Tag Archives: @byzantinepower

The Ashta Nayika in Indian painting, some Krishna and Radha thoughts, Linus and Hinduism, and Byz Amb on “safe” sex

30 Dec

“The Ashta-Nayika is a collective name for eight types of nayikas or heroines as classified by Bharata in his Sanskrit treatise on performing artsNatya Shastra. The eight nayikas represent eight different states (avastha) in relationship to her hero or nayaka.[1] As archetypal states of the romantic heroine, it has been used as theme in Indian painting, literature, sculpture as well as Indian classical dance and music.”

Abhisharika-nayika takes an arduous journey on a starry night, in the dark to meet her lover. Mandi Himachal, ca 1815
Abhisarika nayika, “the heroine going to meet her lover”. She turns back to look at a golden anklet, which has just fallen off. There are also snakes below and lightning above
Khandita rebuking her lover
Proshita-patika mourning

The full taxonomy below. Assuming that Krishna and Radha come up very often as models for each of these erotic-psychic states, since their love manifests itself in almost every conceivable amorous form, from the most divine and exalted states of theosis, to the most delightfully petty states of betrayal, jealousy, spite, vengeance, longing and depressed insomnia, especially in the Gita Govinda. See also: Radha-Krishna.

1Vasakasajja Nayikaवासकसज्जा नायिकाOne dressed up for union
2Virahotkanthita Nayikaविरहोत्कंठिता नायिकाOne distressed by separation
3Svadhinabhartruka Nayikaस्वाधीनभर्तृका नायिकाOne having her husband in subjection
4Kalahantarita Nayikaकलहांतरिता नायिकाOne separated by quarrel
5Khandita Nayikaखंडिता नायिकाOne enraged with her lover
6Vipralabdha Nayikaविप्रलब्धा नायिकाOne deceived by her lover
7Proshitabhartruka Nayikaप्रोषितभर्तृका नायिकाOne with a sojourning husband
8Abhisarika Nayikaअभिसारिका नायिकाOne going to meet her lover

One of the most fun moment in the Gita Govinda is when Radha, suffering from Krishna’s sleep-around indiscretions with the gopis, the cow girls of Vrindavan, finds the strength to blow off Krishna, and immediately gets “hand” in the relationship, as we used to say, leaving the young prince-god stressed out, depressed and insomnia-plagued. Who hasn’t known the sweet pleasure of successfully turning the tables on somebody you’re involved with like that? I care nothing for your sufferings. as Heathcliff (or is it Catherine?) says in Wuthering Heights; or at least I’ll pretend that I don’t care. Then they reconcile and engage in some raunch-lite love, complete with bloody scratch marks on backs and bights and sloppy kisses… Great stuff, especially when we remember that this handsome young lover with a lover in his arms who’s salivating on his already sweaty, saffron-smeared chest is a manifestation of God himself, or, as the other …Gita tells us, the Very Principle of Existence Itself: “I am the taste of water.”

“And that, Charlie Brown, is what [Hindusim] is all about.”

‘Krishna and the Gopis on the Bank of the Yamuna River’; miniature painting from the ‘Tehri Garwhal’ Gita Govinda, circa 1775–1780
Krishna, Sleepless in Vrindavan. Manaku, 1730.
Henry Hopwood Phillips, @byzantinepower

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Catholic Madonnas and Orthodox Panagies, from the Byzantine Ambassador

19 Nov

Screen Shot 2017-11-19 at 5.19.37 PM

Hmmm…  Need to think about that one.  It’s right but I don’t know why — which may be the most Orthodox answer.

I do talk about the themes of the “knowing submission” of Mary in a 2015 post: The Annunciation: “And I thank you for choosing me…”

Virgin of Kazan.jpgThe Virgin of Kazan’ — Russia’s “national” Bogoroditsa

In images of the Nativity, however, there is a serious difference.  While western Virgins are shown lovingly kneeling over their newborn Son, in traditional Orthodox representations, the midwives are taking care of the Child or the kings are bent over it, while Mary is lying in bed and turned the other way in a post-partem funk, which has always seemed more psychologically honest and astute to me, in a way that perhaps only abstraction in representation can convey.

After all, Mary knows how all this started and, undistracted by angels (been there, done that), kind shepherds or generous kings, is troubled by how it will end.  Is that a female perceptiveness and sensitivity that the Byzantine Ambassador nicely calls “taciturn authority.”?  The Nativity narration most of us are familiar with, Chapter 2 of Luke, begins:

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

…but does not end with Mary’s rejoicing, but rather with the slightly jarring:

19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

19 δὲ Μαριὰμ πάντα συνετήρει τὰ ῥήματα ταῦτα συμβάλλουσα ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτῆς.

Nativity Byzantine Museum

And ‘cometh the moment, cometh the tweet’:

Screen Shot 2017-11-19 at 6.58.24 PM

Christmas fast started this past Wednesday and I totally forgot.  Other dates coming up.

Comment: nikobakos@gmail.com

 

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