By Bhaṭṭa Jayanta
Translated by Csaba Dezső


The play satirizes various religions in Kashmir and their place in the politics of King Shánkara·varman (883-902). Jayánta’s strategy is to take a characteristic figure of the target religion and show that he is a rogue, using reasoning or some fundamental ideas connected with the doctrines of that very religion. This way he makes a laughingstock of both its followers and their tenets. The leading character, Sankárshana, is a young and dynamic orthodox graduate of Vedic studies, whose career starts as a glorious campaign against the heretic Buddhists, Jains and other antisocial sects. By the end of the play he realizes that the interests of the monarch do not encourage such inquisitional rigor and the story ends in a great festival of tolerance and compromise.

The graduate and his disciple spy on a breakfast in a Buddhist monastery:

Boy: Look, here are buxom maids ready to serve the food and catching the eyes of the monks with their flirtatious glances. And there some kind of drink is being served in a spotless jar.

Graduate: There is wine here, masquerading as ‘fruit juice,’ and meat allegedly fit for vegetarians. Oh, how painful this asceticism is!

320 pp.  |  ISBN-13: 978-0-8147-1979-4  |  ISBN-10: 0-8147-1979-1  |  Co-published by New York University Press and JJC Foundation

About the Translator

Csaba Dezső is Senior Lecturer in Sanskrit in the Department of Indo-European Linguistics at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest. He has also translated The Quartet of Causeries together with Somadeva Vasudeva.