The article is dedicated to the use of the western term 'drama' in studies of the Ancient Indian theatre. The aim of this paper is to demonstrate that the term which may be apt to define the classic Sanskrit theatrical works is inadequate for designating the performances of the early scenic tradition. The original forms of the Indian theatre were not actually dramas. That is why the universally used European category cannot fully suit as its definition. It is possible to single out at least two important features that distinguish the ancient forms of Indian theatre from what modern European aesthetics know as drama. First, it was oriented on a sacral not aesthetic result and therefore the basic characteristic of the drama - the overall aesthetic value of the performance - was lacking. Second, this was a theatre where the stage performance played the central role and did not require the presence of fixed literary text, to which, strictly speaking, the name of drama is traditionally applied.