States of mind in separation: lens of Sanskrit literature

If you read Vikramorvashiyam or Raghuvansh, you will come across monologues full of agony, anguish and a deep sense of loss – in Vikramorvashiyam, by King Pururava, who went into the state of उन्माद or near-madness at the loss of his beloved Urvashi, and in Raghuvansh by the  King Aja who cried inconsolably, mourning his wife in a heart-wrenching विलाप.

Description and demonstration of emotions in the condition of विप्रलंभ or separation from the loved one is an essential part of creation of रस or essence in Sanskrit literature and performing arts. I explored a little further to find about ten possible states of mind of a person who is separated from a loved one:

Ten States of mind in separation (c)margieparikh

Ten States of mind in separation (c)margieparikh

The first four sages seem easier to endure, and seem to be occurring to all who experience love for someone (or something?). Fifth one, of उद्वेग or anxiety looks like a threshold, after which the states of mind get successively darker until termination with unconsciousness and death. Suicide in lost love is not unheard of, but the ninth state of जडता or insensitivity is the one that provokes thought. Aren’t we capable of जडता without really falling deeply in love? We can demonstrate this state of mind with or without loss of love.

Don’t we live under the environment of controlled sensitivity to protect ourselves, rightly from the excesses of उद्वेग, विलाप उन्माद and such?

How much of protection and safe-being are desirable, and how much of a full taste of human existence is essential? Would you say it is essential to at least have had a taste of mad craving for someone, uncontrolled crying and longing to the extent of decommissioning one’s self from the rest of one’s lifespace? If yes, how much, for how long?

If there is a known shade of भाव – literally, ‘state of being’- generated by experience, leading to रस – essence of human existence, probably not all of it might be savored first hand – but I wonder if one can savor something vicariously – say, through literature –  if one has never experienced it.

Next question – suppose one passes to the dark side of pining in separation and grieving for the lost one, how long does one stay there, and what happens next?

How does one keep the cycle moving, so that one reunites with the loved one, those in love, renew what they share and discover new love?

I guess healing is not only for the hurt, afflicted or sick beings. It is a critical process of regeneration of anything that  lives – not Shringara, not Shanta, not Karuna rasa is the supreme one. It is the Rasa of Regeneration that is the essence of life. How does one create it and permeate one’s life with it, makes a great, epic story.


12 thoughts on “States of mind in separation: lens of Sanskrit literature

  1. Suketu Mehta says:

    All grief is profitable.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s