Transformations in the Mattavilāsaprahasanam

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The Nāndī of the Mattavilāsaprahasanam speaks of numerous transformations involved in the manifold march of evolution of the three worlds. The Prastāvanā begins with the transformation of the angry mood of the jealous older wife into the happy mood of the actress who is going to participate in the production of a play – a production which reconciles her to her husband, the stage-director. The beginning of the play proper shows the transformation of the stage-director and the actress into the Kapāli and Dēvasōmā, respectively. The Kapāli, in his alcoholistic confusion, transforms Dēvasōmā into an imaginary Sōmadēva – a transformation which results in the re-enactment of the arousal of the anger and jealousy of the older wife that the audience has already seen in the prastāvanā. Reconciliation between the Kapāli and Dēvasōmā is effected in terms of the retention of alcohol-consumption as a religious rite. The sensuous bliss of Kānchīpuram is transformed into the transcendental bliss of an ascetic. The tavern of drunkards is transformed, in a parody, into the sacred vedic sacrificial hall in the imagination of the Kapāli. The begging bowl of the Buddhist monk is transformed into the skull bowl of the Kapāli, which becomes a bone of contention between the Kapāli and the Buddhist monk. And, as it happens in the playlet in the prastāvana, the unpleasant enmity between the Kapāli and the Buddhist monk is, in the end, transformed into pleasant friendship between the two.