Tag Archives: Gita Govinda

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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Riz Ahmed, Immigration, Suketu Mehta and me, Identity Politics, and Varun and Sidharth’s “shining future”

21 Sep

riz-ahmedRiz Ahmed is the first man of Asian descent to win an acting Emmy Getty Images

Suketu Mehta’ conclusions in “This Land is Their Land” (see: Suketu Mehta in Foreign Policy addendum, whole text) echo some of my points on immigration in Greece, Britain, U.S. and everywhere (see: It’s immigration, “stupid”: the United States’ best-kept secret…streams of thought on a hot Sunday afternoon).

Me:

“It’s when immigrant/migrants/refugees are leaving that you should worry.

“My often-stated opinion that the West has both the resources and the historical obligation to take in every-body that needs and wants to come still holds.  That the European Union’s migration agreement with Turkey marked people fleeing a country in the condition of Afghanistan’s as “economic migrants” was a scandal.  But when you’ve got a problem with Poles — whit-er, better-educated, harder-working, more Christian, cuter, better-mannered and less binge-drinking than you — then you really do have a problem…

polish-scum

“America’s best-kept secret, despite what trailer trash Donald Trump and his crew tell you, is that immigrants are a self-selecting group of already highly motivated people who are connected and aware enough to have heard that things are better where you are.  And they’re not coming to take that from you; they’re coming to improve it.  They’re the A-list crew that crashes your party because they’ve heard your parties are the ones to crash and in the process makes them even more of the hottest ticket in town.  It’s a self-fufilling, auto-re-perpetuating process.

“New York, in other words.”

“Olympian Zeus, king of the gods, will tear your head off if you’re unwelcoming to the stranger — or worse, for a Greek, make you ugly — so you better watch out. He comes in disguise to test you. Like the angels to Abraham.”

“So…wooops…there they are. Here they come! They’ve arrived. And they’ve instantly made Greece a more interesting place. And interesting is strong. And strength is freedom.”

And Mehta:

“Countries that accept immigrants, like Canada, are doing better than countries that don’t, like Japan. But whether Trump or May or Orban likes it or not, immigrants will keep coming, to pursue happiness and a better life for their children. To the people who voted for them: Do not fear the newcomers. Many are young and will pay the pensions for the elderly, who are living longer than ever before. They will bring energy with them, for no one has more enterprise than someone who has left their distant home to make the difficult journey here, whether they’ve come legally or not. And given basic opportunities, they will be better behaved than the youth in the lands they move to, because immigrants in most countries have lower crime rates than the native-born. They will create jobs. They will cook and dance and write in new and exciting ways. They will make their new countries richer, in all senses of the word. The immigrant armada that is coming to your shores is actually a rescue fleet.[My emphases]

Was that one of the subtexts or even the skeletal structure of “The Night of…”, the brilliant mini-series and incredible ethnographic essay on New York from HBO for which Ahmed won his Emmy: good, criminally uninclined, son of hard-working Pakistani immigrant parents from Jackson Heights, with …a shining shining future
Sadda bright si (see full video at bottom), gets led to his doom by decadent white girl? or is he a good Muslim boy led astray by Hindu seductress disguised as lawyer who then screws herself in the process?  (I have to admit that the sexual scratch-marks on the back of Ahmed’s character, Naz, that come to light in one courtroom scene put me in mind of the Gita Govinda.)  Or more misogynist than that even: that women — period. — are trouble?

‘The Lovers Radha and Krishna in a Palm Grove’; miniature painting from the ‘Tehri Garhwal’ <i>Gita ­Govinda</i> (Song of the Cowherds), Punjab Hills, kingdom of Kangra or Guler, circa 1775–1780

Some of the frustrating contradictions of identity politics in the Washington Post‘s Riz Ahmed makes history as the first South Asian man to win an Emmy acting award.  If Riz Ahmed wants to not be type-cast as a Muslim or South Asian man every time he gets a role, but to eventually just play a character called “Dave”, then he’s going to need his fans’ help and have them not get apoplectically happy because he’s the first “Asian” (whatever that means) to win an Emmy, but because he’s a great actor who won an Emmy.

In the meantime, tabrik.

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