by Antara Chakravarty | 2015 | 58,556 words
This page relates ‘Employment of akashabhashita’ of the English study on the Mudrarakshasa: an ancient Sanskrit dramatic play (Nataka) authored by Vishakhadatta which deals with the life of king Chandragupta. This study investigates the Mudra Rakshasa from a literary perspective, such as metrics, themes, rhetorics and other poetical elements. Chandragupta ruled the Mauryan Empire during the 4th century BCE, hence this text can also be studied as a historical textbook of ancient India.
In a dramatic composition the stage directions or the nāṭyoktayaḥ play the vital role. One of the stage directions is ākāśabhāṣita or the speech from void. Viśvanātha following Dhanañjaya defines ākāśabhāṣita as what is uttered in acting beginning with “what do you say” after pretending to have heard what has not been said. This ākāśabhāṣita is nothing but a monologue in which both the question and reply are uttered by only one character.
Viśākhadatta has used ākāśabhāṣita in many places of Mudrārākṣasa. At the beginning of the second act, Āhituṇḍika first introduces ākāśabhāṣita in the drama. Herein Āhituṇḍika is looking for the opportunity to enter into the house of Rākṣasa.
The third ākāśabhāṣita can be found in the fourth act. There a man having a cane in his hand enters the room and announces for the arrival of Malayaketu to meet Rākṣasa who is suffering from headache.
Another ākāśabhāṣita can be heard in the speech of Caṇḍāla at the beginning of the seventh act. There Caṇḍāla acts as if speaking to a person who is asking about Candanadāsa, and, the Caṇḍāla let him know that there is no chance of Candanadāsa to become free unless he delivers up the family of the minister Rākṣasa to Cāṇakya.
Thus Viśākhadatta has used this monologue in his drama Mudrārākṣasa where ever necessary to avoid involvement of additional actors.
Footnotes and references:
(punarākāśe) kiṃ brutha ārya,…bhadrāḥ tvaradhvaṃ/ ayamāgata eva devaścandraguptaḥ, Ibid., p. 180-182
(ākāśe) āryāḥ! kiṃ bhaṇatha…kimidānīṃ yuṣmākaṃ pratīkāravicāreṇa? Ibid., p. 446