Translated by R.S. Pandit
Edited by Ramesh Chandra
About the Book
Mudrarakshasa is a historical play in seven acts written by Vishkhadatta in 6th Century A.D., in which Chanakya, the minister of king Chandragupta of Pataliputra, wins over Rakshasa, the minister of the Nandas to the side of Chandragupta. It is an unique play in many respects. The play is based on a political theme and it bears testimony to the consummate skill of Visakhadatta as a dramatist. It does not present any of the recognized dramatic sentiments (rasa), but introduces a new, hitherto unrecognized sentiment of intense rivalry between two sharp-witted ministers dedicated to the service of their respective kings.
About the Author
Vishakhadatta, an eminent playwright, introduces himself as the grandson of the Vassal king Vateshvaradatta, son of king Bhaskaradatta in the introductory section of his play Mudrarakshasa. He is credited with another play called Devichandragupta which deals with the Huna invasion during the reign of Chandragupta. A fine scholar Vishakhadatta had a good command of metres and figures of speech and was well acquainted with dramaturgy, logic, astrology, and philosophy. His dramatic art and knowledge of Arthashastra are evenly balanced in Mudrarakshasa. He broke fresh ground in Sanskrit drama and gained fame with this play only.