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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 been said very often; 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 by many texts of the later periods. What we have today is the culmination of several textual traditions and their practices. 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. 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, later too, the two ran 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).

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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.

[Abhinavagupta, 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 (318) had mentioned that a kaka (crow) is so called, because of the sound it makes – kāka, iti Śabda, anuktis, tad idam, śakunisu bahulam.

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

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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.

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[ 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.

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) ; 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

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.

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.

[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, enjoy 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 mere 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.

*

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.

**

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).


*

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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Concerning the Dasarupa of Dhananjaya – Part Eight

Continued from Part Seven

Dasarupa of Dhananjaya

Book Four

Rasa and Bhava

kalakshetra-737x425

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

*

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//

***

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)

 **

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

**

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 explains 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

**

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.

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.

*

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

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

Battle-of-Kurukshetra-Manuscript-Illustration

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.

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.

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.

Tripurasura samharam

  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, quarrelling, 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.]

***

  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 (siege of the city by elephants , chariots and humans) agencies.  He extends similar interpretations to the other two elements: Kapata and Srngara.]

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 of the 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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