(Last Updated on : 23/09/2011)
Matta Vilasaprahasanam was composed in the beginning of the seventh century, during the reign of the Pallavas at Kanchipuram. This drama is thematically multifaceted. This word means A Farce of Drunken Sport. It is a satire that pokes fun at the peculiar aspects of sects of Kapalika and Pasupata Saivite, Buddhism
. The play centres round the drunken antics of a Kapalika mendicant, Satyasoma, his woman, Devasoma, and the loss and recovery of their skull-bowl.
The cast consists of Kapali or Satysoma, an unorthodox Shaivite mendicant, Devasoma, Satysoma's female partner, Buddhist Monk Nagasena, Pasupata, a member of another unorthodox Saivite order and a madman.
Summary of Matta Vilasaprahasanam
The play opens with the entering of two drunken Kapalikas, Satyasoma and his woman, Devasoma. They stumble from one bar to another searching for more alcohol. The Kapalikas are followers of Shaivism
whose rites included drinking, wild dancing and singing, and ritual intercourse with their partners. When Satysoma asks for more alms, he realizes that he has lost his sacred skull-bowl. Devasoma suggests that he might have left it at the bar they had previously visited. However they could not find it there. Satyasoma believes that either a dog or a Buddhist monk might have taken it.
A Buddhist monk, Nagasena, enters and Kapalika suggests that he is the one who has stolen the skull-bowl. Satyasoma criticizes the monk. The kapali accuses Buddhism of stealing ideas from the Mahabharata
and the Vedanta. Satyasoma keeps on arguing with the monk who denies the accusations. The argument leads to a physical brawl. Meanwhile another mendicant, a Pasupata acquaintance of Satyasoma's, enters and tires to bring the situation under control. The argument ceases when the Buddhist monk gives his begging bowl to Satyasoma.
Thereafter a madman enters the stage and he has the skull-bowl of Satyasoma. He got the bowl from a dog and the skull-bowl is finally returned to Satyasoma. There is a happy ending.
The play provides an interesting look into the life at Kanchipuram during the seventh century. References have been made to the sounds of drums, young ladies and various flower shops. The King speaks of the festive mood in the taverns and to the corrupted courts of Kanchipuram where officials were bribed at times.