Hayavadana

by

Girish Karnad

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Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Oxford edition of Hayavadana published in 1976.
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Act 1 Quotes

O single-tusked destroyer of incompleteness, we pay homage to you and start our play.

Related Characters: The Bhagavata (speaker)
Related Symbols: Masks
Page Number: 1
Explanation and Analysis:

Could it be that this Image of purity and Holiness, this Mangala-moorty, intends to signify by his very appearance that the completeness of God is something no poor mortal can comprehend?

Related Characters: The Bhagavata (speaker)
Page Number: 1
Explanation and Analysis:

BHAGAVATA: Hayavadana, what's written on our foreheads cannot be altered.

HAYAVADANA: [slapping himself on the forehead] But what a forehead! What a forehead! If it was a forehead like yours, I would have accepted anything. But this! I have tried to accept my fate. My personal life has naturally been blameless. So I took interest in the social life of the Nation—Civics, Politics, Patriotism, Nationalism, Indianization, the Socialist Pattern of Society. . . I have tried everything! But where's my society? Where? You must help me to become a complete man, Bhagavata Sir. But how? What can I do?

Related Characters: The Bhagavata (speaker), Hayavadana (speaker)
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:

Two friends there were—one mind, one heart. They saw a girl and forgot themselves. But they could not understand the song she sang.

Related Characters: The Bhagavata (speaker), Devadatta, Kapila, Padmini
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:

Why should love stick to the sap of a single body? When the stem is drunk with the thick yearning of the many-petalled, many-flowered lantana, why should it be tied down to the relation of a single flower?

Related Characters: Female chorus (speaker), Padmini
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:

[Devadatta enters and sits on the chair. He is a slender, delicate-looking person and is wearing a pale-coloured mask. He is lost in thought. Kapila enters. He is powerfully built and wears a dark mask.]

Related Characters: Devadatta, Kapila
Related Symbols: Masks
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:

DEVADATTA: Kapila, with you as my witness I swear, if I ever get her as my wife, I’ll sacrifice my two arms to the goddess Kali. I’ll sacrifice my head to Lord Rudra…

KAPILA: Ts! Ts! [Aside.] This is a serious situation.

Related Characters: Devadatta (speaker), Kapila (speaker), Padmini
Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:

Devadatta, my friend, I confess to you I’m feeling uneasy. You are a gentle soul. You can’t bear a bitter word or an evil thought. But this one is fast as lightning—and as sharp. She is not for the likes of you. What she needs is a man of steel.

Related Characters: Kapila (speaker), Devadatta, Padmini
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:

Why do you tremble, heart? Why do you cringe like a touch-me-not bush through which a snake has passed?

The sun rests his head on the Fortunate Lady’s flower.

And the head is bidding good-bye to the heart.

Related Characters: The Bhagavata (speaker), Devadatta, Kapila, Padmini
Page Number: 24-25
Explanation and Analysis:

What a good mix!

No more tricks!

Is this one that

or that one this?

Related Characters: Devadatta (speaker), Kapila (speaker), Padmini (speaker)
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:

KAPILA. [Raising his right hand.] This is the hand that accepted her at the wedding. This is the body she’s lived with all these months. And the child she’s carrying is the seed of this body.

Related Characters: Kapila (speaker), Devadatta, Padmini
Page Number: 36-37
Explanation and Analysis:

Of all the human limbs the topmost—in position as well as in importance—is the head. I have Devadatta’s head, and it follows that I am Devadatta.

Related Characters: Devadatta (speaker), Kapila, Padmini
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 2 Quotes

You know, I’d always thought one had to use one’s brains while wrestling or fencing or swimming. But this body just doesn’t wait for thoughts—it acts!

Related Characters: Devadatta (speaker), Kapila
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:

Kapila? What could he be doing now? Where could he be? Could his body be fair still, and his face dark? [Long pause.] Devadatta changes. Kapila changes. And me?

Related Characters: Padmini (speaker), Devadatta, Kapila
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:

DOLL II: Especially last night—I mean—that dream…

DOLL I: Tut-tut—One shouldn't talk about such things!

DOLL II: It was so shameless…

DOLL I: I said be quiet…

DOLL II: Honestly! The way they…

DOLL I: Look, if we must talk about it, let me.

DOLL II: You didn't want to talk about it. So…

Related Characters: Dolls (speaker), Kapila, Padmini
Page Number: 51
Explanation and Analysis:

KAPILA: The moment it came to me, a war started between us.

PADMINI: And who won?

KAPILA: I did.

PADMINI: The head always wins, doesn’t it?

Related Characters: Kapila (speaker), Padmini (speaker), Devadatta
Page Number: 55
Explanation and Analysis:

Isn’t that surprising? That the body should have its own ghosts—its own memories?

Related Characters: Kapila (speaker), Devadatta, Padmini
Page Number: 57
Explanation and Analysis:

I know it in my blood you couldn’t have lived together. Because you knew death you died in each other’s arms. You could only have lived ripping each other to pieces. I had to drive you to death. You forgave each other, but again—left me out.

Related Characters: Padmini (speaker), Devadatta, Kapila
Page Number: 62
Explanation and Analysis:

That’s why I sing all these patriotic songs—and the National Anthem! That particularly! I have noticed that the people singing the National Anthem always seem to have ruined their voices—So I try.

Related Characters: Hayavadana (speaker)
Page Number: 69
Explanation and Analysis:

What’s there in a song, Hayavadana? The real beauty lies in the child’s laughter—in the innocent joy of that laughter. No tragedy can touch it.

Related Characters: The Bhagavata (speaker), Hayavadana, Boy
Page Number: 70
Explanation and Analysis:
No matches.