Post No. 9936

Date uploaded in London – 4 AUGUST  2021     

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Bharata , who wrote the Natyasastra in Sanskrit 2500 years ago , finishes it beautifully. 6000 slokas are there in his 36 chapters. The 36th chapter gives the benefits of Natya/dance and drama (in the olden days dramas were produced with more songs than prose dialogues. Vedic dialogue poems prove it).

While we read this, we must remember that he talks about ‘holy dramas and holy dances’. The best example is available in Tamil epic Silappadikaram. One of the main characters, Madhavi, did 11 types of dances and all of them were from Hindu mythology (see below the link for the 11 types).

Mangala slokas are in 71 to 82 in the last chapter of Natyasastra. It says,

“This sastra is entertaining; it purifies; it is holy; it destroys sin. Those who read it and those who listen to it, those who produce plays in accordance with it, and those who attentively watch the performance, all these  derive the same merit as may be derived by those who study the Vedas, those who perform sacrifices, and those who perform acts of charity and religion. This is the greatest gifts of all the gifts, viz. the giving of an opportunity to watch a performance.  The production of a play is pleasing to the gods as no other form of worship with sandal paste or flowers is.

“Those who enjoy music and dance well in this life, will attain the blessed state of Isvara and Ganesa.

“I have thus far elaborated on many subjects and rules regarding the production of plays. Things which are not stated here should be learnt by attentively watching the talk and behaviour of people and should be used in the performance.

“What more can I say?

May want and disease disappear from the world and may there be plenty of food and riches of every kind. May there be peace and security for cows and Brahmins everywhere. May the kings give protection to the world.”

Thus ends Bharat’s Natyasastra chapter 36 entitled ‘Descent of Drama on Earth’.


My comments

Like Krishna in Bhagavad Gita, Bharata never forces anyone to do the dance and drama in his way. He gives freedom and scope to improve upon it. He asks the people in the field to watch people and include their interests. In other words, he asks us to act according to times. Even if someone produces a play today against COVID virus or the necessity of getting the jabs against the virus ,it is agreeable and meritorious.

What Bharat said in his last chapter shows that the Natya sastra in the present form is an updated version. But the core remains the same. What Bharata said about the benefits of drama cannot be said about Greek dramas. That shows Indian dance and drama are independent of Greek dramas or any foreign influence. Westerners created a great doubt about Indian ingenuity by saying everything came from Greece to India.

As a brahmin I do Sandhyavadana everyday in the morning and evening in London with Thames water where I recite all the 7 days of the week in the same order found in our calendar- Sunday to Saturday. This is in the same order in Thevaram of Sambandar which is 1400 years old. No one would have inserted some foreign material in Brahmin’s mantras or Sambandars Tamil poems. This is only one example to show Westerners have been always anti Hindu.

Please read my article on Bharatavakyas (National Anthems)  which are said at the end of all Sanskrit dramas. How patriotic our people have been from ancient period!


My old articles:-

Matavi’s 11 types of Classical Dance | Tamil and Vedas › 2012/06/15 › matavis-11-t…

15 Jun 2012 — She was the daughter of Chitrapathy. Madhavi learnt dance from the age of five and mastered the art of classical Bharatanatyam at the age of …

Hindus are the Pioneers of National Anthems | Tamil and Vedas › 2014/04/26 › hindus-are-th…

26 Apr 2014 — Bharatavakya is the benedictory address spoken at the close of every Sanskrit drama. We find this in all the dramas of Bhasa and Kalidasa.

Colour Coding of Seats in Ancient Theatres! | Tamil and Vedas › 2014/05/13 › colour-codin…

13 May 2014 — There are two dramatic stages coupled up with green rooms as they were prevalent in the olden days when Sanskrit plays used to be staged.

Missing: bharatvakyas ‎| Must include: bharatvakyas


tags-benefits, dance, drama, watching, Bharata, Natyasastra

Ten Kinds of Plays in Bharata’s Natyasastra (Post No.9931)


Post No. 9931

Date uploaded in London – 3 AUGUST  2021     

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this is a non- commercial blog. Thanks for your great pictures.,

Chapter 20 of Bharata’s Natyasastra says that there are ten kinds of plays.

(Following is only a summary of the chapter in Natyasastra).

“Just as the musical notes/Svaras constitute scales, so different Vrttis constitute different plays.

Just as the Sadja and Madhyama include all the notes, so Nataka and Prakarana include all the Vrttis.


That which has as its theme a well known story, a well known hero of exalted nature which concerns the story of a royal sage and his family. In a Nataka there is the story of kings, various Rasas/ emotions.



Prakarana is that in which the story, construction and the hero are the original creations of the author. It should have not less than five and not more than ten acts



In Samavakaara, the story deals with Gods and Asuras. In its three acts, there are three kinds of deceits, three calamities and three types of Srngara (love).

It should have 12 important characters.



In iihamrga, the characters are divine; the theme is war on account of a divine woman . It is her anger to be developed. Many of the male characters must be bold.



The Dima must have a well known story. It should have well known and dignified heroes and sixteen of them. It should have six Rasas except Srngara and Hasya.



It should be constructed around a well known hero, with few female characters and events of one day’s duration. The hero must not be a divine person, but a royal sage.



It is also called Utsrstikanka.

Here the hero may be well known. Sometimes it may be otherwise. It should have Karuna/ compassion as the predominant Rasa/ emotion.



Prahaasana (Parikaasam in Tamil) is of two kinds Pure /Suddha and Sankirna/mixed.

The pure Prahaasana is a satire on Gurus, ascetics,Buddhist monks,learned Brahmins etc., by ridiculing them. Comic dialogue is in every day language.

The Mixed type is one in which courtesans, menial servants, eunuchs, rogues, the gallants appear in immodest dress and make open (obscene??) gestures.

My comments

Great Pallava Emperor Mahendra Varman wrote the famous comedy ‘Matta vilasa prahasana’ in Sanskrit. It is a good example for this type of drama.

Rigveda has got sixteen dialogue poems , some with obscene gestures. They may come under Sankirna / Mixed type.

Bhasa’s 13 plays, Kalidasa’s three plays and plays of Sudraka, Visakadatta, Madhavi’s 11 types of dances in Tamil epic Silappdikaram may be good examples for all the ten types of plays.


Bhana is to be acted by one person.

Either it refers to one’s own experience or  acts of some other person. There are two varieties. Actor can carry on a dialogue with an invisible person by looking up at sky. or himself repeat the other person’s dialogue with suitable gestures.

Here we are reminded of monologues of Shakespearean plays and epic heroes’ lamentations.

Even today we see mimicry shows with both types of acting.



Viithii in one act. There may be one or two characters of high or middle or low status. It can have any rasas. There are thirteen distinguishing features of a Viithii.

Bharata describes them in 20 Slokas.

The above is only a summary of Bharata’s categorisation.

The whole chapter takes 150 Slokas.

My comments

In Sanskrit we have 100s of dramas from ancient days. In addition, we have proto dramas in the Rigveda in the form of dialogue poems.

Unfortunately, we have no Drama in Tamil.

But the above descriptions show that Sanskrit dramas have no connection with the Greek dramas. Our dance, drama and music originated in our own land and grew in Hindu way.

In Greek we have tragedies and comedies and in India we have drams dealing with eight types of emotions (also known as Navarasa in later days by adding one more emotion) . In our dramas we have introduction by the director/sutradhara and National Anthem at the end in the form of Bharata vaakya. All these features are absent in Greek dramas.

In Krta Yuga there was no drama according to Bharata’s Natyasastra. So the Rigvedic dialogue poems were only proto dramas .

Bharata’s approach is amazing. He talks about dramas with ten acts and mono act plays. He talks about one actor mimicrying more people. Unlike Greece, Bharata talks about Eight Rasas/emotions, which is found in later Tamil grammar book Tolkappiam.

If we do a comparative study with Ancient Greek dramas it may bring more light in the field of dramaturgy. They borrowed a lot of things from us. After Alexander’s invasion,we might have borrowed certain features from the Greeks.

— Subham —-

tags- types of plays, Drama types, Bharata, Natyasastra

How Dance & Drama came to Earth? (Post.9915)


Post No. 9915

Date uploaded in London –31 JULY   2021           

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Natyasastra written by Bharata has 36 chapters. The first and the last chapter have interesting stories. In the first chapter we saw the origin of Natyasastra (already posted here). In the last chapter Bharata narrated how dance and drama came to earth.

The sages asked Bharata:

How did drama descend from heaven to earth?

Bharata said in his reply,

“It so happened that, once, a King called Nahusa attained the Kingdom of Gods/ Swarga   by means of his intelligence, diplomacy and valour. There he saw the musical/gandharva and dramatic/natya performance. Then he thought why should not this be performed in his own home on earth. So, he requested the gods to take the Apsaras women to his own home to perform. Then the gods led by Brhaspati told him that human beings are not supposed to come in direct contact with the divine Apsaras and hence they were unable to accede to his request.

But they said you approach the acharya (Bharata) and he might do what you want. It was thus that Nahusa came to me and said, ‘Oh Divine Preceptor, I would like to have this performance on the earth. I am told you were the first one to teach this, so I have to come to you.’

In the ancestral palace of Nahusa, Urvasi practised it with the ladies of the harem. When Urvasi disappeared, the old king went mad with grief and died. So drama again perished.

So I decided that henceforward it should be performed on auspicious days, so that the drama would bring good luck. Nahusa said he wanted it in his earthly  palace and that there  should be many characters and graceful movement of women. I agreed and called my sons and said to them ,

‘Here is King Nahusa requesting us with folded hands to produce a natya in his earthly palace. Let us do it  and get the curse abrogated. All of you go down to the earth and perform. You will be no longer objects of condemnation, for either the Brahmins or the Kshatrias.

Brahma has said that the success of production depends on following his instructions. As for other details, Kohala by his supplementary technical work will explain. make this a pretext for sporting with the Apsaras. I shall be here in heaven working with Swati in charge of musical instruments and Narada in charge of vocal music.

Thus, they went down to earth and there with he help of females produced various Natyas in Nahusa’s palace. They married earthly females, begot sons and daughters and trained them in Natya.  Brahma was pleased with my sons and admitted them to heaven.

Thus, due to a curse, the descendants of Bharata (actors) established themselves on earth.

–Natyasastra Last (36) Chapter

From Natyasasra by Adya Ranagacharya

 Drama on earth, dance on earth, Bharata, Natyasastra

Why did I write Natyasastra?- Bharata Muni Story (Post No.9882)


Post No. 9882

Date uploaded in London –22 JULY   2021           

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this is a non- commercial blog. Thanks for your great pictures.,

Atreya asked Bharata the reason for writing Natya sastra.

Bharata said,

Natyaveda was created by Brahma. Long long ago people of this world, goaded by greed and avarice, and jealousy and anger took to uncivilised ways of life.(Literally Gramya = vulgar).

The world was then inhabited by Gods, Demons, Yakshas Rakshasas, Nagas and Gandharvas . Various lords were ruling. At that time gods led by Mahendra approached Brahma and requested him to give them something which would not only teach them but be pleasing both to eyes and ears. Since Sudras are not allowed to listen to Vedas why not create a fifth Veda which would be accessible to all varnas/ castes

Brahma agreed. He dismissed the petitioners and meditated in solitude. Then he took

words from the Rigveda,

music from Sama veda,

movements and make up from Yajur veda and

emotional acting from the Atharvanaveda.

Then he called Indra and others and said,

Here is the Natyaveda. Let the Suras/Devas practise it. It requires persons who are smart, intelligent, observant and self controlled.

Indra pondered and then said that the Suras were unable to practise it since they did not have all the qualifications. Sages are self controlled and grasped with the Vedic knowledge. Then Brahma entrusted it to me.

Brahma said to me

You have a large number of sons and students and so you practise it. So I practised it with my sons and trained them in words, emotions and movements:_



Arabhati and


When I informed Brahma what I have done, he promised me to give all the materials required. I myself had seen Siva dancing with movements, gestures and emotions. When I said females were good to perform with grace, he created Apasaras. He created Narada and Gandharva to sing. He provided Swati and his disciples to play on instruments

When I reported to him all the practices were done, rehearsals over, he asked me to perform the first show in the Flag festival of Indra.

I commenced the performance with an interesting

Nandi= benedictory singing of eight sentences from the Vedas. When it was staged with fights and roars resulting in the defeat of the demons by devas Brahma and other gods were so pleased with the performance that they showered presents on the actors:-

Indra gave the flagpole ,

Brahma a crooked stick,

Varuna a gourd

Surya an umbrella

Siva a Siddhi

Vayu a fan

Vishnu a throne,

Kubera a crown

Sarasvati acoustics

And others — Yakshas, Rakshasas and Nagas suitable ones.

After the first show, defeated demons became angry and caused the director to become unconscious on the stage. Indra used his flagpole to thrash all the demons. It crushed —- jarjara— all the demons. Then they all wished that ‘jarjara’ be there for ever to protect them . Indra said So be it.


Tags- Natyasastra, fifth veda, Bharata,  Story, Jarjara

What is Dance, Drama?-1 (Post No. 2459)




Date: 4 January 2016


Post No. 2459


Time uploaded in London :–  9-52 AM


( Thanks for the Pictures  ) 






“In it (Natya) there is no exclusive representation of you or of the gods; for drama is a representation of the state (Bhaavaanikiirtana) of the three worlds.


In it sometimes there is a reference to duty, sometimes to game, sometimes to money, sometimes to peace, and sometimes laughter is found in it, sometimes fight, sometimes love making and sometimes killing of people.


This teaches duty to those bent on doing their duty, love to those eager for its fulfilment and it chastises those who are ill-bred or unruly, promotes self-restraint, in those who are disciplined, gives courage to cowards, energy to heroic persons, enlightens men of poor intellect and gives wisdom to the learned.


This gives diversions to kings, and firmness (of mind) to persons afflicted with sorrow, and (hints of acquiring) money to those who are for earning it, and it brings composure to persons agitated in mind.


The drama as I have devised it, is a mimicry of actions and conducts of people, which is rich in various emotions, and which depicts different situations. This will relate to actions of men good, bad and indifferent, and will give courage, amusement and happiness as well as counsel to them all.


The drama will thus be instructive to all, through actions and States (Bhaava) depicted in it, and through Sentiments arising out of it.


It will give relief to unlucky persons who are afflicted with sorrow and grief or over work, and will be conducive to observance of duty (dharma) as well as to fame, long life, intellect and general good, and will educate people.


There is no wise maxim, no learning, no rt or craft, no device, no action that is not found in the drama (natya)


Hence I have devised the drama in which meet all the departments of knowledge, different arts and various (O daityas) you should not have any anger towards the gods;for a mimicry of the world with its Seven Divisions (Sapta Dvipa) has been made a rule of, in the drama.


Stories taken out of Vedic works as well as semi historical tales (Itihasa) so embellished that they are, capable of giving pleasure, is called drama (natya).


A mimicry of the exploits of gods, Asuras, kings as well as house-holders in this world, is called drama.


An when human nature with its joys and sorrows, is depicted by means of Representation through Gestures, and the like (Words, Costume and Temperament) it is called Drama”.


—Bharata’s Natya Sastra (200 BCE)

abhinava darpana

What is Drama?-2

“Brahma explains to the Daanavaas:-

This play is not merely for your pleasure or the pleasure of the Devas, but exhibits mood (bhava) for all the Three Worlds. I made this play as following the movement f the world, whether in work or play, profit, peace, laughter, battle, lust or slaughter; yielding the fruit of righteousness to those who follow the moral law, pleasure to those who follow lust, a restraint for the unruly, a discipline for the followers of a rule, creating vigour in the impotent, zeal in warriors, wisdom in the ignorant, learning in scholars, sport to kings, endurance to the sorrow-smitten, profit to those who seek advantage, courage to the broken-willed; replete with diverse moods (Bhaavas), informed with the varying passions of the soul, linked to the deeds of all mankind, the best, the middling, and the low, affording excellent counsel, pastime, weal and all else.

This drama shall be the source of all counsel in matters of flavour (rasa), mood (Bhaava), and every rite; it shall serve as a timely resting-place for those who are grieved, weary, unhappy, or engaged in an arduous discipline; bestowing righteousness, renowned, long life, fortune, increase of reason; affording counsel to the world. That which is not found to be herein in not knowledge, nor craft, nor wisdom, nor any art, nor deeds, nor Union (yoga).


I made this drama according to the Seven Lands, and so you should not feel resentment towards the immortals. The drama is to be understood as witnessing the deeds of gods and Titans, kings of the sphere, and Brahma-prophets. Drama is that which accords with the nature (Svabhaava) of the world, with its weal and woe, and it consists in movements of the body and other arts of expressive gesture (Abhinaya). The theatre is such as to afford a means of entertainment in the world, and a place of audience for the Vedas, for philosophy, for history and other matters.


He adds that no performance should be begun without fulfilling the Office of the Stage (Ranga-Puja), and those that neglect this ritual will be ruined”.

Abhinaya Darpana