The practice of Shri Krishna devotion in SankirtanA passage from the Manipuri book ‘NATA SANKRITAN’ by Sanakshya Ibotombi Haorokcham and published by The Guru Gulapi Nata Sankritana Academy

Yumnam Suren
Contd from last Saturday
In his book ‘Ujwalanilmani’ Shriroop Goswami Pada wrote sixty four erotic poems about Shri Krishna’s love-plays with the blonde ladies of VrajaVrindavana and Krishna’s bestowal of undiminished love to the faithful Vraja ladies, the kind of love known as ‘Madhuri Prem Bhakti Ras’ which is the peak of Krishna Bhakti Sadhana. When Vaisnav devouts listen to the kirtans (paean) about Nita Leela (daily love affairs of Radha Krishna) repeatedly they are enabled to go into Raganuga Bhakti Sadhan.
It is regarded that Shringar –Ras (erotic sentiment) is emanated from the Sthayibhav (permanent emotion) called Natya Vedana Rati (love of Shri Krishna) ensure shri Krishna Shringaer Ras (erotic sentiment about Shri Krishna) and it is divided into five type, such as Shanta (tranquility), Preya/Dasa (servant), Pril/Sakhya (friend),Vatsalya (affection of child and parent etc.) and Madhur sweet and pleasant and that Madhur-ras lying in the minds of the ladies of Vraja that drove them into thinking Bhagawan Shri Krishna as the beloved husband of each of them is superior to all the others as pointed out by Shri Roopa Goswami in his book Bhaktirasamrita Sindhu.
The method and norm which Sri Roopa Goswami Prabhu Pada devised to enable Vaisnav devouts to remember and to listen to on sing and relish Madhur-Rasa which is the highest stage of Prem Bhakti, in the form of various Vraja Leelas is commonly known as ‘Ujwala-Rasa’ (Brilliant taste). This, at first, is roughly divided into Vipralambhan (disappointment, separation, disagreement) and Sambhog (enjoyment, copulation); and this vipralumbhan is sub-divided into four type as Purvaraga (courtship), Maan (Pique, resentment, feigned resentment out of love) and Prabas (staying abroad or away from home, sojourn), and again, Sambhog is sub-divided into four types as Sankshipta (brief, shortened), Sankirna (small, limited, mixed), Sampurna (full, complete, finished) and Smriddhiman (splendid prosperous) after dividing Vipralambha and Sambhaog into eight types, each of them is further divided into eight types and there come sixty four types in all of ‘ Vjwala Rasa’, and this is shown in the book ‘UJWALANILMANI’ of Shri Roop Goswami Prabhu Pada.
Over and above the use of the norms and rules of Ujwala-Rasa in performances of Nitilila Kritan, the rules and customs relating to the nayika (actress) are strictly followed. While adopting the classification of Nayika into eight in Bharat Natya Shastra as Abhisarika (a woman on her journey of love or to a tryst), Vasak Sajja (a woman in her best fineries to receive her lover), Utkanthita (a woman in anxious mood, eagerly awaited her lover), vipralavdha (deceived or disappointed woman), Khandita (a woman offended with her husband for infidelity), Kalahantarika (heroine repenting after having dismissed her lover), Proshit Bhartrika (a woman whose husband is gone abroad) and Swadhin Bhartrika (independent of her lover/husband), the scholars of Gouriya Vaisnavism classified each of the eight nayikas above mentioned into eight compatibly with the sixty rasas (tastes) in Ujwala Rasa, and thus the total type of nayika (actress) become sixty four regarding Niti Leela Kirtan . The sixty four nayikas thus defined were formed into eight groups/ teams and each of them was put under the charge of the eight Sakhi superiors i.e. Lalita, Vishakha and the others to execute the works and responsibilities assigned to them as described in the book Shri Radha Krishnagonoddesh Dipika. All minute details the nayikas, such as, their names, a addresses, vacation and habits, their parent and husbands’ names, their ages, complexions, dresses and bowers (Kunjavans) allotted to them were clearly indicated there in. The roles to be played by the Sakhi-Superiors were defined as– Lalita Sakhi as Khandita Nayika Vishakha as Swadhin Bhartrika Nayika, Chitra Devi a Abhisarika Nayika, Indurekha as Proshit Bhartrika Nayika, Champakalata as Vasak Saja Nayika, Ranga Devi as Utkanthita Nayika Tungavidya as Vipralavdha Nayika and Sudevi as Kalahantarika Nayika.
In Nata Sankirtana tradition, the sixtyfour nayikas are being used as instruments of expressing Shri Radharani’s love moods and sentiments in Kirtan singings of Vraja Leela Rasa. The moods and situations Shri Radha in the course of her love with Shri Krishna are expressed by the eight principal sakhis (nayikas) as
1. Abhisarika expresses Shri Chandravadami (Radha)’s situation in her journey to meet Shri Krishna at the appointed place and time unfailingly.
2. Vasak Sajja expresses the adorning of the bower (kunja), arranging of seats and the anxious waiting of Shri Krishnapriya (Radha) in her best fineries for her lover Shri Krishna.

(To be contd)