Veṇīsaṃhāra is a drama in six acts, composed by Bhaṭṭa Nārāyaṇa. It derives its name from the ferocious vow of Bhīma. Bhīma, enraged by the humiliation of Draupadī in the court of Kauravas, vows to drink the blood of Duśśāsana, break the thigh of Duryodhana, and smear Draupadī’s hair with that blood. Veṇīsaṃhāra is known for its forceful verses, with the vīrarasa dominant through most of the play.
The third act of this drama is prescribed for study as part of the fourth level (Samartha) examinations of the Samskrita Bhasha Pracharini Sabha, Chittoor. The act begins with an interlude wherein a pair of demons describe the scene of the Mahabharata war at a point where Droṇa has just been killed. There is a description of the lamentation of Aśvatthāman on learning of the death of his father, followed by a scene where Duryodhana and Karṇa converse, casting aspersions on the motives of the dead preceptor. Kṛpācārya suggests Duryodhana to appoint Aśvatthāman as the commander of the army, and utilise his anger for the destruction of enemies. However, Duryodhana refuses, saying that the post has been assigned to Karṇa. Aśvatthāman and Karṇa have a bitter war of words, insulting each other, and their fight is broken only by the sounds of Bhīma challenging the Kaurava warriors to prevent him from tearing Duśśāsana apart and drinking his blood. The scene ends with everybody rushing to try and save Duśśāsana.
In these audio lectures, Ms. Visalakshi Sankaran takes us through these scenes with aplomb, explaining the text with admirable simplicity in Tamil. Her lectures delight the students with their clarity, and inspire them with her passion for the subject and language. These lectures are sure to be useful not only for the students preparing for examinations, but also for Sanskrit enthusiasts who would like to gain exposure to the beautiful world of Samskrita literature.
We thank Ms. Visalakshi Sankaran for permitting Vyoma-Samskrta-Pathasala to share these valuable resources with our students.