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LYNE BANSAT-BOUDON* ABHINAVAGUPTA, EXEGETE AND CONNOISSEUR OF THEATRICAL PRACTICE: AN ESSAY ON THE ‘NATYAYITA’ In India, the theatre — designated by the Sanskrit term ndfya — is the subject of a treatise of six thousand distichs divided into thirty-six chapters: the NatyaSastra.' It would be vain to try to understand such a monumental work without the help of the only and ever so prestigious commentary which has come down to us: the Abhinavabharati written by Abhinavagupta. Here, the master of Kashmirian Shivaism does the work of an exegete both as an erudite who has inherited the tradition and as an authentic connoisseur of drama. As a proof of this double competence, we have chosen to consider the example of the ndfydyita to which Abhinavagupta devotes a very long and most elaborate passage of his commentary. THE THEORY OF ACTING IN THE NATYASASTRA Defined in chapter XXII of the Natyasfistra — the samanyabhinayiidhyaya — the natydyita is listed among the six registers at the disposal of the actor, which means that we are in the field of theatrical practice and not — as was sometimes believed — in that of the textual structure. It is therefore advisable, before trying to grasp the reality of the nétydyita, to put it back in its own context, which is that of acting or abhinaya. Upon examining it closely, it appears that the abhinaya is developed at two different stages in the course of the Nétyasastra where one finds it first defined as quadruple. As a matter of fact, chapter VI — the rasadhydya — lists under the abhinaya rubric the drigikabhinaya, or corporal acting, the vacikabhinaya, or vocal acting, the sdttvikabhinaya, or emotional acting and the Gharyabhinaya, or ornamental acting. Gesture, Voice, Emotion, and Make-up epitomize the actor’s art. The rasddhydya limits itself to listing these four registers of acting, Nevertheless, since the treatise dedicates itself to giving a detailed presenta- tion of them in several chapters, we believe that we are in the know. In chapters XXII and XXV however, it is no longer a question of organ- izing the abhinaya into four categories; it is redivided into saméanyabhinaya and citrabhinaya, Therefore one may wonder what they are, and, further- more, how one can understand and reconcile these two kinds of classifica- Indo-Iranian Journal 38: 149-165, 1995. © 1995 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands. 150 LYNE BANSAT-BOUDON tion, the latter, double, and the former, quadruple. The answer is obviously provided by the Abhinavabharati. Whereas the abhinaya, when it is presented as quadruple, consists of an inventory of elementary techniques of acting, the samanyabhinaya and the citrabhinaya actually represent the same techniques put into practice on stage by the actor in the specific context of a performance and according to rigorously codified procedures. Therefore, a new statement whereby the actor will initiate himself into these rules of interpretation unknown to him as yet proves necessary. This accounts for the double treatment given to the abhinaya in the Natyasastra. Let us now examine the sdményabhinaya and citrabhinaya, What reality do these two rubrics refer to? Of the meanings suggested by etymology, Abhinavagupta retains for the sdményabhinaya that of “homogeneous acting” which he immediately explains through the means of a very remarkable image in which the actor is compared to the perfumer:* In the manner of the perfumer who, after having the sweet-smelling substances brought from the merchant's stall, makes a homogeneous mixture while saying to himself: ‘So much of this one and that one first, in the same manner [the homogeneous mixture of] the abhinayas [is achieved in the smdnyabhinaya presented] in this chapter.’ The sweet-smelling substances — or, in other terms, the basic ingredients — are, of course, the four categories of abhinaya, as they are presented in the first chapters. The scent resulting from the making of multiplicity into oneness is the siiményabhinaya. As to the citrabhinaya — which the Abhinavabharati presents as an appendix, as a supplement to the saménydbhinaya — it is the multicoloured and, so to speak, pictorial acting by which the world is theatrically depicted. Indeed, since in the theatre both man and the world are represented, the roles have been divided into the two categories of acting: whereas the representation of mankind lies with the sémdnyabhinaya, the world repre~ sentation — sunset, moonrise, day and night, fauna and flora, such actions as playing on a swing, etc. — lies with the citrabhinaya, Yet — both in the treatise and on stage — the accent is put on man rather than on the world, hence on the sdmdanyabhinaya, the homogeneous acting, the only one capable to restitute, in contrast to the coloured diversity of the world, the harmonious and singular unity of the man who lives in it. In other words, as Abhinavagupta points out in his commentary, while the vibhavas constitute the objective of the citrabhinaya, the samanyabhinaya is concerned with the sthayin and the saficaribhavas, that is with rasa. In turn, the sdimanydbhinaya and citrabhinaya are, of course, open to'a AN ESSAY ON THE ‘NATYAYITA’ 151 division which turns out to be a three-part one. Thus, there are an emo- tional (sdttvika), a corporal (Sarira) and a verbal (vicika) sdmdnyabhinaya, as well as a sdttvika-, a Sarira- and a vicikacitribhinayas It is the Sarirasmanyabhinaya — or corporal homogeneous acting — which concerns our demonstration. The Natyasiistra teaches us that the actor in performance is obliged to use all or a part of the sextuple register, which, in the form of an actual protocol of acting, unfolds in order the vakyébhinaya, the siicd, the arikura, the sakhd, the natydyita and the nivrttyarikura, defined in chapter XXII by the karikas 44 to 50. And yet the dizzying classification does not stop there, since certain of these categories are in turn complex: thus is the vakydbhinaya quadruple, the siied, hexa- decuple, and the ndzydyita, double’ A REGISTER OF ACTING: THE NATYAYITA, OR “SIMILI-DRAMA” Entering into the details of each of the six registers is beyond our scope.® We shall limit ourselves to giving the essentials of those required by both categories of natydyitas, or those which occur in the interpretation proposed by Abhinavagupta: vakydbhinaya, sticd and arikura, The vakyabhinaya’ is corporal acting simultaneous with the enunciation of the text, which is, after all, the most commonly used acting in Western theatre. The Abhinavabharati divides the vakyabhinaya into four categories according to whether the text is in Sanskrit or in Prakrit, in verse or in prose. The sticd,® which is next on the list, goes further than the vakya- Dhinaya with a two-phase process which aims to reproduce on stage what happens in reality where the ideation precedes the enunciation, In the same way, in the theatre, the siicd is organized in a mute phase which conveys through Gesture the character's interior reflection followed by a verbal phase, which is nothing else but the vakyabhinaya? Finally, the arikura,}° permeated with sattva, is pure gesture, and has the vocation of disclosing the secrets of the heart. Necessarily following the enunciation of a speech (since, in the protocol of the Sarirasamdnyabhinaya, it comes after the verbal phase of the siicd), the arikura reveals the latent meanings of the words just uttered, and by this unfolding of the implicit, accounts for its appellation as bud-acting. ‘As to the definition of the ndiydyita — or rather of the two ndtyayitas, as we shall later see —, it is given by the karikds 48 and 49. And as always in the Sastras, the reading of the commentary is indispensable to the under- standing of the text itself, In the extensive treatment given by Abhinavagupta to the ndtydyita, it is 152 LYNE BANSAT-BOUDON self-evident, though not explicitly stated as such by the commentator himself, that all the argumentation is organized around the etymological sense of the term, that is, around the value conferred on it by its denomina- tive construction. Indeed, the denominatives with -dya suffix and middle endings are verbs expressing a state of being, and can be translated by “to behave, to be treated like, to become”. It is thus said of anyone who behaves like a child, or who is treated as such: balakayate, In the same way, a nétydyita, if it is not strictly speaking a ndtya, has nevertheless something of a ndtya, as stated very clearly by the commentary on the second category of nétyayita: andtyam api nétyam iva." That means it resembles a ndtya or passes for one; it is a simili-ndiya, or even a pseudo-ndiya and we shall observe later that, between the double and the original, the similarity is either one of nature or one of function. One may then wonder how the real and fake ndtyas are assembled together. By enclosing, Abhinavagupta says, who uses for his demonstration the example of an ordinary experience: that of dream within dream. A dreamer dreams that he is dreaming; the second occurrence of the dream appears to him as the only real dream, which subsequently returns the first dream to the state of wakefulness. The dream within the dream is not a real dream (na paramérthika); nevertheless, it seems real to the dreamer; in order that this ambiguity, this fundamental duplicity be ex- pressed, the inner dream is given the name of svapndyita: simili-dream or pseudo-dream, Similarly, with regard to the general organization of the performance — that is to say for the external audience —, the drama within the drama is a fake drama, but it is real for the inner audience who is watching it. Fake but real to the latter as it is real but fake to the former, the ndtydyita well deserves its name, which proclaims the precariousness of its identity, as well as the ability for the game of make-believe and imposture which it shares with drama itself: And [it is so] here too: there is a drama, which by nature is a unit (ekaghanasvabhava). Once a fake drama (asatyandgya) has been inserted in this particular drama and once the actors/ ' of the {main} drama have become the audience (sdmajikibhuita), the other [the second fake drama] is a drama (ndiya) in relation to those [actors/characters who have become spectators] (tadapeksaya). Its theatricality (natyartipatva) is real (paramdrthika [only] in relation to them [those actors/characters who have become spectators} (tadapeksaya), hence it is called a similicdrama (natyayiea).!? chara By dismantling the machinery of the ndtydyita and thus showing the inner audience made up of the protagonists of the outer drama as one of its AN ESSAY ON THE ‘NATYAYITA’ 153 essential mechanisms, it is clear that Abhinavagupta already sets off the explanation of the first occurrence of ndiydyita. However, the general definition of the ndtyayita, valid for both categories, has been given once and for all through the expedient of the etymological explanation which implicitly underlies the whole demonstration: the nétyayita is a pseudo-ndtya. Besides, this is exactly what has been reasserted by the passage just quoted: the inner drama is a fake drama, which passes for real. It reaches theatricality only partially and temporarily, that is, for the restricted audience and the limited time of the inner performance. Just after the necessary introduction, the Abhinavabharati devotes itself to explaining how this general definition is likely to be applied to both cases of ndtyayitas, those that Abhinavagupta calls respectively natyartipakanistha- ndtyayita and karydntaranisthandtydyita and what we shall call — for the sake of simplicity — ndtyayita 1 and natyayita 2. THE FIRST CATEGORY OF NATYAYITA, OR PLAY WITHIN PLAY It is in the kérika 48 that under the form of an dryé' is defined the natydyita of the ndtyarupakanistha category — “based on a play” natyayitam upacirair yah kriyate ‘bhinayasiicaya nétye / kalaprakarsahetoh pravesakaih samgamo yavat NS XX 48 In order to understand this difficult text, which is both compact and elliptical, as is the practice for the mnemonic verses of the Sastras, I shall follow the commentary of Abhinavagupta: The union made [of a dramal with the [principal] drama (ndtya) by the entrances (pravesaka), ic., by the actors/characters (patra) {making their entrance] as if they belonged to another drama (natyantaragata), and consequently announced [like this}: ‘Then he/she enters’, this is the nafyayita. [These entrances}, what is their nature (kidrsa)? Thanks to the abhinaya, which is an indication {of the meaning), ie., because of it [the siicd, the entrances are metaphors (of real ones} (upacdra); ie., they are metaphorically considered as real (paramérthatayopacaryamana),!* Consequently ndiyayita 1 is no else than the acting meant to convey this particular textual structure: play within play. Moreover, the commentary, in unfolding the definition of the Nafya- Sastra, goes on underlining the refinement of its analysis. In fact, what do we learn? That the inclusion of the inner drama inside the principal one is concretely indicated by the stage entrance of an actor/character, (therefore, the stage direction, “He/she enters”) and that this entrance should be 154 LYNE BANSAT-BOUDON theatrical because we are attending a play, even if only in a second degree. In other words, in the situation of play within play, the actor acts as an actor before acting as a character. The entrance is the utmost of theatricality, Claudel declares in the second version of the Exchange through the voice of the actress Lechy Elbernon, who knows what she is talking about: It is worth going to the theatre to watch something coming |. ..| J, yes I am the one who is coming |. . And J am the very one coming to make them beat faster [.. | Act I'¥ Now the Indian theatre, more than any other, demands that an entrance be performed in an emphatic way. Nevertheless, there are many entrances in the same play; how can we recognize the ones homogeneous to the drama from those that are apparently heterogeneous to it? One is given two clues in that respect: the presence of the interior audience made up by the protagonists of the exterior drama, and the use of a certain category of acting by the actor: the siicd. One is necessarily meant to conclude from such a prescription that of all the abhinayas, only the stica is able to establish theatrical illusion, But why is this the privilege of the stica? If it is true that in the list of the six stages of the Sarirasiménya- bhinaya, the sica comes after the vakyabhinaya, however, far from being subordinated to it, the sted encompasses the vakydbhinaya, using it for its own purposes. Indeed, since the sticd has the vakydbhinaya preceded by a first phase which — through gesture — portrays the ideation (abhisamdhi) preliminary to the word, the siicd appears as an improvement upon the vakyabhinaya. It is an acting which is the fruit of a denser and deeper reflexion, a more theatrical one, too, since it makes a show of a process barely perceptible in reality — ideation being dissociated from enunciation — by expanding it. Furthermore, while considering the unit of the six registers making up the Sarirasamanyabhinaya, one observes that the sticd appears therein, with both its verbal and gestural aspects, as a basic element, the significant nucleus for all acting, and apt to develop afterwards into arikura, nivrtyarkura, or natyayita, Finally, from the commentary of Saikuka,!® who testifies as a theatre-goer and also interprets as an aesthetician, it is con- ceivable to think that the entrance — at least the very first entrance, which is necessarily emphatic — is always associated with the siicd, within the framework of a very precise protocol, which also puts the dhruva,!” the parikramana,'* etc., into place. In this “etc.”, it is possible to read one or AN ESSAY ON THE ‘NATYAYITA’ 1 more of the remaining phases of the Sarirasdmanyabhinaya, which are jointly dependent upon both the dramatic necessities and the actor’s talent. Most highly theatrical, the siicd thus guarantees to the actor the theatricality of his entrance, whether it be of the first or second degree, that is whether there be play within play or not. Thus, two of the terms of the kdrika have been explained: pravesa — “entrance” —, and abhinayastica — “this abhinaya which is the stica” Nevertheless, the exegesis becomes even subtler at this stage since it is said of these entrances that they are metaphoric (wpacdra) of the real ones, in other words — as Abhinavagupta comments — that they are metaphori- cally considered as real. What can be understood from this? In fact, the entrances concerned here are those of the actors/characters who appear on stage as if they belonged to another drama.!? The external audience perceives these second-degree entrances as fake ones. On the scale of play within play, however, they are real, as real as the entrances of the outer performance — which is itself symbolic of any “real” performance ~ in that they renew the acting protocol of a “real” actor. Thus, it is certainly by metaphor that the inner entrances are considered real, insofar as they share with the real entrances — those of the outer performance — a common characteristic: the effectiveness of the acting, meaning that of the siicd, which suffices to establish theatricality on stage, Then, in order to further explain “kalaprakarsahetoh”, the last term of the dryd, Abhinavagupta pretends to lend his ear to an objection — a fictitious one, as expected —: “since you are confirming the essentially unitary nature of the theatrical performance by emphasizing the meta- phorical character of these second-degree entrances, what is the use of distinguishing”, the adversary protests, “between ndlya and ndtydyita? There is one and only one ndtya” “No”, Abhinavagupta retorts, “in spite of the definite unity of the per- formed drama, the ndtydyita owes to its specific function the privilege of being recognized as a separate entity: for it is indeed meant to convey the building up of time, the interior structure being responsible for joining the past, the future, and even another present to the present of the per- formance”. Kalaprakarsahetoh therefore appears as the key word in the definition. One sees that play within play is conceived not as space within space — which, after all, is perfectly obvious —, but as time within time. This emphasizes the sharpness and modernity of the analysis. All the terms have been explained except yavat, which Abhinavagupta 156 LYNE BANSAT-BOUDON comments in the following manner: there is ndtyayita, whatever the extent of the inclusion may be, whether it occupies a major or minor part of the work, or even whether it is a case of simple or multiple reduplication. Abhinavagupta gives as the example of multiple reduplication the Vasavadattinatyadhara of Subandhu, which presents a triple theatricality, since, there, we are the spectators of Bindusara, himself the spectator of Udayana, himself the spectator of Vasavadatta. As to the garbhdika of the Balaramayana, in which the performance of the Sidsvayamvara® is given before Ravana, it appears to be a case of simple reduplication. We now have the necessary elements to translate the karikd defining the first occurrence of ndtydyita: ‘The natydyita is, because of the expansion of time (Kélaprakarsahetoh), the whole duration of the union [of the other drama] with the [principal] drama, effected through entrances, [which are the] metaphors fof the real ones}, thanks to this abhinaya which is the sie. THE SECOND CATEGORY OF NATYAYITA, OR SHOW WITHIN SHOW Abhinavagupta then comes to the explanation of the second occurrence of ndtydyita: the karyantaranistha, “which has its foundation in the initiative of someone else [who is not the poet}”. Someone else, that is the prayokty: the “practician”, who is an actor and/or a director. In this second category of ndtydyita, the issue at stake is no longer to relate the acting to the poet's text, but rather, the acting to a musically rendered poetic text — the dhruvd —, which is the creation of theatre practicians. The purpose is the indirect description through (often animal) metaphors of a particular situation or of the psychological state of a character. These dhruvas double, so to speak, the poet's text and enrich the performance with additional meaning, emotion and — through the musical contribution they represent — with aesthetic pleasure. By its etymology, the term dhruvé involves a denotation of stability: it is to be understood that the dhruvé functions as a fixed text and musical phrase to which the singer has to return, thus giving the actor the time to play at his convenience the whole range of the saficdribhavas.” This is the moment of great emotional intensity.?4 ‘There are five categories of dhruvds, The pravesiki, sung at the moment of a character's entrance, introduces him and informs us about his status, his nature, and sentiments: if he is a king, it will evoke the king of the elephants, etc. The function of the dksepiki is to mark the passage from the principal rasa to the secondary one.” The prasddiki clarifies for the public AN ESSAY ON THE ‘NATYAYITA 157 the inner sentiments of the character by displaying them. The dntard is a transitional dhruvé, which allows the actor to play the interspace of the text, that is, whatever is secondary in relation to it: the parikramana, such a gait as is appropriate to the situation or to the character, etc. The niskrdmiki gives the necessary theatrical emphasis to the exit. The dhruva, creation of the man of theatre, makes explicit what implicit in the poet’s text. It is in order to complete it that the dhruva comes to supplement the text. Moreover, in order to delight the spectator — for the proper time has come —, the dhruva takes on a double register: song and — eventually — acting, It is therefore wise to distinguish at the level of terminology between the dhruvé, which is the poetic text intended to be sung and eventually enacted, and the dhruvagdna which is its musical and vocal rendering. However, the one cannot obviously exist without the other, and there are five dhruvaganas as there are five dhruvas2® sthane dhruvasy abhinayo yah krivate harsaSokarosidyailt / bhavarasasamprayuktair jheyam natyayitam tad api ! NS XX 49 Such is the text of the second dry@ whose meaning is easier to get to, and that we can now consequently translate: ‘The abhinaya that the [interpreters] concentrated on the bhavas and the rasas?” carry out in the right place, at the moment of the dhruvds, through joy, sorrow, anger, efc., this should also be known as ndtyayita It has been seen that if the dhruva necessarily implies its recital called the dhruvéigana, it is not necessarily meant to be performed by the actor. And, in fact, the Abhinavabharati tells us that it is for the practician to decide on this question according to the needs of the performance. If he takes the initiative of having the text played, which is his privilege, it will be such as the abhinaya, by which the dhruvé is enacted, is in perfect synchronization with it, whatever the conditions of the performance may be. Here, remaining true to his own prospect of an exhaustive quest, and testifying as a spectator, Abhinavagupta imagines all the opportunities of theatrical practice: cither the effective simultancousness of the dhruva and the abhinaya, or their successiveness. There are indeed situations when the actor undertakes to play the sense of the dhruvé only after the dhruva has been sung. Even in this case Abhinavagupta confirms the synchronization of the text with the playing of the actor, since he can only convey the meaning of the dhruva by taking it up in a whispering mode. 158 LYNE BANSAT-BOUDON Let us note before giving the translation of this passage how precious the information is with regard to stage practice: Although not a napa (andiyam api), the dhruva nevertheless rules (sésate) the performance (prayoga), as would a ndtya (ndzyam iva) [always] synchronized with it (kiékatdliyena),® since even when it is no longer being performed, the dhruva is [taken up by the actor] in the form of a whisper. This is why the Sarixabhinaya, which enables [the dhruvd] to rise to that particular status of ndpyayica, is called natyayita.? One can see that, in ndtydyita 2, the subordination of the acting to the text of the diruva is comparable to the subordination of the acting to the text of the ndgya itself. Thus, the dhruvé, which was until then only a poetic text among others, reaches the status of theatrical text: nétya. We again find the reasoning established at the moment of explaining ndtyayita I; although the dhruva is not a ndtya (andtyam api), it never- theless behaves like a ndtya (natyam iva); it is therefore a ndtydyita, And since the theatrical text truly comes into existence only at the moment of its performance, it is legitimate that one and the same term should designate the writing and the acting, However, in practice, how can one perform ndtyayita 2? It is again Abhinavagupta who gives us the answer, making explicit what the kdrikd is content to suggest: this ndtydyita has the nature of the arikura” In effect, as Abhinavagupta later explains, since the dhruva presents the character through a metaphor, and aims at saying more about him, the actor who conveys the sense of the dhruva must, in order to unfold its secret implica~ tions, have the same perfect understanding of the character and the situation as in the arikura; and for this, the actor must have been willing to think over what comes before and after: paurvaparyaparyélocana?! As for us, we can see a second reason for the identification of ndtyayita 2 and arikura: considering that ndtydyita 2 is perfectly adjusted to a sung text — the dhruva —, it has to be wordless acting which amounts to an ankura. Before concluding, we can pause over “sthdne”, the first term of the karika, commented on by “prasarige”: “when occasion arises”, and “kaka- taliyavasit”: “in synchronization [with the dhruva]”. We have indeed seen that the abhinaya is simultaneous with the dhruva which it interprets. In addition, the abhinaya takes place “when occasion arises”: prasarige, that is, as commented on above,” at the moment of the text and the performance when the intensity is at its highest: ‘When one is full of the rasa, which is at the heart [of the text], that is the moment to finsert] an abhinaya linked with a dhruva>> AN ESSAY ON THE ‘NATYAYITA® 159 DRAMA BROUGHT TO A CLIMAX ‘As a conclusion we may say that the ndtyiiyita, whatever its category may be, is intended to insert a second-degree performance into the heart of the main one, offering that way to the audience the unparalleled pleasure of drama brought to a climax: show within show, the ndfydyita actually amounts to show upon show. In the case of ndtydyita J, it is a matter of playing a natya enclosed by the poet into the principal one. As to ndtydyita 2, it consists in playing one or more dhruvés, which have been inserted in the ndtya proper by the initiative of the men of theatre. Therefore, they are effectively designated by the terms of ndtyartipakanisthandtyayita and karyaintaranisthandtyéyita In reality, the very term ndfyayita, with the value conferred on it by its denominative formation, designates first the textual structure, which, by similarity of its nature or function, reaches the rank of natya, that is, of theatrical text. Thus, ndtyayita 1 duplicates the very nature of the ndtya insofar as the nétya receives it within its core as it would a miniaturized replica of itself. A reality homogeneous to what it reflects, nédtydyita J also presents — even though only partially — a text organized into dialogues and interpreted by actors for a sahydaya™ audience. In fact, the presence of the inner audience is indispensable, since the inner performance is recognized as such only from the moment when it becomes itself an object of contemplation. As to the dhruvd, which is the occasion for a natydyita 2, it is also the equivalent of a ndiya, but, this time, at the level of the function, because like the nétya, the dhruvd rules the acting, Let us bear in mind that at the origin of the argument on the naiydyita 2, lies the postulate of Indian aesthetics which lays down the principle of the anteriority and supremacy of the theatrical text. This is emphasized by the fact that the latter, sometimes designated by the term “vac”, sometimes by the term “itivytta”,* is presented as the body of the ndgya2® Therefore, the performance is only second to the written text, and is regulated accordingly. And since the theatrical text is nothing until performed, the ndtydyita is also necessarily the acting whereby it is interpreted. Thus, the two categories of ndtydyitas belong to the Sarirasamanyabhinaya. Besides, the two poles of text and performance are also to be found in the very genesis of both occurrences of ndtydyitas, as presented by the Abhinavabhérati. On the one hand, under the poet’s impulse, the text itself originates a second-degree performance within its formal structure (ndtyarii- pakanisthandtydyita) whereas, on the other hand, the internal laws of the 160 LYNE BANSAT-BOUDON main performance make the second-degree one inevitable. Then it is the task of the practician — whether he be an actor or the stage director — to ascertain when it is necessary and how to give it shape (karydntaranistha- natyayita). he two ndtydyitas also differ in their declared objectives: while the first one is concerned with the representation of the various strata of time — with relating the past, future, or present of the internal pseudo-performance with the present of the “real” play —, the second one aims at taking advantage of any possible opportunity jointly offered by the text and the performance itself in order to reach a climactic rasa. Later on, however, even in the case of nazydyita 1, the purpose clearly seems to make the audience experience the greatest intensity of the rasa, since by virtue of the untiringly repeated formula: ndtyam eva rash,” inner ndiya means inner rasa; in other words, drama within drama is pleasure within pleasure. Let us note the last teaching of Abhinavagupta on the ndtydyita . Entitled by his experience of connoisseur to develop the meaning of the two karikas, he allows us to draw conclusions on theatre practice. We thus learn that ndtyayita 1 is founded by the siicd. In this part of his commentary Abhina- vagupta does not say more, but from what we have understood of the whole of the SGrirasamanyabhinaya, and from the very nature of ndtydyita 1 that reproduces on a lesser scale the ndtya it is included in, we may rightfully infer that beyond the founding siica, the actor may widely unfold at his own convenience the range of all registers of acting, as he does in the actual natya. Conversely, natydyita 2 is presented as necessarily homogeneous to only one of the registers of the sarirasiményabhinaya: the arikura, Thus, the two categories of ndtydyitas have in common their being an enactment which is instrumental in the creation of an internal performance in the core of the actual one. Furthermore, they differ from each other as to their genesis and objec- tives. Moreover, although designated by one and the same term, they are not of the same nature: whereas ndtydyita 1 is no other than a sticd followed by all or a part of the other registers of the Sarirasdmanyabhinaya, nétydyita 2 is no other than an arikura. This is to say, that one category of acting exploited in a certain context deserves to be designated by a term which corresponds to this context. The acting itself is modified, or even coloured by the situation where it is put into practice; it undergoes a new embodiment. AN ESSAY ON THE ‘NATYAYITA’ 161 PORTRAIT OF THE YOGIN AS AN AESTHETE After such an acute analysis of an object of theatrical practice which has troubled and bewildered many exegetes,* it would be unrealistic to pretend that Abhinavagupta, the philosopher, is not also an authentic sahrdaya,” a passionate lover of drama, which he knows from the inside as an ever present habitué, Moreover, the famous literary portrait, which we probably owe to one of his close disciples,‘ describes him sitting in the centre of a garden planted with vines, in a crystal pavilion vibrating with the continuous performing of music, song, theatre, and dance. Having two women by his side — his partners in the tantric rites, one holding a jug of sivarasa and a lemon, the other a betel box and a lotus — he is teaching a crowd of pupils who are taking notes. With a tilaka of ashes in the middle of his forehead, a rosary hanging from his ear, his long hair loose but held by a garland of flowers, the sage has adopted the yoga posture called virdsana, With his right hand, he does the mudra which signifies the knowledge of Paramasiva,*! while, with the pointed nails of his left hand, he goes on playing the lute. This singular portrait conveys the unmistakable image of an initiate and a master, but that of an aesthete too.? NOTES. 1 Attributed to a mythical author, Bharata, the treatise whose date is very uncertain, has generally been placed between 200 B.C. and 200 A.D. Though sometimes at the cost of a few corrections, we shall constantly refer to the Parimal edition, vol. III. See R. S. Nagar, ed., ‘Natyaséstra of Bharatamuni with the commentary Abhinavabharati, Parimal Sanskrit Series no. 4, 4 vol. (Delhi & Ahmedabad: Parimal Publications, 1981-1984). 2 For the translation of the passages borrowed from the Nagyasdstra and the Abhinava- bharati, we have given in parenthesis the Sanskrit terms conveying the key notions of the text and we have added in square brackets the words or sentence elements that seemed indispensable for understanding the coherence of ideas or for improving their presentation, ® yatha hi Kirdtagrhad gandhadravyiny aniya gandhikena samanikriyate asyeyiin bhiga idam piirvam iti, evam atradhyaye’bhinayah. ABh. |= Abhinavabharati] ad NS XXIL 1, Parimal ed., p. 142, + On the two-fold way of classifying the abhinaya, see Chart 1. Let us notice that under the heading of wicikacitrabhinaya the NS enumerates and defines such didascalies related to enunciation as the akasavacanam, a speech to the company at large, and the three different categories of aside which are the dimagatam, the jandntikam and the apavaritakam. 5 CE Chart 2. © For a more detailed exposition, see the author's article: Bansat-Boudon, L: 1989-1990, “The sdmanyabhinaya or how to play the game’, Indologica Taurinensia, vol. XV—XVI, pp. 66-77. 7 NS XXII 4, Parimal ed,, p. 162. Vakydbhinaya means literally “verbal acting”. 8 NS XXII 45, ibid. p. 163. Sica means “indicative acting”, 162 LYNE BANSAT-BOUDON ° We shall not here enter into the difficult question of the hexadecuple distribution of sized, which does not concern our consideration of the naiyiyita 30 NS XXII 46, Parimal ed,, p. 164. Let us bear in mind that arikura means “bud”. 1 Literally: “Although not a ndiya, itis like a ndtya”. Abh, ad NS XXIL 49, Parimal ed., p. 167. One can see that although there is not, in Abhinavagupta’s commentary, a grammatical reasoning about the form and the specific meaning of the denominative verbs, such a reasoning is still implicitly present throughout the demonstration. In effect, explaining the term ndgydyita by: andtyam api natyam iva amounts to making its etymological analysis as, the past participle of a denominative. Similarly, the long description of the process which allows dream within dream is nothing but a way of glossing the word svapndyita understood as the past participle of a denominative. "2 ABh ad NS XXII 48, Parimal ed., p. 166; evam ihdpi ndtya ekaghanasvabhave hi sthite tatraivasatyandtydnupravesan ndtyapdtresu sdmijikibhitesu tadapeksaya yad anyam ndtyam tasya tadapeksaya nagyaripatvam paramérthikam iti nétydyitam ucyate/ 2 A variety of meter. “4 ABh ad NS XXII 48, Parimal ed. p. 166: niitye yat pravesakair natydntaragatair iva patraih ata eva tatah pravisatity uktaih sarigamnah kriyate tan nigydyitam / KidrSair abhinayadvarena yat sticanara tayopaciraih paramarthatayopacaryaménaih / a “Ca vaut la peine daller au théatre pour voir quelque chose qui arrive |. . J. Crest moi, c'est moi qui arrive [. . Et moi, je suis celle-Ia qui leur arrive & grands coups [.. J” ’ Echange. 6 Exegete of the Natyasastra, prior to Abhinavagupta. His commentary has been lost but the Abhinavabharati quoted it in some places. The evidence of Saikuka, refered to at the beginning of the commentary on the ndfydyita, is most precious in relation to what it has taught us about theatrical practice, although refuted as to its conclusions by Abhinavagupta, See ABh ad NS XXII 48, éd, Parimal, p. 165: pravese ‘pi taddhruvaganatatsticaparikramanadikalena. “[The ndtyayita is to be performed] at the Very moment of the entrance fof the second actor] ie. at the moment when [for the second actor] the recital of the dhruva, the siied and the parikramana take place.” Y See infra, pp. 156-157 the definition of the five categories of dhruvis. 1 The parikramana — or circumambulation — is a stage convention which is sufficient for signifying the moving of the actor and the change of place. © natyantaragatair iva patraih. % Cf ABh ad NS XXII 48, Patimal ed. p. 166: naniibhayam api ndtyam kasman na bhavati na tv ekaghanateryasankayaha Kalaprakarsalaksanad dhetor anyonyabhinnakalatvat katham tatraikaghanata yukteti bhavah. For examples of drama within drama where the past is joined to the present of the per- formance, see n. 21. 2 The flow of the drama of Vasavadatté. Though its text has been lost, the work is known, ‘The Kavikalpalatd cites numerous passages of the Visavadattindtyadhai % ‘The Balardmayana is the work of the poet Rajasekhar, The garbharika — or play within AN ESSAY ON THE ‘NATYAYITA’ 163 play — is in Act IJ, Ravana is in his palace languishing with love for Sita, The ministers organize a performance to entertain him. The celestial troupe directed by Kohala comes to play a drama created by Bharata: The Engagement of Sita. Rama triumphs in it, and Ravana, mad with jealousy, shouts at the actors, His entourage tries to calm him, and to avoid another of his fits, the play is interrupted. ® ‘The saicdribhavas or vyabhicdribhivas: there are thirty-three “transitory sentiments” ‘They are, so to speak, the currency of the eight sthdyibhavas, the “fundamental sentiments” or “permanent psychological states of mind” which are part of the human condition and of which the eight rasas or “Flavours” represent the ripening. Let us bear in mind that the name of rasa is given (o the aesthetic experience, which is synonymous with bliss (ananda) and wonder (camatkdra). Indian poetics lists cight rasas: the Erotic (sprigdra), the Violent (raudra), the Heroic (vira), the Repulsive (bibhatsa), the Comic (hdsya), the Pathetic (Karuna), the Wondrous (adbhuta), the Fearful (bhayanaka). 2 The dhruvas of Act IV of Vikramorvasi are famous. 25 Bach dramatic work is coloured by a principal rasa. However, a scene, a series of scenes, or even a whole act can be placed under the sign of a different rasa, which is called “secondary”. Thus, in the third act of the Venisamhdra, Drona’s son, Asvatthaman, appears ‘on the battlefield, the very image of vira, the principal rasa of the drama. Suddenly a voice ‘coming from the wings thus addresses him: “Your father, in which world is he now?” A seene then begins in the tonality of karunarasa. 2© See NS VI ki 29-30 and NS XXXII ka 310 and the following, as well as Abhinava~ gupta’s commentary on these two passages of Bharata’s text. * Bhava means “sentiment” ot “state of mind”, Indian poetics, as we have seen, disti guishes the sthayibhdvas from the wabhicaribhavas or saricdribhavas, Here the Abhinava- Bharati teaches us that by bhdva and rasa, we must understand respectively vyabhicaribhava and sthayibhava, See Parimal ed., p. 167. 25 Literally: “in the way of the crow and the coconut”, The kakatdlivanydya is the canonical example of the accidental, unavoidable and perfect meeting, 2 ABh ad NS XXII 49, Parimal ed, vol. Ill, p. 167: aprayujyamanapi [dhruva) kakatdliyena prayogam upamsunipandtyam api natyam iva Sasata iti tathavidhandtyayitatvapadakah Sarirdbhinayo ndgyayitar iti I propose to read: updmsuripandiyam api... which is to be analyzed thus: upamsuripa andtyam api. 2 See ibid: eva bhuito ‘*ikurasvabhavah. ‘See ibid: paurvéparyaparyélocanavasit tarhabhiita evopanipatita it. % At the very beginning of the commentary on the ndfydyita 2, Parimal ed., p. 167. °° yadabhyantararasavistatd bhavati tada dhruvayogabhinayah |. «A sensitive and cultivated man, the sahrdaya is etymologically “the one who has a heart”, in other words, the one whose heart beats in unison with that of the poct. 3S ‘The first meaning of vac is speech and itivrtta is a technical term which in the NS is used for naming the plot. 38 See NS XIV 2: vaci yatnas tu kartavyo ndtyasyeyam tanuh smart / and NS XIX 1: itivrttam tu natyasya Sariram parikirtitam 1! » Bh ad NS VI 33, vol. I, p. 288: “rasa is natya”: “Flavour is theatre”. 28 Safkuka, for example, quoted — and refuted « by Abhinavagupta at the beginning of his commentary. » See n. 34. “ KC Pandey in Abhinavagupta: a Historical and Philosophical Study. Chowkhamba Sanskrit Studies, no, 1. 2nd ed. rev. enl. (Varanasi: Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, 164 LYNE BANSAT-BOUDON 1963) p. 20, recognizes Madhurdja Yogin as the author of this portrait in four stanzas entitled Dhyanaslokah (“Meditative Verses”). For the text of this portrait, see K. C. Pandey, ibid, p. 738. ** Let us recall that the sivarasa is a kind of wine, the tilaka a vertical insignia worn on the forehead by devout people, the virdsana posture the heroic one, the mudrd a symbolic gesture and Paramasiva, Siva in his absolute reality. © Dealing with Abhinavagupta as an exegete and connoisseur of theatrical practice, this, paper has focused on the ndiydyita, developing the demonstration which I presented in my work recently published in French: Poétique du thédtre indien. Lectures du Natyasastra Publications de "Ecole Frangaise d’Extréme-Orient, Paris, 1992, Vol. 169. Classics Department, Lille III University B.P. 149, 59653, Villeneuve d’Ascq Cedex, France AN ESSAY ON THE ‘NATYAYITA’ 165 [Abhinaya| 4 sativika aigika va aharya sAmanyabhinaya citrabhinaya sativika —Sarira—_vactka sattvika vicika Chart 1 er vakyibhinaya nivgttyafikura v kayinan. yore rv av ay ay Pe Pye $= Santi V=Vene Pk Pi PPro Chart 2.