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 in 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.
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 is 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. There was no question of risk in her mind, only devotion and love.
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 lying in wait on 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. Her twitching eyes show her impatience. 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. They look as if they are in a mess. 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. The nayikas had been the godly qualities expected from mortals; qualities of a normal mortal in extreme love or just Godly qualities. Hari Om
Yogi Ananda Saraswathi