Symbol and Myth in The Mricchakatika
The drama, The Mricchakatika, is known for the abundant use of symbols, humour and myth. The religious gods and goddesses are also quoted extensively in the drama. The conception of rebirth, divine punishment and other Hindu belief have been presented in the drama. The drama begins with the invocation of Lord Shiva. The dramatist seems to have deep faith on Lord Shiva. The dramatist has depicted gods and eminent mythical figures of Hindu religion. The drama has also depicted the religious rituals like fast and its impact on our life. In the opening Act of the drama, Nati observes fast called Abhirupa-Pati which means the giver of a handsome husband in next birth. Sutra became angry because Nati had observed the fast at the expense of his food. Nati requested Sutra to cool down.
NATI: May your honour be appeased! This fast, which is to bear fruit in the next world, is with reference to no one but your honour. (She falls at his feet).
SUTRA: Lady, get up, pray get up: tell me what is required for this fast.
In Hindu religion marriage is considered as the union of two spiritual souls. It is not the melting of two physical bodies. The marriage is not meant just for one birth. It is meant for six more rebirths. The concept of birth, rebirth and divine punishment have adequate space in the expression of thoughts of several characters. These things have been depicted in the character of Vita and Cheta. Sakara was madly in love with Vasantasena. He wanted to secure her by force. Vita knew very well that Vasantasena was in love with Charudatta. He symbolically expressed his own thoughts.
VITA: (Seeing Vasantasena, sorrowfully, to himself) Ah! How is it that the doe is following a tiger! Oh, alas; Leaving the male swan, resplendent like a autumnal moon, and reclining on a stretch of (white) sand, the female swan has taken herself to a crow! (271)
Hinduism also believes in good Karma and reward. It also believes in evil Karma and punishment. No one will go unpunished for his evil Karma. This had been evident when Vita told Sakara about good and evil works.
SAKARA: Kill Vasantasena!
VITA: (Closing his ears) If I kill her who is young, a woman, and an ornament of our city, and who, … is (withal) innocent, then with what boat shall I cross the river of the next world?
SAKARA: I will give you boat. And moreover, in this deserted garden, who would see you killing her? (277)
The words uttered by Vita are pregnant with profound meaning. A man must do good Karma in order to cross the journey of the mundane world. The mundane world is full of physical desire. A man fails to overcome the woes of life if he remains imperfect. A man must do good action to get blessings of god. But the fool Sakara failed to understand the meaning of Vita’s words. Sakara tried to persuade Cheta for the same evil work. Cheta told that as a Master Sakara had full control over his body but not on his moral thinkings. He told that because of his evil karma in his previous birth he had become a slave. Now and onwards he would never involve himself in any kind of evil Karma.
CHETA: The master may beat me or kill me: but I won’t do any unholy deed.
The dramatist Sudraka has shown his erudite knowledge of astrology. Further he has also depicted the impact of bad omens and good omens in the life of the people. When Vasantasena had taken her seat on wrong carriage her right eyes began to throb violently. When Charudatta left his home, when he was summoned by Court he saw only bad omens. The crow was shrieking and his left eye began to throb. Later, Charudatta was convicted. King Palaka sentenced him to death.
A Brahmana is distinguished from other people by his regular study of religious scriptures and wearing of sacred thread. Charudatta was consoled by the two chandals. They told that even the sun and moon, the denizens of heaven had to become the victim of time and fate. The mortal man will have to accept his fate. The time did not favour Charudatta. But nothing is permanent. Suddenly fate and time favoured Charudatta. He was about to be killed by chandal. In the meantime, Vasantasena appeared on the cremation ground. The life of Charudatta was restored. The king Palaka was killed by Aryaka. His brother-in-law became powerless. The fugitive Aryaka became the king of Ujjayini. King Aryaka bestowed the kingdom of Kusavati to Charudatta. Charudatta retained his lost glory. Vasantasena was given the title of wedded wife of Charudatta by the king. Charudatta was united with his wife Dhuta, son Rohasen and his friend Vidushaka.
The play is also remarkable for the use of symbols in Act V. The Act-IV depicts the palace like building of Vasantasena. The dramatist has emploved the beautiful use of simile while depicting clouds and sky. The clouds are compared with black bees. The clouds are black and seemed to cover the sky. The yellow sky gave the image of god Vishnu on its surface. The lights of the sky are also flashed from time to time. The conches seemed to be formed by the crooked line of cranes. The body of Vishnu seemed to be covered with yellow silken mantle. Vishnu has been called Keshav because of his dark body. The clouds hade taken different kinds of shape. Sometimes they resembled like a pair of chakravaka birds and sometimes like a flying swans. They also resembled like alligators and sometimes like fish swarms. The black clouds have been compared with the mighty army of Kauravas. The heavy gathering of the army by the different kings of Bharat gave them the colour of black clouds. The crown prince Daryodhana saw the invincible army and felt elated. Duryodhann was compared with a pencock flushed with great pride and vigour,
CHARUDATTA- Here is this sky, darkened with clouds, that resembles the army of the Kauravas (producing a darkness like that of the clouds). This peacock, greatly flushed with the pride of his vigour, in shouting in glee, like Duryodhana whose army was mightily proud. The cuckoo has ceased cooing, like Yudhishthira taking to the path (of the forest) when conquered at dice play. (179)
The play, The Mricchakatika is the brilliant masterpiece. It is classic of Indian drama. The use of symbols, humours, similes, myths, Hindu philosophy and depiction of numerous gods make the drama unparallel in literature.
Hello, Viewers! Besides being the Founder and Owner of this website, I am a Government Officer. As a hardcore literary lover, I am pursuing my dream by writing notes and articles related to Literature. Drop me a line anytime, whether it’s about any queries or demands or just to share your well-being. I’d love to hear from you. Thanks for stopping by!