Dasarupaka (critical study)

by Anuru Ranjan Mishra | 2015 | 106,293 words

This page relates ‘Society in the Mattavilasa’ 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 - Society in the Mattavilāsa

The Pallava kings were well learned and highly cultured, tall, well built and possessed all the dignified characteristics of royalty. For example we have in Mahedravarman an author of Sanskrit plays, a great musician and an all round artist. In addition, we come to know from Mattavilāsa Prahasana that he had profound knowledge about Hindu laws, Indian Philosophy and Literatue.

For instance in one place [he advises the following, through the character Kāpālika]:

pratyakṣe hetuvacanam nirarthakam
  –Mattavilāsa, Unni, p.51

And his moral advise [like the following, through the character Śākyabhikṣu]:

adattādānādviramaṇam muniśikṣāpadam
  –Mattavilāsa, Unni, p.51.

In the prologue, Sūtradhāra talks about the high quality of Mahendravarman.

He was the head of the Pallava race and had defeated many kings by his own strength:

śatruṣaḍvarga nigrahaparaḥ
  –Mattavilāsa, Unni, p.37.

He was compared to Indra and was superior to Kubera in his generosity.

The Pallava court was adorned with ministers, priests and poets. There was a secretariat, treasury, private secretary of the king to solve the problems of the state and to support the king. The king was known for his good governance. The great poets like Bhāravī, Daṇḍin adorned the court. The state was and guarded by their army and naval forces.

All four sections of people like Brahmin, Kṣatriya, Vaiśya and Śūdras were living harmoniously in the state. The Brahmins were higher and respected people. They were learned, well-versed in all the Śāstras and intelligent. They were gods of the earth.

In art and architecture, Pallavas were very rich. In the period of Mahendravarman, the temple architecture and rock-cutting were developed tremendously. The people like spinners, weavers, potters, cattle-breeders, goldsmiths, carpenters, owners of oil presses, wholesale merchants of various articles, farmers were carrying out their respective business. Mahendravarman used to have great respect for all types of religion. He himself was a Jain by birth, but at the end, he embraced Shaivism and became a Hindu. In his period, the Buddhist religion also spread vastly, because the play Mattavilāsa describes about the two religions, i.e. Buddhism and Shaivism. The state gave freedom for its citizens to practise any religion. The Buddists were corrupt.

They were engaged in anti religious worksand were prone to be attracted towards women:

aho lalitarūpā upāsikā
  –Mattavilāsa, Unni, p.46

They also drank wine and ate meat.

They were living in Rājavihāras:

mayābhimatavarṇagandharaso matsyamāṃsa prakārabahulo’yam piṇḍapātaḥ samāsāditaḥ, yāvadidānīm rājavihārameva gacchāmi
  –Mattavilāsa, Unni, p.43).

The Śaivas were living in the Śaiva temples, worshipping lord Śiva:

ayamekāmravāsī duṣṭa kāpālikaḥ
  –Mattavilāsa Mattavilāsa, Unni, p.45.

They loved their god and remembered him every moment.

In Mattavilāsa, when Kāpāli losses his begging bowls, he calls Śiva as:

māheśvarā! māheśvarā! asmadīyam bhikṣābhājanamiha bhavadbhiḥ kim dṛṣṭam
  –Mattavilāsa, Unni, p.43.

The bhikṣus were living with alms, begging door to door:

bhavati bhikṣām dehi
  –Mattavilāsa, Unni, p.42.

The people at that time had only minimum requirement.

They knew that pain brings pleasure in their life if they faced them courageously:

duḥkhsya kāryam sukhamāmanantaḥ

The people were living in the houses of mud-walls and thatched roofsand in the mansions made of bricks and tiles, but structures of a permanent kind were considered a luxury:

ahonuhkalu vimānaśikhara………kāñcipurasya parā vibhūtiḥ
  –Mattavilāsa, Unni, p.41.

The villages and towns were constructed with well planned lay outs and facilities of water and road.

The judicial court situated in Kāñcī was known as adhikaraṇa. The people used to respect the judicial system:

nāyam vyavahāro mayā paricchettum śakyate, tadadhikaraṇameva yāsyāmaḥ
–Mattavilāsa, Unni, p.54).

The people following right path never fear judicial system:

kṛtamanena, kutaścidapi nyāyyavṛtterbhayam nāsti
  –Mattavilāsa, Unni, p.54.

The people used to have faith on Dharma and usually avoided sins, which need to be expiated:

mahānti bhūtāni prāyaścittairapanītakalmaṣāṇi bhavanti
  –Mattavilāsa, Unni, p.53.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: