Dasarupaka (critical study)

by Anuru Ranjan Mishra | 2015 | 106,293 words

This page relates ‘Society in the Mudritakumudacandra’ 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 Mudritakumudacandra

The Prakaraṇa Mudritakumudacandra of Yaśaścandra was written at the time when Chālukya dynasty was ruling in Gujurat.

There were four successive kings, i.e.

  1. Jayasiṃha,
  2. Kumārapāla,
  3. Ajayadeva and
  4. Mūlarāja.

Jayasiṃha was the most successful and powerful king in this dynasty. He was the son of Karṇa and Miṇāladevī. In the child hood, Jayasiṃha had lost his fatherand after a few days of his mother’s ruling, he became the successor of his father Karṇa. He constructed a new and civilized Gujurat. He won a war, which lasted for twelve years with Mālwā kings Naraverman and Yaśovarman. At the end, he won the war, which we know from the Gujurat history. Aṇahilawad or Aṇahillapura was the center of political activities. The growing civilization of many cultures, particularly Brahmanical culture of Aryans, made Gujurat wealthy and healthy. The religions like Śaivism, Jainism, Buddhism and Vaiṣṇavism were established in the country. However, Jainism and Śaivism were patronized by the royals. In Jayasiṃha’s reign, Aṇahilwad was the richest town in India.

The history (1965, M. R. Majumdar, Cultural history of Gjurat) describes that Jayasiṃha’s state of Aṇahilawad provided livelihood to all the castes and sub-castes. They used to do their jobs according to the laws of Dharmaśāstra. The word Deśa was used for the country, divided into divisions, which were called Bhukti or Maṇḍala or District. The Bhukti was again sub-divided into smaller divisions or parts called Viṣaya or Ahāra. The Viṣaya consisted of a number of villages or Grāmas. Thus, the lowest administration was the village. The district officer was called “Maṇḍalādhikāri”; the police officer for hundred villages was called “Cauroddharaṇika” and the magistrate was called “Daṇḍanāyaka” or Daṇḍādhikāri.

The typical Gujurat village had its central residential site, with an open space for a pond and a cattle-stand; stretching around this central residential site, stood the village lands, consisting of a cultivated area and grounds for grazing and woodcutting. The farming fields, with their several boundary-marks and their subdivisions of earth-ridges, were used for retaining land and irrigation water. The village used to be full of artisans, traders and peasants belonging to various communities. The village also used to have potters, blacksmiths, carpenters, barbers, cobblers, leatherworkers, washermen and watchmen. Aṇahilwad consisted of marvelous markets, streets, palaces, schools and gardens, where learned men gathered under blossoming trees and discussed philosophy and religion.

Jayasiṃha was like Bhoja, a person of learningand gave support to many Paṇḍits, both Jains and Hindus, at his court. Hemacandra was the greatest scholar among them. The others, like Devasūri, Śrīpālaand Vāgbhaṭa were also supported. However, Jayasiṃha was greatly influenced by the teaching of Hemacandra and he ordered to teach his “Siddha-Haima-Vyākaraṇa” in the schools of Gujurat. Besides Sanskrit, Prakrit and Apabhraṃsa languages also got recognition in the state. The Jain schools found them as the most valuable medium of expression.

In the Mudritakumudacandra, Yaśaścandra has not directly discussed anything about the society. However, the drama reflects many aspects of the society in that period.

In the first act, Naṭī states that people used to choose a son-in-law taking into consideration his character, education, family backgroundand talent and they never considered more richness or wealth of a person:

ahantu punarguṇapakṣapātinī devagurave

For setting the marriage, the people took the help of astrology:

dvirdvādaśakayogaḥ khalu kairavendunā samam vijayaśriyaḥ parihāryyo’yam yatnato jyotirvidbhiḥ” and
tṛtīyaikādaśayogaḥ sukṛtairavāpyate

People used to ridicule different sects.

They also used to tease others:

hṛnmandiram dahati mandadhiyām paroktanindā samidhyati karajvalite krudhagnau

In those days, blind-belief was common in the society. The act of seeing certain things was considered auspicious, whereas, the seeing certain other things was considered inauspicious. In the first and second acts, Bandī thinks their wish would be fulfilled, because in the sky, moon had arisen.

Further, certain things like sound of peacock, the happy movements of the group of deer and the watching of snake were considered as the auspicious signs or signs of śakuna:

nayanaviṣayam jātaścāṣa…….vāyuḥ pṛṣṭhānugaścavijṛmbhitaḥ

In the second act, when Kumudacandra sees a group of snakes, he feels it is auspicious sign for him:

bhujaṅgapuṅgavasya gotriṇām darśanamapi vipulam maṅgalam tadalam vilambena

The people used to believe in the ghosts and spirits and fear ghosts, so the word “bhūtajvara” was very common in the society. In the second act, Kumudacandra thinks that he himself is a “bhūtajvara” and because of this; disputants do not come to him.

In the third act, it is stated that Kumudacandra knows black magic, i.e. “mukhabandhavidyā”, through which he could silence anyone:

mukhabandhavidyām jānāti sa gaganāmbarāgraṇī

In the fifth act, the king accosts the supernatural female embodiment of spirit, i.e. Vajrāgalā. She addresses herself as a female representative of the goddess Kāmākṣā.

The drama also describes that the country had already faced famine.

The people of the country had never witnessed such type of natural calamity before:

yadasmin durbhikṣe kaliyuge vilāse tu sudhiyām

The drama also informs that the people at that time married for the son, because only the son could repay the accumulated debt for father or ancestor:

putrahīnāḥ pitṛṇāmṛṇabhājanam, kām śubhām gatimavāpnuvanti

Jayasimha was the most powerful king of the Śvetāmbaras and his rule was praiseworthy. However, the corruption was the main head-ache in the society. For any type of work or support in the court, the officers in the judiciary were taking bribe from the people.

In the drama, it is witnessed that the judge Śīlāṅka and Yaśodhara have taken bribe from the Digambaras to support Kumudacandra in the debate:

lañcāvitaraṇacāturyyeṇa digambareṇa sapakṣīkṛtāḥ santi śīlāṅkayaśodharādayaḥ

Even in the fifth act, Thāhaḍa, a rich man and the supporter of Devasūri, wanted to bribe the judge. However, the society followed the age-old tradition. Further, honourable persons like ascetics, Brahmins, teachers and officers were offered cloth seats to sit. In the fifth act, Kumudacandra was offered cloth seat by Pratīhāra.

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