Dasarupaka (critical study)

by Anuru Ranjan Mishra | 2015 | 106,293 words

This page relates ‘Conclusion’ 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)

As a conclusion, I would like to state here that the drama Mudritakumudacandra is a great composition of the author, though it seems to be abruptly getting over without leaving any strong effect on the audience. The Prologue does not inform much about the author or the story of the drama. It just mentions that the author has come from the renowned poet’s family and he himself is a great author. The plot of the drama seems to be quite popular; because the story is basically described in the Prabhāvakacarita of Prabhācandrasūri and Prabandhacintāmaṇi of Merutuṅga. However, it also seems that there is no reality in the story of the dramaand the story is based on the status of the society, religion and political conditions of that period. It also describes the competitions between the religious teachers and intolerance in them. The kings were partial towards some sections of people of the country and were keen to see the victory of them, like the common man. The drama Mudritakumudacandra does not mention the objective of the enactment of the drama. However, the drama is humours and well received by the public.

Yaśaścandra has followed almost all the rules prescribed by Bharata and Dhanañjaya. However, due to the restriction in the plot, Yaśaścandra has not applied some of the rules, such as a Prakaraṇa should employ Dhūrta and Viṭa types of characters, because it (Prakaraṇa) is a humorous type of drama. Again, he has not employed courtesans, because the story deals with ascetics. However, the main difference is that Bharata prohibits using divine being in the Prakaraṇa, but the author uses it in the drama. At the end of the drama, a divine character, viz. Vajrārgalā, who is a representative of goddess Kāmākṣā, enters the court to bless the king and after the blessing, she disappears in the sky by her super natural power. Again, according to Bharata, the plot of a Prakaraṇa should be imaginary, however, Dhanañjaya prescribes that the story of Prakaraṇa should be a fiction, means, poet can take the story from history but there should be some own imagination of the poet. However, because of some reason, the plot of Mudritakumudacandra seems like historical, but it is purely imagination of the author. The author has made great use of his imagination and hence Mudritakumudacandra is a very different type of drama. If we accept the Prabhāvakacarita and the Prabandhacintāmaṇi as written in the first and the last part of 14th century A.D. respectably, we could trace the origin of some twenty characters in these two kāvyas, out of the thirty characters introduced in the Mudritakumudacandra by Yaśaścandra. Therefore, the other characters applied in the Mudritakumudacandra by the author are purely imaginary or fictions. The names of the characters mentioned in both the kāvyas and Mudritakumudacandra are Bandī, Māṇikya, Devasūri, Aśoka, Kumudacandra, Vaitālika, Thāhaḍa, Nāgadeva, Gāṅgila, Śrīpāla, Keśava, Jaysiṃha, Utsāha, Maharṣi, Vajrārgalā, Municandra, Sāgara, Rāma, Vijayasena and Śāntisūri. We shall now discuss the historical backgrounds of some of the important characters.

The Prabandhacintāmaṇi describes that the king Jayasiṃha was coronated in V.S. 1150, in the month of pauṣa, śravaṇa nakṣatra, vṛṣalagna and ruled up to V.S. 1199. Thus, in total, he had ruled for 49 years. He was the son of Karna, who died at the beginning of kārtika of V.S. 1199. Jayasiṃha was a great king of Gujurat. His ambition was to become like Vikramāditya of Ujjainī. Vāgbhaṭa, the poet and critic and the contemporary of Jayasiṃha, describes in his Vāgbhaṭālaṃkāra (IV.132) that there were three jewels in this world, the city of Aṇahillapaṭaka, the capital of Gurjaradeśa, Siddharāja Jayasiṃha and his elephant Śrīkalaśa.

The Prabhāvakacarita describes that Devasūri’s name was Pūrṇacandra; and his preceptor Municandra kept his name as Rāmacandra. He was born in V.S.1143 or 1087 A.D. His father Vīranāga belonged to the Prāgvāta family. His native place was Maddāhṛta dist of Aṣṭādaśaśati, the modern Hadhar in Palanpur. Devasūri has defeated three great scholars like Bandha of Śivādvaita School, Kumudacandra of Digambara sect and Guṇacandra of Digambara sect. He had six learned friends; namely Vimalacandra, Haricandra, Somacandra, Pārśvacandra, Śāntisūri and Aśokacandra. He was introduced to the king Jayasiṃha by the minister Ambāprasāda. In the Kumārapālapratibodha, Somaprabha mentions that Devasūri and Hemacandra were contemporary (p.vii). Devasūri had written two books, i.e. the Syādvādaratnākara on the Caturaśītisahasrapramāṇa and the Pramāṇanaya-tattvāloka.

Hemacandra has mentioned in his Śabdānuśāsana that there would have been no Śvetāmbaras on Gurjaradeśa, if Devasūri had not defeated Kumudacandra who had according to the conditions of the debate to leave the country:

yadi nāma kumudacandram nājeṣyad devasūrirahimaruciḥ,
kaṭiparidhānamadhāsyata katamaḥ śvetāmbaro jagati
  –(Prabhāvakacarita, p.180, verse.251).

The debate was held in V.S.1181 or 1125 A.D. (candrāṣṭaśivavarṣe vaiśākhe pūrṇimādine -Prabhāvakacarita, p.178 and verse-193).

Prabhāvakacarita has given a little information about Kumudacandra, that, he was a preceptor of the king Jayakeśin who ruled Karṇāṭakaand was the maternal grandfather of the king Jayasiṃha. He has defeated the scholars from Buddhist, Bhāṭṭas, Śāṅkaras and Kāpilas (Prabhāvakacarita, p.174and verse.84-86). Even history has given no information about Kumudacandra. He was not recognized, though he was the main opponent to Devasūri. Karna, the father of Jayasiṃha, had married Mayaṇalladevi, one of the daughters of Jayakeśin. Jayakeśin has ruled Karṇāṭaka from 1050 A.D. to 1078 A.D. (1968, Karnataka through the Age, p.297). Even in the “Caturaśīti-Vivādavijaya”, the very name Kumudacandra is not mentioned (1973, Jaina Sahitya Ki Bruhad Itihasa, p.587).

Śrīpāla was the childhood friend of Siddharāja and was a great poet, known as “kavirāja”. He was blind by birth and the pupil of Devasūri (Mudritakumudacandra, p.39, verse-16). Jayasiṃha accepted him as his brother. He has composed so many Praśasti-inscriptions for Siddharāja. His son Siddhapāla was a great poet. Siddhapāla was also close and beloved friend of king Kumārapāla. Somaprabha had written “Kumārapāla Pratibodha”, dwelling in the house of Siddhapāla (KumārapālaPratibodha, p.iii).

Though these characters have historical background, there is no information about the historicity of other characters and again there is no strong historical evidence that Kumudacandra is a historical character. Because of these fictitious characters, Mdritakumudacandra is said to be a Prakaraṇa.

Yoginī is a divine character which is employed in the drama. Not only Mudritakumudacandra, but also other dramas have used this (divine) character such as Mālatīmādhava, Caitanyacandrodaya, Vidagdhamādhava, Līlāvatī and Prabodhacandrodaya. Yoginī is generally a female Yoga practitioner or a modern female spiritual teacher. She is also accepted as the incarnation of goddesses Lakṣmī, Pārvatī, Durgā, or Kālī having supernatural power. She is also considered as a female tantric and the manifestation of goddess Durgā. Generally, they are 64 in number. In India, still there are some Yoginī temples which are situated in the Odisha and Madhyapradesh.

M. L. Varadpande (1981, Ancient Indian and Indo-Greek Theatre, p.138) states that:

“These Yoginīs are attendant deities of Śiva and Kālī and are closely connected with the cult of the mother goddess. They are worshipped with mysterious rights, which include animal and sometimes human sacrifices, dancing, singing and drinking wine.”

In the Vedas as well as in the classical Sanskrit literature, both in śravya and dṛśya kāvyas, these female ascetic (Yoginī) characters are variously described. Various dramas have employed the character for personal and political use. Generally, the kings became powerful through this character. Sometimes, they approached on their own to bless the king. In the Mudritakumudacandra, the Yoginī Vajrārgalā, the manifestation of Kāmākṣā, has come on her own to bless the king Jayasiṃha. However, Bharata prohibits such characters in the Prakaraṇa type of drama. In the Mālatīmādhava Prakaraṇa Bhavabhuti has also employed a Yoginī character.

Mudritakumudacandra has employed all the styles (vṛttis) which are necessary. However, the grand style (sāttvatīvṛtti) is applied several times. The gay style (kaiśikīvṛtti) and the violent style (ārabhaṭīvṛtti) are applied very rarely. The verbal style (bhāratīvṛtti) is applied because the style is common to all the dramas. Therefore, it is an important part of every drama.

Again, the author has tried to employ some sentiments, which are necessary for the drama. Basically the drama is based on the debate between the two sects. Thus, it does not require the sentiments like laughter (hāsya), erotic (śṛṅgāra), odious (bibhatsa) and terrible (bhayānaka). The ascetics have the great sense of tranquility (śama) and there are some arguments that happen between the two sects, so the furious (raudra) sentiment is applied more often than the tranquility (śānta) sentiment.

Further, the author has applied all the five types of junctures (sandhi), actions (avasthā) and elements (arthaprakṛti) properly in the drama. All the five types of junctures (sandhi) have covered all the five acts (aṅka).

Several technical aspects such as Intimation scene (nepathya), Interlude scene (viṣkambhaka), Monologue (ākāśabhāṣita), Aside (svagata or ātmagata), Aloud (prakāśa)and Personal address (janāntika) are also employed, whenever the drama needs. However, the author has not applied some technical aspects, such as introductory scene (praveśaka), continuation scene (aṅkāvatāra), anticipatory scene (aṅkāsya) and confidential (apavārita). All the acts consist of interlude scene (viṣkambhakas), but in the first and second acts, the author has mentioned them as pure interlude scenes (śuddhaviṣkambhaka); however, in the other three acts, the interlude scene (viṣkambhakas) are addressed as only interlude scene (viṣkambhakas). Further, in the third act, the interlude scene (viṣkambhaka) contains three characters, who speak in Sanskrit, but it has not been addressed as the pure interlude scene (śuddhaviṣkambhaka). Perhaps because of the three characters it may not have been addressed as pure interlude scene (śuddhaviṣkambhaka). Again, if all the characters are speaking in Sanskrit then it is pure (śuddha) and if one character is speaking in Sanskrit and other character is speaking in Prakrit and then it is mixed (saṃkirṇa) type of interlude scene (viṣkambhaka). Again, in the fourth act, two characters speak in Sanskritand hence it is also not addressed as pure interlude scene (śuddhaviṣkambhaka). However, it should be noted that in this interlude scene (viṣkambhaka), at the end, two more characters are introduced and they speak in Prakrit, but from behind the curtain. Perhaps, that is why it has been addressed only as interlude scene (viṣkambhaka). Again, in the interlude scene (viṣkambhaka) of the fifth act, two characters speak in only Sanskrit; still it is addressed as only interlude scene (viṣkambhaka), instead of pure interlude scene (śuddhaviṣkambhaka).

Again, the author has spoken very less about the society, except that people were egoistic and jealous of each other. People were also superstious and believed in black-magic etc. Society was very religious.

However, the status of woman, reflected in the drama, was very low. Women were not independent and sometimes they were tortured in the specific religions like Digambara sect of Jain religion and precisely to showcause this fact, the author has written the drama and the main theme of the drama is the “Liberation of woman”. It could be said that the Prakaraṇa is based on a semi-historical theme, because all the characters are not historical but some of them are fictitious and that is why it is said to be a Prakaraṇa. However, the drama has provided examples of kings being interested in the discussions of various sciences; and therefore giving support to the learned men in their courts. Further, it has given very good message to the society that one should leave ego and jealousy, though he has great talent with him, because these are not the ornaments of the learned men. Altogether, it can be said that the Mudritakumudacandra is a different kind of Prakaraṇa composed for a definite purpose. The Prakaraṇa reflects the social behavior of that time and tests the human psychology of medieval India.

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