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The texts of the Indian Dance traditions – Part Three

Continued from Part Two 

 Nrtta, Natya and Nrtya

shiva_dancing_for_parvati

Intro.

As it has very often been said ; the Natyashastra is the earliest available text of Indian Dancing traditions. It combines in itself the fundamentals of the principles, practices and techniques of Dance. it thus serves as the principal text of the Dance. And, therefore, the influence exerted by it on the growth and development of all Dance-forms, has been deep and vast.  The Natyashastra, an authoritative text to which the Masters and learners alike turn to , seeking instructions, guidance, and inspiration , is central to any discussion on classical Dance. And, therefore, no discussion on classical Dance is complete without referring to the concepts  of the  Natyashastra.

[Having said that; let me also mention that in the context of Dance , as it is practiced in the present day, besides Natyashastra , several other texts are followed. The Natyashastra provides the earliest theoretical framework; but, the practice of Dance  and the techniques of dancing were  molded and improved upon by many texts of the later periods. What we have today is the culmination of several textual traditions, their recommended practices, and some innovative features. We shall come to those aspects later in the series.]

Because of the position that Natyashastra occupies in the evolution of the Arts and its forms, it would help to try to understand the early concepts and their relationships to Dance. And, thereafter, we may follow the unfolding and transformation of those concepts acquiring different meanings and applications; as also the emergence of new terms and art-forms, during the later times.

In that context, we may, in particular, discuss the three terms; their derivation; their manifestation and transformation; as also the mutual relations among the three. In the process, we may also look at the related concepts; and their evolution over the centuries. The three terms that I am referring to are the Nrtta, Natya and Nrtya, which are fundamental to most of the Dance formats.

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As regards the  other texts that discuss the theories, practices and techniques of Dancing, there are no significant works between the period of Bharata and that of Abhinavagupta and Dhananjaya (eleventh century). Even if any were there, none has come down to us. But during this period, the dance and its concepts had changed significantly. And, the manuscript editions of the Natyashastra had also undergone alterations.

Over the different periods, the concepts of Natyashastra, along with that of its basic terms such as Nrtta, Natya etc., came to be interpreted in number of amazingly different ways, depending, largely, upon the attitudes and the approach of the authors coming from diverse backgrounds and following varied regional cultural practices. It is a labyrinth, a virtual maze, in which one can easily get lost.

It would, therefore, hopefully, make sense if we try to understand these terms in the context of each period that spans the course of the long history of Dancing in India, instead of trying to take an overall or summary view.

In the following pages, let us try to understand these terms and their applications in relation to the  concepts and the techniques of dancing, as it emerged in various stages, during the three phases of Indian Art history: the period of the  Natyashastra of Bharata; the theories and commentaries by the authors of the medieval period; and, dance as practiced in the present-day.

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Before we get into the specifics, let’s briefly talk about Dance in general, within the context of Natyashastra.

Bharata’s Natyashastra represents the first known stage of Indian Art-history where the diverse elements of arts, literature, music, dance, stage management and cosmetics etc., combined harmoniously, to fruitfully produce an enjoyable play. 

It is quite possible that the authors prior to the time of Bharata did speak of Dance; its forms and practices.  But, it was, primarily, Bharata who recognized the communicative power of Dance; and, laid down its concepts.

Bharata described what he considered to be the most cultivated dance styles, which formed the core of the dominant art-practice (prayoga) in his time, the Drama.

The framework within which Bharata describes Dance is, largely, related to Drama. And, his primary interest seemed to be to explore the ways to enhance the beauty of a dramatic presentation. Thus, Dance in association with music was treated as an ornamental overlay upon Drama.  As Nandikesvara said, the Dance should have songs (gitam). And, the song must be sung, displaying (pradarshayet) the meaning (Artha) and emotions (Bhavam) of the lyrics through the gestures of the hands (hastenatha); shown through the eyes (chakshuryo darshaved); and, in tune with rhythm and corresponding foot-work (padabhyam talam-achareth).

Asyena alambaved gitam, hastena artha pradarshayet/chakshuryo darshaved bhavam, padabhyam talam-achareth (Ab.Da.36)

Dance, at that stage, was an ancillary part (Anga) or one of the ingredients that lent elegance and grace to theatrical performance; and, it was not yet an independent art-form, by itself. Bharata , at that stage, is credited with  devising a more creative Dance-form , which was adorned with elegant, evocative and graceful body-movements; performed in unison with attractive rhythm and enthralling music; in order to effectively interpret and illustrate the lyrics of a song; and, also to depict the emotional content of a dramatic sequence.But, he had not assigned it a name.

It was only in the later times, when the concepts and descriptions provided by Bharata were adopted and improved upon, that Dance gained the status of a self-regulating, independent specialized form of art, as Nrtya.

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The scholars opine that in the evolution of Dance, first comes Nrtta; then Natya; and, later Nrtya appeared. Here, Nrtta is said to be pure dance; while Nrtya emerged when Abhinayas of four types (Angika; Vachika; Sattvika; and Aharya) were combined with Nrtta. And, Natya included both these (Nrtta and Nrtya), even while the speech and the songs remained prominent. Thus, Natya comprises all the three features – Dance, music and speech (song) – which are very essential for the production and enactment of Drama.

To put the entire series of developments, in the context of Natyashastra, in a summary form:

Nrtta, as described in Natyashastra, had been in practice even during the very ancient times. The Nrtta, according to Bharata, was a dance form created by Shiva; and, which, he taught to his disciple Tandu.  It seems to have been older than Natya

Natya too goes back to the very distant past. Even by the time of Bharata, say by   about the fourth to second century BCE, Natya was already a highly developed and accomplished Art. It was regarded as the best; and, also as the culmination of all Art forms (Gitam, Vadyam, Nrttam trayam natya dharmica).

Though Nrtta was older, Natya was not derived from it. Both the Nrtta and the Natya had independent origins; and, developed independent of each other. And, in the later times too, the two have been distinct; and, run on parallel lines.

It was during Bharata’s time that Nrtta was integrated into Natya. Even though the two came together, they never merged into each other. And, up to the present-day they have retained their identity; and, run parallel in ways peculiar to them. (Even in a Bharatanatya performance the treatment and presentation of the Nrtta is different from that of the rest.)

 By combining Nrtta, the pure Dance, with the Abhinaya of Natya, a new form of Dance viz., the Nrtya came into being. Bharata is credited with this creative, innovative act of bringing together two of the most enjoyable Art forms (Bhartopajanaka). But, it developed to its full extant only after the time of Bharata.

But, at the time of Bharata, that resultant new-art was not assigned a separate name; nor was it then classified into Tandava and Lasya types.  In fact, the terms Nrtya and Lasya do not appear either in the Natyashastra or in its early commentaries. It was only during the later times that Nrtya gained an independent recognition as an expressive, eloquent representational Art, which projects human experiences, with amazing fluidity and grace.

Nrtya, a blend of two well studied, well developed and well codified Art forms – the dance of Nrtta and Abhinayas of Natya – over a period, advanced  vibrantly, imbibing on its way numerous novel features; and, soon became hugely popular among all classes of the society. It gained recognition as the most delightful Art-form; and in particular, as the most admired phrase or form of Dance.

With this general backdrop, let’s go further.

Hamsa 4

A. Nrtta in Natyasahastra

Nrtta

Initially, Bharata, in the fourth Chapter of the Natyashastra, titled Tandava Lakshanam, deals with the Dance. The term that he used to denote Dance was Nrtta (pure dancing or limb movements, not associated with any particular emotion, Bhava).

The Nrtta comprised two varieties of Dances (Nrtta-prayoga) : The Tandava and Sukumara. The Tandava was not necessarily aggressive; nor danced only by men. And, the gentler, graceful form of dance was Sukumara-prayoga

And, in the context of Drama, both of these were said to refer to the physical structure of dance movements. And, both were performed during the preliminaries before the commencement of the play – Purvaranga – while offering prayers to the deities, Deva-stuti   ; and, not in the drama per se.

Mayāpīdam smta ntta sandhyākāleu Ntttā nānā karaa sayuktai raga hārair vibhūitam 4.13

Pūrva-raga-vidhā avasmistvayā samyak prayojyatām vardhamāna kayogeu gītevāsāriteu ca 4.14

The Dance performed during the Purvaranga was accompanied by vocal and instrumental music. It is said; the songs that were sung during the Purvaranga were of the Marga class- sacred, somber and well regulated (Niyata). Such Marga songs were in praise of Shiva (Shiva-stuti). Bharata explains Marga or Gandharva as the Music dear to gods (atyartham iṣṭa devānā), giving great pleasure to Gandharvas; and, therefore it is called Gandharva.

Atyartham iṣṭa devānā tathā prīti-kara puna | gandharvāā ca yasmād dhi tasmād gāndharvam ucyate – NS Ch. 28, 9

shiva dance

Almost the entire Chapter Four of Natyashastra is devoted to Nrtta. That is because, the term that Bharata generally used to symbolize  Dance, was Nrtta.  And, the Nrtta, Bharata said, was created to give expression to beauty and grace – śobhā prajanayediti Ntta pravartitam (NS.4.264). The Nrtta is visual art. The term Nrtta, in the context of the Natyashastra, is explained by Abhinavagupta as (Angavikshepa), the graceful composition of the limbs – gatram vilasena kshepaha.

The Nrtta stands for pure, abstract and beautiful dance, performed in tune with the rhythm and tempo, to the accompaniment of vocal and instrumental music.

The Nrtta performed during the Purvaranga was not as an auxiliary to Natya. And, therefore, Nrtta was considered to be independent and complete by itself.

Nrtta is described in terms of the motion of the limbs; the beauty of its form; the balanced geometrical structure; creative use of space; and rhythm (time). It gives form to the formless.  Here, the body speaks its own language; an expression of the self. It delights the eye with its posture, rhythm and synchronized movements of the dancer’s body.

Nrtta is the spontaneous rhythmic movement of different parts of the body (Angas, Upangas and Pratyangas). Nrtta is also associated with the surrounding nature and its beauty. For instance; Shiva does his Nrtta in the evening, before sun set, (Sandhyayam nrtyaha Shamboh) surrounded by the salubrious shining snow peaks of the Himalayas, while he is in the company of Devi Parvathi and his Ganas.

It is said; the sense of Nrtta is ingrained in the nature. For instance; the peacocks burst into simple rhythmic movements at the sight of rain-bearing clouds; and, the waves in the sea swing in ebb and flow as the full moon rises up in a clear cloudless night.

Nrtta is a kind of architecture. It is an Art-form whose life is the beauty of its form. But, Nrtta was not meant for giving forth meaningful expressions. It did not look for a purpose; not even of narrating a theme.

Thus, Nrtta could be understood as a metaphor of Dance made of coordinated movement of hands and feet (Cari and Karana or dance units or postures), in a single graceful flow.  Nrtta is useful for its beautiful visual appeal; as that which pleases the eye (Shobha hetuvena).

...

Tandava

shiva tandava

And, Tandava is said to be the Nrtta that Shiva taught to his disciple Tandu (Tando rayam Tandavah).  It was composed by combining the circular movement of a limb (Recaka) and the sequence of dance movements (KaranasAngaharas) . It is not clear  how these movements were utilized.

The term Tandava could also be understood as Bharata’s term for Nrtta , the Dance (Nrtta-prayoga) – Nrtta-prayoga sṛṣṭo ya sa Tāṇḍava iti smta. NS.4.261. And, Tandava is often used as a synonym for Nrtta.

[damaruAbhinavagupta, in his typical style, provides a totally different sort of explanation to the term Tandava. According to him, the term ṇḍava is derived from the sounds like ‘Tando; tam-tam’, produced by the accompanying Damaru shaped drums. It follows the manner, in Grammar (vyākaraa), of naming an object, based on the sound it produces – śabda-anukti

For instance; Yaska, in his Nirukta (3. 18) had mentioned that a kaka- काक- (crow) is so called, because of the sound it makes – kāka, iti Śabda, anuktis, tad idam, śakunisu bahulam; and the battle-drum which makes loud Dun-Dun sounds is named Dundubhi (दुन्दुभि)-dundubhir.iti.śabda.anukaraṇam (Nir.9.12)

And, Panini  following the principle of avyaktā-anukaraa-syāta itau pata (PS. 6.1.98) derives certain words like Phata-phata, Khata-khata and Mara-mara etc., by imitation of indistinct sounds they are associated with.

Abhinavagupta also mentions that the Bhaṇḍam (percussion instruments), which produce sounds like ‘Bhan, Than’ etc., are important for the performance of the Ntta.]

SHIVA NRTTA

And, in regard to the Drama, the Tandava,  a form of Nrtta, is performed before the commencement of the play, as a prayer-offering to gods (Deva stuti). It is a dance that creates beauty of form; and, is submitted to gods, just as one offers flowers (pushpanjali).

The Tandava, at this stage, did not necessarily mean a violent dance; nor was it performed only by men.

According to Bharata, the Tandava Nrtta, during Purvaranga, iperformed to accompaniment of appropriate songs and drums. And, it is composed of Recakas, Angaharas and the Pindibandhas; (NS. 4. 259-61).

Recakā Agahārāśca Piṇḍībandhā tasthaiva ca 4.259 sṛṣṭvā bhagavatā dattās Taṇḍave munaye tadā tenāpi hi tata samyag-gāna-bhāṇḍa-samanvita 4.260 Ntta-prayoga sṛṣṭo ya sa Tāṇḍava iti smta 4.261

[Please also check this link http://www.tarrdaniel.com/documents/Yoga-Yogacara/nata_yoga.html ]

Sukumara

devi lasya.

And , Sukumara Prayoga is the tender and graceful type of dance performed by the Devi Parvathi.

It is said; Shiva’s Tandava dance comprising Angaharas and Recakas inspired Devi Parvathi to perform her own type of dance, adorned with graceful and delicate movements (sukumara-prayoga) – (Sukumāra-prayogeṇa Nṛttam caiva Pārvatīm –NS.4.250). 

Recakair-agahāraiś ca Ntyanta vīkya Sakaram 249 Sukumāra-prayogea Ntyantī caiva Pārvatīm (NS. 4. 249-50)

Parvathi ‘s  dance was also adorned with graceful gestures – Recakas and Angaharas. But, her dance cannot be construed as s counterpart to Tandava. It was her own form of Dance.

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Abhinavagupta explains; the Angaharas of Parvathi’s Dance was rich in loveliness and subtle beauty (Lalitha Angahara); celebrating the erotic sentiment, Sṛṅgāra, the love that binds male and female – (Sukumāra-prayogaśca śṛṅgāra-rasa-sambhavaḥ – NS.4.269). Her Dance was bedecked with emotion; and, was full of meaning (Abhinaya prāptyartham arthānā tajjñair abhinaya kta NS.4. 261).

Yattu śṛṅgāra sabaddha gāna strī puruā aśrayam Devī ktair agahārair lalitais tat prayojayet NS.4. 312

Abhinavagupta says; the fruit (phala) of the gentle dance is that it pleases the Goddess (Devī); and that of ṇḍava is that it pleases Shiva who is with Soma. He also mentions that while performing the dance-gestures (abhinaya) for Puṣhpāñjali, the dancer’s looks must not be diverted towards the audience. That is because; that dance-offering is not addressed to the spectators. Therefore, it must be performed looking into one’s own soul.

pushpanjali

[ We need to remember that the Tandava and the Sukumara, the pure types of Dances, were discussed by Bharata in the context of the purvaranga, not in that of drama proper (yaścāya pūrva-ragastu tvayā śuddha prayojita – NS.4. 15). And, such a Purvaranga was called Chitra (Citro nāma bhaviyati); Chitra meant diagrams/formations. These dances , at that stage , were not associated with expression of emotions.

However, Abhinavagupta, in his commentary, at many places, interprets Natyashastra in the light of contemporary concepts and practices. He also introduces certain ideas and terms that were not present during the time of Bharata.

For instance; during the time of Bharata, there was no clear theoretical division of Dance into Tandava and Sukumara. And, the term Lasya, which in the later period meant gentle, delicate and graceful, does not also appear in Natyashastra. But, the concept of the element of grace and beauty did exist; and, was named as Sukumara-prayoga.

The Tandava as described in the Natyashastra was Nrtta (pure dance); and, it was not necessarily aggressive; though Abhinavagupta interpreted Tandava as Uddhata (vigorous). But, in the Natyashastra, Tandava does not convey the sense of Uddhata.

Similarly, though Tandava is mentioned as Nrtta; it, in no way, refers to, or is related to furious dance, which in the present-day goes by the name Tandava-nrtta

Abhinavagupta states that Lasya (which term he uses to substitute Sukumara-prayoga), the graceful dance with delicate, graceful movements , performed by Devi Parvathi was in contrast to Shiva’s forceful (Uddhata Angaharas) and fast paced Tandava Nrtta. But, nether term Lasya, nor such distinctions or contrasts are mentioned in the Natyashastra.

Both Tandava and Sukumara come under Nrtta – the pure Dance, devoid of meaning and emotion. But, Abhinavagupta describes the Sukumara of Devi as being ‘bedecked with emotion and full of meaning’.

Abhinavagupta also brings in the notion of relating Tandava and Sukumara to male (Purusha) and female (Stri) dances. But, such gender-based associations were not mentioned in the Natyashastra.]

NataYoga10-12

Recaka, Karana and Angahara

As mentioned earlier, according to Bharata, the Tandava Nrtta, performed to the accompaniment of appropriate songs and drum-beats, is composed of Recakas, Angaharas and the Pindibandhas – (Recakā Agahārāśca Piṇḍībandhā tasthaiva caNS. 4. 259-61). The Tandava, at this stage, as said earlier, did not necessarily mean a violent dance; nor was it performed only by men.

Recaka

Here, Recaka (derived from Recita, relating to limbs) is understood as the extending movements of the feet (pāda), waist (kai), hands (hasta) and neck (grīva or kanta):  pāda-recaka eka syat dvitīya kai-recaka kararecakas tritīyas tu caturta kaṇṭha-recakaḥ (NS.4. 248). The Recakas are said to be separate  movements; and, are not parts of Karanas or Cari.

Movement of the feet from one side to the other with faltering or unsteady gaits as also of other types of feet movement is called Pada-recaka. Rising up, stretching up and turning round the waist as well as drawing it back characterize the Kati-recaka. Throwing up,putting forward, throwing sideways, swinging round and drawing back of the hands are called Hasta-recaka. Raising up, lowering, and bending the neck sideways to left and right or such other movements form the Kanta-recaka.

In each of the four varieties of major joint movements, the limb is moved or turned from one position to another. These four basic oscillating movements, which lend grace and elegance to the postures, are regarded as fundamental to dancing.

Abhinavagupta also says; it is through the Recakas that the Karanas and the Angaharas derive their beauty and grace. He gives some guidelines to be observed while performing a Recaka of the foot (Pada-recaka) , neck (Griva-recaka) and the hands (Hastha-recaka) .

According to him; while performing the Recaka of the foot one should pay attention to the movements of the big toe; in the Recaka of the hands one should perform  Hamsa-paksha Hastha in quick circular movements; and, in the Recaka of the neck one should execute it with slow graceful movements.

Padayoreva chalanam na cha parnir bhutayor antar bahisha sannatam namanonna manavyamsitam gamanam Angustasya cha /Hasthareva chalanam Hamsapakshayo paryayena dhruta bramanam/ Grivayastu Recitatvam vidhuta brantata//

pushpanjali2

It is said; on entering the stage, with flowers in her hands (pupāñjali-dharā bhūtvā praviśed raga-maṇtapam), the female dancer should be in vaisakha sthana (posture) (वैशाख): the two feet three Tālas and a half apart; and, the thighs without motion; besides this, the two feet to be obliquely placed pointing sideways ; and , perform all the four Recakas (those of feet, waist, hands and neck) – vaiśākha-sthāna-keneha sarva-recaka-cāriī ॥ 274॥

And, only then , she should go round the stage scattering flowers , in submission to gods. After bowing to gods, she should perform her Abhinaya .

pupāñjali visjyātha ragapīha parītya ca 275 praamya devatābhyaś ca tato abhinayam-ācaret 276

[As mentioned earlier, Abhinavagupta instructs  that while performing the dance-gestures (abhinaya) for Puṣhpāñjali, the dancer’s looks must not be diverted towards the audience. That is because; that dance-offering is not addressed to the spectators. Therefore, it must be performed looking into one’s own soul.]

Abhinavagupta also says, the Recakas are basically related to tender graceful movements, where music is prominent (Sukumara-Samgita-Vadya pradanene cha prayoga esham)

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Somehow, there is not much discussion about Recaka in the major texts. Kallinātha, the commentator, merely states that Recakas form part of the Agahāras; and, is useful in adjusting the Taala (time units).

Hamsa 4

Karanas

According to the Natyashastra, the Nrtta is Angahara, which is made of Karanas – Nānā Karaa sayuktair Agahārair vibhūitam (NS.4.13)

And, Karana is defined by Bharata as the perfect combination of the hands and feet – Hasta-pada samyoga Nrttasya Karanam bhavet (NS.4.30). The Karanas are classified under Nrtta.

And, the Karanas are themselves made up of Sthanas (static postures), Caris and Nrtta-hastas (movement of the feet and the hands). It involves both the aspects: movement and position.

Abhinavagupta also explains; Karana is indeed the harmonious combination (sam-militam) of Gati (movement of feet), Sthanaka (stance), Cari (foot position) and Nrtta-hastha (hand-gestures)

Gatau tu Caryah / purvakaye tu Gatau Nrttahastha drusta-yashcha / sthithau pathakadyaha tena Gati-Sthithi – sam-militam Karanam

According to him, the Sthanaka, Cari and Nrtta-hastha can be compared to subject (kartru-pada), object (Karma-pada) and verb (Kriya-pada) in a meaningful sentence.

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Thus, Karaa is not a mere pose, a stance or a posture that is isolated and frozen in time. Karaa is the stylized synthesis of Sthiti (a fixed position-static) and Gati (motion-dynamic). That is to say; a Karana made of Sthanas, Caris and Nrtttahastas is a dynamic process.  It is an aesthetically appealing, well coordinated movement of the hands and feet, capturing an image of beauty and grace .

A Karana functions as a fundamental unit of dance. It is a technical component, which helps to provide a structural framework, on which dance movements and formations are built and developed,

Bharata enumerates 108 types of Karanas in the Fourth Chapter of the Natyashastra. He devotes a two-line verse (Karika) to each of the Karanas, mentioning the associated hand gestures (hastas), foot movements (Caris), and body positions (Mandalas).

Abhinavagupta explains Karaa as action (Kriyā Karaam); and, as the very life (jivitam) of Ntta. It is a Kriya, an act which starts from a given place and terminates after reaching the proper one. It involves both the static and dynamic aspects: pose (Sthiti) and movement (Gati). And that is why, he says, Karaa is called as ‘Ntta Karaa’.

In the Karanas, the balance, equipoise, the ease, is the key. The movement of each limb must be in relation with that of the other, which is either following it in the same direction or is playing as the counterpart in the other direction. The flow must be fluid and harmonious. Every Karana is well thought out; and, is complete by itself.

Nrtta is the art that solely depends on the form. Its purpose is to achieve beauty in forms. That is the reason; Karana is defined as the perfect composition of the entire body. Unless each and every Karana is individually illustrated, it might not be possible to point out whether it is perfect; and whether all the elements that are required for that Karana are present.

karana (1)

Abhinavagupta explains; Karana is different from the actions of normal life (Lokadharmi). And, it is not a mere placement, replacement or displacement. Such throws (kepa) of the limbs must be guided by a sense of beauty and grace (vilasa-ksepasya). Hence, Karana is a free movement of limbs in a pleasing, unbroken flow (ekā kriyā). That is why, though the Karaa is defined ‘kriyā karaam’, Abhinavagupta says: a Karana has to be intellectually and spiritually satisfying. The word nttasya in Bharata’s definition is meant to emphasize this aspect of dance.

Pūrva-ketre sayoga-tyāgena samucita ketrāntara-prapti-paryantatayā ekā kriyā tattaranmityamartha

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As said earlier; Karaa was defined by Bharata as ‘hasta-pāda-sayoga nttasya karaa bhavet’ (BhN_4.30); meaning that the combination of hand and foot movements in dance (Ntta) are called Karaa.  

Abhinavagupta explains that ‘hasta’ and ‘pāda’, here, do not denote merely the hand and foot. But, hasta implies all actions pertaining to the upper part (Purva-kaya) of the body (Anga); and, it’s Shākhā-aga (branches, the various movements of the hands – Kara varhana), and Upāga (subsidiaries like the eyebrows, the nose, the lower lip, the cheeks and the chin etc).

Similarly, pāda stands for all actions of the lower limbs of the body (Apara-kaya); such as sides, waist, thighs, trunk and feet.

Thus, Karana involves the movement of the feet (pada karmani); shifting of a single foot (Cari) and postures of the legs (Sthana), along with hand gestures (hastas– single as also combined Nrtta gestures).

And, all the actions of the hands and feet must be suitably and coherently combined with those of the waist, sides, thighs, chest and back – Hasta, pada samyogaha  Nrtta Karanam bhavet.

That is to say; when the Anga moves, the Pratyanga and Upanga also move accordingly. The flow of the movement (gatravikshepa) should be such that the entire body is involved in the curves and bends.

hastau śiras-sannata ca gagāvataraa tviti / yāni sthānāni yāścāryo vyāyāme kathitāni tu // BhN_4.169 // ādapracārastveā tu karaānāmaya bhavet / ye cāpi ntta hastāstu gaditā nttakarmai // BhN_4.170 //

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There is an elaborate discussion on two important features of a Karana execution:

(1) Sausthava (keeping different limbs in their proper position) – about which Bharata says that the whole beauty of Nrtta rests on the Sausthava , so the performer never shines unless he pays attention to this – Shobha sarvaiva nityam hi Sausthavam; and,

(2) Chaturasrya (square composition of the body, mainly in relation to the chest) – about which Abhinavagupta remarks that the very vital principle (jivitam)  of the body, in dance, is based on  its square position (Chaturasrya-mulam Nrttena  angasya jivitam), and adds that the very object of Sausthava is to attain a perfect Chaturasrya ,

This again emphasizes that Nrtta rests on the notion of formal-beauty, which is achieved through the perfect composition of the whole body. This involves not merely the geometrical values, but also the balance and harmony among the body parts.

While commenting on the Karaas, Abhinavagupta says that such static elements within the dynamics of the Karaas are useful in dance, not only as factors that beautify the presentation , but also as mediums of expression for communicating the meaning of the lyrics through vākyā-arthā-abhinaya (actions interpreting the meanings of its sentences). According to him, the Karanas are not mere physical actions; they can give form to ideas and thoughts. He opines that Nrtta can produce Bhavas. And, Nrtta, in reality, is Art par excellence.

While commenting on the fifteenth Karaa (the Svastika), Abhinavagupta asserts that every Karaa is capable of conveying a certain idea (Artha) or a thought, at least in a very subtle way. (But, such notions of associating Karanas with representation are not found in the Natyashastra.)

Sarangadeva in his Sangitaratnakara (Chapter 7, Nrttakarana, verses 548-49) also defines the Nrtta Karana as a beautiful (vilasena) combination of the actions (kriya) of the hands (Kara), feet (pada) etc., appropriate to the Rasa it intends to evoke.

Nrttakarana

Thus, while many of the 108-karanas are primarily associated with stylized movements, some Ntta Karaas are used, also, to express various emotions; going beyond the conventional Nrtta format. And, the depiction of such Karanas is a dynamic process. There is scope for innovation and experimentation.

For instance; while explaining the 10th Karana – the Ardha-nikuttaka karana (placing one hand on the shoulder; striking it with outstretched fingers; and then striking the ground with one of the heels) – which employs ancita (curve) of the hands, Abhinavagupta mentions that Sankuka’s description was different from that of Bharata; and, cannot be accepted. Further, he says; this Karana can be performed in two or more different ways; and, therefore, concludes that the performer has some degree of freedom in interpreting a Karana.

He mentions that a Karana can be performed both in the sitting posture and by moving about on a stage by employing Nrtta-hastas (hand postures) and Drsti (glances) – Tatravastane karakayopayogi sthanakam. Gatau tu caryah; purvakaye to gatanau Nrtta-hasta Drstaya ca

And, again, along with his explanation of the 66th Karaa (Atikranta – moving forward with each foot treading alternatively with a flourish and swing), he states that wherever the use of the Karaa is not specifically stated, it is left to the imagination of the performer.

[In the later times, Karanas came to be described as the means to convey a meaning (Artha) or a pattern, such as: svastikarcita or mandala-svastika. But, in the Natyashastra, the Nrtta or the Karanas are not associated with such representations.]

And, in the later times, the idioms and phrases (Karanas and Angahara) of these dances, as also the ways of expressing the intent and meaning (Abhinaya) of a situation or of a lyric, were adopted into the play-proper, as also into various Dance forms; thus , enhancing the quality of those art-forms.

It is said; even during the course of the play , one should adopt the physical movements – Uddhata Angaharas of Tandava, created by Shiva, while depicting action in fighting scenes. And, for rendering love-scenes, one should adopt the Sukumara Angaharas created by the Devi.

Since the Karanas epitomize the beauty of form; and, symbolize the concept of aesthetics, they served as models for the artist; and, inspired them to create sculptures of lasting beauty. The sculptors (Shilpis) regarded the Karanas as the vital breath (Prana) of their Art. The much admired Indian sculptures are, indeed, the frozen forms of Karanas. The linear measurements or the deviation from the vertical median (Brahma Sutra); the stances; and, iconometry of the Indian sculptures are all rooted in the Karanas of the Nrtta, the idiom of visual delight. These wondrous sculptures, poems in stone, continue to fascinate and do evoke admiration and pleasure (Rasa) in the hearts of the viewers.

shiva urdhva tandava greyBeluru grey

[Please do not fail to read the Doctoral thesis on the Dance imagery in south Indian temples : study of the 108-karana sculptures, prepared by Dr. Bindu S. Shankar]

And, in the present-day dance curriculum, the Karanas are used as the phrases or the basic units of the dance structure.   Nrtta is taught as a combination of basic dance motions called Adavus for which there is a corresponding pattern of phonetic syllables. The Adavus of Bharatanatya are based in limb movements, postures, hand gestures and geometry as in the Karanas; though the Adavus might differ from Karanas, in their execution.

Adavus are regarded as the building blocks of Bharatanatya. Different combinations of Adavus create varieties of body movements.

[The Adavus (smallest units of dance patterns) are composed as dance-modulations (Nrtta), where all the movements relate to the vertical median (Brahma-sutra) on the one hand; and to the stable equipoise, fixed position of one-half of the dancer’s body, on the other. The Adavus are, thus, primary units of movements, where the position of the feet (Sthana), posture of our standing (Mandala), walking movements (Cari), gestures of the hands (Nrtta hasthas) and other limbs of the body together form a precise dance pattern. It is said; there are about ten or more basic types of Adavus (Dasha-vidha); and, more number of variations could be formed de pending on the School of Dancing (Bani).]

adavus2-16b3d

Agahāra

Nrtta in Natyashastra is of Angaharas, which are made of Karanas – Nānā Karaa sayuktair Agahārair vibhūitam (NS.4.13)

Abhinavagupta explains Agahāra as the process of sending the limbs of the body from a given position to the other proper one (Angavikshepa). It could also be taken to mean, twisting and bending of the limbs in a graceful manner.

And, such Angavikshepa is said to be a dominant feature of the Nrtta. And, as mentioned earlier, that term stands for graceful composition of limbs (gatram vilasena kshepaha). Thus, the Angaharas, basically, are Nrtta movements, the Angika-abhinaya, involving six Angas or segments of the body.

Abhinavagupta relates Angavikshepa to the Angaharas; and says, they could be taken, almost, as synonyms . But, they are not the same.

The Angaharas along with Recakas and Karanas constitute the essential aspects of the Nrtta; especially in the in the Purvaranga, and at times on the stage, as a part of the prelude (Naandi),  by female dancers dressed as goddesses – nikrāntāsu ca sarvāsu nartakīsu tata param 5. 156.  Bharata lists 32 Angaharas in verses 19 to 26 of Chapter Four.

[Towards the end of his comments on the 32 Angaharas, Abhinavagupta mentions that these could be produced in separate two sets of 16 each. One set of sixteen could be performed as a part of the Purvanga; and, the other set of sixteen after lifting the curtain, in full view of the spectators. While on the stage, four female dancers could perform four Angaharas each. Eight of them could be in Trisra Taala and the other eight in Chatursra Taala (Trysratalakah sodasa Esam; caturasra sryastav avantaratah).]

A Karana, as said earlier, is a basic unit of dance, constructed of well coordinated static postures and dynamic movements. The Nrtta technique consists in constructing a series of short compositions, by using the Karanas.

The Natyashastra mentions that a unit of two Karanas makes one Matrka; three Karanas makes one Kalapaka; four Karanas make a Sandaka; and, five Karanas make one Samghataka.  Thus, it says, The Angaharas consist of six, seven, eight or nine Karanas.

A meaningful combination of six to nine Karanas is said to constitute an Angahara, which could be called as a basic dance sequence (abhirvā saptabhirvāpi aṣṭabhir navabhis tathākaraairiha sayuktā agahārā prakīrtāḥ – NS.4.33).

It is said; the Angahara is like a garland where the selected Karanas (like flowers) are strung together, weaving a delightful pattern. It is basically a visual delight (prekshaniya).

Angahara is, thus, a dance sequence composed of uninterrupted series of Karanas. Such combination of Karanas cannot be done randomly; but, it should follow a method. That is because; the nature of an Angahāra is defined by the appropriate arrangement (yojana) or the order of the occurrence of its constituent Karaas. Out of the 108, say, six to nine suitable Karanas are, therefore, selected and strung together in various permutations to form a meaningful Angahara sequences or a Dance segment. Chapter Four (verses 31 to 55) of the Natyashastra describes 32 selected Angaharas, to choose from.

[Pundarika Vittala, the author of Nartana -nirnaya , mentions that by his time, the sixteenth century, the 108 Karanas had , in effect , been reduced to sixteen.] 

Abhinavagupta, while explaining the fourth Angahara (the Apaviddha) remarks that even the best of the theoreticians (Lakshnakaro) cannot rationally and adequately explain the sequence of Karanas that should occur in an Angahara. Hence, whatever sequence is given by authorities should not be taken as final. The performers should go by their experience and intuition. The choreographer / performer, therefore, enjoys a certain degree of freedom in composing an Angahara sequence.

Nahi susiksitopi lakshnakaro vakyanam pratipadam laksanam keutum saknoti / Asya pascadidam prayojyamiti jnapitena kincid atmaano yojana ca samhita karya / Niyeimanamagre vak ityuktam /

Though Angaharas and Karanas have much in common, the two are not said to be the same. The Angaharas are not merely the sum or totality of Karanas. Each possesses a distinctive character of its own. The Angaharas are distinct from Karanas. That is the reason, Bharata says: Nana karaa sayuktān vyākhyāsyāmi sarecakān (NS.4.19)

The Angaharas, though mainly made up of Karanas, also need Recakas, which are the stylized movements of four limbs: neck (griva), hands (hasta), waist (kati) and feet (carana). The Recakas fulfill two purposes. One, it provides beauty and grace to the presentation; and, two, it ensures a smooth and seamless movement in such a way as to adjust the entire Angahara to the given Tala.

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Thus, in short, the Dance choreography of Nrtta is the series of body-movements, composed of Angaharas. The Angaharas in turn, are made of appropriate Karanas. And, the Karanas are themselves made up of Caris, Nrtta-hastas and Sthanas. 

Nrtta, as articulated by Bharata, is of the Marga class. And, according to Abhinavagupta, it is capable of evoking Rasa, although it is non-representational.

padmakarana2

Which is the basic unit of Nrtta..?

Now, we have in sequence Caris; Nrttahastas; Sthanas; Karanas and Angaharas.

And, Abhinavagupta questions, which of these should be considered as the basic unit of Nrtta. He says the combination of two karanas, called Nrtta-matrka (Nrtta alphabet) is the basic unit of Nrtta; because, until the two Karanas are performed, you will not get the sense that you are dancing (Nrttyati).

But, that view was disputed by the later scholars. They counter questioned why only two Karanas; why not three or four or more.

They point out that the components of a Karana; like Caris; Nrtta-hastas; Sthanas, by themselves, individually cannot convey the sense of the Nrtta. They argued that Karana is, indeed, the factor, that characterizes Nrtta, which is built up by the clever arrangement of its patterns, just as in architecture. That form of beauty is achieved through the perfect geometrical qualities and harmonious composition of various body-parts. The sense of balance, ease and poise is the key. Therefore, a well thought out Karana, which is complete by itself, is regarded as the basic unit of Nrtta.

dance pose

Bharatanatya

Eventually, the Karanas, Angaharas and Nrtta, all, form part of Nrtya, the expressive dance. And, a Dance form like Bharatanatya is not complete without adaptation of the Nrtta techniques.

Bharatanatya is a composite Dance form, which brings together Nrtta, Nrtya and Natya formats. It draws its references (apart from Natyashastra) from various other texts of regional nature. Besides, it has developed its own specialized forms.

The Indian classical dance of today (Bharatanatya) has, over a period, evolved its own Grammar; and, has constructed its own devices. Its Nrtta element too has changed greatly from what it meant during the days of Bharata. Its structure and style is based in different units of movements, postures, and hand gestures such as Adavus etc., which are the combination of steps and gestures artistically woven into Nrtta sequences.

The basic Nrtta items in the Bharatanatya repertoire are the Alarippu (invocation); Jatiswaram (perhaps a successor of Yati Nrtta, where the Jati patterns are interspersed with appropriate Svara); and , Tillana (brisk, short rhythmic passages presented towards the close of the performance

Such Nrtta items in a Bharatanatya performance are dominated by the technique of the Angikabhinaya, which is defined as acting by means of body movements.

[ Alarippu

Alarippu is a dance invocation, which , at the same time, executes a series of pure Dance movements (Nrtta) following rhythmic patterns. It is an ideal introduction or prologue to a Dance performance. It commences with perfect repose, a well balanced poise (Sama-bhanga). Then, the individual movements of the neck, the shoulders, and the arms follow. And, next is the Ardha-mandali (the flexed position of the knees) and the full Mandali.  Thus, the Alarippu introduces the movements of the major limbs (Anga) and the minor limbs (Upanga) , in their simple formations. The dancer, thus, is able to check on her limb-movements; attaining positions of perfect  balance; and, the ease of her performance. The Alarippu sets the Dancer and the Dance performance to take off with eloquence and composure.

Jatisvaram

The Jatisvaram, which follows the Alarippu, is also a dance form of the Nrtta class. It properly introduces the music element into the dance. The Jatisvaram follows the rules of the Svara-jati , in its musical structure. And, it consists three movements: the Pallavi, the Anu-pallavi and the Charanam. The music of the Jatisvaram is distinguished from the musical composition called Gita (song) ; as also from the Varnam , which is a complex composition. In the Jatisvaram, the music is not composed of meaningful words. But, here, the series of sol-fa passages (Svaras) are very highly important. A Jatisvaram composition is set to five Jatis (time-units) of metrical – cyclic patterns (Taala) – say, of 3,4,5,7,9. The basic Taala cycle guides the dancer; and she weaves different types of rhythmic patterns, in terms of the primary units of the dance (the Adavus).

The execution of Jatisvaram is based on the principle of repetition of the musical notes (Svara) of the melody, set to a given Taala. Following that principle, the dancer weaves a variety of dance-patterns.

Thus, what is pure Svara in music becomes pure dance (Nrtta) modulation in the Jatisvaram. The dancer and the musician may begin together on the first note of the melody; and, synchronize to return to the first beat of the Taala cycle; or, the dancer may begin the dance-pattern on the third beat, and yet may synchronize at the end of the phrase of the melodic line. But, the variety of punctuations and combinations within the Jatisvaram format are truly countless. It is up to the ingenuity, the skill and imagination of the dancer to weave as many complex patterns as she is capable of.

Tillana

Tillana is a rhythmic dance that is generally performed towards the end of a concert. A Tillana uses Taala-like phrases in the Pallavi and Anupallavi, and lyrics in the Charanam. It  is predominantly a rhythmic composition.

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Varnam

The Varnam is a highly interesting and complex composition in the Karnataka Samgita. And, when adopted into Dance-form, Varnam is transformed into the richest composition in Bharatanatya. The Varnam, either in music or dance, is a finely crafted exquisite works of art; and, it gives full scope to the musician and also to the dancer to display ones knowledge, skill and expertise.

And , in Dance , its alternating passages of Sahitya (lyrics) and Svaras (notes of the melody) gives scope to the dancer to perform both the Nrtya (dance with Abhinaya) and Nrtta (pure dance movements) aspects. In its performance, a Varnam employs all the three tempos. The movement of a Varnam, which is crisp and tightly knit, is strictly controlled; and, it’s rendering demands discipline and skill. It also calls for complete understanding between the singer and the dancer; and also for the dancer’s ability to interpret not only the words (Sahitya) but also the musical notes (Svaras) as per the requisite time units (Taala). The dancer presents, in varied ways, through Angika-abhinaya the dance elements, which the singer brings forth through the rendering of the Svaras]

Hamsa 4

The Abhinaya Darpana of Nandikeshvara is widely used by the teachers and learners of Bharatanatya. The text is concerned mainly with the descriptions and applications of Angikabhinaya in dance. These are body movements composed by combining the movements of body parts; such as: Angas (major limbs); Upangas (minor limbs), and Pratayangas (smaller parts like fingers, etc).

[The Abhinaya Darpana (Chapter 8, Angika Abhinaya Pages: 47 to71) lists, in great detail, the following kinds of body movements under Angika-abhinaya. And, these are followed by the students and the teachers of Bharatanatya.

  • Shirobheda (movements of the head);
  • Dristibheda (movements of the eyes);
  • Grivabheda (movements of the neck);
  • Asamyukta-hasta (gestures of one hand);
  • Samyukta-hasta (gestures by both hands together);
  • Padabheda (standing postures with Hasta);
  • Sthanaka (Simple standing posture);
  • Utplavana (jumps);
  • Chari-s (different ways of walking, or moving of feet/soles); and,
  • Gati-s (different ways of walking)

In addition, there are other kinds of movements and activities of various parts of the body that are important to Nrtta.]

[The following well known verses said to be of the Abhinaya Darpana are very often quoted

Khantaanyat Lambayat Geetam; Hastena Artha Pradakshayat; Chakshubhyam Darshayat Bhavom; Padabhyam Tala Acherait

Keep your throat full of song; Let your hands bring out the meaning; May your glance be full of expression, While your feet maintain the rhythm

Yato Hasta tato Drushti; Yato Drushti tato Manaha; Yato Manaha tato Bhavaha; Yato Bhava tato Rasaha

Where the hand goes, there the eyes should follow; Where the eyes are, there the mind should follow; Where the mind is, there the expression should be brought out; Where there is  expression , there the Rasa will manifest.]

Hamsa 4

Pindlbandhas

Pindlbandhas (Pindi = cluster or lump) are basically group dances that constitute a distinct phase of the preliminaries (purvaranga) to a play. According to Bharata, the Pindlbandhas were patterned after the dance performed by Shiva along with his Ganas and disciples such as Nandi and Bhadramukha. The purpose of performing the Pindlbandhas, before the commencement of the play proper, was to please the gods; and, to invoke their blessings.

After the exit of the dancer who performed the Pushpanjali (flower offering to gods), The Pindis are danced , by another set of women, to the accompaniment of songs and instrumental music –  anyāścā anukrameātha piṇḍī badhnanti yā striyaḥ- ॥ 279॥

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While describing the physical structure and composition of the Pindibandhas; and the various types of clusters and patterns formed by its dancers, Bharata mentions four types of Pindibandhas that were performed during his time: Pindi (Gulma-lump-like formation); Latha (entwined creeper or net like formation, where dancers put their arms around each other); Srinkhalika (chain like formation by holding each other’s hands); and, Bhedyaka (where the dancers break away from the group and perform individual numbers).

piṇḍī śṛṅkhalikā caiva latābandho’tha bhedyaka piṇḍībandhastu piṇḍatvādgulma śṛṅkhalikā bhavet 288

In short; the Pindibandha is the technique of group formations; and, weaving patterns. Abhinavagupta describes it as ‘piṇḍī ādhāra agādi saghāta,’- a collection of all those basic elements which make a composite whole. It is called Pindibandha, because it draws in all other aspects; and, ties them together. He also states that Agahāras form the core of the Pindibandhas.

 It is said; each variation of a cluster-formation (Pindi) was dedicated to and named after a god or a goddess, who was denoted by the weapons, vehicles, insignia or emblems associated with that deity; and, her/his glory was celebrated through the formation created by the dancers.

Abhinavagupta also explains Pindibandha as the term which refers to the insignia or weapon etc; and, which reminds one of the divinity or concept associated with it.

Pindi adhara-angadi sanghatah; taya badhyate buddhau pravesyate tanu-bhavena sakalaya va vyoma-adaviti pindibandha akrti-visesah

(For instance: Īśvara piṇḍī for Īśvara; Sihavāhinī for Caṇḍikā; Śikhī piṇḍī for Kumar and so on).


Pindibandha flower formation

Abhinavagupta explains that in the Pindibandha, the  dancers coming together, can combine in two ways : as  Sajatiya , in which the two dancers would appear as two lotuses from a common stalk;  or as Vijatiya,  in which one dancer will remain in one pose like the swan and the other will be in a different pose to give the effect of lotus with stalk, held by the swan-lady. And, in the gulma-srnkhalika formation, three women would combine; and in the Latha, creeper like formation, four women would combine.

Bharata provides a list of such Pindis in verses 253-258 of Chapter Four. Bharata states that in order to be able to create such auspicious diagrams/formations (citra), in an appropriate manner, the dancers need to undergo systematic training (śikāyogas tathā caiva prayoktavya prayoktbhiḥ – NS.4.291)

The presentation of the preliminaries seemed to be quite an elaborate affair, with the participation of singers, drummers, and groups of dancers.

Tikuli art

The most celebrated type of the Pindibandha Nrtta is, of course, is the Rasalila that Sri Krishna performed with the Goips amidst the mango and Kadamba groves along the banks of the gentle flowing Yamuna under resplendent full moon of the Sharad-ritu.

Srimamad Bhagavatha sings the glory and joy of Rasa-Lila with love and divine ecstasy, in five Chapters from 29 to 33 of the Tenth Canto (Dashama-skanda) titled as ‘Rasa-panca-adhyayi’. (Harivamsa also describes this dance; but, calls it as Hallisaka)

“That night beautified by the autumnal moon (sharad indu), the almighty Lord having seen the night rendered delightful with the blooming of autumnal jasmines  sported with  the Gopis, while he played on his flute melodious tunes and songs captivating the hearts of the Gopis.

Then having stationed himself between every two of these damsels the Lord of all Yoga, commenced in that circle of the Gopis the festive dance known as Rasa-Lila. Then that ring of dancers was filled with the sounds of bracelets, bangles and the kinkinis of the damsels. While they sang sweet and melodious songs filled with love, the Gopis gesticulated with their hands to express various Bhavas of the Srngara-rasa.

With their measured steps, with the movements of their hands, with their smiles, with the graceful and amorous contraction of their eyebrows, with their dancing bodies, their moving locks of hair covering their foreheads with drops of perspiration trickling down tneir gentle cheeks  and with the knots of their hair loosened, Gopis began to sing. The music of their song filled the Universe.”

Rasa Lila – from Vishnu Purana

The Raasa Dance of today is the re-enactment of Krishna’s celestial Rasa-Lila. It is a Pindibandha type of  dance performed by a well coordinated group of eight, sixteen or thirty two men and women , alternatively positioned, holding each other’s hands; forming a circle (Mandala); going round in rhythmic steps  , singing songs of love made of soft and sweet sounding words; clapping each other’s hands rhythmically; and,  throwing gentle looks at each other (bhrubhanga vikasita). Laya and Taala in combination with vocal and instrumental music play an important role in the Rasa dance.

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The direct descendants of the Rasa-Lila Pindibandhas described in the Puranas  are the many types of folk and other types of group in many parts of India :  Raslīlā, Daṇḍaras, Kummi, Perani, Kolāṭṭam and similar other dances.

The most famous of them all is the Maha-Rasa of Manipur, performed with the singing of the verses of Srimad Bhagavata.

manipur-ras-lila-

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[When you take an overview, you can see that during the time of Bharata, Nrtta meant a Marga class of dance. And, Tandava and Sukumara were also of the Nrtta type. Though the connotation of those terms has since changed vastly, their underlying principles are relevant even to this day.

In the textual tradition, the framework devised by Bharata continued to be followed by the later authors, in principle, for classification and descriptions of several of dance forms – (even though Nrtta and Nrtya were no longer confined to Drama –Natya). The norms laid down by Bharata were treated as the standard or the criterion (Marga, Nibaddha), in comparison with regional (Desi) other types of improvised (Anibaddha) dance forms, in their discussions. The regional dance-forms , despite their specialized formats,  were primarily based in the basic principles of Natyashastra.

This amazing continuity in the tradition of the Natyashastra is preserved in all the Indian classical Dance forms.]

lotus-flower-and-bud

In the next Part we will talk about Nrtta, Natya and Nritya as they were understood, interpreted and commented upon in the Post-Bharata period, i.e., the medieval times and in the present-day.

Continued

 In

Part Four

References and sources

All images are from the Internet

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2018 in Art, Natya

 

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The texts of the Indian Dance traditions – Part One

 

Natya Sastra (1)

Lakshana-granthas – texts concerning the Performing Arts of India

Some time back – as a part of the series on the Music of India  – I had posted brief profiles of some of the well known texts on Samgita-shastra (Musicology), which established a sound theoretical basis (Lakshana) for the structural framework of the classical Music traditions; and, their practice (Lakshya). Those texts, produced over a long period of time, described, in precise terms, the concepts of   Music; its concerns; how it should be taught, learnt and performed; and, how it should be experienced and enjoyed.  It was an evolutionary process cascading towards greater sophistication.

Those Lakshana-granthas projected their vision of how the Music should develop and prosper in future, at the same time retaining the pristine purity of the time-honoured tradition. In the process, those texts, produced over the centuries, defined and protected the principles; as also, guided and regulated the performance of the chaste Music of India.

Some friends and readers inquired whether I could write, on similar lines, about the texts concerning the evolution of the principles and techniques of the performing arts of India; and, particularly , about Dance , which  is the most enchanting form of them all; rich in elegance and beauty ; comprehensive; and highly challenging.

Various thinkers and writers of the Lakshana granthas, over a long period, have put forward several theories based on their concept of the essential core, the heart or the soul of the art of Dance (Natyasya Atma).

In the series of articles that are to follow, I have attempted to trace the unfolding of the principles and practice of the performing arts of India, as discussed in various texts spread over several centuries.

In the present installment of the series, let’s take an overview of the texts of the Indian Dancing traditions. In the subsequent parts, we may discuss each of the selected texts, in fair detail.

This may also be treated as a sort of General Introduction to the theories of Indian Dancing.

Shiva dance 2

The Natyashastra

It is customary to commence with Natyashastra, when it comes to any discussion related to the art-forms of India. To start with, we shall, briefly, talk about the text of the Natyashastra, in general; and, then move on to Natyashastra in the context of Dance.

The Natyashastra of Bharata is regarded as the seminal and the earliest text extant text, represents the first stage of Indian arts where the diverse elements of arts, literature, music, dance, stage management and cosmetics etc., combined harmoniously in order to produce an enjoyable play. It is the source book for all art forms of India. The yaśāstra, surely, is a work of great antiquity. Yet; the scholars opine that looking at the way the text has been compiled and structured; it appears to be based on earlier works.

It is said that the text which we know as Natya-Shastra was based on an earlier text that was much larger. That seems very likely; because, the Natyasastra, as we know, which has about 6,000  karikas (verses), is also known as Sat-sahasri. The later authors and commentators (Dhanika, Abhinavagupta and Sarada-tanaya) refer to the text as Sat-sahari; and, its author as Sat-sahasri-kara. But, the text having 6,000 verses is said to be a condensed version of an earlier and larger text having about 12,000 verses (dwadasha-sahasri). It is said; the larger version was known as Natya- agama and the shorter as Natya-shastra.

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And, again, According to Prof. KM Varma, there were three types of works which preceded the Natyashastra that we know: (1) Sutra – a work on Natya; (2) Bhashya – a commentary on it; and (3) Anuvamsya – a collection of verses , from which Bharata often quotes.

He also points out that Bharata mentions in the Samgraha (the table of contents to Natyashastra) that the subjects to be discussed in the text have reference to what is stated in the Sutra and the Bhashya. That leads to the conclusion that a comprehensive theory of Natya existed much before the time of Bharata; and that he incorporated some of that into his work – the Natyashastra.

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Further, from what Panini  suggests, it appears  there were texts on Natya even  prior to his time; which means such texts were in existence much  before the Natyashastra.

Panini (Ca.500 BCE) the great Grammarian, in his Astadhyayi (4.3.110-11), mentions two ancient Schools  –  of  Krsava and Silalin – that were in existence during  his time –Parasarya Silalibhyam bhikshu nata-sutreyoh  (4.3.110); karmanda krushas shvadinihi  (4.3.111)

It appears that Parasara, Silalin, karmanda and Krsava were the authors of Bhikshu Sutras and Nata Sutras. Of these, Silalin and Krsava were said to have prepared the Sutras (codes) for the Nata (actors or dancers).

At times, Natyashastra refers to the performers (Nata) as Sailalaka-s. The assumption is that the Silalin-school, at one time, might have been a prominent theatrical tradition. Some scholars opine that the Nata-sutras of Silalin (coming under the Amnaya tradition) might have influenced the preliminary part (Purvanga) of the Natyashastra, with its elements of worship (Puja).

However, in the preface to his great work Natya-shastra of Bharatamuni (Volume I, Second Edition, 1956) Pundit M. Ramakrishna Kavi mentions that in the Natyavarga of Amara-kosha (2.8.1419-20) there is reference to three schools of Nata-sutra-kara: Silalin; Krasava; and, Bharata.

Śailālinas tu śailūā jāyājīvā kśāśvina bharatā   ityapi naāś cāraās tu kuśīlavā

It appears that in the later times,  the former two Schools (Silali and Krasava) , which flourished earlier to Bharata , went out of existence or merged with the School of Bharata; and, nothing much has come down to us  about these older Schools. And, it is also said, the Bharata himself was preceded by Adi-Bharata, the originator and Vriddha (senior) Bharata. And, all the actors, of whatever earlier Schools, later came to be known as Bharata-s.

All these suggest that there were texts on Natya even before the time of Bharata; and, by his time Natya was already a well established Art.

[ The ancient texts such as Ramayana, Mahabharata and Satapatha Brahmana, use the term Śailūṣa (शैलूष) – (śilūṣasya apatyam) to refer to an actor,dancer or a performer – avāpya śailūṣa ivaiṣa bhūmikām  (अवाप्य शैलूष इवैष भूमिकाम्)]

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The Natyasastra, that we know, is dated around about the second century BCE . The scholars surmise that the text was in circulation for a very long period of time, in its oral form; and, it was reduced to writing several centuries after it was articulated. Until then, the text was preserved and transmitted in oral form.

The written text facilitated its reach to different parts of the country; and, to the neighboring states as well. In the process, each region, where the text became popular, produced its own version of Natyasastra; in its own script. For instance, Natyasastra spread to Nepal, Almora to Ujjain, Darbhanga and also to the Southern states. The earliest known manuscripts which come from Nepal were in Newari script. The text also became available in many other scripts – Devanagari, Grantha, and several regional languages. It became rather difficult for the later-day scholars, to evolve criteria for determining the authenticity and purity of the text, particularly with grammatical mistakes and scribes errors that crept in during the protracted process of transliterations.

Therefore, written texts as they have come down to us through manuscripts , merely represent the residual record or an approximation to the original; but, not the exact communication of the oral tradition that originated from Bharata.

It is the general contention that the text of the Natyashastra, as it is available today, was not written at one point of time. Its form, as it has come down to us, includes several additions and alterations. It is also said; many views presented in Natya-Shastra might possibly have been adopted from the works of other scholars. That seems quite likely; because, there are frequent references to other writers and other views; there are repetitions; there are contradictory passages; there are technical terms, which are not supported by the tradition.

And, in regard to Dance, in particular, the Chapter Four (Tandava-lakshanam) is the most important portion, as it details the dance-techniques. The editor of  ya Śāstra, Sri. Ramaswami Sastri, however remarks  that ‘this section of ya Śāstra dealing with Karaas, being of a highly technical nature, was less understood and was rendered more difficult by numerous errors committed by the scribes as well as by the omissions of large portions in the manuscripts’.

Though such additions, deletions and alterations have not been pinpointed precisely, some scholars, particularly Prof. KM Varma, surmise that the verses of a long portion of the Fourth Chapter beginning from Sloka number 274 and ending with the chapter seem to be interpolated.  These verses do not also fit into the context. Abhinavagupta also admits the possibility of their insertions.

Further, Prof. KM Varma also mentions that the portion from the Samanya-abhinaya chapter (Chapter 22) to the beginning of the chapter on Siddhi; as also the portions beginning after the chapter on Avanaddha to the end of the present text, are the later additions.

And, by about the tenth century, two recessions of the yaśāstra were in circulation. One was the longer version; and, the other the shorter. There have been long drawn out debates arguing which of the two is the authentic version. Abhinavagupta in his commentary of the yaśāstra used the shorter recession as the basis of his work; while some authors of the medieval period like Raja Bhoja used the longer version. However, Pandit Ramakrishna Kavi, who examined as many as about forty Manuscripts of the text, opined that the longer recession seemed to be ancient, although it contains some interpolation. But, in any case, now, both the versions are treated as ‘authentic’; and, are used depending upon the choice of the commentator.

( For a note on the Life and Works of Manavalli Ramakrishna Kavi, please click here.)

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Natyashastra in the context of Dance

Natyashastra was mainly concerned with successful play-production. And, the role of Music and Dance, in conjunction with other components, was primarily to beautify and to heighten the dramatic effects of the acts and scenes in the play. These were treated as enchanting artistic devices that articulate the moods of various theatrical situations in the Drama. The Dance, at that stage, was an ancillary part (Anga) or one of the ingredients that lent elegance and grace to theatrical performance. That is to say; though Music and Dance were very essential to Drama, neither of the two, at that stage, was considered as an independent Art-form.

Further, for a considerable length of time, say up to the middle period, both music and dance were covered by a single term Samgita.  The term Samgita in the early Indian context meant a composite art-form comprising Gita (vocal singing), Vadya (instrumental accompaniments) and Nrtta the limb movement or dance (Gitam, Vadyam, Nrttam Samgita-mucchyate).  The third component of Samgita, viz., Nrtta, involved the use of other two components (Gita and Vadya).

Thus, the term Samgita combined in itself all the different phases of music, including dance. For Dance (Nrtta), just as in the case of vocal (Gita) and instrumental (Vadya) music, the rhythm (Laya) is very vital. The Dance too was regarded as a kind of music. This is analogous to human body where its different limbs function in harmony with the body’s rhythm.

It was said; all the three elements should, ideally, coordinate and perform harmoniously – supporting and strengthening each other with great relish. And, the three Kutapa-s, in combination should suggest a seamless movement like a circle of fire (Alaata chakra); and, should brighten (Ujjvalayati) the stage.

Thus, till about the middle periods, Dance was regarded as a supporting decorative factor; but, not an independent Art form.

Shiva dancing Halebidu

Coming back to Natyashastra, the Dance that it deals in fair detail is, indeed, Nrtta, the pure dance movements – with its Tandava and Sukumara variations – that carry no particular meaning.  The Nrtta was described as pure dancing or limb movements (agavikepa), not associated with any particular emotion, Bhava. And, it was performed during the preliminaries (Purvaranga), before the commencement of the play proper. The Nrtta was meant as a praise offering (Deva-stuti) to the gods.

And, later Bharata did try to combine the pure dance movements of Nrtta (involving poses, gestures, foot-work etc.) with Abhinaya (lit., to bring near, to present before the eyes), to create an expressive dance-form that was adorned with elegant, evocative and graceful body-movements, performed in unison with attractive rhythm and enthralling music, in order to effectively interpret and illustrate the lyrics of a song; and, also to depict the emotional content of a dramatic sequence.

But, for some reason, Bharata did not see the need to assign a name or a title to this newly created amalgam of Nrtta and Abhinaya. (This art-form in the later period came to be celebrated as Nrtya).

Even at this stage, Dance was not an independent art-form; and, it continued to be treated as one of the beautifying factors of the Drama.

Bharata had not discussed, in detail, about Dance; nor had he put forward any theories to explain his concepts about Dance. The reason for that might be, as the scholars explain, Bharata had left that task to his disciple Kohala; asking him to come up with a treatise on dancing, explaining whatever details he could not mention in the Natyashastra. In fact, Bharata, towards the end of his work says: ‘the rest will be done by Kohala through a supplementary treatise’ – śeam-uttara-tantrea kohalastu kariyati (NS.37.18.)

But, unfortunately, that work of Kohala did not survive for long. And, by the time of Abhinavagupta (10-11th century), it was already lost.

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Texts concerning dance

When it comes to the texts concerning dance there are certain issues or limiting factors.

There is reason to believe that many works on dancing were written during the period following that of Bharata. But most of those works were lost.

For instance; the ancient writers such as Dattila or Dantila (perhaps belonging to the period just after that of Bharata) and Matanga or Matanga Muni (sixth or the seventh century) who wrote authoritatively on Music, it appears, had also commented on Dance. But again, the verses pertaining to Dance in their works, have not come down to us entirely. Some of those verses have survived as fragments quoted by the commentators of the later periods; say , for example, the references pertaining to Taala and Dance from the Brihaddeshi  of Matanga .

Similarly, between the time of Natyashastra (Ca. 200 BCE) and the Abhinavabharati of Abhinavagupta (10-11th century), several commentaries were said to have been produced on the subject of Drama, Music, Dance and related subjects. Some of such ancient authorities mentioned by Abhinavagupta are: Kohala, Nandi, Rahula, Dattila, Narada, Matanga, Shandilya, Kirtidhara, Matrigupta, Udbhata, Sri Sanuka, Lottata, Bhattanayaka and his Guru Bhatta Tauta and others. But, sadly the works of those Masters are lost to us; and, they survive in fragments as cited by the later authors.

Abhinavagupta, states that much of the older traditions had faded out of practice. And he says that one of the reasons, which prompted him to write his work, was to save the tradition from further erosion.

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Texts on Music etc., which also dealt with Dance

There are not many ancient texts that are particularly devoted to discussions on Dance, its theories and techniques.

In the earlier texts on Dance, the techniques of Dancing are seldom discussed in isolation. It invariably is discussed along with music and literature (Kavya). Similarly, the treatise on sculpture (Shilpa) , Drama(Natya), music (Gitam) and painting (Chitra) , do devote a portion , either to Dance itself or to discuss certain technical elements of these art forms in terms of the technique of Dance (Nrtya or Nrtta).

For instance; the  treatises on painting discuss the Rasa-drsti in terms of the glances (Drsti) of the Natyashastra; and, the  treatises on sculpture enumerate in great detail the Nrtta-murti (dancing aspects) of the various gods and goddesses(prathima-lakshanam) , and discuss the symbolism of the hasta-mudra in terms of the hasta-abhinaya of the Natyashastra.

The Vishnudharmottara emphasizes the inter relation between the various art forms.  Sage Markandeya instructs : One who does not know the laws of painting (Chitra) can never understand the laws of image-making (Shilpa); and, it is difficult to understand the laws of painting (Chitra) without any knowledge of the technique of dancing (Nrtya); and, that, in turn, is difficult to understand without a thorough knowledge of the laws of instrumental music (vadya); But, the laws of instrumental music cannot be learnt without a deep knowledge of the art of vocal music (gana).

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Therefore, most of the texts and treatise which dealt with Music, primarily, also talked about dance, in comparatively briefly manner, towards the end. For instance:

[Here, in this portion, I have followed Dr. Mandakranta Bose, as in her very well researched paper ( The Evolution of Classical Indian Dance Literature: A Study of the Sanskritic Tradition )  . I gratefully acknowledge her help and guidance.]

(1)  Visnudharmottara Purana (Ca. fifth or sixth century) a   text encyclopedic in nature.  Apart from painting, image-making, Dancing and dramaturgy, it also deals with varied subjects such as astronomy, astrology, politics, war strategies, treatment of diseases etc. The text, which is divided into three khandas (parts), has in all 570 Adhyayas (chapters). It deals with dance, in its third segment – chapters twenty to thirty-four.

The author follows the Natyasastra in describing the abstract dance form, Nrtta; and, in defining its function as one of beautifying a dramatic presentation. The focus of the text is on Nrtta, defining its vital elements such as Karanas, Cari etc., required in dancing. In addition, the author briefly touches upon the Pindibandhas or group dances mentioned by Bharata; and, goes on to describe VrttiPravrtti and Siddhi; that is – the style, the means of application and the nature of competence.

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(2) The Abhinavabharati of   Abhinavagupta (11th century) though famed as a commentary on Bharata’s Natyasastra, is, for all purposes, an independent treatise on aesthetics in Indian dance, music, poetry, poetics (alakāra-śhāstra), art , Tantra, Pratyabhijnana School of Shaiva Siddanta etc.   Abhinavabharati is considered a landmark work; and is regarded important for the study of Natyasastra.

Abhinavabharati is the oldest commentary available on Natyasastra. All the other previous commentaries are now totally lost. The fact such commentaries once existed came to light only because Abhinavagupta referred to them in his work; and, discussed their views. Further, Abhinavagupta also brought to light and breathed life into ancient and forgotten scholarship of fine rhetoricians Bhamaha, Dandin and Rajashekhara.

Abhinavagupta also drew upon the later authors to explain the application of the rules and principles of Dance. As Prof. Mandakranta Bose observes : One of the most illuminating features of Abhinavagupta’s work is his practice of citing  and drawing upon the older authorities critically , presenting their views to elucidate Bharata’s views ; and , often rejecting their views , putting forth  his own observations to  provide evidence to the contrary.

Abhinavagupta, thus, not only expands on Bharata’s cryptic statements and concepts; but also interprets them in the light of his own experience and knowledge, in the context of the contemporary practices. And, therefore, the importance of Abhinavagupta’s work can hardly be overstated.

He also discusses, in detail, the Rasa-sutra of Bharata in the light of theories Dhvani (aesthetic suggestion) and Abhivyakti (expression). And, Dance is one of the subjects that Abhinavabharati deals with. As regards Dance, Abhinavabharati is particularly known for the explanations it offers on Angikabhinaya and Karanas. The later authors and commentators followed the lead given by Abhinavagupta.

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(3) The Dasarupaka of Dhananjaya (10-11th century), is a work on dramaturgy; and, basically is a summary or compilation of rules concerning Drama (Rupaka), extracted from the Natyashastra of Bharata. As regards Dance, Dhananjaya, in Book One of his work, which provides lists of definitions, mentions the broad categories of Dance-forms as: the Marga (the pure or pristine); and, the Desi (the regional or improvised). And, under each class, he makes a two-fold division: Lasya, the graceful, gentle and fluid pleasing dance; and, Tandava, the vigorous, energetic and brisk invigorating movements (lasya-tandava-rupena natakad-dyupakarakam.). The rest of his work is devoted to discussion on ten forms of Drama (Dasarupaka)

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(4) The Srngaraprakasa of Raja Bhoja (10-11th century) is again a work; spread over thirty-six chapters, which deal principally with poetics (Alamkara shastra) and dramaturgy. In so far as Dance is concerned, it is relevant for the discussion carried out in its Eleventh Chapter on minor types of plays (Uparupakas) or musical Dance-dramas.

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(5) The Natya-darpana of Ramacandra and Gunacandra (twelfth century) is also a treatise, having four chapters, devoted mainly to dramaturgy; discussing characteristics of Drama.

The Natyadarpana   by Ramachandra and Gunachandra, two Jain authors, is an important work in the field of Sanskrit dramaturgy, the science of Drama. The text presents a clear picture of the chief principles of dramaturgy, its critical points and problems.

The Natyadarpana   is composed in two segments: (1) Karika-s (verses); and, (2) Vritti-s (prose).

(1) The Karika-s, in the form of Sutras set to Anustubh Chhandas; give an outline of the topics to be dealt with in the text; and, also define the important principles in a nutshell.

The Karika-s, 207 in number, are spread over Four Chapters (Viveka-s).

The First Chapter, titled Nataka-nirnaya, discusses the nature and the form of Nataka, the most important form of Drama (Rupaka). It enumerates and defines the structures of the Nataka:  Plot (Vastu); the five stages (Avastha) of its depiction: Arambha, Yatna, Praptyasa, Niyatapti and Phalagama. It also details the five alternate stages of plot development – Arthaprakrti (Bija, Bindu etc).Then; it goes on to mention the five junctures – Sandhi-s (Mukha, Prathimukha, Garbha, Avamarsa and Nirvahana);  five Arthopakshepa-s; ( five ways of suggesting to the spectators the scenes and incidents yet to come);  and 64 Sandhyanga elements.

The Second Chapter Prakarana-adya-ekadasa-rupa-nirnaya) discusses the nature and structure of other types of Dramas (Rupakas): Prakarana, Vyayoga, Samavakara, Bhana, Prahasana, Dhima, Utsrstikanka, Ihamrga, and Vithi. In addition, it also discusses the other minor forms of Drama: the Natika and Praranika. Thus, the forms of Drama mentioned here are twelve (as compared to ten enumerated by Dhananjaya).

The Third Chapter (Vrtti-Rasa-Bhava-Abhinaya-Vicara) discusses the details of Theatrical presentations; such as: styles of acting and speaking; portrayal of sentiments; exhibiting the states of being; and, gesticulations (Abhinaya).

The Fourth Chapter (Sarva-Rupaka-Sadharana-Lakshana-Nirnaya) covers general topics and miscellaneous elements of a Theatrical production. These cover topics that are common to all the twelve types of Dramas. These cover issues such as : the desired qualities of the hero and heroine ( of all types) and other characters ; the rules regarding the language and dialogue delivery suitable to each type of character; and the , details of the preliminaries , such as Naandi ( prayers) , Prarochana ( introductions) etc.

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(2) The Vrtti-s (or the Gloss) commenting, in detail, on the subjects briefly covered in the Karika-s, form the most important part of the Text. Apart from commenting on the various issues covered by the Karika-s, the authors also provide the views of other theoreticians, along with illustrations, examples etc. Here, they often criticize the opposing views,

Of the Four Chapters (Viveka-s), the commentary on the First is most elaborate; and, it forms almost half the size of the whole text.

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The text is useful to Dance, because in its third chapter while discussing Anigikabhinaya, it lists the names of the movements of the different parts of the body, as well as extended sequences and compositions. The text  enumerates 13 types of head movements(Shiro-bedha); 36 types of eye-glances (Dristi-bedha);  7 types of eye-brow movements; many types of eye-lid movements; 6 types of nose –movements; 6 types of cheek movements;  6 types of movements of the lower-lip; many types of chin-movements; and nine types of neck-movements.

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(6) Another text of great interest from the twelfth century is the  Manasollasa ( also called Abhjilashitarta Chintamani) ascribed to the Kalyana Chalukya King Someshwara III (1127-1139 AD). It  is an encyclopedic work, divided into one hundred chapters, clustered under  five sections, covering a wide variety of subjects, ranging from the means of acquiring a kingdom, methods of establishing it, to medicine, magic, veterinary science, valuation of precious stones, fortifications, painting , art, games ,  amusements , culinary art and so on . 

As regards Dance, the Manasollasa deals with the subject in the sixteenth chapter, having in 457 verses, titled Nrtya-vinoda, coming under the Fourth Section of the text – the Vinoda vimsathi- dealing with types of amusements.

Manasollasa is also the earliest extant work having a thorough and sustained discussion on dancing. It is also the earliest work, which laid emphasis on the Desi aspect for which later writers on this subject are indebted. Another important contribution of Nrtya Vinoda is that it serves as a source material for reconstruction of the dance styles that were prevalent in medieval India. For these and other reasons, the Nrtya Vinoda of Manasollasa, occupies a significant place in the body of dance literature. 

Someshwara introduces the subject of dancing by saying that dances should be performed at every festive occasion, to celebrate conquests, success in competitions and examinations as well as occasions of joy, passion, pleasure and renouncement. He names six varieties of dancing and six types of Nartakas. The term Nartaka, here, stands for performers in general; and, includes Nartaki (danseuse), Nata (actor), Nartaka (dancer), Vaitalika (bard), Carana (wandering performer) and kollatika (acrobat).

Manasollasa is also significant to the theory of Dance, because it classified the whole of dancing into two major classes:  the Marga (that which adheres to codified rules) and Desi (types of unregulated dance forms with their regional variations).  Manasollasa also introduced four-fold categories of dance forms: Nrtya, Lasya, Marga and Desi.

At another place, Someshwara uses the term Nartana to denote Dancing, in general, covering six types: Natya (dance), Lasya (delicate), Tandava (vigorous), Visama (acrobatic), Vikata (comical) and Laghu (light and graceful).

The other authors, such as Sarangadeva, Pundarika Vittala and others followed the classifications given Manasollasa.

In regard to Dance-movements, Someshwara classifies them into  six Angas, eight Upangas and six Pratyangas. The last mentioned sub-division viz. Pratyanga is an introduction made by Someshwara into Natya terminology; the Natyashastra had not mentioned this minor sub-category.

The other important contribution of Someshwara is the introduction of eighteen Desi karanas, (dance poses) that were not mentioned in other texts.

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(7) A work from this period, but not dated with certainty, which deal with drama is the Nataka-laksana-ratna-kosa of Sagaranandin. The text, as the name suggests, discusses, in detail, the nature and characteristics of Nataka as well as other varieties of drama. This work is of interest to Dance insofar as it lists and describes ten types of Lasyanga that are used in the Lasya variety of dance.

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(8) The Bhavaprakasana of Saradatanaya (1175 -1250 A.D.) containing ten Adhikaras or chapters, is a compendium of poetics and dramaturgy based on the critical works written right from the period of Natyashastra. Its relevance to dance is in its discussions on glances that express Bhavas, as given at the end of the fifth chapter. And, the tenth and final chapter explains the distinction between Nrtta and Nrtya; and, between Marga and Desi.

He contradicts Dhananjaya; and, asserts that   Nrtta, the pure dance, is rooted in Rasa (Nrttam rasa-ahrayam). Saradatanaya’s definition meant that Nrtta not only beautifies a presentation, but is also capable of generating Rasa. This, during his time, was, indeed, a novel view.

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(9) The Sangita Samayasara of Parsvadeva ( a Jain Acharya of 12th or early 13thcentury) is an important work, which is devoted to musicology. It is its seventh chapter that is of interest to Dance.  It is not until the Sangita Samayasara that we find any description of a complete dance.

The Sangita Samayasara, though it deals, mainly, with Music, is of great relevance to Dance. The Seventh Chapter is devoted entirely to Desi dance (referred to as Nrtta); its definition; and, the Angas or body movements (Angika), the features of Desi dances (Desiya-Angani).

This text not only describes specific Nrtta dance pieces (such as: Perana, Pekkhana, Gundali and Dandarasa), but also adds a number of new movements of the Cari, the Sthanas and the Karanas of the Desi variety, all of which involving complicated leaping movements. Here, Parsvadeva describes the utplatti-karanas, needed for the Desi dances; eleven Desi karanas with different Desi-sthanas; and, five Bhramaris.

Towards the end of the Seventh Chapter, Parsvadeva describes the requirements of a good dancer; her physical appearance; and, the way she should be dressed etc.

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(10) By about the 13th century, dance had gained its own existence; and, was no longer an ancillary to drama, as it was during the time of Natyashastra. The concept of Nrtta was still present; Nritya as a delightful art form was fully established; and, the two forms retained their individual identity. And, both were discussed along with Natya.  This is reflected in the appearance of numerous works on the art of Music, Dance and Drama, the most significant of which was the Samgita Ratnakara of Sarangadeva 

The Sarangadeva’s Sangita-ratnakara (first half of 13th century) is one of the most influential works on music and dance. The Sangita-ratnakara is a great compilation, not an original work, which ably brings together various strands of the past music traditions found in earlier works like Nāţyashastra, Dattilam, Bŗhaddēśī, and Sarasvatī-hŗdayālańkāra-hāra. It is greatly influenced by Abhinavagupta’s    Abhinavabharati. But for Samgita-ratnakara, it might have been more difficult to understand Natyasastra, Brhaddesi and other ancient texts. But, while dealing with Desi class of Dance, Sarangadeva follows Manasollasa of Someshwara.

The text of Sangita-ratnakara has 1678 verses spread over seven chapters (Saptaadhyayi) covering the aspects of GitaVadya and NrttaSvaragat-adhyaya; Ragavivek-adhyaya; Prakirnaka-adhyayaPrabandh-adhyayaTaala-adhyaya; Vadya-adhyaya and   Nartana-adhyaya. The first six chapters deal with various facets of music and music-instruments; and, the last chapter deals with Dance. Sangita-ratnakara’s contribution to dance is very significant.

Chapter Seven– Nartana: The seventh and the last chapter, is in two parts; the first one deals with Nartana.  Sarangadeva, following Someshwara, uses a common term Nartana to denote the arts of Nŗtta, Nŗtya and Nāţya.  In describing the Marga tradition of Dance, Sarangadeva follows Natyashastra. As regards the Desi class of Dance he improves upon the explanations offered in Manasollasa of King Someshwara and Sangita Samayasara of Parsvadeva.

According to Sarangadeva, the Nrtya covers rhythmic limb movements (Nrtta) as also eloquent gestures expressing emotions through Abhinaya. It is a harmonious combination of facial expressions, various glances, poses and meaningful movements of the hands, fingers and feet. Nrtyam, the dance, delightfully brings together and presents in a very highly expressive, attractive visual and auditory form, the import of the lyrics (sahitya), the nuances of its emotional content to the accompaniment of soulful music and rhythmic patterns (tala-laya).

Although he follows Bharata in describing the movements of the body, he differs from Bharata in dividing the limbs into three categories, Anga, Upanga and Pratyanga.

He also differs from Natyashastra which identifies Tandava as Shiva’s dance and Sukumara (Lasya) as Parvati’s. According to Sarangadeva, Tandava requires Uddhata (forceful) and Lasya requires Lalita (delicate) movements.

Sarangadeva’s description of Cari, Sthana, Karana and Angaharas of the Marga type are the same as in the Natyashastra. But the Desi Caris, Sthanas and Utputikaranas are according to Manasollasa of Someshwara.

Sarangadeva explains the importance of aesthetic beauty; and also lays down the rules of exercise. He also describes the qualities and faults of a performer (including a description of her make-up and costume); and, those of the teacher and the group of supporting performers. Then he describes the sequential process of a performance, including the musical accompaniment, in the pure mode or suddha-paddhati.

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(11) The Sangita Upanishad Saroddhara  is a treatise on music and dance written in the fourteenth century (1350 A.D.) by the Jaina writer Sudhakalasa. The work is in six chapters, the first four of which are on Gita (vocal music), Vadya (musical instruments) and on Taala (rhythm). The fifth and the sixth chapters are related to dancing.

The term he uses to denote dance is Nrtya. His understanding of the terms Nrtta, Nrtya and Natya varied from that of his predecessors. According to him, Nrtta is danced by men, Nrtya by women, while Natya is Nataka, performed by both men and women.

And, his treatment of the movements of the feet (pada-karmas) and the postures (Sthanas and Sthanakas) differs from that of other texts. According to him, Sthanas are postures meant for women; while, Sthanakas are postures meant for men. Karanas, according to Sudhakalasa, are components of Lasyangas and Nrtya. Obviously, he was recording the contemporary practice, without specific reference to the earlier texts and traditions.

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(12) The Sangitacandra is a work containing 2168 verses by Suklapandita, also known as Vipradasa (Ca. fourteenth century). He explains the procedures of the Purvaranga; and classifies its dance Nrtta into three categories:  Visama (heavy), Vikata (deviated) and Laghu (light). Such classification of Nrtta and such terms to describe Nrtta had not been used earlier by any author.

He then, initially, divides Nrtya, the dance, into two classes: Marga-nrtya which expresses Rasa; and, Natya-nrtya, which expresses Bhava. And, then, brings in the third variety of Nrtya, the Desiya Nrtya, the regional types. Thereafter, he divides each of the three varieties of Nrtya into Tandava and Lasya.

Again, Vipradasa‘s understanding of the terms and concepts of Dance and their treatment; and, emphasis on the Desi dances, reflect the contemporary practices of the medieval period.

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(13) A major work of the medieval period is the Sangita-damodara by Subhankara (ca. Fifteenth century).  Although the Sangita-damodara is principally a work on music and dance, it includes substantial discussions on drama as well. Of its Five Chapters, the Fourth one relates to Dance. Here, dancing is discussed under two broad heads:  Angahara (Angaviksepa, movements of the body) and Nrtya (the dance proper).

Under Angahara, the author includes Angikabhinaya, as related to Drama, because it means acting by using the movements of the limbs. As regards Nrtya, he treats it, mostly, as Desi Nrtya, the regional dances. Nrtya is divided into two types: Tandava, the Purusha-nrtya, danced by men; and, Lasya, the Stri-nrtya, danced by women.

Under Natya, Subhankara includes twenty-seven major type of Dramas (Rupaka) and minor types of Drama (Uparupaka). He classifies them under the heading Nrtye naksatramala, the garland of stars in Nrtya.

Thus, by then , the concept of dance in terms of its male and female forms  and movements had crept in. Further, the Dance-drama, based in music, was treated as a form of Nrtya. The Nrtya was generally understood as Desi Nrtya.

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(14) Another important work from this period is the Nrtyadhyaya of Asokamalla (Ca. fourteenth century). The Nrtyadhyaya consisting of 1611 verses follows the Desi tradition of dance, as in Sangita-ratnakara and the Nrtta-ratna-vali.

The text describes, in detail, the hand gestures followed by the movements of the major and minor limbs, that is, Anga, Upanga and Pratyanga.

It also describes Vicitra-abhinaya (various ways of acting), dividing it into elements of Bhava-abhinaya (expressions displaying emotions); and, Indriya-abhinaya (gestures through use of limbs), resembling the Samanya-abhinaya and Citra-abhinaya, as in Natyashastra. The author also describes one hundred and eight Karanas of Bharata. The text ends with descriptions of Kalasas, generally understood as dance movements with which a performance concludes.

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(15) The Rasakaumudi of Srlkantha (a contemporary and student of Pundarika Vitthala – 16th-17th century) is again a work of general nature that deals with vocal music (Gana), instrumental music (Vadya), Dance (Natya) , Drama (Rupaka) and aesthetics (Rasa) etc. The text is of interest to Dance, mainly because of the contemporary scene of dancing it portrays.  It mentions ten divisions of Natya as: Natya, Nrtya, Nrtta, Tandava, Lasya, Visama, Vikata, Laghu, Perani and Gaundali. But, he calls only the first variety Natya as being authentic.

But, the main contribution of Rasakaumudi is the introduction of the concept of ‘Prana’ or the essential elements of the performance; the summation of what a dancer should aim at, while performing. The ten Pranas listed are : the line (Rekha); the steadiness (Sthirata); the swiftness (Vega); the pirouettes (Bhramari), the glance (Dristi); the desirous smile (Smita); the pleasing appearance (Priti); the intellect (Medha); the speech (Vachya); and , the song (Gitam) – RK. 5. 162.

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(16) The Sangltadarpana of Chatura Damodara (a poet at Jahangir’s court, which places him in the seventeenth century) is, again, a work on music and dance. Its seventh, the final chapter, is related to dancing; and, it generally follows Nartananirnaya of Pundarika Vittala. It also adopts Nartana as the general name for dancing; and, mentions Nrtta, Nrtya, Natya, Tandava and Lasya as the types of Nartana. It then divides Nrtya into five sub-divisions: Visama, Vikata, Laghu, Perani and Gaundali, all of which are Desi forms.

There is greater emphasis on Desi forms, in its discussions. And, the authors of this period followed and adopted the views of the Nartananirnaya; and, there was a steady drift taking the discussions away from the concepts and terminologies of the Natyashastra.

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(17) Sangitanarayana by Purusottama Misra, a poet at the court of Gajapati Narayanadeva of Orissa (seventeenth century), in its four chapters deals with music and dance. For a greater part, it reproduces the concepts and terms of dancing as in the other texts, particularly Nartananirnaya.  The new information it provides relates to the enumeration of the names of twelve varieties of Desi-Nrttas; five varieties of Prakara-Natya of the Desi type; eleven varieties of Marga Natyas and sixteen varieties of Desi Natyas – dramatic presentations ; and, names of thirty-two Kalasa-karanas

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(18) The Sangita-makaranda of Vedasuri (early seventeenth century) follows Nartananirnaya of Pundarika Vitthala. The new information it provides is with regard to the Gatis. He treats each Gati like a dance sequence; and, describes each Gati with all its components of movements. For instance; while describing the Marga-gati, the author gives all the movements necessary for its presentation, such as the appropriate Karana, Sthanas, Cari, the hand-gestures, the head movements and glances.

He seems to have been interested mainly in the structure of dance compositions as combinations of smaller movements. He describes these movements step by step; and, includes with each movement the appropriate rhythm and tempo that it should go with.

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Texts dealing mainly with the theory and practice of Dance

There were also texts and treatise, which were wholly devoted to the discussions on the theory, practice and techniques of Dance. The numbers of such texts are not many; but, are relevant to the contemporary Dance training and learning. The following are the more significant ones, among them:

 (1) The date of the Abhinaya Darpana of Nandikeshvara is rather uncertain. The scholars tend to place it in or close to the medieval period; because, it divides dance into three branches: Natya, Nrtta and Nrtya. But, such distinctions did not come about until the time of Sangita-ratnakara (13th century). Also, the Abhinaya Darpana views Tandava and Lasya as forms of masculine and feminine dancing, which again was an approach adopted during the medieval times.

Abhinaya Darpana deals predominantly with the Angikabhinaya (body movements) of the Nrtta class; and, is a text that is used extensively by the Bharatanatya dancers. It describes Angikabhinaya, composed by the combination of the movements of Angas (major limbs- the head, neck, torso and the waist), Upangas (minor limbs – the eyes, the eyebrows, the nose, the lower lip, the cheeks and the chin), Pratayangas (neck, stomach, thighs, knees back and shoulders, etc) and the expressions on the countenance. When the Anga moves, Pratyanga and Upanga also move accordingly. The text also specifies how such movements and expressions should be put to use in a dance sequence.

According to the text, the perfect posture that is, Anga-sausthava, which helps in balancing the inter relationship between the body and the mind, is the central component for dance; and, is most important for ease in the execution and carriage. For instance; the Anga-sausthava awareness demands that the performer hold her head steady; look straight ahead with a level gaze; with shoulders pushed back (not raised artificially); and, to open out the chest so that back is erect. The arms are spread out parallel to the ground; and, the stomach with the pelvic bone is pushed in.

The techniques of dance, body movements, postures etc. described in this text, is a part of the curriculum of the present-day performing arts.

The emphasis on Angikabhinaya in Nrtta requires the dancer to be in a fit physical condition, in order to be able to execute all the dance movements with grace and agility, especially during the sparkling Nrtta items according to the Laya (tempo) and Taala (beat).

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(2) Closely following upon the Sangita-ratnakara, the Nrtta-ratnavali by Jaya Senapati was written in the thirteenth century A.D. This is the only work of that period, which deals exclusively with dance, in such detail. Nrtta-ratnavali devotes all its eight chapters to dance; and, discusses vocal or instrumental music only in the context of dance.

The first four chapters of the text discuss the Marga tradition, following the Natyashastra; and, the other four discuss the Desi.

The Marga, according to Jaya Senapati, is that which is faithful to the tradition of Bharata; and, is precise and systematic. While dealing with the Marga, although he broadly follows the Bharata, Jaya Senapati provides specific details of the execution of the Karanas and Caris.  He also quotes the views of earlier writers, in order to trace the evolution of Dance and its forms.

The First Chapter describes the four modes of Abhinaya, i.e., Angika, Vachika, Aharya and Sattvika; as also the six forms of dancing – Nrtta, Nrtya, Marga, Desi, Tandava and Lasya.  The Chapter Two deals with Abhinaya, describing in detail the movements of the major and minor limbs: six Angas, six Pratyangas and six Upangas. The Third Chapter is on Caris (movements of one leg); Sthanas (postures); Nyaya (rules of performance); Vyayama (exercise); Sausthava (grace); more Sthanas and Mandalas (combinations of Caris). The Fourth Chapter describes Karanas (dance-units) and Angaharas (sequences of dance-units); and, ends with Recakas (extending movements of the neck, the hands, the waist and the feet) mainly following their descriptions as given in the Natyasastra.

The second half of the text is devoted to the Desi tradition.  The more significant contribution of Nrttaratnavali is in its detailed descriptions of the Desi Karanas, Angaharas and Desi Caris. And, of particular interest is its enumeration and description of Desi dance pieces.

The Fifth Chapter defines the term Desi; and, goes on to describe the Desi sthanas, Utpati-karanas (Desi karanas) and Bhramaris (spin and turns). The sixth chapter deals with movements of the feet, Desi Caris. Jaya Senapati then describes forty-six varieties of Desi Lasyangas, which include the Desi Angas, following the Sangita-samaya-sara. The Gatis or gaits are described next. The Seventh Chapter mainly deals with individual Desi dance pieces, Desi-nrtta. These include Perani, Pekkhana, Suda, Rasaka, Carcari, Natyarasaka, Sivapriya, Cintu, Kanduka, Bhandika, Ghatisani, Carana, Bahurupa, Kollata and Gaundali.

The Eighth and Final Chapter , provides information regarding presentation in general, the recital, the appropriate time for its presentation, the arrival of the chief guest and the welcome accorded the king, other members of the audience, the qualities required in a dancer, her costume, the orchestra, the sitting arrangements, the entrance of a dancer,  the use of three curtains on the stage and their removal. The Chapter ends with advice on honoring the dancer, the musicians and the poet.

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(3) The Nrtya-ratna-kosa of Maharana Kumbha (a scholar king of the fifteenth century), is part of a larger work, the Sangita-raja, which closely follows the Sangita-ratnakara of Sarangadeva. It is the Fourth Chapter of Sangita-raja; and, deals with Nrtya. The Nrtya-ratna-kosa is divided into four ullasas or parts; each consisting of four pariksanas or sections. It is mostly a compilation of the concepts, definitions, theories and practices concerning Dance – both Marga and Desi– culled out from earlier texts, particularly from Sangita-ratnakara. While describing various types of dance-movements, the emphasis is more on the Desi types.

The first section of the first part describes the origin of the theories of Natya (shastra); the rules of building the performance-hall; the qualifications of the person presiding; and, of the audience. It also offers definitions of certain fundamental terms.

Raja Kumbha defines the terms Nrtta, Nrtya and Natya. According to him, Nrtta is made up of combination of Karanas and Angaharas (Karanam angaharani caiva Nrttam); Nrtya is Rasa (Nrtya sabdena ca Rasam punaha); and, Natya is Abhinaya (Natyena abhinayam).

The Nrtya is classified as Marga; and, Nrtta as Desi. The Pindibandhas or group dances, performed by sixteen female dancers as part of the preliminaries are included under Nrtta.

The rest of the verses are devoted to Angikabhinaya or the movements of the body. The text discusses, in detail, about limb movements like Pratyangas, Upangas etc.; and, also about Aharya-bhinaya or costume, make-up and stage properties.

There are also descriptions of Marga and Desi Caris, Shanakas or postures, meant for men and women, for sitting and reclining. Similarly, the Karanas are classified as Shuddha karanas (pure) of the Marga class; and, as Desi Karanas.

That is followed description of four Vrttis or styles and six kalasas (dance movements with which a performance concludes), with its twenty-two sub-varieties.

Towards the end, it enumerates the qualities and faults of a performer.  It discusses make-up; different schools of performing artists; their qualities and faults; the Shuddha-paddhati or the pure way of presentation; and, states the ways of imparting instructions to performers.

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(4) The Nartana-nirnaya of Pundarika Vitthala (16th-17th centuries) is a very significant work in the history of Indian Dancing. Till about the time of Raja Kumbha, the Dance was discussed mainly in terms of Marga and Desi. Pundarika Vitthala introduces a novel feature (hitherto not tried by anyone else), which is the principles of Bhaddha (structured) and Anibhaddha (neither bound nor structured) for stratifying the dance forms into two separate classes. Even though the later texts on dancing generally followed the Sangita-ratnakara, they did take into consideration Nartana-nirnaya’s classification of Bhaddha and Anibaddha, as a part of their conceptual framework. His classification of Dance forms into Baddha and Anibaddha was a significant theoretical development.

The Nartana-nirnaya was written in the sixteenth century, while Pundarika Vitthala  (or Pandari Vitthala) was in the service of the Mughal Court. It comes  about five hundred years after Sangitaratnakara. This period between these two texts was marked by several interesting and rather radical changes and transformations that were taking place in India , in the field of Arts.

The Nartananirnaya was composed in an altogether different ambiance.  The courts of Raja Man Singh, Raja Madhav Singh and Akbar provided the forum for interaction between the North and South Indian traditions on one hand; and between Indian and Persian practices on the other. This was an interesting period when diverse streams of Art came together.

Pundarika Vittala mentions that he wrote the Nartananirnaya, concerning music and dance, at the suggestion of Akbar, to cater to his taste – Akbara-nrupa rucyartham

The subject matter central to Nartana-nirnaya is dancing. The technical details of dance as detailed in the Nartananirnaya are an important source for reconstructing the history of Indian music and dance during the middle period. This was also the time when the old practices were fading out and new concepts were stepping in. For instance, by the time of Pundarika Vittala, the 108 Karanas were reduced to sixteen. At the same time , dance formats such as Jakkini, Raasa nrtya were finding place among traditional type of Dances.

In his work, Pundarika Vitthala does not confine only to the traditional dances of India and Persia; but, he also describes the various dance traditions of the different regions of India that were practiced during his time. The information he provides on regional dance forms is quite specific, in the sense that he points to the part/s of India from where the particular style originated, the language of the accompanying songs and the modes its presentation. The Nartana-nirnaya is, therefore, an invaluable treasure house on the state of regional dance forms as they existed in the sixteenth century IndiaThus, Nartana-nirnaya serves as a bridge between the older and present-day traditions of classical Indian dancing.

The chapter titled Nartana-prakarana, dealing with Nrtta and Nartana, is relevant to Dancing. The Nrtta deals with the abstract aesthetic movements and configuration of various body parts. And, Nartana is about the representational art of dancing, giving expression to emotions through Abhinaya. The Nartana employs the Nrtta as a communicative instrument to give a form to its expressions.

Another chapter, Nrttadhikarana is virtually about the Grammar of Dance. It describes the Nrtta element of Dancing with reference to the special configuration of the static and moving elements of the Dance, such as: Sthanaka, Karana, Angahara, Cari, Hasta, Angri, Recaka, Vartana etc.

Then the text goes on to enumerate the items of the dance recital: entry of the dancer (Mukhacali, including Pushpanjali); Nanadi Slokas invoking the blessings of the gods; the kinds of Urupa, Dhavada, Kvada, Laga and Bhramari. It also mentions the dance forms originating from various regions: Sabda, Svarabhinaya, Svaramantha, Gita, Cindu, Dharu, Dhruvapada, Jakkadi and Raasa.

Some of these are classified under Bandhanrtta, the group dances with complex configurations and formations. These are also of the Anibaddha type, the graceful, simple dances, not restricted by the regimen of the rules etc.

The Nartana-nirnaya is indeed a major work that throws light on the origins of some of the dance forms – particularly Kathak and Odissi – that are prevalent today

[We shall discuss many of the texts enumerated above, individually and in fair detail, later in the series.]

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Overview

All the texts enumerated above deal with the subject of dance in some detail; exclusively or along with music, drama and poetics.

When you take an over view, you will notice that three texts stand out as landmarks, defining the nature and treatment of dance in the corresponding period. These three are: Natyashastra of Bharata (Ca. 200 BCE); Abhinavabharati of Abhinavagupta (10-11th century) and Sangita-ratnakara of Sarangadeva (13th century).

Natyashastra is, of course, the seminal text that not only enunciated the principles of Dancing, but also brought them into practice. Though the emphasis of Natyashastra was on the production and presentation of the play, it successfully brought together the arts of poetry, music, dance and other decorative elements, all of which contributed to the elegance of the theater.

The Dance that Bharata specifically refers to is Nrtta, pure dance, which was primarily performed before the commencement of the play proper (Purvaranga) as a prayer offered to gods. The elements of the Nrtta were also brought into Drama by fusing it with Abhinnaya. Though the resultant art-form was not assigned a name by Bharata, its essence was very much a part of the theatrical performance. And, this delightful art form came to be celebrated as Nrtya, during the later periods. And, in its early stages, Dance was not considered as an independent Art-form.

Several commentaries on the Natyashastra that were produced between the period of Bharata and Abhinavagupta are lost. And, the Abhinavabhatarati is the earliest available commentary on the Natyashastra; and, is, therefore, highly valuable. Abhinavagupta followed Bharata, in general; and, adhered to his terminologies. For instance, while discussing on Dance, Abhinava consistently uses the term Nrtta; and, avoids the term Nrtya (perhaps because it does not appear in Natyashastra). During his time, dance, music and dramatics were continued to be treated as integral to each other, as in the times of Natyashastra.

Yet; Abhinavagupta, brought in fresh perspective to the Natyashastra; and, interpreted it in the light of his own experience and knowledge. His commentary, therefore, presents the dynamic and evolving state of the art of his time, rather than a description of Dancing   as was frozen in Bharata’s time.  As it has often been said; Abhinavabharati is a bridge between the world of the ancient and forgotten wisdom and the scholarship of the succeeding generations.

Abhinavagupta’s influence has been profound and pervasive. Succeeding generations of writers on Natya were guided by his concepts and theories of Rasa, Bhava, aesthetics and dramaturgy. No writer or commentator of a later period could afford to ignore Abhinavagupta.

The commentaries written during the period following that of Abhinavagupta continued to employ the terminologies of the Natyashastra. But, the treatment of its basic terms such as, Nrtta, Natya, Tandava and Lasya was highly inconsistent. These terms were interpreted variously, in any number of ways, depending upon the understanding and disposition of the author; as also according to contemporary usage of those terms and the application of their concepts. Standardisation was conspicuous by its absence.

A significant development during this period was assigning greater importance to the regional types of Dances. Though based on the Natyashastra, these texts recognized and paid greater attention to the dance forms that were popular among the people of different geographic regions and of different cultural groups. In the process, the concepts of Marga, which signified the chaste, traditional form of Dance as per the rules of Natyashastra, came to be distinguished from the regional, popular, free flowing types of Dance, termed as Desi.

By about the 13th century, dance came into its own; and, was no longer an ancillary to drama, as was the case during the time of Natyashastra. Yet; the Dance, in this period, continued to be discussed along with the main subjects such as Music and Drama.

The concept of Nrtta continued to exist and Nritya was established; each with its own individual identity. The term Natya which signified the combination of Nrtta (pure dance) and Abhinaya (meaningful expressions) had come into wide use.

The Sangita-ratnakara of Sarangadeva marks the beginning of the period when Dance began to be discussed in its own right, rather than as an adjunct to Drama. It was during this period, the Desi types of Dance along with its individual forms were discussed in detail.  And, the other significant development was the fusing of the special techniques of Angikabhinayas of both the Nrtta and the Desi types into the graceful Natya form. And, new trends in Dance were recognized.

Though the ancient terms Nrtta, Tandava, Lasya and Natya continued to be interpreted in various ways, the term Nartana came to be accepted as the general class name of Dance, comprising its three sub-divisions: NatyaNrtya and Nrtta.

In the period beginning with the sixteenth century, Pundarika Vittala introduced the new concept of classifying dance forms into two separate classes, as the Bhaddha (structured) and Anibhaddha (neither bound nor structured). The later texts, while discussing Dance, apart from following Marga and Desi classification, also took into consideration Nartana-nirnaya’s classification of Bhaddha and Anibaddha, as a part of their conceptual framework.

It was during this period, the Persian influence, through the Mughal Court , entered into Indian dancing, giving rise to a new style of  Dance form, the Kathak.  This period was also marked by the emergence of the Dance forms that were not specifically mentioned in the Natyashastra – the Uparupakas. This genre of musical dance dramas not only came to be admitted into the mainstream of dancing, but eventually became the dominant type of performing art, giving rise dance forms such as Odissi, Kuchipudi etc.

The emphasis of the later texts shifted away from the Marga of the Natyashastra; but, leaned towards the newer forms of Desi Dances with their improvised techniques and structural principles. Apart from increase in the varieties of regional dance forms, a number of manuals in regional languages began to appear. These regional texts provide a glimpse of the state of Dance as was practiced in different regions.

Dr. Mandakranta Bose observes:

Bharata’s account represented only a small part of the total body of dance styles of the time. When new styles became prominent in the medieval period they had to be included in the descriptions of dancing. Such a widening of frontiers meant a great increment of technical description in the texts.

The distinction between the Natyashastra and the later texts is not merely one of detail. Of greater significance is the fact that unlike the Natyashastra, the later texts recognize different styles. These are distinct from the one described by Bharata, the main path or Marga tradition of dancing. The later texts concern themselves more and more with other styles, known, generically, as Desi, whose technique and structural principles are sufficiently different from the style described by Bharata..

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Further, the principle of Anibaddha allowed the dancer a considerable degree of freedom, encouraging her to search far and to create, through her ingenuity, novel aesthetic expressions. This was a major departure from the regimen that required the dancer to rigorously follow the prescriptions of the texts. The opportunities to come up with artistic innovations, within the framework of the tradition, helped to infuse enterprise and vitality into dance performances. The dance became more alive.

At the same time, the Natyashastra continues to be the authoritative source book, which lays down the basic principles of the performing arts; and, identifies the range of body movements that constitute dancing.

The Bharatanatya of today represents such a dynamic phase of the traditional Indian Dancing.  It does not, specifically, have a text of its own; its roots are in the principles, practices and techniques that are detailed in Natyashastra, Abhinava Darpana and such other ancient texts. Though it is basically ingrained in the principles of Natyashastra, it delightfully combines in itself the Angikabhinaya of the Nrtta; the four Abhinayas of the Natya (Angika, Vachika, Aharya and Sattvika); the interpretative musical narrative element of the Uparupakas, for enacting a theme; and the improved techniques of the later times.

Besides, the Bharatanatya developed its own Grammar through Dance idioms such as: Adavus (combination of postures – Sthana, foot movement – Chari, and hand gestures-Hasta); Jati (feet movement in tune with the Sollakattu syllables); Tirmanam (brilliant bursts of complicated dance rhythms towards the ‘end’ section of the dance). Besides, the Bharatanatya, in the context of its time, enriched its repertoire of the Nrtta by items such as Alaripu, Jatiswara and Tillana.

Thus, the evolution of Indian Dance system is a dynamic process that absorbed new elements and techniques without compromising its basic tenets. It, thus, demonstrates the time-honored Indian principle of growth: continuity along with change.

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Before we discuss Dance and its forms, let’s take a look at the Art and Art-forms, in general.

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Continued

In

Part Two

References and sources

1.Movements and Mimesis: The Idea of Dance in the Sanskritic Tradition  by Dr.Mandakranta Bose

2 . Literature used in Dance/ Dance Sahitva

3. Natyashastra

4.https://etd.ohiolink.edu/!etd.send_file%3Faccession%3Dosu1079459926%26disposition%3Dinline

The images are from Internet

 

 
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Concerning the Dasarupa of Dhananjaya – Part Eight

Continued from Part Seven

Dasarupa of Dhananjaya

Book Four

Rasa and Bhava

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Introduction

The Book Four of the Dasarupa is devoted to the discussion on Rasa. Here, Dhananjaya broadly follows the concepts and definitions as provided in the Natyashastra, except in minor details such as where he creates additional divisions in the Srngara, Adbhuta and Bhibhatsa Rasas.

The Fourth Book on Rasa (Rasadhyaya), in its 87 verses, describes, in fair detail, the eight types of Rasas; the Bhavas along with their causes (Vibhāva), manifestations (Anubhāva), their transitory states (Vyabhicāri-bhāva) and the involuntary reactions (Sāttvika-bhāva),  all combining effectively to picturesquely  portray  and give expression to the intended dominant Bhava (Sthāyi-bhāva).  Dhananjaya accepts the eight Sthāyi-bhāvas and the eight Rasas described by Bharata; though he does not catalogue the Rasas.  Of the eight Rasas enumerated by Bharata, Dhananjaya discusses the Srngara Rasa and its subdivisions in much detail. The Hasya Rasa is described in two passages; while the rest are covered in one verse each.

Dhananjaya also discusses the definitions, the details, the divisions and sub-divisions of the various elements of each of the Bhavas that harmoniously unite in order to give expression to the principal emotion (Sthayin) that the performer is attempting to project. And, the resultant (Rasavant) delectable joy (Rasa) is experienced with relish by the cultured aesthete (Rasika).

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Dhananjaya commences his exposition by stating that Rasa, a pleasurable sensation, is produced by the combination of the various the elements of the Bhavas, when it’s dominant mood or sentiment (Sthayin) harmonizes within itself its cause (Vibhava), its consequents (Anubhava), the associated transitory states (Vyabhicharin) stirring up varied sorts of involuntary bodily reactions (Sattavika).

Vibhavair anubhavais ca sattvikair vyabhicaribhih aniyamanah svadyatvam sthayi bhavo rasah smrtah//

Then, Dhananjaya straightaway proceeds to define and explain various technical terms involved in the process of bringing about (Bhavitam) the Bhavas in order to convey (abhi-vyākhyātā) it’s Rasa.  It is said; these sections were meant to serve as a prelude or an introduction to the ensuing discussions elucidating the principles and practices that are related to the subject of Rasa. After this section, Dhananjaya moves on to the descriptions of Rasas and their subdivisions.

But, in this post let’s commence with Rasa and Bhava; and, then take a look at the subdivisions of each of the elements, as enumerated by Dhananjaya; and, at the end let’s come back to Rasa.

Let’s briefly go over the concepts related to Bhavas and Rasa, as described in the Natyashastra and as presented in the Dasarupa.

lotus-flower-and-bud

Rasa

In the Sixth Chapter of Natyashastra , Bharata, introduces the subject of Rasa after discussing the five kinds of the Dhruva songs that are sung during the course of a play  i.e.,  while entering (praveśa), casual (ākepa), going out (niskrama), pleasing (prāsādika) and intermediate (āntara).

He then remarks, “No sense proceeds without Rasa – Na hi rasadrte kascid-arthah pravartate.” He was implying that the entire object of a well rendered Dramatic performances, poetry, music or art is to provide delight, which is enjoyed by the spectator (Rasika). And, without providing that experience of beauty, anything said or done is a futile exercise.  And, that gratification of pleasure or delight is called Rasa. Such a wonder (Camatkara) and rare delight (lokottara-ananda), which we love to enjoy, is indeed the essence and also the purpose of any work of art.

Bharata had introduced the concept of Rasa in the context of Drama. He meant Rasa as an aesthetic appreciation or joy that the spectator experiences.  As Bharata says, Rasa should be relished as an emotional or intellectual experience: na rasanāvyāpāra āsvādanam, api tu mānasa eva (NS.6.31) .The yashāstra states that the goal of any art form is to invoke such Rasa.

Bharata does not, however, put forward any theories about the Rasa concept. He does not also give a direct definition of Rasa or its essence. But, he straight away delves into explanations of how a well structured combination of certain objective factors produce subjective reactions in the spectators.

He comes up with the statement that Rasa is produced (rasa nispattih) by the combination (samyogād) of the VibhāvaAnubhāva and Sanchari (Vyabhicāri) Bhāvas. : Vibhāva anubhāva vyabbhicāri samyogāt rasa nispattih. This statement later, gained fame as the Rasa Sutra, the formula to invoke Rasa.

Here, briefly, the term Vibhāva represents the causes, while Anubhāva is the manifestation or the performance of its effect as communicated through the abhinaya, and the vyabbhicāri Bhava, the transitory states.

Then, while explaining the concept of Rasa, Bharata attempts to illustrate it through an analogy.  Bharata poses the question: What is an example, one may ask? In reply, he describes Rasa in terms of taste, with the analogy of cooking a tasty meal. He states, just as the taste emerges from the mixing of various seasonings, herbs and other components, so also does the Rasa emerges from a combination of the various Bhāvas. As the six tastes (shad-rasa) are produced by ingredients such as, raw sugar or spices or vegetables, so also the Sthāyibhāva, the dominant mood, combining in itself the other Bhavas, puts forth its characteristic Rasa. Bharata, eventually, says that which can be relished – like the taste of food – is Rasa –Rasyate anena iti rasaha (asvadayatva).  Thus, Rasa is an experience which is relished.

The Natyashastra does not directly equate Rasa to taste. It merely, employs the taste as analogy or a parallel to explain the process involved in the generation of Rasa, since it had no precise definitions for the essence of Rasa.That might be because, Rasa is a subjective experience; and , it can only be enjoyed experientially. It can , at best, only be obliquely suggested through explanations.

Tatra vibhāvā-anubhāva-vyabhicāri-sayogād-rasa-nipatti ko dṛṣṭānta atrāha – yathā hi, nānā-vyañjana-uadhi-dravya-sayogād-rasanipatti tathā, nānā-bhāvo-pagamād-rasa-nipatti yathā hi -guādi-bhirdravyair-vyañjanair-auadhibhiśca āavādayo rasā, nirvartyante, tathā nānā-bhāvopagatā api sthāyino bhāvā rasatvamā-apnuvantīti atrāha – rasa iti ka padārtha ucyate – āsvādyatvāt

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The next question that arises is, how is Rasa relished? The reply is — just as well-disposed persons, while eating food cooked with many kinds of spices , relish (āsvādayanti)  its tastes and derive pleasure, similarly the cultured spectators with refined outlook relish and derive pleasure from the Sthāyibhāva  expressed through various Bhavas aided by words, gestures and other pleasant feelings (Sattva) .

How is Rasa produced?

The terms Samyoga and Nispatti, which occur in the Rasa Sutra, are at the centre of all discussions concerning Rasa. Bharata used the term Samyoga in his Rasa sutra (tatra vibhāvā-anubhāva vyabhicāri sayogād rasa nipatti), to point out the need to combine these Bhavas properly. It is explained; what is meant here is not the combination of the Bhavas among themselves; but, it is their alignment with the Sthayibhava, the dominant emotion at that juncture. It is only when the Vibhava (cause or Hetu), Anubhava (manifestation or expressionand Sancharibhava (transitory moods) as also the Sattvas (reflexes)   meaningfully unite with the Sthayibhava, that the right, pleasurable, Rasa is projected (Rasapurna). 

[Bharata omitted to mention Sthayin, the dominant Bhava, in his Rasa-sutra. But, he asserted that only the Sthayins attain the state of Rasa. He made a distinction between Rasa and Sthayin. And in the discussion on the Sthayins, Bharata elaborated how these durable mental states attain Rasatva. He discussed eight Rasas and eight Sthayins separately in his text.]

The Sthayi bhava and Sanchari bhava cannot be realized without a credible cause i.e., Vibhava, and its due representations i.e., Anubhava. The Vibhavas and Anubhavas as also the Sattva, on their own, have no relevance unless they are properly combined with the dominant Sthayibhava and the transient Sanchari bhava. The analogy that is given in this context is that spices, sugar etc., are not related to each other. But, when they are properly mixed and cooked with the main dish, they combine well and give forth a delicious flavour.

That is to say; undoubtedly the partaking or savouring of Rasa gives pleasure; but, such pleasure is not derived directly. It is only when the Sthayi bhava combines all the other related Bhavas  (Vibhavair anubhavais ca sattvikair vyabhicaribhih) and transforms them through natural Abhinaya that the Rasa is eventually produced, gladdening the hearts of the spectators.   Bharata uses the term Nispatthi (rendering) for realization of the Rasa in the heart and mind (manas) of the Sahardya.

Vibhavair anubhavais ca sattvikair vyabhicaribhih aniyamanah svadyatvam sthayi bhavo rasah smrtah//

Dhananjaya also defines Rasa in exactly the same words as Bharata did. And, in addition, he explains Rasa as the pleasure (svada) given forth (prakhyatam)  by the Sthayi Bhava, which is produced from a poem having elements (padartha) in the form of (svarupa) moonlight (indu) , disinterest (nirveda) , excitement (romacha) etc., which serve as  Vibhava (cause), Sanchari (transitory mood) and  Anubhava (consequent expression).

Padarthair indu-nirveda-romancadi-svarupakaih kavyad vibhava-sarmcary anubhava prakhyatam gataih bhavitah svadate sthayi rasah sa parikirtitah

Bharata envisages absolute continuity of the artistic process, beginning with the creative experience of the artist through his performance or his poetry, to the aesthetic experience of the spectator or the reader.Along with that, he also explains the relationship between Rasa and Bhava.

He illustrates this process with the seed-tree-flower-fruit analogy (Bija-shakthi). Just as a tree grows from a seed ;and, just as the tree puts forth  flowers and fruits, so also the emotional experiences (Rasa) are the source (root) of all the modes of expressions (bhava). The Bhavas, in turn, are transformed to Rasa.”(Natya-Shastra: 6-38)

yathā bījād-bhaved-vko vkāt-pupa phala yathā tathā mūla rasā sarvete bhyo bhāvā vyavasthitā 38

lotus-flower-and-bud

Bhava-s

As regards the Bhavas, Bharata explains they are called  Bhavas , because they effectively bring out the dominant sentiment of the play – that is the Sthāyibhāvā – with the aid of various supporting expressions , such as words (Vachika),  gestures (Angika), costumes (Aharya) and bodily reflexes (Sattva) – for the enjoyment of the good-hearted spectator (sumanasa prekakā) . Then it is called the Rasa of the scene (tasmān nāya rasā ity abhivyākhyātā).

It is also explained; they are called Bhavas because they happen (Bhavanti), they cause or bring about (Bhavitam); and, are felt (bhava-vanti). Bhava is the cause, the hetu; this and the other terms such as bhavitam, vasitam, krtam are synonyms. The term suggests the meaning of ‘to cause or to pervade’. The Bhavas help to bring about (Bhavayanti) the Rasas to the state of enjoyment. That is to say : the Bhavas manifest  or give expression  to the states of emotions – such as pain or pleasure- being experienced by the character – Sukha duhkha dikair bhavalr bhavas tad bhava bhavanam //4.5//

Thus, Bhava could be understood as a process through which the import or the inner idea of a dramatic situation is expressed and transformed, with the aid of four-fold Abhinaya,  into Natya-rasa for the delight of the discerning spectators.

Nānā bhāvā abhinaya vyañjitān vāg aga sattopetān / Sthāyibhāvān āsvādayanti sumanasa prekakā / harādīś cā adhigacchanti  tasmān nāya rasā ity abhivyākhyātā //6.31//

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It is said; the eight Sthāyi-bhavās, thirty-three Vyabhicāri-bhāvās together with eight Sātvika-bhāvas, amount to forty-nine psychological states, excluding Vibhava   and Anubhava.

Within this format; and , in  the context of the Drama and Poetry, the terms Vibhava, Anubhava, Sanchari, Sattvika and Sthayi are explained thus:

Vibhava

Vibhava, Vibhavah, Nimittam, and Hetu all are synonyms; they provide a cause to manifest the intent (vibhava-yante); and, the term Vibhavitam also stands for Vijnatam – to know vividly. The Vibhavas are said to be of two kinds: Alambana, the primary cause (kaarana) or the stimulant for the dominant emotion; and, Uddipana that which inflames and enhances the emotion caused by that stimulant.

jnayamanataya tatra vibhavo bhavaposakrt alambana-uddipanatva prabhedena sa ca dvidha.

Anubhava

Anu’ is that which follows; and, Anubhava is the representation, manifestation or the effect giving expression (bhava-sam-suchanatmakah) to the internal state (vikara) caused by the Vibhava. It is Anubhava because it makes the spectators feel (anubhavyate) or experience the effect of the acting (Abhinaya) brought forth by means of words, gestures, representations and the Sattva. Thus, the psychological states (Bhavas) combined with Vibhavas (cause) and  Anubhavas  (portrayal or manifestations) have been stated – Anubhavo vikaras tu bhava sam-sucanat-makah

Dhanika, the commentator, explains these Anubhavas as follows-:

These Bhavas are expressed by the performer with the help of speech (Vachika); gestures and actions (Angika), and costumes etc., (Aharya). The Āngika-abhinaya (facial expressions, gestures/movement of the limbs) is of great importance, particularly in the dance. There are two types of basic Abhinayas:  Padārtha-abhinaya (when the artist delineates each word of the lyrics with gestures and expressions); and, the Vākyārtha-abhinaya (where the dancer acts out an entire stanza or sentence). In either case, though the hands (hastha) play an important part, the Āngika-abhinaya involves other body-parts, as well, to express meaning of the lyrics, in full.

Here, the body is divided into three major parts – the Anga, Pratyanga and Upānga

The six Angās -: Siras (head); Hasta (hand); Vakshas (chest); Pārshva (sides); Kati-tata (hips); and, Pāda (foot). Some consider Grivā (neck) to be the seventh

2) The six Pratyangās -: Skandha (shoulders);  Bāhu (arms);  Prusta  (back); Udara (stomach); Uru (thighs); Janghā (shanks).Some consider Manibandha   (wrist);  Kurpara (elbows) ; and, Jānu (knees) also as  Pratyanga

3) The twelve Upāngās or minor parts of the head or face which are important for facial expression.-: Druṣṭi (eyes) ; Bhrū (eye-brows);  Puta (pupil); Kapota (cheek); Nāsikā (nose); Adhara (lower-lip); Ostya (upper lip); Danta (teeth); Jihva (tongue) etc.

bhava

Source : Laws practice Sanskrit drama by Prof. S N Shastri

 

Vybhichari bhava 

Vybhichari-bhava or Sanchari-Bhavas are the complimentary or transitory psychological states. Bharata mentions as many as thirty-three transitory psychological states that accompany the Sthayi Bhava, the dominant Bhava, which causes Rasa.

Dhananjaya explains that the transitory states (vyabhicharin) are those that especially accompany the Permanent State (Sthayin) emerging from it and again receding back into it, like the waves in the ocean.

visesad abhimukhyena caranto vyabhicarinah sthayiny unmagna-nirmagnah kallola iva varidhau

The Sanchari-bhavas or Vybhichari-bhavas are enumerated as thirty in numbers; but, there is scope a few more. They are Nirveda (indifference); Glani (weakness or confusion); Shanka (apprehension or doubt) ; Asuya (envy or jealousy);  Mada  (haughtiness, pride); Shrama  (fatigue); Alasya (tiredness or indolence),  Dainya  (meek, submissive); Chinta (worry, anxiety); Moha (excessive attachment, delusion); Smriti (awareness, recollection); Dhrti (steadfast); Vrida (shame); Chapalata (Greed , inconsistency); Harsha (joy); Avega (thoughtless response, flurry); Garva (arrogance, haughtiness); Jadata (stupor, inaction); Vishada (sorrow, despair);  Autsuka   (longing); Nidra (sleepiness); Apsamra (Epilepsy); Supta (dreaming); Vibodh (awakening); Amasara (indignation); Avahitta(dissimulation);  Ugrata (ferocity); Mati (resolve); Vyadhi (sickness); Unmada (insanity); Marana (death); Trasa (terror); and, Vitarka (trepidation)

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Thus, Vibhāva indicates the cause, while Anubhāva is the performance of the bhāva as communicated through the Abhinaya. The more important Vibhāva and Anubhāva are those that invoke the Sthāyi bhāva, or the principle emotion at the moment. Thus, the Rasa-sutra states that the Vibhāva, Anubhāva, and Vyabhicāri bhāva together produce Rasa.

A complete understanding of the Vibhava (Hetu, cause) and Anubhava (karya, effect) can be had only experience of dealing (vyavahara-atah) with them – Hetu-karyat-manoh siddhis tayoh sam-vyavahara-atah

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Sattvika Bhavas 

The Sattvika Bhavas are reflex actions or involuntary bodily reactions to strong feelings or agitations that take place in one’s mind. Sattvas are of eight kinds.

The Eight Sattivika-bhavas are; Stambhana (stunned into inaction);  Sveda (sweating);  Romancha (hair-standing on end in excitement); Svara-bheda (change of the voice or breaking of the voice); Vepathu (trembling); Vairarnya (change of colour, pallor); Ashru (shedding tears); and, Pralaya  (fainting) . These do help to enhance the effect of the intended expression or state of mind (Bhava). 

stambha svedo’tha romāñca svarabhedo’tha vepathu vaivaryam-aśru pralaya ityaṣṭau sātvikā sm 6.22

Dhananjaya and Dhanika explain the Sattvika Bhavas, the involuntary states (bhava sattvika = sattva- bhava) though they also are the effects, they are altogether separate from the other Bhavas, because they arise by themselves as the reflex actions or reactions to the emotional state of the person.

prthag bhava bhavanty anye anubhavatve api sattvikah sattvad eva samutpattes tac ca tadbhavabhavanam

Sātvika abhinaya are the expressions of the feelings created in the mind that are extremely projected by Āṅgika and Vācika.

satvam nāma manah prabhavam.etadeva samāhitanmanastvādutpadyate iti bharatah.etadevasya satvam yat duhkhitena praharsitena vā asru romanchadayo nivartyante.tena satvena nirvruttā bhāvāh.sātvikāh kāh bhāvāh.tadbhāva bhāvanam ca bhāvah-iti dhanikah.pruthag bhāvā bhavantyannyenubhavatvepi sātvikāh.satvādeva samutpattestastacca tadbhāva bhāvanam iti dhanikah

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Sthayi Bhavas

The Sthayi Bhavas, the dominant Bhavas, which are most commonly found in all humans, are said to be eight. Bharata lists these eight  Sthayibhavas  as:  Rati (love); Hasaa (mirth); Shoka (grief);  Krodha  (anger); Utsaha (enthusiasm or exuberance); Bhaya  (fear);  Jigupsa  (disgust)   ; and Vismaya (astonishment ).

rati-hāsaśca śokaśca krodho-utsāhau bhaya tathā jugupsā vismayaśceti sthāyibhāvā prakīrtitā  6. 17

Dhananjaya deviates from Bharata in defining Sthayibhava. In his view Sthayin (a permanent state), the source of delight, is one which is not interfered with by other psychological states whether consistent with it or inconsistent, but which brings the others into harmony with itself.

viruddhair aviruddhair va bhavair vicchidyate na yah atmabhavam nayaty anyan sa sthayi lavanakarah

Dhananjaya also lists Rati (Love); Uthsasa (exuberance); Jigupsa (disgust) ;Krodha (anger); Haasa (mirth); Vismaya (astonishment) ; Bhaya (fear) ; and, Shoka (sorrow) as the eight permanent states (Sthayi Bhavas)-Rati-utsaha-jugupsah-krodho-hasah-smayo-bhayam-sokah

And then he adds a line saying that some authorities include in this list Sama or Shanata (tranquillity); but, it cannot be developed in the Drama- Samam api ke cit prahuh pustir natyesu naitasya

Explaining the importance of Sthayi Bhava, Dhananjaya states that just as a  verb (Kriya)  when combined with a noun (Karaka)  is an essential part of a sentence, so also Sthayi Bhava, combined with other Bhavas, is indeed the essence of the play.

Vacya prakaranadibhyo buddhistha va yatha kriya vakyarthah karakair yukta sthSyi bhavas tathetaraih

The same idea is vividly expressed in the Natyashastra (7.8). Just as the king is superior to other mortals; and just as the Guru is superior to the students, so also the Sthayi, which is the shelter of others,  is superior to all other Bhavas in this world.

yatha naranatn nrpatih, sisyanam ca yaths guruh, evam hi sarvabhuvanam bhavah sthiyi mahan iha

Dhananjaya further explains: this very Sthayin becomes Rasa as the spectator (Rasika) views and absorbs it – rasah sa eva svadyatvad rasikasyaiva vartanat.

And, each of these Sthayibhavas gives rise to a RasaRati  to Srngara Rasa; Haasa – Hasya; ShokhaKaruna; KrodhaRaudra ; Utsaha – Vira; Bhaya– Bhayanaka; Jigupsa  – Bhibhatsa; and, Vismaya Adbhuta. Thus, the eight Sthāyi-bhāvas closely correspond to the eight Rasas.

śṛṅgāra-hāsya-karuṇā-raudra-vīra-bhayānakāḥ।bībhatsā-adbhuta saṃjñau cetyaṣṭau nāṭye rasāḥ smṛtāḥ ॥ 6.15

Dhananjaya remarks that responsive spectators, fired by enthusiasm and imagination, contribute to the success of the play in the manner of ‘children playing with clay elephants ‘. ” When children play with clay-elephants, etc., the source of their joy is their own utsaha (enthusiasm). The same is true of spectators watching and almost sharing the heroic deeds of characters, say like, Arjuna and other heroes on the stage.”

Kridatam mrnrnayair yadvad balanam dviradadibhih / svotsahah svadate tadvac chrotrnam Arjunadibhih.

The Sthayins are transformed into Rasa. And, it is called Rasa when their Vibhava, Anubhava and Vyabhicarins combine harmoniously with the Sthayin.  And, the Rasa is enjoyed by the spectators, who are cultured and aesthete. Such Rasa is not manufactured from concrete objects. But, it is the bliss of one’s own consciousness. In the enjoyment of the Rasa, both the subject (the spectator) and the object (Vibhava, Anubhava etc.,) are generalized (sadharanikarana). Our aesthetic identification (tanmayībhavana) with the character is a generalized experience (sadharanikarana), freed from the individual’s own identifications. And, in their universalised form, the Rasas evoked, are beyond the limitations of time and place disappear.

That is to say; while enjoying the aesthetic experience, the mind of the spectator is liberated from the obstacles caused by the ego and other disturbances. Thus transported from the limited to the realm of the general and universal, the spectators are capable of experiencing Nirvada, or blissfulness. In such aesthetic process, they are transported to a trans-personal level. This is a process of de-individual or universalization – the Sadharanikarana.

[ Ven. Dr. Lenagala Siriniwasa Thero explains :

If the principle emotion or sthāyi bhāva is anger (krodha), let us say, the cause of anger, vibhava, is betrayal by a friend. The anger will be more potent if the vibhāva is strongly established. If the sthāyibhāva is deeply felt, then it will result in the physical manifestation of anger such as burning eyes and heaving chest, which is the anubhava. But in anger, one can make fun of and laugh sarcastically at the object of one’s anger. One can feel sorrow when thinking of the happy times spent together earlier. One can feel disgust for the other person’s behaviour or be amazed at the change in him now. Through all this, the fundamental thread of anger must be maintained. But the transient emotions-the vyabhicāri bhāvas of laughter, sorrow, disgust and amazement – enhance the present angry state. If performed with appropriate āgika, vācika, ahārya and above all, true sātvika abhinaya, it will invoke the rasa of raudra or anger in the spectator whose mind is completely in accordance with the performer.]

lotus-flower-and-bud

In regard to the Rasas, Bharata, initially, names four Rasas (Srngara, Raudra, Vira and Bhibhatsa) as primary; and, the other four as being dependent upon them. That is to say ; the primary Rasas, which represent the dominant mental states of humans, are the cause or the source for the production of the other four Rasas.

Bharata had explained that Hasya (mirth) arises from Srngara (delightful); Karuna (pathos) from Raudra (furious); Adbhuta (wonder or marvel) from the Vira (heroic); and, Bhayanaka (fearsome or terrible) from Bhibhatsa (odious).

śṛṅgārādhi bhaved hāsyo raudrā cca karuo rasa vīrā ccaivā adbhuto utpattir bībhatsā cca bhayānaka  6.39

Bharata , however, does not offer  theoretical explanations to say why he chose to highlight this particular set of eight Rasas. It likely that he was following a tradition that he inherited from his predecessors. Some scholars have , however, tried to explain Bhara’s scheme as representations of the basic instincts, tendencies  or genetic memories (Vasana) inherent in all human beings, as Sthayi-bhavas or Chitta vrttis

The other explanation is that Bharata’s scheme reflects the basic instinct in all living beings, which  is to seek pleasure and to move away from pain. The instincts of pleasure , in short, could be identified as the need for Love, laughter, enthusiasm, vigour  and amazement . And, one is , ordinarily, repelled by rather painful and tense emotions , such as anger, disgust, sorrow and fear.  These instincts and their related responses seem to be embedded in the consciousness of all beings.

And, when this reality of the inner working of the human experiences is organized systematically following a  design or a scheme of the Bhava -Rasas,  and presented through the medium of the technically perfect  Abhinaya of the stimuli (cause), responses ( effects) and the complimentary transitory states , the performance comes alive reaching forth to the minds and hearts of the spectators.

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Dhananjaya, in his Dasarupa, followed the concepts and definitions provided by Bharata in the Natyashastra, with regard to the Bhavas, such as: the cause (Vibhava); consequents (Anubhava); and the transitory states (Vyabhicharibhava). He also agrees that the Rasa is produced through the integration of these Bhavas into the Sthayibhava.

Further, Dhananjaya accepts the four primary Rasas that Bharata identified i.e. śṛṅgāra (erotic); raudra (furious); vīra (heroic); and bibhatsa (odious). He also accepts the four other Rasas as being dependent on them. That is to say; the primary Rasas, which represent the dominant mental states of humans, are the cause or the source for the production of the other four Rasas.

According to Dhananjaya, as the Sthayin and other Bhavas pervade the mind of the spectator, the innate joy in him (atmananda) manifests as the Svada or the aesthetic enjoyment. And again, Dhananjaya says, the same kinds of charm (Svada) are also related to Hasya, Adbhuta, Bhayanaka and Karuna Rasas.

And therefore, Dhananjaya concludes that it could be said the four (Hasya, Adbhuta, Bhayanaka and Karuna) arise from the other four (Srngara, Vira, Bhibhatsa and Raudra) Rasas, respectively

Thus, Dhananjaya recognizes the eight forms of Rasas that Bharata had mentioned; but, he does not enumerate them again.  He merely sums up saying that the charm (Svada) in a poetic composition (Kavya), which one enjoys greatly (atmananda) is of four kinds (caturvidhah).  These give rise in the mind of the reader: Vikasa (cheerfulness); Vistara (exaltation); Kshoba (agitation); and, Vikshepa (perturbation). These four, in turn, are related to Srngara, Vira, Bhibhatsa and Raudra Rasas, respectively (kramat).

svadah kavyartha-sambhedad atmananda-samudbhavah vikasa-vistara-ksobha-viksepaih sa caturvidhah srhgara-vira-bibhatsa-raudresu manasah kramat – hasya-adbhuta-bhaya-utkarsa – karunanam ta eva hi atas tajjanyata tesam ata eva va adharanam.

krishnaradha-3

The Eight Rasas

As mentioned earlier, Dhananjaya discusses the Srngara rasa in fair detail;  and the rest in a comparatively brief manner.

Srngara rasa

Love (Rati) is essentially the delight marked by desire for lovely places, arts, occasions, garments, pleasures, and the like. That feeling on the part of two young persons, smitten with love, immersed in its sheer joy, when it is   manifested by tender gestures, constitutes the Srngara.

Ramya-desa-kala-kalavesa-bhogadi-sevanaih pramodatma ratih saiva yunor anyonya-raktayoh prahrsyamana srngaro madhura-anga-vicestitaih

However, the natures and functions of the Srngara Rasa are explained differently, by Bharata and Dhanañjaya. For instance; Bharata had said that the states like indolence (ālasya), cruelty (craurya) and disgust (jigupsā) are not applicable (bhāvaistu varjitā) to the erotic (śṛṅgāra) Rasa (NŚ.7.109).  But, Dhanañjaya mentions that though the states like indolence (ālasya), cruelty (ugrata), death (maraa) and disgust (jigupsā) are not independently applicable to the śṛṅgāra; yet, they are related to it indirectly, in one way or the other.

Referring to these tendencies of Alasya etc., Dhananjaya says that with skilful management of the eight Sattivika-bhavas, eight Sthayins and thirty-three Sancharins (a total of forty-nine states), these can be brought out in the Srangara rasa also.

Ye sattvajah sthayina eva castau triansat trayo ye vyabhicarinas ca, ekonapanc?§ad ami hi bhava yuktya nibaddhah pariposayanti alasyam augryam maranam jugupsa tasyasrayadvaitaviruddham istam.

Bharata had divided the Sṛṅgāra-rasa into two categories, i.e. Sambhoga (union) and vipralambha (separation). But, Dhanañjaya classifies the Srngara-rasa under three types, i.e. pain of separation before the union(Ayoga), separation after the union (Viprayoga) and union (Sambhoga)- Ayogo viprayogas ca sambhogas ceti sa tridha.

Of these three, Dhananjaya explains the Ayoga as the pain or the suffering that the lovers have to endure when they realize that there is hardly any prospect of being united, because of the intervention of others or by fate. 

tatrayogo ‘nurage ‘pi navayor ekacittayoh paratantryena daivad va viprakarsad asarrigamah

Viprayoga, is the forcible separation or asunder of the lovers, between whom a close intimacy has developed – Viprayogas tu visleso rudha-visram-ubhayor.

And, Sambhoga, the union, is that blissful state when the two playful lovers, in complete agreement come together, enjoy seeing each other, touching each other, and the like

anukulau nisevete yatranyonyam vilasinau darsanasparsanadini sa sambhogo mudanvitah

Under this section, Dhananjaya lists the subdivisions of the Ayoga, Viprayoga and Sambhoga.

: – The Ayoga, the separation, has ten stages. At first, there occurs in it longing (abhilasa); then anxiety (cintana); recollection (smrti); enumeration of the loved one’s merits (gunakatha); distress (udvega); raving (pralapa); insanity (unmada); fever (samjvara); stupor (jadata); and death (marana) .  These are its unfortunate stages, in due order. Then Dhananjaya gives the explanations for each of these ten stages of Ayoga.

: – The Viprayoga, the other kind of separation, is of two varieties: one brought about by resentment; and, the other by absence of the Lover.

The resentment between the two can take place because of fondness, when the lovers determine to be angry with each other. And, resentment can also take place because of jealousy, when the Lady Love is angry as she finds out that her lover is involved with another woman. Dhananjaya lists three possibilities for arousal of jealousy.

As regards the separation caused by the absence of the Lover, it could be because he is travelling (pravasa) on business; or because of misunderstanding or a curse. In such a case there is weeping, sighing, emaciation, letting the hair hang down, and the like.

: – The Sambhoga is the most delightful union of the lovers.It is said; although the two can create countless ways of enjoyment , those modes can be classified according to their degree. For instance ; (1) Sankshipta or brief: when the lovers meet at the end of purva-raga the mode of enjoyment is brief and tinged with initial reserve; (2) Sankirna or mixed: when they meet to reconcile their differences , it is an amalgam of sorrow, regret , great oy and immense  relief; (3) Sampurna or rich or full: when the lovers come together after being seperated for some time or being apart in distant places; and (4) Samruddha or exuberant : it is the joy when the come together after going through harrowing experiences or when when the lover returns safe and sound from a hard fought battle. All such pleasures are real (murta) as compared to the ones in dreams or in imagination (gauna-somboga).

Dhananjaya describes ten playful (Lila) and other actions of the Lady Love, according to her kindness, gentleness, and devotion to her lover.

Prabhas Milan

Vira Rasa

The Vira Rasa is induced by  power (pratapa), good conduct (vinaya), determination (dhyavasaya), courage, (sattva) infatuation (moha), cheerfulness (avisada), polity (naya), astonishment (vismaya), might (vikrama), and the like (as Vibhava, the cause), and is based on the Sthayi Bhava of  enthusiasm (Uthsaha).

Vira, the heroic Rasa is of three kinds, having benevolence, fighting, or liberality – Daya-ranad-anayogat tredha kilatra (as Anubhava). In it, there occur assurance, arrogance, contentment, and Joy (as Sanchari Bhava) – mati garva-dhrti-praharsah.

Virah pratapa-vinaya-dhyavasaya – sattva –moha-avisada-naya-vismaya-vikrama-dyaih  utsaha – bhuh sa ca daya –rana-danayogat tredha kilatra mati garva-dhrti-praharsah.

The Vira is broadly classified into four types : (1) Dana-vira ( generosity in giving away or bequeathing   gifts) ; (2) Daya -vira ( having boundless compassion to other beings); (3) Yuddha – vira (heroism or valour in the battle) ; and, (4) Dharma -vira (righteousness  and adherence to Dharma  and truthfulness (Satya)  , or  fulfilling ones word or promise , even while under great stress ).

But, this fourfold classification is considered rather arbitrary ; and, it can be extended to any number, to include Kshama ( forgiveness) , Prema (love ), Dhrti   ( courage) , Mati (reasoning ) and such other virtues.

**

Bibhatsa

The Bibhatsa Rasa, the odious, has the Sthayi Bhava of disgust (jugupsa) as its sole basis; it causes distress (udvega) chiefly by means of worms, stinking matter, and nausea. it causes horror by means of blood, entrails, bones, marrow, flesh, and the like. And, it causes unmixed aversion in the case of the hips, breasts, and so forth of women. It is accompanied by contraction of the nose, mouth, and so on as Anubhava. In it there occur agitation, sickness, apprehension, and the like (as Sanchari Bhava).

bibhatsah krmi-putigandhi-vamath-uprayair jugupsaikabhur udvega rudhira-antraki-kasavasa –mamsa-dibhih ksobhanah vairagyaj jaghana-stana-disu ghrna-suddho anubhavair vrto nasavaktra-vikunanadibhir ihavega -rtisank-adayah

According to Dhananjaya , Bibhatsa could be of three kinds : Kshobana (related to blood, intestines,marrow and such other ghastly substances); Udvegi (related to loathsome , repulsive scenes, putrid sights) ; and, Ghrna-suddha  (disgust, revulsion caused by anything ugly and horrific).

**

Raudra

The Sthayi Bhava of Anger (krodha) is caused by feelings such as: indignation and aversion to an enemy (as Vibhava); its Alambana is is the unforgivable wrong or treachery ; its Uddipana is the arrogance of the wrong-doer .  And , the resulting development of it is the Furious Raudra Rasa, a state of agitation accompanied by biting one’s lip, trembling, frowning, sweating, redness of the face, and also by drawing of weapons, holding the shoulders boastfully, striking the earth, vowing, and imprisonment (as Anubhava). In it , there occur the Sanchari Bhavas , such as: indignation, intoxication, recollection, inconstancy, envy, cruelty, agitation, and the like.

krodho matsara-  vairi-vaikrta-mayaih poso asya raudro anujah ksobhah svadharadamsa-kampa-bhrukuti-sveda-syarlgair yutah sastrollasa-  vikatthanamsadharanlghatapratijnagrahair atrama-rsamadau smrtis capala-tasuyaugrya-vegadayah   

   **

Hasya rasa

Mirth (haasa) is caused by one’s own  or another’s  strange actions, words, or attire; the development of this is said to be the Hasya rasa, which is of threefold origin.

vikrtakrtivagvesair atmano ‘tha parasya va hasah syat pariposo ‘sya hasyas triprakrtih smrtah

Mirth is of two kinds, since it may be provoked by some characteristic of the person amused (atmasta) or of another person (paratha) ; in either case , the mirthful individual may be one of the higher, middling, or lower characters in the play (hence the ‘threefold origin’ mentioned in the text). There are consequently six possible varieties of the Hasya Rasa.

The Sanchari Bhavas related to Hasya rasa are sleeping, indolence, weariness, weakness, and stupor –nidra –alasya-sramaglani-murchas ca sahacarinah.

In this connection, different kinds of smiles and laughter are described.

A gentle smile (smita) is opening the eyes wide; a smile (hasita) is showing the teeth to some extent; laughing (vihasita) is making a soft sound; laughter (upahasita) is the same, accompanied by shaking of the head; uproarious laughter (apahasita) is laughter accompanied by tears; and convulsive laughter (atlhasita—atihasita) is laughter with shaking of the body. Two of these varieties of laughter are characteristic of the higher; two of the middling; and, two of the lower characters, in the order named.

smitam iha vikasi-nayanam kirn cil laksya-dvijam tu hasitam syat madhura-svaram vihasitam sasirah-kampam idam upahasitam

apahasitarn sasraksarn vikasiptangam bhavaty atihasitam dve dve hasite caisam jyesthe madhye ‘dhame kraraasah.

**

Adbhuta

The Adbhuta rasa whose essence is the Sthayi Bhava of Vismaya (astonishment) is  the marvel , wonder and joy caused by supernatural things (as Vibhavas) ; it has as its result (karma) [i. e. As Anubhava] exclamations of surprise, weeping, trembling, sweating, and stammering; the Sanchari Bhavas , occurring in connection with it,  are generally joy, agitation, and contentment.

Atilokaih padarthaih syad vismayatma raso adbhutah karmasya sadhu-vad asru-vepathusveda-gadgadah harsa-avega-dhrtipraya bhavanti vyabhicarinah

**

Bhayanaka

The Bhayanaka, with fear, (bhaya) as its [Sthayi Bhava results  from change of voice, loss of courage, and the like (as Vibhava) ; it is characterized by trembling of all the limbs, sweating, being parched, and fainting [as Anubhava] ; its associated transitory states, the Sanchari Bhavas are:  depression, agitation, distraction, fright, and the like.

Vikrta-svara-sattvader bhaya-bhavo bhayanakah sarvanga-vepa-thus vedasosa-vaicittya-laksanah dainya –sambhrama-sammoha-trasadis tatsahodarah.

**

Karuna

The Karuna Rasa, the pathos, with the Sthayi Bhava of Sorrow (soka) as its essence, results from loss of something cherished ; or loss of a friend  or a dear one ; and when slapped with something undesired. In consequence of it there occur heaving of sighs, drawing of sighs, weeping, paralysis, lamentation, and the like (as Anubhava) ; the Sanchari Bhava , occurring in connection with it, are sleeping, epilepsy, depression, sickness, death, indolence, agitation, despair, stupor, insanity, anxiety, and so forth

istanliad anistapteh sokatma karuno anu tam nihsvas-ucchvasa-rudita- stambha     -pralapita-dayah sva-papa-smara-dainya-dhi-marana-alasya-sambhramah visada-jada-tonmada-cintadya -vyabhicarinah

Rasa according to Bharata

Shanta rasa

Bharata had not mentioned Shanta or Sama or Nirveda (tranquillity) as one among the eight Rasas. But, later, the commentators such as Abhinavagupta and Ānandavardhana have accepted the Shanta as a Rasa.

Dhananjaya also accepts the Sama as a Rasa (Sama-prakarsa, Shanta-rasa) , which arises from happiness and the like; and, it  is to be defined as a state having happiness (mudita) as its essential nature – samaprakarso nirvacyo muditades tadatmata. But, he does not discuss it in detail.

Dhanañjaya, however, remarks that though some have accepted the Sama (tranquillity) as an independent Rasa, it can be applied only in the poetry (Sravya kāvya); but, it cannot be developed in the drama (śamamapi kecitprāhu puṣṭir nāyeu na tasya –4.35).

In this respect, Dhananjaya differs from his predecessors like Ānandavardhana and Abhinavagupta. Jagannatha also believed that scenic art could inspire Shanta Rasa.

lotus-flower-and-bud

Conclusion

Dhananjaya concludes Book Four with a very well balanced comprehensive statement:

Whether one takes a subject that is delightful or disgusting; exalted or lowly; cruel or kindly; obscure  or adapted ; or whether one take a subject created by the imagination of a poet, there is no subject that cannot succeed in conveying the Rasa among mankind.

ramyam jugupsitam udaram athapi ntcam ugram prasadi gahanam vikrtam ca vastu yad va apya vastu kavi-bhavaka-bhavya-manam tan nasti yan na Rasabhavam upaiti loke

ashtalakshmi2 (1)

Sources and References

The Dasarupa a treatise on Hindu dramaturgy by George C. O. Haas, Columbia University press / 1912

 A Study of Abhinavabharati on Bharata’s Natyasastra and Avaloka on Dhananjaya’s Dasarupaka – by Manjul Gupta

Sahityadarpanah of Viswanathakavirajah

The Theory of the Samdhis and the Samdhyangas in Natya Shastra by T.G. Mainkar

Sanskrit Dramaturgy

http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/48454/21/21_chapter%2021.pdf

http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/handle/10603/106901

http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/122/18/09_chapter1.pdf

http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/22886/6/06_chapter%202.pdf

http://www.jstor.org/stable/25220898?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/29228/11/11_chapter%202.pdf

The Structure of a Sanskrit Drama by Ven. Dr. Lenagala Siriniwasa Thero

All images are from Internet

 

                                                                                                                  

 

 
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Concerning the Dasarupa of Dhananjaya – Part Seven

Continued from Part Six

Dasarupa of Dhananjaya

BOOK THREE – continued

Dima, Vyayoga, Samavakara , Ihamrga and Utsrstikanka

Mahabharata war by Giampaolo Tomassetti

In the earlier parts we have discussed about the two major forms of Rupakas – Nataka and Prakarana – which assimilated into their own features many elements taken from the other forms; and, emerged as genre of authentic works of theatrical art.

Following that, we also talked about three other forms of Rupaka, which perhaps belonged to pre-classical times, viz., Bhana, Vithi and Prahasana, depicted in the eloquent Bharati Vritti and the pleasing Kaisiki Vrtti; and , having shades of Srngara , Hasya and Vira Rasas. These are, generally, characterized by their gentler (Sukumara) mode of presentation, which is closer to the popular theatre.

The remaining categories are shorter and more narrowly focused.  The Samavakara and Ihamrga, for instance, use fewer than five Acts; and, are exclusively about divine characters.  Furthermore, in the Ihamrga type of plays, the overwhelming concern and contest is for, somehow, winning a woman’s love.

The Vyayoga and Utsrstikanka are one-Act plays, depicting only the events that take place within the course of a single day.  The Anka or Utsrstikanka is soaked in tears, sorrow and lamentation of women over their men slain in the battle.

All these five types of plays also seem to be related to one other, in some ways. Abhinavagupta says that Vyayoga is a sort of an extension of the Dima, since both have certain similar features.  And, Ihamrga follows Samavakara, because like the latter, the characters in it are also divine beings. The Rupakas that follow Ihamrga, all have, in the main, male celestial characters.

The Samavakara, the Dima, the Ihamrga and the Vyayoga are very similar to each other. Bharata refers to the other two while describing each of this. Further, he treats the Ihamrga as similar to the Vyayoga; and, the Vyayoga as similar to Samavakara.

 Further, while all those types of Rupakas depict conflict, battle and violence, the Anka vividly demonstrates the dismay and the disastrous consequences that war and cruelty brings upon women in particular and the society , in general.

17_02_2018-17del112-c-2

In the present post, we shall, mainly, look at four kinds of plays – Dima, Vyayoga, Samavakara and Ihamrga – involving aggressive and violent actions; and, therefore classified as Aviddha (aggressive) types. And, in the end , we shall also touch upon the Anka.

According to Bharata: ‘the plays which require energetic, aggressive (Sattava-viddha) gestures (Angahara) and vigorous dance movements (Tandava), do involve such violent representations as: challenging, cutting, piercing, wounding and smashing etc. At times, the elements of magic, sorcery etc may also be introduced to heighten the effects of mystery, supernatural and revulsion. In order to provide a suitable setting for such dark actions, the props, the background (pusta), the costumes and make-up (Aharya) may also be devised and modified, as required.

The plays of the Aviddha type which are built around themes depicting duels, combats, fights etc., are, naturally, dominated by male characters that portray heroic gods or kings and their foes. Both the rivals need to be haughty and strong, as also be endowed with courage and vitality.  The heroes (Nayaka), usually, are the gods or noble humans; and, the anti-heroes (Prathi-nayaka) are the Asuras, Danavas and Rakshasas.   And, there are very few female characters in such action-oriented plays. Further, women do not get involved in the fights; although, the fight, in most cases, is about ’who gets her’.  But, in end, it is the women who have to bear and suffer the consequences of such hostility and violence.

The battles that were fought were usually  between gods and demons. And, the battle scenes occupied most of the Aviddha type of plays.

Shiva fighting demons

Another notable feature of the Aviddha type of plays is their style of presentation and dialogue-delivery (Vrtti), which, it could be said, is the blend of Sattavati and Arabhatti.

The Sattvati Vrtti is described as a rather flamboyant style of expressing ones agitated emotions with excessive body-movement; exuberant expressions of joy; and, underplaying mellow or sorrow moods.  It is associated with the ViraAdbhuta and Rauidra Rasas (vire sattvaty), where the contestants rise up to the conflict with excitement (Uttpatha) passionately hurling torrent of abuses and challenge at each other (Samlapaka) with contempt.

And, the battle proper was fought in the Arabhati-vrtti, which is described as a loud, rather noisy and energetic spectacular style. It is a powerful exhibition of one’s anger, valour, bordering on false-pride, by screaming, shouting, particularly, in tumultuous scenes with overwhelming tension, disturbance and violence. It is associated with Raudra (furious) and Bhibhatsa (odious) Rasas (arabhati punah rase raudre ca bibhatse). The Arabhati is also attended with feats of jugglery, conjunction and conflicting situations, where bodily actions are prominent.

  DFRMOHEPIYA1

***

Now, from the general characteristics of the Aviddha performances, let’s move on to their  particular varieties. And, let’s commence with the Dima.

6 The Dima

Dime vastu prasiddham syad vrttayah kaisikim vina / netaro deva gandharva yaksa rakso mahoragah / bhuta preta pisacadyah sodasa-tyantam uddhatah /  rasair ahasya-srngaraih sadbhir diptaih samanvitah / rnaye indrajala sarngrama krodho-dbhrantadi cestitaih / candra suryo-paragais ca nyayye raudra rase angini / caturahkas catuhsa rndhir  nirvimarso dimah smrtah

destroyer of cities of Asuras

The Dima along with Samavakara, Ihamrga and Vyayoga belongs to the variety of the vigorous style of plays (action-oriented), which are connected with themes of battles. The Dima too involves causing injury (samghata). It is related to battles and violent actions , where the hero inflicts injury on his foes. Bharata refers to the episode of the Burning of the Tripura (Tripura Dahana) – where Shiva as Tripurantaka burns down three cities – as being a suitable subject for a  Dima kind of play (idam Tripura ; tatas  Tripura) . The Dima, perhaps, belonged to an earlier stage in the development of the Sanskrit Drama.

Tripurasura samharam

 The theme of the Dima is based (kāvyayoni) on any mythological event or a celebrated historical person. The hero is well-known; and, is noble. The story is complex. There are sixteen heroes and subsidiary heroes; and, they are shown at different stages of the play. The heroic Nayaka is the leading character in the play. But, such types as gods, serpent kings, angels, Yaksha etc., also figure in the play.

Dhananjaya says: ‘In the Dima, the subject must be well-known (vastu prasiddham); all the Vrttis (styles) may be employed in it; but, not the Kaisiki Vrtti (graceful).  Its exalted (Udatta) Heroes who fight for justice (Dharma), six-teen in number, should be gods, Gandharvas, Yaksas, Raksasas, Mahoragas, Bhutas, Pretas, Pisacas, and the like. All of such are of the violent type known as Raudra.

The Dima contains the six exciting Rasas (sentiments); but, not the Hasya (comic) and the Srngara (erotic). The principal exciting (dīpta) Rasa of the Dima is Raudra (the furious).

Abhinavagupta says that the Dima has all elements that are in the Nataka; the difference being that in the Dima, the Samdhis and Rasas are incomplete, having neither the introduction nor the pause. A Dima cannot have graceful and pleasing Rasas like Srngara and Hasya (though there might be a possibility of Shanta at the end) … (Some texts mention of the presence of Dipta-rasa a combination of love and humour, in the Dima plays,)

The theme of the Dima would be about dissention (bheda) among the contestants, battles, angry conflicts and furious personal combats. There is much shouting, screaming and hurling curses (Arabhati and Sattavati vrttis) in great pride and anger.

The Dima abounds in such the elements as magic, sorcery, deceit, jugglery, wrath, excitement and the like. There may also be occurrences of the earthquakes, eclipses of the sun and moon. The Dima is structured in four Acts and four Samdhis (junctures); and, there would be no introductory scene (Pravesika), and no pause (Amavarsa) between the junctures.

Abhinavagupta treats the terms Dima, Dimba and Vidrava (intense agitation) as synonyms; because they all are related to conflict, combat and violence. He observes that the Dima type of plays which provide , in plenty, the excitement of furious action; passionately screaming and shouting; and, strong determination to vanquish the foe , are truly fascinating in their own manner. Many, particularly the young, would love watching such powerful, spectacular scenes of furious energetic activity.  Further, the Dima kind of plays lends ample scope for display of wide range of psychological states (Bhavas).

And yet, the ima did not seem to have been a popular type of drama, in ancient times or in medieval period.

Tripura Dahana by Vatsaraja is cited as a good example of the Dima. Further, Kṛṣṇavijaya and Manmathon-mathanam by Veṅkaṭavarada and Rāma are also cited as examples of the Dima.

For more on Dima, please click here.

tripura

  1. The Vyayoga

Khyateti-vrtto vyayogah khyato-uddhata-narairayah / hino garbha-vimarsabhyarn diptah syur dirnavad rasah / astri-nimitta-samgramo jamadagnyajaye yatha / ekaha-caritaika-anko vyayogo bahubhir naraih //

Madhyama Vyayogam”

This kind of drama is called Vyāyoga because many men disagree with one another (Vyayujyante); and, fight among themselves. The battle, personal combat, duel, challenge and angry conflict etc., form the theme of a Vyayoga.  The Vyayoga is a martial spectacle in which the hero is a well-known sage-like king, Rajarsi (but not a god), or army chiefs or ministers. And, they are not Udattas (exalted); but, are proud and haughty (uddhata) men fighting, wrestling, quarreling, pushing and pulling to defeat the foe. The main part of the plot must relate to a battle or a duel or a challenge thrown by a warrior to another, to prove his excellence. And, the entire action should have taken place within the course of a day.

As in the case of the Victory of Parasurama (Jamadagnya) – an example for this category – the battle that is fought is neither for a woman, nor was it caused by a woman (astri-nimitta-samgramo). The Vyayoga features many men (as many as twelve); but, has very few women characters. The intervention of women in the battle is also ruled out.

Dhananjaya mentions that a Vyayoga should have a well-known subject (Khyateti-vrtto); and, its principal characters, taken from the epics, should be heroic men, well-known and vehement (khyato-uddhata-narairayah). Dhananjaya deviates from Bharata in mentioning its characters to be vehement.

A Vyayoga should be composed with a plot having exciting events exuding the combination (diptarasas) of the exciting heroic (Vira) and the furious (Raudra) sentiments. There is no place here for the tender and mirthful Rasas like Srngara and Hasya. And, in a similar manner, there is no scope here for the graceful Kaisiki Vrtti. The two Vrttis employed in the Vyayoga are the Sattvati Vrtti (flamboyant style) and the Arabhati-vrtti (loud, rather noisy and energetic style).

As regards the structure of a Vyayoga, the single incident of strife and struggle depicted in it should take place within the duration of only one day. It is a one-Act play. A Vyayoga is constructed with three Samdhis (junctures): the first two (Mukha-the opening; and Pratimukha- the progression) and the last one (Upasamhrti-the conclusion). It does not have the other two Samdhis: the Garbha (Development) and Avamarsa (pause).

The Madhyama-vyayoga by Bhasa is cited as the best example of a Vyayoga, along with Duta Ghatotkacha and Duta Vakyam.

 [For more on Vyayoga, please click here.]

battle

  1. The Samavakara

karyam samavakare api amukham natakadivat / khyatam devasuram vastu nirvimarsas tu samdhayah / vrttayo mandakaisikyo netaro devadanavah / dvadasodattavikhyatah phalam tesam prthak prthak / bahuvirarasah sarve yadvad ambhodhimanthane/ankais tribhis trikapatas trisrngaras trividravah/dvisamdhif arikah prathamah karyo dvadasanalikah / caturdvinalikav antyau nalika ghatikadvayam / vastusvabhavadaivarikrtah syuh kapatas trayah / nagaroparodhayuddhe vatagnyadikavidravah / dharmarthakamaih srngaro natra bindupravesakau / vlthyangani yathalabham kuryat prahasane yatha //

deva asura

This kind of drama is called Samavakara because , various themes are scattered about (samavakiryante) in it. Abhinavagupta explains Samavakara (sam-ava-kra) as a play where the various themes are scattered and loosely connected (samavakīryante’-asminnarthā iti samavakāra). But, its Acts are not well interrelated to each other. It is a unique type of drama.

The theme of the Samavakara is concerned with the means of obtaining the desired objective, worthy of gods and Asuras. It portrays one famous (Prakhyata) and noble (Udatta) hero of the exalted (dhīrodātta) type amongst the twelve subsidiary heroes (Pathaka Nayaka), including gods, demons, and the like. The ends attained by these are separate and quite distinct; as, for example, in the episode of Churning of the Ocean (Samudra- manthana), Vishnu gets Lakshmi, while other gods get different things; and, the Asuras get, virtually, nothing. Bharata mentions Amrta-manthana, as an example of Samavakara.

The subject of Samavakara is partly derived from mythical lore, and partly created by the poet’s imagination (kalpita-vastu). The events that caused (Bija) discord and brewed distress between the clans of the Devas and Asuras, leading to their strives, quarrel and battles, form the part of the story. The Samavakara falls under the category of vigorous action-oriented plays (Aviddha prayoga), because it is a variety of supernatural Drama abounding in fights, combats , disturbances  and excitement etc., along with depiction of floods, storm, fire or siege of a city.

It is believed that the well-known tales narrating the battles among gods, demons and humans that might have taken place in the bygone Vedic era served as inspiration for Samavakara type of Dramas. The first Drama staged by Bharata and his sons depicting the battles between Devas and the Asuras bears a striking resemblance to the Samavakara type of play (NS.1.59). The next play of Bharata titled as Samudra-manthana was, in fact, specifically cited as a Samavakara. And, Bharata mentions that he preformed that Drama in the interest of attaining Dharma, Kama and Artha (NS.4.3)., the three  primary pursuits of human life – Trivarga. That suggests, this genre was among the earliest forms of Drama.

yo’ya samavakārastu dharma-kāmā-artha-sādhaka mayā prāggrathito vidvansa prayoga prayujyatām 4.3

The characters in a Samavakara are highly charged and are of haughty temperament. The dominant Rasa is the combination (dipta) of Vira and Raudra; although, at times, the shades of Srngara Rasa may be touched upon, as, for instance, Srngara of Dharma, of Artha and of Kama. The contestants fight bitterly with valour and hostility. Tempests, combats, and the storming of towns, are also represented; and, all the pride and pomp of war, horses, elephants, and chariots also add to the spectacle of Samavakara

The Samavakara, featuring a well-known story shows (apart from the exploits of gods and Asuras) the means to attain the three goals of life, namely Dharma (merit), Artha (material prosperity) and Kama (pleasure)-(trivarga-updya- pradartanat). It is constructed in three Acts; with four Samdhis (junctures) – Mukha, Pratimukha, Garbha and Nirvahana; but, does not have the pause (Amavarsa). It employs all the Vrittis (styles), but with just a passing shade of the gentle Kaisiki Vritti, because there is no scope here for songs, dances etc. The Samavakara do not have either the introductory scene ((Bija) or its expansion (Bindu). Therefore, one may employ the subdivisions of the Vithi type (street-play) in it, according to one’s requirements. As regards its Rasa, the heroic (Vira) and the furious (Raudra) are the dominant Rasas, with just a suggestion of Srngara. It is said; in the Samavakāra, the playwright should make proper use of metres (Chhandas) other than Uṣṇik and Gāyatrī etc., which are complex.

A significant feature of the Samavakara type is that its plot in the three Acts need not be a connected whole.  All three acts have specific order; but, are not strictly related to each other. The different Acts have different topics. They are, practically, three isolated parts of a whole. Each Act has its own theme; and, each could be an independent Drama. The Samavakara, in each of its three Acts, works at three different levels.

The Samavakara could also be viewed as a trilogy of one-Act plays united by being enacted one after another. But, the uniqueness of this multi-act Drama is that though its plot is divided into three distinct parts, as it evolves, it manages to retain unity of action throughout the play. Samavakara, is therefore, is explained as such a kind of a play where many scattered themes, finally, connects to each other (sagatair avakīraiśca arthai kriyate iti samavakāra). That appears to be the reason why the Samavakara is considered as a three-Act play.

The whole of Samavakara is structured in triads. It has three Acts. In its three Acts, it presents three kinds of deception, three kinds of love, and three kinds of excitement. Each of those three elements, in turn, gives rise to three sets of events, causes, and effects. The Samavakara also speaks of Trivarga, the three major concerns of human existence (Dharma, Artha and Kama). Perhaps, such triple composition of the Samavakara had some symbolism built into it. I am not sure.

Another interesting feature of the Samavakara is that the total duration of the play and each of its Acts is specified in Natyashastra. It is said; the three Acts of a Samavakara, played in succession, should take about 18 units of Nadikas. And, a Nadika is half of a Mahurta; and a Mahurta equates to a 48-minute-period. Thus, a Nadika would be 24 minutes long. And, the total duration of a Samavakara play would be 432 minutes or 7 hours and 20 minutes.

The Act One, which is the longest, with twelve Nadikas, takes about five hours. The Act two, with four, Nadikas, takes slightly over an hour and a half. And, that leaves less than an hour to the Act Three which has two Nadikas, to conclude the play. The Samavakara is, thus, structured to resemble a cow’s tail (Gau-puccha) growing narrower and pointed towards the end.

**

According to Natyashastra, the Samavakara shall be composed of the events which served as the seed (bija) of discontent between Devas and Asuras. It shall be glorious , sublime and devoid of sadness (prakhyatodattanka); and, shall comprise three parts for presenting three kinds of deception (Kapata), three kinds of agitation or excitements (Vidrava) and three kinds of Love (Srngara) .

Devā-asura-bījakta prakhyātodāttanāyaka-ścaiva tryakas-tathā tri-kapaas-trividrava syāt-tri-śṛṅgāra 18. 63

Further, the Natyashastra prescribes that the First Act of the Samavakāra shall contain three elements: Prahasana (laughter); Vidrava (excitement); and, Kapata (deception) or a Vīthi (the subdivisions of the Vithi type, according to one’s requirements, as in Prahasana).

Then follows the Second Act, containing the same elements as in the first; but, limited to four Nadikas.

And, the Third Act of two Nadikas, shall contain elements according to the requirements of the plot (Vastu)

It should be ensured that the topic of one Act shall differ from the topics of the other two Acts; but in some way be related (prati-sandhana) to the others.

ako’kastvanyārtha kartavya kāvyabandhamāsādya artha hi samavakāre hya pratisambandham-icchanti 18.69

Further, the Natyashastra says that the three elements-Kapata (deception); Vidrava (agitation or excitement); and Srngara (love) – shall each, in turn, consist three parts.

Thus, Vidrava, the disturbances, agitation or excitement may be caused by three types of circumstances due to : (1) battle and water (yuddha jala); (2) wind, fire and big elephant (vayavya-Agni-gajendra-sambhrama); or,(3) the siege of the city (nagaroparodha)  (NS. 18.70)

yuddhajalasambhavo vā vāyvagnigajendrasabhramakto vā nagaroparodhajo vā vijñeyo vidravastrividha 70

The Kapata (deceit) of three kinds may be due to:  (1) one’s own schemes or plans, bad-luck or accident; or (2) divine will (devavasa) ; or (3) stratagem of the enemy causing happiness or misery (NS.20,71)

Vastugata-krama-vihito devavaśādvā paraprayukto vā sukha-dukho utpatti-ktas-trividha kapao ‘tra vijñeya 71

As regards the third, the Srngara, the Love, it could also be of three kinds ,  as prescribed by the sages in three ways , shall have three kinds –  (1) that which is born by virtue , adhering to one’s duty,  desiring for  well-being of all  is  Dharma- Dharma samgraha; (2) indulging in various activities merely for love of  money or acquiring  objects is   ArthaArtha samgraha ; and,  (2) a loveless seduction of a maiden , having an affair with another woman  for mere satisfaction of passion or physical urge  is  KamaKama samgraha (NS.18.72)

trividhaścātra vidhijñai pthakpthakkāryavihitārtha śṛṅgāra kartavyo dharme cārthe ca kāme ca 72

To sum up:  The three kinds of deception could be those caused by (i) the nature of the subject; (ii) supernatural action; and by (iii) enemies;  the three kinds of excitement could be those resulting from  (i) the besieging of a city; (ii) a battle; and (iii) violent winds, fires, and the like ; and,   the three kinds of love could be triggered or motivated by (i) virtue or merit; (ii) greed or the love to gain money and objects; and  (iii)  unrestrained passion.

[Abhinavagupta adds one more dimension to the issue.  While interpreting the three kinds of Vidrava, he says, it could also be taken as tumult caused by the animate (humans, elephants etc); inanimate (wind, fire , water etc); and by both (strategic siege of the city by elephants , chariots and humans) agencies.  He extends similar interpretations to the other two elements: Kapata and Srngara.]

Mahabharata war-games strategy by Giampaolo Tomassetti

It is explained; performing ones duty with diligence, observing vows and practicing austerities for the purpose of attaining the desired state of well-being is to be known as love in performing ones duty (Dharma-śṛṅgāra).

When one acts with a desire to secure financial benefit , or to gain some material gain or is simulated by  passion for merely seeking pleasure with a woman, it is to be known as ones  love for  possessing or acquiring  (Artha- Srngara).

And, when one seduces a woman or takes advantage of her or enjoys a woman stealthily with unbridled passion, without love or concern for her, it is to be known the desire to quench ones passionate impulses (Kama-Srngara).

**

The Samavakara appears to be an earlier form of Drama. But, over a period it lost its appeal; and, it no longer was popular. After the ancient Amrta-manthana, the play of Vatsarāja (Samudra-manthana) is the most well known Samavakara class of play. No other plays of such class seemed to have been composed in the later times.

Abhinavagupta does not seem to think very highly of the Samavakara. Before concluding his commentary on Samavakara, he says: persons of devout nature; and the devotees of gods get delight out of this type of production; while,   women, children and the ignorant get enraptured by the  exciting  spectacle of deception , tumult, fighting  etc.

Though the Samavakara is not rated as high as the Nataka and the Prakarana, it is still important, not only because it represents a significant phase in the history of the development of Sanskrit Drama ; but also, because of the technique that is involved in its construction.

{For more on Samavakara , please click here.]

***

  1. The Ihāmrga

Misram Ihamrge vrttam caturahkam trisamdhimat / Nara-divyav aniyaman nayaka-pratinayakau/ khyatau dhiroddhatav antyo viparyasad ayukta-krt / divya-striyam anicchantim apaharadin-ecchatah/ srngarabhasam apy asya kimcit pradarsayet samrambham param aniya yuddham vyajan nivarayet vadhapraptasya kurvita vadham naiva mahatmanah //

rukminiharanam

It is said; this kind of a play is called Ihamrga, because in it, the hero relentlessly pursues (Ihate) a woman who is as elusive as a swiftly flying gazelle (mrga); and, it is very difficult to get her.

The Ihāmrga is a play of intrigue in four Acts (caturahkam), having three junctures (trisamdhimat). Its story might partly be based on a well-known episode in mythology; and, partly be made up or created by the playwright (Itivrttam). Its hero (Nayaka) and subsidiary-hero (Prati-nayaka) could either be human (Nara) or Divine (Nara-divyav aniyaman nayaka-pratinayakau). Both should be outstanding, prominent (khyatau) vehement (uddhata) persons of the Dhiroddhata type. The adversary is as capable as the hero; but, commits improper acts by mistake or foolishness (viparyasad ayukta-krt).

The heroine is a celestial beauty (divya-stri). The principal male characters in the play fight bitterly over the woman. Either or both the rivals might attempt to secure her, against her will (anicchantim apaharadin-ecchatah), by abducting her or by some such means. Such hostile acts make the heroine get very angry. The verses in the play depict the anger (avega) of women.  The struggles (saphea) that ensues between the rivals gives rise to much confusion, commotion (sakobha) excitement (vidrava) and furious battle.

Though hostile wrath is provoked and there is intense hostility, which reaches up to the point of killing, the playwright should ensure that it does not lead to death of either of the great opponents. Even in case someone dies in the original story, based on which the plot of the play was created, the playwright should avoid showing incidence of  the impending battle and death in the play, on one pretext or the other- yuddham vyajan nivarayet vadhapraptasya kurvita vadham naiva mahatmanah.

Bharata instructs that the play should be constructed with a well-arranged and a convincing plot (Vipratyayakarahah).

Dhananjaya says: “All that are to be made available in the Vyāyoga—its male characters, styles and sentiments—should be brought in the Īhāmga also, except that the latter is to include only the divine female characters”.

The Ihamrga is to be structured in four Acts, with three junctures (Samdhi)- Mukha ( opening), Prathi-mukha ( expansion) and Nirvahana ( conclusion).

Its styles of presentation are the Sattavati and Arabhatti Vrttis, which are the characteristics of the aggressive Aviddha type of plays. The gentle Kaisiki Vrtti should strictly be avoided.

So far as its actions are concerned, the Vira, Raudra and Bhayanaka are prominent Rasas, though there are three other Rasas. And, in Dhananjaya’ s view , only a slight semblance of love  (Srngara) should be shown on the part of one who tries to obtain a woman against her will by carrying her off or some such means.

The Rukmini-haranam by Vatsyaraja is said to be a good example of the Ihamrga type of Rupaka.

 [For a detailed discussion on Ihamrga, please click here.]

***

  1. Utsrstikanka

utsrstikanke prakhyatam vrttam buddhya prapancayet rasas tu karunah sthayi netarah prakrta narah bhanavat samdhivrttyahgair yuktah striparidevitaih vaca yuddham vidhatavyam tatha jayaparajayau.

horrors-of-war

It is said; this type of Rupaka is called Utsrstikanka merely for the purpose of clearly distinguishing it from Anka (or an Act), which term denotes a division in a play.

The Utsrstikanka is a sort of an epilogue which follows the end of a battle. It is a pathetic depiction of the wailing widows and other women weeping over their husbands, lovers and sons who were slain in the battle. Its main theme is lamentation and despondent cries, shrieks and utterances (nirveditabhāṣitaḥ); and, the bewildered movements of the mourners, in shock and grief,   in the aftermath of a violent battle that just ended.

Abhinavagupta says the Utsrstikanka does, in fact, strongly brings home the disastrous consequences of violence and war. And, in that, it should serve as an object lesson for all those who believe that war alone is the means to resolve all disputes.

Abhinavagupta, therefore, says that the Utsṛṣṭikāka should follow, as a sequel to Samavakāra, Ihāmga, ima and Vyāyoga, which depict the horror and violence of battle scenes – (utkramaīyā sṛṣṭirjīvitam prāā yāsām tā utsṛṣṭikā śocantya striyast aābhir-akita iti tathoktā )

A well known (prakhyāta) episode from a mythological source or , as suggested by Dhananjaya, a story-line created (utpādya) by the playwright could be the plot of an Utsṛṣṭikāka type of play. Its principal character should be a male, human or someone other than a divine being (divya), because the Utsṛṣṭikāka it is full of pathos, the Karuna Rasa (karua-rasa-bāhulyā). Therefore, Karuna is the principal Rasa of the Utsṛṣṭikāka. And, according to Abhinavagupta, only in case it has elements of Raudra (furious), Bhibhatsa (odious) or Bhayanaka (fearsome) Rasas, it can have divine characters in the leading roles – (iha ca karua-rasa-bāhulyā-deva devair-viyoga raudra-bībhatsa-bhayānaka sabandho- divyayoge -na bhavatyapi tu karuay-oga ).

Dhananjaya, however, suggests that in the Utsṛṣṭikāka, could even the ordinary men could be the heroes.

The Utsṛṣṭikāka, which is constructed as a one-Act play (ekanka) with two junctures (Samdhi) – the opening (Mukha) and the conclusion (nirvahaa) – , does not depict actions such as battles etc. Its mode of narration is based almost entirely in speech; and, it follows the verbal style (Bhāratī-vtti). Dhanañjaya states that the events like fights, battles or victory or defeat etc., should merely be suggested by means of descriptive speeches.

The treatment of the subject in Utsṛṣṭikāka in natural and realistic (Loka-dharmī), just in the way the common people behave, ordinarily,   in their lives. The speech in the scenes depicting the anxiety, despair, stupor and lamentation of the sobbing women should convey the sense of deep sorrow, disgust and despair.  There is no place in the Utsṛṣṭikāka for the kind of speech such as the aggressive Arabhaī-vtti, the grand Sāttvatī-vtti or for the pleasing Kaiśikī-vtti.

The dominant Bhavas in the Utsṛṣṭikāka are said to be Shoka (sorrow) and Jigupsa (disgust), which, in turn, give rise to Rasas such as the Karuna (pathos) and Bhibhatsa (odium) .

It is explained; the death of valiant men is the main cause of action (Alambana Vibhava); the mourners falling on the ground, weeping, howling  and heaving is the manifestation of that sorrow and despair (Anubhava); the denunciation of fate, cursing the enemy, recalling with fondness the dead heroes etc., are the transitory expressions of their grief (Sanchari Bhava); and , falling sick , shedding tears, swooning, trembling,  going pale  etc., are the involuntary reactions to the misery, anguish and grief they are suffering (Sattvika Bhava).

The Bhibhatsa Rasa of horror or loathing is manifested in disgust; and, its associated states of agitation, sickness, apprehension, and the like.

The Ūrubhaga by Bhāsa, which followed almost all the rules of theyaśāstra, is said to be the best example of the Utsṛṣṭikāka type of Rupaka.

For a detailed study of Utsṛṣṭikāka, please click here

p1140060

Dhananjaya concludes the Third Book with the statement :  if a playwright, having gained the proper understanding or the essence of Natyashastra,  diligently applies to his work the series of definitions of the ten forms of drama (Dasarupa) as prescribed in the Natyashastra; and, if he also studies the works of great poets, he would undoubtedly be able to produce, without effort, a literary work of great merit that is adorned with rhetorical embellishments (Alamkara), sweetness (Madhurya), clarity (Prasada), loveliness (Lavanya) and eloquence (Abhijata) , composed in leisurely paced (Manda-kranta) metres.

Ittham vicintya dasarupaka-laksma-margam / alokya vastu paribhavya kavi-prabandhan / kuryad ayatnavad alamkrtibhih prabandham / vakyair udara madhuraih sphuta manda vrttaih //

***

In the next Part, we shall, at last, move on to the Fourth and the Final Book of the Dasarupa.

Cover_of_a_Shakta_Manuscript_with_Uma-Maheshvara_

Continued

In

The Next Part

Sources and References

The Dasarupa a treatise on Hindu dramaturgy by George C. O. Haas, Columbia University press / 1912

 A Study of Abhinavabharati on Bharata’s Natyasastra and Avaloka on Dhananjaya’s Dasarupaka – by Manjul Gupta

Sahityadarpanah of Viswanathakavirajah

The Theory of the Samdhis and the Samdhyangas in Natya Shastra by T.G. Mainkar

Sanskrit Dramaturgy

http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/48454/21/21_chapter%2021.pdf

http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/handle/10603/106901

http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/122/18/09_chapter1.pdf

http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/22886/6/06_chapter%202.pdf

http://www.jstor.org/stable/25220898?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/127505/9/chapter%208.pdf

All images are from Internet

 
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Concerning the Dasarupa of Dhananjaya – Part Six

Continued from Part Five

Dasarupaka of Dhananjaya

BOOK THREE – continued

 Bhana, Vithi and Prahasana

NKN-09

Of the ten forms of Sanskrit Drama (Rupakas), we have in the last two Parts, discussed about Nataka and Prakarana, the two major forms in the group of Dasarupa.

In this Part, let’s briefly talk about – Bhana, Vithi and Prahasana.

***

  1. The Bhana

Bhānavastu dhurta-Càritam sua-anubhutam parena vä/ yathâ-pa Varnayedeko nipunah pandito vitah//

Sambodhana-ukti-prayikti kuryat-ākaša-bhāSitäih/ Sucayet-vira-sringārau saurya-Saubhagya-samstävaih//

Bhuyasa bharati vrttir ekankam vastu kalpitam/ mukha-nirvahane sange lasyangani dasapi ca //

It is said; the term Bhana is derived from the root ‘Bhan‘, which means ‘to speak’. Abhinavagupta explains Bhana as:’Eka mukhenaiva bhahtante ukthi-manthah kriyante apravista api patriyavinesa yatra iti Banah ‘– It is Bhana (lit. speaking) because the characters that do not enter the stage are heard indirectly through the mouth of the actor who is out on the stage’.

ātmānubhūtaśasī parasaśrayavaranāviśeastu vividhāśrayo hi bhāo vijñeyastvekahāryaśca 108

paravacanamātmasastha prativacanairuttamottamagrathitai ākāśapuruakathitairagavikārairabhinayaiścaiva 109

 dhūrtaviasamprayojyo nānāvasthāntarātmakaścaiva ekāko bahuceṣṭa satata kāryo budhairbhāa 110

Bhana, for all purposes, is a single Act presentation (ekankam); though, technically, it has two junctures – the opening (Mukha) and the conclusion (Nirvaha), each preceded by songs of gentle graceful style (Lasya). And during the course of the Bhana, musical effects are provided from the background to enliven the show.

Bharata explains Bhana as a monologue narrated by a single actor; and, yet its theme is full of various characters and situations – vividhā-aśrayo hi bhāo vijñeya stva ekaharya-sca NS.18.108

Abhinavagupta also explained Bhana as a satirical performance put on by a single actor, talking to himself, making conversation with the imaginary persons, imitating the other characters and chastening the high-class by lampooning their licentious ways. He considers that Bhana has affinity (samana-yoga-kshema) with Prahasana

The Bhana type of Rupaka (bhanyate iti bhanah) is described as a monologue enacted by a single actor who plays the role of experienced, clever rouge (dhurta) or a sharp-witted amiable (dakshina) parasite , skilled  in amorous ways (nipunah pandito vitah) who goes on an errand to please a courtesan or the lady-love of his noble friend. He narrates, dramatically, his own roguish exploits or describes that of someone else (ātmā-anubhūtaśasī parasaśraya-varanā-viśeastu). He carries on conversation (Sambodhana-ukti-prayikti kuryat) with imaginary persons (akasha-bhasita), asking questions and replying them himself. He imitates other characters, their voice and their expressions. He acts and narrates employing ingenious techniques of Ekaharya abhinaya (abhinaya, without the aropana of the aharya, i.e., adopting or assuming the roles of various characters, without changing either the costume or the make-up).

Bharata says that the Vita, in a Bhana, need not be a ‘Hero’, as in the other types of Dramas, but as the only character that fills the stage. He says the Bhana, after all, is for the Vita; it is a Dhurta- vita –samprayojya. The Vita as a character is generally neglected in Sanskrit Drama. But, he makes his appearance in Mrcchakatika.

*

The Bhana is altogether different from the elegant Sanskrit court-plays.  It deals with the common place and the trivial. It ridicules and exposes the seamy side of urban life and of the court officials, in particular; and, debunks the hypocrites moving under the guise of the virtuous. The subjects such as love, betrayal, rivalry or battles, mischief, fraud, intrigue and nuisance form the meat of its theme.

In short, Bhana is akin to one-man-stand-up comedy shows, which have become a regular feature on most of the TV channels. In a way of speaking, Bhana which had almost faded away in the middle era, enjoyed a sort of resurrection in the twentieth century.  About Bhana, Sylvain Levi, in his The Theatre of India, writes: the monologue, the Bhana, is most remote from the Drama proper.  It is most popular today as it was in the past. Actors and writers love it. It abounds in descriptions and gives ample scope to poetical ingenuity, while its imaginary dialogues offer to the actor the opportunity to display his virtuosity.

 **

The theme in a Bhana is improvised (vastu kalpitam); and, is rendered in  Bharati Vrtti, the  eloquent style (bharati-vrtti Pradhana tvad bhanah).  

It is said; the Srngara and Vira are to be its dominant Rasas, depicted by fortune-in love (Saubhagya) and heroism.

[It is rather surprising that Hasya was not considered by the ancients as one among the appropriate Rasas for the Bhana, particularly since it is allied to Prahasana, a farce.  Abhinavagupta also speaks of its character, the Vita as – hasyochita.

Similarly, Bharata had specified the Bharati Vrtti as the suitable Vrtti for the Bhana ( Bhuyasa bharati vrttir ). And at the same time , he had ruled out  Kaisiki Vritti for Bhana.

But later, Visvanatha modified the ancient stipulations set by Bharata; and, said that Srngara and Hasya Rasas as also  the Kaisiki Vrtti could also be treated as suitable for Bhana. He argued that such modification is justified, since there is scope in the Bhana for display of ‘love, gallantry, coquetry, pleasantry (narman) and jesting, along with comic in speech, dress and movement’.

Thereafter, in the later periods, the Srngara-rasa (aesthetic pleasure of the erotic variety), Hasya rasa (of  humour)  and Kaisiki-vrtti (graceful style) which  characterized  the Lasyangas  became the standard parts of the Bhana. ]

**

Not many of the ancient Bhana scripts have survived. It is said that in the early years of the 20th century, the scholars Sri M Ramakrishna Kavi and Sri S K Ramanatha Shastri discovered the MSS, edited and published four Bhana plays: Ubhaya-abhisarika of Vararuchi; Padma-prabhrthaka of Sudraka; Dhurta-Vita-samvada of Isvaradatta; and Pada-taditaka of Syamalika. These were published together under the title Caturbhani, during 1922.

The Dhurta- vita-samvada presents an interesting picture of a seemingly clever, experienced, but worn-out Vita, who finding the rainy season too depressing, comes out seeking some amusement. He has no money either for a game of dice or for a drink – even his clothing is reduced to one garment.  He, then, winds his way towards the street where courtesans live, transacting with their clients of various kinds. He, sadly, cannot afford a courtesan, either.  At the end, dragging his feet, he reaches the house of the roguish couple Visvalaka and Sunanda, who were then busily engaged in a discussion on certain awkward problems of sex-act. The Vita gleefully joins the discussion.

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 Prof. S. K. De in his article A Note on the Sanskrit Monologue-Play (Bhana), with Special Reference to the Caturbhani , pulished in The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland ; No. 1 (Jan., 1926), pp. 63-90 , gives a detailed review of these four ancient works and  of a few other.

Prof.SK De in his review observes:

Indeed, one of the outstanding features of all the Bhanas is their want of variety; and, the monotonous on the erotic sentiment tends to become cloying. This, combined with their hopeless but vigorous vulgarity, must have been responsible, to some extent, for the comparative oblivion to which they have been confined.

There is no doubt that in the later times they became mere literary exercises and subsided into a conventional and life-less form of art.

There is a monotonous sameness of style and treatment, inevitably suggesting a sense of artificiality. We meet over and over again the same  theme, the same types of characters ,the same elaborate descriptions , the same tricks of expression , the same strings of nouns and adjectives, the same set of situations, the same group of conceits, and the same system of morals or want of morals.

The depressing atmosphere of ‘low’ characters, none of whom rise above the middle-class, is bound to be dull, unless diversified by comic effects or individual traits or variety of incidents and situations.

 It is not, therefore, surprising that the Bhana as literature, though always popular, never made a permanent appeal and was forgotten in the later times.

**

However, on the same subject of Chaturbhani, FW Thomson took a totally different view; and wrote:

It will , I think, it will be admitted that the Bhana compositions , in spite of the unedifying character of their general subject and even in spite of the occasional vulgarities, have real literary quality . They display a natural humour and polite, intensely Indian, irony with need not fear comparison with that of Ben Jonson or a Moliere. The language is veritable ambrosia of Sanskrit speech. – [Centenary Supplement of the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, October 1924]

Comedy Choodamani

4.Vithi

vithi tu kaisikivrttau samdhyangankais tu bhanavat / rasah sucyas tu srngarah sprsed api rasantaram / yukta prastavanakhyatair ahgair udghatyakadibhih / evam vithi vidhatavya dvyekapatraprayojita  //

The Vīthi is reckoned among the earliest forms of Sanskrit Drama. The episodes culled out of mythologies and popular tales were narrated by use of clever and inventive witty dialogues. It is also said that Vithi which is chiefly of  conversational  style might have originated from the ancient Samvada Suktas of the Rig-veda. 

The term ‘Vithi’ generally stands for ‘marga’- path.  As its name suggests, it is likely that the Vithis were, initially, played at the street-corners. And, in the later times they came to be presented on the stage. The term Vithi is also interpreted as denoting a series,  string of sequences, Maala ( garland). 

It is said; Vithi had two varieties; the earlier one of which was closely related to Bhana where a single actor delivered a monologue. And, in the other, which came later, two actors engaged in varieties of dialogues, impersonating several characters – vīthī syādekākā tathai-ekahāryā dvihāryā vā . The heroine in a Vithi can be a chaste woman (kulapālikā) , a common woman (sāmānyā) or of the other type (parakīyā).

Rasair-bhavaisca sakalaih yukta Vithi prarikrita Ekaharya Dviharya va kartavya kavibhis sada //20.135//

According to Bharata, the Vithi is a single-Act play, to be enacted by one or two persons. It includes characters of the superior (Uttama), middling (Madhyamā) or inferior (Adhama) class. The Vithi is rich in all the Rasas; and consists of thirteen sub-divisions (angas) – Sarva-rasa-lakaā-ahyā yuktā hy agais trayodaśabhi.

Dhananjaya describes Vithi as a one-Act play, which resembles the Bhana, in that it includes frequent speeches in the air; and, has only two junctures (Samdhi) – the beginning (Mukha) and the conclusion (Nirvaha). It may have one or two actors. It has thirteen sub-divisions.

As regards its Vritti, the style of presentation, Bharata had earlier treated it as a class of play, which is akin to Bhana and Prahasana; and, which does not have the graceful Kaisiki Vrtti (kaiśikī-vtti-hīnāni). And, he had, earlier, indicated the Vithi as being related to the eloquent Bharati Vrtti. Abhinavagupta followed Bharata.

Vīthī caiva hi bhāaśca tathā prahasana puna kaiśikī-vtti-hīnāni kāryāi kavibhi sadā 19.48

That might be because the eloquent speech delivery is the major strength of the Vithi. The techniques of ingenious employment of different manners of dialogue delivery and styles of conversations are the characteristic features of the Vithi. Eventually, even after the Vithi type of Rupaka faded away, its style of witty exchange of dialogues walked into the prologue (Prasthavana) of the more evolved varieties of the Rupakas. 

Dhananjaya had initially accepted the Vithi as a part (anga) of the Bharathi Vrtti. But later, he classified it under Kaisiki Vrtti (Vithi tu kaisikivrttau). That was perhaps because; the Vithi, endowed with all the Rasas (Sarva-rasa-lakaāahyā yuktā), with its thirteen subdivisions (agais trayodaśabhi) has the beauty of the monologue (Ekaharya akasha-bhasita, speech in the void) as also the beauty of a amusing conversation (Dviharya).

Sarva-rasa-lakaā-ahyā yuktā hy agais trayodaśabhi Vīthī syādekākā tathai-ekahāryā dvihāryā vā   NS.18. 112

Apart from that, Dhananjaya followed Bharata in regard to other aspects of the Vithi.

As regards the Rasa (sentiment)the Nāṭyaśāstra states that Vīthī can use all the Rasas; and one may just touch the Srngara RasaHowever, the Daśarūpaka states that Vīthī should have erotic (Sṛṅgāra) Rasa  as the main; and,  the others as subordinates.

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Vithyanga

It is said; the term Vithi also stands for ‘pankthi of angas’, series of  elements or the sub-divisions. The chief purpose of  Vithi , is said, to provide effective speeches  or witty dialogues . The enumeration of the thirteen subdivisions of the Vithi, with their elements (Vithyanga), is one of the important features of the Vithi Rupaka. In that context, Dhananjaya had treated the Vithyangas as a division of the Bharathi Vrtti, while he was discussing the Amukha, prologue or introduction to the play.

[The Bharati-vrtti is mainly related to scenes where the speech or dialogue delivery is its prominent feature.  But, even otherwise, the Bharati vrtti, related to eloquence, is of much importance in all the situations (vrttih sarvatra bharati).  It is devoid of Srngara, Karuna and Nirveda   (dispassion).  

The Bharati-Vrtti has four varieties: Parochana (introducing the play and playwright to the spectators); Amukha or Prastavana (where the Sutradhara strikes a conversation with the Nati or Vidushaka, as a prologue to the play); Vithi (sort of monologue the Sutradhara carries on before the play proper); and, Prahasana (hilarious conversations between minor actors). All these take place, mostly, in the Purvanga, the preliminary to the play proper.]

Bharata enumerates the thirteen subdivisions of the Vithi (Vithyanga)  (Natyashastra -Chapter 18.113-114). According to Bharata, the Vithi should include characters of the superior, the middling or the inferior type (Adhamo-uttama-madhyābhir-yuktā); and, it may contain any of the thirteen types of speech.

The thirteen subdivisions of the Vithi are:

  1. Abrupt Interpretation (udghātyaka);
  2. Transference (avalagita);
  3. Ominous Significance (avaspandita);
  4. Incoherent Chatter (asat-pralāpa);
  5. Compliment (prapañca);
  6. Enigma (nāli or nālikā);
  7. Repartee (vākkeli);
  8. Outvying (adhivala);
  9. Deception (chala);
  10. Declaration (vyāhāra);
  11. Crushing (mdava);
  12. Three Men’s Talk (trigata); and
  13. Undue Combination of Words (gaṇḍa).

Adhamo-uttama-madhyābhir-yuktā syātpraktibhistisbhi uddhātyakā avalagitā-avaspanditanālyasatpralāpāśca 113

 vākkelyatha prapañco mdavādhibale chala trigatam । vyāhāro -gaṇḍaśca trayodaśā-agānyudāhtā-nyasyā 114

Thereafter, Bharata says ‘Any of these thirteen types is always to be attached to the Vīthi. I shall now speak of their characteristics in due order’

Udghatyaka: – it is when a person uses obscure terms to explain a given word; and, that leads to a meaning that was not quite intended by the speaker.

Avalagita: – It is when a different purpose is achieved (inadvertently) along with the intended one.

Avaspandita: – It is when a misinterpretation of a word, which might either be auspicious or inauspicious (Subha-asubha), leads to the exactly opposite of the true meaning of the word.

Asat-Pralapa: – It is when a learned person advises a fool, asking him to do the right thing; but, the latter (the fool) chooses to ignore the good advise.

Asat-Pralapa also happens when an irrelevant question is followed by an equally irrelevant answer.

Prapañca: – it is a way of mocking, when two persons praise and complement each other by using false but funny sounding words

Nalika: – It is an enigmatical remark that gives rise to laughter.

Vākkeli: – It is a repartee or a counter speech. It is a series of questions followed by witty replies producing comic effect,.

Adhivala: – It is when, during the course of an argument, both the parties are forced to modify or revise their statements. Thus, each tries to outdo the other.

Chala: – It is a type of deceit, when, during the course of an argument, one party tries to mislead the opponent by  making worthless and nonsensical statements, in order to frustrate, ridicule and mock at him.

Vyāhāra: – it is a fearless declaration made in presence of the hero ; and , it is made to happen.

Mdava: – It is when one ridicules, dements and crushes the opponent by mocking at the opponent’s merits and make it look worthless and a blemish too.

Trigata: – It is a dignified discussion, with humour (Hasya) carried on by three characters. According to Dhanajaya, it is a discussion among three actors, as in the Purva-ranga (preliminary scene)

Ganda: – It is when in the heat of the situation; and due to excitement, confusion and agitation   , one bursts out with disjointed statements, wrong words and hurling abuses at the opponent.

Bharata remarks, if any or most of these thirteen divisions of Vithi, are employed, in a series, it would then result in a Vithi type of Rupaka.

Abhinavagupta explains that these thirteen Angas of the Vithi are quite different from the Lakshanas and Alamkaras (embellishments, figures of speech). The Vithi, according to him, is a series of eloquent and clever statements and counter statements (Vākkeli) made with wit and alacrity. The scope of Vithi is, thus, not limited to a single utterance or to an expression of beauty. It gives rise to series of diverse varieties of skilful, imaginative, innovative statements (ukti-vaichitrya) – (Vithiyantu bahuvidha vakrokthi visesa utpadayante).

Dhananjaya observes that if a playwright, having gained the proper understanding or the essence of Natyashastra,  diligently applies to his work the series of definitions of the ten forms of drama (Dasarupa) as prescribed in the Natyashastra; and, if he also studies the works of great poets, he would undoubtedly be able to produce, without effort, a literary work of great merit that is adorned with rhetorical embellishments (Alamkara), sweetness (Madhurya), clarity (Prasada), loveliness (Lavanya) and eloquence (Abhijata) , composed in leisurely paced (Manda-kranta) metres.

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Lasyanga

The description of the thirteen varieties of Vithyanga is followed by the descriptions of the ten Varieties of Lasyanga.

Bharata says, there is a form of entertainment called Lasya, which is closer to Bhana and Vithi. And, like in Bhana, it is done by one actor (Bhana iva eka-prayoga ni / Bhana-kritiva-Laasyam), displaying various aesthetic expressions (vividha-bhāvam) .

bhāṇā-kṛtiva-llāsyaṃ vijñeyaṃ tva-eka-pātra-hāryaṃ prakaraṇa-vadūhya kāryā-saṃsta-vayuktaṃ vividha-bhāvam ॥ 19.118॥

Bharata again says, the Lasya is related to Srngara rasa, portraying love and other softer, graceful aspects. And, Lasya is present in Vithi, which enters into Prahasana. And, Vithi and Prahasana also enter the first of the three parts of the Samavakara. Further, all of these together with Lasya and its Angas enter into Nataka (Anyāni ca Lasya vividha-angani tu Natake prayuktani).

The emotional theme in the Lasya is a product (utpadya-vastu) of the poet’s imagination, Uhya. In that respect, it is similar to the Prakarana, a play with a created story, uhya-karya (or kavya) – Utpadya-vastu Prakarana vad uhya-karyam.

The Natyashastra does not clearly define Lasya; but, it gives a list of ten Lasyangas, the subdivisions of Lasya (as below), soon after concluding the discussing on Bhana. It also says that the Lasyangas are to be presented by a single character as in the case of a Bhana; and, not by a group of characters.

Geya-pada: – It is a joyful song sung by the heroine, for the pleasure of the hero, while she is seated. She is surrounded with stringed instruments and drums; and, yet, she prefers to sing without accompaniment of any of these. It is a simple rendering of a song, based in melody.

Sthita-pathya: – it is a sad song in Prakrit (regional language) sung by the love-stricken heroine pining for her lover, while resting (sthitha) in her seat.

Asina-pathya: – The lonely, forlorn heroine who is separated from her lover sits (Asina) alone – depressed and pondering over her situation, throwing oblique glances. And, she is not even listening to any sort of music.

Pushp-agandika: – it is a song and dance, with music, performed by a woman who is in the guise of a man, for the pleasure of her female friends

Pracchedaka: – It is dance performed by a separated woman afflicted by moonlight and overcome with passion, clinging to her lover, even though he had been unfaithful to her.

Trimudhaka: – It is when the heroine dances, naturally, to a song composed with soft and sweet sounding words, set in easy, even metre.

Saindhavaka: – As the heroine anxiously awaits her for lover , who has failed to keep his tryst, she sings ,with grief, a song in Prakrit, and dances displaying various Karanas, to the music on Veena and other instruments.

Dvimudhaka:– In it a song of the Caturasra type (chaturasra-pada) set in four kaalas (rhythm, tempo); with a proper beginning (Mukha) and elaboration (Prathi-mukha); and full of emotive feelings and expressions of love , that is sung by the heroine. She dances gracefully, in circular movements, accompanied by melodious vocal and instrumental music.

Uttamottamaka: – It is a dance full of playful and joyous movements, accompanied by exciting songs (adorned with various kinds of Ślokas) and instrumental music .

Ukta-pratyukta: It is a dance performed, as a duet, to a lyric which is composed by weaving into it interesting speeches and counter-speeches (repartee) full of flirtation, dalliance and sarcasm. The song set to playful music, sometimes, contains words of censure and mock-anger.

**

[Bharata had specifically mentioned ten kinds (Dasa-vidha) of Lasyanga. For that reason, Abhinavagupta recognizes only the above ten forms of Lasyanga.  He did not accept the two other forms – Chitrapada and Bhavita – for, he thought that they might have been inserted into the text at a later time.

Citra-pada: It is a dance performed by lovelorn person who amuses herself / himself by looking at the portrait of her/his beloved.

Bhavika: It is a dance in which the heroine dreams about her lover and expresses diverse feelings in a rather pensive mood.]

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  1. The Prahasana

Pakhandi–vipra-prabhrti-cetaceti-vita-kulam cestitam vesa-bhasa-bhih suddham hasya vaco-nvitarn

Kamukadi vaco vesaih sandha kancuki tapasaih vikrtam, samkiram vithya samkirnam dhurta- samkulam

It is called Prahasana, because it generates lots of laughter (Hasa). Bharata considers that humour (Hāsya) is related to erotic (Sṛṅgāra) – (Sṛṅgārāddhi bhavedd-Hāsya).  He said amusement or humour (hāsya) as a Rasa is born out of the dominant mood (Sthayi-bhava) called mirth (hāsa) – (hāsyo nāma hāsa-sthāyi-bhāvātmaka). However, Abhinavagupta states that shades of humour can be brought in and experienced in any Rasa (etena sarve rasā hāsye antarhitā iti darśitam).

Prahasana is a farcical or comic satire, created (utpadya) by a playwright, with a view to provoke laughter. It is a burlesque, one or two-Act-skit, littered with caustic humour, flippantly deriding the so-called respectful figures in the society (who, in fact, are worthless people – Kapurusha); and, their corrupt practices.  The rumours that are in circulation among the common people (Loko-pacara-yakta-varta), about the deceitful contrivances of the roguish rich and influential are brought out on the stage, without hatred or rancour. Hasya, humour or laughter is its main Rasa.

Bharata had earlier divided the Prahasana  into two types: pure (Shuddha) and mixed (Samkirna). Dhananjaya made that into three subdivisions.

Dhananjaya mentions that Prahasana which is similar to Bhāa (tadvat) in plot (Vastu) , juncture (Samdhi), gentle dance (Lasya), and style (Vrtti) has three types: Shuddha (pure); Vikrta (modified); and, Samkirna (mixed) – tadvat prahasanam tredha; shuddha, vaikrta, samkaraih.

The Shuddha (the pure) Prahasana is that in which the leading characters are heretics, hypocrites (Pakhandi), Brahmins (Vipra), ascetics, (tapasaih) men (Dasa) and maid-servants (kancuki). It contains conversation of ascetics and gods provoking humour; but, it is devoid of obscenity and falsehood.  Its language and conduct are studied and learned (Adighata). The Shuddha Prahasana is performed with appropriate costumes and language; and, is full of (anvita) comic speeches (hasya vaco-nvitarn). It is also said; when the plot focuses on the personality of only one person, whose conduct is improper, only then he should be laughed at.

‘The second is the modified Prahasana (vikrta) where the characters are of vulgar type, such as:  eunuchs, prostitutes, rouges (Dhurta) and parasites (Vita). It deals essentially with the, hypocrisy, tricks, squabbling, and mean streak of every kind. The characters, their appearance and flashy costume, are uncouth, garish and loud.

The third, the mixed Prahasana (Samkirna) is similar to the Vikrta type; but, in addition, it is an admixture of elements taken from the street-play or the Vithi type of Rupaka; and, it is filled with rouges (Dhurta).

Apart from providing amusement, the hilarious Prahasana is useful, in the sense that it cautions the good folks to be on guard against the possible exploitation by the unscrupulous elements in the society.

Bharata said that Prahasana was the most popular form of Drama: sarva-loka-prahasanair abādhante hāsya-saśrayai NS.36.8). It is not surprising that Prahasana, which had its origin in the pains, disgust and laughter of the common people, was a much sought-after popular form of comic relief, in an otherwise dreary existence.

Dhananjaya names six types of laughter: smile (smita); smile just about to break into gentle laughter (hasita); gentle laughter (vihasita); laughter of ridicule (upahasita); vulgar laughter (apahasita); and, excessive laughter (atihasita).

Clever, slick, and captivating eloquence (Bharati-vritti) is the very lifeblood of Prahasana; and, it is essential that the actor ensures that there is never a dull movement in his presentation. He should start off briskly; and, ingeniously employ with alacrity every element of Amukha, the opening section: catch the attention of the audience (udghātyaka), introduce the theme quickly (kathodghāta), and develop it with imagination (avalagita), if need be, by resorting to exaggeration (prayogātiśaya) and other smart and entertaining means.

In its structure, the Prahasana has two Samdhis (junctures): Mukha, the opening; and, Nirvaha, the conclusion.  Its style is eloquent (Bharati Vritti); and, its predominant Rasa is Hasya (Mirth). Prahasana lends abundant scope for use of song and dance.

Sylvain Levi in the first volume of his work The Theatre of India writes: “The farce or the Prahasana, among all dramatic types, comes nearest to the popular theatre or, rather, to popular taste. In contrast to the Nataka and the Natika with their conventional setting, the Prahasana moves more freely in a natural atmosphere of joy and human imperfection.”

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Bhagavadajjukam of Bodhayana (6th -7th century AD) is one of the earliest Prahasanas; and, it is often clubbed with the Mattavilasa-prahasana of the Pallava King Mahendravarman (7th century). And, both these works are mentioned in the Mamandur inscription of the Pallava ruler.

The satirical comedy Bhagavadajjukam (The saint-courtesan) hilariously pictures the confusions and absurd situations that follow when the souls of a hermit and a courtesan get interchanged. The monk and his transformation as a courtesan by the exchange of souls give enough scope for amusement as also to ridicule the hypocrisy  and to  puncture the vanity that shrouds the ‘high society’. The work also exposes the practices of sham mendicants; and, lampoons the degeneration of the contemporary society.

Mattavilāsa-prahasana, a parody in one Act, is built around the confusion when the drunken antics of a Kapalika,  and the lives of his fiancee and  of  Buddhist monk get entangled in mess over a begging-bowl that went missing, of all the places, at the local liquor shop. Please click here for a detailed study of Mattavilāsa-prahasana.

In the Next Part , let us talk about the Dima, Vyayoga and Samavakara forms of the Rupakas.

traditional-art-phad-painting-vivek-joshi

Continued

in

The Next Part

Sources and References

The Dasarupa a treatise on Hindu dramaturgy by George C. O. Haas, Columbia University press / 1912

 A Study of Abhinavabharati on Bharata’s Natyasastra and Avaloka on Dhananjaya’s Dasarupaka – by Manjul Gupta

Sahityadarpanah of Viswanathakavirajah

The Theory of the Samdhis and the Samdhyangas in Natya Shastra by T.G. Mainkar

Sanskrit Dramaturgy

http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/48454/21/21_chapter%2021.pdf

http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/handle/10603/106901

http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/122/18/09_chapter1.pdf

http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/22886/6/06_chapter%202.pdf

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Posted by on December 17, 2017 in Dasarupa, Natya

 

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Concerning the Dasarupa of Dhananjaya – Part Five

Continued from Part Four

Dasarupaka of Dhananjaya

BOOK THREE – continued

 Nataka and Prakarana

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As mentioned earlier, Bharata in his Natyashastra enumerates, and discusses ten forms of plays or Natya or Rupakas:  aka, Prakarana, Anka (Utsṛṣṭikāka), Vyāyoga, BhāaSamavakāraVīthiPrahasanaima, and Īhāmga.

aka sa Prakaraam Ako Vyāyoga eva ca  Bhāa Samavakāraś ca Vīthī Prahasanaṃ Dima  20.2

Ihāmgaś ca vijñeyā daśeme nāya lakaeteā lakaamaha vyākhyāsyāmya anupūrvaśa  20.3

Dhananjaya lists the same set of plays as 

nāṭakaṃ sa prakaraṇaṃ bhāṇaḥ prahasanaṃ ḍimaḥ / vyāyoga samavakārau vīthyaṅkehā mṛgā iti // DhDaś_1.8 //

Bharata divided the ten types of plays into two broad categories.

One; the class of plays like Nataka and Prakarana: having a range of characters; portraying all the four Vrittis (styles of presentation) – Purna-vrtti-rupakas – in five or more Acts; displaying their psychological states; and, exuding the Srngara and Vira Rasas. 

And, the other eight which fall under the class which has less than five Acts; and, where all the Vrttis etc., are not present.

Therefore, of the ten forms of Rupakas, the Nataka and the Prakarana are considered more complete.

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The Nataka

The Nataka is constructed as per the classic format, in accordance with all the rules prescribed and established by the tradition. The hero and the heroine are highly idealized, almost celestial, descending from a distinguished Royal lineage. Its story-line would usually be about a noble hero who resolutely overcomes many challenging obstacles; and, finally succeeds in achieving his desired objective. The message of a Nataka is that the good and the virtuous should never be defeated; and, eventually the love, truth and justice (Dharma) must triumph over untruth. And, harmony and peace should prevail over chaos and disturbance.

The Nataka is a powerful means for the moral upliftment of the society, holding out hope and faith in the goodness of life, with  illustrations of how the virtuous men and women of the past dealt with the sorrows, disappointments, trials and tribulations in their life ; how they  fought against the   confronting miseries that mounted upon them , with bravery and honesty ; and, how they eventually emerged out of the difficult situations with success , glory and dignity.

The other types of plays

The other types of plays, in contrast, tried to represent life in its varied colours, nearer to the real-life, portraying characters from lower order of the society. These types of plays depicted the good as also the not-so-good aspects of life, built around characters of varied nature: the virtuous, vagrant, weak, comic and so on. This was particularly true in the case of Dramatic forms such as Bhana, Vithi and Prahasana. The object of these other nine types was, mainly, to provide entertainment.  

Nataka – Prakarana

In short: The Nataka celebrates the accomplishments of the kings; and, how they find their fulfilment in establishing the Dharma (nāṭakān nāyako nṛpaḥ / prakhyāto dhīralalitaḥ śṛṅgāro’ṅgī salakṣaṇaḥ) . The Prakarana, as compared to Nataka, deals with the affairs of the social classes coming from a mixed milieu, such as a Brahmin, a minister, a soldier, a merchant or even a social parasite (Vita)- prakaraṇaṃ tredhā saṅkīrṇaṃ dhūrtasaṅkulam. A courtesan could also be the heroine of a Prakarana. Its story must be a fictitious one , invented by the poet. Prakarana tends to be realistic in its approach.  It attempts to depict the conditions in the society, as they are .

The Srngara, the love, and its victory, in true fashion, are the main sentiment in Prakarana. And Prakarana has in it, some elements from Bhana, Vithi and Prahasana.

While the idealism of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata are the resort of the Nataka, the social life depicted in the Brhatkatha is, generally, the source of the Prakarana.

Dr.Raghavan explains : The ideals that lie at the base of these two types, the Nataka and the Prakarana, are different; the two are distinct in a substantial manner; the aim of the poet in the Nataka is to present what has been conceived as the highest type of human personality, the sublime type, called the Dhirodatta; this is a heroic ideal. On the other hand, in the Prakarana, the poet is out to hold up the mirror to the world, to depict society as it is in its rank and file

Another important difference between Nataka and Prakarana is in regard to the extent of the Kaisiki-vrtti. In the Nataka, the Kaisiki-vrtti enjoys full scope, while in the Prakarana its scope is rather restricted.   The explanation provided for this is : too much display of Kaisiki would be out of place in the Prakarana, which is a realistic social play.

Other types

The Bhana which is a one-act monologue presented by a stand-up comedian, the  Vita , a depraved parasite,  ridiculing the so-called respectable figures in the society, and the Prahasana, the satirical comic skit, have affinity with Vithi . The Vithi is a one-act street-play, having a series of witty exchanges presented by one or two characters of mixed type. It has scope for all the Rasas; but, its distinguishing feature seems to be its resourcefulness and rich varieties of clever repartees. In fact , whenever clever repartees are found in other Rupakas, they are supposed to have been adopted from one or other of the thirteen Vithyangas, the diverse constituents of the Vithi.

The Vyayoga, Samavakara and Dima have their characters from varied class of gods, demi-gods, demons etc.; with some heroic characters taken from Mahabharata and other Puranas. The Utsṛṣṭikāka (Anka) is something like an epilogue to the heroic types of plays. It starts near about the end of action in a major play (say, depicting the consequences of a battle that just ended). The Ihamrga is all about the enticing and captivating a lovely damsel. At the end, the hero wins the lady-love; the villain loses out; but, no one dies.

These Rupakas differ from one another (rupaka bheda) according to the nature of the hero and other characters (Neta), the plot (Vastu) in both of its aspects: main (Mukhya) and subsidiary (Prasangika).There also differences in the number of Acts (Anka or Samdhi); and, in regard to sentiments (Rasa) that are displayed.

Though the lesser types of Rupakas were composed principally for providing pleasure, many of them do instruct and impart the norms of good conduct. They also reflect the contemporary social life, its pleasures and pains.  These different types of dramas provide an opportunity for the dramatists to choose their characters from among a wide range of men and women in the society.

[ We shall talk about these types of plays, in fair detail,  in the next part]

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Nataka and its evolution

In the previous Part we discussed about the Nataka. In the present post let’s talk about Prakarana type of plays.

Before we go into the specifics of each of the nine forms plays (other than Nataka), let’s take a general view , just to see if there is a rationale in identifying these ten as the major types of Drama (Rupaka) ; and, whether they are related to each other , one way or the other.

When we compare the constituents of the ten types of Rupaka, a question arises, naturally, whether these are interrelated. Whether the minor varieties were evolved or derived from the two major types; or, whether the major types were created by combining elements taken from the minor ones. Some scholars, notably Dr. Raghavan and Prof. D.R. Mankad, did attempt to address these questions.

It is said; when Bharata in his Natyashastra codified the Dramatic compositions of his time, the ten kinds of dramatic performances were already in existence. However, not all of them were or could be considered as fully mature. According to Bharata, the only two drama-types, out of the ten, included in the scheme of Dasarupaka, that could be considered as well-structured and complete were: Nataka and Prakarana.

As regards the question how a more complete form like Nataka was arrived at; and what was its relation with the nine other types, the common view taken in that regard , appears to be that the Nataka  is the culmination or the final result of the  process of  growth  and development  of various  Dramatic forms.

Prof. Mankad in his ’Types of Sanskrit Drama’ while tracing the evolution of the Rupakas and the Uparupakas said that these grew from their simple to complex forms by resorting to measures, such as: additions, replication, joining various threads etc. The simple one-Act plays, in stages, over a period, developed into plays with multiple Acts. Following such growth pattern, Bhana and Vtthi would be the earliest types. Then Prahasana would come, in two Acts. Then we might have Vyayoga in three Acts.  Further, the Ihamrga and Dima reached four Acts. Thereafter, came Nataka and Prakarana with more elaborate settings, requiring more number of Acts, reaching up to five or ten. Accordingly, Nataka combined in itself and sublimated the elements seen in Vyayoga, Anka, Dima, Ihamrga and Samavakara; and, in addition, it added on its own distinctiveness, with, Srngara or Vira as a predominant Rasa.  Thus, a common thread runs through all these types.  The Nataka and Prakarana have blossomed out from the earlier types.

[The hitch in this argument appears to be the position of the Samavakara, which, considered by some as the earliest form of Drama, is constructed in three Acts, with number of special features.]

**

Dr. V Raghavan in his article ‘A note on the name Dasarupa’ (Journal of Oriental Research, Vol. VII, part III, July-Sept.1933) expressed similar views. To summarize his position:

The tendency to depict men of society, their habits and absurdities, tendencies etc., began with small if imperfect types like Bhana and Vithi; it grew into Prahasana; and, later achieved perfection as Prakarana, a social Drama.

The Bhana is a type of Rupaka in which only one character appears and carries on an imaginary dialogue through Akahabhasita. It is a monologue, narrated by one actor, though its narration refers to various characters – vividhāśrayo hi bhāo vijñeyast vekahārya śca (NS.18.108). The monologue Bhana had erotic and comic elements, lampooning the so-called respectable persons in the King’s court and in the society. The Vithi – a street play, with a sprinkling of all the sentiments , reaching the masses directly – in its initial form, was done by one actor; and, then, it adopted a display by two actors — vīthī syādekākā tathaikahāryā dvihāryā vā  (NS.18.112) . The Bhana and Vithi were related in their styles of presentation and their subject-matter.  From the Vithi rose the Prahasana, a parody in one or two Acts, with many players, ridiculing the corrupt practices of the high-and-mighty in the society.

Though the main feature of Bhana also merged into the build of the Nataka and the Prakarana, it could live separately, just like the Prahasana. The Misra or the mixed variety of the Prahasana contained, in addition, the Vithi (NS. 20.111). And the Vithi and the Prahasana were made part of the first of the three acts of the Samavakara, with various themes scattered about (samavaklryante) in it; and, having as many as twelve actors of the middling class (NS.20. 70). The remaining type in the Dasarupaka is the Utsraritikanka or simply Anka, a sort of epilogue. And, Prakarana and Nataka, in the process of gaining their full stature, assimilated various features taken from the lesser forms.  The Prakarana was not much different from Nataka, except that its hero was not a king of puranic glory, Prakhyata. And, the Nataka, in turn, got such features as the Vidusaka, for comic relief.

It could, perhaps, be said that Bhana was the earliest form to evolve amongst the Rupakas; and, it seems to fit in well with the whole scheme.

Having said this, let me add, these issues are debatable.

**

Dr. Raghavan illustrates his opinions through examples:

 “The Vithi and the Anka certainly do not represent major varieties. The Vithi is the predecessor of the Prahasana. And, the Prahasana is an independent form of drama, even though its characters and features appear, to an extent, in the Nataka; and, amply in the Prakarana. The Vithi, of course, died early; and, none of the old specimens of the Vithi has survived. Bharata’s Natyashastra actually gives, at many places, the evidences for the disappearance of the Vithi into the body of the Prahasana, the Prakarana and the Nataka, both as part of the Prastavana and of the Drama, in general.

The Anka is, so to say, an epilogue or a sequel to a Samavakara, Ihamrga, Dima or Vyayoga. These four  types of plays depict fights among gods and other Prakhyata heroes; while the Anka depicts the result of those fights, i.e., opens with the close of the fights and the wailings of the wife or wives , and of the relatives of those killed in the battle. Thus, this one-act Karuna piece called Anka also goes with the heroic class or represents the heroic dramatic thread woven into the body of Dasarupaka.

 [But, during Bharata’s time, Anka was drifting away from its theme of the after-effects of war; and, was moving towards the more popular themes.]

The Samavakara, the Ihamrga, the Dima and the Vyayoga represent the Uddhata or Aviddha types of drama, which have heroic elements in their theme. They are the early specimens of dramatic performances depicting fights amongst Devas and Asuras. The Asura Vijaya (NS.3.1.59) and the Amrta-Manthana (NS.4.2.4), described as a Samavakara, were the first dramatic performances, when Brahma took Bharata’s troupe to Shiva’s abode; and, where the theme of Tripura-dahana described as a Dima was enacted (N.S.4.10). The Samavakara, the Dima, the Ihamrga and the Vyayoga are very similar to each other. Bharata refers to the other two while describing each of this. Further, he treats the Ihamrga as similar to the Vyayoga; and, the Vyayoga as similar to Samavakara.

Dr. Raghavan further says, “The Vyayoga is also described as a one-Act Samavakara, with its hero as an epic king and not as a God (NS.20.95-96). These, by the influence of the Mahakavyas and the growing mythological legends, gradually perfected themselves into the heroic type Nataka.

**

The importance of the Vrttis

Dr. Raghavan also brings in the role and relevance of Vrttis (styles of presentation) in the process of the growth and development of Dramatic forms. In that context, he says: “Just as the dance forms, on the basis of Lalitya and Auddhatya, are differentiated into Lasya and Tandava; similarly, the Rupakas numbering ten, get divided into Lalita (delicate, refined) and Uddhata (loud, vigorous) classes.

He explains; the Arabhati-vrtti, a loud, rather noisy and energetic style, fit for exhibition of one’s anger, valour, bordering on false-pride, by screaming, shouting etc., portrays the haughty Uddhata or the vigorous Tandava aspect. Such forceful (Uddhata or Aviddha) types are more dominant in the types of Rupakas, such as Ihamrga, Dima, Vyayoga and Samavakara, depicting fights amongst Devas and Asuras

And, the Kaisiki-vrtti (graceful-style) – characterizing the tender expressions of love with graceful dances, melodious songs as also charming costumes and delicate actions  – which  is most suited to Srngara-rasa , is a representation of the Lasya aspect. Such Lasyanga is a distinguishing attribute of the advanced types of plays such as: Nataka and Prakarana.

According to Dr. Raghavan, Bharata divides the Dasarupa, the ten forms of Dramas, into two broad groups, classified on the basis of the nature of the Vrittis they portray:  either Kaisiki or Arabhati. Such two types of dramas are also called Sukumara (subtle, gentle) and Uddhata or Aviddha (haughty, loud).

In short, Dr.Raghavan seems to opine: the logical, well structured and sophisticated forms of Drama (Nataka and Prakarana) were evolved through a process of refining or eliminating the rough and uncouth elements found in the other forms of Dramas. Thus, Nataka is the hallmark of the Sukumara class; while the rest is of the Aviddha type.

**

 In any case, the ten forms of Rupakas do pre-suppose the existence of simpler types of presentations (gramya dharma), such as mimicry and mirth during local festivals or amidst friends gathered, at night, around a campfire on a river-bank. Over a long period of time, such simpler plays by their assimilations and refinements might have evolved into Rupakas, as we know them. It is, perhaps, because of this reason that we find in the Natyashastra numerous overlapping in the case of certain types of Dramas.

[There is also a view which suggests that Rupakas might have evolved out of the dance forms, the Natya, when the playwrights transplanted their themes and modes of presentations into Dramatic forms.]

It is not clear on what basis or rationale these ten forms of Drama came to be grouped together under one common head, the Dasarupa. Even this process of weeding out other forms of Drama and arriving at a set of ten varied forms, each with its own well defined and recognizable features, might have been spread over a considerably long time. It is, perhaps, because of such reasons that some earlier dramaturgical traditions refer to more than ten types of Dramas. For instance; the Natyadarpana mentions twelve forms; the Bhavaprakasa  of Saradatanaya (a work on Rasa and dramaturgy) lists as many as thirty; and, the earlier versions of Natyashastra describe eleven forms of dramas (including Natika).

It is reasonable to assume that the genre of plays included under the Dasarupa, with their individual dominant styles, had evolved from out of the varied cultural and social environments; and, were nurtured by patrons according to their tastes and inclinations. Naturally, the choice and the mode of presentation of the three cardinal factors – Vastu, Neta and Rasa – differed from one type of play to another.

*

There is also another way of looking at the issue.

At different stages, a particular variety  of drama had come into being , developed and got absorbed into a more popular or a more mature form ; or , it disappeared altogether, because , by then, it had lost its appeal and/or the other varieties of plays had taken over. There was thus much overlapping, with the different varieties running into each other. In the process, the more mature forms like Nataka and Prakarana absorbed the interesting features of the other varieties of plays.

For instance; the Nataka and Prakarana adopted the one-man-show (ekaharya abhinaya) and soliloquies (Akasha-bhasha) from Bhana; the witty dialogues and quick repartee from Vithi; illogical and ludicrous comic scenes from Prahasana; vigorous action, fighting etc., from Dima, Vyayoga and Samavakara; and, similarly, they acquired patterns and techniques of conversation (Vithyanga)  like abrupt speech (udghatya), enigma (nalika), three-way discussion (trigata) and eloquent repartee (vakakeli) etc., from others. Similarly, ten or twelve varieties of Lasyanga  related to Srngara rasa, portraying love and other softer, graceful aspects, as in Vithi and Prahasana , all walked into Nataka

Thus, over a period, all such attractive techniques and embellishments were grafted and integrated into Nataka and Prakarana.These forms grew more stylized and systematic. 

The Nataka, in turn, though it retained the traditional framework of Vastu, Neta and Rasa, its modes and styles of presentation of either the delicate (Lasya) or the vigorous (Tandava) elements of the play were influenced  not only by the features it had borrowed from other sources, but also by the changing trends and tastes. Eventually, while the Nataka got richer, more inventive, and diverse; the lesser forms of drama gradually faded out. And, that led to production of more complex varieties of Natakas.

Thus the processes of evolution and absorption were both instrumental in the growth and development of the Nataka.

**

And at the end, it  can also be said that such theories tracing the growth and development  of drama and dramatic performances are no doubt fascinating; but, there is not much  historical evidence to support these hypotheses, bordering on speculation.

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Now, after having taken a broad look at the growth and the structure of the Dasarupas; lets us briefly talk about Prakarana and eight other forms of Drama.

We may start with Prakarana.

David Cooper Photography 2008

2.The Prakaraa

Atha prakarane vrttam utpadyam lokasamsrayam /amatya-vipra-vanijam ekarn kuryac ca nayakam /dhiraprasantam sapayam dharma-kama-artha tatparam/ sesam natakavat samdhi-pravesaka-rasadikam

The Prakarana is a play of the principal category, in five to ten Acts. It is similar to Nataka, in regard to the numbers of Acts and the Samdhis.  The Prakarana consists of five Sandhis: Mukha, Pratinukha, Garba, Vimarsa and Samhriti. Its principal sentiment is Srngara.  

But, it differs from Nataka in a couple of  other aspects, apart from those  mentioned earlier.  The main points of departure are with regard to the story-line (which is created); the hero (not a god or a king. but a person outside the royal palace environment); and, its objective, which is to provide enjoyment to the common people. In addition, Abhinavagupta listing out the differences between Nataka and Prakarana mentions: ‘there is a slave in lieu of Kancuki (chamber maid); Vita (rouge) in place of Vidusaka (jester); and, Sresthi (merchant) instead of Amatya (minister)’.  The rest of its features are as in NatakaSesam natakavat.

Prakarana is mainly based on the story created or concocted by the playwright (Prakurute). It can also be drawn from sources like Brhatkatha and similar works of earlier poets; but, not from the Puranas. Its theme concerns the middle-class characters. And, therefore, offers a larger variety of characters to choose from. The Hero (Nayaka) or the leading character may be a Brahmin, a minister, an officer of the court, leader of a caravan or a merchant. And, sometimes, a Vita is also added to this list of heroes. Generally, the hero would be a self-controlled, calm, Dhira-prashantha type, following dharma-kama-artha. The heroine (Nayika) may be a house wife (kulastri) or could even be a courtesan (ganika).

The Prakarana is classified in three ways (prakaranam tredha) depending upon the type of heroine: ShuddhaPrakarana (where the heroine is from a noble family); Misra or Vikrta Prakarana (where a courtesan is the heroine); and Sammishra Prakarana (where both the types of heroines are figured).

Nayika tu dvidha netuh kulastri ganika tatha / kva cid ekaiva kulaja vesya kvapi dvayarn kva cit / kulaja ‘bhyantara bahya vesya natikramo ‘nayoh/ abhih prakaranam tredha samkirnam dhurtasamkulam //

The stories take place outside of the palaces and the royal circles, in the lanes and houses of the town; and, are concerned with common interests such as acquisition of money, love, legal justice, and bourgeois honour and so on.  At the same time, purity of character and chastity are respected; and, held up as noble virtues. The Prakaranas affirm the identities of the middle-class heroes, and, pay due recognition to their position in sustaining a healthy social order. 

The narration, in a Prakarana, is rendered more interesting by introducing complications of mistaken identities, petty revenge, theft, and political intrigue etc. The Prakarana plays end on a happy note, with the victory of true Love. Srngara is the predominant Rasa.

The earliest extant specimen of Prakarana is Asvaghosa’s Sariputra Prakarana.  And, Shudraka’s Mrcchakatika (Little Clay Cart) and Malatimadhava by Bhavabhuti are the well-known examples of the Prakarana class.

We shall continue in the next Part ; and, talk about the Bhana, Vithi and the Prahasana varieties of the Drama.

wayang_wong_bharata_pandawa

Continued 

In 

The Next Part

Sources and References

The Dasarupa a treatise on Hindu dramaturgy by George C. O. Haas, Columbia University press / 1912

 A Study of Abhinavabharati on Bharata’s Natyasastra and Avaloka on Dhananjaya’s Dasarupaka – by Manjul Gupta

Sahityadarpanah of Viswanathakavirajah

The Theory of the Samdhis and the Samdhyangas in Natya Shastra by T.G. Mainkar

Sanskrit Dramaturgy

http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/48454/21/21_chapter%2021.pdf

http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/handle/10603/106901

All images are from Internet

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2017 in Dasarupa, Natya

 

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Concerning the Dasarupa of Dhananjaya – Part Four

Continued from Part Three

Dasarupaka of Dhananjaya

BOOK THREE

Shakuntala_201211_17 (1)

The Third Book or the Third Chapter of the Dasarupa, in its 72 verses, deals, mainly, with the ten (Dasa) varieties of Rupakas or plays. Dhananjaya’s work derives its title from the subject-matter of this Book. Obviously, Dhananjaya considered the discussion on the ten varieties of Dramas as the cream or the ultimate purpose of his work.  Of the 65 Sections in Book Three, as many as 43 Sections are devoted to Nataka, regarded as the best and the most complete form of Drama, exemplifying the rules prescribed for such class of dramatic compositions. The other nine varieties of Drama are briefly defined (in sections 44-64), mainly, by listing the points of their divergence from the Nataka. And, their other common features are simply clubbed under a single phrase – ‘the rest, as in the case of the Nataka’ (sesham natakavat).

When one looks at the structure of the text from this angle, one will appreciate that Book Three is the main purpose of the text (Dasarupa); and, within the Book Three, the Nataka, around which the entire body of discussions revolve, is the central or the pivotal point. The concepts, the definitions and the explanations of the technical terms that occupied Book One (68verses) and Book Two (72 verses) , or discussions concerning the Avastha, Samdhi, Arthaprakrti Vrttis, Vastu and Neta etc., all seem to serve as  the background material or  the preparatory work needed to arrive at the very heart or the soul of the text , the Nataka . Thus, one could say, the Nataka is the summum bonum, in which all the values of a Dramatic composition are included or from which they are derived.

*

The impetus for the Dasarupa comes mainly  from  : Chapter 20 (Dasarupa – the enumeration and descriptions of the ten kinds of play); Chapter  21 (Sandhi or segments of the plot- itivtta);  and, Chapter  22 (Vrtti or styles of presentation) of the Natyashastra .

The Chapter Twenty of Natyashastra commences with the passage:

I shall now describe the division of plays into ten classes with their names, functions and modes of production.

These ten forms of plays are known as aka, Prakaraa, Aka (Utsṛṣṭikāka), Vyāyoga, Bhāa, Samavakāra, Vīthi, Prahasana, ima, and Īhāmga. I shall describe their characteristics in detail.

aka sa prakaraam ako vyāyoga eva ca bhāa samavakāraś ca vīthī prahasana ima 2

Ihāmgaś ca vijñeyā daśeme nāya lakae eteā lakaamaha vyākhyāsyāmya anupūrvaśa 3

 I shall describe hereafter the different methods of constructing plays.

*

The Natyashastra identifies ten major types of plays: aka, Prakaraa, Aka (Utsṛṣṭikāka), Vyāyoga, Bhāa, Samavakāra, Vīthi, Prahasana, ima, and Īhāmga.

All these ten forms of Drama (Dasadhaiva) are traditionally associated with certain modes or styles (Vrtti) of representations, which are the constituent elements of all dramatic works.  Such Vrttis are said to be of four kinds (vrttis caturdha) : Kaisiki; Sattvati; Arabhati; and, Bharati.  The Vrttis are the ways of rendering a scene; or, the acting styles and the use of language, diction that different characters adopt in a play, depending upon the nature or the Bhava that relates to the character.[ For more on Vrttis please Part Three in the series]

According to Bharata, the ten forms of Drama are classified based on the number and the types of Vrttis that are involved with it. Of the ten mentioned by him , only the two major forms – the aka and the Prakaraa – present all the variety of styles (Vrttis), for depicting different types of diverse situations. However, the other eight forms of Drama – the Bhāa, the Samavakāra, the Vīthi, the Īhāmga, the Utsṛṣṭikāka (Aka), the Vyāyoga, the ima, and the Prahasana – would not include kaiśikī-vttihī , the graceful Style.

Vīthī samavakāraśca tathehāmga eva ca utsṛṣṭikāko vyāyogo bhāa prahasana ima 8

Kaiśikīvttihīnāni rūpāyetāni kārayet ata ūrdhva pravakyāmi kāvyabandhavikalpanam 9

Bharata regards the Vrttis as the mother of all poetic works (kāvyānā mātkā vttaya), from which the ten kinds of compositions are evolved. He explains; just as the musical notes (Svara) constitute scales (Gramas) because of the Srutis coming together with their Jatis, so the varieties of plays come into existence due to combination of varied of styles (Vrttis). It is the number of Vrttis present in a play that assigns it a distinct class.

Sarveāmeva kāvyānā mātkā vttaya sm ābhyo vinista hyetaddaśarūpa prayogata

[Abhinavagupta took a dissenting view on this issue. He pointed out that though the Gramas (collection of Jaatis or melodic types), in music, might have common Svaras; yet, they differ from each other because of their internal order of arrangement (Aroha-Avaroha); the combination; and, the mutual relations of the Svaras. And, in a Jaati, within a Grama, a certain Svara might be prominent (amsa), or initial (graha) or final (nyasa), depending upon the type of the Jaati. It is because of such variations that each melodic-type gains its distinguishing character and flavour. Therefore, in all those cases, it is not the mere number of Svaras that truly matters.

In a similar manner, in a play, it is not the number of Vrttis, alone, that is significant. In certain types of plays one form of Vritti might be prominent or otherwise. The combination, the treatment and the variations of the Vrittis differs from one type of play to the other. Thus, the classification of the Rupakas is based on the treatment of the Vrttis, which might either be complete with all its angas (elements) or be lacking in some of them.]

While Bharata and Abhinavagupta laid stress on Vrtti, which, in their view, is the factor that defines the unique character of a Drama; Dhananjaya and Dhanika held Vastu (subject-matter), Neta (Hero) and Rasa (sentiment) as the elements which distinguish one form of drama from its other forms.

*

Though Bharata lists ten types of Dramas (Rupakas), which, apparently, is not exhaustive, the other ancient writers talk about, in addition, certain minor types of dramatic works (Upa-rupaka).

Perhaps, the earliest reference to Uparupaka occurs in the Kama-sutras of Vatsyayana who mentions plays such as  Hallisaka, latyarasaka and Preksanaka of the Uparupaka type, watched by men and women of taste. Ahhinavagupta’s commentary on the Natyashastra occasionally mentions Upa-rupakas; but, without defining the class. Rajashekara calls his Prakrit play Sattaka as not being a Nataka, but resembling a Natika, excepting that pravesakas (preliminary scenes), viskambhakas (intermediary or connecting scenes) and ankas (Acts) do not occur.

[Though Natyashastra enumerates, and discusses Rupakas it does not mention minor forms like Uparupakas.  However, Abhinavagupta speaks of minor categories of drama, which he terms them as Nrtta-kavya and Raga-kavya; meaning, the type of  plays that  are rendered through dance and the  plays that are sung.  Yet, it was such  Uparupakas – minor  class of drama-   based in music and dance movements  that eventually gave rise to  the now living traditions such as Kuchipudi , Bhagavata Mela Natakas and Kuravanji dance-dramas. Such forms of Uparupakas are very attractive formats, with the elements  of the music and dance  being predominant. And, most of them are based in dances accompanied by soulful songs, interpreting  the emotional contents of the song through Abhinaya or gestures.

Natyashastra does not mention all the different types of dramas. Kohala, another ancient writer, whose material is said to have got mixed up with the present version of the Natyashastra, mentions a number of minor  varieties of dramas that are lyrical in their character; and,  in which music and dance predominate. Abhinavagupta names some drama-types under these varieties as: Dombika, Bhana, Prasthana, Sidgaka, Bhinika, Ramakrida, Hallisaka and Rasaka. But, nothing much is known about these musical varieties. ]

natya-shastra2

While Rupaka seemed to be the general term used for Sanskrit Dramas, the nomenclature Upa-rupaka indicated a minor type of dramatic composition (within the general class); technically, not satisfying all the classic, dramatic requirements, even when a full theme was handled. Vishvanatha in his Sahityadarpana lists as many as eighteen minor types (Upa-Rupaka), with examples. Among these, he regards the Natika (e.g., Sri Harsha’s Ratnavali, Priyadarsika) and Trotaka (e.g., Kalidasa’s Vikramorvasiya) as more important.

[ As its name suggests; Natika is a diminutive form of Nataka.  In case, Natika is counted along with the other forms of Drama, then it would amount to eleven varieties. Bharata, however, explains that Natika is not an independent form; but, is a fusion, combining in itself (antarbhāvagatā) certain features of the Nataka and the Prakarana. And, therefore, the Rupas are only ten (ata eva daśaitāni rūpāī).

Antarbhāvagatā hyeā bhāvayorubhayoryata ata eva daśaitāni rūpāī tyuditāni vai ॥18. 61

Dhananjaya, following Bharata, also says that the pure forms of Rupas are indeed only ten (Dasadhaiva); as Natika is but a blend of two forms. Here, in Natika, the subject (vastu) is taken from the Prakarana type.  The types of principle characters are as in the Nataka (Natahavat). The hero (Nayaka), a prince, of the illustrious Dhiralalitah class, is taken from a well-known source or is newly created; and, the innocent, beautiful and exceedingly charming (mugdha divya ca ati – manohara) heroine (Nayika) is either a princess or a celestial nymph. And, the Rasa (mostly the Srngara-rasa) is also as that in the Nataka. The Natika containing an abundance of female characters is depicted in the graceful style, Kaisiki-vrtti; and, has four Acts (less than that in Nataka or Prakarana). Most of the action takes place within the Queen’s court or in the adjoining gardens – (DR.3. 46-52).

Tatra vastu prakaranan, natakan nayako nipah prakhyato dhiralalitah srngaro angi salaksanah– DR.3.47. ]

[The Natyadarpana of Ramachandra and Gunachandra offers a similar explanation about the characteristics of the Natika. The Natyadarpana says that the Angas of Srngara depicting song, dance, hum our etc., should be prominent in a Natika. And, it should have all the five Sandhis.  Here, the Natika is classified into eight types, depending upon whether the Nayika , the heroine , is well know or otherwise.]

**

[According to the renowned scholar Dr. V Raghavan, the mere number of Rupaka – either ten or eleven – is not of much significance. In his view, the number ten is symbolic; indicating ten tendencies. He points out that all the ten varieties from Nataka to Ihamrga embody these ten tendencies in various degrees.]

lotus-design

Of the ten, the Nataka is regarded as the best, most important and complete form of Rupa. Dhananjaya regards Nataka as the root (Prakrti) of other dramatic forms. Bharata, in his Natyashastra paid greater attention to Nataka and to Prakarana, than to the rest eight forms ; because, these two forms, according to him, lend abundant scope for presenting  all the four varieties of styles (Vrttis); in alluring Rasas; and, for  portraying  range of characters in diverse  types of situations.

Because of these reasons, the Nataka is spoken of  or discussed first (purvam natakam ucyate).

Prakrtitvad athanyesam bhuyo rasaparigrahat sampurna-laksanat vac ca purvam natakam ucyate   DR.3. 1

 Let’s, therefore, begin with Nataka.

texasshakuntala

  1. Nataka

[ Dr. Schroder, a German scholar, opines that Natya, also known as Rupaka is of ten types; of which, the Nataka is most important. He says: In Sanskrit literature Nataka is very ancient. Even in Vedic literature we can find descriptions about Nataka. There are also references in Ramayana and Mahabharata of actors, dancers, singers and anchors. And, therefore, many theories have been put up by the scholars while discussing the origin of drama.

Dr. Schroder thinks that Samvada-suktas that occur in the Rg-Veda are the origin of the Drama.

There are about fifteen Samvada-Suktas in the Rig Veda, which were written in the form of dialogues. For instance; the Pururava-Urvasi Sukta (RV.10.95); Yama-Yami Sukta (RV.10.10); Sarama-Pani Sukta (RV.10.108); Indrani-Indra-Vrsakapisukta (RV.10.86); Agastya-Lopamudra Samvadasukta (RV.1.170) etc. are some instances .

Some German scholars like Oldenburg, Windish, and Pishel think that initially these Samvada-suktas were the mixture of poetry and prose.  Poetry remained because it was interesting and melodious; while the prose part slowly vanished because it was descriptive.

It is also said;  that these Samvada-suktas used to be sung by a group of Udgatrus, in the Saman ; and,  enacted during specific Yajnas, to the accompaniment of  music.

Drama exactly follows this form of ancient Samvada-suktas, as they are also a mixture of prose and poetry.

Bharata in the first chapter of the Natyashastra mentions that in order to alleviate the sorrow of common people, Brahma created a Veda for Dramatics (Natya-Veda) by taking prose from  Rig-Veda; music from Samaveda; acting from Yajurveda; and , emotions from Atharvaveda.]

**

Bharata, in a passage of six verses (from 19.144 to149) virtually offers his definition of Nataka. He explains that in a Drama (ya), the wide-ranging shades of human nature (lokasya nānā-avasthā-antarātmaka) with its joys and sorrows (lokasya sukha-dukha-samudbhavā) are demonstrated through a variety of representations and actions (nānā-purua-sacārā).

Those who take part in the Drama try to present the past exploits of the gods, sages and human beings (devatānām –ṛṣīnā ca rājñāṃ), by assuming their roles. The actors enact (abhinayate) or interpret, the roles assigned to them through speech, expressions, actions, gestures and other representations. While so acting on the stage, the actors try to give up or suppress their own individual identities and nature (yasmāt-svabhāva saṃ-tyajya);and, systematically, diligently assume the nature, behaviour, gestures and the emotions of the character that they are portraying (gopāga-gati-kramaiḥ).

Bharata then remarks, the art of emulating the psychological, mental and physical state of a character calls for an exceptional and a truly dedicated effort. One should realize this truth; and, strive to achieve near-perfection.

The varieties of dramatic actions; the ways to bringing to life the essence of a character; and, the modes of presentation of actions on the stage, in an attractive manner (rūpāi kartavyāni prayoktbhiḥ), are all indeed countless (aneka-śilpa-jātāni naika-karma-kriayāi ca).

It  is essential that all those involved either in writing, producing or presenting a Drama should observe and study the ways of the common people of the world (Lokasvabhāva saprekya narāāṃ ) – their nature, their modes of behaviour (kāryaṃ) , speech patterns and modes of dress ; their strengths and weaknesses (balābalam); and, their ways of enjoyment and reasoning (sabhoga caiva yuktiṃ).

Yo’ya svabhāvo lokasya nānā-avasthāntarātmaka so’gādy abhinayairyukto nāya mity-abhidhīyate 19.144

Yasmāt-svabhāva satyajya sāgopāga-gati-kramai prayujyate jñāyate ca tasmādvai nāaka smtam 19.146

Sarvabhāvai sarvarasai sarva-karma-pravttibhinānā-avasthā antaropetaaka savidhīyate 19.147

Anekaśilpajātāni naikakarmakriayāi ca tānyaśeāi rūpāi kartavyāni prayoktbhi ॥ 19.148

Lokasvabhāva saprekya narāā ca balābalam sabhoga caiva yukti ca tata kārya tu nāakam 19.149

*

At another place, Bharata, in a way, sums up the virtues and merits of Nataka , as a dramatic work, that captivates the hearts of the spectators and brings glory to its playwright , producer and the actors .

The work of art that satisfies all classes of spectators ; and is a happy and enjoyable composition, which is graceful on account of being  adorned with sweet and elegant words; free from obsolete and obscure meaningless verbose ; easily grasped and understood by the common people ; skillfully arranged ; interspersed with delightful songs and dances; and,  systematically  displaying varied types of sentiments  in its plot devised into Acts, scenes, junctures etc.

mdu-lalita-padārtha gūha-śabdārtha-hīna ;   budha jana sukha bhogya,  yuktiman – ntta-yogyam  bahu rasa kta mārga , sandhi-sandhāna-yukta  bhavati  jagati  yogya  nāaka  prekakāām  16.130

**

Bharata, after describing Lasyangas, the graceful, fluid and charming movements; lists the four characteristics of an ideal Nataka.

He says, the playwright (kavi kuryāttu) while attempting a well constructed (suprayoga) Nataka with aptly chosen happy sounding words  (sukhāśrayam mdu-śabdā ) should ensure that it is composed of five Samdhis (pañcasandhi); four Vrttis (caturvtti); sixty-four Angas, elements  (catuḥṣaṣṭya-agasayutam); and, thirty-six Lakshanas , characteristics  (atriṃ-śallakaopetaṃ)adorned with Gunas, Alamkaras (guā-alakāra-abhūitam), many Rasas (mahārasaṃ); as also with topics concerning noble persons of sublime virtues (mahāpurua-sacāraṃ), exalted speeches (udātta-vacanā-nvitam) providing inspiration and great enjoyment (mahābhogam).

Apart from that, the Drama should also portray the lives of common people, their happiness and miseries (sukha-dukha-samudbhavā) arising out of their interactions with their fellow-beings and their multifarious deeds in the world (avasthā yā tu lokasya, nānā-purua-sacārā.) Please also see.

Pañcasandhi caturvtti catuḥṣaṣṭyagasayutam atriśallakaopeta guālakārabhūitam 139

Mahārasa mahābhogam-udāttavacanānvitam mahāpuruasacāra sādhvācārajanapriyam 140

Suśliṣṭa-sandhi-sayoga suprayoga sukhāśrayammduśabdābhidhāna ca kavi kuryāttu nāakam 141

Avasthā yā tu lokasya sukha-dukha-samudbhavā nānā-purua-sacārā nāake’sau vidhīyate 142

Viswanatha in his Sâhitya-Darpana also described Rupaka (Nataka) as the most logical and perfect theatrical composition. He says that it progresses in a systematic manner and concludes successfully, bringing joy to all.  He mentions that according to the Dasarupa, the structure of the Rupaka consists: five elements of the plot (Arthaprakrti), matching with the five stages of the action (KaryaAvastha), from which arise five structural divisions or sequence of events (Samdhi) of the drama, twenty-one subdivisions (Samdhyantara), having sixty-four Samdhyanga , adorned with thirty-six Abhushanas , ninety numbers of music, and four kinds of Vrttis – all of  which corresponding with the elements of the plot and the actions associated with the stages in the hero’s attempts to successfully realize his purpose or objects – Yattu pancachatuh–sastiscatuh–pancaikavisatih / sattrinsatravtisca tat-Natakam.

As Dr. Sunil Kothari observes in his research paperThe principle of the two modes (dharmi) of presentation, Natya (the stylized) or Loka (the realistic) the different types of Vrittis (style), namely Kaisiki (the graceful), Sattvati (the grand), Arabhati (the energetic) and Bharati (the verbal); the full play of the four types of Abhinaya (acting) namely : Angika (gestures or movement), Vacika (the spoken word), Aharya (costume, make-up, stage props etc.) and Sattvika (relating to state of emotion) are the broad principles which govern the structure of Indian drama and its  presentations.

It is these principles, along with other related ones such as the concept of Bahya (external) and Abhyantara (inner) acting, of Pravrtti (local usage), of Samanya-abhinaya (basic representation) and Citra-abhinaya (special representation), which also govern the technique of  Drama.

[To put it simply, In Sanskrit, Nataka is the most complete form of Drama. Its structure is logical. And, its construction is also quite detailed, being composed of five or more Acts, each of which comprising number of episodes depicting various scenes of action. It also employs intermediary scenes that connect its subdivisions. The Dramatic contents of a play find their expressions, through speech, gesture, songs, dance and other representations, in highly refined and attractive forms. In its modes of depictions, the Nataka employs varied types of embellishments, sentiments, psychological states and actions. And, in case there are such matters, as are not presentable on the stage, they are suggested, indirectly, through explanatory devices.

The heroes in Nataka are generally exalted, descending from noble lineage, known far and wide, for their bravery, generosity and other good qualities. But there may also be other kinds of heroes. The heroines are beautiful; loving; pure in heart; sweet and cheerful; cultured; and, gifted with aesthetic sensibilities. The action in the play ends on an auspicious note, with the good overcoming  the evil ; and , celebrating the victory of the virtuous.  The major aim of Sanskrit Drama is to provide an unsullied and wholesome enjoyment to the spectators. And, at the same time, it is conducive to Dharma. ]

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The three broad heads under which Dhanajaya discusses the subject of Drama are: Vastu (theme), Neta (the leading characters) and Rasa (the aesthetic sentiment it portrays).  Let’s briefly take a look at each form of Drama, with particular reference to these three criteria.

Vastu

As regards the story of a play, it could either be adopted (itivrttam) from the incidents that occur in the well-known (Prakhyatha) legends of the past; or, could be a story invented (Uthpadya) by the poet; or else, it could be a mixture (Misra) of the two.  The story could also be about gods (Divya), humans (Marthya) and the like (Divyadivya).

prakhyatam itihasader utpadyam ; kavi-kalpitam;  misram ca samkarat tabhyam divya-martyadi-bhedatah.

Whatever might be the original story, if it is not suitable for the hero or is inconsistent with the sentiment (Rasa) he represents, then the story can be modified or re-arranged in some other way. After determining the beginning and end of the play in this manner; and, after dividing it into five parts, the author should then break it up into small interrelated divisions (Samdhi).

Yat tatra-anucitam Kim cin nayakasya rasasya va viruddham tat parityajyam anyatha va prakalpayet.

The purpose of such reshaping of the story and characters by the playwright is to achieve a harmony between the theme and its main character, in order to serve the ultimate purpose of the drama , which is to provide a delightful theatrical experience (within the framework of the Dharma) for  the  enjoyment  to the cultured spectators –  the   Rasa .

There should be a sense of balance in the treatment of the subject.  The subject-matter should neither be isolated by its excessive coverage; nor, should it be cluttered or swamped with unrelated matters and needless elaborations.  

The plot should be simple, the incidents should be  consistent; and, the progression of the events should spring directly  from the story.

*

The technical divisions of a drama and the development of the plot follow a set of carefully elaborated rules.

The Natyashastra mentions that there could be between five to ten Acts (Anka) in a Nataka. A regular Nataka will have five Acts. And, a Nataka with ten Acts is called Maha-nataka – (pancankam etad avaram dasankam natakam param). An interlude (Pravesaka) must always be made been the Acts.

[ Later, there were , however, some Natakas with more than five Acts , such as : Bhaṭṭa Nārāyaṇa’s Venisamhara and Bhasa’s Avimaraka with six Acts; Rajasekhara’s Bala Ramayana and Mahadeva’s Adbhuta Darpana with ten Acts; and, Hanumant’s Maha-Nataka with fourteen Acts.]

An Act (Anka) is generally understood as a cohesive dramatization of events that occur within the course of a day.  However, the Natyashastra does not demand that these events run contiguously.  Normally, the action in a play depicts the events that occurred during the course of that day (or night). But, there are some noted exceptions where the events in the first the Act and the second Act are separated by long years. In such cases, an intermediate scene (Vishkambha) is introduced as a link and also to explain/narrate the occurrences that took place subsequent to the previous Act. (E.g. Uttararamacharita, Shakuntalam et al)

Further, there might be certain types of actions or objects that should not or cannot be presented on the stage. As per the conventions followed in the Sanskrit Drama, one should avoid showing such events as: long travel; murder; war; loss of kingdom; siege of a city; violent over throw; bloodshed; eating; taking bath; un-dressing; sex act etc.

Further, it is said; a chariot, an elephant or a horse should not be brought on the stage. Similar is the case with palaces, hills or lakes. Such animals and geographical features might be suggested or indicated through models made of cheap materials. And, in case an army has to be introduced on the stage, that should be symbolically represented by the movement (gati-vīcāra) of four to six persons dressed as soldiers.

*

In a Nataka, the number of characters that really matter to the main story should not be too many. Similarly, the supplementary or the supporting characters, such as the attenders   etc., should at most be four or five.

As the play gathers momentum, in stages, its focus of attention should, progressively, be confined to characters and actions that are directly related to the main purpose of the story.  The play is structured in such a manner that it steadily moves from the general or the diffused towards the purposeful and pointed.  Its initial Acts might, comparatively, be lengthy; but, as the action moves towards the finale the Acts should get brief and pithy. As Dhanajaya says, the Nataka, in its structure, should resemble the tip of a cow’s tail (gopuccha).

gopuccha

All the exalted situations should be placed in the concluding segment (Nirvahana), awe-inspiring (Adbhuta), and radiating joy in celebration of Dharma – the victory of the Love over loveless; the triumph of  the good over the evil.

*

The concepts of tragic catharsis or tragedy are not present in the Sanskrit Drama. The Nataka, generally, starts on a happy note (Adi-mangala); and through the trials and tribulations of the hero, a happy incident occurs in the middle (Madhya-mangala); and, the play concludes on an auspicious note (Antya-mangala). And, the whole proceeding comes to an end with the Bharatavakya , praying for the welfare and happiness of the King (Raja), his subjects (Praja) and the State (Rajya) ; and , for the peace and prosperity  (Shanthi , Samruddhi) of all the beings in the  three worlds (Trilokye) . 

nirvahana

Neta

Rama

The hero (Nayaka) the leading character of the Nātaka should be an ideal person, a worthy and exalted (Udatta) icon of virtue; descending from the noble lineage of royal seers (rājarsih) . He should be  : resolute, young, endowed with intelligence, energy, memory, and wisdom; brave, firm, graceful, charming, sweet-tempered, soft-spoken, liberal, clever, affable, popular, upright, and eloquent.

Prakhyāta-vamso rājarsih-divyo-vā yatra näyakah/ tat prakhyātam vidhātavyam vrttam-atra-adhikārikam//

The Hero should be  one endowed with noble qualities of the type known as self-controlled, and exalted (Dhirodatta) , glorious , eager for fame, of great energy , a preserver of three Vedas (Trayi) , a ruler of the world , of renowned linage , a royal seer or a god . It is, basically, his story that forms the the principal subject (Adhikarana) of the Nataka.

mahasattvo ‘tigambhirah ksamavan avikatthanah sthiro nigudhahamkaro dhirodatto drdhavratah

The noble hero  has control over his senses; does not let emotions override his actions; maintains his composure even under dire circumstances; shelters the weak and those under threat ; always wishes and strives to do good for/to others; is also wise, well versed in Shastras and is skilled in arts.

The eight virtuous qualities of an ideal hero are: nobility of character (sobha), liveliness (vilasa), sweet-temper (madhurya), poise (gambhirya), firmness (sthairya), sense of honour or brightness (tejas), grace (lalita), and magnanimity (audarya).

 Sobha vilaso madhuryam gambhiryam sthairya tejasi lalita udaryam ity astau sattvajah paurusa gunah

sri Sita Ram

Nayika

sita

Dhananjaya initially mentions and describes three kinds of Heroines (Nayika tridha) : the hero’s own (Sva) wife; another person’s (Anya) wife; and, the common-woman (Sadharana-stri) – sva anya sadharanastri ‘ti tadguna nayika tridha.

However, Bharata had presented a different classification:  divya (celestial); nrpapatni (queen); kulastri (modest house-wife); and ganika (courtesan).

The Nayika of a Nataka is usually of the first type. She would the Hero’s wife (svaya) . And, she would be either be a princess of renowned royal-heritage or a celestial beauty – virtuous (mugdha), dignified (gambhira, manini), charming (manohara) of loving-nature and devoted to her husband. (Nayika tadrsi mugdha divya catimanohara)

devi tatra bhavej jyestha pragalbha nrpavamsaja/ gambhlra maninl krcchrat tadvasan netrsamgamah

ramasita

Rasa

As regards its style of narration and depiction, Nātaka should adopt either the graceful Kaušiki Vrtti associated with the Srngara Rasa (suited for display of expressions of love, dance, song as also charming costumes and delicate actions ) ; or, the  exuberant Sattvati Vrtti  associated with  heroic Vira Rasa .

Dhananjaya, in his Dasarupaka said : a Nataka should principally portray one Rasa – either the Srngara or the  Vira; and,  in the concluding part  the Adbhuta Rasa becomes prominent

Eko rasa – angi -kartavyo virah srngara eva va / angamanye rasah sarve kuryan nivahane –adbhutam

 [But, Abhinavagupta, preferred not to lay any such restrictions. Instead, he argued that a play could be a judicious mix of several Rasas, with a major Rasa defining the tone and texture of the play. He cited Nagananda of Sri Harsha, which in its initial stages display Srngara; but , towards the end,  it is the Shantha Rasa that pervades atmosphere of  the play.  And, he explained though the play had to deal with the horrific killing of the hapless Nagas, it underplays scenes of violence; and, exemplifies the virtues of peaceful coexistence and compassion towards all beings. It is that aesthetic experience of Shanta – peace and compassion towards the fellow beings – which the spectator carries home]

***

In the next part let’s talk about Prakarana and eight other forms of the Rupaka.

nayana6

Continued

In

Part Five

Sources and References

The Dasarupa a treatise on Hindu dramaturgy by George C. O. Haas, Columbia University press / 1912

 A Study of Abhinavabharati on Bharata’s Natyasastra and Avaloka on Dhananjaya’s Dasarupaka – by Manjul Gupta

Sahityadarpanah of Viswanathakavirajah

The Theory of the Samdhis and the Samdhyangas in Natya Shastra by T.G. Mainkar

Sanskrit Dramaturgy

All images are from Internet

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2017 in Dasarupa, Natya

 

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Concerning the Dasarupa of Dhananjaya – Part Three

Continued from Part Two

Dasarupaka of Dhananjaya

BOOK TWO

David Cooper Photography 2008

The Second Chapter of the Dasarupa , in its 72 verses, classifies, sub-classifies and describes, in great detail, the types of characters in a play, especially the four types of Heroes (bhedais caturdha); three Kinds of Heroines (tadguna nayika tridha) with their twenty variations (strinam alamkaras tu virnsatih) according to their relations with the Hero; the opponent of the hero (Pratinayaka); the companions and those devoted to the hero; messengers of the Heroine and so on.

Hero

The term Nayaka (Hero) is derived from the root Ni, meaning to carry. The concept of Nayaka or Neta comprised not merely the hero but several other characters as well that appear in the play. Unlike Dhananjaya, Bharata did not regard Nayaka as the distinguishing element on the basis of which the ten forms of the Rupaka are classified. Bharata’s approach was broader as it covered a wide range of character-types of all classes.

Sri Rama

As per the  concept presented by Dhananjaya, the hero (Neta) the leading character of the Nātaka should be an ideal person, a worthy and exalted person of virtue; of noble lineage; resolute, young, endowed with intelligence, energy, memory, and wisdom; brave, firm, graceful, charming, sweet-tempered, soft-spoken, liberal, clever, affable, popular, upright, and eloquent. It is , basically, his story that forms the main theme of the Drama.

Prakhyāta-vamso rājarsih-divyo-vā yatra näyakah/ tat prakhyātam vidhātavyam vrttam-atra-adhikārikam//

The noble hero  has control over his senses; does not let emotions override his actions; maintains his composure even under dire circumstances; shelters the weak and threatened; always wishes and strives to do good to others; is also wise, well versed in Shastras and is skilled in arts;

netā vinīto madhuras tyāgī dakṣaḥ priyagvadaḥ / raktalokaḥ śucir vāṅmī rūḍha vaṃśaḥ sthiro yuvā // DhDaś_2.1 //

The eight qualities of an ideal hero are: nobility of character (sobha), liveliness (vilasa), sweet-temper (madhurya), poise (gambhirya), firmness (sthairya), sense of honour or brightness (tejas), grace (lalita), and magnanimity (audarya).

 Sobha vilaso madhuryam gambhiryam sthairya tejasi lalita udaryam ity astau sattvajah paurusa gunah// DhDaś_2.9 /

Dhananjaya mentions four kinds of heroes- bhedais caturdha lalita santo udatto -ddhatair ayam. :

(1) Dhira-lalita, the light-hearted hero, fond of arts, happy, gentle, free from stress – niscinto dhiralalitah kalasaktah sukhi mrduh;

(2) Dhira-shantha, the self-controlled and calm hero , possessed of generic merits of a hero – samanya-guna-yuktas tu dhirasanto dvijadikah;

(3) Dhirodatta, the self-controlled and exalted hero of great excellence , exceedingly earnest, forbearing, not boastful, resolute with self-assertion  suppressed, and firm of purpose-mahasattvo ‘tigambhirah ksamavan avikatthanah sthiro nigudhahamkaro dhirodatto drdhavratah; and,

(4) Dhiroddhata, the vehement hero, altogether dominated by pride and jealousy, wholly devoted to magic practices, and deceitful, self-assertive, fickle, irascible and boastful – darpa-matsarya-bhuyistho maya-chadma-parayanah dhiroddhatas tv ahamkarl calas cando vikatthanah..

In a play in which a Hero is endowed with noble qualities of the type known as self-control, and exalted (Dhirodatta) , glorious , eager for fame, of great energy , a preserver of three Vedas (Trayi) , a ruler of the world , of renowned linage , a royal seer or a god – in that , his characterization is to be made the principal subject (Adhikarana).

Sita Ram

 Heroine

Dhananjaya initially mentions and describes three kinds of Heroines (Nayika tridha) : the hero’s own (Sva) wife; another person’s (Anya) wife; and, the common-woman (Sadharana-stri). These , again , are classified as Mugdha (modest , shy and inexperienced) ;Madhya (between adolescence and full womanhood, enthusiastic and enterprising); and, Pragalbha (mature and well conversant with the art)

svā anyā sādhāraṇastrīti  tadguṇā nāyikā tridhā / mugdhā madhyā pragalbh eti svīyā śīlārjavādiyuk // DhDaś_2.14 //

Bharata had presented a different classification: divya (celestial); nrpa patni (queen); kulastri (modest house-wife); and ganika (courtesan). And, each one of these four types is associated with a trait : Dhira (patient); Lalitha (delicate) ; Udatta (gallant) and Nibhrta ( fearless).

*

There is also an eight-fold classification of the Heroines (Ashta Nayika), depending upon their relations with the Hero:

One who loves to dominate her husband (svadhina- bhartrka or svadhina-patika);

svadhina-patikavasaka-sajja

One who loves to dress well and to adorn herself, as she joyfully waits for her lover (vasaka-sajja);

*

One who cannot tolerate her lover being away from her (viraha-utkanthita) and is disturbed (unmanas) when he delays meeting her;

viraha-utkanthita2Khandita_Nayika

One who gets very angry (khandita) when she discovers that her lover is having an affair with another woman;

*

One who after a quarrel with her lover moves out (kalaha-antarita), and later upset with herself in righteous anger and remorse ;

lover quarrelvipralabdha

One who feels deceived and is deeply hurt (vipralabdha) when her lover fails to show up on-time at the rendezvous agreed upon;

*

One who is lonely (prosita-priya) when her lover is in a distant land because of war or business;   

lover seperationAbhisarika nayika

 And, one who, deeply in love, sets out in great hurry and anxiety to meet her lover  (abhi-sarika).

praṇayā yogayorutkā pravāse proṣitapriyā / kalahānta riterṣyāyāṃ vipralavdhā ca khaṇḍitā // DhDaś_4.62 //

[Dhanika, further divides the eight into two classes; and, by permutation comes up with 128 varieties of heroines.]

shringarbodh_navgeet indian_beauty

Dhananjaya lists as many as twenty natural graces of women in the prime of youth. These are again made into three groups.

The first three are related to expressions or manifestation of love: emotions or feeling (bhava); bodily gestures (hava); and passion (hela).

 yauvane sattvajāḥ strīṇāmalaṅkārāstu viṃśatiḥ / bhāvo hāvaśca helā ca trayastatra śarīrajāḥ // DhDaś_2.28 //

The second group of seven components are related to the inherent characteristics of the heroine: graceful beauty (sobha); lustrous loveliness (kanthi); endearing sweetness (madhurya); poise and courage (pragalbhata); generosity (audarya); and steadfastness (dhairya).

śobhā kāntiśca dīptiśca mādhuryaṃ ca pragalbhatā / audāryaṃ dhairyamityete sapta bhāvā ayatnajāḥ // DhDaś_2.29 /

The third group of ten virtues relate to her attitude and dispositions: sportive attitude (Lila); charmingly delightful (vilasa); good-taste (vicchitti); a bit of confusion (vibhrama), easily excitable (kila-kinchita); very affectionate (mottayita); pretending to be angry , in jest (kuttamita); mock-indifference (bibboka); a bit laid-back or relaxed (lalita); and, bashful (vihrta).

līlā vilāso vicchittir vibhramaḥ kilakiñcitam / moṭṭāyitaṃ kuṭṭamitaṃ bibboko lalitaṃ tathā / vihṛtaṃ ceti vijñeyā daśa bhāvāḥ svabhāvajāḥ // DhDaś_2.30 //

 [These twenty qualities are again discussed, in detail, later in the text.)

Kalamkari

The Sanskrit Drama carefully classifies and sub-classifies the Heroine into as many as sixteen types.

 heroine b-w

Astanayika

Such fondness , bordering on obsession, for minute sub-division of almost every element of the Drama into as many theoretically possible numbers of types as possible   is a defect in the Sanskrit dramaturgy. Such stereotyped threadbare manipulation of characters, actions, styles is rather futile.  Apart from being of no practical use, they rob the playwright of his initiative and enterprise. Every aspect of Drama is typecast and pigeonholed. It is not therefore surprising that over a period, the Sanskrit Drama lost freshness ,  became too conventional and eventually losing their appeal.

jupiterfig5

[ Before proceeding further with the treatise of Dhananjaya , it would be worth reproducing ( in a summarized form) the views of Abhinavagupta  on the participation  played by the Hero , heroine and the spectators , as well.

According to Abhinavagupta, a true connoisseur of arts has to learn to detach the work of art from its surroundings and happenings; and view it independently.

He asserts, the “willful suspension of disbelief” is a pre-requisite for enjoying any art expression. The moment one starts questioning it or doubting it and looking at it objectively; the experience loses its aesthetic charm; and, it becomes same as a mundane object.

One enjoys a play only when one can identify the character as character from the drama and not as ones friend or associate. The spectator should also learn to disassociate the actor from the character he portrays.

The Hero and Heroine  in a play are just portraying the roles assigned  to them, as best as they can. In other words; they are trying to convey certain states of emotions and the sate of being of the character-roles they are playing . They are like a pot (patra) or receptacle, which carries the emotional state of primary (real) role to the spectator. The actor merely  serves as a vessel or  a receptacle or a means of serving relish (Asvadana) ; and, that is the reason, a role is called a Patra. The characters on the stage represent the role ; but , are not the real ones; and, they do not completely identify themselves with the original. Hence, the Vibhava is like a cause; but, not an exact cause. The performance, the acting by the hero, heroine and other characters in a play is Anubhava, one of the several ways of bringing out the emotional states of the characters they are playing out on the stageSuch Anubhava could be called as ensuing responses.

The hero or heroines in a play don’t become the lover and beloved in real life. They understand and accept here  , what their their roles are; and, try to show what might be the emotional experiences of the character , and its reactions to the given situation  . The actors  try to  resemble the character , for few hours of the play ; and, act on the stage accordingly, through which the spectators understand , grasp and enjoy  the emotional states in the play.

Abhinava makes a distinction between the world of drama  (Nātyadharmī) and the real but ordinary life (Lokadharmī). In the artistic process, where presentations are  made with the aid of various kinds of dramatic features such as Abhinayas and  synthetic creations  ,  we are moving from the gross  and un-stylized movements of  daily life to more subtle forms of expressions and experiences; we move from individualized experiences to general representations; and from multiplicity to unity.

He says that the feeling that might cause pain in real life is capable of providing pleasure in an art form. He explains, while viewing a performance on stage one might appreciate and enjoy the display of sorrow, separation, cruelty, violence and even the grotesque; and one may even relish it as aesthetic experience. But, in real life no one would  ever like to be associated with such experiences.

Abhinavagupta , therefore,  observes that the theatrical experience is quite unlike the experience in the mundane and the real world; it is Alaukika – out of the world.

In summary; he draws a theory that the artistic creation is the expression of a feeling that is freed from localized distinctions; it is the generalization (sadharanikarana)  of a particular feeling. It comes into being through the creative genius (prathibha) of the artist. It finally bears fruit in the spectator who derives Ananda, the joy of aesthetic experience. That, he says, is Rasa – the ultimate emotional experience created in the heart of the Sahrudaya. 

Abhinavgupta talks about Sadharanikarana, the generalization. He points out that while enjoying the aesthetic experience, the mind of the spectator is liberated from the obstacles caused by the ego and other disturbances. Thus transported from the limited to the realm of the general and universal, we are capable of experiencing Nirvada, or blissfulness. In such aesthetic process, we are transported to a trans-personal level. This is a process of de-individual or universalization – the Sadharanikarana.\

According to Abhinavagupta a real work of art, in addition to possessing emotive charge carries a strong sense of suggestion and the potential to produce various meanings. It can communicate through suggestions and evoke layers of meanings and emotions.

He illustrates his position through the analogy of a tree and its fruit. Here, the play is the tree; performance is the flower; and spectator’s experience .

Rasa, the relish (Asvada) by the spectator, is the ultimate product (phala) of a dramatic performance, as that of a fruit borne by a tree :  “the play is born in the heart of the poet; it flowers as it were in the actor; and, it bears fruit in the delight (ananda) experienced by the spectator.” .. ”And, if the artist or poet has inner force of creative intuition (prathibha)…that should elevate the spectator to blissful state of pure joy Ananda.”

At another place, Abhinava declares, a true aesthetic object,  not merely stimulates the senses but also ignites the imagination of the viewer. With that, the spectator is transported to a world of his own creation. That experience sets the individual free from the confines of place, time and ego (self); and elevates him to the level of universal experience.  It is liberating experience. Thus art is not mundane; it is Alaukika in its nature

According to Abhinavagupta, the object of the entire exercise is to provide pure  aesthetic  joy to the spectator. Without his participation , all art expressions are pointless.

Thus, he brought the spectator from the edge of the stage into the very heart of the dramatic  performance and its experience. ]

friends

Supporting characters

The section on Neta, apart from the Hero and the Heroine, includes the supporting characters, such as the companions of the hero; the  maids and messengers in service of the heroine ; and , the opponents of the Hero as well. Just mention about these briefly:

The companions of the Hero, i.e., those assisting and attending (pithamarda) and devoted to him are, usually, possessed of qualities similar to that of the Hero, though in a lesser degree. In addition, there would a fun and food loving, good-natured, but a rather incompetent jester (Vidushaka); and another, a sort of parasite (Vita).

The Heroine, usually, has in her service a set of maidens, who attend on her as maid-servant (dasi), and also serve as messengers (dutyo).  The Heroine might use any of those women, as also a foster-sister (dhatreyi), a woman skilled in crafts (silpini), a neighbour (prativesika), and a female ascetic (lingini) to pass on private messages to her lover. Some of these are also her friends (sakhi), confidants and advisors – (dutyo dasi sakhi karur dhatreyi prativesika lingini silpini svam ca netr mitra gunanvitah.)

The opponent of the hero (prati-nayaka), falling under the fourth type of the Hero (Dhiroddhata) is often depicted as avariciousness, vehement, stubborn, criminal and vicious (lubdho dhiroddhatah stabdhah papakrd vyasani ripuh)

queen and friends

 

Vrtti

Bharata had mentioned:  Vrttis or Styles are traditionally known as the constituent elements of all dramatic works (lit. poems).  It is said; the Vrttis have been so named because of the element or the action that is predominant in them.  the ten kinds of play are considered to have proceeded from these Vrittis.

sarveāmeva kāvyānā mātkā vttaya sm ābhyo vinista hyetad-daśarūpa prayogata 18.4

Another important element of the Drama that is discussed in Book  Two  of the Dasarupa is the concept of Vrtti  (which Bharata considered as the mother of all poetic works – kāvyānā mātkā vttaya sm), the ways of rendering a scene; or , the acting styles and the use of language , diction that different characters adopt in a play, depending upon the nature or the Bhava that relates to the character. Thus, the Vrttis get related to the four types of heroes and four kinds of representations. And, since Vrttis are also related with Rasas, they set the mood or ambiance on the stage by their distinct style of dramatic representation. In other words; the Vrttis call for the excellence of the mental, physical and vocal efforts of the actors portraying their characters.

Some other associations are also mentioned with regard to the Vrttis. For instance with : Angikam,Vacikam,Sathvikam and Aharyam. Further, Bharati with Rigveda; Sattavati with Yajurveda; Kaisiki with Samaveda; and, Arabhati with Atharva Veda.

Vrttis are said to be of four kinds (vrttis caturdha): Kaisiki; Sattvati; Arabhati; and, Bharati.

The Kaisiki-vrtti (graceful style) which characterizes the tender Lasyanga associated with expressions of love, dance, song as also charming costumes and delicate actions portrayed with care, mostly by women,   is most suited to Srngara-rasa (tatra kaisiki gita-nrtya-vilasadyair mrduh srngara-cestitaih). Kaisiki has four varieties (Bhedas): Narma (good-natured small-talk); Narmaspinja (pleasure blooms at the first meeting of lovers); Narmasphota (the lovers delighting in each other company); and, Narma-garbha (covert pleasure; incognito). The prefix Narma indicates cheer or laughter.  Kaisiki is the most charming and delightful combination of Srngara and Hasya, playful expression one’s affection or longing for union with the lover.

Sattvati Vrtti (flamboyant style) is a rather gaudy style of expressing ones emotions with excessive body-movement; exuberant expressions of joy; and, underplaying mellow or sorrow moods. It is a way of expressing ones emotions through words (mano-vyapara).  It is associated with the Vira , Adbhuta and Rauidra Rasas (vire sattvaty) – arabhati punah rase raudre ca bibhatse vrttih sarvatra bharati. The Sattvati Vritti has four varieties: Uttpatha (raising up to the conflict); Sallapaka or Samlapaka ( heroic and passionate words or challenge); Sanghatya (breach of alliance or that which breaches alliance; and, Parivartaka ( when a character abruptly changes a course of his actions).

Arabhati-vrtti is a loud, rather noisy and energetic style. It is a powerful exhibition of one’s anger, valour, bordering on false-pride, by screaming, shouting, particularly, in tumultuous scenes with overwhelming tension, disturbance and violence.  It involves furious physical movements (kaya-vyapara). It is associated with Raudra (furious) and Bhibhatsa (odious) Rasas (arabhati punah rase raudre ca bibhatse). The Arabhati has four varieties: : Sanskipta (brief, elaboration , condensed representation of the plot); Avapata ( commotion, fear, jubilation , panic, fall, puzzled behaviour, quick entrance and exit of characters); Vastu Uttahapanam (elevation of the plot, combination of all other Vrttis); and , Sampheta (conflict, fights, combats, betrayal, excitement). Arabhati is also attended with feats of jugglery, conjunction and conflicting situations, where bodily actions are prominent.

And, Bharati-vrtti is mainly related to a scene where the speech or dialogue delivery is its prominent featureBut, generally, the Bharati-vrtti, related to eloquence, is of importance in all the situations (vrttih sarvatra bharati). It is devoid of Srngara, Karuna and Nirveda (dispassion).  The Bharati-Vrtti has four varieties: Parochana (introducing the play and playwright to the spectators); Amukha or Prastavana (where the Sutradhara strikes a conversation with the Nati or Vidushaka, as a prologue to the play); Vithi (sort of monologue the Sutradhara carries on before the play proper); and, Prahasana (hilarious conversations between minor actors). Abhinavagupta suggested the terms: Kathodghata (which consists in some characters catching up with the words or intent of the Sutradhara); Pravartakam (introducing the subject), Prayogatishaya (where the director mentions the entry of a character of the drama), in place of Parochana, Amukha and Vithi. All these take place, mostly, in the Purvanga, the preliminary to the play proper.

[There is much confusion about the terms Vithi and Prahasana. They are used in different contexts carrying different meanings. The Vithi and Prahasana mentioned by Bharata as the Bhedas of Bharati Vrtti refer to the Angas of Vithi and also the two kinds of dramas. 

And, similarly , Vritti which denotes diction or style   is also used in three other senses: (1) verbal-force (Shabda-shakti), like Abhidha, Lakshana and others; (2) Alliteration, Anuprasa Alamkara; and, (3) grammatical formatives like Samasa and Taddhita  ]

vrtti

Source : Laws practice Sanskrit drama by Prof. S N Shastri

Before concluding on the Vrttis, Dhananjaya mentions : the actions that take place in a play should be an authentic portrayal of the language, the gestures, the costumes and the characteristics (Desa-bhasa-kriya-vesa-laksanah) of the people of the region, to which the plot of the play belongs. The playwright should promptly adopt such suitable details (yatha-ucityam prayojayet), as are in practice – Pravrtti (pravrttayah) among the common people (lokad) of that region. It is a way of depicting the details of a particular character (viseha- vesa-vinyasa-krama) ; to render it authentic.

 Desa-bhasa-kriya-vesa-laksanah syuh pravrttayah lokad ava-vagamyaita yatha-ucityam prayojayet.

Here, Dhananjaya introduces another division among these four Vrttis. He creates two other sub-classes: Artha-vrtti and Sabda-vritti. According to Dhananjaya, the first three (Kaisiki; Sattvati; Arabhati) which deal mainly with action fall under Artha-vrtti; while, Bharati, where language and the presentation of the speech is of importance, is brought under Sabda-vritti.

But, neither Bharata nor anyone else had made such a distinction.  Many scholars opine the sub-classification made by Dhananjaya was rather needless.

According to Bharata, of the ten forms of Drama, Nātakas and Prakaranās should contain all the four Vrttis; hence, they are called Pūrna-vrtti Rūpakas (NS.17.7). And, the other eight Rūpakas should be represented without giving prominence to Kaisiki-vrtti (NS.18.8-9).They may contain one of the other three Vrttis as the prominent one, and the three others to a lesser degree.

However, Abhinavagupta had pointed out:  it is not the number of Vrttis, alone, that is important. In certain types of plays one form of Vritti might be prominent or otherwise. The combination, the treatment and the variations of the Vrittis differs from one type of play to the other. Thus, the classification of the Rupakas is based on the treatment of the Vrttis, which might either be complete with all its Angas (elements) or be lacking in some of them. Thus, the mere number of Vrttis in a play, by itself, is not very significant.

[ The critics point out: though Bharata mentioned ten types of Drama, he discussed mainly about its two forms – Nataka and Prakarana, perhaps because these two alone fulfilled all those requirements that were necessary for Rupaka (Major type). Further, Bharata had also explained :  ‘as these two major forms alone depict varieties of situations , made up all the styles (Vrttis) and representations,  they lend  enough scope for display of Rasas (Rasapradhana or Rasabhinaya or vakya-artha-abhinaya); while the other eight forms are incomplete , as they are not presented in the graceful style, the kaisikivrtti’.

Thus, while Bharata and Abhinavagupta stressed Vrtti as the distinguishing character of a Drama; Dhananjaya and Dhanika held Vastu (subject-matter), Neta (Hero) and Rasa (sentiment) as the elements which distinguish one form of drama (Rupaka)  from its other forms  (vastu neta rasas tesam bhedako) .

For Dhananjaya, these three were pivotal points; and, he went about constructing his work, analyzing the whole of dramaturgy around these three parameters (pradhāna, netà and rasa). Therefore, while conducting a study of each class of the Drama, he does it with reference to : (1) their subject-matter or the plot (Vastu), the main theme (adhikarika), the episodes (angam) and the incidental events (prasangika);  (2) the types of characters they portray (Neta), such as the class of the hero, heroine and other supporting roles;  (3) the structural divisions of the play , the stages in their  corresponding with the elements of the plot (avastha), the actions essential for attaining the object of the play (Arthaprakrti) ,  the  sequence of  episodes (in the development of the play (Samdhi); and, (4) the Rasa , the  principal or the  dominant  sentiment of the play.]

rama sita

Dhananjaya concludes the Second Book of Dasarupa, which covered a number of essential ingredients of the Drama, with homage to Bharata and to Lord Shiva:

Who but Bharata or the crescent-crested god Shiva would have been able to enumerate , without omission, all the varieties of action (Vrttis) , the qualities (Guna) , the utterances (Vak) , and the involuntary States (sattvabhava) that are inseparable from (a-vibhinna) the ten (four types of heroes and six types of heroines) varieties of leading character (netara-dasa-vibhinnan) ?’

Cesta-guno-dahrti sattvabhavan / asesato netara-dasa-vibhinnan / ko vaktum Iso Bharato na yo va /  yo va na devah Sasi khandamaulih //

shiva

In the next Part, we shall talk about the ten forms of Drama which is the main theme of Dhananjaya’s work; and about Rasa as discussed in Book Three and Book Four of the Dasarupa.

Nayana4 crop

Continued

In

Part Four

Sources and References

The Dasarupa a treatise on Hindu dramaturgy by George C. O. Haas, Columbia University press / 1912

 A Study of Abhinavabharati on Bharata’s Natyasastra and Avaloka on Dhananjaya’s Dasarupaka – by Manjul Gupta

Sahityadarpanah of Viswanathakavirajah

The Theory of the Samdhis and the Samdhyangas in Natya Shastra by T.G. Mainkar

Sanskrit Dramaturgy

All images are from Internet

 
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Concerning the Dasarupa of Dhananjaya – Part Two

Continued from Part One

Dance-Drama

As mentioned earlier, the Dasarupa of Dhananjaya is a compilation of the extracts taken from the Natyashastra of Bharata.

Dhananjaya’s work is , essentially, a collection of the rules, the terminologies, their definitions and the elements pertaining to Drama, as extracted from the Natyashastra; and, arranged under certain broad heads. The Dasarupa is a compact work, intended to serve as a manual for the use of those interested in the subject of Drama.

As its name suggests, the text is focused on the ten types or classes of Drama that were mentioned in the Natyashastra; and, on the presentation and analysis of their technical features, plot constructions along with their distinguishing characteristics.

[Let me mention, at the outset, what I have posted below is but a brief summary of the few of the selected topics described in the Dasarupa. I have tried to avoid going into various sub-classifications and too many details enumerated in the text. For the complete text, with its translation in English, please click here.]

**

Before we discuss the main subjects covered by the Dasarupa, let’s briefly take a broad look at its structure and the arrangement of its theme and topics. .

The Dasarupa which commences with a prayer submitted to Lord Ganesha has four Prakashas or sections, containing, in all, about three hundred Karika (verses).

Namas tasmai Ganesaya yatkanthah puskarayate / mada-abhoga-ghana-dhvano nilakanthasya tandave //

Homage to that Ganesha whose throat, deeply resonant in his excessive frenzy (mada-abhoga), serves as a drum in the vibrant  dance of Shiva, just as the sound of the wildly expanding thundercloud at the dance of the peacock

ganesha puja

BOOK ONE

The First Book or the First Chapter consists of 68 verses.  After paying homage to Lord Vishnu who displayed ten incarnations (Dasa-Avatara); and, to Bharata who enunciated the ten forms of Drama (Dasarupa), Dhananjaya seeks the blessings of Sarasvathi the Goddess of wisdom, arts and all learning. He says : the goddess Sarasvati graciously provides themes for literary works to persons of intelligence; and , through those works culture is spread among others.

kasya cid eva kada cid dayaya visayam Sarasvati vidusah / ghatayati kam api tam anyo vrajati jano yena vaidagdhim.

He then states the objective of his work as to give concisely and directly the import of the rules pertaining to Drama, as set down in Natyashastra, in its own words (tasyarthas tatpadais tena samksipya kriyate anjasa)

Dhananjaya then goes on to list (pratipadam laksma) the definitions of some of the fundamental technical terms that appear in the Natyashastra – (pratipadam aparam laksma kah kartum iste)

He commences by stating that Drama is an imitation of situations in life (Avastha-anikrtir natyam); and, it is called a Rupa (form), because it is, basically, a visual presentation (rupam drsyatayocyate), made by actors who assume the forms of various characters that are assigned to them (rupakam tat samaropad), such as gods, kings, men or women of various sorts.  It is said; Rupa refers to delineation, giving a concrete form to an idea. Then, he just lists the names of the ten chief varieties of Drama that are based in different Rasas (dasadhaiva rasasrayam)

natakam ca prakaranam bhanah prahasanarn dimah vyayoga samavakarau vlthyankeha imrga iti

[The phrase Avastha-anikrtir natyam, as quoted by Dhananjaya might give an  impression as though the Drama is the art of reproduction by imitation (anukriti), But, Abhinavagupta had  earlier objected to such a banal view, saying that mere imitation of other’s movements would produce the ludicrous; and, the imitation of other’s feelings and emotions is impossible. He held the view that Drama is an artistic creation, where music, dance, acting as also the dress, colours, and the stage environment etc., all unite harmoniously in an effort to create a delightful dramatic performance. According to him, such a presentation becomes an art when its narration in the form of dialogues associated with suitable gestures, postures, movement, dance, dress and music etc., succeeds in giving expressions to sentiments and passions so as to rouse similar sentiments in the minds of the audience. Thus, Drama is an entirely a new art that aims to enliven the hearts and minds of the audience; generates in them an aesthetic joy; and, it is not an imitation in the ordinary sense of the term. ]

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 Marga- Desi

Dhananjaya mentions the broad categories of Dance-forms as: the Marga (the pure or pristine); and, the Desi (the regional or improvised) – adyam padartha-abhinayo Margo Desi tatha param.

As regards the particular Dance forms, Dhananjaya says: the Nrtya, which, principally, is display of various emotional states (bhava-asrayam nrtyam), is a representation of the traditional Marga class. While, Nrtta, with emphasis on limb-movements, in tune with rhythm and timing (nrttam tala-laya-asrayam), belongs to the popular Desi style.

Under each of these (Nrtya and Nrtta) there is again a two-fold division: Lasya, the graceful, gentle and fluid pleasing dance; and, Tandava, the vigorous, energetic and brisk invigorating movements (lasya-tandava-rupena natakad-dyupakarakam.)

[ Here, Dhananjaya markedly deviated from Bharata . To start with, Bharata had not  classified Tandava and Lasya  as either vigorous or gentle dances . In fact , the term Lasya does not appear in the Natyashastra. Bharata had merely mentioned of these two (Tandava and Sukumara) as the types of dances  that are performed in the Purvaranga, before the commencement of the play.

And , Dhanajaya’s attempt to classify Nrtta as Desi (regional) and Nrtya as Marga (pure and traditional) was criticized as  being illogical. It was pointed out that Nrtta was the dance that Shiva taught to his disciple Tandu ; and , it was pure and pristine. And, Nrtta is indeed of the Marga class.]

*

After offering short definitions of these terms, which  are auxiliaries to Nataka and to the other varieties of Drama,  Dhananjaya moves on to the definition of such terms as are directly connected with the major theme of his work –  the Drama (Rupa).

He broadly follows Bharata , who had said : A Nātaka is having five Arthaprakrti; five kâryāvasthās; five Samdhis; four Vrittis;   sixty-four Sandhyaga; twenty-one Sandhyantārā, thirty-six Abhusanas; and, ninety music.. Yattu pancachatuh –sastiscatuh –pancaikavisatih / sattrinsatravtisca tat-Natakam

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Vastu -Neta -Rasa

The rest of the First Chapter is devoted to the discussion of Vastu, the subject-matter, in detail, about its sub-divisions; and, also of the structural components or the elements of the plot.

He states that the three essential elements , on which the  Dramas are based and  classified,  are : the Vastu (subject-matter) ; the Neta (the leading character- the Hero) ; and , the Rasa (the sentiment it portrays ) . It is on the basis of these three criteria that Dramas are categorized into different types – Vastu Neta Rasas tesam bhedako.

The plot should be simple; the incidents should be consistent; and, the progression of the events should spring direct from the story. It should make an interesting presentation on the stage; and, should provide entertainment to varied class of spectator. That is the basic purpose of the Drama. The ability to please the spectators, to capture their imagination and to make them visit the theatre more often is a major indicator of the success of the play.

The Subject-matter (vastu) can be of two-folds (Vastu ca dvidha) :  the main theme  known as the principal subject (adhikarika); and,  the subordinate (angam)  as the  incidental events (prasangika)

– Tatra adhikarikam mukhyam angam prasahgikam viduh.

The major theme (Vrttam) of a Drama would, usually, be about the intense desire or the objective (Adhikara) of the principal character of the play (i.e., the Hero, the Adhikarin); and, how he goes about to realize that goal. The sequence of incidents or actions that follow during the course of the Hero’s attempts, mainly, to achieve his objective or the desired result would be its principal subject (Adhikarika); and, the related minor ones would form the incidental the subject (prasangika).

[For instance; in Ramayana, the story of Rama and Sita is Adhikarika. The stories of Sugriva and Vibhishana are Prasangika, supplementary to the main story.]

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Source : Laws practice Sanskrit drama by Prof. S N Shastri

Arthaprakrti

The action of the play expands in manifold ways (vistary anekadha), just as a seed (Bija) very small at the beginning, grows, in stages, and expands into a tree.

The process of unfolding of the story could be marked by five stages or elements of action (Arthaprakrti or Karyalakshana):

:- (1) the beginning (Bija) or the cause (hetu) giving rise to various types of actions;

:- (2) the expansion (Bindu), which like the drop of oil in water, spreads and joins the broken ends, expands and maintains the continuity (accheda-karana), till the very end of the play, in all the Acts;

:- (3) the episodes of  considerable length (Pathaka), which  carry forward  and support the main cause of the  action ;

:- (4) the incidents within the episode (Prakari), of limited duration and of minor importance , yet, serving the principal plot; 

:- (5) and, finally, the conclusion (Karya), which also sums up the whole action, starting  from the beginning  and leading up  to the ultimate gainful result  (Phala).

Bija-bidu-patakakhya prakari-karya-laksanah arthaprakrtayah panca ta etah parikirtitah.

Following the analogy of the seed and the tree, it is explained, in Arthaprakrti also, the Bija, the germinal-idea, just like a seed, is the origin. And, it goes through several stages namely: appearance (Utpatti); opening up (Udgnatana); going forth or sprouting (Udbheda); and, coming out distinctly (Nirbedha). And, just as the seed develops gradually into a tree and bears fruit, here too the Bija develops, in stages, and finally concludes in Karya. And, thus, it succeeds in bringing the whole series of actions in the play to  a happy (mangala) desired finale  (Phala) .

Bīja bindu patākā ca prakarī kāryameva ca arthapraktaya pañca jñātvā yojyā yathāvidhi NS.19.21

 [The charge levelled against Dhananjaya and Dhanika is that they just state the Arthaprakrti and fail to discuss its importance in the play or its relation with the Avastha, another format of plot-construction.]

**

Avastha

The plot could also be structured in another manner so as to depict the successive, ordered (Yathasamkhya) stages of action (Avastha) in the Hero’s (Neta) attempts to accomplish his purpose. The actions involved in the hero’s way to success are structured into five distinct segments or stages :

:- (1) beginning of the action (Arambha) with eagerness to attain the result;

:- (2) the efforts made by the hero to move resolutely, with great haste, towards his objective, despite the odds and resistance he has to contend with (Yatna or Prayathna);

:- (3) actions leading him nearer to the objective, with hope of success mixed with fear of failure (Prathi-sambhava);

:- (4) actions or incidents that ensure certainty of realizing his goal,  as by then the dangers and risks  would have been bypassed or  eliminated (Niyatapti) ; 

(5) and, finally, the crowning glory, the complete and satisfactory achievement of his desired objective (Phala-agama or Phala-prapti or Phala-yoga)

Avasthah panca karyasya prarabdhasya phalarthibhih ararnbha-yatna-praptyasa-niyatapti-phalagamah.

The Avastha, with its five stages, is a comprehensive model which begins with eagerness and zeal; resolutely passes through strenuous efforts, overcoming several obstacles, mixed with anxiety, hope and fear; and, finally ends happily  in the total acquisition of the desired object.  Its elements, taken together, portray the physical, mental and psychological states of the hero (Neta) throughout the action of the play. 

These five stages, in their successive order (Yathasamkhya), form the essential, classic features of any type of human endeavour; not merely Drama.

The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad calls upon:

‘You are what your deep, driving desire is; as your desire is, so is your will (sa yathā-kāmo bhavati tat-kratur-bhavati); as your will is, so is your deed (yat-kratur-bhavati tat-karma kurute) ; as your deed is, so is your destiny (yat-karma kurute tad-abhi-sapadyate”- (Brhu. Up. 4.4.5).

sa yathā-kāmo bhavati tatkratur bhavati | yatkratur bhavati tat karma kurute |  yat karma kurute tad abhi-saṃpadyate || BrhUp_4,4.5 ||

 ***

Samdhi

Another way of structuring the plot (the body, the Sarira of the play) is by creating links, for connecting one scene with the other. These are the Samdhis, the segments of the plot (Artnavayavah), joined mutually or with the limbs (angaih) of the otherantaraika-artha-sambandhah samdhir ekanvaye sati. These Samdhis (junctures) are meant to knit together the various structural divisions of the Drama, consistent with the elements of the plot, and with the stages in the Hero’s struggle on his way to achieving his purpose, right from the beginning up to the successful conclusion.

The five stages of  the developments or the progressions in the action of the play in that regard are :  

:- (1) Mukha (lit. face) , the section where the action originates in a seed-form (Bija) giving rise to various purposes and sentiments (mukham bijasamutpattir nana-artha-rasa-sambhava );

:- (2) Prathimukha ,  the development of the seed – sometimes visible  and sometimes not ; but, there all the while and progressing (laksya-alaksya atayodbhedas tasya pratimukham bhavet);

:- (3) Garbha, the section of the play where the seed springs up and strives to grow despite the difficulties and challenges it is confronted with (garbhas tu drstanastasya bijasya-anvesanam muhuh);

:- (4) Vimarsa or Avamarsa, a crucial or rather testing time in the development of the seed which has now  grown into Garbha , facing troubles; and, when  one stops to reflect (avamrsed) because of getting embroiled in entanglements (aslesa), snared in temptations (vilobana), doubts, anger , or following a misleading clue, thus temporarily arresting its development (krodh en avamrsed yatra vyasanad va vilobhanat); 

(5) and, finally, the Nirvahana  or the Upasamhrti, when the scattered threads are harmonized and knit together;  when all the main incidents of the play are  meaningfully interwoven ; and , the play is brought to a successful conclusion – (bijavanto mukhadyartha viprakirna yathayatham aikarthyam uparuyante yatra nirvahanam hi tat).

Mukha-pratimukhe garbhah sa vamarsa upasarnhrtih.

 [For an exhaustive study of the Samdhis, please click here.[

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These three – Arthaprakrti, Avastha and Samdhi – could be treated as parallel methods of structuring the divisions of the play.  It is also said; they are not mutually exclusive. The five elements, that mark the stages of action, in each of these, correspond with the five elements of the other two, in an ordered sequence – Krama (yathasamkhyena jayante).

Arthaprakrtayah panca panca-avastha-samanvitah yathasamkhyena jayante mukhadyah panca samdhayah.

The structural divisions or sequence of events of the drama – Avastha; Arthaprakrti; and, Samdhi – each in its own manner,   corresponds with the elements of the plot and the actions associated with the progressive stages in the hero’s attempts to successfully realize his purpose or object.

:- Avastha are the stages of action in the progression of the events in the play

:- Arthaprakrtis are in effect, the means for attaining the desired result or success (Phala). These, again, are said to be sequenced in five stages of action (Avastha)

:- The Samdhis are junctures or the sequence of events in the development of the play; and, associated with the actions or the stages in the hero’s realization of his purpose (Phala-siddhi).

[It seems that Bharata had suggested just two parallel methods or principles of classification for projecting the development of the plot – Avastha and Samdhi – each having five steps. The Samdhi was again divided into 64 sub-sections –Samdhyangas. And, Bharata had not discussed or even suggested inter-relation between these two models.

The schemes of the Avastha (stages) and the Samdhi (junctures), both having five phases, are related to the structure of the play, the dramatic incidents, the development of the theme, and the movement of the plot. While Avastha attempts to delineate or mark the successive stages in the action of the play through various sub-divisions; the Samdhi, following the analogy of the seed and its growth, tries to combine the various types of action into meaningful whole.

When taken together, you find that the Avastha and Samdhi are closely related, with each stage of the Avastha corresponding with each juncture of the Samdhi. Both mark the divisions in the development of the plot, in five stages. Bharata had said: the Samdhis depend on the Avasthas (Samdhyo hi Avastha paratantrah)

Dr. Manjul Gupta explains: Looking at the position, we may finally say that Samdhis are the important parts of a plot. A plot is divided into five parts marking different phases of the main aim. These five Samdhis are related to each other, ‘to their limbs’. .. and, somehow or other, with the five Avasthas of the action.

Thus, the Arambha of Avastha corresponds with Mukha of Samdhi; and similarly, the Prayathna with the Prathimukha; the Prathisambhava with the Garbha; the Niyatapi with the Vimarsa; and, the Phalayoga with the Nirvahana.

 *

Dhananjaya goes further and inserts Arthaprakrti, the constituent elements in a plot, mentioned by Bharata (NS.19.21) as the third format (besides Avastha and Samdhi) for outlining the structure of the plot. And, he had said, they are found in the Itivrtta, just as the five Avasthas do.

bījaṃ binduḥ patākā ca prakarī kāryameva ca / arthaprakṛtayaḥ pañca jñātvā yojyā yathāvidhi // BhN_19.21 //

Dhananjaya suggested that the five elements of the Arthaprakrti (viz., Bija; Bimdu; Pathaka; Prakari; and Karya), corresponded with the five stages  of action as described under Avastha ; and , from these arise five junctures , the Samdhi , beginning with Mukha , the opening.

arthaprakrtayah panca panca-avastha-samanvitah yathasamkhyena jayante mukhadyah panca samdhayah // DR.1.21//

The difference between Avastha and Arthaprakrti seems to be that while the former (Avastha) pertains to the principal plot; the latter (Arthaprakrti) covers the subsidiary plots also. And, while the action of every play consists of five Avasthas, but, in the case of five Arthaprakrtis, it is not necessary that all should be present. The other difference appears to be that in the Avastha, its stages follow an ordered sequence. But, Arthaprakrti is not bound by such regulations; the sequence and the prominence of its elements might be altered to suit the needs of the plot. 

However, Bharata had not said anything about the inter-relations that might exist among the three formats of the play, viz., the Avastha, the Samdhi and the Arthaprakrti.

But the later writers (e.g. Katayavema and Dhundiraja) accepted the suggestion made by Dhananjaya for treating Avastha, Samdhi and Arthaprakrti as parallel ways of dividing or demarcating the structure of the Drama into successive ordered segments (yathasamkhyena jayante).

It could, therefore, be said that each element of Samdhi identifies; and, also leads to the corresponding elements of the Arthaprakrti and Avastha.

Arthaprakrti, Samdhi , Agama0004

It has been suggested that these three sets of five each, Pentad (panchayatam), could be taken as three ways of analyzing the structure of the plot of a Sanskrit Drama (Rupaka) from three different angles.

Summing up, Viswanatha in his Sâhitya-Darpana described Rupaka (Nataka) as the most logical and perfect theatrical composition. It progresses in a systematic manner and concludes successfully, bringing joy to all.  He says, according to the Dasarupa, the structure of the Rupaka consists: five elements of the plot (Arthaprakrti), matching with the five stages (Avastha) of the action, from which arise five structural divisions or sequence of events (Samdhi) of the drama, which correspond with the elements of the plot and the actions associated with the stages in the hero’s attempts to successfully realize his purpose or objects.

Please also read the brief study of the Dasarupaka of Viswanatha by Dr. Leena Chandra K ]

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[The Shakuntalam of Kalidasa  (check here for an English translation) is hailed as a classic play  that epitomizes all the virtues and characteristics of the hoary Sanskrit theatrical traditions.

We may take a look at the structure of the play in terms of the three modes of Samdhi , Arthapaprakrti and Avastha.

Kalidasa’s celebrated  play  Abhijnana Shakuntalam has seven Acts; and, the action is spread over six years. The plot is structured into series of actions , each leading to the next.

The progression of the plot of the Shakuntalam can be analyzed according to dramatic conventions set out in the Natyasastra. This may be done taking into account all the three axes : Arthaprakrti ; Avastha-s ( states of action); and, Sandhi-s (joints of action) .

Act I features the Mukha-Sandhi, in which the King Dushyanta comes upon the beautiful lass Shakuntala; it gives rise to cause (hetu) for the beginibg of action (Bija – Arthaprakrti), which is the King deeply falling in love with Shakuntala; and, that  opening sets the  stage for action in the play (Arambha-Avastha).

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Act II and Act III explore the expansion (ArthaprakrtiBindu), when the King makes effort (AvasthaYatna or Prayathna) to moves towards his objective ; and that develops into their wedding (Pratimukha-Sandhi),

But the King  and Shakuntala must urgently separate; and, they  are filled with hope of success mixed with fear of failure (Prathi-sambhava Avastha); and their love  strives to grow despite the difficulties and challenges it is confronted with (Garbha Sandhi). That gives reason to  carry forward  and support the main cause of the  action (Pathaka Arthaprakrti ) .

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Acts IV and V relate to the period of separation, wherein hope of reunion is affirmed , despite absence; and this section is a continuation of the Garbha-Sandhi. This occurs when Shakuntala leaves the hermitage and also when she and the king are separated, after his rejection of her;  serving the principal plot (Prakari Arthaprakrti).

This state of uncertainty also marks  Vimarsa or Avamarsa Sandhi , when the King actually does reject Shakuntala , a crucial or rather testing time in the development of the seed (Bija) which has now  grown into Garbha , facing troubles; and, when  the charecters  stops to reflect (avamrsed) because of getting embroiled in entanglements (aslesa), snared in temptations (vilobana), doubts, anger , or following a misleading clue, thus temporarily arresting its development.

Acts V and VI bring hope of realizing the  goal (Niyatapti-Avastha), when Indra calls upon Dushyanta to join him in heaven; and, the audience knows that the King will  eventually reunite with Shakuntala.  It is followed by actions or incidents that ensure certainty of realizing the Lovers’ goal,  as by then the dangers and risks  are likely to be  bypassed or  eliminated .

The final Act VII celebrates the reunion of Shakuntala and Dushyanta; it marks the Nirvahana  or the Upasamhrti Sandhi, when all the scattered threads are harmonized and knit together;and, all the main incidents of the play are  meaningfully interwoven ; and , when the play is brought to a successful conclusion.

This final Arthaprakrti (Karya) also sums up the whole action, starting  from the beginning  and leading up  to the ultimate gainful result  (Phala). This Avastha (Phala-agama or Phala-prapti or Phala-yoga) is indeed  the crowning glory, the complete and satisfactory achievement of the desired objective  of the hero and the Leading Lady  as they joyfully reunite with their son Bharata.]

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Itivrtta

As regards the story of a play, it could either be adopted (itivrttam) from the incidents that occur in the well-known (Prakhyatha) legends of the past; or, could be a story invented (Uthpadya) by the poet; or else, it could be a mixture (Misra) of the two.  The story could also be about gods (Divya), humans (Marthya) and the like (Divyadivya).

prakhyatam itihasader utpadyam ; kavi-kalpitam;  misram ca samkarat tabhyam divya-martyadi-bhedatah.

It is also said; whatever be the original story, if it is not suitable for the hero or is inconsistent with the sentiment (Rasa) he represents, then the story can be modified or re-arranged in some other way. After determining the beginning and end of the play in this manner; and, after dividing it into five parts, the author should then break it up into small sections; the divisions called junctures (Samdhi).

[Surprisingly,even in the case of historical narrations (akhyayika), Anandavardhana (Ca.850) counseled poets to alter any received historical account that conflicted with the emotional impact they sought to achieve. Thus, according to him, one can and should change fact to suit the dominant Rasa of the work.]

The purpose of such reshaping of the story and characters by the playwright is to achieve a harmony of theme and character in order to serve the ultimate purpose of the drama ,  the Rasa – the  enjoyment by the cultured spectators concept of

 Yat tatra-anucitam Kim cin nayakasya rasasya va viruddham tat parityajyam anyatha va prakalpayet.

[The best example of this is Kalidasa’s reworking of Abijnana-shakuntalam and Vikramorvasiya, the former from the Mahabharata and the latter from the Vedas, Epics, and Puranas.]

Dhanika the commentator mentions that the Vastu is initially classified as the principal (Adhikarana) and subsidiary (Prasangika); and, each of these two are again sub-divided in three ways (Prakhyatha, Uthpadya and Misra), keeping in view of the source of the story, the characters, the portrayal and the dramatic conventions.

[But, Bharata had divided the plot (Itivrtta) into only two classes – the principal and the subsidiary; and, had not attempted their further sub-divisions. 

tivṛttaṃ tu nāṭyasya śarīraṃ parikīrtitam / pañcabhiḥ sandhibhistasya vibhāgaḥ samprakalpitaḥ // BhN_19.1 /

itivtta dvidhā caiva budhastu parikalpayet ādhikarikameka syāt prāsagikam-athāparam 19. 2

The explanation provided is that Bharata did not attempt to divide the dramatic components into tight compartments, because:  he was more concerned with the successful production of a play.  He was focused on coming up with an interesting presentation that would provide wholesome entertainment to the spectators ; and , at the same time he had to pay attention to the  playwright , the actors and the very process of production.

But, the later commentators like Abhinavagupta and Dhananjaya were basically theoreticians who relished offering  scholarly interpretations of the vast variety of technical terms , principles and concepts etc., together with illustrations of their applications by citing passages from the  great plays that preceded their times (such as the plays of Bhasa, kalidasa, Bhavabuthi, Sriharsha and others). These scholars were, however, not much concerned with the nutty gritty or practical details of play-production or the structure and management of the playhouse.]

Dhananjaya says that the chosen subject could be arranged in six ways: showing what needs to be put forth; displaying emotion; the element of surprise; representations for sustaining interest in the story; and concealing what needs to be concealed,

The task of dramatization of the underlying story (Itivrtta) calls for selection, omission and meaningful arrangement of the incidents. Some types of actions should be presented on the stage; while certain other types that are unsuitable for display might either be indicated by words or not shown at all.

There might be incidents in the play which have happened either in the past or in the distant lands; and, there might also be certain types of actions which might neither be possible nor advisable to show on stage. All such matters have to be suggested or indicated by various other clever devices (Arthopaksepaka).

[Normally, the action in a play depicts the events that occurred during the course of that day (or night). But, there are some noted exceptions to such conventions. For instance: in the Uttara-rama-charita of Bhavabhuthi, the events in the first  Act and the second Act are separated by as many as twelve years. Similarly, several years elapse between the last two Acts of the Abhijnana-shakuntalam . In such cases, an intermediate scene (Vishkambha) is introduced as a link; and, also to explain / narrate the occurrences that took place  subsequent to  the previous Act.

Further, it is said; a chariot, an elephant or a horse should not be brought on the stage. Similar is the case with palaces, hills or lakes. Such animals and geographical features might be suggested or indicated through models made of cheap materials. And, in case an army has to be introduced on the stage, that should be symbolically represented by the movement (gati-vīcāra) of four to six persons dressed as soldiers.

But, in many cases, the unity of place is not strictly observed; and, travels are undertaken, often, by aerial routes, riding the celestial rathas]

In regard to the continuity of action taking place after a lapse of time , that is achieved through  suggestions or indications   made in  one oe more of the five ways  : (1) Vishkambha, an interlude; (2) Pravesaka confined to lesser characters, which use Prakrit; (3) Culika, suggestions from behind the curtain; (4) Ankamukha, anticipatory scene, at the close of an Act a character alludes to the subject of the following Act; and, (5) Ankavatara , the seed of the subject-matter of an Act in the previous Act before it has drawn to its close, so that the following is a continuation of the one preceding it. 

arthopakṣepakaiḥ sūcyaṃ pañcabhiḥ  pratipādayet / viṣkambha cūlikā aṅgāsy āṅkāvatāra praveśakaiḥ // DhDaś_1.52 //

It is only that part of the action which is fit to be exhibited is divided into Acts and presented on the stage in an ingenious and a highly interesting manner.

[Natyashastra prescribes that in the presentation of the play , one should avoid showing such events as: long travel; murder; war; violent overthrow; bloodshed; eating; taking bath; undressing; sex act etc.

Dura-dhavanam; vadham; yuddham; rajya-dessadiviplavan/ samrodham; bhojanam; snanam ; suratam; ca-anulepanam/ amvara-grahanadini pratyakshani na nirdiset na-adhikaraivadham kvapi tyajyam – avasyakam na ca // ]

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Source : Laws practice Sanskrit drama by Prof. S N Shastri

[The classical Sanskrit Drama, in its presentation, followed a traditional format.

Plays were usually presented at the spring festival. The Srngara and Vira are the usual dominant Rasas of the play. The dialogues are interspersed with lyrical stanzas and songs; and, often with dance movements. Tragedy, in the Western sense of the term, was not there, for every drama must have a happy ending.

A drama always opened with Naandi, or benediction, submitted by the well accomplished Sutradhara, stage-manager or director, to Lord Shiva, praying for successful completion of the play , for the joy (nanda) and the prosperity of the audience. It is said; it is called Naandi , because it pleases (Nanda) the gods –Nandati devata asyam  iti  Naandi ; and, also because , it pleases the spectators and confers blessings on them. 

Right after the Naandi, the Sutradhara  , appears in a section , preliminary to the play, called  Prarochana ,  where he would praise the literary merit and scholarship of the playwright;   laud the high quality of his play that the audience is about to watch; and, compliment the audience for their wisdom in choosing to witness such an excellent play (unmukhī karaṇaṃ tatra praśaṃsātaḥ prarocanā) . The Prarochana would be followed by Prastavana, the prelude to  the play-proper, where the Sutradhara would strike a light-hearted conversation with a Nati , Vidusaka or a minor character regarding the play that is just about to be presented. All these take place in the Purvanga, the preliminary , before the commencement of the play .

sūtradhāro naṭīṃ brūte mārṣaṃ vātha vidūṣakam / svakāryaṃ prastutākṣepi citroktyā yat tadāmukham // DhDaś_3.7 // prastāvanā vā tatra syuḥ kathādghātaḥ pravṛttakam / prayogā tiśayaścātha vīthyaṅgāni trayodaśa // DhDaś_3.8 //

The initial scenes are always auspicious, spreading a happy–feeling (adi-mangala); and, as the story unfolds, unbearable miseries are unjustly mounted  on the virtuous hero , by the crafty villain. In the midst of all the troubles that the hero is facing, near about the mid-point of the story, something good happens to the hero (madhya-mangala).  Somewhere in the second-half of the story, amidst the trials and tribulations of the lovers,  a sort of relief  arrives  through the  clumsy attempts of the usually inept, food and fun loving sidekick, the vidushaka .  And, after a hard fought and suspenseful struggle (in which the gentle heroine, for no fault of her, is somehow drawn in), the anti-hero falls; eventually the Good, the Love and the Dharma triumphs; and, all ends well (antya-mangala).

The play concludes with a Bharatavakya, praying for the welfare of the king with good governance, the happiness of his subjects ; and, the peace and  prosperity of all beings in all the three worlds.]

lotus offering

Numerous subdivisions

The Dasarupa goes into lot of details, enumerating the subdivisions of the various elements of action (much of it not being quite significant). For instance:

  • 12 subdivisions of the opening scene (Mukha);
  • 13 subdivisions of the progression (Prathimukha);
  • 12 subdivisions of the development (Garbha); 
  • 13 subdivisions of the pause (avamarsa) ,
  • 5 kinds of intermediate scenes (arthopaksepaka) ;
  • 14 subdivisions of the conclusion ( Nirvahana )
  • 64 types of Samdhyangas (Divisions or Limbs of Samdhis)
  • 12 limbs of Garbha
  • 13 types of Avamarsa
  • 72 types of Sandnyantaras which act as inter-links
  • And so on

 **

The First Book of Dasarupa concludes with the advice:  after examining the entire body of divisions of the subject matter presented in these and the following sections, as well as in the works like the Ramayana and Brhatkatha, one should thereupon compose a story expanded with the appropriate selection of Hero (Neta) and sentiments (Rasa) , bound together with appropriate and pleasing words (ucita-caru-vacah).’

ityady asesam iha vastu-vibhedajatam / Ramayanadi ca vibhavya Brhatkatham ca / asutrayet tad anu netrra-sanugunyac / citram katham ucita-caru-vacah-prapancaih //DhDaś_1.61 //

***

In the next part we shall talk about the types of Heroes , Heroines and the supporting charecters ; and, also about the Vrttis , which Bharata regarded as the mother of all poetic works.

 

Nayana5 crop

 

Continued

In

Part Three

Sources and References

The Dasarupa a treatise on Hindu dramaturgy by George C. O. Haas, Columbia University press / 1912

 A Study of Abhinavabharati on Bharata’s Natyasastra and Avaloka on Dhananjaya’s Dasarupaka – by Manjul Gupta

Sahityadarpanah of Viswanathakavirajah

The Theory of the Samdhis and the Samdhyangas in Natya Shastra by T.G. Mainkar

Sanskrit Dramaturgy

https://open.library.ubc.ca/media/download/pdf/831/1.0094658/2

All images are from Internet

 
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Music of India – a brief outline – Part Thirteen

Continued from Part Twelve – Desi Samgita  

Part thirteen (of 22 ) – Forms of Karnataka Sangita

saraswathi

The Journey

1.1. As you have seen from the articles posted so far that, over the centuries, the Music of India has passed through many significant milestones on the way to its full development. Though the several forms of Music generated over the long periods differ in their form, content and intent, they do in fact represent a continued progression of a hoary tradition, each inspiring its next format. The Music of India, just as its philosophies and branches of art-forms, follows the path of continuity blending in the changes, without compromising its fundamentals.

1.2. The journey of this rich and varied Musical tradition could symbolically said to have commenced from the Riks of the Sama Veda associated with conduct of Yajnas , which then was improved upon by the Shiksha branch of the Vedas (Vedanga). That was followed the pure and chaste form of Music Marga or Gandharva with its gentle appeal to the gods. Then came the Gana of the Natyashastra with its several song-forms to suit various sequences that occur during the course of a Drama.

2.1. Thereafter the somber and rather inflexible Marga gave place to a comparatively relaxed art-music – Desi – derived from different regions of the country, aiming to delight the hearts of men and women. The Desi in its wake established the concept of Raga which in due time revolutionized the theories and practices of Indian Music. And, Raga became the central and predominant melodic concept in Indian music.  Over a period and with the proliferation of the Raga,  the systems of classifying the various Ragas into groups (Mela)  based on the technical traits of their scales (Svaras) came into vogue.

2.2. There arose various theories of characterizing the Ragas according to the mood or the season they seemed to represent,  and the  ideal time (  day , evening or night) to sing  the Ragas. And, the Ragas even came to be personified, treating them as male or female,  each endowed with its own individual traits and appearance. A large number of music-treatises were concerned primarily with the iconography of the Raga; and, were eager to connect the Raga with a deity or a season or a mood or even an environment.

2.3. Emmie Te Nijenhuis observes : For a full understanding of the development of musical forms in India one has to consider not only the technical elements of a composition, such as: its phrasal elements (Taala, Pada, Svara, Pata, Virudu and Tena), its main musical section (Dhatu) or its poetical metre, but also its general character, its subject matter and social environment . Unfortunately the Sanskrit texts do not contain information on some these aspects.

One has to therefore go behind the texts and try to understand their cultural and social background , fathom their inspirations   as also motivations

3.1. Much before the theories and concepts of Raga were fully developed, one of the major forms of Desi Sangita that came to fore was the Prabandha, which in its myriad forms dominated the Music scene of India for more than about thousand years till the end of the seventeenth century. In between, the Persian influence remodeled the forms and the ways of singing classical Music in North India. The ancient Dhruva-pada (Dhrupad) a Desi form of Prabandha gave place to improvised lyrical Khyal and other popular modes of singing.

3.2.  In the South India, the Prabandha which was getting rather rigid gave place, by about the end of seventeen century, to varieties of musical forms that were free flowing and not unduly constrained by rules of Grammar and meter. Though the form and the presentation of the songs took new shapes, they still retained, in one way or the other, the basic elements of the ancient Prabandha. This has helped to keep alive the ancient traditions.

4.1. By the second half of the 17th century the ancient Music that figured in Natyashastra was no longer in practice. The system of 17th century was closer to the one in present day. The texts of this period usually began with the traditional description of the scales (Svara) in terms of the 22 Srutis   and associated Ragas.

4.2. The eighteenth century could be said the golden age of Karnataka Sangita. The period not merely gave birth to significant texts that re-defined Music theories (Lakshana) and practices (Lakshya) but also witnessed the flowering of various Music forms such as : Kirtana, Kriti, Daru, Varna , Padam , Javali, Thillana, Naamavali  and so on. The most fortuitous occurrence or the heavenly blessing of this period was the sublime Music created by the Trinity of Karnataka Sangita who flourished around the same time.  It is, fundamentally, their Music that has given form substance and identity to the Karnataka Sangita and all other related art-forms that are practiced today. We all owe those Great Masters a deep debt of gratitude.

Let’s try to gain brief familiarity with some of the art-music that branched out of the Prabandha. Among those forms, I reckon, Daru seems to be older. Let’s begin with Daru.

sarasvathi tanjore

Daru

Dance Drama

5.1. It is said; the Daru songs were derived from the ancient Dhruva songs (stage-songs) described in the thirty-second chapter of Bharatha’s Natyashastra.

During the times of the Nayaks of Tanjavuru the Yakshagana, Bhagavatamela Nataka and such other dance dramas were popular. And, Daru songs were widely employed in all these forms of dance dramas (geya-nataka). Some of the earliest Daru songs that have come down to us are from Vijayaraghava Nayaka’s Yakshagana Vipranarayana Charita (1633 – 1673).

Daru that is commonly used in Dance Dramas, is basically a story-song (Akhyana or a ballad) narrating an event. Therefore, lyrics (Sahitya) are an essential part of Daru song.

5.2. As regards their format, some Darus may have Pallavi, Anu-pallavi and Charanas; while some others may just have only the Pallavi and Charanas (i.e. without Anu-pallavi). All the Charanas may have the same Dhatu, the musical element. The Tempo (Laya) of a Daru is usually the Madhyama-kaala; but, some are also sung in Vilamba-kala to suit the dramatic event. As regards the Taala, the Chapu Taala is most favored in Geya Natakas (say, as in Nauka Charitram of Sri Tyagaraja).  The other Taalas used were Adi and Jampa.

5.3. The music of Daru songs is usually simple with no elaborate improvisations such as Raga Sancharas or Sangathis.  The Rakthi Ragas are mostly used to bring out the mood and emotion of the scene. The Saurastra Raga seems to have a favorite of the composers.

Classification of Darus

6.1. Darus have been classified into various types depending on their functions. For instance; Svagatha Daru is for a character musing aloud (sotto voce) or a soliloquy speaking to herself/himself softly, aside, rather in a private manner.  Pralapa Daru is for sorrowing or wailing situations. Heccarika Daru is for heralding the entry of the King, alerting the assembled courtiers. Paada-vandana Daru is for respectfully approaching the deity in a temple, as also for retreating, step by step. And, Samvada Daru is for conversations in musical form between two main characters.

6.2. Jakkini Daru has an interesting format. It commenced with Jaati-Svaras (series of notes, sol-fa); and, the words (lyrics) were in the second section of the song. Jakkini was a popular form of Daru during the time of Nayaks. And, in due time, Jakkini Daru gave raise to Tillanas.

6.3. Some Darus (like Tendral Daru, Vennila Daru and Manmatha Daru) were love-songs portraying erotic moods (Sringara Rasa).   Such Darus in lighter moods were the forerunners of the later Javali dance songs.

6.4. Sri Melatturu Venkatarama Shastry who was a senior contemporary of Sri Tyagaraja  is said to have composed as many as twelve  Dance Dramas (Bhagavatha Mela Nataka) employing the Daru-songs. And, the Kuchhipudi dance dramas also employ Daru-songs in their narratives.

6.5. Among the Trinity of Karnataka Music, Sri Tyagaraja in his Dance Drama ‘Nauka Charitram’ used Daru-songs. For instance; one of its Daru –song ‘Indu kemi’ set to Varali Raga in Chapa Taala is of Samvada Daru type. Here, two characters speak alternatively (Uttara – pratyuttara) through songs.

[Independent of the dance dramas, Sri Tyagaraja is said to have composed a Daru (Nee saathi) in Raga Sriranjani. But, its authorship is questioned.]

[And, none of Sri Tyagaraja’s disciples seem to have attempted a Daru.]

Sri Mutthuswamy Dikshitar has also composed a Daru in Sriranjani Raga ‘Na sari sati’ set to Rupaka Taala; and, it is in Telugu. It is one of Dikshitar’s rare compositions in Telugu. The Anuprasa (rhyming) is delightfully phrased in the terms valabu, solabu and kolabu etc. There is an allusion to an anecdote related to churning of the sea that gave forth Amrita (divine nectar)   in the phrase: ’vasavadi amarulella Vamri svarupametti Vasudeva garvamanji’.

Among the later composers, Sri Harikesanallur Muthayya Bhagavatar who was musician in the court of Sri Krishnaraja Wodeyar, the Maharaja of Mysore, has composed four Daru Varnas, Two of which are in Telugu; and, the other two are in Kannada. They contain Jaatis, Svaras as well as Sahitya. Here, the first passage in Svaras is followed by Jaati, which then are followed by Sahitya.

Of these, the Daru-Varna in Kannada set to Khamas Raga and Chapu Taala (Mathe Malayadwaja pandya samjate matanga vadana guha) is very highly  popular.

[The name of the Raga Khamas when sung repeatedly in succession sounds ‘Sukhama’].

[For more; Please see: Darus in Carnatic Music by Dr. Gowri Kuppuswami and Dr. M Hariharan; Published in ‘Shanmukha’, October 1986 (Vol.XII; No.4)]

**

Kirtana

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7.1. Until about the beginning of the eighteenth century, Prabandha was the dominant form of Music. It also played an important role in the development of dance and dance-drama. Prabandha, essentially, is a tightly structured (Nibaddha Samgita) musical composition that is governed by a set of rules. Venkatamakhin in his landmark work Chaturdandi Prakasika (ca. 1635) describes Prabandha as a composition having specific characteristics; and, that which is well composed – ‘prabandhayeti Prabandha’. However, the definition was narrowed down to include only those compositions which are made up of Six Angas or elements (birudu, pada, tenaka, pāta and tāla) and Four Dhatus or sections (Udgrāha, Melāpaka, Dhruva and Abhoga).

The structure of a Prabandha, by its very nature, had to adhere to a prescribed format. In general, the emphasis appeared to be more on the text than on the musical content. The faithfulness to the form was, at times, carried to its limits. And, the Prabandha form, in due course, grew rather rigid.

And, Prabandha, naturally, had to give place to improvised, easier and innovative (manodharma samgita) forms of music having distinctive features of their own. Yet; it is the basic elements of Prabandha that provide guidelines even to the modern composers of classical music.

[Most of the medieval Prabandha-s eventually disappeared because of the stiffness of their musical construction. Yet; it should also be mentioned that Prabandha helped the Karnataka music, enormously, in ensuring continuity of its ancient tradition.]

7.2. With the steady decline of Prabandha and rise of regional languages, a range of musical compositions and rhythmic variations began to take place. Those with lighter and attractive musical content set in simpler words easy to understand gained popularity as Kirtana-s or Padas. And, those Prabandha-s composed in high literary style and loaded with religious themes passed into realm of religion.

7.3. As said; the Kirtana form of Music that began to flourish towards the end of fourteenth century was basically devotional Music aiming to invoke Bhakthi in the hearts of common folk. Its Sahitya (lyrics) clothed in simple music abounds in Bhakthi-bhava. It usually is a prayer or a Namavali (stringing together various names and epithets of the deity) or is a song ideally suited for group singing (Samuha-gana or Bhajana).

7.4. The Kirtanas do have musical sections such as Pallavi, Anu-pallavi and usually more than two Charanas. The entire Kirtana is usually set to one traditional and melodious Raga in simple Taala; and is rendered in Madhyama-kaala.   In a Kirtana, Music per se is neither explored nor interpreted. Music, here, is but a charming, delightful vehicle to convey the devotional content of the song.

7.5. Among the Saint-poets and composers (Vak-geya-kara) who composed Kirtanas in soul-stirring music preaching devotion and submission to the Lord, the prominent were: Sri Sripadaraya (1403-1502), Tallapakkam Sri Annamacharya  (1408 to 1503), Sri Vyasaraya (1447-1539), Sri Vadiraja (1480-1600) , Sri Purandaradasa (1484-1564) , Kshetrayya (or Kshetragna) (1600–1680), Bhadrachalam Ramadasu (1620-1688)   and  Sri Raghavendra Tirtha (1623- 1671) . However, the original tunes of many of their songs are lost to us.

Kriti

sangita

8.1. As said, Kirtana was the popular form of Music during 15-17th centuries. It was followed by the Kriti format which eventually stabilized and attained perfection by about the middle of the 18th century.

Kirtana and Kriti are often used as alternate or interchangeable terms. But, they are not the same; and, there are differences between the two. But, these two together form the major corpus of the main stream of Karnataka Sangita.

8.2. A Kriti is explained as that which is constructed (yat krtam tat kritih). It is primarily a pre-composed music (kalpitha Samgita), which aims to delineate the true nature of a Raga in all its vibrant colours.  In Karnataka Samgita, a Kriti comprising Pallavi, Anu-pallavi and Charanas, honouring the disciplines of Grammar and Chhandas, and set to appropriate Taala is the most advanced form of musical composition.

8.3. If Kirtana evokes Bhakthi Rasa, Kriti aims at perfection of Gana-Rasa. Kriti depicts shades of various emotions and Rasa-s including Bhakthi. Kriti can express even sorrow-Karuna (e.g. Evari mata–kambhoji); wonder–Adbhuta (Enta muddo– Bindumalini); frustration or disgust – Jigupsa (Chedi buddhi – Adana); resignation or despairBibhatsa (Eti Janma – Varali). And, the expansion of such emotions is more complex, subtle and technically almost perfect.

8.4. The elaboration of a Kriti is complex for other reasons too. It might involve many Kaala-pramanas (tempos). And, quite often, a Kriti may be composed in rare or untested Ragas perhaps because the composer either strives to demonstrate his technical virtuosity or to match the subject and the text of the Kriti with a Raga of an equally aesthetic quality. Many times, a Kriti assigns the Raga greater importance than to its words. It might be trying to employ the Raga with its Gamakas to express the intent (bhava) of its Sahitya more effectively. Further, Kritis are also often structured in complex Taala patterns.

And, it is up to the genius of the performer to bring out the various facets of the Kriti as well as she/he could achieve.  Therefore, a Kriti can effectively be rendered as a solo rather than as group-song (in contrast to the Kirtana).

9.1. Kriti is conceived as a well chiselled work of art; an ideal harmony of Mathu (words) and Dhatu (music-element).  In an excellently well composed Kriti, the bhava of the words has to fuse with the bhava of the Raga, and the two have to become one.  Therefore, the performer is not expected to meddle with it or deviate from the structure laid down by the composer. And yet; a Kriti provides ample scope to the performer to draw out her/his creative (Mano- dharma), innovative expressions in Raga and Laya. A gifted performer transforms a Kriti into his own inspired self-expression, investing it with his creative skill, well crafted Gamakas and Alamkaras.

9.2. Having said that let me also add there are varieties of Kritis. There is no prescribed number of sections or prescribed the length to define a Kriti. Some are short as in the case of some of Sri Dikshitar’s Kritis where the Anu-pallavi and Charanam are fused into one Samasti-charanam. Sri Tyagaraja, on the other hand, at times, adds extra Charanams. At the same time, in some of his Kritis the last two lines of the Charanam are rendered just like the Anu-pallavi.

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9.3. Kritis are set in different speeds, Ragas, Taalas, lengths and levels of proficiency. Some Kritis allow scope for elaboration while others are crisp. Some are scholarly, while some others just project sweet melody with simple words of devotion (Madhura Bhakthi).

9.4. While the Kritis in Karnataka Sangita are generally rendered in Madhyama Kaala, some of Sri Dikshitar’s Kritis commence in Vilamba Kaala, but, brisk and enlivening passages are built into the Kriti towards the end. Similarly in the case of Kritis of Shyama Shastry a performer can do justice only if she/he grasps the delicacy of Gamakas of his Ragas and renders in slow, contemplative tempo.

9.5. It is also said; A Kriti can also be sung with or without Sangathi or Niraval or Svara Kalpana. Because, it is said, a Kriti should essentially be beautiful by itself; and, should sound sweet even without elaborations and ornamentation (nirabharana saundarya).

10.1. One of Sri Tyagaraja’s significant contributions to Karnataka music is the perfection of Kriti format, which was, at that time, evolving out of the shadows of the older Prabandha and its immediate predecessor Kirtana or Pada. Amazingly, Sri Tyagaraja as also Sri Dikshitar and Shyama Shastry, independent of each other, all contributed to the development of Kriti form, although they did not seem to have met or corresponded.

[Prior to the time of Sri Tyagaraja (say, 17th century) composers of great reputation such as Muthu Tandavar and Margadarsi Sesha Ayyangar had experimented with the Kriti format. And, it was the celebrated Trinity of Karnataka Samgita that, later, perfected it. ]

10.2. Sri Tyagaraja in his song Sogasuga mridanga talamu (in Raga Sri Ranjani) provides an outline of how a Kriti should be, in its form and in its content. In this song, he says that a  Kriti should be couched in words ( nija vākkulatō ) conveying the pure spirit of the Upanishads (nigama siro-arthamu) ; should have correctness of musical notes (swara śhuddhamutō)  of the ragas in which they are set; should have pleasant (sokkajeya ) rhythm that is enjoyable (Sogasuga mridanga talamu ); should be marked by beauties of alliterations and successive increases and decreases of notes and syllables , as also pauses (Yati Visrama) ; it’s  literary expressions should nurture  cultivation of true devotion (Sadbhakti ) and dispassion (virati ); and, it  should be adorned with  grace and simplicity embodying  all the nine (nava) Rasas or aesthetic moods.

10.3. In number of his other songs; he explains how Music is indeed the expression of the primordial Nada; how music originates in mind and body; and, how music should be presented. According to him, enjoying music is Sukhanubhava – a tranquil delight.

karnataka samgita

Sangathi

11.1. One of the innovations of Sri Tyagaraja to improve the aesthetic beauty of Kriti –rendering was the Sangathi.  A Sangathi (lit. putting together) is essentially a set of variations on the shades of a theme, gradually unfolding the melodic (Raga) potential of a phrase (Sahitya) in combination with Svaras. Some say that Sri Tyagaraja adopted Sangathi-rendering from dance-music where variations are done for Abhinaya and for bringing out the different shades and interpretations of the basic emotion (Bhava).

11.2. In any case, this was an outstanding contribution to the advancement of the Kriti format in particular and to the musical performances in general. Sangathi elaboration in Madhyama Kala, in the opening of a Pallavi, has enormously enriched the aesthetic beauty of Raga-bhava during Kriti-presentation in a concert.  With that, a Kriti is no longer static; but, it is a vibrant, living entity like language that is wielded with skill and dexterity. Sangathi passages also mark the virtuosity of the performer. Some of Sri Tyagaraja masterpieces open with a cascade of Sangathis (E.g.  Chakkani raja margamu; Rama ni samana; O Rangashayi; and Naa Jivadhara.)

11.3. Though the Sangathi was fundamentally a feature of Tyagaraja-Kritis, its practice (Sarasa-sangathi sandharbhamu, as Tyagaraja calls it)   has now spread to the presentation of Kritis of Dikshitar, Shyama Shastry and other composers, though they belong to a different style.  Similarly, Madhyama kaala that goes with the Sangathi has come to be the principal tempo of Karnataka Samgita [though some of Dikshitar-kritis, in Vainika style, are in slow tempo (Vilamba Kala)].

11.4. Sangathi and  Neraval (sahitya vinyasa) – where the Sahitya and its melody is spread out in various ways while keeping intact the original structure of the Pallavi or Charanam – together with Kalpana Svaras, provide depth and expansiveness to Karnataka Samgita. And, Tyagaraja-kritis, in particular, provide ample scope not only for elaboration on various phases and aspects of Raga (manodharma-samgita), but also for improvising fascinating sequences of Sangathi-s, Neraval and Kalpana –Svaras.

Raga Taana and Pallavi

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12.1. Raga Taana Pallavi is regarded the most mature form of presentation in Karnataka Sangita. Raga here stands for Alapana or elaboration, the Anibaddha Sangita. It is the Music that is not fettered by words, meters or Taala.  Its excellence is limited only by performer’s virtuosity.  The performer after a slow contemplative phases delves into the depths of the Raga explores its various dimensions through his creative endower; and, ends on a high note.

12.2. After the Alapana the performer takes up Taana (comparable to Jor –Jhala in Hindustani Dhrupad and instrumental music). This involves boundless play on meaning-less syllables such as ta, na, nom, tum or tanam, etc. Taana is unique in the sense that with the rise in tempo, the performer improvises and builds into the melody various patterns of rhythms, without, however, the element of Taala. The Veena players invariably perform Taana; and, it is most delightful.

12.3. The third part is Pallavi, which is Nibaddha, structured by words, sections and Taala. Here the percussion player join in and do enjoy a greater role. The Pallavi ends in a series of kalpanaswaras.

Varna

[The Varna or Varnam that we are about to discuss is different from the technical term Varna (special note sequences that indicate different kinds of Svara- movements) we talked about earlier. The Varna or Varnam in the following paragraphs refers to a class of musical composition in Karnataka Sangita.]

13.1. Varnam is a short, crisp and tightly knit music-piece that aims to encapsulate the main features and requirements of a Raga. These are finely crafted exquisite works of art. The creation of a Varna calls for delicate craftsmanship, thorough knowledge of the Raga, its sanchara (movements) in various Kaala (tempos) , grasp over Taala and an overall sense of beauty and balance.

13.2. Varnams have been composed, since about eighteenth century, in all the major Ragas and most of the minor Ragas, in all the principal Taalas. Many Masters of Karnataka Sangita have composed Varnas. The prominent among them are: Pachchimiriyam Adiyappayya, Sonti Venkatsubbayya, Shyama Shastri, Swati Tirunal Maharaja, Patnam Subrahmanya Iyer, Ramnad Srinivasa Iyengar and Mysore Vasudevacharya.

[Varna is unique to Karnataka Sangita. The Hindustani Music does not seem to have its counterpart.]

13.3. Varna lays out the Grammar of a Raga. That is to say, it specifies the features and rules regarding the movement of the Raga (raga-sanchara), its scale, how each note of the Raga should be stressed and so on. A Varnam is therefore a fundamental form in Karnataka Sangita. It needs to be practiced well both by the learner and the experienced performer.

14.1. A Varnam is structured in two Angas (sections) : The Purvanga ( first section) comprises  Pallavi, Anu-pallavi, Mukhayi Svara; and The Uttaranga ( the latter section)  comprises a Charana that acts as a refrain for the latter part of the Varnam and Charana-svaras (Chittasvara) that are alternated with the Charanam.  Each section of a Varnam elaborates an aspect of the Raga (raga-svarupa).

14.2. A Varna does include Sahitya (lyrics); but, its role is secondary, merely supporting the music-content of the Varnam. It provides the Lakshya and Laksana of a Raga. The focus of a Varnam is on the Raga, its individual Svaras and Svara phases of various lengths and speeds. It is said; Varnam does not need the distraction of Sahitya.

14.3. The movement of a Varnam is strictly controlled; and, it’s rendering demands discipline.  Its focus is on the Graha Svara (initial note of the Raga), the Gamakas, the Sanchara (movement) of the Raga according to the prescribed format.

14.4. The Pallavi of a Varna starts on the lower end of the scale stressing on the most important Svara (Jiva Svara) in the opening phase of the Pallavi. The Anu-pallavi deals with the higher end of the scale . And, the Mukhayi Svara and Chittasvara – consist of meandering (Sanchari) chains of Svaras that explore both the upper and lower reaches of the Raga.

14.5. The rendering of a Varna employs all the three tempos. The first Charana Svara is rendered in Vilamba kaala (slow tempo) and each Jiva Svara must be highlighted. After which, the rest is sung in Madhyama kaala (half-time). Some musicians insert their own kalpanaswara passages. In the third Charana Svara, the Svaras are short and made into groups (avartanam) of four. Thus, in Charana, there are two or three Svaras of one avartanam, one Svara of two avartanam-s and finally one Svara of four avartanam-s.

learner

15.1. As said earlier, practicing Varna is much required for the student as also for the experienced performer. For students, the Varnams that are taught at the intermediary level are useful for learning the Svaras of various Ragas, singing in multiple speeds rapidly; as well as learning the appropriate Gamakas.  Advanced students are taught Varnas in multiple Ragas or Taalas. They introduce the student to the proper combinations of Svaras for each Raga and inculcate discipline that is needed for singing.

Varna- rendering also helps to develop voice culture and in learning to maintain proper pitch and control over rhythm. The instrumentalists too can gain control over playing -techniques.

Among the early Adi Taala Varnams a student usually learns are: Ninnukori in Raga Mohana by Ramnad Sreenivasa Iyengar; Samininne in Shankara bharanam by Veenai Kuppaiyer; Evvari Bodhana in Abhogi by Patnam Subramania  Iyer;  and many others. In the later stages all student do learn to sing the celebrated Viriboni, in Bhairavi, set to Ata Taala by Pacchimirium Sri Adiyappayya.

Ariyakkudi Ramanuja Ayyangar

15.2. In the concerts, a Varnam is most often the first or the second piece to be rendered. Though some consider it as a warm-up exercise, the correct rendering of Varna requires complete knowledge of the Raga.

16.1. Varnams are of three sorts: Daru Varnam, Pada Varnam and Taana Varnam. . The theme of these Varnams is usually Bhakthi (devotion) or Sringara (love).

We just spoke about Daru Varnam in the previous paragraphs of this article. Daru Varnams are special type of Varnams in whose Mukthayi Svaras; there are first the Svara passages, followed by the jatis which are then followed by the Sahitya.

16.2. Pada Varnam (Ata Varnam): As its name indicates there it has a greater element of Sahitya (Pada or words). Pada Varnams with elaborate Sahitya are difficult to grasp especially when set to difficult Ragas and Taala. But, Pada Varnams are in greater use in Bharatanatyam. Because, it’s Sahitya, expressions and Svaras in moderately slow pace is said to be suitable for choreography.

16.3. Taana Varnam: This does not have Sahitya for Svaras. It usually is of fast tempo (Druta and Tisra Gati). It is the sort of Varna that is meant as pure music, without the intervention of words. It therefore has fewer words than the Pada Varna. The difficult Taana Varnams are commonly chosen for rending in the concerts;and, they provide the base for Mano-dharma-samgita. The artists enjoy greater elaborations of Taana Varnams studded with Kalpana-svaras to enhance to beauty of the Raga.

[ For more on Varnam ; please do read the Doctoral Research Paper : Study of varnas in dual forms music and dance by Dr. Rajashree R Warrier]

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Gitam, Svarajati and Jatisvaram

17.1. Just as the Varnam, the Gita and Svarajati have rhythm matching each syllable of the Sahitya to one Svara.

17.2. Gitam is the simplest type of composition. Taught to beginners of music, the Gitam is very simple in structure with an easy and melodious flow of music set in simple Taala.

17.3. Svarajatiis are learnt after a course in Gitams. More complicated than the Gitams, the Svarajati prepares the student for the Varnams. . It consists of three sections, called Pallavi, Anu-pallavi and Charanam. Svarajati does not offer much scope for elaboration of neraval etc since it is in a tight knit form. It bound by rules. Its Svara patterns are aligned with Sahitya in a graded manner. It was the genius of Shyama Shastry that endowed Svarajati with Raga bhava.

17.4. Jatisvaras are similar to the Svarajati in musical structure. However, – Jatisvaram-has no sahitya or meaningful words. The piece is sung with sol-fa syllables. its rhythmical excellence and the jati pattern used in it are its strength.  . This is a musical form belonging to the realm of dance music. In some Jatisvarams, the Pallavi and Anu-pallavi are sung to Jatis and the Charanas are sung to a mixture of Svaras and jatis. There are also Ragamalika Jatisvarams.]

Pada or Padam

Padam

[Pada hereunder does not merely refer to ’word’; but, it also refers to a type of song that was prevalent during 17th-18th century.]

18.1.The Padams are quite similar to the Uparupaka-s of the type Srigadita and Durmllika or Durmilita. The main characters of a Padam invariably are the Nayaka (hero), Nayika (heroine) and the Sakhi (friend/maid).  The Padams narrate the emotional states of the Nayika and the Nayaka while they are separated or while enjoying the company of each other.

In the Srigadita, the Nayaki is separated; and, she recounts her Lover’s actions, virtues or his indifference to her friend/maid. The separation of the Nayaka and the Nayaki is classified as Vipralamba -Srngara.  In Durmllika, the Sakhi either carries the message to the Nayaka or enables the two Lovers to meet.

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Some Padams are, however, in praise of a deity. In many, Srngara is depicted as Madhura-Bhakti.

Thus, the Padams, the musical monologues, provide scope for display of varied delicate shades of Srngara and other Rasas , through Nayaka-Nayaki-Bhavas.

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Pada or Padam were sung during Dance as they offered scope for subtle expressions through face and gestures (Abhinaya). During the times of Nayaks of Tanjavuru, Dance and Dance related music were popular because of their sweet music and aesthetic appeal. Most of the poets, musicians and Natyacharyas attached to the King’s Court were engaged in scripting songs and composing music for dance related music-forms such as Pada, Jakkini, Javali, Chintamani, Perani etc than with the art-music. Almost all forms of dance related compositions that are in vogue today are derived from this period. Its form has remained almost unchanged.

18.2. Most of the Padams were composed in regional languages, majority of them in Telugu and some in Tamil. The theme of a Padam would usually be Madhura Bhakthi devotion colored with tender love or suggestive romance. Theoretically, this sort of Bhakthi tinged with Srngara was projected in its two aspects: Antar-Srngara, the unseen sublime relation between the Universal Soul (Paramatma) and the Individual Soul (Jivatma) that is guided by the Guru, the spiritual mentor; and, the Bahir-Srngara was the explicit romantic relation between the Hero (Nayaka) and the Leading Lady (Nayika) that is aided and abetted by the Lady’s maid (Sakhi). Though all the nine Rasas (Nava-Rasa) were portrayed in a Padam, the Srinagar (erotic or romantic love) was the dominant Rasa and the theme.

[The terms Pada and Kirtana seem to be used synonymously in this period .And, later the compositions with Sringara content came to be known as Pada; and, those with element of Bhakthi as Kirtana.]

19.1. The music   of the Padam is generally slow-moving, arousing with an appeal to ones delicate sensibilities. The natural flow of music goes along with tender and evocative words of the song. The Padam aims to blend the music, the words and Abhinaya the dance expressions into a harmonious and very enjoyable art-experience.

19.2. The Padam, when sung, presents an epitome of the Raga in which it is composed. Ragas specially noted for evoking typical rasa bhava are commonly employed in Padam. They usually are the mellow and serene Ragas such as: Anandabhairavi, Sahana, Nilambari, Ahiri, Ghanta, Mukhari, Huseni, Surati, Sourashtram and Punnagavarali.

19.3. The Taala of a Padam is rather subdued, not intruding into the mood or the bhava of the song. The Sangathi too are gentle and elaborate; and, not vigorous or energetic.

A Padam also has the sections: Pallavi, Anu-pallavi and Charana.

20.1. The earliest Padams were composed by Jayadeva Kavi (12th Century) in Sanskrit and in Telugu by Kshetrayya (16th Century).

Kshetrajna- Indian Music composer

Kshetrayya or Kshetragna seems to have been a great devotee of Gopala (Krishna), the presiding deity of his village. Thus, he adopted the Ankita-mudra, Muvva Gopala, for his compositions.

The Padams of Kshetrayya composed in beautiful lyrics set to rare Ragas, describe intense longing of the Nayaki for the Lord; and varied emotions sorrow on separation. Many of his Padams begin with the Anupallavi, followed by the Pallavi.

Kshetrayya’s compositions include Padams, such as :  Ramarama (Bhairavi); Gaddari (Kalyani); Yemandu namma (Kedaragowla); and Kontegadu (Surati) , among others. Kshetrayya used only Rakthi-Ragas like: Anandabhairavi, Sahana, Nilambari, Ahiri, Ghanta, Mukhari, Huseni, Surati, Sourashtram and Punnagavarali.

The striking feature of his Padams is that he uses very few words to describe a situation; thus allowing scope for elaboration of emotions through Abhinaya in unhurried lilting gaits, to the accompaniment pleasing music. Kshetragnya’s Padams are , therefore, popular in both music and dance.

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20.2. Some of the poets in the Maratha Court at Tanjavuru like Giriraja Kavi were also noted Padam composers. He is said to have composed many Sringara Padas employing Desi Ragas like Brindavani.  He was followed by Vasudeva Kavi, Soma Kavi and Rama Bharathi.

The Maratha kings themselves (Thulaja I, Ekoji II, Sarabhoji II and Shahaji) are said to have composed several Padas, musical operas, Kuravanji’s, Daru, Yakshagana Natakas etc.

Javali

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21.1. Javalis belong to the genre of light classical music. Sung both in concerts  and dance items. The Javalis are popular because of the attractive melodies in which they are composed.

In Javalis also, the Nayaka, Nayika and the Sakhi figure in the theme;  but, the mood is slightly playful and most times, it is meant to entertain, as its Sahitya is colloquial and earthly.  In contrast to the Padams, which portray divine love, Javalis are rather sensuous in concept and display . Unlike in Padam, there is  no symbolism here. The Srngara portrayed in Javali is overt. It is meant to titillate the patron.

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21.2. They are basically dance-songs set in Madhyama kaala with attractive tunes and crisp Taala. Lighter Desi Ragas like Paraz, Kapi, Khamas, Behag, Jhinjhoti, Tilang, etc that   are simple and melodious are used in Javalis. They are not burdened with technical complexities as alapanaineraval or kalpanaswaras; and, in a concert they are sung towards the end as a way of relaxation.

[ For more on Javalis, please do click here for a learned article .]

Tillana

Tilana2

22.1. Tillana, again, is a dance oriented song format. It makes use of Mrudanga Jathis in Pallavi and Anu-pallavi. The emphasis is on brisk rhythm, lively movement and not on Sahitya or Manodharma. Percussions have greater role to play in Tillana. It is said; the life of a Tillana is in its rhythm (Laya). The composers played around music-sounds such as tha, thai, theem, thakadhimi, or kitathakatharikitathom, quite generously.

22.2. The Jathis are articulated throughout the piece. The Charanam has usually epithets (Birudu) saluting the deity or the patron. It is tight knit composition that is rendered in just the way it is composed. Tillana exude with joy, celebration or exuberance; and, it is not meant for other Rasa such as sorrow etc.

22.3. The Tillana corresponds to Tarana of Hindustani music. It is a favorite of Veena players.   In a concert Tillanas are sung towards the end, before the Mangalam (benediction), just to make up the variety.

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Form

23.1. The forms of song-formats in Indian Music, right from Sama-gaana to the present-day, are truly countless, as we have seen from this and the earlier posts in the Series. As Dr. Ramanathan observes; form is actually a codification of various musical aspects that has been abstracted from Musical structures and prescriptions as given in the texts.

23.2. To repeat; though the several forms of Music generated over the long periods differ in their form, content and intent, they do in fact represent a continued progression of a hoary tradition, each inspiring its next format. The Music of India, just as its philosophies and branches of art-forms, follows the path of continuity blending in the changes, without compromising its fundamentals

23.3. That is to say the Forms in Karnataka Sangita are the representations or the expressions of theoretical principles that governed each stage of its evolution over the centuries. The Forms and formats change to suit their adopted environment; but, the principles behind them remain true and lasting.

In the next two parts, lets briefly take a look at the various Lakshana Granthas (from Dattilam to Chaturdandi prakashika) that have defined, guided and protected Karnataka Sangita.

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Next

Lakshana Granthas-1

Sources and References

  1. 1. Darus in Carnatic Music by Dr. Gowri Kuppuswami and Dr. M Hariharan; Published in ‘Shanmukha’, October 1986 (Vol.XII; No.4)
  2. The charisma of composers BY T.M. Krishna http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/the-charisma-of-composers/article1138945.ece
  1. Form in Music by Prof. Dr. N. Ramanathan
  2. 4. Carnatic Classical Music – Centre for Cultural Resources http://ccrtindia.gov.in/carnaticclassicalmusic.php
  3. Carnatic music http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnatic_music
  4. https://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/143855/4/04_preface.pdf
  5. All pictures are taken from the Internet. I gratefully acknowledge the sources.
 
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Posted by on May 27, 2015 in Music, Sangita

 

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