Dasarupaka (critical study)

by Anuru Ranjan Mishra | 2015 | 106,293 words

This page relates ‘Employment of the Juncture (sandhi) 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 12 - Employment of the Juncture (sandhi) in a Nāṭaka

The Junctures [i.e. sandhi/saṃdhi] have most important role to play in a drama. They bring discipline in the drama and divide the plot of drama. The Nāṭaka contains five junctures, according to five kinds of stages (avasthā) and five kinds of elements (arthaprakṛti).

The Daśarūpaka states that:

avāntarārthasaṃbandhaḥ saṃdhirekānvaye sati
  –Daśarūpaka.I.23

“The Juncture makes connection with two different things at the time of single sequence of the events.”.

There are five kinds of Junctures (sandhis), i.e.

  1. Opening (mukha),
  2. Progression (pratimukha),
  3. Development (garbha),
  4. Pause (avamarśa) and
  5. Conclusion (nirvahaṇa).

1) Mukha (Opening):

The Opening Juncture is formed by the combination of the seed (bīja) and the beginning (ārambha).

The Daśarūpaka defines the definition of the Opening Juncture as:

mukham bījasamutpattirnānārtharasasaṃbhavā
  –Daśarūpaka.I.24.

“That which is originated by the seed (bīja) with various purposes and sentiments”.

The Nāṭyaśāstra also describes it as that which is the original cause of action, developing the plot and creating various sentiments”. In the case of the Mudrārākṣasa, the opening juncture covers from the first act to half of the second act. In this juncture [i.e. sandhi], Cāṇakya starts to capture Rākṣasa with forged documents written by Śakaṭadāsa as well as signetring of the Rākṣasa. Then he forces Śakaṭadāsa and Jīvasiddhi to run away from the City. The original action of Cāṇakya is to capture Rākṣasa, which gradually spreads up to the end. It develops heroic sentiment (vīrarasa). It starts with, “atha agṛhite rākṣase kimutkhātam….(1st act)’ to ‘sakhe virādhagupta gaccha tvamanenaivāhituṇḍikacchadmanā punaḥ kusumapuram, (2nd act).”

2) Pratimukha (Progression):

The Progression-Juncture is formed by the combination of the drop (bindu) and effort (prayatna).

The Daśarūpaka defines, that:

lakṣyālakṣyatayodbhedastasya pratimukham
  –Daśarūpaka.I.30

“The Progression Juncture is sometimes perceptible and sometimes imperceptible, by its turns”.

Bharata also defines it as sometimes appearing and sometimes disappearing (dṛṣṭanaṣṭamiva). The seed disappears after making its appearance.” In other words, the seed is developed for the moment, when it begins to lose. The action is seen between the characters and then disappears. It creates the suspense in the mind of the audience. In the Mudrārākṣasa, from the last scene of the second act to the whole of the third act where a false quarrel is set up between Cāṇakya and Candragupta, the juncture forms the Progression Juncture. From “amātya eṣa khalu Śakaṭadāso vijñāpayati…..(2nd act)” to “teṣām nu katham rd hṛdayam na bhinatti lajjā” (3 act). The false quarrel is to deceive Rākṣasa. It is a clever ploy of Cāṇakya. The audience feels that it is real for the moment but in the next moment, it realizes that it is a false quarrel.

3) Garbha (Development):

The Development Juncture is the combination of prospect of success (prāptyāśā) and episode (patākā).

The Daśarūpaka defines development is:

garbhastu dṛṣṭanaṣṭasya bījasyānveṣaṇam muhuḥ
  –Daśarūpaka.I.36.

“A searching after the seed again and again and which can be both observed and not observed”

This definition conforms to the definition of Bharata that the development is the progress of seed, which appears to be producing result and disappearing in the next moment. In the Mudrārākṣasa, this juncture is applied in the whole of fourth act and the main part of the fifth act. In the third act, the long conversation and the argument between Cāṇakya and Candragupta is the patākā (episode). In the fourth act and the fifth acts, Bhāgurāyaṇa and Jīvasiddhi have influenced the mind of Malayaketu against Rākṣasa, accusing him as the secret ally of Candragupta and he has killed his father by the poison-maid. Therefore, Malayaketu accused Rākṣasa that he was the killer of his father and went against him. This is the seed, which produces the result, but when Rākṣasa convinced Malayaketu that it is the plan of enemy and he was not the killer of his father, the result again seems to be uncertain.

4) Avamarśa (Pause):

The Pause is the combination of episodical incident (prakarī) and certainty of success (niyatāpti).

The Daśarūpaka defines it as:

krodhenāvamṛśed yatra vyasanād vā vilobhanāt, garbhanirbhinnabījārthaḥ so’vamarśaḥ
–Daśarūpaka.I.43.

“That which involves the anger or passion or temptation and where the seed is as if without the development”.

The Nāṭyaśāstra also defines it almost similarly as that which occurs with reasons like temptation, anger and grief and altercation.” In the Mudrārākṣasa, it continues from the last part of the fifth act to the seventh act where Rākṣasa surrenders for his friend Candanadāsa and offers his life. Here the pause occurs when Cāṇakya thinks that Rākṣasa is separated from Malayaketu; and hence there is no guarantee that he would accept the ministership of Candragupta. Here episodical incident (prakarī) occurs in the sixth act, in the form of the conversation between Rākṣasa and the man going to commit suicide, in the Jīrṇodyāna.

5) Nirvahaṇa (Conclusion):

The Conclusion is the combination of the denouement (kārya) and the attainment of the result (phalāgama).

The Daśarūpaka describes,

bījavanto mukhādyarthā viprakīrṇā yathāyatham, aikārthyamupanīyante tatra nirvahaṇm hi tat
  –Daśarūpaka.I.48-9.

“The Conclusion is the juncture, in which all the matters of the junctures occurred, from opening to pause with the seed distributed in due order for the end.”

Bharata describes conclusion as the thread of the story containing ideas from the starting to the climax:

samānayanamarthānām mukhādyānām sabījānām, nānābhāvottarāṇām yad bhavet nirvahaṇm tu tat.
  –
Nāṭyaśāstra.XXI.40.

In the Mudrārākṣasa, the last part of the seventh act, where Rākṣasa ultimately bows down to the inevitable and accepts the minister-ship of Candragupta, is the attainment of the result or Nirvahaṇa. (dāsīkṛtya māmidānīm vijñāpanāyām mukharīkaroti kauṭilyaḥ. kā th gatiḥ7 act).

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