Intricacies of Aesthetics
Dr. K. G. Paulose’s Vyangyavyakhya: The Aesthetics of Dhvani in Theatre, an interpretation of the Chera king Kulasekhara’s concept of theatre, will rekindle interest in Kerala’s signal contribution
Rama Varma Kulasekhara’s Vyangyavyakhya (10 century AD) lay buried among dusty archival materials centuries after it was written. A few Sanskrit scholars attempted to study it, worked on it but failed to get it published. The epoch-making Dhananjayadhvani and Samvaranadhvani, collectively titled Vyangyavyakhya, comes out translated, with detailed interpretation, and other add on features. Vyangyavyakhya: The Aesthetics of Dhvani in Theatre by K. G. Paulose, former Vice Chancellor, Kerala Kalamandalam and Fellow, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, will be released at the inaugural session of the forthcoming Kulasekhara Theatre Festival that gets underway at Tripunithura on February 24.
N P Unni
Kerala has produced many entertainments of very high antiquity. Samghakkali, Kuttu, Krishnattam, Mutiyettu, Kathakali, Tira, Tullal etc. are some of the popular forms. The most ancient and the most important among them is Kutiyattam.
Kutiyattam is perhaps the earliest known form of enacting Sanskrit drama in Kerala and it is different from other forms of dramatic representations known to have existed elsewhere. The very name is suggestive, for `kuti ’means together and `attam’ means acting and so the term yields the idea of acting together.
Nayasastra and its Regional Manifestations
Nayasastra (NS) was compiled to set models and standards for the performers and playwrights. Being akaragrantha – the sourcebook -- as well as the most voluminous authentic ancient text on the art of drama, it naturally cast an everlasting impact on Indian theatric traditions including the regional traditions of performance. The philosophy and vision for theatre spelled out by the NS have percolated so deeply in forms of dance and drama in India that despite all the geographical, social and anthropological differences, this single unique text of Bharatamuni has paved the way for the sustenance of and synchronization between diverse regional theatric traditions of India. The tenets of NS in some way or other are reflected in the regional theatreforms like
Performative Tradition of Sanskrit Plays: Significance of Vyangyavyakhya
Natya has been defined as the "Abhinaya of Rasa and Bhava". Etymologically the term 'Abhinaya' is derived from the root Ni to carry, with the prefix 'abhi' in the sense of towards. Hence, 'abhinaya' is the theatrical action or performance communicating 'Bhavas' and carrying them to the spectator. These 'Bhavas' are aroused in the hearts of a responsive audience and ultimately they are ideally transformed into 'rasas'.
Sarangadeva, therefore, understands Natya, quite in consonance with the concept of Bharata and Abhinava, primarily as 'Rasa' and secondarily as 'abhinaya'.
According to the Upanisads, as interpreted by Advaitism, Ultimate Reality which is Consciousness or the Self is pure knowledge (jnana). It is static, and without activity (niskriya). It is also devoid of self-consciousness, as there is no duality. The 'Self' does not have a 'notself' to help define itself.
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