Dasarupaka (critical study)

by Anuru Ranjan Mishra | 2015 | 106,293 words

This page relates ‘Status of Women in the Rukminiharana’ 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 13 - Status of Women in the Rukmiṇīharaṇa

The Candels were very free-minded administrators. They did not place much restriction on the society. However, people liked to marry within their own castes. The princely society used to have co-wives (sapatnī). Brahmins also used to marry more than one woman.

The Rukmiṇīharaṇa, indicates that in the marriage ceremony, the groom’s side used to conduct the parade to the bride’s home (vivāhayātrā), which is observed even now:

ayi kṛṣṇadeva, vivāhayātrārambhasamaya…
  –(Rukmiṇīharaṇa, C. Dalal, p.52).

The practice used to be that when the groom was passing through the house, the girl used to watch him from the balcony or window.

The same system is indicated by Vatsarāja in the Rukmiṇīharaṇa, when Kṛṣṇa was passing through the palace of Bhīṣmaka, with other kings, Rukmiṇī and other female members were watching him from the window with excitement:

bhartṛdārike, tadatra uparitalam saudhaśikharamāruhya gavākṣāntare prekṣāvahe
  –(Rukmiṇīharaṇa, C. Dalal, p.59).

When groom or bride was leaving from the home the auspicious time was seen by the astrologer:

āhūyantām mauhūrttikāḥ
  –(Rukmiṇīharaṇa, C. Dalal, p.49).

There was also the practice that both girl and boy watch each other’s portrait; and sometimes they got married with each other’s portraits:

kṛṣṇacitrapaṭakena pāṇim grāhayati
  –(Rukmiṇīharaṇa, C. Dalal, p.58).

The mother used to get excited for the marriage of her son or daughter. She would even welcome the daughter-in-law or son-in-law personally:

rāmakṛṣṇau varapatnīkau ākarṇya pitṛśvasuḥ bhaviṣyati paritoṣaḥ, kim mayā
  –(Rukmiṇīharaṇa, C. Dalal, p.53).

The above facts indicate as to what was the status of woman at that period. Further, though the society was very conservative, the Candels were liberal enough to allow women the freedom in choosing their partners in marriage.

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