Notes from AK Warder's Indian Kayva Literature, Vol 1

From PhalkeFactory

on the Natya Shastra

AK Warder [1]

Natya Shastra

The body of the work is the kavya. This has to be brought to life with art, to be adorned.. The elements/prakrit of the story, Then the stages of the action Then, the conjunctions or sandhis Then the angas or the limbs of the sandhis which will make it all come to life..

Elements/prakrit of the story.

Karya- objective. One main action to be selected and the play structured accordingly. Accompanying the main action is the prasangika.. subsidiary action, story of a friend- which assists the main action. Sub action/sub plot- Pataka. Prakari- a subsidiary action restricted to a single incident without development. Involves another character, still necessary to the story of themain hero. the action might be tragic, the other character might earn nothing for himself.

At the starting point, beginning, the seed must be sown- beeja..the potential of the objective, a small beginning which will ramify. Afterwards it will sometimes be seen, sometimes apparently lost and the matter given up, but it will have ‘sprouted’ and will grow and in fact bear fruit.

Then, the ‘impulse’ or continuity. Bindu- the drop of oil spreading out onto water, or dripping water feeding the seed. This prevents actual interruption of the matter even when the seed seems to be have been lost. It pervades the whole subject matter upto the completion of the action. Some have interpreted it as the continuity of the consciousness of various characters. The bindu has a connection with the acts- the ankas- in that all the acts must somehow be in contact with it.

Acts- division into continuities of time and space.

Acts are to do with continuities of time, especially. In an act, time must be duration of a day at most, not more. In between acts as much time can pass. End of each act decided simpy by all characters exiting on stage.. The acts must show various characters in a variety of situations, productive of various aesthetic experiences.. During an act there might be various immediate objectives.. In between acts many actions can happen- which can be reported in various ways ( also categorized). Acts and stages of action do not need to be simultaneous or in any fixed relation

Action has five stages: ( not in any direct relations with the acts), in keeping with how life plays out..

Aarambha: seed, simple desire for attaining the fruit Prayatna: undertaking.. action towards fruit is taken, though the means are not clearly in sight to the character undertaking it. Praptisambhava: the possibility of attainment and a more possible imagination of attaining it. Niyata Phalaprapti: means actually seen, and through it the attainment. Phalayoga: the complete fruit as originally desired is attained.

In the ‘largest scale’ of drama, the five conjunctions/sandhis should also be worked with.. These are the conjunctions of the main action, then there would be conjunctions of the subsidiary actions First conjunction- Mukha: where the seed is produced with ‘arising of aesthetic experiences from various matters’

( there are theories that the different parts- elements, conjunctions, were different studies that were collated together in the Natya Shastra..) conjunctions- artisitic development of plot, ( embroidery). “Conjunctions represent artistic development of plot, as art rather that in a naturalistic manner.. “ with ups and downs regarded necessary to keep the audience engaged? Conjunctions between actions, producing, for instance, the seed.

Second conjunction- Pratimukha- the sprouting, udghatana, of the seed.. when it is as if ‘seen and lost’. Suspense, hope, setback. ( sigh)

Third- embryo- garbha- therefore some development

Fourth( these are not to be necessarily played out in this order alone): - Avamarsa- obstacle or Vimarsa- Pause

Fifth Nirvahana

Pataka/subplot ( should not extend further than the embryo or the obstacle in the main action)

The size of the play should also determine which stages could be omitted..

As for the emotions- the ‘exalted’ ones should be kept for the latter half of the play, the ‘marvellous’ aesthetic experience should always come in the end.

The stages of action are inevitable, in life and plays, according to NS, the conjunctions are not. They are concerned with impediment to development, dramatic conflict. (s i)

"The art of the playwright in dramatic construction is not limited to these five conjunctions"

additionally are the rich resources in music and dance, the arts of poetics

Then, the Natya Shastra goes into details of each of the initial five sandhis.. beeja, pratimukha, garbha, avamarsa/vimarsa, nirvahana.

These details of each sandhi would make the anga- the limbs of the work

Length of a work not fixed at all..