CITRASŪTRAM VIṢṆUDHARMOTTARA PURĀṆA
(KMS No 32)
Edited and Translated by: PARUL DAVE MUKHERJI
2001, xlv+293pp., line drawings,
bibl., gloss., index, ISBN:81-208-1805-9, Rs.750(HB).
The Citrasūtra belongs to the
Viṣṇudharmottra Purāṇa, Kāṇḍa III, Chapters 35-43. The Purāṇas - Agni,
Viṣṇu, Matsya and Mārkaṇḍeya - provide a necessary bridge between the
ritual texts and the texts of the particular arts. The Purāṇas are
neither a sub-stream of popular discourse as considered by some nor
are they narratives of complex mythologies and legends manifesting
flights of poetic imagination or shrouding social histories only.
Indeed they are another mode of communicating the same ontological and
epistemological concerns of the Vedas and the Upniṣads and the
systematization of method of the Brāhmaṇas as they provide another
method of relating the abstract and the concrete, the universal and
the specific, the philosophic and the artistic. The chapters on the
arts in the Purāṇa have to be comprehended against the larger
concerns. There is the endeavour to contain multi-dimensions of
concepts and meanings through narrative myth and its transformation
into a vocabulary of formal elements in the arts, singly and together.
The Viṣṇudharmottara Purāṇa occupies
a predominant position among the Upapurāṇas and is also related to the
discourse within the Purāṇas. Moreover it is central to the discourse
on the arts, both preceding and succeeding it. The voluminous text can
be viewed only within the framework of the Purāṇas or it can be placed
through Khaṇḍa III in the mainstream of the discourse on the arts from
the Nātyaśāstra to the medieval texts. Its contents can be profitably
compared with those of both its predecessors as also successors.
The Citrasūtra constitutes an
important cluster in the larger concerns of the Viṣṇudharmottara
Purāṇa on both the nature of art, artistic expression and
communication as also its insistence on establishing a meaningful
interdependence and inter-relationship between and among the arts.