Jnana Peetha Awardee Dr.Girish Karnads play Hayavadana set against the unresolved struggle between male intellect and manliness, subtly reflects the female instinctive dual desire for both male intellect and manliness. Devadatta, intellect personified and Kapila, with physical prowess are best friends. They portray contrasting personalities exhibiting their respective incompleteness. Devadatta is charmed by astounding beauty Padmini. True friend Kapila honestly glorifies Devadattas intellect and fame and successfully helps Devadatta marry Padmini. Kapilas physical charm and uninhibited friendly nature slowly lure Padmini. Devadatta remembers his having vowed once to Goddess Kali that he would offer his head if Kali blessed him tie the nuptial knot with Padmini. To complete his vow, he offers his head to Kali. Kapila finds Devadatta beheaded in front of Kali. Unable to sustain the loss of his friend, Kapila proves his friendship and offers his head to Kali. Padmini finds both her husband and his friend dead strangely before Kali. She fervently prays Kali to grant life to dead friends. Moved by Padminis prayer, Kali blesses Padmini and suggests joining severed heads and torsos together. Panicked Padmini follows Kalis instructions. Padmini is surprised to find Devadattas head and Kapilas body together and Kapilas head and Devadattas body together. Padmini happily goes with Devadattas head on Kapilas body believing that that combination is of Devadatta who now appears to her complete with intellect and physique both combined in one. Kapilas head with Devadattas body feels for a moment that it deserves Padmini but is forced to accept the superiority of brain to brawn. Accepting what is destined, Kapila goes on exile.
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