Pastoral Elements in The Mricchakatika
The play The Mricchakatika ends with happy union of the hero and heroine. Charudatta, the hero of the play had to struggle too much to overcome the troubles of life. The conception of tragedy has no place in classical Sanskrit dramas. The drama in Sanskrit literature is intended to give happy ending. The dramatist Sudraka has presented the happy beginning of the play with both hero Charudatta and heroine Vasantasena expressed their love. The presence of Sakara created difficult situation in the life of Vasantasena and Charudatta. Everything was smooth in the life of Charudatta and Vasantasena. The beginning of Act-V creates the pastoral atmosphere. The Act V to Act X are full of the characteristics of dark comedy. The pastoral elements are depicted in the drama
Vasantasena decided to visit to her lover Charudatta. He was waiting for her in the garden. It was raining heavily. The night was dark and cloudy. The stars were invisible in the sky. The peacocks were dancing because of incessant rain. They were gladdened. The frogs were making sound for mating. Pastoral elements in poetry or drama give importance to nature and rustic life. The nature and natural objects are abundantly depicted in pastoral drama. All these elements have been beautifully displayed in the drama the Mrichchhakatika.
The clouds were profusely poured in the form of torrents of rain. The clouds thundered. These clouds were dark like herd of buffalos. The thunder of the cloud was like a white head dress in the form of the cranes. The waving chowries were in the form of lightening-flashes as it seems to be desirous of intimating the appearance of an infuriated elephant. The black clouds had completely covered the sky. The breeze was blowing and clouds were moving. It was like the stream of arrows in the form of big torrents. The wicked cranes were happy to notice that the women separated from their husbands were sad. The frogs felt happy to enjoy the rain showers. Their mouths were besmirched with mud and they were drinking water. The impassioned peacocks had let loose their voice. They were shrieking loudly. The nipa tree glowed like a bright lamp. The clouds had obscured the moon. The lightening did not stay in one place. It moved here and there on the sky, Vasantasena like a true lover of Charudatta, scolded Indra for creating hurdles to meet her lovers. She told that she had been never attached to god Indra amorously. She had surrendered her body and heart to Charudatta. She requested Indra not to thunder his cloud like the roar of a lion. She reminded Indra of his own love. Indra had become very passionate to secure the love of devi Ahalya the devoted wife of sage Gautama. He failed to get success. He impersonated himself as sage Gautama and went to her. Indra was well aware of the grief of lovers. But now his attitude had changed for Vasantasena.
Vasantasena, the love sick bird met her lover Charudatta Was suffering from the pangs of love their heart melted and united in one living being. Vasantasena’s garment were drenched and she wanted to change it. She was completely wet. The two physical bodies were still separated. They watched their physical contours but remained far away from touch.
Vasantasena stayed at the place of Charudatta. She met with his son Rohasen she also tried to return the necklace given by Charudatta. The necklace belonged to his wife Dhuta. Dhuta did not accept the necklace. The essential ingredients of the Pastoral play is the action of the characters in the forest. Most of the actions are executed in the garden or the forest.
The old garden Pushpakarandaka was outside of the city Ujjayini. It was covered by dense forest. There was a big pond. There were several kinds of trees in the forest. The garden Pushpakarandaka becomes the action of the play from Act-VI to Act-IX. All the principal characters gathered in this garden. They were involved in various actions in this garden. Charudatta and Vasantasena were present in the Pushpakarandaka garden but in different places. It was a very big garden. They did not know each other’s location. The atmosphere of pastoral play finds its echo in the Mrichchhakatika. Sakara, the villain was also present in the garden along with Vita and his attendant. He was waiting for his carriage driver. Charudatta was also waiting for Vasantasena in the old garden. He invited Vasantasena for making love. They wanted to enjoy love sport. The two love sick birds had promised to meet in the old garden. Charudatta had sent his driver Vardhamanaka to bring Vasantasena. Vardhamanaka carried Aryaka, the fugitive who had fled from the prison. He was put behind the bar by king Palaka without any sound reasons. Vasantasena was carried by Sthavaraka Cheta the carriage driver of Sakara. The exchange of carriages invited a lot of trouble in the old garden Pushpakarandaka. The garden witnessed nasty incidents and also some nice incidents. While going to the old garden the carriage was stopped by the Army Officer Chandanaka. Another Army Officer Viraka was present at the spot. Chandanaka saw that fugitive Aryaka was present in the carriage but he did not reveal truth to Viraka. Aryaka requested protection from Chandanaka which was granted immediately. He left the place in great pace to old garden. Vardhamanaka was not aware that he was carrying Aryaka. He reached the old garden. He met Vidhushaka and Charudatta. Charudatta told Vidhushaka to receive Vasantasena in the old garden. But Aryaka was present in place of Vasantasena. Charudatta was surprised to see him. But he was also happy to meet him.
Charudatta assured to Aryaka for every kind of help. He told Vardhamanaka to remove the iron fetters from the feet of Charudatta. The iron fetters were removed and it was thrown in the well. Charudatta told Vardhamanaka to drop Aryaka to safe and secured place in his carriage.
Vasantasena was taken to the place of Sakara. He was waiting for his carriage. Vasantasena reached the old garden Pushpakarandaka but she did not meet Charudatta. She had to face Sakara. Sakara requested her to accept his love. Vasantasena humiliated him. Sakara was enraged.
Sakara became outrageous by the behaviour of Vasantasena. He wanted to end her life. He tried to persuade Vita and Cheta to end the life of Vasantasena. It was a heinous crime to kill a woman like Vasantasena. Both Vita and Cheta declined to indulge themselves in this act of crime. They had fair opinion about Vasantasena. Moreover, they considered to kill a person is a divine crime. Vita had also promised protection to Vasantasena when he came to know the real situation. Vita told Sakara that almighty god watch everything. It may be open space or closed room.
Sakara was a devil. He was always involved in evil activities. He decided to kill Vasantasena. He sent Vita and Cheta far away from him in the garden. He told Vita that Vasantasena wanted to play love sports but not in his presence. Vita had doubt on the motives of Sakara. But he accepted Sakara’s proposal, Sakara saw an ideal atmosphere to kill Vasantasena in the garden. The garden was full of grown up trees and dry leaves were scattered on the ground. He seized her by the throat. He strangulated her neck. He told Vasantasena that it was beyond the capacity of Charudatta to save her.
Sakara felt happy after killing Vasantasena. When Vita and Cheta came he told them about his evil work. Vita was deeply shocked. He lamented on the death of Vasantasena. He left the company of Sakara. Cheta was arrested by Sakara. Both Vita and Cheta knew the truth.
In the meantime Vasantasena did not die. She was lying unconscious on the bare ground in the garden. Her body was covered with dry leaves. The Buddhist mendicant who was scolded earlier by Sakara passed from that way.
For the first time Vasantasena lamented at her profession. She felt that her love became a distant dream for Charudatta. The devil Sakara will dissolve poison in her love. Vasantasena was taken to Bhikshu’s place. There was a clamour and noise on the highway. Vasantasena wanted to know the reason behind it. She came to know from Bhikshu that Charudatta was given death sentence. He was charged of killing Vasantasena. In fact, she was alive. She desired to meet Charudatta at once to save him from the gallows of death. Charudatta was accompanied by two chandals. He was taken to cremation ground. He was to be killed by the chandals. It was the royal order. The chandals had good opinion about Charudatta. No one dared to challenge the royal order. The face of Charudatta was coloured red. He was garlanded with karuira flower. He was like an animal taken for the sacrifice. The chandals reached the cremation ground. Every necessary arrangements were made. Charudatta lied on the bare ground the chandals were ready to strike his body
In this crucial moment, Vasantasena appeared in the cremation ground. She saw Charudatta. She started crying. Her tears were unending.
In the meantime king Palaka was killed by Aryaka. The equation of power changed dramatically. Aryaka became the King. The fate of Charudatta smiled on him. Sarvilaka declared that Charudatta was bestowed the kingdom of Kusavati by king Aryaka. His friend, wife and children were safe. The play ended happily. Vasantasena was accorded the designation of married wife.
SARVILAKA- Madam Vasantasena, the king is highly pleased with you) and has graciously bestowed on you the title of a wedded wife! (403)
The wish of Vasantasena was fulfilled. The darkness of the life was eliminated by brightness of life. The play ended happily. The pastoral elements are abundantly employed by the dramatist. The garden Pushpakarandaka became the centre of every crucial action. The play creates suspense till the end of the play. Charudatta’s life was snatched from the jaws of death’. The dark elements have been successfully used by the dramatist Sudraka.