Story Play (Attakkatha):
Doctor Sadanam Harikumar
This plot is from epic Mahabharata; an old story interpreted in a novel way.
(synopsis) The story overall reveals the plight of Urvashi, the celestial immortal nymph
who was ‘cursed’/restricted to be an eternal virgin and a courtesan who can have sexual
union regardless of relationships. How Arjuna-a mortal becomes a cause for lending her
an experience the gratification of motherhood forms the thrust of Shaapamocanam.
On a stay at his father Indra’s empire of Heaven, Arjuna had, as an expert in warfare and
dance, just rescued several nymphs from yet another attack by Asuras. The heroism
enchants many a celestial lady, among whom Urvashi gets madly attracted to the
handsome Pandava. She reveals it to her sakhis, who prompt her to meet Arjuna.
Arjuna, who is tired physically and mentally, is seeking solace in the moonlit and aromatic
Nandana garden, when Urvashi arrives. Her sight leads the Pandava to enter into a
conversation, where he says his mind burning in solitude is now refreshed with pure
nectar. “Kindly assuage my fatigue with your smooth and soothing hands”, he adds.
Urvashi reveals that pacifying Arjuna was for what she had come to him. Together, they
decide to roam about the garden in that beautiful night.
The main narrative takes a break with a scene that shows two sakhis (friends) amusingly
talking about the steaming romance between Arjuna and Urvashi.
The hero and the heroine, during their walk along the garden, enter a palace made of
crystal. Urvashi explains to Arjuna that it is an art gallery where the portrait of Kings who
helped Indra in dealing with recurring Asura invasions in the Heaven. Arjuna develops
eagerness to see the artworks. Urvashi explains each and every portrait. Dileepa,
Dushyantha, Nahusha and while explaining Purooravas, she incidentally recalls that he
was one king she lived with virtually as a wife. The revelation shocks Arjuna, as he notes
that the lady who has been his companion for the night had lived with his forefather forty
generations before him. The awkwardness of the situation prompts Arjuna to withdraw
from the scene. Urvashi, oblivious of the man’s predicament, forces Arjuna to stay back
but he gets all the more restless. Taking his bow and arrow, the Pandava decides to
leave, at which Urvashi stops him forcefully. In extreme anger, she curses him to be a
eunuch for discarding her request—and fades away.
A distraught Arjuna thinks aloud, seeking to know difference between Urvashi and his
mothers Kunti and Indrani (wife of Indra). He requests her to revoke the curse, pardoning
his misbehavior as a mischief from a beloved son. The plea springs up the dormant
motherhood in Urvashi. The nymph exposes she is the cursed one who, though being a
woman, can’t ever understand or experience motherhood. The story ends with Urvashi
saying it is Arjuna who gave her redemption thus realizing the mothrhood. She embraces
him with hitherto-unexplored motherly affection, and lulls him to sleep in her lap.
The third of the five Pãņďavas, Arjuna, undertakes ‘tapas’ (sacrificial penance) on
lord Śiva. Śiva, appearing in the form of a hunter accompanied by consort Pãrvati in the
form of huntress, arrows the wild boar whom he chased far from; along with Arjuna
while the boar was trying to attack Arjuna. (Actually, this wild boar was an Asura sent by
Duryõdhaŋa to kill Arjuna while he was doing his rituals.) In order to wipe out the pride
of Arjuna and test his mastery over archery, Śiva starts fighting claiming for the quarry.
Through much tough battle and with interference of Pãrvati, Śiva at last wins Arjuna and
then bestows him with the mighty arrow, ‘Pãśupatam’.
Knowing this achievement, Indra, the lord of heaven and father of Arjuna, takes
him to heaven in order to destroy his enemies. While marveling the heaven he rescues
many celestials those were kidnapped by some demons.
Here Arjuna is in a world of detached relations amid luxurious living. When
humans thrive for relationships, celestials negate it. After a long isolation from his
relatives, he suffers from loneliness in the solitude of heaven.
The renowned celestial nymph, Urvaśi , happens to see and falls in love with
Arjuna. She happens to be the lover of Purũravas and lived with him for quite long.
Purũravas is the fortieth ancestor of Arjuna. When Arjuna realises the truth, he tries to
withdraw from this love. This enrages Urvaśi, who curses him to become a eunuch.
Arjuna submits himself before Urvaśi as her own child. (Urvashi restricts her curse for a
period of one year during when the five brothers had to undergo through a period of
incognito when if identified have to undergo through a life in forest for twelve years and
again one year of incognito-that was the condition of dice game they played with
Kouravas—their cousins))A clash between mortal man with bondages and immortal
celestials without bondages is taking place here. This play is the struggle of a mortal who
is unable to make realise the celestials the realities of relationship. In addition, this play
shows the ecstasy of a damsel who was denied from becoming a mother— and finally
realizing that motherhood is the paragon of womanhood.
This play is the struggle of a mortal who is unable to make realise the celestials the
realities of relationship. In addition, this play shows the ecstasy of a damsel who was
denied from becoming a mother— and finally realizing that motherhood is the paragon of
Śãpamõcaŋam starts with Urvaśi’s explanation of her love to her friends.