'Bhavabhuti : A Counterpoint' tries to underline the elements of heterodoxy and skepticism in Bhavabhuti's works and seeks their relevance in the present context. The playwright emerges as much more skeptical than other classical authors do and skepticism necessarily involves defiance, heterodoxy and critical reasoning. One of the most remarkable characteristics that make Bhavabhuti a great poet-playwright is his refusal to furnish any simple answers to the often-bitter tensions between social and personal ethics. The truest heir to Bhavabhuti, for his creative revision to the former's troubling masterpiece, has invited scathing critiques.
The present work ventures to make a critique of Bhavabhuti's literary commitments and tries to tackle several other problems. Bhavabhuti, the victim of obnoxious obloquies, persistently demands a scientific and dialectical criticism.
Dr. Naveen Kumar Jha (b.1967) was mostly educated at Patna University and moved to Delhi University for his master's and Ph.D degrees. He completed his research work in Navya-Nyaya Darsana at Delhi University under the apt supervision of late Prof. Vachaspati Upadhyaya. He rendered his services as an ad-hoc lecturer at Shri Venkateshwara College and Satyawati Co-ed College, affiliated to the University of Delhi. Presently he is working as a permanent lecturer in Sanskrit at Govt. P.G.College, Pratapgarh, Rajasthan.
His other publications include `Kalidasa: A Counter-perspective' (in English), `Pramanyavadavimarsa' and `Tarkasamgraha' of Annambhatta with the commentary `Nyayabodhini written by Govardhanacarya (both in Hindi). He has written many articles on various subjects in different research journals as well as edited books on Sanskrit studies and social sciences.
In the first place, it was Kalidasa: A Counter perspective' and now it is Bhavabhuti'. A Counterpoint'. The credit for the emergence of this ideology or development of thought-pattern goes to the logical, scientific, critical and pragmatic literary commitments of late Pt. Hazari Prasad Dwiwedi and contemporary critic Prof. Namwar Singh as even, in spite of my being a student of Sanskrit, I have been thoroughly a supporter of a type of harmony combined with openness in literature, totally free from bigotry, sectarianism and inertia. I endorse this view in critical literary analysis also and this path of scrutinizing the soul of our ancient knowledge is more gratifying. If on one hand, the novels and especially the elegantly written essays of Pt. Dwiwedi have enriched me with a refreshing sense of history, totally devoid of ideological inhibitions, on the other, Prof. Namwar singh as a trend-setter and epoch-making investigator has provided me with the fountain of analytical, scientific and logical approach. A colossal literature is available in Sanskrit language in the form of ancient texts and narratives that have hugely influenced Indian thought and literature. It consists of literary, philosophical, folk traditions of story- telling and critical dialectics. This enormous treasure of wisdom requires objective analysis and collation that is ungrudging as well as undistorted and totally free from any parochialism. We, as students and researchers in the field of Sanskrit, cannot afford to reject or overlook the uninterrupted progressive stream of modern thinkers comprising stalwarts like D.D. Kosambi, R.S. Sharma, Pt. Ramavatar Sharma, Pt. H.P. Dwiwedi, Dr. Rambilas Sharma and Prof. Namwar singh to name a few. In its periphery these stalwarts have injected fresh and inquisitive vision while explaining the implied purports embedded in this ancient knowledge-treasure. Prof. Amartya Sen, on the other hand, a fully westernized but brilliantly oriental thinker of our times, also needs special mention as he has long been engrossed in investigating the futurity-relatedness to the welfare of the masses and anti-repressive elements in the antrum of antiquity. His landmark treatise 'The Argumentative Indian' is such a document that deals with, despite other things, the problems of analysing Sanskrit literature in the light of modernity and warm humanism.
To speak honestly, every researcher in Sanskrit should go through the compelling collection of essays on Sanskrit-related issues by Pt. Hazari Prasad Dwiwedi as they are a mandatory reading for having a critical sense of history. I would specially like to mention the essay entitled 'Java Sadhana' that has served as an eye-opener for me. The huge impact of this short but sharp piece of writing compels me to advise every student of Sanskrit to go through it. It suggests that the colossal and enormously affluent treasure of Sanskrit learning is not more than a 'corpse' so long as it is not employed as a device for spiritual pursuits and endeavours. Truly speaking, without spiritual endeavours, this 'corpse' of colossal wisdom shall remain only a lifeless and burdensome mass. Turning this `Sava ‘into 'Siva' is really an uphill task but also a must to seek its relevance to the present contexts.
Prof. Namwar Singh, in his defining and influential tract `Dasari Parampara Ki Khoj', has explored this sense of history that Pt. Dwiwedi abundantly possessed. It serves in chiselling and sharpening of literary and critical acumen of those desirous of extracting the complications of the narratives and history reflected by one of the finest talents through Sanskrit. Furthermore, the long and inquisitive editorial published in one of the issues of the Hindi quarterly `Alochana' entitled 'Sanskrit kavita ki dusari parampara' deserves special mention here.
The emergence of Bhavabhati on the horizon of colossal Indian literature marks the beginning of a new epoch in world-literature. Restrained emotions, knotted illusion concerning consciousness, poignant feelings of pangs as opposed to eternal bliss, unspent movement in the frontiers of consciousness, vicissitude in density of emotion-these are some of the striking characteristics of Bhavabhati's literary persuits. He is the advocate of man-made judicial order, free from divinity. Enwrapped in a perennial warm humanism, Bhavabhati, free from dogmatism and literary bigotry, seems to emphasize the supreme importance of living and moving human beings throughout his works; and that must embody the grand objective of any literature. His anguish and perturbation are much reflected in the works of poets belonging to the `parrallel stream' of poets-suppressed and forlorn but not dejected.
The reappraisal of the master's legacy is not out of context as Bhavabhati is a poet ruthlessly scorned for his literary deviations and ethical foundations by orthodox schools of literary criticism. He has been the most unfortunate figure in Sanskrit literature who, besides his unsurpassable literary acumen, finds himself dangling between dilemmas. He, in totality, is neither acceptable nor fit to be forsaken. What matters today are not his colossal contradictions but how well he serves literature with his world-view. The principles on which Bhavabhati's plays were founded, for which a generation of medieval poets strived; need a fresh review as they are in danger of going into obscuration. Bhavabhati, the victim of obnoxious obloquies, persistently demands a scientific and dialectical criticism and who found unsatisfactory the tradition of codified rules of dramaturgy which he had inherited, which within limits he drew upon, but which never brought him contentment. He seems to endorse that poetry unites pleasure with truth by calling imagination to the help of reason.
As a student of sanskrit I have been greatly enthralled by Bhavabhati's poetic charm and it is that ineradicable impression that has lured me to express my enthusiastic views in the ensuing pages. From the very beginning his image has filled my imagination for he is the soul of Indian people and an inseparable part of our psyche. The present tract is just an opportunity for me for glorying once again his literary contributions, and through literature, perceiving Bhavabhati himself, in all the charm and brilliance of his intellect, character and personality.
In BhavabhUti are hidden all the seeds and beginnings from which subsequenty developed all the types and form of Indian art and literature. He is one of those creative geniuses, those great historical forces who, while working for the present, are preparing future. Bhavabhati is truly the poet of common man who wrote for his own folk. He is the portrayer of those who throw around the lives of homely men and women the glory and sweetness of song. His works have emerged as what he desired them to. So, it is quite natural that the poet deals with the minutest of details pertaining to primal life of country places, where simplicity along with other humanitarian qualities dominate, and are not overlaid by artificiality. One of his outstanding characteristics is that he is the great Indian poet of the people as K. Krishnamachariar had proclaimed :
"In religion Kalidasa is a man of the city teeming with amorous intrigues. Bhavabhuti is rural. True to his lineage he would not loose sight of the minutest ceremony; his guest would not be allowed to depart without Madhuparka."'
The above statement is true as Bhavabhati is skilful in detecting beauty even in ordinary things and actions and in distinguishing the nicer shades of feelings. He is the great Indian poet of people, the author of the first plays abounding in and establishing the supremacy of pathos, Uttararamacaritam, a poet-dramatist hitherto unsurpassed for the beauty of his verses and his power of giving expression to feeling and thought. He is the traveller on an untrodden path. He is not unmindful of even the minutest details.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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