The Two Episodes in the Mattavilāsaprahasana

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In the Mattavilāsaprahasana, when Dēvasōmā asks Kapālī, “Bhagavan! Who could have taken the skull bowl?” the Kapālī says, “Dear! I figure a dog or a Buddhist monk, since it contained roasted meat” (60-61).

The reference to the “dog” the “Buddhist monk” “roasted meat” and “the skull bowl” makes the Kapālī’s statement look like a stage-directions introducing the two episodes: (1) the episode in which the Kapālī and the Buddhist monk fight over the loss of the Kapālī’s skull bowl, and (2) the episode in which the madman not only has a fight with a dog but also has an encounter with the Kapālī, the Buddhist monk, the Pāśupata, and Dēvasōmā.

In an intoxicated state, which almost borders on insanity, the Kapālī puts up a fight with the Buddhist monk whom he accuses of having stolen his skull bowl. The fight between the two comes to an end with the possibility of a solution – legal or otherwise. The madman’s encounter with the dog, the Kapālī and the rest culminates in a happy solution. The second episode is almost a re-enactment of the first episode. The madman insults the Kapālī just as the Kapālī insults the Buddhist monk. The two episodes reflect each other, showing an endless series of fracas of the type portrayed in the play.

Instead of saying “either a Buddhist monk or a dog,” the Kapālī says, “either a dog or a Buddhist monk” so that a close structural connection is established between the mention of the Buddhist monk by Kapālī and the Buddhist monk’s entrance immediately after the mention. And taking into consideration the use of Ēṣaḥ (65) by Dēvasōmā, it may be said that Mahēndra is using the device of Pryōgātiśaya with slight modification.