Dasarupaka (critical study)

by Anuru Ranjan Mishra | 2015 | 106,293 words

This page relates ‘Justification of the title (Ubhayabhisarika) [ubhaya-abhisarika]’ 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 2b - Justification of the title (Ubhayābhisārikā) [ubhaya-abhisārikā]

The title “Ubhayābhisārikā” was justified by T. Venkatacharya (1967, Ubhayābhisārikā with translation, Introduction). He states that “the word “abhisārikā” is generally formed by adding the agent-suffix “ṇvul”, either to the ordinary root “sṛ” with “abhi” or to its causative stemand it stands for one of the heroines (nāyikās).

The Daśarūpaka says,

kāmārtābhisaret kāntam, sārayedvābhisārikā

abhisārikā” is one who is eager to love, goes to her lover or makes him come to her”.

Nāṭyaśāstra states,

hitvā lajjām tu yā śliṣṭā madena madanena ca, abhisārayate kāntam sā bhaved abhisārikā

abhisārikā is one who due to love or lust is attracted to her lover shamelessly goes out to meet the lover”

Thus Bharata records only the second alternative of the two mentioned in Daśarūpaka, whereas Amarasiṃha notes the first when he [says the following, though he is not dealing with the nāyikās of the dramas],

kāntārthini tu yā yāti saṅketam sābhisārikā

abhisārikā is that who goes to the rendezvous place for lover”.

Abhinavabhāratī’s comment on the above verse of the Nāṭyaśāstra thus, “abhisārikā is a helper, who allows to pass the lover by his matter: (abhisaraḥ sahāyaḥ tasya vyāpāreṇa priyatamam atikrāmati)” that “karoti tad ācaṣṭe tenātikrāmati”. Here a denominative verb “abhisārayate” is derived by him from the noun “abhisāra” (a friend or a helper), which is the causative formation of the root “sṛ” with “abhi”.

In the case of the title Ubhayābhisārikā, the first part (ubhaya) of the compound, may be interpreted to mean either that:

“She goes to meet both (her lover and his friend, the Viṭa)” or that “she causes both of them to go out in search of her.”

However, the first interpretation is not tenable in the present case, as she does not set out to meet both of them. Therefore, the word “ubhaya” in the title becomes meaningless, as it does not refer to the actual situation depicted in the play. Further, the second part of the compound, “abhisārikā” may be interpreted to mean that either she goes to meet only her lover or she goes to meet both lover and friend. However, since she goes to meet her lover only, mere abhisārikā as the title would have perhaps been proper in that case. Again, it does not seem to fit well with the causative alternative of the definition, for that matter. As described in the text, both the lovers have started on their own accord in search of each other, because of the compelling effects of the seasonand by chance they meet in front of the house of Viśāvasudatta; the vīṇā teacher. After having spent the night, only the next morning, the girl sends word for the Viṭa; and that too has nothing to do with the purpose of her meeting her love; which had already taken place. She does not make any efforts to cause the lover to meet her.

Therefore, even mere “abhisārikā” as the title would not be proper, if the causative idea of the definition were to be considered, not to speak of the full title Ubhayābhisārikā. Thus, the definition of “abhisārikā” given by the writers on dramaturgy leaves us in the lurch in the case of the Ubhayābhisārikā. I think in the present case, “abhisārikā” is used in the sense of abhisaraṇam (not in the sense of agent) and the expression ubhayor abhisārikā in the sense of “allow to go out of both the lovers to meet each other,” ubhayor abhisaraṇamand the same is used for the title of the work. The word thus derived by ṇvul is only in feminine gender, whereas ubhayābhisaraṇam, which may also mean the same, is only in neuter. I prefer the title in feminine is justified by the prominence given to the feminine characters in the drama. Except in one case of Dhanamitra, all the conversations of the Viṭa, which constitute the bulk of the play, are only those with feminine personalities. Hence the title is Ubhayābhisārikā.”

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