p.302).

The furious (raudra) sentiment:

Further, the furious (raudra) sentiment is depicted in the third act. For instance, when a quarrel was started between Cāṇakya and Candragupta, at the time of “Kaumudīmahotsava”, Cāṇakya gets angry, because of the words of Candragupta that the literates too boast in answer to Cāṇakya that the illiterates alone believe in fate. Getting this answer from Candragupta, Cāṇakya becomes furious which is described by Candragupta as sarambhotspandipakṣma……dhāritaḥ pādaghātaḥ” (III.30). Again, when Malayaketu gets some false message from Kṣapaṇaka that his father is killed by Rākṣasa, through poison-maid (viṣa-kanyā), he becomes furious and says, “mitram mamedamiti……nanu rākṣasa rākṣosa’si (V. 5)”. The terrible (bhayānaka) sentiment is depicted in the first act, when Cāṇakya calls Candanadāsa through the pupiland Candanadāsa comments “cāṇakye akaruṇe……śaṅkā kim punarmama jātadoṣasya (I.21)’.

The low laughter (hāsya) sentiment:

The low laughter (hāsya) sentiment is just reflected in the first act, through the conversation between the pupil Śārṅgarava and Nipuṇaka and again in the fifth act, through the conversation between Siddhārthaka and Kṣapaṇaka.

The erotic (śṛṅgāra) sentiment:

The erotic (śṛṅgāra) sentiment is also just reflected in the second act, when Virādhagupta, the spy of both Rākṣasa and Cāṇakya, comes to Rākṣasa as a snake charmer. Looking towards Rākṣasa he fantasizes how this Rākṣasa is afraid of and slowly coming under Maurya, like goddess of wealth, has her creeper-like left arm twined loosely round his neck (vāmām bāhulatām niveśya……vāmetaram śrīḥ stanam – II. 12), but these two sentiments are not applied so effectively, I think because of the absence of leading female character.

The marvellous (adbhuta) sentiment:

Again, the marvellous (adbhuta) sentiment is depicted in the seventh act, when Rākṣasa surrenders before his friend Candanadāsaand Cāṇakya.

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