Sanskrit literature depicting harmony with nature with special reference to Bhāsa’s Svapnavāsavadatta and Pratimā
Dr. Pallabi Dutta
In Sanskrit, the word nature means 'prakṛti' referring to the environment of all living beings which is a matter of great importance in the present. Environmental pollution has become a serious problem for the entire planet. Environmentalists have been offering suggestions from time to time to provide environmental conservation measures and to prevent pollution. But the main thing is to alter people's perceptions. There is no solution to this problem unless there is a change in human consumerism. The key to changing this attitude lies in our minds. Understanding and accepting the non-sentient reality of natural forces is necessary for living in harmony with nature. Since the Vedic period, nature has been instrumental in various literary works. Ancient Sanskrit literature, viz., the Vedas, the Rāmāyaṇa, the Mahābhārata, the Purāṇas, and the classical Sanskrit Literature and so on, reflected the interdependence of nature and mankind. Our ancient poets have minutely observed nature and have given an artistic touch to their works when they depict human feelings towards nature. Although their natural consciousness is not always explicit, a deep study of their works reveals their implicit knowledge of depicting harmony with nature. Bhāsa, the earliest Sanskrit dramatist, was a profound lover and keen observer of nature. The thirteen plays of Bhāsa throw light on the flora and fauna that greatly contributed to the wealth of the forest of his period. Natural beauties filled with picturesque features that form part of their essential natural character find a very unique place in Bhāsa’s Svapnavāsavadatta and Pratimā. Adopting considerable measures to make people aware of our dependence on nature is the prime concern of the hour. In the present paper, an attempt is made to focus the harmonious relationship between mother nature and human beings as revealed in the Svapnavāsavadattā and the Pratimā dramas of Bhāsa.