The name of the drama:- There is no mention of the name of the drama in the prologue and no colophon at the end to indicate the work or its author. The scribe at the close of the copy wrote Kaumudimahotsava without any apparent connection with the rest of the work. It was inferred that the drama might have been known by that name. The words of the Sutradhara in the prologue Punopyqyam aparah pratyasidati Kaumudimahotsavah may support this conjecture. Of course kaumudimohotsava was a common annual autumnal festival celebrated at Pataliputra and there are reference to it in Mudrarakshasa. Here the two words Punah and aparah are significant of a differnet type of enjoyment. The editors gave that name to this drama when they brought the Ms. to the G.O. Mss. Library and the same is adopted here.*
The author:- It is here that conjecture has its full play. In the prologue the letters that mention the name of the poet are worm-eaten in the original manuscript and the space occupied by them can contain two letters only. The letters following are Kaya nibaddham which suggest that the author belongs to the fair sex and her name is consecrated in three letters. It was guessed as Vffika. A close examination of the leaf revealed a part of ja underneath the worm-eaten portion which further strengthens that ja may be the latter half of conjunct consonantal sound. In accepting this we shall have to meet with difficulties. In the fourth act (page 35 verse 19)Vijaya is mentioned, in a significant manner. Vijja seems to be the Prakrit form of Vidya and does not bear any philological relation with Vijaya. In the same verse Anantanarayana', the chief diety of Trivandrum, may indicate that either the poet's name was it or any princess Vijaya was the devotee to the god Anantanarayana of Trivandrum. Then the drama must be a Malabar production. The last verse Bharata-vakya contains another significant word Nilakantha whose name is familier to us as the author of Kalyana-saugandhika which in some respects bears close resemblance to the Bharata dramas of Bhasa. Nilakantha may be assigned to 850 A.D. But Kaumudimahotsava differs in style and thought from the works of either Ananatanarayana (author of Chandrikajanamejaya) or Nilakantha who lived at Paramakudi in Tinnevelly District. This work is not found quoted any-where with or without name as far as we could ascertain. The diction appears to be a maiden attempt of a great poet and the prose simple and fluent has dignity in expression.
The plot of the drama as revealed in the Fourth Act is a commonplace political act eclipsed by the amours of the hero and heroine. Chanhassen the military commandant of Sundaravarman, a king of Magadha, conspired with the Licchavis, hereditary enemies of his lord and brought about their attack on Pataliputra. In the contest between Sundaravarman and the Licchavis, the former died on the battle field. Chandasena became the king. Mantragupta, the minister of Sundaravarman, secreted the prince Kalyanavarman with a few ministers' sons to a place called Pampa in the Vindhyas, while he himself in various disguises watched an opportunity to regain the throne for the prince. Some years passed before he could muster forces and defeat the traitor. At last Kalyanavarman was installed on the Magadha throne. The drama was staged on the occasion of his coronation.
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