NAYIKAS: Love is a powerful emotion that inspired Vedic poets, Puranic writers down to the modern times. It is also expressed in fine arts such as natya, drawings, images and sculptures etc. When one sees a portrayal of Radharani and Krishn
a, their love-lore and dalliance come to the mind. Theme of love has been part of Puranic lore. Simultaneously, the concept ‘nayika’ is equally central to the expression of love.
The proximate South Indian term is ‘nayaki’ meaning heroine as opposed the male hero, the ‘nayaka.’ More than over, the female nayika is the romantic heroine portraying shringara rasa nayika. That is the dramatic and colourful mood of love. They have deep and penetrating gazes, one that seeks enquiry beyond their clothes, hairstyles and alankara. Indeed Shringara rasa nayika concept gave colourful three dimension images to written words. It went beyond the sensual words and arts to the purely spiritual. Nayika went on to become an important spiritual metaphor – all Nayikas are essentially Jivatmas, in pursuit of the male Nayaka, the Paramatma. This is picturisation of bhakti. Unless this spiritual concept is understood, one adds vulgarism to their distorted picture of Nayikas. A writing or a picture which severs the Jivatman-Paramatman connection renders the Nayika to be an object.
BHARATANATYAM: Bharatanatyam has a divine origin. Brahma was asked to create a Veda that would be understood by one and all, as Kali Yuga was nearing: "When the universe was overcome by desire, greed, jealousy and anger, when people became slaves of pleasure and pain, Brahma was moved to create a form of entertainment seen and heard and understood by everybody at the same time, as people could no longer understand the mystic and ambiguous scriptures".
Bharata natyam was created "not merely for pleasure, but to embody the cosmic relationships and expressions (bhava) for all the worlds. So this performing art follows the worlds' movements in all activities and states: work and leisure, calm and laughter, fight and wars. It will confer righteousness onto the righteous, a moral restraint for the unruly, and discipline for those who are guided by rule. It will teach wisdom both to the ignorant and the learned. It will provide entertainment for kings, and it will console the miserable ones. Natya will express all the moods and passions of the soul. It will incorporate all kinds of the deeds: the noble, the mediocre and the mean"
Thus Brahma created Natya Veda as the Panchama Veda or the fifth Veda. This is a quintessence of the main four Vedas. It combined Pathya or words of Rig Veda, Abhinaya or communicative elements of the body movements of Yajur Veda, geetham or music and chant of Samaveda, and rasam or vital sentiment and emotional element of Atharvaveda. The Natya Veda was then assigned over to Bharata Muni to handed over to the material world. Bharata instructed the Gandharvas and Asparas of Indra’s court to perform natya before Lord Shiva. The Lord asks Thandu Maharishi to develop. That became the Thandava taking after the name of Thadu rishi. Thandava then became Shiva’s Cosmic Dance. Lord Shiva then imparts this knowledge to Mother Parvathi as Lasya Natya. Parvathi taught it Usha, the daughter of Banasura. Usha then passed it on to the gopis of Dwarka. The gopis then taught the women of Sowrashtra. Thus Natya Shastra came to be the fundamental authority on the technique of classical Indian dances, especially the Bharanatyam, Kuchipudi and Mohiniattam. The name Bharatanatyam is also attributed to Bharata Muni. In Bharatanaytam dance performance, various Nayika moods and bhava are expressed by graceful body movements.
ASHTAKA NAYIKA is the woman in love who shows the superior emotions by exhibiting the ups and downs bhava. ‘Ashta Nayika’ are the eight ‘nayikas’ exhibiting the eight emotions or ‘bhavas’ as described in ancient literature. Nayika-bheda are the Ashta Nayika classifications appearing in Natya Shahstra authored by Bharata of the 2nd century BC. These are elaborated in works such as Dasarupaka of the 10th century and Sahityadarpana of the 14th century. Kamashastra texts such as Anangaranga and Smaradipika gives it a poetic and erotic treatment.
The Nayikas are well depicted in Indian art and sculptures. They are brought to the public by the performing arts such as Bhartha Natyam, Kathakali and Mohiniyattam. Theru Kuthu or street folk songs and dramas have a crude way of expressing the bhavas. These emotions are emotionally described Jayadeva’s Gita Govinda in the context of Radharani and Sri Krishna as lovers. Through his poetry He blended all the eight bhavas in his poetry to set the stage for Radha-Krishna divine romance and union.
Jayadeva as well as many writings present Radharani’s emotions as one of varying moods but intense love for the Lover. There are no mincing of words of Radha experiencing ecstasy of being in union with Him. At the same time she expresses the pain of separation in her own poetic way. Between one extreme and the other she expresses herself as all of the Nayikas. Radha is also a Shringara Nayika.
Abhisarika – The Nayika here means ‘one who moves’ meaning the heroine who sets aside her modesty and moves out of her house against convention to secretly meet her Lover. Radha is many times over depicted to leave her house to the tryst, taking all kinds of risks. She is hardly worried about wild creatures in the darkness of the forest. Clouds, rain, thunder and lightning do not mean anything to her. She is full of hope and full of devotion. Her mind is pointed to that one destination from where the melody of the flute emanates. She is always in her hurry to meet her Lover.
Vasaka sajja – Means ‘one dressed up for union’ and one that awaits the lover returning from a long journey. The Nayika here is depicted is as one waiting in the bed chamber filled with lotus and garlands or the grass banks of Yamuna. Radha is decorated and fully prepared to meet her lover as she is in eager expectation of His love’s pleasure. Kamadeva and Rati are in the air. Radha hears the flute playing and collects flowers and strings them into a garland. And she waits as the flute sound is nearing.
Vipralbdha – The Nayika here means ‘one deceived by her lover’ and one who waits long hours for the lover. In anger they dishevel their hair, even throwing away jewelry. The Lover has breached his promise and anger is expressed such. Here the lover has promised a tryst and breaks the promise. Radha is there at the appointed time and appointed place. All she gets to see is the passing river breeze. She experiences the pain of being made to wait.
Virahot kanthika – Means ‘one distressed by separation’ and thus distressed by it. She is pining and yearning for her beloved. The Lover may be having his own chores or obligations and fails to turn up. Radha waits for him; no matter what, the other gopis are unable to convince her to retire. She sits and stands by the bed. She is in and out of the pavilion. Or she is simply walking aimlessly around the kadamba tree. She sees if the birds bring her any message. Her ears are sharpened to hear a flute sounding in the air. In such waiting, Radha experiences immense pain.
Khandita – Tha Nayika here means ‘one enraged with the lover’ as he is late. She hurls harsh words at him and he turns away. The anger and frustration makes her do that. This is a Radha-Krishna lila. Radha has to show her lover that she is offended. He could be away on one of his love-jaunts and Radha is full of pride and resentment. She refuses to greet the Lover. So He deserved that rebuke for his shortcomings. Offended by this rudeness, the Lover leaves. This leaves Radha repenting her petulance. This is only a temporary show, for hardly seconds after she is locked in His arms eternally.
Kalah antarita – Means ‘one separated by a misunderstanding or quarrel’. So the lovers are separated for a while. Radha depicts herself to be disheartened. She is full of regret and remorse at having turned away her lover. Does he understand her body-language or the language of her tears? She becomes heartsick. She repents her actions and her words. But then again she puts up that little drama to refuse his compromising advances. She becomes shringara nayika.
Proshita patita – The Nayika here means ‘one with a sojourning lover’. Radha is often under painful situations where her Lover is gone away on some chore. He does not return on the day she expects. So she sits and waits for his return. She is in a kind of a mourning even though she knows her lover often plays the hide seek game. It is another of the Lovers’ lila.
Swadhina bhartika – Means ‘one having lover in subjection’. The Nayika is one who is loved by the Lover and she controls him. The lover is subjugated by her intense love and devotion. He is a slave to her pleasing qualities. The beloved returns and He knows Radha’s power over him, for he surrenders and asks for forgiveness in His own way. Helping her with solah shringar, mahendi on legs and hands are part of the Nayika. In a way it is implied commanding of love. Throughout Radha has been the commanding one. As his pleasure potency the Lover knows that too. It is part of their raas leela. After their divine but fierce coitus, all she needed was a sharp look and the Lover had to arrange her disarrayed makeup.
VRINDAVAN BHARATA NATIYAM: What had been the classification of Nayikas in natiyam had been the eight kinds of nayikas of Radha’s divine dance according to her state of mind and the Lover’s needs. At each instance her exposition of the nayika bheda expressed an attitude and psychological bent of mind. Often she was backed up by the Lovers musical instrument, the divine flute which complemented the dance steps. They had been the godly qualities expected from mortals; qualities of a normal mortal in extreme love or just Godly qualities.
FIERCE AND VIOLENT NAYIKAS: ‘Canda’ means ‘fiery, fierce and violent.’ This name is attached to Durga’s manifestation to portray a fierce or violent character. They are Athi-Canda; Camunda - a yogini of the Kalika Purana, a Navadurga and a Saptamatrika; Canda - a yogini of the Kalika Purana; Candanayika -a yogini of the Kalika Purana; Candavati -a yogini of the Kalika Purana; Candroga -a yogini of the Kalika Purana; Pracanda and Ugracanda or Ugra, a yogini of the Kalika Purana.
ILLICIT LOVE NAYIKAS: In ancient Indian society sexuality was not defined. Some minor deities, therefore, personified illicit love, if that could be defined spiritually. It could be a symbolical expression of what may or may not be done. The nayikas are Aruna, Balini, Jayini, Kameshvari, Kaulesi, Medini, Sarvesvari and Vimal.
KAMA SUTRA NAYIKAS: Another use of the term nayika refers to real-life women who, as the Kama Sutra states, may be approached and joined by men without such 'intercourse' being regarded as sin; hinting at the fact that they are so-called sacred or ritual prostitutes.
KAMA SUTRA: The Chapter on ‘Women, Types of Women to Marry, Avoid and be Friends’ with elaborates the type of nayikas. They are of three kinds: Maids, Women twice married and Public women. Gonikaputra adds a fourth kind – a woman who is resorted to on some special occasion even though she be previously married to another. ‘Special occasion’ is briefed as a self-willed women enjoyed by others and could be resorted without violation of dharma; she could be attended to without danger; one who loves ardently and knows all the weak points and be willing to be united without tarnishing reputation.
Charanya notes of the fifth kind of Nayika kept by a ‘minister’, one who repairs to him occasionally; she is also a widow who accomplishes the purpose of a man. Suvarnanabha notes of the sixth kind Nayika, a woman who passes the life of an ascetic and in a condition of a widow. Ghotamukha notes of a seventh Nayika kind, the daughter of a public women who is still a virgin. The eight kind of Nayika is noted by Gonardiya in a doctrine that any woman born of good family, and one who has come of age. Notwithstanding the author of Kamasutra, Vatsayana is of the opinion that are are 4 kinds of Nayikas: the maid, the twice married women, the public woman and the woman resorted for a special purpose.
The following despicable Nayikas are not to be enjoyed: a leper, lunatic, outcaste, one who reveals secrets, one who expresses sexual desire openly, one who is extremely white or black, a near relation, a female friend, an ascetic and wife of a relation.
Nyikas to be avoided are ‘friends’ who have played in the dust, ie childhood, one bound by an obligation, one of the same disposition, a fellow student, one acquainted with secrets and faults, child of a nurse, one who is brought up an hereditary friend. Qualities of a friend: telling the truth; those not changed by time; favourable to designs, firm, free from covetousness; not capable of being gained over, not revealing secrets.