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Society, Vol. 105, No. 3, Indological Studies Dedicated to Daniel H. H. Ingalls, (Jul. - Sep., 1985), pp. 405-412 Published by: American Oriental Society Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/601517 Accessed: 21/07/2008 17:31
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is sufficiently motivated by the internal dramatic necessities of the play itself. cf. Das Mahabharata und seine Theile.' The story. inasmuch as treacheries such as Bhima's low blow have not been expurgated. his death follows the raid. The most striking change is in the story's point of view: it is the Kauravas. But perhaps that version is influenced by our play. The Great Epic of India. is far from repentant and conciliatory at his death. It should not be supposed that we have necessarily here evidence of an epic tradition materially different from that of the extant Epic. See my forthcoming translation of the Crubhanga. in this dramatic retelling. though treated in some respects as a fallen hero. 397-400.. ch. 405 ing that vengeance has been wreaked. in his very defeat. THE URUBHANGA AND THE MAHABHARATA 'ORIGNAL'. he dies not reproving.4 Duryodhana attributes his defeat to Hari. In the Epic. A not-so-subtle change in the "villian's" character is also manifest: Duryodhana is not only the dramatic hero. Asvatthaman's night raid on the Pandava camp. clearly recognizing this divinity's supremacybut perhaps also distinguishing between "Hari"and "Krsna"? . 55-65. as the central feature of the play. editor. he appoints Asvatthaman his successor and Generalissimo. in the Journal of' South Asian Literature. p. however. In fact. and suggests another sense of "victory" which both presumes "defeat" and transcends that defeat. rather than precedes it. differs significantly from that of the Epic. 1895. rather than the Pandavas. See Adolf Holtzmann Jr. corrected but not dismissed by Hopkins. a play which examines issues of defeat and victory.5 More importantly. 4Verse 63. that seems to be the point of the play: it is he who draws the lessons from his and his family's defeats and recommends compassion and reconciliation with the victorious Pandavas. not the great warrior BhTma. It is precisely Duryodhana's somewhat ignominious defeat that makes him an ideal subject for this most unmilitary exploration of victory-a "victory" that owes more to the transcendant morality of Buddhism or classical Brahminism. it need not be viewed extra-dramatically.]. the dramatic hero is the archenemy Duryodhana. and passim.2 These points serve to highlight the sense in which Duryodhana exhibits a different character in our play. "breaking of the thighs" occurs in 58. it here has the additional dramatic function of relieving the hero of responsibility for any moral ambiguities that may have qualified his previous actions. in one version. special Mahabharata volume. but imperfectly. 101. in this perspective. Even though our play would seem to support Holtzmann's view3 that there was another epic originally reflecting Kaurava values. than it does to Though reproving. has become guide and teacher for the rest of us. Duryodhana makes reference to his own former lack of scruple in provoking the House of Lac incident. Jatugrhaparvan in Adiparvan. he is also the moral hero. pp. Duryodhana's defeat is presented as the result of unvarnished treachery.BHASA'S URUBHANGA AND INDIAN POETICS EDWIN GEROW UNIVERSITY CHICAGO OF 1. Ed. as suggesting a historical fact of some sort. and he dies happy knowthe Esp. the final adhyayasof the parvan. 6. the Urubhanga itself provides literal evidence of its adherence to the normal or "later"epic tradition. But more than point-of-view is involved. 5Verse 35. subsequently revised by the successful Pandava faction. occurring at adhyaya 9 of the following Sauptikaparvan. 124-138 [Crit. Duryodhana. But Duryodhana's death exceeds this limit. and Krsna in that of savior. the play's initial [mangala] verse places Arjuna unambiguously in the role of victor. Arvind Sharma. that are the focus of the narrative. In our play. Duryodhana. ASvatthaman's cruelty: Dowson. events narrated in BHASA'S URUBHANGA PARALLELS Salyaparvan 30ff. He remains the trickster whose schemes underlay much of the Epic's imbroglio. Although this does not in fact differ much from the Mahabharata version of events. but urging. The Urubhahga is not just a retelling from the villian's perspective. The view that we will advance here is rather that the reworking (if that is what it is) of Duryodhana's character. and is part and parcel of a programme to celebrate the "villian's" character. We have.
4]. this point should not be exaggerated: the actual violence is not represented. and to emphasize the importance of thinking like a Westerner. In sum. Thus the audience is presented only with a verbal or "mediated" account of the gore. the play's treatment of violence seems to confirm its influence. but accept his death as the culminating moment of the plot. Gerow. What the play celebrates is discipline over self. 3.arupaka 3. Instead of these familial colloquies. rather than to another epic." we find it easier to consider in that connection [below. 2. pp. enacted directly. Sanskrit Drama. or merely an empirical classification of. is never to be represented on the stage. is likewise invented. yet here we not only witness the death of the hero. Still. As it so intimately connected with the much-discussed question of the play's "tragedy. it is. reconciliation within the family: it is to this ethical system that the Urubhanga points. his small son. to avoid reference to death and mayhem." 3. the Pandavas disappear after the Prologue. yet the play often seems more to revel in than palliate the carnage attending the fratricidal war's culmination. is noteworthy. Duryodhana. 24-32. for the most part. Part II. the emphasis on destruction. 8 See Da. The question of Duryodhana's death on stage is not so easily dealt with. to the "play itself. rather than disputing convention. It is. and it may be said to have a "structure. this principle extends even to the depiction of the combat between Duryodhana and Bhima." we note. we find in the Bharata long harangues between Duryodhana and his Pandava tormentors which have the contrary effect of emphasizing the parties' mutual hate and recrimination. then.16ff. Sanskrit Poetics as a Study of Aesthetic. THE URUBHANGA AND SANSKRIT DRAMATURGY. Both views tend to belittle Indian theorizing. 13-16. 352ff. the Urubhanga's "deviations"[if that is what they are] seem well enough motivated when judged in the context of relevant dramatic theory. however. The former view. the second in the next. K. then. which is how the dramatist makes use of the inventory of conventions (a kind of map of the audience's Refs. confined to the long prologue [viskambhaka]. especially in the viskambhaka. Death. Keith. In the play. An unfortunate amount of effort has been expended on the question of whether the dramatic theory is a prescriptive model for. The case is similar to that of the temple pilgrim. We may observe here. E. The play has to be judged in terms of how well it accomplishes the task it has set itself within these new constraints.3 (1985) pathos evident in the Urubhanga is a function of the play's subtle but effective treatment of that incident's ancillaries. look only to the play's ethical argument to find justification for that emphasis: it is essential to the effect of the play that violence be understood both in its final and its replusive aspects. pp. the final event of the prologue. And neither highlights for us the most interesting question. often in a striking mannerwhich invites an examination of the play's structure.34-35. though. In the Mahabharata. History of Sanskrit Literature.28-29. pp. revisionist Pandava historians. in which our author develops the theme of resignation and reconciliation. Making an approach. reflecting a current understanding of Indian spirituality. the extant Sanskrit dramas. where it is conveyed through the device of a conversation between three soldiers who only witness the destruction. 76. We will take up the first sense in this section. Such innovations of course do not determine the quality of the play."insofar as it is constructed-in order to achieve whatever purpose is proper to it. first. The touching scene with Durjaya. Equally at variance with convention is the Urubhanga's insistence on scenes of violence and physical gore. pp. compassion for the enemy. one more suitable to the theme of reconciliation. In this sense. that much of the 6 The question before us has two parts: for the play may be said to have a "structure" in terms of the generic properties attributed to it by Sanskrit dramatic theory. notably. De. asserts that theory precedes practice.406 Journal of the American Oriental Society 105. NityaSistra 18. in this sense. they do testify to the presence of another sentimental structure. somewhat more congenial to modern empiricism. asserts the contrary. We need. as giving a sense to the play. that some incidents and scenes depicted in the Urubhanga appear to violate stated conventions of Sanskrit dramaturgy.8Neither alternative very well accounts for the theory itself: a theory of genre having little to do with the construction of individual plays. that is. Glossary of Indian Figures of Speech.7 Nevertheless. THE STRUCTURE OF THE URUBHANGA. the latter. whom outer sculptures of lust and violence better prepare to comprehend the God within. neither Dhrtarastra nor any female characters are present at Duryodhana's death. given the subject. irrelevant to judge it in terms of its Mahabharata "original.: S. 7 See DR 3. . Admittedly it would be difficult.6 but only suggested obliquely.
but provides a unifying architectonic of their interrelations as well. Note that we are collapsing." and avasthd. see bibliography on pp. The several female roles might seem a problem. Compare our notion "melodrama. of course. which apparently has no non-technical currency apart from this usage. Bulletin of the Ramavarma Research Institute. A more interesting question arises from consideration of the three samdhis said to pertain to the vyayoga. or arguably. define structures of expectation for an educated audience. and the handbooks." in Methodology of the Analysis of the Sanskrit Drama. has incidents that last for one See ChristopherByrski. the stages of "legitimate hope" [prdptyasa] and the "untoward complica5 Below? 4. and the nine others. along with others of the one-act Mahabharata plays in the Bhasa collection.2 According to Dhanaiijaya. But this depends on understanding its rasa as karuna-which we dispute: see below.7 we are here permitted [or. . for ease of exposition. by defining a set of limiting expectations. Theatre Indien. constitute an argument for the play's relative posteriority. some authorities hold the Urubhanga to be an example of utsrstikhnka:Winternitz. The dima is another of day. perhaps admixed with vTrya ['heroic'] (in the case of the second wife. and reproduces the separation [vxvayoga]of many men. arthaprakrti. it would. Pusalker. Of the five components. provides a set of conditions that enable the author to communicate with his audience. the definition presumes as a standard the nataka. and concentrates instead on the other six. A Study. the "tengenera. and have (like any similar notion of "style") a function in delimiting choices available to the playwright." which. '7 See S. but. The term. Bhisa. and excludes srngara and hasYa['comic']. as whether that analysis has to be broadened to cover the UBh! The question has been recast historically. This genus. 10 vaiyunjate 'smin hahavah purusa iti via'ogah: Dhanika ad DR 3. probably means "disjunction"'? and may refer to the disputes inherent in war. A discussion of this theory as applied to the Sakuntal will be found in my articles. is presented in one act. judging by the title. The Urubhanga typifies the standard definition of the vyayoga remarkably well. the utsrstikanka would appear to be karunapradhana because it focusses on the "lamentations of women" [utsrstika-usually explained as referring to the 'release of (tears)'].l3 expresses.'6 and so could not have underlain any play. 203. lacks the third and fourth of the five samdhis that define plot development.' otherwise unknown] as an example. Santa. has generally been considered an example of the dramatic genus known as vvayoga. and signals only the major deviations from that standard. As given in pre-Abhinavagupta or in DR. viz. vols. The DR cites the Jamadagnyajaya ['Parasurama's Conquest. Levi. or stages [avastha]. the distinctions between samdhi. the ambiguity of santa rasa does not really touch the crux of the vyayoga analysis-for. Were we to allege santa here. no exclusion of such roles per se has been intended.60. p. The most serious deviation might have to do with the play's chief rasa'5-provided that we assign such a r6le to santa. 99 and 100. And the definition of the vyayoga fits our play better. 407 " See DR 3. srngdra ['the amorous'] is strictly avoided: Duryodhana's "commerce" with his two wives is limited to pathetic leave-takings.90-93. who contemplates "following" him). the vyayoga is based on a well-known story from the Epic [khyiatetivrttah]." As is the case generally. JA OS.'4 has no imbroglio based on commerce with women. pp. esp.GEROW: Bhasa 's Urubhanga and Indian Poetics expectations) in achieving the ends proper to his play. 27-41. Santa was added later (certainly by Abhinava's time). much less a viyaoga. 3 On this. ipso facto. women] for protagonists. GOS ed. clearly. In Urubhanga. 6: quoted with approvalby A. whether or not we allow santa. did not figure in the original list of rasas. which is about as far off the mark as can be for the Urubhanga! 12 The Dasarupaka is thus not only a theory for differentiating genres. of successful action that are presumed by the Indian theory of plot."The Typology of the Sanskrit Drama. our play may well date from that later epoch. brilliant rasas." in Sanskrit Drama in Performance. But this problem involves a subtle redefinition of the issue: it is not so much whether the Urubhanga conforms to the DR or Ng analysis. D. On this NS. like the dima. whose mood [rasa] is therefore karuna.60-61. more infra. p. 30. '4 That is. enjoined?] to delete the third and fourth. 246-47 of my Indian Poetics. In any case. NS 18. p.9 The Urubhaiga. ? 4. See also Byrski's essay: "Sanskrit Drama as an Aggregate of Model Situations. our play would serve equally well. lacks any trace of rihgara or hdsya rasa. Nevertheless. 16 controversy. etc. It would be difficult to point to an aspect of our play that clearly violated any of these prescriptions. one of the celebrated "ten genera" [dasa-rupaka] of the classical theory. the Urubhanga does blend the "six" [or "seven"] other rasas. has famous and noble men [not Gods.V. a typical subject [our play would be a confirming instance].
accompanied by virya ['heroic']: both suitable to the heroic acts of vengeance yet to be accomplished. from Aristotle's perspective. The "prologue" seems on the face of it to be more than simply an introduction to the play. which ends in Duryodhana's downfall. too. by its significant contrasts. If the prologue is not essential to the play's action. reducing in effect to "undertaking"[irambha]. The mood. Verses 1-13 seem more genuinely to be a setting for the ensuing action. the Pandavas are absent. but they seem paradoxically inconclusive. It cannot plausibly be argued that the play's protagonist is other than Duryodhana. the "attainment of the fruit. it is perhaps an enactment of an epic recitation! NB that the play takes its name from an event in the prologue! . Asvatthaman. but narrated. It seems clear. mother. they depict in broad. in that the "undertaking"[vis-a-vis Balarama] appears more successful than the denouement [scil. however.20 "mood" is that of battle and violent confrontation. The division of parts is marked by the intense sound the three soldiers hear at 13/14. instead of acceeding to Duryodhana's pleas." '9 The term is used of any interlude spoken by secondary characters narrating essential information which is for some reason not playable. or: "dawning certainty.408 Journal of the American Oriental Society 105. not just the inevitability of the Pandavas' victory. gore. Besides providing a rather paradoxical account of the play's action-as a more or less successful exercise of Duryodhanian rhetoric-the fixation of the three samdhis in the play proper does not sufficiently account for the long. an integral part of the (larger) play. be reduced to its formal function of providing an argument. with the family members. conspirator. The "inbetween" scenes. a stage setting. wives. the mood is that of appeasement. from father." vis-a-vis Asvatthaman]. What then is Duryodhana's larger action that defines this play? 21 tion" [nii'atapti'8] regarding the issue. the "action" is not enacted. indicates that he is already reconciled to his fate. "effort" [prajyatna] and "attainment of result" [phaligama]. but by many differences of treatment and presentation: in the prothe logue.]. In that sense we could identify three samdhis in the play proper. is sustained through more and more 18 Following Byrski. the Pandavas are "present. or d6nouement. relative. or successor [Asvatthiman]. the plot is much simplified. then the members of his own family: father. Balarama's entrance marks the transition to the play proper. apart from the directorial prelude. colorful. Applying this "structure" to the present play involves some problems of interpretation. for the subsequent action. and quite scenic terms. and parallels the entrance of the soldiers after the sthapana. wives and son. The mood is bibhatsa ['disgusting']. But what part? That is a question the samdhi analysis should answer.. In these scenes. disorder. analogous to the entr'actes of the Sakuntala. futility. This second part of the prologue [Vss. But why then its extension? Can an entr'acte constitute nearly half the work? The fact that the prologue itself appears to be in two parts indicates that another view of the prologue's function is necessary. which. and Duryodhana's family constitutes a nexus around which the action centers. and shifts the perspective from background to foreground-from scene to narration. Since Duryodhana's very first utterance. The play itself. sets out to destroy the Pandava camp. shifts from bibhatsa to raudra ['forceful']."2' accompanied by the Pandavas' stealthy withdrawal. All the other characters-even Bhima (who is not present after the prologue)-are understood in terms of their relationship to Duryodhana: antagonist. or sthapana. vss. that that action has more to do with Duryodhana's character than it does with his persuasiveness. the battle of maces. 14-26] ends with another violent event: the "breaking of the thighs.3 (1985) pitiable trials. and Balarama's consternation." wherein Duryodhana's "undertaking"is given repeated occasion.e. then our three samdhis will have to be determined in the play proper [i." and Duryodhana's family are absent. and finally his young son. Balarama is persuaded by Duryodhana. by definition. In the play. 20 Or. and contrasting prologue. the "action" on this hypothesis would seem to be Duryodhana's effort at reconciling the others to the Pandavas' inevitable victory-first the warrior Balarama. must be successful. and finally the warrior Asvatthaman. it is. the battlefield at the end of the war: corpses. It would indeed be odd for an element having no dramatic force to show in itself a development. another kind of reconciliation is urged: that the family accept. spoken offstage [28/29]. complemented by bhayanaka ['fearsome']. The prologue would. would then seem to constitute the stage of "effort. but the propriety of Duryodhana's own death. if the prologue is part of the action of the play. 27ff. The sound marks the transition to the personal confrontation of Bhima and Duryodhana. Leaving these two aside. the first blow of the gadavuddha. falls into two parts of nearly equal length: 'the prologue [viskanmhaka'9] and the play proper. on this view. The parts are signalled not only by such terminology and the formal arrangement of the play. the action is enacted. to mother.
the Urubhanga can hardly be considered a "tragedy"[in an Aristotelian sense]: in it Duryodhana is exalted as might never be a mere man. They remain. we will not be far off the mark in equating the three samdhis of the theory. But the action has. That is why the family must be brought on stage. repositories of Duryodhana's old virya-still (especially Asvatthaman acting in terms of the cycle of shame and vengeance. little Durjaya.23We prefer the second interpretation.. recognition that out of destruction comes reintegration. And thus the gory and protracted scenics with which the prologue begins find their appropriate counterweight in Duryodhana's final vision of heaven. and the actor who abjures interest. too old to have more sons. at play's end. renewal of familial and social bonds. nmukha and nirvahana. The former emphasizes Duryodhana's motives at the expense of the renewal of character that makes him interesting. the war itself is over. yet himself is its embodiment. just as. if a third possibility. On either interpretation. is over the battlefield itself. understanding himself in defeat.22For these reasons.'hero at war'-the stock hero of the Mahahharata. It is significant that Duryodhana understands. It may seem equally paradoxical to discern the 'Hero in compassion:' the heroism proper to him who triumphs over passion and self. in the classical theory of karma. abjures the kingdom.who understands that he must conquer. again. If the foregoing interpretation is correct. perhaps. In his defeat. marks the transition to phalagama. in that the play itself [our third samdhi] would appear anticlimactic! 2Scil. His triumph. for it is within his own family that true reconciliation must germinate. The playwright has wrought of Duryodhana a daavi'avra. the spectacle of destruction and misery. their loss not yet complete. or fulfillment of the action: his triumph over the animosity that has-almost mechanically-destroyed his cause and now himself. though they are less moved [and mnoveahle] than the immediate family members. by focussing on this renewal. indeed. Rather. The mood shifts of the third part of the play [the play proper] emphasize this structure. and reveals it as a powerful communication. But that would take us far beyond the scope of this essay. by examining the possibility that the Urubhanga involves two samdhis only. The field is as much a presence in the play as are the characters who fleetingly occupy it. but in and through his own defeat. a mere hero. Understanding is the theme of the "third"part of the play-the play proper: acceptance of destruction's inevitability. But Dhrtarastra. The prayatna. But the warriors Balarama and Asvatthaman are not neglected. his is a victory of another sort. But unless we are sure just what 23 NB that on neither interpretation is the play about Duryodhana's downfall: the "breaking of the thighs!" Such an interpretation. The former interpretation seems to ignore the prologue.. At least three such dimensions of ivTr'aare allowed in the handbooks: see DR 4. to make too much of it.73. Duryodhana alone is depicted as having understood the nature of war. for it awakens profound resonances with other Indian motifs: the impersonal action." p. the latter. Death itself is overcome. the play involves paradoxes whose resolution is not entirely satisfactory. the perfect action is that which presupposes its own agents. "Typology . is the mace-fight itself: the battlefield finds new victims. the renewed effort of the warriors. etc. there will be battle. The more usual vTrais the 'idcdlhaor rana vTra. with the two parts of the prologue and the play proper. Yet that seems to be what the play tells us: while there are characters left alive. Duryodhana. by trickery. The play might be seen as an action in search of a hero. the latter. Duryodhana's heroism [virya] is redeployed in conjunction with the "pathetic" [karuna] to give another dimension to virya itself. 409 "undertaking" or motive element in the battlefield itself. and others that we will advance in the next section. .24If this were the case. already transcended mundane action. a victory that comes about only through mundane defeat. a better account might be given of the clear bifurcation of the play into prologue and sequel. for it is the horror of battle that breeds the hostility on which it feeds-until the battle consumes itself. would be the least attractive. and ends on a desolate battlefield. and might suggest. This analysis thus has the virtue of highlighting the play's espousal of Buddhist and Hindu codes of nonviolence [vairagya]. on this view. Their relations. four of the ten ruipakasare so conceived: see Byrski. Duryodhana's downfall. the usefulness of looking at the play in terms of santa rasa. we might say. is a kind of contrasting surrogate to the Arjuna of the GTta. are determined by the stages of the battle. Thus is the solitude of Duryodhana's withdrawal sharpened. Perhaps more light could be thrown on the question of the play's structure. 33. too.Bhasa's Urubhanga and Indian Poetics GEROW: The play begins on a desolate battlefield.. and bring into question the usefulness of the Dasaripaka itself as ground of the effort that we are making here. not abstractly (as might a pacifist). seems to make the battle more central than the warriors. Each of the analyses already offered illumines the play in a characteristic way. too young to understand his father's loss. cannot yet assume it.
. the moods which appear to dominate in the two halves of the prologue are neatly integrated into the sequel as complements. In no case. pp. But its prominent place in the sequel. then. the Urubhanga has become the touchstone of the argument-there being few or no other instances of the genre discernible: if the Urubhanga is a tragedy. that is. Bhat. and Asvatthaman]. It is this third part. Further. to offer answers to both: [A." Univ. 354. Here. p. Dhrtarastra et al. that must be allowed the major r6le in determining the dominant rasa. But also. message the play intends. The rupaka [genre] analysis given above helps in that two rasas. except perhaps that of the prahasana ['farce']. Bombay. we can never decide between them." It has become. We here undertake. etc. pp. pt. It is there subjoined to the prologue's more violent moods. the overall mood of pathos and resignation is strongly maintained. from the first to the second half of the prologue.] And the play itself differs most markedly from the prologue in its rasa. In war. Indeed those writers (Western) who claim tragedy unthinkable in 25 Keith. unfortunately. it seems."Bhasa and Bharata: The Problemof Tragedy. New Problems in Bhasa Plays. It does not suggest which of the remaining six [seven?] should dominate. The prologue. But the two that are excluded are doubtless the most pervasive of the Indian poetic [or any other] tradition: 'love' and 'humor. republished Ch.]. Much of the interest exhibited in this play." The question that remains. in other words. part of the larger question as to whether the Indian conception of dramatic art permits of tragedy. serve as integrating focus for the play's expression. by slightly rephrasing the second. love and mirth have no place: Venus is Mars' true antagonist. but only as the rather abstract regret we feel at contemplating such universal calamity [vss. [includessurveyof pre-1940 discussions].such as the stageddeathof Duryodhana]. 4.410 Journal of the American Oriental Society 105.] Is this play a genuine example of karuna dominant art? and [B. The exclusion of two can at best be suggestive. 6. etc. the writers (if Indian) seem more concerned at righting a presumed insult to the national character (as though a nation that lacked "tragedy"were somehow being judged deficient in some essential element of culture). 6 of BhasaStudies. very little familiarity with any definite notion of tragedy-Western or Indian. and derive therefrom a conception of the play's unity and purpose. however. in effect. whatever its special qualities. We find karuna in the prologue as well. being hypothetical. suffice to qualify the play as a "tragedy?"The latter question.3 (1985) It might seem then that the characteristic development of the play proper depends on karuna ['pitiable' or 'pathetic']-the rasa most clearly affirmed in the middle section of conversations with family. and the progression of the plot. then to the play itself. K. if it were the case. Bhasa . SD. it follows that tragedy is within the possibilities of Indian expression. we noticed a progression of moods. 74-75 [sees the influence of the Cakyars the unconventional in aspectsof the play. is certainly what it is in virtue of the way it prepares us for the climax of the play itself.' This alone marks the vyayoga as a very special genre. 136-40 G. The tone of this discussion betrays. around this question. for it is the play's dominant rasa that decides the question of the play's achievement: it is for that that the play has been constructed.N. The rasa has been mentioned in the foregoing in connection with several related issues. is taken up first. is there a necessary correlation between rasa and genre. we must look at the rasa in se. revolves. they are excluded from Urubhanga. and contrasts sharply with the raudra and bibhatsa of the prologue. as xxii. must be excluded. In our discussion of the Urubhanga's structure.P. . but the terms in which it has been usually put are confusingly un-Indian: not "Is karuna the dominant rasa of the Urubhanga?" but "Is the Urubhanga a These two questions do not have precisely 'tragedy'?"25 the same import. indeed. 9. Although the play proper seems to fall into three subsections [Balarama. but also palpable in the resignation that Duryodhana manifests in opposition to the ferocity of the two warriors. THE RASA OF THE URUBHANGA AND THE QUESTION OF "TRAGEDY. rather. which determines in part the characteristic tone of that sequel. . makes us ask whether karuna may be considered the dominant rasa of the play. [That alone is reason enough to doubt that the "breaking of the thighs" is really what the play is all about-at least in the sense of chronicling the downfall of Duryodhana. J. the play itself.. sub-dominants: Balarama's and then Asvatthaman's raudra become foils against which Duryodhana's mood of resignation is strongly affirmed. 2. Pusalker. is to identify the dominant rasa [sthayl] of the play. such as the structure of incidents.] Would that. and most of the discussion of it we find in the scholarly literature. That the Urubhanga has been the topic of much commentary derives from the suspicion that it may be a "tragedy. rhngiraand hasya. Unni.
p.. Bhdsa's Urubhangam. presume karuna rasa as its dominant mood? Such might still be the case-and we could take as our text the passage of the Poetics just cited. p. italics his]. The status we call "individual" is. an event located in the prologue. Duryodhana is hardly a tragic figure of the Aristotelian sort. G. ergo Oedipus. tragedy. so to read him would be to twist the play unrecognizably."often make the very interesting mistake of equating "karunapradhdna" with "tragic:" "As a of the tragedy thedefeatanddeathof the mightyDuryodhana. even the death-of man to be a temporary and resolvable condition. the citizens of Thebes prayed to Oedipus to discover the cause of their misery and remove it from amongst them. Oedipus. it may well be the Indian culture that looks better-the token of which is the Sanskrit drama. But the problems here are more serious than might appear. insofar as can be determined." his character makes no sense within it." though Aristotle's tends to dominate the discussion. it is not so much the hero's flaw as an expression of his alienation vis-a-vis the community. in each individual man." He must therefore be judged either a bad man. pathos may not require an essential goodness of character. S. no single view of "tragedy. the play is not only not tragic: it is anti-tragic-and its argument does not differ in principle from the other great works of the Indian dramatic tradition. was that cause. requiring remedy. there is in man. then. apart from its treatment. Duryodhana is far from a good man. therefore..26On Aristotle's view. In this strict [Aristotelian] sense. in classical terms. the purport of that "appendix" would have to be ignored.cit. Duryodhana does not qualify as a "tragic hero. Rangachar. for we are all mortal. we have a tragedi of DurYodhana. Even that is the result of another's "treachery. and is not in itself significant. perhaps inevitable. Does the play. 411 There is.hardly"tragic"or a good man. The writers defending Crubhahgaas a "tragedy. Bhat. tragedy seems clearly to be a property and a perspective of Western culture. for the spectacle of a good man suffering is indeed pathetic. the tragic perspective presumes the individual-whose existence and moral status are separable from that of the community in which he finds himself. Thus Duryodhana's character does not appear suited to the needs of a tragic plot. my remarks in "Dramatic Theory and Kalidasa's Plays. . the hero resurrected-from ranavira to dayavira! From this perspective. an element potentially at odds with the cosmos in which that man has his being. principal sentiment running throughout is pathos (karuna)" [Pt. in terms more traditionally Indian. That essential "separateness" often takes the dramatic form of a "flaw" [hamartia]. his downfall pathetic. Aristotle notwithstanding.. much less those of his antagonists: it is simply an acknowledgement of defeat.Bhasa's Urubhanga and Indian Poetics GEROW: India often seem to be judging Indian art the worse for it. the play itself would have to be read as an extended appendix-an anticlimax akin to a two-act conversation inserted between Oedipus' blinding and Jocasta's death. which admits no ultimate divorcement of man's good from the good of all. and if the plot itself is read as "tragic. Duryodhana's downfall. at least over himself and the monstrous evil that his actions created." Theater of Memorr. to the extent that he "discovers" himself. His "tragedy" is not the same thing as his downfall. of course. In the Urubhanga. The force of the play is such that his victory-if not over death. has to eliminate himself. because undeserved. and nothing in this play argues that he is to be taken otherwise. because of what he truly is. unbeknownst. p. and our downfall is a commonplace. whose resolution is uniformly optimistic-the play itself being a celebration of reintegrationand wholeness. Even in Aristotle's terms. K. 95. In this contrast. his downfall merited. for a classical theory is at issue on the Indian side as well. for it argues for integration and reconciliation. Rather. than any judgement of his own or others' behavior.. and inconsistent with many presuppositions of Indian culture."[op. may justly accomplish his own downfall. 26 Cf. But his anagnorisis does not present itself as the fruition of his own past (mis-)deeds. is self-induced. while otherwise presenting a very careful and sensitive account of the play's leading theme. His call for reconciliation reflects more a judgement as to the value of a persisting family and society. would become the central event of the drama. 48. That is what the play is about: the hero truly triumphant. simply a defective condition. which we find proper. Still. More importantly. Oedipus needed to find out who he was." for he has no flaw in terms of which he might be said to have brought about his own downfall. and considers the separation-indeed. argues that it is Duryodhana's character alone that suffices to make Uruhhahga a "tragedy:" "About Duryodhana's greatness and nobility there cannot be any doubt. 33]. He is the archvillian of the Epic. But if Duryodhana is being punished. as must be clear by this time. The tragic perspective presumes the possibility that all is not well with the world: that a man. Here. at the hands of a superior force. In other words. It is true that Duryodhana does seem to suffer a peripety-in that he comes to recognize the futility of further violence.
Paris. Bhasa's Uruhhahgam. we hold that the Urubhanga is quite well explained within the canons of the traditional dramaturigical theory.tyasiastra of Bharata Muni [GaekwadOrientalSeries. Aristotle's matrix of judgement appears irrelevant to the Indian problem. 1969. 1940 [2nd rev. Pusalker. The Dasarupaka of Dhananjaya. New York. Baumer . Duryodhana's function is to "rise above" such pitiableness. The N . Venkatacharya [ed. The Great Epic of India. 1968].. his downfall is appropriate. De. Das Mahahharata und seine Theile. A. How far this is from the unbridled karuna of Sakuntala. vols. History of Sanskrit Poetics [2nd rev. Santa would in any case be we quite difficult to distinguish from the dayavlTrya have discerned (with its essential subjunction of karuna).]. BIBLIOGRAPHY Rachel van Meter Baumer and James R. see A. ed. 1978. Baroda. Unni. we too are emboldened to persevere. Bhat. New York. 36. Sanskrit Drama in Performance]. Edwin Gerow.TheSanskritDrama. and through which it communicates to an attuned audience its message?It seems clear that such cannot be the caseunless we adopt the point of view of Duryodhana's associates-for Duryodhana. The question becomes: is Duryodhana's suffering that around which the entire play is organized. Barbara S.3 (1985) Indian universe: suffering is but the foil to an inevitable reunion. The play charts his transformation. D. Winternitz. K. 1890. since all consequences are deserved (according to the Indian morality most generally applied). Vol. lastly.]. "Plot Structure and the Development of Rasa in the Sakuntala. And so. The Theater of Memory.Oxford. Methodology of the Analysis of Sanskrit Drama. Delhi.]. Duryodhana becomes dayavira before our eyes. Brandon. John Dowson. K.412 Journal of the American Oriental Society 105. Bhdsa-A Study. Even there. A History of Sanskrit Literature. and especially in the play proper-his heroism. Sanskrit Poetics as a Study of Aesthetic.].1924. Adolf Holtzmann Jr. [ed. Ramakrishna Kavi [ed.1926-64. I think. Mysore. even in our Urubhanga.]. and not pathetic. Christopher Byrski. K. it is rarely if ever intended as dominant. A Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology [Oriental Books Reprint Corp. M. the question of whether the play may involve santa rasa is moot. 1960. 1979 [see also R. as above. N. 1966. vols. VI! That we are not able to find karuna here as a dominant is perhaps not surprising. Bhartrhari'sSatakatrala. Miller (ed. The Theater of Memorv. 1971. we are driven to the conclusion-if Duryodhana is accepted as protagonist-that karuna here too is but a foil to another dominant: the dominant suggested by his character throughout the play.. where their suffering is prominent. In any case. and perhaps would depend even more on the ideology of the analysis. M. Barbara Stoler Miller [ed. 145]. D. but at no instant does his character deviate from that essential norm. 1968. Calcutta.]. than its theatricality. Kolhapur.). 68. not that it is deserved or undeserved. And so. G. as the same heroism applied to new circumstances.' then. A Glossary of Indian Figures of Speech." JAOS. 99 and 100. In any case. Sylvain Levi. as we have argued above. virya. Calcutta. ed.. Berriedale Keith. The designation santa allies the play much more explicitly with religious currents of thought and action than may strictly speaking be necessary in order to understand the play's dramatic force. Berkeley. Dasgupta and S. as vira.. and tr. 1973. 1901. through whatever peril-to and beyond the grave. 1979-80 [see also. Warsaw. Bhartrhari: Poems. 1981. P.27 given the optimistic 27 Though it may be said to be so in isolated [muktaka] verses: cf. Pusalker. Adyar. in his own terms. S. 1967. M. as dayiavlryapradhiana. Sanskrit Drama in Performance. . In the sequel. N. Trivandrum. 1963. VI]. But the presupposition of karuna is that suffering is universal. to instruct the members of his family on the limitations of grief. The Hague. T.. does not suffer (after the prologue is over): it is his family and friends who do. 1962 [De is the author of 'Book II: Kavya']. Honolulu. 124. Bhasa-A Study. Dayavirya is not so much a new or changed heroism. considering that its major focus in Indian literature has been as a moment of Srngararasa: the vipralambha phase of'love in separation' [as in Sakuntala.]. S. E. New Delhi.'chiefly expressive of compassionate heroism. Kiel. Washburn Hopkins. Logically. New York. I [2nd ed. S. A. De. Rangachar. 1984. New Problems in Bhasa Plays. Le Theatre Indien. Bhasa Studies. 1895.