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SAKUNTALA VS WESTERN PLAYS Unlike Western plays there is no tradition of tragedy in India and Kalidasas plays always have happy endings In Hinduism everyone has an infinite number of chances to achieve enlightenment and liberation from the wheel of rebirth A life that ends badly is only a prologue to another opportunity Hence the basic premises on which tragedy is based are lacking Just as ancient Greek drama was part of a religious ritual honoring Dionysus so there is a religious aspect to classical Hindu drama Note the insistence on the multifaceted nature of the divine so different from the Christian insistence on its unity For the devout Hindu this play is more than a captivating love story it is a religious drama on at least two levels On the simplest level it teaches the doctrine of karma that our experiences are influenced by our acts earlier in this life and in past lives It is also an allegory of the relationship between the worshiper and the sacred Each play is also expected to convey a certain set of emotions and attitudes called a rasa Here the rasa is composed of various forms of eroticism and love Whereas Westerners are used to religion demanding a single standard of morality for everyone or at most having slightly different emphases for men and women in Hinduism that which is good for a person of a certain age social standing or caste may be bad for another Each person must follow his or her dharma duty Most kings loved to hunt but it was disapproved of by Brahmins and hunting is forbidden in the sacred grove where the ascetics live Suta compares the king to Shiva alluding to a myth in which Shiva angered because he had not been invited to a great sacrifice pursued and killed the lord of the sacrifice who had transformed himself into a deer So while the Kings arrows are cruel
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