Dasarupaka (critical study)

by Anuru Ranjan Mishra | 2015 | 106,293 words

This page relates ‘Bhana 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 - Bhāṇa rules

Rules of the Nāṭyaśāstra:

According to the Nāṭyaśāstra (XX.8-9,105-8, XXI.44), -

1) Bhāṇa is a monologue play, which contains only one character on the stage. The poet describes his own experience or someone else’s acts to make the plot. The idea relates to the different topics.

2) The character narrates his speech in the form of question and answer. The play should contain aerial speech, movements of limbs and other modes of representation.

3) It should be a single act, in which a rogue (dhūrta), or a parasite (viṭa) is made to represent the play.

4) It is composed without using graceful style (kaiśikīvṛtti).

5) In Bhāṇa, gentle dance (lāśya) is an imaginary ideaand should be used for a particular character as in the case of Prakaraṇa.

6) Bhāṇa consists of two Junctures, i.e. opening (mukha) and concluding (nirvahaṇa) and verbal style (bhāratīvṛtti).

Rules of the Daśarūpaka:

1) According to the Daśarūpaka (III.49-51), the Monologue (Bhāṇa) contains a single, clever and shrewd parasite (Viṭa) describes his own experiences engaged in by himself or by some one else.

2) The parasite (Viṭa) provides remarkable information as well as answers to imaginary persons (ākāśabhāṣita), through the heroic (vīra) and erotic (śṛṅgāra) sentiments. The monologue is the means of descriptions of skill and of beauty.

3) It employs by verbal style (bhāratīvṛtti)and consists of one act. It has two junctures, i.e. opening (mukha) and conclusion (nirvahaṇa) as well as it covers the ten subdivisions of the gentle dance (lāsya). The story should be the imagination of poet (kalpita).

Difference between the Daśarūpaka and the Nāṭyaśāstra:

Bharata states that the plot is the imagination of poet or of some other. However, Dhanañjaya states that it should be imaginary (kalpita). Dhanañjaya does not mention about dhūrta, however, Bharata states either dhūrta or viṭa should present the matter.

Bharata states that Bhāṇa contains the verbal style (bhāratīvṛtti), but there should be the absence of the graceful style (kaiśikīvṛtti); whereas, Dhanañjaya states that generally verbal style (bhāratīvṛtti) should be used in Bhāṇa. Dhanañjaya has also stressed the word “generally” (bhūyasā), which indicates that other style can be used as well; means there is no harm in using graceful style (kaisikīvṛtti).

Bharata also did not state about the sentiment, but Dhanañjaya states that Bhāṇa should have both heroic (vīra) and erotic (śṛṅgāra) sentiments by means of descriptions of skill and of beauty. Bharata has not mentioned the sub-divisions of gentle dance (lāsyāṅgas), whereas Dhanañjaya prescribes all ten types of gentle dance.

Viśvanātha (Sāhityadarpaṇa, VI.230) believes that graceful style (kaiśikīvṛtti) is used in the Bhāṇa, which has the greater scope for love and bravery. So he modified the word “bhūyasā” of Dhanañjaya as “prāyeṇa”and held that Bhāṇa should use almost always eloquent style (bhāratī) and sometimes graceful style (kaiśikī) as per necessity, prāyeṇa bhāratī, kvāpi kaiśikyapi vṛttir bhavati.” Thus, it can be concluded that Viśvanātha is against the view of Bharata that Bhāṇa should avoid the kaiśikīvṛtti.

S. K. De (1926, Note on the Sanskrit Monologue play with special reference to the Caturbhāṇī, JRAS, London, p.68) states that:

“This modification (as “prāyeṇa” instead of “bhūyasā” by Viśvanātha) is notable because this graceful manner, appropriate to the erotic sentiment, employs song, dance and lovely raiment, allows both male and female rolesand admits love, gallantry, coquetry and jesting, involving pleasantry (narman) based on what is comic in speech, dressand movement, as well as giving scope to various degrees of the manifestation of love.”

Implementation of rules:

a) According to the rule, Bhāṇa should be a one act play. Therefore, the Ubhayābhisārikā has one act.

b) Further, there should be a single character by which the total play is conducted. That character is rogue (dhūrta) or parasite (viṭa). Vararuci has used a parasite (viṭa) called Vaiśikācala who is the only character in the play.

c) Viṭa should introduce the play speaking with imaginary person (ākāśabhāṣita) by the method of the question and answer. Vararuci has also used the same method by the parasite (viṭa) Vaiśikācala. His question is “kim bravīṣi” with imaginary personand it is called aerial speech (ākāśabhāṣita).

d) Further, the story should be the poet’s imagination (utpādya or kavikalpita). Vararuci’s Ubhayābhisārikā is an imaginary story, defines the story of two lovers.

e) However, there is a little bit of difference between Bharata and Dhanañjaya on the style (vṛtti). According to Bharata, Bhāṇa should not use graceful style (kaiśikīvṛtti); but Dhanañjaya states that if it is necessary, Bhāṇa can use the graceful style. Generally, Bhāṇa uses verbal style (bhāratīvṛtti), because the play is based on verbal acting (vācikābhinaya), which is necessary for verbal style (bhāratīvṛtti) and the sentiment should be laughter (hāsya) or heroic (vīra), but almost all available Bhāṇas consist of erotic sentiment (śṛṅgāra); even the Ubhayābhisārikā of Vararuci is full of erotic (śṛṅgāra) sentiment, which is the sign of graceful style (kaiśikīvṛtti). In view of the fact, that majority of ancient Bhāṇas have erotic (śṛṅgāra) sentiment; Daśarūpaka may have allowed the use of other sentiments, with the term “bhūyasā”.

f) It should be noted that Bhāṇa has two Junctures, opening (mukha) and conclusion (nirvahaṇa). Ubhayābhisārikā of Vararuci also adopts this rule, which will be discussed in the section on Juncture.

g) Further, Bharata states that the use of gentle dance (lāsya) in Bhāṇa is an imaginary idea for a particular character, used as Prakaraṇa but Daśarūpaka states that it (Bhāṇa) should have ten types of gentle dance (lāsya). However, Vararuci has not used the particular type of lāsyāṅga. The performance of Madanasenā could be said as an imaginary idea of gentle dance (lāsya) only. V. Raghavan, (1940, Bhoja’s Śṛṅgāraprakāśa, p.175) points out the mistake and states that the lāsyāṅgas find a place only in major play forms like the Nāṭaka, the Śuddha Prakaraṇa, the Nāṭikā, the Troṭaka and the Saṭṭaka. Since Bhāṇa is a monologue play, performed by a single male actor on the stage, there is no scope for lāsya in it.”

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