Vishakhadatta’s Mudrarakshasa (1948)


Vishakhadatta’s Mudrarakshasa (1948)


The first English translation of a classical Sanskrit play about the rise of Chandragupta Maurya, aided by Chanakya.

Title: Vishakhadatta’s Mudrarakshasa

Author: Vishakhadatta, Prof R. R. Deshpande

Publisher: The Popular Book Store, Surat, 1948. Second edition.

Condition: Hardcover, boards. Fair, reading copy only. Inscription to ffep to a diplomat, hinges cracked. Text unmarked. 246pp., app 7″ by 4.5″.

About the book (from Wikipedia):

The Mudrarakshasa (Mudrārākṣasa, The Signet of the Minister) is a Sanskrit-language play by Vishakhadatta that narrates the ascent of the king Chandragupta Maurya (c. 324 – c. 297 BCE) to power in India. The play is an example of creative writing, but not entirely fictional. It is dated variously from the late 4th century to the 8th century CE.

In the play, Chanakya and Chandragupta defeat the king Nanda, in an alliance with another king Parvateshvara (or Parvatak or Purushottam).

Parvata and Chandragupta plan to divide up the old possessions of the Nanda Empire. Next, Parvata dies poisoned by a Visha Kanya and his son Malayaketu succeeds him. Malayaketu, together with Rakshasa, the last minister of Nanda, demands the inheritance of all the old territories of the Nanda. Rakshasa, has also vowed to avenge the murder of his master Nanda and kill Chandragupta for that crime. He plans an attack on his capital with the help of Malayaketu.

About the author (from Wikipedia):

Vishakhadatta (Sanskrit: विशाखदत्त) was an Indian Sanskrit poet and playwright. Although Vishakhadatta furnishes the names of his father and grandfather as Maharaja Bhaskaradatta and Maharaja Vateshvaradatta in his political drama Mudrārākṣasa, we know little else about him. Only two of his plays, the Mudrārākṣasa and the Devichandraguptam are known to us.