BOOKS IN SANSKRIT ON DRAMA

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FAQs


Q1. How many types of Sanskrit drama are there?

 

Anka, Bhana, Dima, Ihamgra, Nataka, Prahasana, Prakarana, Svakarna, Vithi, and Vyayog were the ten types of plays in the ancient Sanskrit tradition.

 

Only two of them are mentioned in the Natya Shastra: Nataka and PrakarnaThe Sanskrit term 'nataka' comes from the root word 'nata,' which means dancer in Sanskrit. Nataka's plays featured kings and great heroes as the protagonists. Prakarna plays had middle-class protagonists, generally a merchant or minister for the hero, and a courtesan as the heroine. The drama was also referred to as Rupaka, Drishyakavya, and Preksakavya.

 

Dramas are of four types:  comedy, tragedy, tragicomedy, and melodrama. Each of them has its characteristics. However, all of them have their place in modern culture and should be appreciated.


Q2. Who created Sanskrit theater?

 

Sanskrit theater is a variety of drama that developed in India around the second century CE by the early playwright Asvaghosa, a Buddhist monk, Kalidasa, and later by Bhasa (born 3rd-century ad, India), the earliest known Sanskrit dramatist who helped define the themes, aesthetics, and formulas that would shape Sanskrit theater. Dance when combined with song and storytelling, transformed into a theater. In India, the theatre began as a narrative art form combining music, dance, and acting. Theatrical performances included recitation, dance, and music. Sanskrit theater developed Kutiyattam, which is practiced in the province of Kerala, is one of India's oldest living theatrical traditions. Originating more than 2,000 years ago, it reflects the local traditions of Kerala.


Q3. What is the purpose of Sanskrit drama?

 

Sanskrit theater refers to the dramatic traditions of ancient India that were based on the Sanskrit language. Sanskrit drama's highest purpose is to achieve a blissful aesthetic experience or sentiment, known as Rasa. Rasa is the audience's refined emotional response evoked by the play. The drama aims to provide respite to the tired, stressed spectators. Drama is a unification of all arts. Drama should also become instrumental in leading to the intellectual and spiritual development of spectators apart from providing them entertainment. Sanskrit drama stitches cultural and traditional beliefs by showcasing dazzling costumes, glittering jewelry, and pretty trimmings. The folk theater and drama culture are based on tribal, mythological stories to inject their influence on Indian ethnic wear.


Q4. What are the main characteristics of Sanskrit drama?

 

Aesthetically, Sanskrit theater mixed dancing, music, song, spoken poetry, prose, and gestures into an intricate form of performance. The plot was maintained by dialogue written with emotion–laden poetics, more than action, flourishing, and ornamentation available. No play should end in tragedy. The hero, the king, and the Brahmins speak in Sanskrit while women and lowly people speak in the Prakrit language. The play depicts both joy and sadness while the Vidushak or the comedian provides laughter. Death cannot be depicted on stage. Actions like eating, biting, scratching, kissing, and sleeping are not depicted on stage. The dramatic theme is taken from historical or mythical stories with some modifications. Love is the major theme of most all the plays.


Q5. What is the most famous Sanskrit drama?

 

Kalidasa (4th-5th century CE), was one of ancient India's greatest Sanskrit dramatists. Three famous romantic plays written by Kalidasa are the ‘Malavikagnimitram (Malavika and Agnimitra)’, ‘Vikramorvaśiyam (Vikrama and Urvashi)’, and ‘Abhijaanasakuntalam (The Recognition of Shakuntala)’. The last was inspired by a story in the Mahabharata and is the most famous. It was the first to be translated into English and German.


The next great Indian dramatist was Bhavabhuti (7th century CE) for his three plays: ‘Malati-Madhava’, ‘Mahaviracharita’ and ‘Uttararamacarita’. Among these three, the last two cover between them the entire epic of Ramayana. Great emperor Harsha for ‘Ratnavali’, ‘Priyadarsika’, and the Buddhist drama ‘Nagananda’. Other famous Sanskrit dramatists include Bhasa, Asvaghosa, and Sudraka for ‘Mricchakatika (The Little Clay Cart)’