IntroductionLiterature said to have served the kings of

IntroductionLiterature is an essential part of any culture. Since antiquity, it has carried out the tradition of passing down the stories, mythologies, and folklores from one generation to another, which give meaning to a civilization. It also provides a unique opportunity to admire one’s cultural heritage and conserving the same simultaneously. As mentioned earlier, not only a literary tradition allows its enthusiasts and readers a peep into the past, it also allows them to look into the mirror of contemporary literary tradition. On the same note, Hindi literature has played a matchless role in the growth and conservation of Hindi language. There has been a lot of debates regarding the classification of Hindi literature since its inception.But for simplicity sake, Hindi literature, since its beginning can be divided into four sections:Adikaal (the early period beginning from 10th century till 14th century)Bhaktikaal (the devotional period beginning circa 14th century till 17th century) Ritikaal (Scholastic period covers the literary tradition from 1600 to 1850)Adhunik kaal ( the modern period beginning from 19th century) Keshavdas: an IntroductionKeshavdas Mishra was born in the year 1555. He is also known by the name of Keshavdas. He was a renowned Sanskrit scholar and Hindi poet who contributed immensely to the Ritikaal period. He is perhaps best known for his Rasik Priya, a pioneering work of the Ritikaal of Hindi literature.He came from a family of Brahmin pandits who were scholars in Sanskrit. His family is said to have served the kings of Orcha and Gwalior in present day Madhya Pradesh. This is a vital piece of information because his family lineage marked an unconventional decision taken by Keshavdas. He began writing in the period when the glory of Sanskrit language and literature was at its pinnacle. Nonetheless, he forsake the previously mentioned tradition and chose Brajbhasha, a dialect of Hindi to be the medium of his literary thoughts. This is considered as an act of defiance against the long established tradition of Sanskrit.Brajbhasha was mainly spoken in the Braj region of modern day Mathura, Agra and nearby regions in Uttar Pradesh. Brajbhasha, during the medieval period was mostly viewed as a language in which the poets used to develop hymns and devotional songs for Krishna and Radha. Keshavadas broke this tradition and made people see that Brajbhasha could also encompass varied themes and genres. This is chiefly visible in his best known works like Rasikpriya and Kavipriya. The riti tradition of Keshavdas flourished in the reign of the Mughal Empire. It was in large measure a series of literary transplantations from Sanskrit that initially enabled this vernacularizing process, and these are prominent in the poet’s best known works, the Rasikpriya and Kavipriya , major textbooks of poetry principles that derived much of their subject matter from the field of classical literary science , as well as the Ramchandrika (Moonlight of Ramcandra, 1601), the first Brajbhasha experiment with the mahakavya (courtly epic) style.Despite the familial connections to Sanskrit (his father and forefathers were Sanskrit scholars), Keshavdas decided that he will use a more commonly understood language of the mass that is, Brajbhasha, for his writings. This decision was significant in the sense that his work would turn out be quite a deviance from the preferred tradition of those days. To be more precise, this meant that these kinds of works were viewed with disgust opinions from the pandits, the most superior class of that time. It could be considered as a paradox that Keshavadas’s works were deemed paradoxical as they were written keeping in mind the Sanskrit literary tradition but the language used was Brajbhasha. Brajbhasha, as a language of literature, at that time was already on the verge of becoming acceptable among the common mass. One of the reason which is give for the change of heart of the common mass is the Bhakti movement. It was due to the rise of the Vashnavite religion that secured the common masses attention towards languages like Brajbhasha.As we know he was the court poet of the Bundela kingdom of present day Madhya Pradesh, he also gives us the proof that literature was flourishing at that period in the court of Bir Singh Deo Bundela. Major worksOne of his seminal work and the very first literary work is Ratan Bavani. There are three anthology of poems of which Keshavadas is thought to have written are Rasikpriya (1591), Ramchandrika (1600), and Kavipriya (1601). One of his poetry anthology Ramchandrika is an abridged translation of the literary giant Ramayana. Not only this, it is written  in 30 sections. Some of his  other important and seminal works include Rakhshikh (1600), Chhandamala (1602), Virsinghdev Charit (1607), and Jahangirjas Chandrika (1612). Though the language of his choice was Brajbhasha, but his works were heavily influenced by Bundelkhandi dialect.RasikpriyaRasikpriya was written by Keshavdas in the year of 1591. Rasikpriya is considered as an important literary piece of the Ritikaal of Hindi literary tradition. At that time, Keshavdas was the court poet of the well known king Madhukar Shah and his son, Prince Indrajit Shah, of Orchha, present day Madhya Pradesh. Written in Braj bhasha, Rasikpriya covers the emotions and behaviour of ideal loves, most importantly the immortal love of Krishna and Radha. Subsequently, for the upcoming generation of writers, Rasikpriya became the stylistic guide in terms of Hindi Romantic literature. It also became quite a favourite literary work among the contemporary Rajput kings of India. K.P. Bahadur, who translated Rasikpriya into English as The Rasikapriya of Keshavdas made the following remarks about it:Keshavdas wrote Rasikapriya to provide entertainment to such readers as were interested in the poetry of love. Love was considered to be a primary emotion, not only by the poets of Keshava’s time-but also by those who had preceded him. Rasikapriya deals, with love in all its varied aspects. The lover, portrayed in Keshava’s book is Krisna and the beloved is Radha. In poetic language they are often called nayaka and nayika. The book describes the different kinds of nayakas and nayikas — their lovemaking, their moods, sentiments and emotions, and illustrates these vivid accounts of the lovers in various situations.According to Bahadur (1990), Keshav Das classifies his heroines in his Rasikapriya in various ways. According to Keshavadas, the nayikas (heroines) which are most important to the artists are categorized into eight categories. There is one more important heroine who is a comparatively mature heroine whose husband has just returned. But this classification is not among the eight well-known nayikas, among which the Prositapatika Nayika (Bahadur 1972, pp. 117-18) or Prositapreyasi Nayika (Randhawa 1962, pp. 76-77) is the nearest, the heroine whose husband is away. According to Randhawa, however (p. 64), some rhetoricians add another three, including Agatapatika Nayika, one whose husband has just returned and comes immediately to seek her. Keshavadas is often fondly remembered as the father of ritikal and his Rasikpriya is considered as the foundational text of ritikavya. Rasikpriya is basically piece of work which celebrates love and centres it on Krishna and Radha. It has also instilled inspiration among many artists who ended up creating paintings based on the dohas of Rasikpriya. Keshavdas’s Rasikpriya distinguishes nayikas into eight different categories. They are known as Ashtanayika. The classification of Ashtanayika was for the first time given Bharata in Natya Shashtra. Keshavdas elaborates on them. The eight nayikas represent eight different states of a woman (avastha). These nayikas are in a deeply seated romantic relationship with her hero or also known as nayaka. These typical portrayals have become immensely popular and have been used by the subsequent enthusiasts in Indian painting Indian painting, literature, sculpture as well as Indian classical dance.The Natya Shastra describes the nayikas in the following order: VasakasajjaVirahotkanthitaSvadhinabhartrukaKalahantaritaKhanditaVipralabdhaProshitabhartrukaAbhisarika.Now let us discuss about these nayikas in a more detailed manner.VasakasajjaVasakasajja (“a woman who is dressed to have her reunion with her lover”) or Vasakasajjika is the nayika one who is patiently waiting for her lover to return home to her from a long and arduous journey. She is mostly depicted smoking a bidri hookah and waiting for her comapnion eagerly. She dresses herself for the union with her lover and “anticipating union’s pleasure”. VirahotkanthitaVirahotkanthita (” A woman who is unambiguously sad due to her separation from her lover”) or Utka (as portrayed by Keshavdas) is the sad woman who falls in the pit of distress over her lover’s inability to return home. This is so because her lover is not able to finish her work for which he had gone away from his lover. She is depicted eagerly and patiently waiting for her lover, sitting or standing on a bed. She is the one who is alone and thus desires for reunion. This is so because she is separated from her lover.SvadhinabhartrukaSvadhinabhartruka (“a woman who has a subservient and a compliant lover”) or Svadhinapatika (as portrayed by Keshavdas) is the woman controls her husband and is also loved by him. He is fond of being docile and unassertive with the desires expressed by his lover. He is in love with her. In the subsequent painting which were influenced by Rasikpriya paintings, our nayaka is shown to be putting mahawar on the feet of his beloved. He is also shown to be putting a vermilion tilak on her forehead as a symbol of their unity. Kalahantarita Kalahantarita (“a woman who stays away from her lover due to a quarrel”) or Abhisandhita (as named by Keshavdas) is a repentant woman who at first fought with her lover over an issue and decided not to come close to him. But later, she regrets over such a rash decision of hers. This quarrel is because of jealousy or her own arrogance. In the paintings depicted by artists which are based on Rasikpriya, her lover is shown leaving the abode of the nayika.  Also, she is shown heartsick and repentant without him.Khandita Khandita (“a woman who is maddened over her lover’s adultery”) is an incesed woman who cannot tolerate his non-monogamous life. Her lover had promised to spend the night with her but he ended up spending it with some other woman. Vipralabdha Vipralabdha Nayika is the seventh in Keshav Das’ eight categories. She is a nayika who has waited long for her nayak but he has failed to appear. In the paintings based on this category, the nayika is shown to throw her jewelery in a fit of rage. Her face is contorted with anger over her lover’s failure to appear. She is also depicted losing interest in food and sitting alone looking towards the sky in a hope of a miracle that her lover will come to meet her. The artists also showed trees which bore fruits in spring to show a perfect setting for love tryst. Proshitabhartruka Proshitabhartruka (“a woman with a husband who has gone for a stay in some other place”) or Proshitapatika (as named by Keshavdas) is the heroine whose lover has gone away from her to attend some business and does not return on the day he has promised to return. The nayika is in a state where she cannot be consoled. She is depicted seated  and very sad. She is surrounded by her maids.AbhisarikaAbhisarika (“a woman who seeks oppurtunity to meet her lover”) is a heroine, who is not worried about her chastity and sneaks out of her home to meet her lover. She is shown to meet her lover secretly. Usually in the paintings of the artists influenced by Keshavdas, this nayika is shown standing at the threshold of her house and attempting to go out and meet her lover in the forest. She is also shown to be challenged by many kinds of difficulties which make her journey difficulty. KavipriyaKeshav’s Kavipriy?, ‘The Poet’s Favourite’ (c. 1601), is essentially a pattern-book of literary tropes and metaphors.  This book is mostly known for the discussion of the topic of alankarsastra. And here I will quote Allison Busch:                                           When writing on poetics themes, Keshavdas closely follows Dandin and other  canonical Sanskrit thinkers.  Here he riffs off of Dandin with a new category of  alan?k?ra, the ?iks??­?ks?epa, “the prohibition through instruction.” This becomes the  conceptual foundation for his B?rahm?sa, an iconic Indic genre in which a virahin??, a  lovelorn woman, pines for her beloved over a period of 12 months.  In this B?rahm?s? the n?yik? adopts a clever ruse to forestall becoming a virahin?? in  the first place. In keeping with the theme of this alan?k?ra she “instructs” her lover  about the various festivals or special qualities associated with each month.   In the guise of teaching the n?yaka about the seasons, the n?yik? manages to find  something wrong with his departing for each and every month of the year. In the  end no month is found suitable for his journey, so the “lesson” to the n?yaka is that  he should not leave at all. Some more major works by KeshavdasV?rsi?hdevcarit (1607) is another marvelous work by Keshavdas. It is more of a biography of Raja Bir Singh Deo Bundela. This is unique because it contains innumerable references to the poetry of performance. He has also described the city of Bir Singh Deo Bundela and the marvels of the same. Let us read the description of the city: ConclusionKeshavdas was no doubt a powerful magician, whose magic was portrayed through his literary thoughts. His pioneer works not only dominated the literary domains but they also influenced the political scenarios. He later on became the confidante and a political advisor to the rulers of Orchha. One can actually trace the upliftment of Brajbhasha through the works of Keshavdas. Not only did he penned down his works in Braj bhasha but he also encouraged the future generation of writers to choose the vernaculars over major languages, to express their literary creativity. He is famous for his renowned adage                                        “Go ahead, light your candles and burn your incense and ring your bells and call out to God, but watch out, because God will come, and He will put you on His Anvil and fire up His Forge and beat you and beat you until He turns brass into Pure Gold.”He extended Brajbhasha into new realms which aided in the vernacularization of the same. He is also considered as an important innovator in the field of vernacular rhetoric. His inclination towards Brajbhasha due to the reason that his patrons of Orchha had converted to vaishnavism. There is a reason which led to the quick rise of Keshavdas. This is because of the political influence which was held by the Mughal empire in that period. The Mughal empire had a wel established reign in the northern part of India. Also, Orchha was a tributary state at that time and as we know he was a political advisor, friend and guide of Orchha empire. His works became an handbooks or guides for the upcoming artists and poets alike. They gained a lot from Keshavadas’s works.