Dramaturgy in the Venisamhara

by Debi Prasad Namasudra | 2016 | 70,412 words

This page relates ‘Abhyasa: Psuedo-Suggestion’ of the study dealing with the Venisamhara of Bhatta Narayana and its practical application of Sanskrit Dramaturgy. The Veni-Samhara is an extraordinary drama in Sanskrit literature which revolves around the great war of Mahabharata within six Acts. This study deals with the author, background and the technical aspects, reflecting the ancient Indian tradition of dramaturgy (Natya-Shastra).

Abhyāsa: Psuedo-Suggestion

The presentation of a particular sentiment or a feeling by reference to an inappropriate substratum makes it undignified.[1] In such cases though suggestion is brought out, it always remins below the high standard of sentimental relish. Therefore it is only a semblance of Rasa or Bhava, and may be called a pseudo-sentiment or rasabhāsa. Inappropriateness may also consist in lack of proper suggestion or inadequate development of the emotion which may be due to want of some necessary ingredient as pointer out by Bharata.

Impropriety differs in its nature in case of different sentiments. For instance, when the amatory emotion of a lady is pointed out by reference to an adulterer, or numerous paramours or low characters, it becomes, on an average, disgusting, and does not attain the standard of the erotic sentiment.[2] Then again, if a man’s incestuous love is demonstrated by reference to the consort of a sage, a preceptor or a King the heinous immorality does not permit such an emotion to reach the standard of Amatory sentiment.[3] Similarly, if the emotion of love is depicted only in the lover (may be a man or a woman) and not in the beloved, then for want of response it falls short of the necessary ingredient of mutuality, and the unilateral love fails to develop into the fullfleged Śṛṅgāra-rasa.[4] Likewise, the amorous pursuits of a Sannyāsin or an eremite especially when dressed in saintly robes presents a ludicrous situation and the description of the same is sure to yield a debased interest.[5] hence such a description and similar other ones which are equally untoward by virtue of inapposite time, place or situation result in the suggestion of only the pseudoerotic sentiment.

The canonists like Viśvanātha, Bhojadeva and the later ones choose to add to this list of instances of pseudo-suggestions the description of feelings of love subsisting berween a pair of animals of opposite sex, like birds, beasts and insects.[6] But Vidyādhara in his Ekavalī does not agree to this view. He believes that the existence of the vibhāvas and the anubhāvas of a sentiment is as much really possible among the members of the animal world as is in the human society.[7]

Footnotes and references:


Sāhityadarpaṇa III-263. also refer to Kṣemendra’s view about Aueitya; “Anaueityad rte nanyad rasa-bhangasya karanam”.


Rasārṇava-sudhākara II-98; Rasagaṅgādhara p. 119, 9.


Sāhityadarpaṇa III-264; Rasagaṅgādhara p. 118, 19 ff. “Anubhya-niṣṭhayasea rater asangrahat”.


Ibid. p. 120.


Sāhityadarpaṇa III-264, S. K. A. V-357/


Ekāvali: p. 106, LI. 5 to p. 107, 4. It is worthy of note in this connection that if an emotion dwelling in human determinants (ālambana) is an object of sentimental relish, a similar emotion, then, arising in an animal pair inter se could be relished with the same piquancy. On the other hand, the erotics in an animal pair is definitely an excitant factor in the sphere of human erotics; and to an observer causes a similar elevation of spirit (ullasa). On rational grounds the view of Vidyadhara does not appear to be unsound; for, more essentially genuine is the expression of love among the animals, and, therefore, it is really stirring, and cannot be ostracized from the class of sentiments. Moreover, it is not proper to exclude only the feelings of love among animals from the class of sentiments, because similar semblance of emotions may be found among animals in sphere other than the one of love, for instance, fear may become as much visible in an animal standing in danger of life as may be in case of damsel. Still according to the school of Viśvanātha there can be no Bhayanka-rasa, but only an aBhāṣā in a spot like, “Griva-bhangabhiraman (Sak. I-7); nor can there be a real Karuna-rasa when either of the animal pair sheds tears at the demise of its partner, say, when shot dead by a fowler or a huntsman. Well, such calamitous plights of the animals have become the ālambana of many a Daya-vīra; and in face of such stirring genuineness of feelings visible among the fauna, their amor which is clearly visible both in the Sambhaoga and the Vipralambha situation can hardly be thrown into the category of pseudo sentiments unlike their other feelings.

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