Dramaturgy in the Venisamhara

by Debi Prasad Namasudra | 2016 | 70,412 words

This page relates ‘Vipralambha-Shringara (Disunion)’ of the study dealing with the Venisamhara of Bhatta Narayana and its practical application of Sanskrit Dramaturgy. The Veni-Samhara is an extraordinary drama in Sanskrit literature which revolves around the great war of Mahabharata within six Acts. This study deals with the author, background and the technical aspects, reflecting the ancient Indian tradition of dramaturgy (Natya-Shastra).

Vipralambha-Śṛṅgāra (Disunion)

Śṛṅgāra, in accordance with the situation of love, is two-fold: Love-inseparation or Vipralambha -Śṛṅgārra; and the other, love-in-union or Sambhoga-Śṛṅgārra.

Vipralambha is that sentiment of love which subsists between the loving couple when theya re not united either physically or emotionally. Sambhoga on the other hand, is a love-in-union. It should be expressly understood that union is a state of mental agreement. The co-existence or even the juxta-position of the two lovers cannot warrant the situation of love-in-union. Even if they live together there is no love-in-union or experience of the Sambhoga-Śṛṅgārra in case either of them suffers from perverseness of attitude. Sambhoga-Śṛṅgārra is a very delicate situation, and it prevails only when the couple are ad idem in toto in their amorous pursuits. In the amatory demesne, it is the Vipralambha that has a longer course to run, and is to be met with in two stages of the erotic carrer. Firstly, it prevails in the nature of want of union before love is, in fact, accomplished; and secondly, it is in the nature of disunion after love is once accomplished. The latter one is more due to circumstances which do not permit a close contact between the couple, but this stage only tends to heighten the affection and lends charm to the long-awaited union. The well-known maxim does every inch bear truth when Bharata says, “Without disunion, love does not ripen and become delicious, just as the cloth does not bear a faster coulour unless it is once tinged.”


The Vipralambha Śṛṅgāra which is due to love in its unaccomplished stage is called Pūrva-rāga or love-in-longing.

It may conveniently be called Love-in-courtship or the wooing love. It is defined as the love awakened in the hearts of the yearning couple and lasts upto the stage of consummation. It is aroused by various means: the first is the very first sight of the object of interest. The visual contact may be personal or real. It could be otherwise even in a picture, or in course of a vision. The charm of a damsel or youth can effectively cast spell over the loving heart even in absentia by hearing of the beauty or the virtues of the person, which may be possible through the agency of bards, emissaries or common friends.Even music sung by the beloved may stir the heart of the lover, and it will work as a spell by means of the auricular contact. Once three is an attraction, by whichever means it may be, the course of courtship runs in three ways: Vehement, balanced or responsive, respectively known as Prauḍha, Samañjasa and Sādhāraṇa.


The Prauḍha type of Purva-rāga prevails easily among the adult lovers whose leanings are fairly developed so that the moment it sprouts, it becomes effective and arrests the yearning heart. It starts with a strong passion (lālasā), resulting in eagerness (autsukya) and impatience (capalatā) and heavy breaths. Mental uneasiness (udvega) resulting in absent-mindness or inattention is the next consequence. Udvega is followed by sleeplessness (jagarya) which makes the body slim. Sometimes it results in an expression of sorrow (vilāpa) and causes stupor. Worry (vyāgratā) ensues thereafter and is followed by pshycial disease. Mental worry and physical illness combined together create the state of mental derangement (unmāda), and exhibit signs of incurability (mṛtih) or even a desire for self-molestation.


The next type of Purva-rāga is the the balanced one (sāmanjasa), which is mostly experienced by the adolescent lovers whose sense of amor is not boisterous, and develops in a steady way. The balanced type of Purva-rāga is said to progress in the following ten stages:

Attraction (abhilāṣa) is the first stage, a love at first sight which generates desire for meeting the object love. It encourages a lover to put an attractive appearance, approach the beloved and give mild expression to his feelings. The next stage is of anxiety (cintā) which makes one think over the expedients likely to bring in the union. It generally results in lying on a sleepless pillow with sighs and inattention as attendant results. Remembrance is the third stage which present to the mind of the longing lover pleasant pictures of short associations with his beloved and an exchange of smile and sweet talks between the. Smṛti is generally evidenced by a quiver in the body, restlessness and pallour. Constantly reminiscent state of mind makes the lover to give vent to this heart by describing the beautoues features and virtues of the object of love. This stage of extolling of virtues is called Guṇakīrtaṇa. It is displayed by thrill and horripilation, choking of throat and stammering voice. Beyond this stage the rest of the situation commencing with uneasiness (udvega) upto the last stage of signs of incurability and desire for selfmolestation are common to this type of Purva-rāga with the previous one. It may be noted here that these are the ten stages of love popularly known as the Rāga -daśās.[1]

The third type of Purva-rāga is the responsive or the mutual love. In this case, the love of one gets an earlier response from the other, with the result that it experiences only first six stages of love, and them too only in their mild form[2].


Separation is equally possible even after love is accomplished and union is one affected. The activities of life and tendencies of human nature are so varied in fact, that they cannot help presenting a plurality of reasons for causing subsequent separation. The most ordinary reason which may place a couple at distance is journey. Either of the pair may be required to leave the spot and go elsewhere on purposes of emergency. Residence at a distant place may again be voluntary or involuntary.[3] Voluntary sojourn is the one wherein a spouse is away to a short or long distance on some business. During this state almost all the Vyabhīcārin’s except joy, pride, intoxication and bashfulness may prevail in the minds of the separated couple. The other type of sojourn may be involuntary and forced by circumstances. It may be due to the orders of some superior in the interest of some noble cause or may be ex voto. It may also be a measure of political expediency as Sītā’s separation is inflicted upon by Rāmacandra. The involuntary sojourn may also be due to some supernatural force working behind it. During this state of separation, anxiety, sleeplessness, restlessness, physical emaciation, loss of luster, random talk, sickness and derangement of mind followed by the tenth stage as well, may occur to either or both the partners of the separated couple.

In the opinion of some canonists, Vipralambha caused by sojourn (pravāsa) is classified into three heads,[4] viz. (i) kāryaja, which is voluntary and may be on purpose; (ii) sapaja, which is due to the malediction of some one, more powerful and may prevail by retaining the accursed in the same form or by transferring him to some other state of existence;[5] and (iii) sambhramaja, which is due to some calamity proceeding from human or supernatural forces.

The second important cause of separation is mana or disagreement between the loving couple. The nature of the psychological disunion is in the form of perverseness of mind which does not permit one to enjoy the company of the other, though there is proximity of situation and mutual affection. Consequent upon this attitude of perverseness, there are ancilliary feelings like despondency, suspicion, wrath, fickleness, pride, jealousy, dissimulation, disgust and anxiety. Mana is generally found among the couples whose love has deepened into attachment (praṇaya). Mana is an outcome of the naturally crooked tendency of love. It is an artifice of conquetry which creates a naïve perversencess in behaviour though affection (praṇaya). Jealousy proceeds from the failings of the lover. When a lady knows that her love is being superseded by another woman, the former naturally becomes jealous of the latter and bears an attitude of perverseness towards her lover who has vilated her bonds of affection.[6] The failings of the lover may come to the notice of the lady-love in three ways: by direct observation in an actual state of making advance to another girl, or by means of knowledge of the lover’s interest in another woman gained through reliable sources, or by inference drawn from the behaviour or the situation of the lover. Thus the īrṣyā māna may be dṛṣṭa, śruta or anumita according as it is seen, reported or inferred. The first is always a case of direct observation and does not admit of any further clarification. In the second case, the reports about the subsequent love-intrigue may be received through the confidants or through such innocent sources as the talks of the domestic parrots and thrushes. The failings of the lover could, however, be inferred on the basis of the following facts: -

The marks of association may be visible on the person of the lady subsequently loved, or similar marks may be ofund on the body of the lover himself. These premises generally lead to a safe conclusion. Misquotation (gotra-skhalita) is another sure menas of prove of love in the lady whose name is so mentioned.[7] There is one more way of detection which is due to the lover. For in course of dreams, the lover may be witnessing scenes of love with his new beloved and may accost her, endear her or express his grief for missing her. These utterances give a clear clue to senior love of her rival’s existence. Sometimes unwary ejaculations are made by the Vidūṣaka during his state of sloth. It is also possible for him inadvertently to break the news which lay in confidence with him. Sometimes an inference is drawn by a clever consort by her lover’s slack interest excursions, disinterest in normal duties and similar activities. Such are the few salient reasons which provoke jealousy in the heart of the lady, but at times, despite the absence of nay such failing, she may out of her gynarchic sovereignty over her lover go amiss and harbour an attitude of perverseness.[8] For it should be distinctly understood that on the part of the lover to sow wild oats is to fall in the serpentine track of love where hisses of jealousy may appal the previous love and envenom her sweet and mellifluous affection and make her fret and fume out of fury only on grounds of suspicion.

Such extreme fondness sometimes brings in wanton perverseness which is styled by Rūpa Goswamīn as “Prema-vaicitya[9] and recognized by him as another cause of Vipralambha.

In fine, Vipralambha is of three types: one due to Āyoga, or pre-union separation, and the other two are the forms of Viprayoga or post-union separation, resulting from distant situation or perverseness. Yet Viśvanāta has a one more type, namely, Karuṇa-vipralambha[10] which is pathetic love-inseparation, and contemplates of a situation where the lovers are separated–may be before union or after it–and one of them knows or believes that his partner has passed away from this world but has been given an assurance by some supernatural power that he will soon be re-united with the lost partner. That is why, grief reigns there as a stationary emotion to give rise to Pathetic sentiment (karuṇa), yet it is temporary because revival is to take place. Effectually, it is not pathetic in essence but is only a variety of Vipralambha Sṛṅgara. It has a dual character no doubt, for thre is karuṇa so long as the one knows the other to be dead, and it is Viprayoga as it finally culminates into union. Thus it is pseudo-pathetic erotic sentiment, which is following in suit with Viśvanātha, agreed to by Siṅga-bhūpāla and Bhojadeva as well.[11] In case like this Hemacandra erroneously concludes it as Karuṇa-rasa.[12] Paṇḍitarāja Jagannātha, however, does not believe in this new category,[13] but seems to think it expedient to class it under the pravasaja type of Vipralambha. The remoteness of situation of the other body or the inner one (sukṣma-śarīr) for the time-being cannot justify an independent classification, because the latter is only a case of long sojourn (cira-pravās).

Bhaṭṭa Mammaṭa has altogether a different view on the point, for the adds to the list of Vipralambha one more tye which is due to vīraha, and he seems to distinguish the type of separation in the nature of Vīraha and Pravāsa by refernce to the dissimilarity between the feelings that are aglow in the hearts of the Vīrahotkanthita and the Proṣita-bhartṛkā heroines respectively. He further believes śāpa as an independent cause of Vīra ha. He thus makes a fivefold divison of Vipralambha.[14]

End of Vipralambha:

Since the tragic end is conventionally averted, the state of Vipralambha cannot prolong to an unreasonable length, and is to be got over at length. The means and course of ending of Vipralambha are bound to vary according as its origin differs. For the Vipralambha due to āyoga in the Purva-rāga ends in the physical union or the consummation of marriage. Vipralambha due to Pravasa ends no sooner than the lover or the beloved returns home from the sojourn. If it is in the nature of sapa, then it will end only with the period of śāpa. Generally such malediction is provided with some means of redemption which may become possible only after lapse of some time or by fulfillment of some condition prescribed in that behalf. In fact, it is more or less automatic that sapaja Vipralambha comes to an end. But mana is the one delicate type of circumstance in Vipralambha, and the expedients for securing relief from it require a clever and sagacious use before they can bring in success. The natural mana cannot dwell for long, for deep-rooted affection can hardly permit such a mental attitude to prevail beyond a certain length of time.

When natural shyness gradually abates, the Praṇaya-mana weakness of its own accord and subsides into amorous indulgence sought suo motto by the Māninī herself. But the mana which has proceeded from some failing on the part of the lover cannot melt of its own accord by requires amends to be aptly made. Hence the experienced canonists have shown some of the devices which are advised for being used in a suitable manner. They are:

(i) Sāma or conciliation by flattering words;

(ii) Bheda or an attempt to win over the lady through negotiations of her personal friends. Sometimes bheda in the nature of expressing one’s own grandeur also proves expedient. Bheda is, therefore, of two types, taunting and negotiating through her female friends, or winning over her by the expression of one’s own greatness;

(iii) Dāna or gift consisting of some attractive present of an article of choice proffered in a clever manner;

(iv) Naṭi or apology with wry and remorseful face or falling at the feet of the wrathful lady who is stiff enough, is the only recourse to help the delinquent lover;

(v) Upekṣā or indifference: When all the efforts prove futile an attitude of indifference for some time also helps to win the wrathful. This is also a powerful expedient in the form of biding time.[15]

(vi) Rasataram or change of humor: Peculiar circumstances causing terror like thunder, lightning, appearance of wild brutes, or a sudden calamity, illness of the lover, torrential rains, freezing cold, warbling of cuckoos and such other things automatically wipe off indignation from the heart of the lady. Sometimes such circumstances are presented by natural phenomena as shown above, at others they may be created by artificial means by the hero, just as a snake-bite falsely pretended.[16] Jugglery, spectral delusions, hypnotism or entertaining concerts are such other means as may be advantageously used for the purpose.

Rudrata in his Śṛṅgāra-tilaka suggests that each subsequent one is more effective an expedient that the preceding one, yet a gentle and gallant lover is advised to employ the first three means as requently as he is in need of, and the remaining ones are to be spared for a rare use.[17] This recommendation of Rudrata is in keeping with the maintenance of the prestige and dignity even of the erring lover.

Footnotes and references:


Sāhityadarpaṇa III_190. Some cononist who could not be identified has enunciated the then stages of Cupidity in the following couplet which is a favourite quotation of the scholiasts and critics: “Nayana-pritih prathamam, cittasangotha sankalpah, Nidra-cchedas tauta viṣaya-nivṛtti s trapa-nasah, Unmado murccha mrlirityetah samaradasa dasa eva syuh.//


Sāhityadarpaṇa observes Purva-rāga of three dyes (III-195,) which is not correct (vide 160 P. N. O.)


U. N. M. p. 550 Verse 144.


Sāhityadarpaṇa III-187; Daśarūpaka IV-64-66.


Rasārṇava-sudhākara II-217.


It may be notyef here that mana is generally found among the lady partners only since the lover is seldom given to Praṇaya-mana. Irṣya-man is quite out of question, for in Hindu law polyandry is out of practice and a lover may never have a chance for such Mana in major dramas, except in case of celestial heroines, where for different reasons questions of jealousy may not arise. In actual life it may be possible in low type of concubinage, and may appear in among the low characters as Lovelaces in Monologues.


When one ceremonial occasion the lover is called upon to pronounce the name of his beloved (mostly the wife), his inattention or lack of caution on account of his absorption in the fresh love makes him forget himself, and he becomes unable to dissemble and quotes the name of the lady in whose love he is then grossly lost. The error in citation at once reveals the real love of the lover and presents enough cause for the jealousy and wrath of the senior love.


Observe Kālidāsa’s experience: “Prabhuta ramaneshu yaṣitam Na hi bhave-skhalitanyapekṣate”// … Vikra. IV-126.


U. N. M. p. 548.


Sāhityadarpaṇa III-209.


Rasārṇava-sudhākara II-218 seqq.; S. K. A. Chap. V. p. 623. Line 14.


K. A. p. 85, line 9. Bhoja also confuses in this matter like hemachandra, for he says “Sangatayoreva anyatara-vyapade karunah” and cites Aja’s lamentation over Indumati’s loss as its instance. (See S. K. A.–Nāṭyaśāstra of Bharata Edn. p. 625, verse 182.)


Rasagaṅgādhara p. 38, lines 13-16.


K. Pr. Ullasa IV, p. 105(B. S. S.). 18


Gosvamin has referred to some quotation, source of which could not be traced, and which defines Upekṣa as an attempt of conciliation to be made by commingling in talks with the Manini under some pretext or the other, and soften her heart. In course of this, when she is subjected to sattvika feelings, an attempt to advance nearer during the state of her mental fusion is a successful shot to uproot perverseness out of her mind. “prasadana-vidhim muktva vakyair anyartha-sueakaih./ Prasadanam mrgakṣinam upekṣeti smrta budhai.”// …… -U. N. M. p. 543.


Ref. for instance, Viduṣaka’s snake-bite set out by Agnimitra for softening Dharini and contact with Malavika in the Malavikagnimitra.


Sr. T. of Rudrata as cited by Cchaya on Sāhityadarpaṇa p. 177.

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