More interesting titbits about Natyasastra of Bharata (Post No.9878)

same woman SANTHA BASKAR danced after 50 years

WRITTEN BY LONDON SWAMINATHAN

Post No. 9878

Date uploaded in London –21 JULY   2021           

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Dhananjaya’s  Dasarupaka

Almost thousand years ago, a writer called Dhananjaya wrote a treatise called Dasarupaka (ten forms of plays). He said,

“It was Brahma who extracted from the four Vedas their essence and created the Natyaveda out of it. It was sage Bharata who put it in to practice; and it was Siva and his consort Parvati who (respectively) contributed the Tandava and Lasya dances. Against this galaxy of authors who else dare explain dramatics? I am contributing my little mite to reveal the excellence of the work”.

xxx

The original work, the text says in its first chapter, was composed by Lord Brahma for the celestial immortals ruled by Indra . In the last chapter, it is said that for the terrestrial world, it was recomposed or edited by Konami, Vvastysa, Sandilya and Dattila, who are mentioned both as the sons and disciples of Bharata.

But dramaturgy was studied even before Panini of eighth century BCE. Panini refers to Nata Sutras— aphoristic guide for the Natas — by two persons Silalin and Krsasva.

Xxx

Meaning of Words not known

We come to know that several hands tried to update the book. It resulted in contradictory, repetitive and incongruent final text. There are words and passages impossible to understand. Even an erudite scholar like Abhinavagupta gives several meanings to a word. For instance meaning of Mattavarani is not known. The gods of eight quarters are placed on eight places to protect the theatre; in the Mattavarani, , Indra, the master or the patron of the show, is seated. Mattavarani means intoxicated elephant. Is it a special seat like Royal box?. Correct meaning is not known. Similarly Dwibhumi— two grounds— in connection with the theatre, where Abhinavagupta is on an imagination spree.

Another example, where confusion and contradiction exist is the description of three kinds of theatre houses.

In the first chapter, the book begins with the origin of drama and narrates how and why Bharata produced the first play. The sixth chapter begins with the sages asking Bharata five questions . Here he used the word Sutra and summarised the first five chapters. This lead to the conclusion that the first five chapters are added later. And originally it was in ‘Sutra’ form and authors like Kohala produced it in the present ‘sloka’ form.

Originally the open field was used as the auditorium; in the course of time a Dwibhumi was thought of. That is the auditorium was in two levels. Later a building with four walls came. And each change was incorporated in the book.

My comments

All these apparent contradictions can be resolved if we understand that it was updated according to the development of stage and acting. Whatever we don’t understand belong to the oldest stratum.

The text underwent changes may be seen from another circumstance. In one instance the death of a hero is prohibited on the stage. But the dramatist Bhasa has his hero dead on the stage. ‘Goes to heaven’,says the stage direction. Does it mean it was written before Bhasa? Role of sthapaka is also different in both.

Characters in a play should not be many says Bharata.

But in Bhasa’ s plays we see many characters. Even critics have called Bhasa’s plays ‘bahu bhumika’, having many characters.

There are many more remarks which would date NS to a later period.

My view is that it shows updating. While updating any book Hindus don’t dare to touch the previous writers. We see such contractions even in the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Like Mahabharata

Like Mahabharata which encompassed all earlier stories and philosophies, NS too boasts that

“What is found here may be found elsewhere, but what is not here cannot be found anywhere”.

Playwrights continued the use of Bharata’s Sanskrit and Prakrit. Bharata himself said that dress and speech conform to the regional usage of the spectators .

Since foreigners were not well versed in our customs, and then they had falsely believed that Greeks were far superior in all aspects, they drew wrong conclusions. The only help they did was translating all the Sanskrit works into English .

They had no intimate knowledge of our tradition.

Crimes came before the Penal code,

Language came before grammar and

Drama came into existence before the NS

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Drama in the Rig Veda

RV 6-29-3

“Your devotees embrace your feet for glory.

Bold, thunder armed, rich through your strength in rewarding.

Robed in a garment fair as heaven to look on,

You have displayed you like an active dancer.”

Active dancer in the fourth line is translated into Tamil as actor by Jambunathan.

In the days of Rig Veda only dance drama existed. So actor and dancer is acceptable.

शरिये ते पादा दुव आ मिमिक्षुर्ध्र्ष्णुर्वज्री शवसा दक्षिणावान |
वसानो अत्कं सुरभिं दर्शे कं सवर्ण नर्तविषिरो बभूथ ||

śriye te pādā duva ā mimikṣurdhṛṣṇurvajrī śavasā dakṣiṇāvān |
vasāno atkaṃ surabhiṃ dṛśe kaṃ svarṇa nṛtaviṣiro babhūtha ||Rigveda 6-29-3

tags – dance, titbits, Rig Veda, 6-29-3

INDIAN MUSIC AND WESTERN MUSIC (Post No.7203)

Compiled by  London swaminathaan

swami_48@yahoo.com

Date: 11  NOVEMBER 2019

Time  in London – 10-37 am

Post No. 7203

Pictures are taken from various sources; beware of copyright rules; don’t use them without permission; this is a non- commercial, educational blog; posted in swamiindology.blogspot.com and tamilandvedas.com simultaneously. Average hits per day for both the blogs 12,000

I have been throwing away all the paper cuttings and articles I have collected from 1974. I am clearing two cup boards full of paper cuttings, articles, my hand written notes in 20 note books. One article written by M S N Menon from ORGANISER weekly published in 2004 is very interesting. It compares the arts of India with the arts of the Western world in bullet points. I cannot resist publishing it here before throwing the small paper cutting into the bin. Please read the article if you are a fan of music.

Source -ORGANISER weekly, dated 19 December 2004

Author – MSN Menon

subham

Drama, Puppet Show, Folk Theatre in Tamil and Sanskrit Literature (Post No.3608)

43187-krishna2bsandhana2bdrama2bmysuru2bnew2bie

Research article written by London swaminathan

 

Date: 5 FEBRUARY 2017

 

Time uploaded in London:-  15-52

 

Post No. 3608

 

 

Pictures are taken from different sources; thanks.

 

 

contact; swami_48@yahoo.com

 

Literary references in ancient Tamil and Sanskrit literature show that the people of India had wonderful entertainment for at least 3000 years continuously. We have references to drama, folk theatre and puppet show from Bhagavad Gita to Tamil saint Manikkavasagar’s Tiruvasagam. Though Bharata’s Natyasastra is about dance and drama, it is interesting to see similes of dance and drama from the olden days.

 

Following are the references: –

iisvarah sarvabhuutaanaam hrddase’rjuna tisthati

bhraamayan  sarvabhuutaani yantraaruudhaani maayayaa _Bhagavad Gita 18-61)

Arjuna, God abides in the hearts of all creatures, causing them to revolve according to their karma by His illusive power as if they were mounted on a machine.

 

I think this is a reference to Puppet show. Puppeteers mount the puppets on a wheel or a circular disc and show them dance. In Indian puppet show the operator sits behind a white curtain on which the shadow of the puppets are projected from behind the screen.

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa used to say Ami Yantram and You are Yantri (I am a machine, You (god) are the operator.

 

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Adi Sankara in his Viveka Chudamani, says

yatsatyabhutam nijarupamadhyam

chiddhayanandamaruupamakriyam

tadetya mithyaavapurutsrujeta

sailuushavadveshamupssttamaatmanah (292)

 

That which is real and one’s own primeval Essence, that Knowledge and Bliss Absolute, the One without a second, which is beyond form and activity – attaining That, one should cease to identify with one’s false bodies like an actor giving up his assumed mask.

 

When the actor has played his part, he is simply a man. So the man of realization is one with Brahman, his real Essence.

false bodies: The gross, subtle and casual bodies, which are super impositions upon the Atman.

(Translation of Vevekachudamani by Swami Madhvananda, Advaita Ashrama, Calcutta)

 

Sangam Tamil Literature

In Purananuru verse 29, Mudukannan Sattanar says, “Oh King, our life is like dance drama where the actors come and dance and go. (The life is so impermanent)”

 

Tiruvalluvar, author of the Tamil Veda Tirukkural refers to the drama in three couplets:-

 

“Fortune coming to one and its departure are likened to the assembling of a crowd to witness a drama and its dispersal respectively” (332)

 

“The men who do not possess sensitiveness to shame in their hearts are like the wooden dolls operated by strings (puppets)” (`1020)

 

“The great cool world will be  moving like a lifeless puppet show if none asks for help” (1058)

In later Tamil and Sanskrit literature, we have lots of similes for puppets shows.

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Manikkavasagar’s Tiruvasagam

Tamil saint Manikkavasagar who lived 1500 years ago also used the Sanskrit word Nataka (drama) in three places:

In the Tirusatakam song of Tiruvasagam, he refers to drama in three places (verses 11, 15 and 99)

In verse 11, he sings about the dance of Siva n the crematorium with the ghosts.

 

Amidst your devotees, I acted like one of them

to gain entrance (to get leberated) –15

 

and in 99

Thou Whom the lords of heaven themselves know not!

Thy source and end the Vedas cannot trae!

Thou Whom in every land men fail to know

As Thou hast sweetly made me Thine hast called

This flesh to dance on stage of earth

me to enjoy Thyself with melting soul

in mystic drama , too, hast caused to move

pining on earth, Thou Lord of Magic power.

 

Of virtue void, of penitential grace

devoid, undisciplined, untaught

As leathern puppet danced about, giddy,

I whirling fell, lay prostrate there!

-643

(Souce: The Tiruvacagam by Rev. G U pope, Oxford, 1900)

 

Dhammapada

Buddha says in Dhammapada (147), “Consider this body! A painter puppet with jointed limbs, sometimes suffering and covered with ulcers,full of imaginings, never permanent, forever changing.(147)

 

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Last but not the least is Shakespeare whose quotation on world as a drama theatre has become a very popular quote:-

 

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

–As You Like It

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Conclusion

Drama and Puppet show were so popular that even Krishna and Buddha used them as similes.

Every town had a drama or puppet show on Hindu religious them during the local temple festival. It continued until recent days.

Most of the drama quotations are from religious sources which show the nature of the puppet shows and dramas.

Even before Shakespeare made this theme popular, Hindus used it to show the instability and impermanence of life and its pleasures.

World is a drama theatre and we all players!

 

–Subham–