Nayak and Nayika

Nayak and Nayika Bhed (Forms of Hero and Heroine)

The most well-known part of “Kavya Shastra” is the topic of forms of hero-heroine. Vibhava has been considered to be the cause of rasa in the process of “Rasotpatti” (evocation of emotion). There are two types of Vibhava - Alamban and Uddipan. The main Alamban Vibhav that evokes Rasa is “Nayak and Nayika”. 

Nayak (Hero)

Acharya Vishwanath Kaviraj has described heroes in the following manner - A man who is generous, courteous, youthful, self-sufficient, smart, intelligent is a Nayak. A Nayak has eight “Satvik” traits - Shobha, Vilaas, Madhurya, Gambhir, Sthairya, Tez, Lalit, and Audarya.

Shobha: The truthful spirit of the protagonist with infinite enthusiasm, sharp mindedness combined with affection, who despises lowly behaviour, and competes with the mighty.

Vilaas: Actions such as patience, walking like a lion, talking with a slight smile, etc. of the hero is known as Vilaas.

Madhurya: A hero who does not let nervousness come in the mind even when a distractive situation arises.

Gambhir: Remaining still in spite of fear, grief, anger, joy, etc is known as Gambhir.

Sthairya: Despite being faced with frightening situations, being unfettered is known as Sthairya.

Tez: To not tolerate disrespect and ill-behaviour is known as Tez.

Lalit: Being aesthetic in terms of clothing, being soft yet well-spoken is known as Lalit.

Audarya: Treating everyone with kindness and viewing everyone as equals is known as Audarya. 

Nayak Bhed (Categorisation of Heroes)

The categorisation of Nayak is on the basis of swabhaav (behaviour), dharm (duty), and avastha (situation/state).

Swabhaav (behaviour) 

According to behaviour, there are four types of Nayak - Dheerudaat, Dheerodatt, Dheerlalit, and Dheerprashant.

Dheerudaat: One who is free from all vices, has forgiveness in him, and is constant in terms of emotions is known as Dheerudaat. He is humble, and has feelings of kindness and generosity as well. 

Example: Sri Ramachandra.

Dheerodatt: One who is elusive, fickle minded, greedy, boastful is known as Dheerodatt. 

Example: Raavan, Kans, etc. 

Dheerlalit: One who is free from worry and has a soft nature, and skilled in arts is known as Dheerlalit. 

Example: Sri Krishna, King Udayant.

Dheerprashant: One is known to be calm, thankful, and generous amidst all situations. 

Example: Sudama.

Dharm (Duty)

According to duty, there are three types - Pati, Uppati, and Vaishik.

Pati: There are five types - Anbhigya, Dakshan, Anukul, Shat, and Drisht. Anbhigya is one who has no knowledge of the “shringar” of a woman. Anukul is one who is so loyal to his lover that he doesn’t think of any other woman. Dakshin is one who has the same love despite having several wives. In this case, all wives think that the man loves her the most. Shat is one who is with another woman but hides it from his wife and sweet talks her into being an ideal man. Drisht is one who despite committing mistakes has no shame, but remains calm and courteous, and lies without hesitation. 

Uppati: Uppati is one who is attracted to other women despite having a lover. He is attracted to any beautiful woman. There are two types - Vachan chatur and Kriya chatur. Vachan chatur is one who uses words to convince his lover of him being perfect, whereas Kriya chatur is one who tricks his wife/lover. 

Vaishik: Vaishik is one who is shameless and indulges in prostituiton.

Avastha (situation/state)

According to the situation, there are two types - Maani and Proshit

Maani: A man who on being insulted by someone feels bad and takes it to heart is known as Maani.

Proshit: A man who, on separation from his beloved, his upset is known as Proshit. 

Nayika (Heroine)

A lady who induces the feeling of attraction is known as Nayika. The traits of a Nayika are - youthful, able, smart, thankful, generous, etc. It is said that a beautiful, youthful lady is one who can impress the Nayak. However, concepts of youth and beauty can not be defined for it depends on the perspective of the Nayak. The love between Nayak and Nayika is said to happen naturally. 

Nayika Bhed (Categorisation of Heroines)

Nayika is divided into the following categories - Dharm (duty), Avastha (situation), Aayu (age), Prakriti (nature), Jaati (type).

Dharm (duty)

According to duty, there are three types - Swakiya, Parkiya, and Samanya

Swakiya: One who is always kind, shy, courteous towards her lover, and is engrossed in house work. She is devoted to her lover and doesn’t think of other men. There are three types of Swakiya Nayika (distinction on the basis of age) - Mughda, Madhya, and Pragalbha.

Mughda: One who has just explored her new found youth and feelings of attraction is Mughda. She is slightly hesitant and shy. 

Madhya: One who has equal feelings of attraction, lust, and shyness. She is not shy and evasive of her lover being physically close to her.

Pragalbha: One who has no feelings of shyness, no qualms of societal rules and judgements is known as Pragalbha. Despite being in love, her lustful desires aren’t fulfilled. 

Parkiya: One who secretly is in love with another man/other men. There are two types of Parkiya Nayikas - Oodha (a married woman who is not in love with her husband and has an extra-marital affair with another man), and Anoodha (one who is not married yet is in love with another man).

Samanya: One who sells her youth to make money is known as Samanya. Some people have identified Samanya into two types - Janani Adhina (one who is subject to her mother’s orders yet works) and Swatantra (one who is independent and works).

Jaati Bhed (Type)

According to Jaati-bhed, there are four types - Padmini, Chitrini, Shankini, and Hastini.

Padmini: One who is beautiful, and is as fragrant as a Lotus, and is engaged in music, dance, and other art forms. 

Chitrini: One is skilled in the arts, who likes to be humorous once in a while, and who is also coy. She has beautiful features like big eyes, sharp nose, etc.

Shankini: One whose body language shows arrogance, and anger. Her neck has three lines like a shell. 

Hastini: One who has a heavy body structure and is loud and aggressive. 

Prakriti (nature)

According to nature, there are three types - Uttama, Madhyama, and Adhma

Uttama: Uttama is one who is bound by her duty at all times and puts her best foot forward for her lover. She always looks out for her lover no matter what the circumstance is.

Madhyama: Madhyama is one who loves her husband, but is doubtful of his actions, words, and other tendencies. Unlike Uttama, she doesn’t hide her lover’s vices. She addresses them and reprimands him for the same.

Adhma: Adhma is one who gets angry on her lover without any reason, thus creating negativity. She uses hurtful words to put him down. Despite all the love he gives her, she insults him. 

Avastha (situation/state)

According to situation, there are eight types - Swadheenpatika, Vasaksajja, Abhisarika, Vipralabdha, Virah-Utkanthita, Proshitpatika, Khandita, and Kalhaantarita

Swadheenpatika: One who is filled with love and does not leave her husband. 

Vasaksajja: One who dresses up for (lustful) reunion with her lover.

Abhisarika: One who, despite work, goes to meet her lover at the meeting spot. She has no qualms about it.

Vipralabhdha: One who is at a loss of words out of sadness on not finding her lover at the meeting spot.

Virah-Utkanthita: One who starts worrying about not finding her lover at the meeting spot.

Proshitpatika: One who is upset due to separating from her lover. She no longer dresses up or beautifies herself.

Khandita: One who is heartbroken on seeing her husband on the very next morning.

Kalhaantarita: One who first insults the husband, and then is grieving on him leaving her.

However, according to some scholars, there are two more states of a Nayika, which are - Pravatsakpatika, and Aagatpatika

Pravatsakpatika: One who is extremely upset on knowing that her lover is going elsewhere.

Aagatpatika: One who expresses joy in finding that her lover is returning.

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Q. Who is a Nayak?
Ans. A ‘Nayak’ is said to be the male protagonist. In other words, a Nayak is the hero of any performance. Some virtues of a Nayak include being strong-willed, kind-hearted, generous, brave, etc. Examples of Nayak include Lord Rama, Lord Krishna, etc.
Q. Who is a Nayika?
Ans. A ‘Nayika’ is said to be the female protagonist. In other words, a Nayika is the heroine of any performance. Some virtues of a Nayika include being graceful, poised, elegant, calm, etc. Examples of Nayika include Radha, Meera, Sita, etc.
Q. What are the types of Nayika?
Ans. A ‘Nayika’ has been categorised on the basis of the following traits - Prakriti (nature) - Uttama, Madhyama, and Pragalbha Dharm (duty) - Swakiya, Parkiya, and Samanya. Jaati (personality types) - Hastini, Padmini, Chitrani, and Shankhini. Avastha (situation based, also known as Ashtanayika) - Swadheenpatika, Vasaksajja, Abhisarika, Vipralabdha, Virah-Utkanthita, Proshitpatika, Khandita, and Kalhaantarita.
Q. What are the types of Nayak?
Ans. A ‘Nayak’ has been categorised on the basis of the following traits - Swabhav (behaviour) - Dheerlalit, Dheerprashant, Dheerodatt, and Dheeruddhaat. Dharm (duty) - Pati, Uppati, and Vaishak. Avastha (situation) - Maani and Proshit.

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