The context plays a vital role when we attempt an earnest study of a piece of literature. Girish Karnad’s well known play Hayavadana requires us to pay a special heed to its context and the present scenario if we really wish to probe into the psyche of a leading character like Padmini.
Though the roots of the play are under the soil of ancient myths and legends, its relevancy is felt even today in terms of the dichotomy of body and mind in which we often caught. In India, the roots of spirituality are deep down into the essence of humanity in general. Even though our body desires something the soul would deny. However, it is the discrimination power which wins!
The main plot of the play Hayavadana is based on ‘the story of transported heads’ in the Sanskrit Vetala Panchavimsati. What adds the charm to the play is Karnad’s own treatment with the old theme and as a result, what we see is the life-like characters that we come across in our daily lives. The central character Padmini undergoes the same pangs of life and confusion when it comes to making a choice. She is torn between the two choices in terms of Kapila and Devadutta, one is physically strong whereas the other is rationally superior. Since she is very much flesh-n-blood, she desires to have both but this is not possible due to the social restrains. She cannot marry both but the fate makes a miracle for her. Initially she feels to be triumphant for her wish but later on she gets the right impression about the nature that humans are mere puppets to act to the tunes of the nature.
Devadutta is an attractive Brahmin youth with a beauty of the mind. He falls in love with an unrivaled and witty girl named Padmini. Being a song of an ironsmith, Kapila has wonderful physique. Devaadutta and Kapila are close friends like two bodies and one soul. When Kapila comes to know that his friend Devadutta is in love with Padmini, he helps him to win her love and finally arranges the marriage of Padmini with his friend. Meanwhile, Padmini unconsciously develops likings for Kapila. At a time Devadutta becomes suspicious for Padmini’s soft behavior towards his friend Kapila:
“Does she really not see? Or
She deliberately playing this game
With him?” (22)
Devadutta represents the beauty of the mind whereas Kapila...