Avadhānam and Audience
Avadhānam is an ancient art/sport of India. It involves extempore creation of metrical verses on a variety of topics under myriad aesthetic constraints. It is a quintessential representative of that defining trait of all Indian classical arts – spontaneity. “Cittaikāgryam avadhānam,” “Avadhānam is the focusing of the mind” is its traditional definition. Any exercise in any art form requiring extensive concentration can borrow this term.
Here we see a fluttering of the left eye of a woman separated from her husband. For women, this is a good omen indeed! Anticipating the return of her husband, she ties a festoon with her eyes to the entrance door and tells the left eye, “O Left Eye, who signalled the good omen of my husband’s return! Out of gratitude for your help to me, I will first see my husband through you and will reward you in that manner.” Look here, we find a charitable rest-house; a place where weary travellers are offered water to quench their thirst. There’s a beautiful girl here who offers the water.
One has to really admire the cleverness of some of these two-timing women. One of them turned in a fine performance of bawling after having, apparently, been stung by a scorpion. Her friends, ever too eager to help, carried her away right in front of her artless husband – evidently to get her the much-needed medical assistance. No prizes here for guessing that it was in fact to her lover’s secret nest that she was really transported to. Now this next one has brought her lover to her home and has in fact introduced him to her husband as a kinsman from her hometown!
We shall now go back in time by nearly two thousand years. Behold! Godavari flows in a mellifluous melancholic tune. Swaying the entire countryside near Pratiṣṭhāna to the graceful swinging of her waves, as she gushes on, yearning to rendezvous with her beloved, the Eastern Ocean. That is indeed why her valleys are dotted with dense reeds and canes – signifying the frequent haunts of passionate young lovers.
ಇಂಥ ಎಷ್ಟೋ ಸಂಗತಿಗಳನ್ನು ಧ್ವನಿಸುವಂಥ ಬೆಲೆಯುಳ್ಳ ವಿವರಣೆಯನ್ನು ಅಭಿನವಗುಪ್ತ ನೀಡಿದ್ದಾನೆ. ಅವನ ಪ್ರಕಾರ ಉಭಯಧರ್ಮಿಗಳೂ ಲೋಕಸ್ವಭಾವದಲ್ಲಿಯೇ ಪರಮಾರ್ಥತಃ ನೆಲೆಗೊಂಡಿವೆ. ಲೋಕವೆಂದರೆ ನಮ್ಮ ಸುತ್ತಣ ಜಗತ್ತು. ಇದು ಅಲ್ಲಿಯ ಜನಜೀವನದ ಸಕಲಾಂಶಗಳನ್ನೂ ಒಳಗೊಂಡಿದೆ. ಹೀಗಾಗಿ “ಪ್ರವೃತ್ತಿ”ಯಲ್ಲಿ ಸಾಮಾನ್ಯವಾಗಿ ತೋರಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವ ಎಲ್ಲ ಸಂಗತಿಗಳೂ ಇಲ್ಲಿಗೆ ಅನ್ವಯಿಸುತ್ತವೆ. ಆದುದರಿಂದ “ಲೋಕಧರ್ಮಿ”ಯು ಕೆಲವೊಂದಂಶಗಳಲ್ಲಿ “ಪ್ರವೃತ್ತಿ”ಗೆ ನಿಕಟಬಂಧು. ನಾಟ್ಯವು ಬಲುಮಟ್ಟಿಗೆ ಲೋಕಾಶ್ರಿತವಾದ ಕಾರಣ “ಲೋಕಧರ್ಮಿ”ಯೊಂದೇ ಪಾರಮ್ಯವನ್ನು ತಾಳುವುದೆಂದು ಹೇಳಬಹುದಾದರೂ ರಂಜನೋತ್ಕರ್ಷಕ್ಕಾಗಿ ರಂಗಪ್ರಯೋಗದ ನಿರ್ವಾಹಾನುಕೂಲತೆಗಾಗಿ ಅನುಸರಿಸುವ ಕವಿ-ನಟಪ್ರಸಿದ್ಧಸಮಯರೂಪದ ನಾಟ್ಯಧರ್ಮಿಗೂ ಎಡೆಯುಂಟು.