The Monstrous Feminine: Råkßasîs and Other Others The Archaic Mother of Bhåsa’s Madhyamavyåyoga Sally J.

Sutherland Goldman University of California at Berkeley The author of the Trivandrum plays known as Bhåsa is one of the more controversial playwrights of the Sanskrit tradition. The authenticity of his authorship has been critically examined by a number of well-known and influential scholars as, assuming he was the author of the Trivandrum plays, has his date. The controversy over his date has placed his work from a period prior to Påªini (Gaªapati Çåstrî because of the number of non-påªinian forms1) to as late as the seventh, eighth centuries of the common era,2 or even the eleventh century of the common era.3 In fact, it seems as if there are as many dates for Bhåsa as there are scholars who have written on the subject. Scholarship generally falls into early (pre-Påniªi), pre-Kålidåsa, or around the seventh to eighth centuries CE.4 A reasonable consensus is, however, that the playwright flourished
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Gaªapati Çåstrî 1912 (TSS vol. XV) (Introduction to Svapnavåsavadattam). According to Gaªapati Çåstrî, Bhåsa, “must necessarily be placed not later than the third or second century BC,” Sukthankar (1920, p. 248). Bhide (1916, Introduction) places Bhåsa between 475BCE–417BCE. 2 Barnett places Bhåsa in the 7th century CE, Devadhar, is less definite, generally agreeing with Barnett, but commenting, “though the question of his time cannot be definitely settled for want of adequate data” (1927, p. 62). 3 De 1941, p. 420. See Sukthankar 1922, p. 233 and Masson 1970, pp. 3-7. Cf. Pulsalkar 1968, pp. 6-23; Sukthankar 1921-1923; Masson 1970, p.13, note 2; Tieken 1993, p. 6, footnote 5. 4 For example of some early dates, see Kåle (1929, p. xxxvi-xxxviii) 370 BCE; Bhide (1916, Introduction) 475-417 BCE; Gaªapati Çåstrî (1912, Introduction) 3rd-2nd century BCE; Sukthankar (1920) is more cautious, commenting only on the age of the Pråkrit in the plays, “which is much older than any we know from the dramas of the so-called classical period of Sanskrit literature “ (p. 259). A number of scholars date Bhåsa much later—the seventh century of the common era or later. See, for example, Barnett (1920, p.37) seventh century CE, Pisharoti (1923, p. 114) “not earlier than the eighth century,” Devadhar (1927, p. 62), follows Barnett, and understands seventh century CE, Tieken

Monstrous Feminine Sutherland Goldman

between the time of Açvaghoßa and Kålidåsa.5 Perhaps S.K. De is the most insightful of Bhåsa’s critics when he reminds us6 that we should not lose sight of the fact that these plays were a product of their environment. Like other Sanskrit plays, as they were handed down from one generation to the next, words, verses, and even sections of the plays were bound to have been lost, added, or revised. Thus issues of authorship and date will always be open to criticism, controversy, and revision. Despite the intense scholarly attention paid to the structural similarity of the Trivandrum plays, their authorship, and their author’s date, little attention has been given over to serious analysis of the plays themselves. Scholars (see for example, Keith, De) have exercised themselves a great deal over whether or not the plays fit into the structure of the traditional nå†aka and whether or not they follow exactly the plot of the original “epic” stories or other prototypes. Nevertheless, in all of this the plays themselves as literary and performative pieces seem largely to get bypassed.7 In aid of addressing this lack, the following paper will examine one of the lesser plays of Bhåsa, the Madhymavyåyoga,8 focusing less on the play’s history, and more on

(1993, “p. 36) “The conclusions regarding its [the Pratij≤åyaugandharåyaªa’s] date (not older than the Mattavilåsa ) . . . and patronage (Pallavas, Narasiµhavarman II) have provisionally be extended to the other Trivandrum plays.” 5 Sukthankar, understands the Pråkrit to be of an age of that of Açvaghoßa’s; Winternitz 1940. p. 309), “sometime before Kålidåsa”; Keith (1924, p. 95) 300 CE. 6 De 1927, p. 421. “The studies have now made it reasonable to assume that the Trivandrum plays, whether they are by Bhåsa or by some other playwright, are of the nature of adaptations or abridgments made for the stage, and they have in fact been regularly used as stage-plays in the Kerala country. This very important fact should not be lost sight of in any discussion of the plays. It explains the traditional handing down of the plays without mention of the author’s name, in closely resembling prologues, which are probably stage-additions, as well as the coincidence of formal technique and a large number of repetitions and parallels, which recur in these, as also in some other Sanskrit plays of Kerala.” 7 There are of course exceptions. See Masson 1969, Goldman 1978, Gerow 1985, Farley Richmond and Yasmin Richmond 1985, Tieken most recently has offered a provocative and insightful analysis of a number of the plays with an eye to their ritual implications as well as a new, much later dating of the poems 1997. See too Tieken 1993. 8 The vyåyoga, according to the Nå†yaçåstra and other works on drama, is defined as follows: The hero should be a renowned person, the female characters should be few, and the males should be many, the action should cover only one day, it should only be one

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its role as a work of literature and of performative dramatic art. The paper will concentrate on two interrelated issues: structure and meaning. Through the mechanism of the first the second will be analyzed with an eye toward understanding some of the psychological and sociological underpinnings of the world that informed Bhåsa’s vyågoga.9 The play is quite short, one act, and tells the story of a Bråhman family, a father, a mother, and their three sons, travelling in a råkßasa-haunted forest on their way to a sacrifice. It so happens that this is the very forest in which the Påª∂avas are living out their exile—although we are uncertain as to whether it is the first or the second exile as neither Kuntî nor Draupadî are mentioned—, and it is also the home of the råkßasî Hi∂imbå and her son Gha†otkaca. The story has as its background, the episode from the Mahåbhårata in which Bhîma meets and “marries” the råkßasî Hi∂imbå, an episode, one assumes, that was well known to the audience of the play. The liaison results in the birth of a son, the half-human, half-demonic Gha†otkaca.10

act, there should be fighting and wrestling in it, the hero should not be a celestial, but should be royal. Later alaµkåraçåstrins, added: that it should no have either the garbha or the vimarça sandhis; the hero should be of the class styled dhîroddhata [firm and haughty] wrestling and fighting should not be on account of a woman. Cf. Keith p. 347 and Nå†yaçåstra 20 where the vyåyoga is defined as: vyåyogasya tu lakßaªam ata˙ paraµ saµpravakßyåmi // 89cd vyåyogas tu vidhij≤ai˙ kartavya˙ khyåtanåthaksarîra˙ / alpastrîjanayuktas tv ekåhak®tas tathå caiva // 90 bahavas tatra ca purußå vyåyacchante yathå samavakåre / na ca tatpramåªayukta˙ tad ekå÷ka˙ saµvidhåtavya˙ ///91 na ca divyanåyakak®ta˙ kåryo råjarßinåyakanibaddha˙ / yuddhaniyuddhågharßaªasa÷gharßaç cåpi kartavya˙ //92 evaµvidhas tu kåryo vyåyogo dîptakåvyarasayoni˙ / 93ab See too Dåçarüpaka iii.54, Såhityadarpaªa 514. 9 The play, as is true in my opinion of all great works, can be read on many levels. And I have no intention of assuming that my reading of the story is the only one. Clearly it can, and does, have multiple interpretations. See, for example, Tieken 1997 who has read the story as a covert upanayana ritual. 10 The story is told in the Ådiparvan of the Mahåbhårata [1.139-143] and then again in a reprise in the Araªyaparvan [130.85-97]. All references are the Critical Edition of the Mahåbhårata, unless otherwise indicated.

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After the opening verse, a verse in praise of Viߪu [Hari] in his Våmana avatåra, the sütradhåra, or stage manager, hears a sound off stage, “aye kin nu khalu . . . çabda iva çrüyate,” and assumes that it could be no other than the voice of a bråhman. He again hears words coming from behind the curtain [nepathye], “bhos tåta ko nu khalv eßa˙.” This type of opening is common to Bhåsa’s dramas. The sütradhåra is on stage to introduce the play and its characters. He hears a supposedly unexpected noise offstage, questions what it could be, and then realizes that it concerns the events of the play (as, e.g., in the driving away of the crowds in the Svåpnavåsavadattam). The audience is led to believe that the play, far from being performed here and now, is an ongoing story, in which we are being allowed momentarily to participate vicariously. The effect is not dissimilar from the modern day film technique of, “the fade in.” The transition functions to merge reality with fantasy, to draw the audience into the story. Visually, we see only the sütradhåra. But our ears are given the first clues as to the theme, tone, and subject matter of the play. A simple word, “bho˙,” is uttered. Apte [s.v.] understands the word only as a vocative particle used when addressing people, “o, sir, oh, halloo, ah.” But bho˙ can and will also carry the intent of sorrow and/or interrogation. According to Gaªapati Çåstrî the word, “bho˙,” has already been uttered once by the eldest son. However this utterance has not been heard by the audience, but it has, apparently been, heard by the sütradhåra. The second time it is uttered—the first time the audience hears it—, Gaªapati Çåstrî understands it to be uttered by the middle son, and the last time [the line following he verse] by the youngest son. The assumption of the first utterance is not unreasonable if we are to understand that the gradual descent of the audience into the story is marked largely by the use of this word, “bho˙.” The sütradhåra, hearing the question, understands the situation (bhavatu vij≤åtam), and says: bho˙ çabdoccåraªåd asya bråhmåªo ’yam na saµçaya˙ / tråsyate nirviça÷kena kenacit påpacetaså //211

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“From his uttering of the word “bho˙” there is no doubt that he is a brahman. He is frightened by some wicked soul, who has no fear [scruples].” All citations are taken from

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The word, “bho˙,” once again echoes in the audience’s ears. In both Devadhar’s and Gaªapati Çåstri’s editions of the text, it is the very first word of the verse, and serves to tell the audience that the previous use of the word was by no means accidental. “Bho˙'” is thus a syllable pregnant with meaning. Just uttering this word tells our audience, at least according to the sütradhåra, that the person addressed or speaking is a bråhman. This is reasonable, for according to the Manusm®ti, the word bho˙ is peculiar to bråhmans.12 The word carries the meaning of concern worry or anxiety here as well. This is made clear in the second line of the verse, where the sütradhåra lets the audience know that the bråhman is being harassed by some evil creature. The exact nature of the evil creature will be revealed to us only upon the third and final use of the word “bho˙,” which follows the verse. The sütradhåra, hearing the final use of the word “bho˙,” here, presumably uttered by the youngest of the sons, now fully understands the situation. He, of course, as the stage manager plays an omniscient being, as it were, having special insights into the nature of the world as depicted in the drama. With his words, hanta d®dhaµ vij÷åtam, again assuring the audience that he has understood what has happened, he then sets the scene, with the words: “påª∂avamadhyamasyåtmajo hi∂imbåraªisambhüto råkßasågnir ak®tavairaµ bråhmaªajanaµ vitråsayati.” 13 The sentence is fraught with meaning for the audience. We hear for the first time the words påª∂ava-, -madhyama-, -åtmaja, and hi∂imbå- all of which serve as indicators of the plot to come. We discover that the person just described as påpacetaså is none other than the son of the middle Påª∂ava [Bhîma] Bhåsanå†akacakram (1937) edited by Devadhar, pp. 422-439. All translations are the author’s unless otherwise indicated. 12 Manusm®ti 2.128: avåcyo dîkßito nåmnå yavîyån api yo bhavet / bho bhavatpürvakaµ tv enam abhibhåßeta dharmavit // “A person who has been consecrated should not be addressed by name, even if he is younger, a man who knows the law, should speak after him saying, hello sir [bho˙].” 13 “This is the son of the middle Påª∂ava, the fire of the råkßasas, the one born of the kindling-stick Hi∂imbå; it is he who harasses the bråhman folks, who are without animosity towards him."

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and Hi∂imbå. The word “påª∂ava-“ not only lets us know the family background of our harasser, but specifically brings to mind the middle one, here understood to be Bhîma—the one between Yudhi߆hira and Arjuna, that is the middle son of Kuntî—, who will figure prominently in the play. That the son is described in terms of the father, is not only important in the light of the later developments of the plot, but it immediately raises a doubt in the mind of the audience as to why the son of a Påª∂ava would be harassing bråhmans. The word madhyama, again not only highlights Bhîma, but also anticipates the character of the middle son of the old bråhman who plays a vital role in the vyåyoga. Finally we have the character of Hi∂imbå introduced. Here like the patronymic reference to Bhîma the matronymic is only used to provide a family lineage. Hi∂imbå is, of course, a råkßasî. This, in part, explains the nature of her son. The sthåpana is concluded with a verse describing the bråhman family in what must be understood as culturally normative terms. bhråntai˙ [çråntaî˙] sutai˙ pariv®tas taruªai˙ sadåro v®ddho dvijo niçicarånucara˙ sa eßa˙ / vyåghrånusåracarito v®ßabha˙ sadhenu˙ santrastavatsaka ivåkulåm upaiti /314 The father is the bull, the mother the cow, the sons the calves. The association with bulls, cows and calves resonates strongly as some of the most powerfully cathected symbols of virility, motherhood, and devotion to one’s children in traditional Indian society. The verse has placed the threatening figure of Gha†otkaca in conflict with the family and with other institutions and symbols that mark the patriarchy. Film theorist Robin Wood (1986 70-94) has used very similar terms to define the modern horror film. For him the horror film, “consistently places the monster in conflict with the family, the couple and the institutions of patriarchal capitalism” (Creed 61). As the story unfolds we have the halfhuman half-demonic figure of Gha†otkaca posing that very threat to the nuclear family and thus giving rise to the traditional rasa of the horror-drama, “bhayånaka.”15

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“This old bråhman along with his wife and surrounded by his confused [exhausted] sons is followed by a night roamer is just like a bull, along with his cow and frightened calves, who is pursued by a tiger, becomes agitated.” 15 Pulsalkar 1940, p. 208.

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The transition is complete, the scene is set and the play commences. What is remarkable about this sthåpana [and the others of Bhåsa, I would argue] is the simplicity with which Bhåsa uses language to provide a transition from the realm of the everyday world into the play. The play by its nature is a d®çyakåvya, but it is by the use of words that Bhåsa constructs the transition. Its simplicity, too, is deceiving, for the words are sparse, but the meaning conveyed is multivalent. The sthåpana, has not only specifically set the scene of the play. In setting forth the boundaries of good and evil, råkßasa verses human, it has introduced a paradox: the son whose mother is a råkßasî, and thus by definition, evil, and whose father is the son of the wind god and one of the greatest warriors on earth— a person whose purpose on earth is to uphold dharma. That the feminine here is marked as “evil’ is no accident.16 This is a point to which I will return shortly. Bhåsa carefully introduces the character of Gha†otkaca, the son of Bhîma and Hi∂imbå, to represent a troubled and deeply conflicted young man. He is frightening, threatening, intimidating, potentially filled with evil. Yet, he is not without redeeming features, although they are largely obscured at the outset of the vyåyoga. . The old bråhman intuits that the young demon is not totally evil, for he hears some concern in his voice, and indicates this as he tells his terrified wife and sons, “bråhmaªi, na bhetavyaµ na bhetavyam, putrakå˙! na bhetavyam, savimarßå hy asya våªî.”17 This, of course, proves to be the case as the young demon answers, “bho ka߆am,” and we discover the source of his conflict. Bhåsa has once again employed the word bho˙. Here it is put in the mouth of Gha†otkaca, who despite his råkßasa origins, speaks flawless Sanskrit. The word ka߆am as an avyaya carries the meaning of “alas, alack, pity.” According to Gaªapati Çåstrî (p. 34) these words and the verse that follows must be understood as svagatam, or an aside. He understands this because 1) the demon would not make his true feelings known to the bråhman family, and 2) because the bråhman, as suggested by his response, appears totally unaware of the words just spoken. Given this and the future
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S. Goldman 1996, 2003,2004. “Do not fear, bråhman lady, do not fear! Do not fear, my sons! His voice is concerned.” Here, I am reading -vimarßå as v.l. for vimarçå (MW s.v.)

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developments in the play, Gaªapatiçåstrî, is probably correct in this assumption. Bhåsa, having introduced concern, quickly clarifies what it is, as he has the young demon say: jånåmi sarvatra sadå ca nåma dvijottamå˙ püjatamå˙ p®thivyåm / akåryam etac ca mayådya kåryaµ matur niyogåd apanîtaç÷kam // 918 The conflict hinted at by the sütradhara in the sthåpana is now made explicit. Gha†otkaca knows what he ought to do, but cannot go against the word of his mother. Suddenly the entire nature and structure of the drama has changed. No longer is this just a young råkßasa boy out harassing a bråhman family, but a child whose loyalty, like his parentage, is divided. On the one side is the mother, the råkßasî, who must at all costs be obeyed, even though she is aligned with evil and wrongdoing. On the other side is the father representing the patriarchal world of traditional bråhmaªic India. That the action is played out in a forest and that the bråhman family is on its way to a sacrifice only serves to intensify the conflict. Note how Bhåsa projects the evil out from the child onto the mother.19 She has only been mentioned twice in the play [hi∂imbåraªî . . . matu˙] and yet her evil presence already permeates the vyåyoga. Note too that while the audience, who has in some sense taken over the omniscient nature of the sütradhåra, is aware of this evil feminine threat, the bråhman family is yet unaware of her presence. Realizing that they are doomed, and that even the Påª∂avas, who have taken up temporary residence in the forest can be of no help—since they too have been called off to a sacrifice, here Dhaumya’s 100 pot sacrifice—, the old bråhman petitions for their freedom, “asty asmåkaµ mokßa˙.” Gha†otkaca allows the possibility of release but on one condition [mokßo ’sti samayata˙]. He then tells of his mission: “asti me tatrabhavatî jananî. tayåham åj÷åpta˙: putra mamopavåsanisargårtham asmin vanapradeçe kaçcin maªußa˙ parim®gyånetavya iti.”20 It is at this juncture that full nature of the threat is made apparent to the audience and the bråhman family as well. The threat originates
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“I know that always and everywhere those best of the twice-borns are the most highly revered on earth. Today, however, disregarding all doubts, I must do this deed that ought not to be done, on account of my mother’s command.” 19 See Sutherland 1991. 20 “I have a very respected mother. She has ordered me: Son! In order to break my fast, in the region of this forest, having sought out some male human, bring him to me.”

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from a råkßasî who wants to consume human [manußyam] male flesh. Gha†otkaca is only doing his mother's bidding. The råkßasî is a commonplace of the epic literature. The female counterpart of the råkßasa, she is in some ways even more frightening. Like him, what is most pronounced about the råkßasî is sexual excess, but carefully set in juxtaposition to her libidinal drive is her need to devour.21 The consumption is not uncommonly expressed in a desire for humans or more specifically human blood. That consumption can be understood as an expression of sexuality, especially excessive libidinal urges, has been well established, and I need not elaborate here any further in any great detail.22 Like other råkßasî figures such as Çürpaªakhå, Suraså, and Siµhikå, Hi∂imbå, too desires to “eat.” Her voracious oral consumptive urges too can be seen as representative of her libidinal desires. This intersection between the libidinal and the gustatory urges are seen in the earliest extant story of Hi∂imbå, that known from the Mahåbhårata. The story is told first in the Ådiparvan (1.139-143). Following the fire in the lacquer house, the Påª∂ava brothers are hiding in the forest with their mother, Kuntî. As they sleep in the forest the råkßasa Hi∂imba spies them. Both the råkßasa’s hunger and his proclivity for human flesh are among the first things we learn about him. Among other things he is described as “månußamåµsåda˙, piçitepsu˙,23and kßudhårta˙.” Hi∂imba, smelling the odor of humans,24 orders25 his sister, his female counterpart as reflected in her name Hidimbå, to fetch them.
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See Goldman and Goldman 1996, pp. 65-68; See R. Goldman 2000, S. Goldman 1996, 2003, 2004. Note here the similarity of the vampire to the råkßasî. “The female vampire is abject because she disrupts identity and order: driven by her lust for blood, she does not respect the dictates of the law, which set down the rules of proper sexual conduct. Like the male, the female vampire also represents abjection because she crosses the boundary between the living and the dead, the human and animal.” [Creed 1993, p. 61] 22 S. Goldman 1996, 2004, R. Goldman 2000, Creed 1993, 23 The word piçita, means “flesh,” but clearly refers to human flesh in such usages as pîsîtåçana˙, piçitåça˙, piçitåçin, piçitåbhuj, which all refer to demons who are flesh eaters, or man-eaters. See Apte, s.v. 24 du߆o månußamåµsådo mahåkåyo mahåbala˙ / åghråya månußaµ gandhaµ bhaginîm idam abravît // 25 upapannaç cirasyådya bhakßo mama mana˙priya˙ / snehasravån prasravati jihvå paryeti me mukham //

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The self-description he provides in the passage is important in that it marks the råkßasa as an eater of human flesh; it describes him as having: a߆au daµßtrå˙ sutîkߪågråç cirasyåpåtadu˙sahå˙.26 He describes the manner in which he will consume the humans: åkramya månußaµ kaª†ham åcchidya damanîm api/ uߪaµ nava prapåsyåmi phenilaµ rudhiraµ bahu /27 The description is clearly reminiscent of the vampire of western myth, who with long pointed fangs sucks the blood from its victims. Hi∂imbå rushes to do her brother’s bidding, but when she sees Bhîma, rather than “eat him up” she is consumed with lust.28 Upon seeing his unparalleled beauty, she falls in love with him [13]. Moreover she decides that he is the right husband for her [bhartå a߆au daµßtrå˙ sutîkߪågråç cirasyåpåtadu˙sahå˙ / deheßu bha≤jayißyåmi snigdheßu piçiteßu ca // åkramya månußaµ kaª†ham åcchidya damanîm api / uߪaµ nava prapåsyåmi phenilaµ rudhiraµ bahu // gaccha jånîhi ke tv ete çerate vanam åçritå˙ / månußo balavån gandho ghråªam tarpayatîva me // hatvaitån månußån sarvån ånayasva mamåntikam / asmad vißayasuptebhyo naitebhyo bhayam asti te // eßåµ måµsåni saµskrtya månußåªåµ yathe߆ata˙ / bhakßayißyåva sahitau kuru türªaµ vaco mama // 1.139.4-10 “Today after such a long time, I have come across some food dear to my heart. My tongue salivates with the juice of delicate things and licks all around my face. The eight fangs with their so sharp points, are unbearable from the first attack, after such a long time; I will eat these bodies and their most [delicate] flesh.[6] Having seized the human's throat, I will severe its arteries and drink the abundant, fresh, warm, foamy blood! [7] Go, discover who these forest-resorting men who sleep are. The strong, powerful human odor as it were satisfies my nose [8]. Having killed all of these humans bring them back to me. Have no fear of them, that sleep in our realm.[9] Having prepared the flesh of the humans as we like it, together we will eat it. Quickly obey my words.[10]” 26 MBh 1.39.5.“His eight fangs, with their so sharp points, are unbearable from the first attack.” 27 MBh 1.39.6. “Having seized the human’s throat, I will severe its arteries and drink the abundant, fresh, warm, foamy blood!”

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yukto bhaven mama], after rationalizing that one’s love for one’s husband is stronger than one’s love for one’s brother, [15] she says: muhürtam iva t®ptiç ca bhaved bhråtur mamaiva ca / hatair etair ahatvå tu modayißye çåçvatî˙ samå˙ //29 It is here that we see the two notions of gustatory and sexual satiation intersect. Hi∂imbå cannot have both, in fact, does not need both, for the libidinal supplants the gustatory. This very intersection of the libidinal drive and the need to consume allows us to compare the figure of the råkßasa to the western vampire figure. And I would argue, that the figures of the råkßasa and the råkßasî in the traditional Sanskrit literary corpus depicts these creatures in a way not dissimilar from that of the depiction of the vampire, both male and female, in the western literary and cinematic tradition. Barbara Creed has noted this connection between the need to consume and libidinal drive, in reference to the western female vampire: The female vampire is abject because she disrupts identity and order; driven by her lust for blood, she does not respect the dictates of the law, which set down the rules of proper sexual conduct. Like the male, the female vampire also represents abjection because she crosses the boundary between the living and the dead, the human and animal . . . the vampire’s animalism is made explicit in her bloodlust and the growth of the two pointed fangs.30

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The passage parallels the passion experienced by Çürpaªakhå upon seeing the two Råghavas, however, the resolution is far from the same. Råm 3.17.16. All references are to the critical edition, unless noted. 29 MBh 1.139.16“With them slain, my brother’s appetite and mine will be sated for only a while but not having killed them, I will be infatuated for ever after [for all eternity].” 30 Creed 1993, p. 61. In this connection, Creed has noted the lesbian nature of the female vampire in the western film, a point of departure I feel with the råkßasî in the bråhmaªic tradition. Certain lesbian overtones exist in a few stories, but the norm would be the female råkßasa attacking a male victim, and thus maintaining a counter normative but nevertheless heterosexual relationship. One counter example to this, a clear example of same-sex craving, is found in the Sundarakåª∂a of the Vålmîki Råmåyaªa,where the råkßasî express their strong desire to consume Sîtå (see 5.23.34-41 and notes).

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Like the vampire, the råkßasa as a creature, who in Kristeva’s terms “disturbs identity, system, and order,” is a figure that represents abjection.31 The intersection of libidinal and gustatory desire creates a tension that Bhåsa draws upon in his drama to construct the figure of Hi∂imbå. At the opening of his story the two traits that are most crucial in constructing the figure of Hi∂imbå are: 1) the fact that she is a råkßasî, which for the audience immediately associates her with the negative libidinal and gustatory urges, and who, like the female vampire, is abject as she disrupts identity and order, and 2) the fact that she is a mother, also known from the epic story. This bivalence is reflected in Kristeva’s expanded construction of the Freudian Oedipal mother— sometimes referred to as the “archaic mother” —as “the fecund mother and the phanasmatic mother who constitutes the abyss which is so crucial in the formation of subjectivity.”32 It is this abyss that is, “the cannibalizing black hole from which all life comes and to which all life returns” and is represented as a source of “deepest terror.” Bhåsa uses this construction of Hi∂imbå as the bivalent archaic mother to generate horror in his audience. He does so not so much by a physical description of her but rather through a representation of her desires and the space that she occupies. Her haunt is the dark forest, impenetrable and dangerous. idam hi çünyaµ timirotkaraprabhair nagaprakårair avaruddhadikpatham/ khagair m®gaiç cåpi samåkulåntaraµ vanaµ nivåsåbhimataµ manasvînåm //1033 Dadoun in his analysis of the film Dracula, understands the archaic mother as “a nonpresence.” 34 For him the signs of the archaic mother in the Dracula films are the space that Dracula inhabits, “the small, enclosed village, the pathway through the forest that
31

Kristeva’s “Powers of Horrors” provides a hypothesis for the analysis of the representation of the woman as monstrous. She suggests a way of situating the monstrous-feminine in the horror film in relation to the maternal figure and what she [Kristeva] terms “abjection,” that which does not “respect borders, positions, rules.” that which “disturbs identity, system, order” (Kristeva 1982, p. 4). 32 Creed 1993, p. 25. 33 “This desolate forest, with its paths [which lead] to the [outer] regions blocked by a variety of hills which appear like masses of darkness and with its interior regions dense with birds and beasts, is desired as a residence only by determined men.” According to Gaªapati Çåstrî, the phrase, “by determined men (manasvînåm),” refers to the Pån∂avas. 34 Dadoun 1987, p. 53

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leads like an umbilical cord to the castle, the central place of enclosure with its winding stairways, spider webs, dark vaults, worm-eaten staircases, dust and damp earth.”35 Similarly, Bhåsa can be understood to depict the symbolism of the archaic mother in his womb-like description of the abode of the råkßasa through which the bråhman family is travelling: encircled by mountains, which appear like “masses of darkness, with the only paths that lead to the outer world blocked, filled with terrifying creatures, dark and isolated.” For Bhåsa however, the non-present mother, is more than a symbolic representation of space, she is an omnipotent figure. Her physical presence is denied but her existence is very real. Dadoun suggests that the archaic mother exists as a “nonpresence,” which should be “understood as a very archaic mode of presence.” Bhåsa’s use of the mother allows us to clearly imagine what this means, as Hi∂imbå looms at the margins of the play, never visible, yet never out of our consciousness.36 Also one must keep in mind that at the same time Bhåsa creates the non-present presence of the archaic mother, he absents the father, at least in the minds of the audience. The father, here Bhîma, is supposed to be present, but in fact is removed from scene of the play altogether. Bhîma, of course, in the Mahåbhårata story, is left by Hi∂imbå after the birth of their son Gha†otkaca.37 Here that absence is reinforced by the fact that the Påª∂avas, although temporarily residing in the forest, have been called away from their retreat as noted above. Moreover, the absence of the patriarch marks the disintegration of the nuclear family, a situation set in marked contrast to the tightly integrated bråhman family under threat. Bhîma has been left to protect the åçrama But at this juncture, even he has gone temporarily: sa cåpy asyåµ velåyåµ vyåyåmaparicayårthaµ viprak®ß†adeçastha iti çrüyate (11.7)38 It is at this juncture, in the absence of the male, that the female’s libidinal and gustatory urges reassert themselves. Or, in more Freudian terms, it is in this absence that the phallic, sexualized, woman is
35 36

Creed 1993, p. 20. Creed 1993, p. 20, Dadoun 1987, pp. 53-54. Parallel to this is and, of course, the cause of it, is the absence of the father figure, here Bhîma without whose phallic presence the mother has become all-powerful, phallic as it were. 37 Mahåbhårata 1.143.36.

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able to re-assert herself. That it is played out in the context of the family, where the father can no longer control the mother, whose ever-present gustatory/libidinal urges [re]surface, creates an even more terrifying and threatening scenario. Roger Dadoun’s Dracula acts “on behalf of the mother.39” In the midst of the dark castle, Dracula emerges, “with his black cape, pointed teeth, rigid body—carried like an erect phallus—piercing eyes and penetrating look.” For Dadoun, Dracula is the fetish form, ”a substitute for the mother’s penis.”40 Now consider the description that Bhåsa provides of Gha†otkaca. He appears in the midst of dark, impenetrable forest, quite literally on his mother’s errand. He is described as, having long, yellow eyes blazing from the cavity between the knitted eyebrows, a chest that is massive and broad, a complexion that is like that of a mass of darkness, fangs protruding and white arms which are [huge like] the trunks of the best elephants, and so forth.41 He, too, like Dracula, can be understood as the projection of a maternal phallus.
38

11.7 “It is heard that at this time, he too has gone to [is located at] some distant place in order to engage in physical exercise.” 39 Creed 1993, p. 21. 40 Dardoun 52-55, Creed 1993, p. 20. 41 taruªavikaraprakîrªakeço bhrüku†ipu†ojjvalapi÷galåyatåkßa˙/ sata∂id iva ghana˙ sakaª†hasütro yuganidhane pratimåk®tir harasya // “With hair scattered about like the [red] rays of the morning sun, with yellow and long eyes blazing from the cavity between the knitted eyebrows, with his [golden] necklace around his neck, like a cloud with lightning, the very image of Hara at the cosmic dissolution.” grahayugalanibhåkßa˙ pînavistîrªavakßå˙ kanakakapilakeça˙ pîtakaçeyavåså˙ / timiranivahavarªa˙ påª∂uroddh®ttadaµß†ro nava iva jalagarbho lîyamånendulekha˙ // 5 “Whose eyes rare like a pair of planets, whose chest is massive and broad, whose hair is golden yellow [pîta- v.l. pîna-]; whose color is that of a mass of darkness, with fangs protruding and white, [he appears like] a new storm-cloud in which the digits of the moon are being clouded over.” kalabhadaçanadaµß†ro la÷gulåkaranåsa˙ karivarakarabåhur nîlajîmütavarªa˙ /

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It is against this “non-present presence” of the archaic mother that the phallic son Gha†otkaca makes his demand, a demand that places him in a monstrous conflict with the nuclear family he has been denied: patnyå cåritraçålinyå dviputro mokßam icchasi / balåbalaµ parij≤åya putram ekaµ visarjaya //1242 The bråhman first offers himself up in lieu of his sons, but he is rejected for he is too old. The mother then offers herself up, but she is rejected as she is a woman. Only a young brahman boy will do. The three sons in turn offer themselves up to save the family. But the father is too attached to the elder son, and cannot let him go. Similarly the mother is to attached to the younger and cannot bear to see him offered to the demon. Only the middle son is left and poignantly says: pitror ani߆a˙ kasyedånîµ priya˙?[19.4]43 The theme of the unloved and unwanted middle child has antecedents in the Çuna˙çepha story known in its earliest version to the Aitareya Bråhmaªa 7.15.14-18.44 Here the story tells of king named Hariçcandra, who desiring a son, begs for one from Varuªa. His boon is granted on the condition that the son be offered up as a human sacrifice to the god. A son named Rohita is born, but when he learns of the promise of his father, he runs away. Rohita eventually encounters an impoverished sage named Ajîgarta, hutahutavahadîpto ya˙ sthito bhåti bhîmas tripurapuranihantu˙ ça÷karasyeva roßa˙ //6 “Whose fangs are like the tusks of a young bull elephant, whose nose has the shape of a plow, whose arms are [huge like] the trunks of the best among elephants, whose color/complexion is that of a storm cloud, who, like the blazing fire into which an oblation has been offered stands there terrifying [bhîma˙] like the anger of Ça÷kara and the destroyer of the city of Tripura.” vajrapåto ’calendråªåµ çyena˙ sarvapatatriªåm / m®gendro m®gasa÷ghånåµ m®tyu˙ purußavigraha˙ // “He is the strike of the thunderbolt to the best among mountains, he is the hawk a among birds, he is a lion among the herds of deer, he is death in human form.” 42 “If you desire to be set free along with your virtuous wife and two of your sons, then considering the pros and cons [of the situation] give up one son.” 43 “Unwanted by my parents, who loves me now?” Cf. Çuna˙çepha’s words to Viçvåmitra at Råm 1.60.20.

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who has three sons. Rohita offers the sage money in exchange for one his sons who could be offered in his place. Ajîgarta agrees but will not give up his eldest son, and the mother refuses to give up the youngest. This leaves the middle son, named Çuna˙çepha, who is exchanged for one hundred cows. No one can be found to actually carry out the sacrificial offering, and finally Ajîgarta agrees, again for more money, to carry out the act. Çuna˙çepha takes recourse in the gods who release him. Ajîgarta demands his son back, but Çuna˙çepha refuses to return and instead takes refuge with the sage Viçvåmitra.45 The similarity between the episodes is clear. However, Bhåsa’s bråhman father, unlike Ajîgarta, is emotionally distraught at the decision to give up his son. While we can see the episode of Çuna˙çepha as a possible source for Bhåsa’s theme of the unloved middle child, this thematic of the unloved middle child as well as the story itself, can also be seen to have parallels elsewhere in the literature. The other most probable source of the Bhåsa’s play, as noted by Devadhar, is the Mahåbhårata’s story of the demon Baka. 46 Here, too, the theme of the unwanted “middle” child is hinted at also in connection with none other than our play’s hero, Bhîmasena. The story, like Bhåsa’s, stresses the conflicted emotions of a bråhman family making the horrific decision to give up one of its children to a demon to save the lives of the rest of the family. The story is placed immediately after that of the account of the slaying of Hi∂imba, by Bhîma and the birth of Gha†otkaca discussed above.47
44

See R. Goldman 1978, pp. 348-349. The story is narrated in the Råmåyaªa as well (1.60-61) and Bhågavatapuråªa 9.7. It is referred to at Mbh 13.3.6. 45 The story continues, and Viçvåmitra, adopting Çuna˙sepha as his son, considers Çuna˙sepha as his eldest son, thereby displacing the 50 elder boys. Viçvåmitra asks his sons to accept this arrangement, but they refuse and Viçvåmitra curses them to fall from their current high status.The Oedipal implications of the story have been thoroughly discussed. See Goldman 1978, pp. 348-349. 46 Pulsalkar (1940, p. 206) while he understands the plot to be from the imagination of the poet, sees the Çuna˙sepha episode as the underlying source of theme. Devadhar (1927, p. 63) on the other hand understands the Baka episode of the Mahåbhårata as the probable source of the play, although he to understands it to be largely a creation of the poet. 47 MBh 145-152. The Påª∂avas and Kuntî return to the Ekacakra forest, there they dwelt in a house of a bråhman. Disguised as bråhmans they begged for alms. At night Kuntî would divide the food into two portions, one half for herself and the four brothers and one-half for Bhîma. One day, when the boys had gone out, Bhîma stayed behind with

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Kuntî. From inside the house a loud wailing arose. Kuntî is filled with compassion, and wants to help the family. She goes to the inner apartments where she finds the family—husband, wife, daughter, and son— filled with grief seated. The bråhman, wailing, claims that it is better that they all go, rather than sacrifice one of them. He, cannot, he says sacrifice his wife, the mother of his children, and ever faithful, nor can he sacrifice his young daughter. even though some fathers might love their sons more than their daughters, he does not. He would, gladly sacrifice himself, but then how would the family survive. The wife offers herself, because she is the most expendable, and is old, and has already had the pleasures of a husband and children. Moreover, without a husband she could not protect or sustain the children. And it is not against the law for a man to have many wives, but it is against the law for a woman to have more than one husband. The daughter, hearing this, begs to be allowed to sacrifice herself. She argues that she after all will be given away. It might as well be now as later. Finally the young boy, crawling to each of them in turn, tells his parents and sister not to worry that he would with a piece of straw kill the man-eating råkßasa. At this juncture, Kuntî asks what the trouble is. The bråhman responds that in this region a man-eating råkßasa named Baka [Bakåsura] haunts the forest and, if sated, protects the forest and surrounding villages and lands. But the råkßasa demands as his price for this protection, a cartload of rice, two buffaloes, and the one human who takes the food to him. People provided him with his food in turn. And when after many years a man’s turn comes, he cannot avoid it. If one tries to escape, the råkßasa kills him, his wife, and children. He tells Kuntî that he and his entire family will go to the råkßasa. Kuntî says, not to worry, she has five sons, and one of them will bring the råkßasa his food. The bråhman rejects her offer, they debate the subject, and finally the bråhman gives in. Kuntî asks Bhîma to go and he agrees. The boys come back, Yudhi߆hira intuits that something is going on. He asks his mother what she has done, why she has forsaken her son for another; he finally accuses her of having lost her senses. She reassures him that she has not lost her senses: they have been living off the generosity of the bråhman family and she feels that some compensation is in order. She also knows Bhîma’s strength and capabilities. Yudhi߆hira finally agrees with her course of action. In the meantime, during the next day, Bhîma takes the food and went to where the man-eating råkßasa was. Bhîma calls out the råkßasa and in a great rage Baka comes to where Bhîma is standing. When he arrived he sees Bhîma eating his food. The råkßasa threatens to kill him, but Bhîma only laughs. The råkßasa lets loose a terrifying yell and rushes Bhîma, who continues to eat. The råkßasa then strikes Bhîma on the back with both fists. Bhîma feels the blow, but he does not look at the råkßasa and continues to eat. The råkßasa then uproots a tree and storms Bhîma. Bhîma finally finishes eating and makes ready to fight. He grabbs the tree that Baka has uprooted. The battle continues. Both contestants heave huge trees at one another. Eventually Bhîma wins and breaks the råkßasa in half, killing him. Thereupon Bhîma deposited the corpse of the demon at the city gates and returned to the bråhman’s home unnoticed.

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The story is quite different. In the story of Bakåsura, the bråhman family has only two children, the elder, but still quite young, is a daughter while younger, is a very young boy, still crawling. But, nevertheless there are strong similarities. Here, as in Bhåsa’s tale, the family must give up one of its children to sate the hunger of a råkßasa. Bhîma becomes, as it were, a surrogate third child, the “middle son,” who is given up, here by his mother. In fact, Bhîma is Kuntî’s middle son, and she is willing to offer her son up in order to save the bråhman family. Note too, that as in Bhåsa’s play, it is the mother’s command that must be obeyed and her judgment, although questioned by Bhîma, never really doubted. To Madhyama’s pitiful words, “kasyedånîµ priya˙,” Gha†otkaca replies, “ahaµ prîto ’smi [19.4],” Gaªapatî Çåstrî, in my opinion correctly, glosses the phrase as, “aham . . . prîtimån . . . tvayi.”48 That it is Gha†otkaca that answers and not the mother or father only further intensifies the plight of the young boy. Gaªapatî Çåstrî in his commentary clearly connects the expression of love with the gustatory urges of the råkßasas, specifically Hi∂imbå. He explains the phrase: “[tvayi] manmåt®bhakßaªîyatåm åtmano ’÷gîk®tavati .49” Madhyama has only one wish before he is taken away, and that is that he be allowed a sip of water [22.7-8]. His wish is granted, but he is cautioned to be quick. Since he tarries a bit too long, Gha†otkaca begins to fret: “atikråmati ma†ur åhårakåla˙ [24.12].”50 He asks the bråhman to call his son [24.2-3], but the old man refuses [å˙ atiråkßasaµ khalu te vacanam—24.4]. Gha†otkaca then asks for the name of the son, this too the old bråhman refuses to provide [24.6]. But upon asking the elder son [not an accident], he is provided with the middle son’s name, Madhyama (the middle one)[24.9]. Gha†otkaca then calls the young boy [24.10-11]. Bhîma, also known as Madhyama, engaged in his exercises, hears the call and takes it to be for him [25]. Bhîma enters. The character of Bhîma as represented in the epic tradition underlies Bhåsa’s construction of his play in a number of ways. We have already touched
48 49

“I am filled with love for you.” “In reference to you [tvayi] who have allowed yourself to be food for my mother.” 50 “The time for my mother’s meal is passing.”

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upon Bhîma as the madhyama or middle son of Kuntî, a role that is explicated and overdetermined in the story of Baka discussed above. In Bhåsa’s play, Bhîma is also a patriarchal figure, the husband of Hi∂imbå and the father of Gha†otkaca. Bhîma is, of course, associated with excessive consumption.51 He is called v®kodara and his appetite is never sated, and this becomes his fatal flaw as the epic draws to a conclusion. For as Bhîma, fallen to the ground, lies dying at the end of the epic, Yudhi߆hira reminds him, “atibhuktaµ ca bhavatå.”52 Moreover, and not insignificantly for Bhåsa’s play, is Bhîma’s history as the son of Våyu, the wind god. He is the most fierce and powerful of the Påª∂avas, the great warrior, and slayer of råkßasas (virtually all the råkßasas encountered by the Påª∂avas in the epic are slain by Bhîma). Bhîma is after all the one Påª∂ava brother who is most susceptible to his emotions, particularly, his anger. It is his rage at the insult carried out upon Draupadî in the Sabhåparvan [citation] that leads to his swearing to split the chest of Duryodhana and drink Du˙çåsana’s blood.53 This association of Bhîma with the consumption of blood cannot be ignored in light of his association with the råkßasî Hi∂imbå, whose inherent nature is to consume human flesh and blood. Perhaps the raison d'etre for his curse can traced back to his relationship with Hi∂imbå, a relationship that, much like the bite of the vampire, would infect him and cause him be associated with the vampire-like behavior of a råkßasa.54 Bhîma’s emergence into the story, in the deep dark forest, with its symbolic associations to the archaic mother, now sets off an Oedipal struggle between father and son. Of course, as in the original Oedipal myth, the son is unaware that this personage who emerges onto the scene is his father. Bhîma too at first is unaware that this is son, but he soon discovers the truth. The description of both characters, each of whom admires and respects the other’s prowess, resonates with phallic imagery. Thus in verse 26, Bhîma, first seeing
51
52

Goldman 2005. “You ate too much.” MBh 17.2.2.25, see, too MBh 17.2.22-23. 53 MBh 2. 61.44-46. Bhåsa was very familiar with this episode as one of his plays, the Urubha÷ga, “Breaking of the thigh,” has as its central action the battle between Duryodhana and Bhîma In the play however, Bhîma is taken away after the illegal blow, and does not drink the blood.
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Gha†otkaca notes his leonine fangs, his thick neck, his hawk-like nose, his adamantine waist, his long and muscular arms, and compares his gait to that of a bull among elephants.55 In verse 27, Gha†otkaca, when first spying Bhîma, notes his form which is like that of a lion, that it is strong and virile, his arms are long like plantain trees, and his sides are well-tapered.56 Gha†otkaca is seemingly unconsciously aware of a relationship as he ends this verse with the words: “netre mamåharati bandhur ivågato ’yam.”57 The phrase “bhandur iva,” like, a relative,” indicates subliminal recognition of or desire for such a relationship for Gha†okaca, while for the audience it reinforces the kinship. Bhîma, declares himself as “Madhyama” (verses 28, 29), and upon being told the situation, demands that Gha†otkaca release the bråhman family. Gha†otkaca refuses, citing once again his duty to his mother: the struggle now becomes one between a son and a father over control of the feminine , marked as the mother. Gha†otkaca says: na mucyate, mucyatåm iti visrabdhaµ bravîti yadi me pitå /
54 55

S. Goldman 2004. siµhåsya˙ siµhadaµß†ro madhunibhanayana˙ snigdhagambhîrakaª†ho babhrubhrü˙ çyenanåso dviradapatihanur dîrghaviçli߆akeça˙ / vyü∂horå vajramadhyo gajav®ßabhagatir lambapînåµsabåhu˙ suvyaktaµ råkßasîjo vipulabalayuto lokavîrasya putra˙ // His face is that of a lion; he has the fangs of a lion as well; his eyes are like honey-wine; his neck smooth and thick; his eyebrows are tawny he has the nose of a hawk; his chin is like that of the lord of elephants; and his hair is long and scattered. His chest is broad, his waist is like adamantine, his gait is that of a bull among elephants, his arms are long with muscular shoulders. Clearly this one endowed with such great strength is the son of some worldly hero, yet born of a råkßasî,

56

siµhåk®ti˙ kanakatålasamånabåhur madhye tanur garu∂apakßaviliptapakßa˙ / viߪur bhaved vikasitåµbujapatranetro netre mamåharati bandhur ivågato ’yam

// He has the form of a lion his arms are like that of a golden palmyra tree, slender in waist, his sides are tapered like the wings of Garu∂a. He might be Viߪu, with his eyes like full-blown lotus petals. He attracts my eyes to him as if he were a relative. 57 “He attracts my eyes to him as if he were a relative.”

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na mucyate tathå hy eßa g®hîto måtur åj≤ayå //3658 Bhîmasena then responds: (åtmagatam) katham ma†ur å≤jeti aho guruçuçrüßu˙ khalu ayaµ tapasvî [36.1-2]59 måtå kila manüsyåªåm daivatånåµ ca daivatam / måtur å≤jåµ purask®tya vayam etåm daçåµ gatå˙ //[37]60 Bhîma’s words are explicitly intended to refer to Hi∂imbå and her role as mother to Gha†okaca. But, their import in the construction of the larger Påª∂ava world, that is with reference to Kuntî, is not lost on the audience, nor is the conflict arising from situating one’s mother in a position of divinity and yet being required to do an action that is considered to transgress the boundaries of proper behavior.61 The identification of the mother as divinity in contrast to her role as demon allows expression of a counter-phobic reaction. For, as Winokur reminds us, the phantasmic mother resides in no other mother than our own. “[Dadoun’s] argument remains a paradigmatic psychoanalytic account, in the sense that the source of anxiety remains with the mother, not the commodity or the racial other.”62 The mother, although absent in the play, is real, as are the conflicted emotions that one has towards her. Bhîma then demands to know who his mother is and, discovering that the boy is none other than his son by Hi∂imbå, offers himself as victim in lieu of the bråhman’s son. But Bhîma refuses to go until Gha†otkaca defeats him. Now ensues a battle between the father and the son for the affection of and/ or possession the mother. Bhîma attempts to make himself known to Gha†otkaca, but Gha†otkaca does not or is not willing to understand that this is his father, and forces battle upon Bhîma. The battle is played out in

58

“I will not release him: Even if my father in confidence asked me to release him, I would not. For he has been captured by my mother’s command.” 59 “[To himself:] How is this? [he says] ‘At the command of my mother?’ The wretched fellow is obedient to his elders [mother].” 60 “Indeed, among men the mother is deity among deities. Have given precedence to the mother’s command, we have arrived at this condition.” 61 It is a similar inability to transgress one’s mother’s dictum, that led to the marriage of Draupadî to all five Påªdava brother’s in the Mahåbhårata. MBh 1.182.2. It is also Kuntî whose order must be obeyed in the Baka story, even at the risk of serious danger to oneself (see footnote 47 above). 62 Winokur 2004.
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phallic imagery. Bhîma’s only weapon is his right arm, which like the right thigh, can be understood to represent the phallus [verse 42]. Gha†otkaca uproots huge trees to use as weapons, much in the manner of Baka in the Mahåbhårata story,63 and finally uproots the peak of a mountain. But neither the trees or the mountains, despite their phallic strength, firmness, and size, faze Bhîma for even a moment, so the battle comes down to hand-to-hand combat, a combat that still carries with it strong phallic associations. Bhîma, much to his own astonishment, is actually bound by the strength of Gha†otkaca’s arms (vîryam ulla÷ghya båhvor) [verse 42]. He breaks free. Neither can defeat the other; Gha†otkaca resorts to a magical weapon, which he has acquired though his mother’s favor, so it too can be understood as phallic projection of the archaic mother. The verse uttered here by Gha†otkaca is telling as it compares Bhîma, bound by this magic påça, to a very phallic, yet impotent, çakradhvaja “flagstaff of Çakra måyåpåçena baddhas tvaµ vivaço na gamißyasi / råjase rajjubhir baddha˙ çakradhvaja ivotsave //[47]64 But Bhîma possessed an anti-påça mantra (måyåpåçamokßa˙ mantra˙), which he has acquired from none other than Çiva whose defining symbol is the phallus, li÷gam, itself. Through this magical weapon which is more powerful than the maternal weapon of Gha†otkaca, he is finally able to break his bonds (patita˙ påça˙), thus gaining victory over his son while symbolically castrating him. Much as Dadoun understands that Dracula has identified with the archaic mother and attributes to her a non-existent phallus, so we can understand that Gha†otkaca has identified with his mother, whose imagined phallus, the påça, here, is rendered impotent. Thus the destruction of the påça is the destruction of the imagined archaic mother. The resolution of the story is now obvious. Bhîma, finally the victor, nevertheless agrees to accompany Gha†otkaca, who has reminded him of his earlier promise, on a visit to Hi∂imbå. Thus at the very end of the vyåyoga, Hi∂imbå enters the play. With the destruction of the imagined archaic mother, she, the actual benign mother, can safely
63 64

See footnote 47 above. “Captured up by my magic-noose, helpless, you cannot move, and you will appear resplendent, like the flagpole of Çakra held by ropes on the festival day.”

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appear. She is no longer a non-present presence as it were, and once in the company of her husband, she is no longer in need of a human victim to consume. Moreover, she is no longer functions as a manifestation of the imagined archaic phallic mother, but of the real and present mother, and as such she is no longer a threat. Her libidinal needs sated by the presence of her husband, her gustatorial drive disappears. As if to confirm this, Bhîma says: “jåtyå råkßasî, na samudåcåreªa.[49.3]” 65 At this juncture, Bhåsa reintroduces the word bho˙ into his play. The word returns to haunt us, calling us, as it were, back into the real world. Following Bhîma’s comment about Hi∂imbå’s behavior, Hi∂imba identifies Bhîma as Gha†otkaca’s father (ummatta! abhivådehi pidaraµ[49.4]). This identification, as it were, signals the reintegration of the nuclear family, thereby marking the beginning of the end of the story. Gha†otkaca responds with, “bhos tåta [49.6],” the very same phrase that begins our descent at the opening of the play, a phrase that marks Gha†okaca as being similar to the young bråhman boys, that is situated within the nuclear family, at the opening of the play, Once reunited with his father, or to put it another way subordinated to the patriarchal power of the father, Gha†otkaca, too, is no longer a threat. He begs his father’s forgiveness, (putracåpalaµ kßantum arhasi [50.1-2]), and is blessed by both his father and the old bråhman [50.3-5; 50.10] The bråhman praises Bhîma, with the words, “bho v®kodara! rakßitam asmatkulaµ svakulam uddh®taµ ca [50.12].”66 The word “bho˙!” appears for the last time, perhaps a signal that the play is drawing to a conclusion. In addition Bhåsa’s use here of the epithet v®kodara, “wolf-belly,” is probably significant as it alludes to Bhîma’s råkßasa-like voraciousness, which resonates in all likelihood humorously with the audience given the plot of the play. The reference to his saving his family can be understood as the reconstitution of the culturally normative, patriarchal nuclear family, which had been threatened by Bhîma’s absence. Bhåsa’s vyåyoga is more that a story of horror and valor, more than a mere entertaining interlude. Rather the play serves as a metaphor of the destructive nature of the uncontrolled phallic woman, whose power, even in her absence, is a source of horror. With the reintegration of the nuclear
65 66

“She is a råkßasî by birth, but not by behavior.” “O wolf-belly, you have protected our family and saved your own!”

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family achieved —the mother’s demonic libidinal needs controlled, the son’s oedipal drives overpowered, and the triumph of the patriarchy assured—the play can come to a happy conclusion.

Bibliography of Works Cited Aitareya Bråhmaªa with Såyaªa’s Commentary. (1931). Ed. Kåçînåthaçåstri Ågåçe. Ånandåçrama Sanskrit Series No. 32, Poona: Çnandåçrama Press. ∏g-Veda Aitareya-Bråhmaªa. Titus —On the basis of the edition by Th. Aufrecht, Das Aitareya Bråhmaªa. Mit Auszügen aus dem Commentare von Såyaªåcarya and anderen Beilagen. Bonn 897. http://titus.uni-frankfurt.de/texte/etcs/ ind/aind/ved/rv/ab/ab.htm Apte, V. S. (1957-1959). The Practical Sanskrit-English Dictionary. 3 vols. Poona: Prasad Prakashan. Barnett, L.D. (1924). “Abhasa-Bhasa” BSOS vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 519-522 Barnett, L.D. (1920).“The Matta Vilåsa and ‘Bhåsa’” BSOS vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 35-38. Bhågavatapuråªam. (1983). Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. With the commentary Bhåvårthabodhinî of Srîdhara Svåmin. Reprint 1988. Bhågavatapuråªam. (1965). Nadiyad: K®ßªa Çaíkar Çåstrî et al. With thirteen commentaries. Edited by K®ßªa Çaíkar Çåstrî. Bhåsanåìakacakram: Plays Ascribed to Bhåsa. (1937 Bhåsanå†akacakram: Plays Ascribed to Bhåsa. (1937). Edited by C. R. Devadhar. Reprint Poona: Oriental Book Agency, 1962. Bhide, H.B. (1916), The Svapna Vasavadatta of Bhasa edited with Introduction, Notes, [and] with Sanskrit Commentary. Bhavnagar. Creed, Barbara. (1993.) The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis. London and New York: Routledge. The Daçarüpaka of Dhanañjaya. (1897). Bombay: Nirªayasågar Press. With the commentary of Dhanika. Edited by Kåçînåth Påï∂urang Parab.

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Dadoun, Roger. (1987). “Fetishism in the Horror Film.” Fantasy Cinema. Ed. James Donald. London: British Film Institute, 1989. Ethnic Notions. Dir. and prod. Marlon Riggs. De, S.K. (1941). “The Dramas Ascribed to Bhasa.” Indian Historical Quarterly, vol. 15, pp. 415-429. Devadhar, C.R. (1927). Plays Ascribed to Bhasa: Their Authenticity and Merits. Gaªapati Çåstrî, T. (ed.) (1912). Works [of Bhåsa]. Trivandrum Sanskrit series; no. 15-17, 20-22, 26, 39, 42. Trivandrum: Travancore Govt. Press. Gaªapati Çåstrî, T. (ed.) (1917). The Madhyamavyåyoga of Bhåsa with the commentary of Paª∂it T. Gaªapati Çåstrî. Edited and published by the commentator. Trivandrum: Sridhara Printing House. Gerow, Edwin. (1985). “Bhåsa’s ¨rubha÷ga and Indian Poetics” JAOS 105/3, p. 405412. Goldman, Robert P., and Sally Sutherland Goldman. (1996). The Rämäyaªa of Välm™ki: An Epic of Ancient India. Volume V, Sundarakäª∂a: Introduction, Translation, and Annotation. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Goldman, Robert P. (2000). “Råvaªa’s Kitchen: A Testimony of Desire and the Other” in Questioning Råmåyaªas, Paula Richman, ed. Delhi: Oxford University Press and Berkeley. University of California Press, pp. 105-116; 374-376. Goldman, Robert P. (1986). “The Serpent and the Rope on Stage: Popular Literary and Philosophical Representations of Reality in Traditional India.” Journal of Indian Philosophy, Vol. 14, pp. 349-69. Goldman, Robert P. (1978). “Fathers, Sons, and Gurus: Oedipal Conflict in the Sanskrit Epics.” Journal of Indian Philosophy. Vol.6, pp. 325-92. Goldman, Sally J. Sutherland (1991). “The Bad Seed: Senior Wives and Elder Sons,” in Bridging Worlds: Studies on Women in South Asia. Edited by S. J. Sutherland. Berkeley: Centers for South and Southeast Asia Studies, U. C. Berkeley, pp. 24-52. Goldman, Sally J. Sutherland (1996). “Soul Food: Eating, Conception, and Gender in the Literature of Premodern India,” A paper delivered at Annual Meeting of the Association of Asian Studies, Honolulu, Hawaii, April 1996 a revised version was presented at the Annual Conference on South Asia. Madison, Wisconsin, October 1996. Goldman, Sally J. Sutherland. (2003). “Re-siting S™tä: Gender and Narrative in Vålm™ki's Sundarakäª∂a.” Puräªa XLV. No. 2, July 2003, pp. 115-135.

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Goldman, Sally J. Sutherland. (2004). “Who’s For Dinner? : Cannibalistic Urges in the Mahåbhårata.” A Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Oriental Society, San Diego. March 2004. Kale, M.R. (1929). Introduction to Svapnavåsavadattam. Bombay: Booksellers’ Pub. Co., pp. ix-xxxviii. Keith, A.B. (1924). The Sanskrit Drama. Oxford: The Clarendon Press. Kristeva, Julia. (1982). Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. Translated by Leon S. Roudiez. New York: Columbia University Press. Mabhåbhårata: Critical Edition. (1933-1970). 24 volumes. Poona: Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute. With Harivaµça. Critically edited by V. S. Sukthankar et. al. Mahåbhåratam. (1933). With the Bharata Bhawadeepa by Nîlakaª†ha. Edited by Pandit Ramachandrashastri Kingawadekar. Poona: Shankar Narahar Joshi Chitrashala Press. Manusm®ti. (1946). 10th ed. Bombay Nirªayasågar Press with the commentary Manavarthamuktåvalî of Kulläka. Edited by N. R. Archarya. Masson, J.M. (1969). “A Note on the Sources of Bhåsa’s (?) Avimåraka.” Journal of the Oriental Institute of the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, vol. XIX, pp. 60-74. Masson, J. L., and D. D. Kosambi. (1970). Avimåraka (Love’s Enchanted World). Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. Monier-Williams, Monier. (1899). A Sanskrit-English Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Reprint 1964. (MW) Natyasastra of Bharatamuni. (1971). Varanasi: Banaras Hindu University. With the commentary (Abhinavabharati) of Abhinava Guptacharya. Edited with introduction and commentaries Madhusudani and Balakreeda by Madhusudan Shastri. Pisharoti, A. Krishna and K. Rama Pisharoit. (1923). “Bhåsa’s Works—Are They Genuine?” BSOS vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 107-117 Pollock, Sheldon I. (1991). The Rämäyaªa of Välm™ki: An Epic of Ancient India. Volume III, Araªyakäª∂a: The Forest. Introduction, Translation, and Annotation.. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Pulsalker, A.D. (1940). Bhasa, A Study. With a foreword by A. Berriedale Keith. Reprint. Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal,1968.

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Råmåyaªa of Vålmîki. (1930). 4th rev. ed. Bombay: Nirªayasågar Press. With the commentary (Tilaka) of Råma. Edited by Wåsudeva Laxmaª Çåstrî Paµîkar. Råmåyan of Vålmîki. (1914-1920). 7 vols. Bombay: Gujarati Printing Press. With three commentaries called Tilaka, Shiromani, and Bhooshana. Edited by Shastri Shrinivas Katti Mudholakar. Richmond , Farley and Yasmin Richmond. (1985) “The Multiple Dimensions of Time and Space in Kü†iy円am, the Sanskrit Theatre of Kerala. Asian Theatre Journal, 2, no. 1, pp. 50-60. Richmond, Farley. (1989). “The Bhasa Festival, Trivandrum India” Asian Theater Journal, Vol. 6, No. 1 (Spring 1989), pp. 68-76 Sahityadarpaªam of Yogeçvaradatta Çarma Paraçarah Viçvanaåtha Kaviråja. Viv®ti˙, Vij≤apriyå, Kusumapratimå, Lakßmî, Viv®tipurtih, Locanam, Vimalå, Rucirå. Reprint: Dilli: Naga Pablisarsa, 1999. Sukthankar, V.S. (1920). “Studies in Bhåsa” JAOS, Vol. 40, pp. 248-259. Sukthankar, V.S. (1921). “Studies in Bhåsa. II. On the Versification of the Metrical Portions of the Dramas.” JAOS 41, pp. 107-130. Sukthankar, V.S. (1922). “Studies in Bhåsa. III. On the Relationship between the Cåudatta and M®cchaka†ika. JAOS 42, pp. 59-74. Sukthankar, V.S. (1923a). “Studies in Bhåsa. IV. A Concordance of the Dramas. ABORI 4., pp. 167-187. Sukthankar, V.S. (1921-1923). “Studies in Bhåsa. V. A Bibliographical Note. JBBRAS 264, pp. 167-187. Sukthankar, V.S. (1925). “The Bhåsa Riddle: A Proposed Solution. JBBRAS N. B., pp. 126-143. Sutherland, Sally J. (see Goldman, Sally J. Sutherland). (1991) “The Bad Seed: Senior Wives and Elder Sons,” in Bridging Worlds: Studies on Women in South Asia. Edited by S. J. Sutherland. Berkeley: Centers for South and Southeast Asia Studies, U. C. Berkeley, pp. 24-52, 1991. Reprinted by Delhi: Svapnavåsavadatta of Bhasa. (1929) Edited with an exhaustive introduction, a Sanskrit commentary, a literal English translation, critical and copious notes, and useful appendices, Edited by by M. R. Kale. Bombay: Booksellers’ Pub. Co.

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Tieken, H.J.H. (1993). “The So-called Trivandrum Plays Attributed to Bhasa”, Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde Südasiens Band 37, 5-44. Tieken, H.J.H. (1997). “Three Men in a Row (Studies in the Trivandrum Plays II).” Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde Südasiens, 41, pp. 17-52. Wetensch. Tieken, H.J.H. (2000). “On the Use of Rasa in Studies of Sanskrit Drama.” Indo Iranian Journal, 43, pp. 115-138. Wetensch. Tieken, H.J.H. (2001). The purvaranga, the prastavana, and the sthapaka.” Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde Südasiens, XLV, pp. 91-124. Wetensch. Unni, N.P. (1978). Bhåsa Afresh: New Problems in Bhåsa Plays. Trivandrum : College Book House. Reprint: Delhi : Nag Publishers, 1999. The Vålmîki Råmåyaªa: Critical Edition. (1960-1975). 7 vols. Baroda: Oriental Institute. General editors: G. H. Bhatt and U. P. Shah. Winokur, Mark. (2004). “Technologies of Race: Special Effects, Fetish, Film, and the Fifteenth Century.” Genders, Issue 40, 2004. http:// www.genders.org/g40/g40_winokur.html . Winternitz, M. (1940) “Bhåsa: What Do We Really Know of Him and his Work?” M. Winternitz. In Woolner Commemoration Volume. Edited by Mohammad Shafi, Lahore: Mehar Chand Lachman Das, pp. 297-308.

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