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    Sanskrit Dramaturgy deals with various characteristics and

    technicalities of Sanskrit drama. The Nyastra of Bharata, Daarpaka

    of Dhanajaya, Abhinavabhrat of Abhinavagupta, Nyadarpaa of

    Rmachandra and Guachandra, Nyamims of Ruyyaka and

    Shityadarpaa of Viwantha are the various works on Dramaturgy. In

    this respect, Nyastra is the chief authority. This Nyastra and other

    works on Dramaturgy, mentioned earlier had guided the later dramatists in

    the composition of their drama. A discussion is made in this chapter on

    classification of drama and some technicalities such as Purvaraga, Nnd,

    Vtti, Prasthvan and its five types, Patksthnaka, Arthopakepaka, the

    plot of the drama, five stages of action, five types of Arthaprakties and

    five Sandhis along with their varieties because these are the essential parts

    of a drama and hence a clear discussion is necessary, to justify the status of

    a drama.

    Sanskrit Drama is termed as Dyakvya. It is also called Rpaka as

    the rpa of a character is imitated by an actor or actress1

    on the stage.

    Bharata in his famous work Nyastra has introduced ten Rpakas. His

    classification of dramas has been adopted by almost all the later theorists.

    Bharata has discussed all the ten Rpakas in his work. After Bharata,

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    Dhanajaya and Viwantha have put their opinions regarding these ten

    Rpakas. Though they have not attempted to modify any thing of the ten

    Rpakas, discussed by their authority, they further added some sub-

    divisions of Uparpakas. Bharata has not discussed anything about

    Uparpakas but while discussing the Rpakas he mentioned a variety

    called Nik. According to Viwantha, Dyakvya is of two types-

    Rpaka and Uparpaka or minor Rpaka, where Rpaka is divided into ten

    and Uparpaka is divided into eighteen varieties. The ten Rpakas are

    Naka, Prakaraa, Bhna, Vyyoga, Samavakra, Dima, Ihmga, Aka,

    Vth and Prahasana. Every Rpaka differs from each other for their

    characteristics such as the nature of the plot, the hero and the heroine, the

    sentiment and the length of the play or the numbers of the act. Among the

    ten Rpakas, Naka and Prakaraa are considered as the more developed

    forms consisting of not less than five acts to represent the five stages of

    development of the plot.


    The characteristics of Naka, provided by Sanskrit Dramaturgy are

    to some extent rigid. The Vastu or the plot of Naka should be derived

    from the traditional or popular Legend i.e. it must be well known. This plot

    is an aggregate of all incidents and episodes. The plot of a drama is of three

    types- Prakhyta, Utpdya and Mixed. Prakhyta is that where the plot is

    borrowed from any traditional stories i.e. well known Legend. The story

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    which is not borrowed from any mythological or historical source and is

    the creation of the poets own fancy is Utpdya. Again the plot which is

    partially traditional and partially original and at the same time is created by

    poets own fancy is called Mira or Mixed.

    The plot of Naka should be Prakhyta or Khyta or popular2. The

    number of acts of Naka would be five to ten. The Nyastra gives a

    brief outline regarding the characteristics of Naka. Naka is the most

    developed form of drama which narrates some events of the life of a

    distinguished Prince or Saintly character3. The plot of a Naka would be

    Prakhyta or well known suggests that it should only deal with the past

    event and should not deal with the present or future, as the present event

    will stand against the path of the poets freedom of imagination and the

    future event is unknown to all.

    According to Bharata, the hero of Naka would be Udtta or

    Gallant4. He should be brave, hand-some, courtly, noble in temperament

    and of high birth. There should be a balance in every respect in the

    character of a hero. Bharata has classified the hero of a drama into four

    varieties-Dhrodtta, Dhroddhata, Dhralalita and Dhrapranta.5 Dhra,

    the common attribute in all the four types of hero and from this point of

    view it can be said that the hero of Naka should be Dhrodtta where

    Bharata mentions the term Udtta. But the main problem which arises here

    is that while describing the characteristics of four variety of hero, Bharata

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    explains that Dhroddhata hero should represent a God, a Dhralalita is a

    king, Dhrodtta is a minister or Commander of forces and Dhrapranta

    is either a Brhmana or Vaiya.

    Viwantha clearly mentions that the hero of Naka should be

    Dhrodtta6 and he should be either Divya (god) or Divydivya

    7. He should

    be a mortal being. For example of Divya-nyaka he mentions the name of

    Lord rka and divydivya like Rma.

    The principal character or the hero enjoys the benefit of entire

    dramatic action. He becomes the substratum of all actions and is the basic

    factor of the principal sentiment. Rasa or Sentiment is the most important

    constituent of Naka. Not only in case of Naka, it pays great attention in

    any kind of Dya or ravya kavya, as it gives delight in the mind of the

    spectator or reader. Bharata has mentioned that Naka would be full of

    Rasas but he never speaks of the principal Sentiment of Naka, rather, he

    only mentions that in Nirvahanasandhi of Naka, there should be Adbhuta

    Rasa. But Viwantha commands that in Naka, the principal Sentiment

    should be either Erotic (gra) or Heroic9 (Vra) where other Rasas

    would be sub-ordinate to the principal Rasa. Like Bharata, Viwantha also

    admits Adbhuta Rasa in Nirvahanasandhi.The most important feature of

    Naka is that it should be completed in five Sandhis10

    in connection with

    the five Arthapraktis and five Kryvasths or stages of action.

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    Prakaraa is a type of Rpaka which is distinguished from the

    Naka or other Rpakas for its plot and characterization. The plot of a

    Prakaraa should be created by the poets own capacity or imagination11


    The Prakaraa, like the Naka, consists of five Sandhis and the number of

    acts also is similar to that of Naka. Other technicalities i.e. the five

    Arthaprakties, five stages of action, the different modes of behaviour etc.

    follow the pattern of Naka. Yet it has some peculiarities.

    The Prakaraa deals with narration of the characters of a Brhmana,

    a Businessman, a Minister, a Purahita or a Srthavha12

    . The hero of a

    Prakaraa would be a Dhrodtta or Dhrapranta character13

    . Hence the

    hero would be depicted as an ordinary human being and should not be

    divine or semi-divine being. Even a divine character would not be

    introduced for a remote assistant, rather low character like Va, Slave,

    Dancing-girl and Gambler could be used in the interest of the poet. The

    heroine of a Prakaraa may be a married lady or a courtesan14


    Viwantha has accepted three types of heroine for a Prakaraa-

    married lady, courtesan and both the married lady and the courtesan15


    Regarding the hero also he has restricted the area while he admits only the

    Dhrapranta character that would be the hero of a Prakaraa16

    . The

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    predominant Sentiment, according to him, would be Erotic17


    where Bharata is silent regarding this matter.


    Samavakra is distinct from other Rpakas for its peculiarities. It

    deals with the different objects of deities and demons18

    . The deities include

    the semi-divine beings or the super human beings of various classes like

    the Yakas, Kinnaras, Gandharvas and Vidydharas. The principal

    character or the hero of Samavakra would be divine and this hero would

    also be well known and gallant (Udtta) type. The number of the heroes is


    Samavakra consists of three acts, three horror, three types of

    passion or gra and three types of dejection19

    (sadness). The three types

    of passion or gra are Dharmagra, Kamagra and



    Another peculiarity of Samavakra is the absence of Vindu or Drop

    and Introductory scene. It contains four Sandhis; Vimara-sandhi is absent

    here. It also has another exception in the use of different varieties of Vth

    and Prahasana. All the Sentiments would be accepted in this type but

    Viwantha is of opinion that the principal Sentiment would be Heroic or



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    Ihmga is another variety of Rpaka the plot of which deals with

    Divine and Human being22

    . It is of a mixed type which is partly legendary

    and partly invented by the poets own fancy. The subject matter follows the

    acquisition of a divine woman or a celestial damsel who is captivated by

    the opponent but is difficult to obtain and the hero is found to be met with

    tragic end, yet the actual death of the hero is technically avoided on the

    stage. The hero of this type of drama is Uddhata and he may be either a

    divine or human character. Ihmga contains three types of Sandhis,

    Garbha and Vimara are absent here.


    Dima is a four-act drama having four junctures23

    . Garbhasandhi is

    absent in this type of drama. The plot of Dima is well-known as in case