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We have spoken about the leading lady in the Indian Classical dances at length. Today I want to discuss the types of Hero or Nayak as explained in the classical texts. According to the Natyashastra, there are three categories of Nayakas:

  1. Uttama Nayaka – Pati (Uttama or Pathi)
    He is the one who is faithful to his Nayika, or his married wife
  2. Madhyam Nayaka – Upapathi (Madhyam or Upapathi)
    He is the one who has a wavering mind, and is capable of attracting other women to him
  3. Adhama Nayaka – Vaishikan (Adhama or Vaishikan)
    He is the one who is unfaithful to his Nayika, and takes pride in throwing his money and buying a woman for his pleasure.

Like the Ashtanayika, the Nayakas too are classified according to their moods. They are:

  1. Anukoolan: One who never thinks of any woman other than his married wife, such as Lord Rama.
  2. Dakshinan: One who enjoys the company of all the women around him with equal affection. He is the Upapathi or Madhyama Nayaka.
  3. Dristan: One who commits a mistake, and inspite of being scorned by the Nayika, tries to pacify her and stays by her side.
  4. Sadan: One who deceives and cheats his Nayika.

Like the Nayika, the Nayaka also has close friends. They are:

  1. Peedamardhanan: One who has affection and respect for his friend’s Nayika. He also cools down the Nayika’s temper, when she is angry with the Nayak.
  2. Vidan: One who is very well versed in the Kama Sastra.
  3. Sedan: One who is capable of bringing together the estranged Nayika and Nayak.
  4. Vidooshakam: One who is capable of making everybody laugh, a jester.

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