Dramaturgy in the Venisamhara

by Debi Prasad Namasudra | 2016 | 70,412 words

This page relates ‘Sambhoga-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).

Sambhoga-Śṛṅgāra (Disunion)

Love untouched by Vipralambha in any shape whatsoever, and in course of which the spouse enjoy complete harmony of mind, is the substratum of the sambhoga-śṛṅgāra. With the variety of amorous sports and sensual pleasures that the couple can invent for enjoying the mutual company, sambhoga Śṛṅgāra can be of countless designs and presents no scope for generalisation and classification. Yet for the reason that every enjoyment can present a distinction in the shape of degrees, and more so, in case of union which follows some kind of separation or the other, and is sure to vary in form and extent, some canonists have found it feasible to classify sambhoga Śṛṅgāra in the following four categories:

(i) Saṅkṣipata or Brief:

When the couple meet at the end of the Purva-rāga, their mode of enjoyment is generally modest, for they are subjected to initial reserve.

(ii) Saṅkīrṇa or Restricted:

The union which follows reconciliation after indignation or perverseness is generally it is blended with grievous memories of past failing of the lover and hence free movements with full zest are absent. The union after conciliation, therefore, affords a limited scope for Sambhoga Śṛṅgāra that tastes like a roasted sugar-cane which, though sweet, is yet hot and slightly astringent.

(iii) Sampūrṇa or Rich:

Union of the couple after sojourn is generally rich in enjoyment. The distant situations, having caused yearning in the hearts of the meeting couple, affords sanguine pleasures attended with food and drink, cosy talks, and gay and cheerful demeanour.

(iv) Samṛddha or Exuberant:

It is after a very long sojourn or revival after curse, return from battle, relief from miseries, on resuscitation after Karuṇa-Vipralambha the union yields exuberant pleasures and places the long forsaken couple at the apex of joy. No endeavour is spared to make the company more jubilant and to participate whole-heartedly in the thrilling ecstasy of the blissful sitaion.

There are, however, different standards of enjoyment experienced by lovers in particular circumstances,[1] but during Purvarāga and also in case of the preliminary meetings with the self-approaching damsels (abhisārikas), the meetings are generally arranged by the assistants of the couple and through emissaries who fix up their trysts and convey messages. Usually the places of assignation where such snap-shot meetings can be convened are pointed out by the canonists as a field dense with crop, uninhabited desolate house, dilapidated temples, the residence of such emissaries, a forest-grove, an orchard, the banks of a river affording sandy declivities or cany bushes, an inaccessible cluster of trees and even the lonely vicinities of the cremation ground.[2]

In course of such personal meetings the enojoyment is said to be real (mūrta = in rem) as distinguished from the one that is unreal, in course of which an ardent lover sometimes in his state of Vipralambha enjoys the phantom company of his partner. It is quite possible in the state of dream where one experiences a direct contact with one’s object of love, and for the moment relishes the same pleasure as could be had in the real contact.[3] It is equally possible to have such a union through the picture of the loving partner or some other object which may be perfectly identical with the one whom he loves. It is, in fact, an imaginary sambhoga, which Rūpa Goswamīn calls “Gauṇa” sambhoga or phantasmal unon.[4]

Footnotes and references:


It may be noted here that though Singa Bhupala and Rūpa Goswamīn observe that these distinctions are reference to the occasion of the meetings of the anxious pair, still, really speaking, these degrees of Śṛṅgāra are best noticeable in the circumstances arranged and classified in four categories as shown above. All the same, if the couple are adults the mode of pleasure after Purvarāga need not be brief. For even in case of Purva-rāga which is interspersed with union, it is not subject to reserve.


“Kṣetram vali bhanga-devalayo duli-grham vanam/ Malpanca smasananca nadyadinam tali tatha”// … Sāhityadarpaṇa III-80.


Cf. “Tvat-sadrsya-vinoda-matramapi me daivena na khsamyate.” (Vide Kuv. Pratipa Prakaraṇa.)


U. N. M. p. 590.

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