A rasa (Sanskrit : रस, Malayalam : രാസ്യം) literally means "juice, essence or taste". It connotes a concept in Indian arts about the aesthetic flavour of any visual, literary or musical work that evokes an emotion or feeling in the reader or audience but cannot be described. It refers to the emotional flavors/essence crafted into the work by the writer and relished by a 'sensitive spectator' or sahṛdaya, literally one who "has heart", and can connect to the work with emotion, without dryness.
Rasas are created by bhavas:the state of mind.
The rasa theory has a dedicated section (Chapter 6) in the Sanskrit text Natya Shastra , an ancient scripture from the 1st millennium BCE attributed to Bharata Muni.However, its most complete exposition in drama, songs and other performance arts is found in the works of the Kashmiri Shaivite philosopher Abhinavagupta (c. 1000 CE), demonstrating the persistence of a long-standing aesthetic tradition of ancient India. According to the Rasa theory of the Natya Shastra, entertainment is a desired effect of performance arts but not the primary goal, and the primary goal is to transport the individual in the audience into another parallel reality, full of wonder and bliss, where he experiences the essence of his own consciousness, and reflects on spiritual and moral questions.
Sanskrit is a language of ancient India with a 3,500-year history. It is the primary liturgical language of Hinduism and the predominant language of most works of Hindu philosophy as well as some of the principal texts of Buddhism and Jainism. Sanskrit, in its variants and numerous dialects, was the lingua franca of ancient and medieval India. In the early 1st millennium CE, along with Buddhism and Hinduism, Sanskrit migrated to Southeast Asia, parts of East Asia and Central Asia, emerging as a language of high culture and of local ruling elites in these regions.
The Nāṭya Śāstra is a Sanskrit text on the performing arts. The text is attributed to sage Bharata Muni, and its first complete compilation is dated to between 200 BCE and 200 CE, but estimates vary between 500 BCE and 500 CE.
Bharata Muni was an ancient Indian theatrologist and musicologist who wrote the Natya Shastra, a theoretical treatise on ancient Indian dramaturgy and histrionics, especially Sanskrit theatre. Bharata is considered the father of Indian theatrical art forms. He is dated to between 200 BCE and 200 CE, but estimates vary between 500 BCE and 500 CE.
Although the concept of rasa is fundamental to many forms of Indian arts including dance, music, theatre, painting, sculpture, and literature, the interpretation and implementation of a particular rasa differs between different styles and schools.The Indian theory of rasa is also found in the Hindu arts and Ramayana musical productions in Bali and Java (Indonesia), but with regional creative evolution.
Indian art consists of a variety of art forms, including painting, sculpture, pottery, and textile arts such as woven silk. Geographically, it spans the entire Indian subcontinent, including what is now India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and eastern Afghanistan. A strong sense of design is characteristic of Indian art and can be observed in its modern and traditional forms.
Dance in India comprises numerous styles of dances, generally classified as classical or folk. As with other aspects of Indian culture, different forms of dances originated in different parts of India, developed according to the local traditions and also imbibed elements from other parts of the country.
Indian classical music is the classical music of the Indian subcontinent. It has two major traditions: the North Indian classical music tradition is called Hindustani, while the South Indian expression is called Carnatic. These traditions were not distinct till about the 16th century. There on, during the turmoils of Islamic rule period of the Indian subcontinent, the traditions separated and evolved into distinct forms. Hindustani music emphasizes improvisation and exploring all aspects of a raga, while Carnatic performances tend to be short and composition-based. However, the two systems continue to have more common features than differences.
|Indian classical music|
The word rasa appears in ancient Vedic literature. In Rigveda , it connotes a liquid, an extract and flavor.In Atharvaveda , rasa in many contexts means "taste", and also the sense of "the sap of grain". According to Daniel Meyer-Dinkgräfe – a professor of Drama, rasa in the Upanishads refers to the "essence, self-luminous consciousness, quintessence" but also "taste" in some contexts. In post-Vedic literature, the word generally connotes "extract, essence, juice or tasty liquid".
The Vedas are a large body of religious texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism. Hindus consider the Vedas to be apauruṣeya, which means "not of a man, superhuman" and "impersonal, authorless".
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns. It is one of the four sacred canonical texts (śruti) of Hinduism known as the Vedas.
The Atharva Veda is the "knowledge storehouse of atharvāṇas, the procedures for everyday life". The text is the fourth Veda, but has been a late addition to the Vedic scriptures of Hinduism.
Rasa in an aesthetic sense is suggested in the Vedic literature, but the oldest surviving manuscripts, with the rasa theory of Hinduism, are of Natya Shastra. The Aitareya Brahmana in chapter 6, for example, states:
Hinduism is an Indian religion and dharma, or way of life, widely practised in the Indian subcontinent and parts of Southeast Asia. Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world, and some practitioners and scholars refer to it as Sanātana Dharma, "the eternal tradition", or the "eternal way", beyond human history. Scholars regard Hinduism as a fusion or synthesis of various Indian cultures and traditions, with diverse roots and no founder. This "Hindu synthesis" started to develop between 500 BCE and 300 CE, after the end of the Vedic period, and flourished in the medieval period, with the decline of Buddhism in India.
The Brahmanas are a collection of ancient Indian texts with commentaries on the hymns of the four Vedas. They are a layer or category of Vedic Sanskrit texts embedded within each Veda, and form a part of the Hindu śruti literature. They are primarily a digest incorporating myths, legends, the explanation of Vedic rituals and in some cases speculations about natural phenomena or philosophy.
Now (he) glorifies the arts,
the arts are refinement of the self ( atma-samskrti).
With these the worshipper recreates his self,
that is made of rhythms, meters.
The Sanskrit text Natya shastra presents the rasa theory in Chapter 6, a text attributed to Bharata Muni.The text begins its discussion with a sutra called in Indian aesthetics as the rasa sutra:
Rasa is produced from a combination of Determinants (vibhava), Consequents (anubhava) and Transitory States (vyabhicaribhava).
According to the Natya shastra, the goals of theatre are to empower aesthetic experience and deliver emotional rasa. The text states that the aim of art is manifold. In many cases, it aims to produce repose and relief for those exhausted with labor, or distraught with grief, or laden with misery, or struck by austere times.Yet entertainment is an effect, but not the primary goal of arts according to Natya shastra. The primary goal is to create rasa so as to lift and transport the spectators, unto the expression of ultimate reality and transcendent values.
The Abhinavabhāratī is the most studied commentary on Natyasastra, written by Abhinavagupta (950–1020 CE), who referred to Natyasastra also as the Natyaveda.Abhinavagupta's analysis of Natyasastra is notable for its extensive discussion of aesthetic and ontological questions. According to Abhinavagupta, the success of an artistic performance is measured not by the reviews, awards or recognition the production receives, but only when it is performed with skilled precision, devoted faith and pure concentration such that the artist gets the audience emotionally absorbed into the art and immerses the spectator with pure joy of rasa experience.
The concept of rasa is fundamental to many forms of Indian art, including dance, music, musical theatre, cinema and literature, the treatment, interpretation, usage and actual performance of a particular rasa differs greatly between different styles and schools of abhinaya, and the huge regional differences even within one style.
A rasa is the developed relishable state of a permanent mood, which is called sthayi bhava. This development towards a relishable state results by the interplay on it of attendant emotional conditions which are called Vibhavas, anubhavas and sanchari/ vyabhichari bhavas. The production of aesthetic rasa from bhavas is analogous to the production of tastes/juices of kinds from food with condiments, curries, pastes and spices. This is explained by the quote below:
The Rishi Praskanva insists (Rig Veda I.46.6) that the sources of knowledge, some of which are open and some hidden, they are to be sought and found by the seekers after Truth, these sources are not available everywhere, anywhere and at all times. In this context Rishi Agastya (Rig Veda I.187.4) stating thus –
तव॒ त्ये पि॑तो॒ रसा॒ रजां॒स्यनु॒ विष्ठि॑ताः ।
दि॒वि वाता॑ इव श्रि॒ताः ॥
reminds the ardent seekers about the six kinds of Rasa or taste which food has but which all tastes cannot be found in one place or item, for these tastes are variously distributed throughout space. Food, in this context, means matter or objects or thoughts, which are all produced effects; effects that are produced owing to various causes. The Rasas are the unique qualities which bring about variety in things created whose source is one and one only.
Bharata Muni enunciated the eight Rasas in the Nātyasāstra , an ancient Sanskrit text of dramatic theory and other performance arts, written between 200 BC and 200 AD.In the Indian performing arts, a rasa is a sentiment or emotion evoked in each member of the audience by the art. The Natya Shastra mentions six rasa in one section, but in the dedicated section on rasa it states and discusses eight primary rasa. Each rasa, according to Nātyasāstra, has a presiding deity and a specific colour. There are 4 pairs of rasas. For instance, Hāsya arises out of Sringara. The Aura of a frightened person is black, and the aura of an angry person is red. Bharata Muni established the following:
A ninth rasa was added by later authors. This addition had to undergo a good deal of struggle between the sixth and the tenth centuries, before it could be accepted by the majority of the Alankarikas, and the expression "Navarasa" (the nine rasas), could come into vogue.
Shānta-rasa functions as an equal member of the set of rasas, but it is simultaneously distinct as being the most clear form of aesthetic bliss. Abhinavagupta likens it to the string of a jeweled necklace; while it may not be the most appealing for most people, it is the string that gives form to the necklace, allowing the jewels of the other eight rasas to be relished. Relishing the rasas and particularly shānta-rasa is hinted as being as-good-as but never-equal-to the bliss of Self-realization experienced by yogis.
According to the Natyashastra, bhavas are of three types: sthayi, sanchari, sattvika based on how they are developed or enacted during the aesthetic experience. This is seen in the following passage:
पुनश्च भावान्वक्ष्यामि स्थायिसञ्चारिसत्त्वजान्॥६.१६॥
Some bhavas are also described as being anubhava if they arise from some other bhAva.
The Natyasastra lists eight bhavas with eight corresponding rasas:
This list is from the following passage:
रतिहासश्च शोकश्च क्रोधोत्साहौ भयं तथा।
जुगुप्सा विस्मयश्चेति स्थायिभावाः प्रकीर्तिताः॥६.१७॥
Sanchari Bhavas are those crossing feelings which are ancillary to a permanent mood.A list of 33 bhAvas are identified therein.
निर्वेदग्लानिशङ्काख्यास्तथासूया मदः श्रमः।
आलस्यं चैव दैन्यं च चिन्तामोहः स्मृतिर्धृतिः॥१८॥
व्रीडा चपलता हर्ष आवेगो जडता तथा।
गर्वो विषाद औत्सुक्यं निद्रापस्मार एव च॥१९॥
सुप्तं विबोधोऽमर्षश्चापि अवहित्थं अथोग्रता।
मतिर्व्याधिस्तथा उन्मादस्तथा मरणमेव च॥२०॥
त्रासश्चैव वितर्कश्च विज्ञेया व्यभिचारिणः।
त्रयस्त्रिंशदमी भावाः समाख्यातास्तु नामतः॥२१॥
The sAtvika-bhAvAs themselves are listed below. There are eight sAtvika-bhAvAs.
स्तम्भः स्वेदोऽथ रोमाञ्चः स्वरभेदोऽथ वेपथुः।
वैवर्ण्यं अश्रु-प्रलय इत्यष्टौ सात्विकाः स्मृताः॥२२॥
These are explained by Bharata and Dhanika as below:
"सत्त्वं नाम मनःप्रभवम्। एतदेव समाहितमनस्त्वादुत्पद्यते। " इति भरतः।
"एतदेवास्य सत्त्वं यत् दुःखितेन प्रहर्षितेन वा अश्रु-रोमाञ्चादयो निवर्त्यन्ते।
तेन सत्त्वेन निर्वृत्ता भावाः - सात्त्विकाः भावाः। तद्भावभावनं च भावः।" इति धनिकः।
"पृथग् भावा भवन्त्यन्येऽनुभावत्वेऽपि सात्त्विकाः।
सत्त्वादेव समुत्पत्तेस्तच्च तद्भावभावनम्॥" इति धनिकः।
Thus, physical expression of the feelings of the mind are called sAttvika.
According to Natya shastra, a rasa is a synthetic phenomenon and the goal of any creative performance art, oratory, painting or literature.Wallace Dace translates the ancient text's explanation of rasa as "a relish that of an elemental human emotion like love, pity, fear, heroism or mystery, which forms the dominant note of a dramatic piece; this dominant emotion, as tasted by the audience, has a different quality from that which is aroused in real life; rasa may be said to be the original emotion transfigured by aesthetic delight".
Rasas are created through a wide range of means, and the ancient Indian texts discuss many such means. For example, one way is through the use of gestures and facial expressions of the actors.Expressing Rasa in classical Indian dance form is referred to as Rasa-abhinaya.
The theory of rasas forms the aesthetic underpinning of all Indian classical dance and theatre, such as Bharatanatyam, Kathakali, Kathak, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Manipuri, Kudiyattam, and others.
In Indian classical music, each raga is an inspired creation for a specific mood, where the musician or ensemble creates the rasa in the listener.However, predominantly all ragas and musical performances in Hindu traditions aim at one of six rasa, wherein music is a form of painting "love, compassion, peace, heroism, comic or the feeling of wonder" within the listener. Anger, disgust, fear and such emotions are not the subject of raga, but they are part of Indian theories on dramatic arts. Of the six rasa that are aimed at in Indian music, each has sub-categories. For example, love rasa in Hindu imagination has many musical flavors, such as erotic love (sringar) and spiritual devotional love (bhakti).
Rasa is a fusion of word and meaning,
that bathes the minds of readers,
with savor of bliss.
It is the truth of poetry,
shining without cessation.
Clear to the heart,
it is yet beyond the words.
In the theories of Indian poetics, ancient scholars state that the effectiveness of a literary composition depends both on what is stated and how it is stated (words, grammar, rhythm), that is the suggested meaning and the experience of rasa.Among the most celebrated in Hindu traditions on the theory of poetics and literary works, are 5th-century Bhartrhari and the 9th-century Anandavardhana, but the theoretical tradition on integrating rasa into literary artworks likely goes back to a more ancient period. This is generally discussed under the Indian concepts of Dhvani, Sabdatattva and Sphota.
The literary work Bhagavata Purana deploys rasa, presenting Bhakti of Krishna in aesthetic terms. The rasa it presents is as an emotional relish, a mood, which is called Sthayi Bhava. This development towards a relishable state results by the interplay on it of attendant emotional conditions which are called Vibhavas, Anubhavas and Sanchari Bhavas. Vibhavas means Karana or cause: it is of two kinds - Alambana, the personal or human object and substratum, and Uddipana, the excitants. Anubhava, as the name signifies, means the ensuants or effects following the rise of the emotion. Sanchari Bhavas are those crossing feelings which are ancillary to a mood. Later scholars added more emotional states such as the Saatvika Bhavas.
In the Indian theories on sculpture and architecture ( Shilpa Shastras ), the rasa theories, in part, drive the forms, shapes, arrangements and expressions in images and structures.Some Indian texts on Shilpa on image carving and making, suggest nine rasas.
Rasa has been an important influence on the cinema of India. Satyajit Ray has applied the Rasa method of classical Sanskrit drama to movies, for instance in The Apu Trilogy (1955–1959).
In Hindi cinema, it is the theme of the film Naya Din Nayi Raat, where Sanjeev Kumar played nine characters corresponding to nine Rasa.[ citation needed ]
Bharatanatyam [Originally known as sadhiraattam ], is a major form of Indian classical dance that originated in the state of Tamil Nadu. It is one of eight forms of dance recognized by the Sangeet Natak Akademi and it expresses South Indian religious themes and spiritual ideas, particularly of Shaivism, Vaishnavism and Shaktism.
A raga or raag is a melodic framework for improvisation akin to a melodic mode in Indian classical music. While the rāga is a remarkable and central feature of the classical music tradition, it has no direct translation to concepts in the classical European music tradition. Each rāga is an array of melodic structures with musical motifs, considered in the Indian tradition to have the ability to "colour the mind" and affect the emotions of the audience.
Kathakalī is a major form of classical Indian dance. It is a "story play" genre of art, but one distinguished by the elaborately colorful make-up, costumes and face masks that the traditionally male actor-dancers wear. Kathakali is a Hindu performance art in the Malayalam-speaking southwestern region of India.
Kuchipudi is one of the eleven major Indian classical dances. It originated in a village named Kuchipudi in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
Odissi, also referred to as Orissi in older literature, is a major ancient Indian classical dance that originated in the Hindu temples of Odisha – an eastern coastal state of India. Odissi, in its history, was performed predominantly by women, and expressed religious stories and spiritual ideas, particularly of Vaishnavism. Odissi performances have also expressed ideas of other traditions such as those related to Hindu gods Shiva and Surya, as well as Hindu goddesses (Shaktism).
Sattriya, or Sattriya Nritya, is originated in the eastern state of Assam. It is a dance-drama performance art with origins in the Krishna-centered Vaishnavism monasteries of Assam, and attributed to the 15th century Bhakti movement scholar and saint Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardev.
Mohiniyattam,, is one of the eight classical dances of India that developed and remained popular in the state of Kerala. Kathakali is another classical dance form of Kerala. Mohiniyattam dance gets its name from the word Mohini – a mythical enchantress avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu, who helps the good prevail over evil by developing her feminine powers.
Indian classical dance, or Shastriya Nritya, is an umbrella term for various performance arts rooted in religious Hindu musical theatre styles, whose theory and practice can be traced to the Sanskrit text Natya Shastra.
Abhinavabharati is a commentary on ancient Indian author Bharata Muni's work of dramatic theory, the Natyasastra. It is the oldest commentary available on the treatise. The Abhinavabharati was written by Abhinavagupta, the great Kashmiri Saivite spiritual leader and a yogi.
The Sangita-Ratnakara, सङ्गीतरत्नाकर,, literally "Ocean of Music and Dance", is one of the most important Sanskrit musicological texts from India. Composed by Śārṅgadeva (शार्ङ्गदेव) in the 13th century, both Hindustani music and Carnatic music traditions of Indian classical music regard it as a definitive text. The author was a part of the court of King Singhana II (1210–1247) of the Yādava dynasty whose capital was Devagiri, Maharashtra.
Nātyakalpadrumam is a book written by (late) Nātyāchārya Vidūshakaratnam Padma Shri GuruMāni Mādhava Chākyār about all aspects of ancient Sanskrit drama theatre tradition of Kerala- Kutiyattam. It was first published in Malayalam (1975) by Kerala Kalamandalam, with financial assistance of Sangeet Natak Academi, New Delhi. This monumental work serves as the reference to scholars and students. The entire book is written in the old Sanskrit text style closely following Nātyaśāstra. Both structure and content of the book illustrates the excellence of the author in both Sanskrit and Nātyaśāstra. It has received the prestigious Kerala Sahitya Academy Award for the year 1975. The book has been translated and published in Hindi by Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi.
Abhinaya is the art of expression in Indian aesthetics. More accurately it means "leading an audience towards" the experience (bhava) of a sentiment (rasa). The concept, derived from Bharata Muni's Natya Shastra, is used as an integral part of all Indian classical dance styles.
Hāsya is a Sanskrit word for one of the nine rasas or bhava (mood) of Indian aesthetics, usually translated as humour or comedy. The colour associated with hasya is white and deity, Pramatha, and leads to exultation of the mind.
Indian art evolved with an emphasis on inducing special spiritual or philosophical states in the audience, or with representing them symbolically.
Rasāsvāda means – appreciation, sipping of juice, perception of pleasure; in Indian philosophy, it refers to the taste of bliss in the absence of all thought which is an obstacle in the path leading to Nirvikalpa Samādhi ; it is aesthetic consciousness. Rasasvada means one gets a power of healing or a power of knowing the mind which gives enjoyment but this enjoyment is superficial enjoyment or happiness which should not be sought while seeking Truth.
In Hindu thought, Anubhava or anubhavah refers to personal knowledge or aesthetic experience.
Nritya, also referred to as Nrit, Nritta, Natana or Natya, refers to "dance, act on the stage, act, gesticulate, play" in the Indian traditions. It is sometimes sub-divided into two forms: nritta or pure dance, wherein expression-less movements of a dancer play out the rhythms and phrases of the music; and nritya or expressive dance, wherein the dancer includes facial expression and body language to portray mood and ideas with the rhythmic movements to communicate with the audience.