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that of the dog at Alighar. The animal in life was the pet of a Christian family and was buried at certain cross-roads, where a marble monument was placed over it. In a short time the natives began to worship it and to gather in large numbers.* This cult finds close analogues in the worship of many Burmese Nats.
So far we have no actual evidence for drama, in the full sense of the word, in the temple ceremonies. But Mr K. V. Subrahmanya Aiyar, in his Historical Sketches of Ancient Dekkan,'t supplies this want. 'In the temples of Southern India (he says) there was invariably a spacious Ranga-mandapa, and almost all days dancing was practised there, and on special occasions dramas were staged conveying religious instruction.' In a letter (Jan. 4, 1917), to Dr Barnett, Mr Narasimachar of Mysore states that every temple of note in Southern India has a number of dancing women attached to it. When the god is taken out in procession, they precede the god. On certain occasions these dancing women sing and dance before the metallic figure of the god in the temple. They sing some well-known songs, such as those of Jayadeva or Tyagaraja, indicating at the same time by gesture (abhinaya) the meaning of the song.'
There can be no doubt that here we have a combination of songs and pantomime, as in ancient Vedic times in the funeral procession of chiefs. In a letter to the writer (Sept. 6, 1914) Rai Bahadur Pandit Radha Krishna of Muttra, who furnished much valuable evidence to the Indian section of Dramas and Dramatic Dances, wrote: • In Deccan there are dancing girls attached to temples who are called Dasis and Murlis, who daily perform dances before the idol.'
We have now a full explanation of the term RangaBhoga in the foundation deeds of the temples. But still more important testimony is at hand. The late A. P. Sundaram Pillai, a good Tamil scholar, in his book *Some Milestones in the History of Tamil Literature' (1897), when treating of Tiru Nana Sambandha (p. 4), says that he is decidedly the greatest and the most popular of the Tamil Rishis. There is scarcely a Siva temple in the Tamil country where his image is not daily worshipped. In most of them special annual feasts are held in his name, when the leading events of his life are dramatically represented, for the instruction of the masses.' Tiru Nana Sambandha is as real a person as Thomas Becket and is one of the three great apostles of Sivaism, his hymns being contained in the Tiru-murai. He may be placed in or about the seventh century of our era.
* Some rash anthropologists might take this cult for a Dog totem. + Dramas and Dramatic Dances,' p. 235. I Vol. 1, p. 337 (Madras, 1917).
Further searches will probably show many other such cults, not only of sages or devotees, but also of renowned warriors, and not only merely those of unhappy far-off days, but of some who have played their little part in modern times. For instance, there is at Madura an important cult of one Virasvami, a general of that place who slew himself there in the temple of Sokkanatha, and he is now worshipped there with annual sacrifice. There is a considerable literature about him; and there is no reason to doubt that he is just as historical as Kuan Ti, the famous Chinese general of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms (A.D. 219-220), who has been long worshipped as the War-god over all China and who is honoured regularly with the performance of no less than ten dramas representing incidents in his career. But as yet we cannot learn whether the Indian general is honoured with like performances.
As in some respects Travancore is perhaps the most archaic part of Hindustan, it is but natural that we should find in that area evidence similar to that just given. Pandit Ganapati Sastri of Trivandrum * says that in Travancore there is a peculiar class of actors called Chakyars, who act the Nagananda and the Third Act of the Pratima-yaugandharayana at some temple festivals in a manner of their own.' In a letter (Oct. 12, 1917) he informed the writer that the chakyars enact scenes mostly taken from some particular Sanskrit plays, viz. Subhadra-dhananjaya, Tapatisanvarana, Nagananda, Pratijna-yaugandharayana and Mattavilasa, and occasionally from the Puranas for entertaining the people assembled in temple festivals in this country.'
* Introduction to Pratima-nataka' (Trivandrum Sanskrit Series).
According to Mr Edgar Thurston,* the traditional profession of these chakyars is 'the recitation of religious tales at the festivals of the temples in Malabar; and this they do in a more or less dramatic manner. Many legends have been specially adapted for their recitation. There is a performance of this class at all the important temples. He adds that the chakyar is accompanied in his performance by a Nambiyar Brahman with a big drum and a Nangiyar or female of the same class with cymbals. Mr Subrahmanya Aiyar, himself a native of the country, informed Dr Barnett that the performances are either of their harikathas—a sort of popular variety entertainment on religious motives--or of a more elegant sort with a full orchestra ; these are in addition to the regular Sanskrit dramas which Mr Ganapati Sastri mentions. Two of these, the Subhadra-Dhananjaya and Tapatisanvarana are on legends from the Mahabharata, while the Pratijna-yaugandharayana is on the story of King Udayana, a legend also from the North. The Mattavilasa is a very interesting little Sanskrit play.t The prelude tells us that it was composed by the Pallava king, Mahendra-Vikrama-Varman, who, from the titles there assigned to him and the phrases used in the prelude, has been identified with certainty with a king of that name who flourished early in the seventh century A.D.
Now as the Nagananda, which is one of the favourite, if not the favourite drama, selections from which are performed by the chakyars, is a Buddhist play in five acts, by Harsha Deva, it seems very strange at first sight that it should be played at Hindu religious festivals; but Dr Barnett has solved this difficulty. The scene of the play is laid on the Malaya Mountain, i.e. the Western Ghats of Malabar and Travancore, and its theme is connected with the pedigrees of three great families, while the protagonists are Jimutavahana and Garuda. Now, the epigraphic records of the Kolur and Devageri district speak of Basavura as being
**Castes and Tribes of Southern India.'
+ Trivandrum Sanskrit Series (Nos. 43-63). The scene is in the slums of Conjevaram. It is a series of comic scenes in which figure a drunken Kapali (Saiva ascetic), who carries a skull for a begging bowl and cup, his wench, a Buddhist monk, a Pasupata Saiva, and a crazy ascetic (Unmattaka).
under the administration of a dynasty which claimed to belong to the lineage of Jimutavahana and the Khacharavansa or Race of the Birds, i.e. to the race whose head was the legendary kite of Vishnu, Garuda. This refers to the legend dramatised in the Nagananda and brings it into connexion also with the Silahara dynasty of the Southern Konkan (c. 782-1008 A.D.) and with Gonkadeva, who was reigning at Terdal in A.D. 1122, all of whom claimed the same ancestry.* The plot of the drama was either wholly fictitious and these pedigrees were concocted on the basis of it, or else it embodies a genuine old legend of Malabar or Travancore, which was the source of these pedigrees either directly or through the medium of the drama. The former alternative seems quite untenable, while the latter fully accounts for both the pedigrees and the appearance of a Buddhist play in orthodox Hindu festivals. Hence Dr Barnett infers that the performance of the Nagananda is one of the few cases in which a Hindu play is definitely associated with an ancient legend of the place where it is still enacted.
Having now found throughout Southern India solid grounds for believing that Hindu drama arose from the celebration of the dead and not from the cult of Krishna alone, as has been held by many, nor from the worship of a Vegetation spirit or the Dæmon of the year, we turn to Bengal in confident expectation that the same conclusion will result from the fresh evidence now at hand from that great region. The late Dr J. D. Anderson pointed out to the writer that in Bengal, at this very hour, dances are commonly held in buildings called Chandi-mandaps in honour of the goddess Chandi; and this statement was confirmed by Rai Bahadur Pandit Radha Krishna of Muttra, who adds that these dances are held also in honour of other deities and saints. When religious rites are not in progress, the mandapa (shed) is often used as a village school, in which capacity it frequently figures in current literature, novels, and the like. The ceremonies are performed in the presence of the deity, and the Chandi-mandap is erected for that purpose.'
* Fleet, ‘Dynasties of the Kanarese Districts,' pp. 536, 548.
It must be borne in mind that each old high-caste Hindu family has usually two shrines-one termed Thakur-ghar, where the salagrama, a round stone symbolising the god Narayana or a Siva linga, is worshipped daily by the priest. This is a sort of family chapel, and the gods there worshipped are regarded in some way as the protecting deities of the family. But other deities are worshipped in certain months; and for this purpose there is another shrine called the Pujardalan ('worship-house '), also termed Chandi-mandap, or Durga-mandap, Chandi being only another name for Durga, the chief deity there adored. These ceremonies last about three days and are attended with sacrifices of animals. In front of the Pujar-dalan there is usually another large hall for festivities called Nata-mandir (* dancing hall'), or simply an open quadrangle.* During these seasonal rites in honour of deities or on some important domestic ceremony, e.g. a wedding, Bengali Yatras or similar dramatic entertainments are enacted. If the temple or family dwelling-house possesses a Natamandir (an open pavilion with a roof) the performance takes place there. Otherwise it is held in the quadrangle facing the temple or in the case of a private house facing the Pujar-dalan.f Only the wealthier temples and families can afford such entertainments.
Dr Anderson finally obtained from Rai Sahib Dinesh Chandra Sen, author of the standard History of Bengali Literature and of many other works in English and Bengali, and the unquestioned authority on the preEnglish literature of his country, the following valuable account of the origin of serious drama in Bengal.
The origin of Bengali Mangala gans, which latterly developed into melodramas, is to be traced to short hymns or adulatory verses, in honour of Manasa Devi, Mangala Chandi, and other local deities, to some of whom the Aryan Hindu Pantheon latterly opened its doors. These deities have attached to them each a tale of prowess and glory composed
* For this information I am indebted to Prof. S. N. Dasgupta, Chittagong.
+ I owe this memorandum (through the late Dr J. D. Anderson) to Mr Atul Chandra Chatterjee, an old Cambridge man, now District Officer, United Provinces.