Society as Presented in Svapnavāsavadattam
All of Bhasa's plays seem to be bubbling with vigour and life. There is no lack of dramatic situations or actions. To quote Prof. Jagirdar on the subject:
It seems as if the roughness of the social life is reflected in the crudity of the plays. They are typical of the age in which they were written. They are virile, forceful and move with speed and determination.1
The society represented in these plays shows the growing supremacy of the brahmanas. Respect to brahmanas has become second nature to the people. There seems to be peace and prosperity reigning in society. The quarrels between the various kings and the consequent battles are limited to the court circles and the soldiers only. Family life was not affected much. It was the duty of the ministers to look after the welfare of the state and people, in the absence of a king. In Svapnavasavadattam, Rumanvan took care of the king and the kingdom when the king was unwell.
Marriage was considered equally desirable for men and women. Though the main concern of arranging the marriage of their daughters was that of the parents, the consent of the girls was sought in right earnest. In Act II, 14, of the Svapnavasavadattam, the maid tells Avantika that though the king Pradyota was anxious to make Padmavaff his daughter-in-law, the princess herself did not favour the idea.
Marriages in royal families were not necessarily intended for the perpetuation of the race, nor were they necessarily caused by love. Instead, they were more often brought about in order to fulfill some political motive. Both the marriages of Udayana are evidence to this point. Polygamy was not unknown then, as Udayana testifies to this fact, when while inquiring about the welfare of his mother-in-law from
1. R.V. Jagirdar: Drama in Sanskrit Literature, p. 86.