The Nayika Bhava


The Nayika Bhava

The shastras have classified the basic mental status of woman, the Nayika, into Eight divisions, called Ashtanayika bhavas. These divisions portray the heroine in different situations, express different feelings, sentiments & reactions.

The Ashtanayika bhava are

  • Abhisarika
  • Kalahantarika
  • Khandita
  • Proshitapathika
  • Swadheenapathika
  • Vasakasajjika
  • Virahotkantita
  • Vipralabda

Abhisarika – She is the one who boldly goes out to meet her lover.

Kalahantarika – She is the one who is repenting her hastiness in quarrelling with her lover, which has resulted in their separation.

Khandita – She is the one who is angry with her lover for causing disappointment.

Proshitapathika – She is the one who is suffering in the absence of her beloved, who is away on a long journey.

Swadheenapathika – She is the one who is proud of her husband’s or beloved’s love and loyalty.

Vasakasajjika – She is the one who is preparing for the arrival of her beloved, by decorating herself and her surroundings. to provide a pleasant welcome to her lover.

Virahotkantita – She is the one who is separated from her lover & is yearning for reunion.

Vipralabda – She is the one who is disappointed that her lover has not turned up at the tryst as he promised.

Other classifications of the Nayika bhava are

Mugdha – Inexperienced in love.

Madhya – Partly Experienced in love.

Pragalbha – Matured in the art of love.

This Pragalbha Nayika is further classified as

  • Dheera
  • Adheera
  • Dheeraadheera

Sweeya – Married & faithful to her husband.

Parakeeya – Married but in love with another man.

Samanya – A free woman, who truly belongs to any man for a price.

Jyeshta – The preferred one.

Kanishta – The other woman.

Further classifications are

Uttama – Self-controlled & tolerant.

Madhyama – Literally the middle one, who gives as she gets.

Adhama – Literally the low one, who has no self restraint.

The Companion to the Nayika plays an important role in any padam, javali or Ashtapadi. This Companion is the one to whom the Nayika will convey her feelings, she is the one who will take the message,if any, from the nayika to the nayaka, she is the one who will sort out the differences between the nayika & the nayaka. This companion is usually a girl who is close to the Nayika.

The classification of the Companion is as follows.

  • Daasi – Servant
  • Sakhi – Friend
  • Kaaroo – Woman from a lower caste
  • Chatriya – Step Sister
  • Prativamshini – Neighbor
  • Lindini – Saint
  • Shilpani – Artist
  • Swaa – Nayika herself as a messenger


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