Svapnavasavadattam

Indroduction

Sanskrit drama is in a special sense universal. Some of it is con­cerned almost wholly with the permanent seats of joy and grief in the human psyche, to the exclusion of most other topical,passing verities of life. Moreover, it commits itself to a supremely sat­isfying pleasure principle, and to an exultant, optimistic vision of life, without in any manner vulgarizing the passions or being crudely sen­timental and unrealistic. Since it is grounded upon an extraordinarily refined aesthetic taste it also contributes to a chastening of sensibility. Its masterful fusion of prose and poetry, of the temporal and universal, of values of joy and duty, of worldliness and otherworldliness, could be one of the means to a profound education both moral and aesthetic for the modern man.

The Indian mind has always been religious without being dogmatic, so Aesthetics and Poetics have no quarrel with Ethics and Philosophy in ancient India. Drama very much accepted this relationship and its duty towards religion and morality. It aimed at removing evil and vin­dicating truth, beauty and goodness. And in this task, it was more ef­fective than the other art forms in so far as it was the only audio-visual art (d*arn sravyam ca), and its representation of life, therefore, more immediate and persuasive.

The great Indian classical plays, and the monumental dramatic treatise, Natya Sastra, give the impression of a highly sophisticated and self-contained aesthetic world. The intellectual and cultural mi-

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