Posted by Art Of Legend India [dot] Com On 12:25 AM
According to the situation of lovers, love is of two kinds: love in separation (Viyoga), and love in union (Samyoga). Viyoga is of three varieties: purva raga, the beginning of love, mana, the separation of lovers out of false pride and obstinacy, and pravasa, the separation of lovers caused by the departure of the lover for foreign lands.
In Kangra painting, love awakens at first sight. The meeting at the village well is an occasion for falling in love. The tired and thirsty prince who is out on shikar comes to the village well and asks the pretty girl for a draught of water. As he drinks the water with cupped hands he lifts his eyes for a moment look at the face of the girl. Their eyes meet and the inevitable happens.
A closely related theme is that of the lover looking at his beloved who is unaware of his presence. Thus, Krishna is shown watching Radha who is cooking in the kitchen or is having her hair combed by a maid in the courtyard of her home. A delightful painting from Guler show Radha bathing, while Krishna watches from a balcony overlooking the bathing platform. Radha is on a chauki; one of her attendants curtains her off with a green sheet, while another, with her out-stretched veil. Her flowing jet-black hair is in charming contrast with the golden complexion of her body.
Vidyapati describes her charms thus:
Ah, Madhava! I saw the fair one freely;
I suddenly beheld her as she bathed.
Her jet black hair poured over her breast,
As though a shaggy yak concealed a golden Manda.
Mana means coldness, obstinacy and pride; manini nayika is the "unwilling" lady who pays no attention to her lover, in spite of his prayers, entreaties, and messages of love.
She is shown in a Kanga painting as a girl who has escaped from her husband's arms, leaving him alone. Disappointed, he watches her from a balcony, while dark monsoon clouds sail in the sky. A pair of sarus cranes soar heavenward. The husband has sent a duenna to pacify the young lady who leans against a pillow with her back towards him. She is cajoling her with promises but the young lady does not relent.
The third phase of Viyoga is called pravasa. The desire for union springs from seeing the beloved one and hearing him. When the desire to meet him is not fulfilled, ten conditions result there from, namely longing (abhilasa), anxiety (chinta), reminiscence (smrti), the recalling of the qualities of the beloved one (guna-kathana), agitation (udvega), delirium (pratapa), sickness (vyadhi), stupor (jadata), derangement (unmada), and death (marana).
Paintings of lonely ladies, gazing at clouds and birds like the chakora, hansa or peacock and fanning themselves, are usually of women parted from their lovers. They have a special appeal to men accustomed to travel, for they remind them of their wives when they are away from home.
In the picture reproduced the heroine looks at the crows, one of which is cawing from the cornice. She asks it to fly away and bring news of her lover. If her lover returns home safely, she promises to have its beak gilded in reward for its services.
f my desire be fulfilled, on hearing the news you bring,
I shall make your beak to be plated with silver, I shall give you to eat a ladle of excellent churl mixed with sugar and ghi,
Let me behold Tula Ram while yet I live, but bring him not only for a single hour!
If you have seen my Lord a-coming home, then fly away from the cornice, thou crow!
The black buck, the peacock, the hansa, the chakora, and the snake are the symbols of the lover, and he is often represented by these in Kangra paintings. Love-sick heroines who seek relief from the pangs of separation are shown playing with these birds and animals. There is a charming painting of a virahini nayika in which a lady playing a small tambura under a willow tree is shown with a black buck. The sad music is reflected in her flowing drapery, the graceful curves of her body, and in the weeping branches of the willow tree. The picture is a fine example of Kangra art as practised at Guler, and is an excellent illustration of the longings of love (abhilasa). This popular Kangra motif is also to be seen in the murals which decorate the walls of the asrama at Damthal.
That the painting is a representation of virahini nayika is proved by a similar Guler painting on the back of which is an inscription which reads: "The young lady wearing a garland of flowers, admiring the blossoms, and playing the tara is longing to meet her lover."
In another painting from Guler (not reproduced here), the feeling of anxiety (chinta) in a woman separated from her husband is portrayed most vividly. A young lady with deep anxiety on her face is shown walking along the edge of a lotus-filled tank. The mango trees are laden with luscious fruit. It is a warm day, and the lady is fanning herself. Scattered among the cup-like leaves of the lotus plants are pale pink lotus buds of unearthly beauty. The agitation in the woman's heart is echoed by the leaves of the lotus which are all in utter confusion and disorder.
Love-sick ladies whose husbands are away are often shown in men's clothes, for this reminds them (simarana) of the joys of love in union. This state is shown in a very fine painting from Guler. The Raja is away on his travels and the Rani dresses herself for amusement in her husband's clothes which include a turban decorated with a peacock's feather. One of her companions shows her the mirror while another holds a thali containing vermilion. The Rani examines the vermilion mark which has been painted on her forehead by her companion. The empty bed in a pavilion suggests the absent lover. It is a warm summer night and the moonlight is depicted with great charm. Two maidservants enjoy the breeze from a fan. Such features as the pavilion, the minaret, the column-like cypresses alternating with mango-trees with rounded crowns, the fountain in the foreground, and the nose-rings with two pearls worn by the women all taken together suggest that it is the work of Gursahaya, a Guler artist.
Love-sick women also try to forget their sorrow by playing games. A painting of extraordinary delicacy shows two ladies playing chess. There is an expression of intense concentration on the players' faces. A duenna and two servant girls are looking on, and in the background is a grove of green-leaved trees. The transparent drapery, the soft colours, and the confident, graceful and rhythmical lines mark it out as a masterpiece.
In the palaces of the Rajput chiefs of Kangra, there were two types of gardens, the daylight gardens and the moonlit gardens. The centre of the former was occupied by a bathing tank with a fountain and at its side was a marble water pavilion. In the hot summer months of May and June, the daylight garden was the favourite resort of the Ranis and their maids, its cool waters providing relief from the burning heat of the day. Such a garden is shown in a Guler picture. The lady is sitting on the edge of the tank and her right foot is being washed by a maidservant. Her jet-black tresses fall over her shoulders and accentuate the soft curves of her body. The mood of the painting suggests the longing of love.
In a similar scene, probably by the same artist, a semi-draped Rani is shown seated on chauki. She cools her left hand in the spraying fountain. In the foreground are two women; one of them is playing happily on the tambura, and the other on a dholaka. A maid prepares the bed in the pavilion and covers it with flowers. In the background are the cypresses which are a marked characteristic of Guler paintings. The spout of the ewer, like the columns of cypress, suggests erotic feelings and the picture pulsates with the passionate longings of a woman awaiting her lover.
Depicts the love-lorn virahini during the rainy month of sawan, when married women eagerly await the return of their husbands. The dark clouds in the sky are lit up by flashes of lightning; and the snow-white sarus cranes contrast vividly with their sombre colour. The heroine watches the flight of the birds from a pavilion. In the background is a mountain lake with rushes growing on its banks among which slate blue sarus cranes, intensely devoted to each other, move about in pairs. A flock of cattle is grazing peacefully on a meadow close to the hamlet. The maidservants play on the tambura and the dholaka. The intense heat that precedes a thunder shower is skillfully suggested. A maidservant pours some cold drink into a cup while another makes some sandal paste. Another maidservant fans the nayika but her body, burning with the fever of love, knows no coolness. The modesty and love of a young Indian woman are gracefully portrayed in this painting.
The last stage of viyoga, vyadhi, is illustrated in a painting from Tira Sujanpur. Unable to bear the pangs of separation, the lady has fainted. A maidservant applies sandal paste on her bosom, while another fans her. In the adjoining balconies pairs of anxious women express concern over the lady's condition. In the background is a pastoral scene, where villagers warm their limbs in front of log-fires in the severe winter. The cold weather outside is in contrast with the hot fever of love that j racks the body of the lady separated from her lover.
Writer Name:- M.S. Randhawa