5 Natyashastra and Rasa

Dr. Bhandaram Vani

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It is very common that the various situations of life and emotions are expressed through the music, dance, drama and action. In Vedic literature one can find that during Vedic rituals and sacrifices song, dance, dialogue were mainly used.There are references of song, dance, dialogue and action in Vedas as they are mostly played during the rituals, celebrations and festivals etc. Thus the art of Music and Dance which was well developed during Vedic age itself has been systematized by Bharata in his Natyashastra. He condensed and codified necessary laws to govern music dance and drama. Not only these three but all that are essential to the authors and actors like the knowledge of grammar prosody rhetoric rasa bhava were also clearly mentioned in this work. His Natya Shastra with its 36 chapters includes the writing of drama and its production in any encyclopaedic work on dramatic art. It is considered the fifth Veda- the Natyaveda since the word or speech is extracted from Rigveda music, song is from Samaveda, the art of acting histrionic expressions from Yajurveda and the elements of Rasa from Athervaveda.


There were several authors like Parasara, Shilali, Krishashva, Kohala, Dantila, Thumbura, Narada Nandi, Shandilya wrote on the principles of dance much earlier to Bharata but unfortunately the original works are not available now. Bharata adopted altered, added dramatic rules and regulations and made a full-fledged work with minute details of dramatic art.


It is believed that this work is composed between 200 BC and 200 AD. The technical terms used in Natya Shastra are found in Ramayana, Mahabharata. Natyashastra is fully accredited to Bharatamuni by Kalidasa (Vikramorvashiya-II-7, Kumarasambhava 7-91) hence he can be placed before Kalidasa. Considering references in Panini’s Ashtadhyayi, Hathigumfa inscription of Kharavela Scholars are of the opinion that Bharata flourished before Christian era most probably during 2nd century B.C.


The commentary on the Natya Shastra is available to us now is of Abhinavagupata’s Natyaveda vivritti, known as Abhinava Bharati. There are some more commentaries earlier to Abhinavagupta are Bhattalollata, Udbhata, Shankuka, Bhattanayaka, Kirtidhara as mentioned in Sangita Rathnakara (1-19) but most of them are not available. There are number of works that derived their material from Natya Shastra like Danunjaya’s Dasarupaka, Sangaranandi’s Nataka Lakshana Ratnakosa, Ramachandra and Gunachandra’s Natyadarpana, Sharadatanaya’s Bhavaprakasha were written on dramaturgy following Bharata3. These works contain dramaturgy with Rasa, Bhava, Abhinaya, Nayika Nayaka’s and construction and presentation of drama with its varieties.


Bharatas Natya Shastra is the foremost among the works on rhetoric which embodies the rules governing the composition of the play. An aspiring actor can get all the detailed instructions regarding all types of dramatic applications, the rules, styles of language, plots etc. to far as it is applied to the that of drama. He takes Gunas, Dosas, Alankaras to be subservient to the purpose of awakening Rasa, as Sanskrit drama relies mainly on awaking right sentiments. The purpose of dance or drama would be complete when the evoking sentiments are brought appropriate to the theme by grace, skill of language and gestures.


As said earlier, the 6000 slokas were divided into 36 chapters and Abhinava gupta divided 36th chapter into two, so according to him the number of chapters are 37. The detailed account of contents of Natyashastra is published in Gackwad’s oriental series, Barada…..


According to Natyashastra all the Gods requested Lord Brahma to produce something to play (Kirdaniyakam) (N.S.I 2) which could be seen, heard, enjoyable, instructive, a fifth Veda for the benefit of all the people. Brahma in his meditation extracted the essence from all four Vedas (NS I,17) created this Natya Veda with full of stories from epics, and legends that led people towards the righteous path. He then asked Bharata to make this art known to mankind. The Natya represents the life of Gods, Demons, Kings ,Householders and Great sages alike.


The chapter I of Natya Shastra named as Natyotpatti the origin of drama contains 127 slokas. The questions of raised by Atreya and others about the circumstances leading to the creation of Natya, creation of Natyaveda, purpose of delicate mode of expression, the first play produced during the festival of Indradhvaja, disturbances of the play, pacification, benefits of drama were dealt. The five questions of sages are (1) How was the Natyaveda created? (2) For whom it was meant? (3) What are the parts of it? (4) What is its extent and (5) How is it to be applied. But the answers of these questions do not go in a sequence, but has spread all over the text of Natyashastra. While explaining the nature and purpose of Natya, Brahma says that nothing is there that is not found in Natya, either knowledge learning, action device or craft4. It includes all the sciences, art and craft and is an imitation of all the situations of three worlds. The theme of the play may be taken from narratives of history, Vedas and Shastras and presented in an enjoyable way. Thus Natya represents the pains and pleasures of the world through the medium of 4 types of abhinaya i.e. Angika – physical movements and gestures, Satvika emotional reaction Vachika – Voice & speech Aharya – Make-up and costume.

  • Chapter II deals with Natya Mandapa (the theatre) in 105 slokas. Standards for theatre, constructions, of 3 varieties of Natyamandapa, namely Vikrishta – the rectangular, Chaturasara the square, Tyasra – the triangle along with paintings of the walls sealing arrangements, entrances for king and others, the rear and front stage were described.
  • Chapter III deals with Ranga Devata Puja, worship of the Gods in 102 slokas. It contains chants of Lord Siva, Brahma, Vishnu, Ganesha, Brihaspati for the benefit and uninterrupted presentation of the drama.
  • Chapter IV describes the Tandava dance in 320 slokas. The two plays Amritha Mathana and Tripuradaha were presented in the presence of Lord Shiva. The description of 108 Karanas (postures) the basics of pure dance with detailed description and usage 32 Angaharas (movements of limbs) and Rechakas (gestures) were dealt.
  • Chapter V contains Purva Ranga vidhana the details of rituals to be presented before the actual presentation of dance in 174 slokas, Purva Ranga, Nandi, Druva, Prastavana etc. the preliminaries were explained.
  • Chapter VI Bharata gives reply to the questions of Sages on how sentiments enacted by the actor attain special qualities, what are bhavas and how do they make us feel, what are the main terms like Sangraha, Karika and Nirukta? The Sangraha which consists eleven aspects of drama, were established.
  • Chapter VII deals extensively with bhavas the emotions in 121 slokas with many prose passages. Characteristics Bhava – the emotion, Vibhava the determinant, Anubhava – the consequent and their inter-relationship, the importance of 8 sthayi bhava – the static emotion, 33 Sancharibhavas – transitory emotions and 8 satvika bhavas – responsive emotions in promoting Rasa in the heart of audience were dealt in detail.
  • Chapter VIII holds a detailed description of fourfold Abhinaya namely Angika, Satvika, Vachika and Aaharya. The expression with head, glances, action with pupils, the eye-lids, the eyebrows, the nose and Nostrils, cheeks, lower-lip, neck and colours of the face were described.
  • In chapter IX Angabhinaya expression through gestures and limbs were dealt, in 283 slokas, Pataka, Tripataka etc. 24 single hand gestures (Asamyutahastabhedas), Anjali, Svastika etc, 13 coupled hand gestures(Samyanuta hasta bhedas), 27 hand gestures of Tandava (pure) dance (Nritha hastas), Karanas of hand gestures, action with chest, sides, belly, waist, thighs, shanks and feet were explained.
  • Chapter X was totally dedicated to varieties of foot work. Uses of 32 charis, (earthly and aerial), the sthanas, four Nyayas of using weapons, acts related to bow, healthy exercise were treated in 103 slokas.
  • In Chapter XI the Mandala movements both earthly and aerial were described in 70 slokas.
  • In Chapter XII the different gaits of men, women, the stout, the intoxicated, the Jester etc were found in 236 Slokas.
  • Chapter XIII describes Kakshya Vibhaga – stage division as regards to musical instruments and four kinds of Pravritti (the regional identity), definitions Loka Dharmi and Natyadharmi.
  • Chapter XIV treats with Vyakarana-the grammar and Chandah-the prosody in 133 slokas.
  • Chapter XV decribes Vrittas – the Slokas. Metres of balanced slokas with examples, and meter with unbalanced slokas with examples. Aarya Vritta and Arya gita were dealt elaborately in 227 slokas.
  • Chapter XVI is dealt with 36 Kavya Lakshana – embellishments, 4 Alankaras the figures of speech, 10 Gunas – the merits and 10 Doshas – demerits in 128 slokas.
  • Chapter XVII deals with Kakusvara – the modulation in voice, Bhasha – the language, Sambhuddhi – the addressing, Name – the name, musical notes, origin of musical notes etc.
  • Chapter XVIII gives full description of Dasarupakas – Nataka, Prahasana etc the ten forms of drama in 126 verses.
  • Chapter XIX discusses the Sandhi Nirupana – Construction of Plot in 154 slokas. The division and nature of plot, 5 Karyavasathas – the five executive processes, 5 Arthaprakrittis – the five causation, 4 Pataka sthanatas – the four dramatic ironies, 5 Sandhis – the five divisions of plot, 64 Sandhyangas – intermediary divisions, 5 Arthopakshepakas – the five suggestive devices Lasyangas, along with ideal drama and its proprieties were discussed.
  • Chapter XX is of Vritti Vikalpanam – Modes of expression Bharati, Satvathi, Kaishiki and Arabhati Vrittis were described (in 77 Slokas) for the promotions of Rasa in the drama.
  • Chapter XXI and XXII gives a detailed description of Aharyabhinaya – Makeup and costume, Samanyabhinaya – general histrionic expression in 227 and 332 slokas respectively. Ornaments of men, women, making up the face and other limbs with grease paints etc, details of Natural, derives and subsidiary colours false hair, manufacturing of masks etc were described in Aharayabhinaya. Physical, natural, involuntary graces in women, men, twelve forms of voice expression, 8 varieties of heroines in love (Astavidha Nayikas), general exclusions on the stage were treated.
  • Chapter XXIII deals with Bahyopachara – the courtesans and the vaishika in 80 slokas.
  • Chapter XXIV is dealt with the Prakriti – the character in men and women 89 slokas. The three types of characters in men and women, four types of heroes, four types of heroines with their assistants and details there of.
  • Chapter XXV deals with Chitrabhinaya – the particular expression for indicating morning, sunset etc. Seasons, birds, animals, demons, celestials, expression in Soliloquies, aside etc in 125 slokas.
  • Chapter XXVI deals with vikriti Vikalpa – that is creating moulds of animals and birds and set design in 38 slokas.
  • Chapter XXVII deals with Natya Siddhi – Success of Production of play in 104 verses. The Daivi Siddhi,Manushi Siddhi (success due to divine blessings and success due to human effort), four types of interruption in a play, qualifications of judges, audience, right time of the day when plays are to be produced and are not to be produced the success were discussed.
  • Chapter XVIII deals with Jaativikalpanam – the properties of music both Instrumental and Vocal in 142 Slokas. The four types of musical instruments, their nature and variations, saptaswaras, gramas, moorchanas etc were detailed in this chapter.
  • Chapter XXIX is continuation of 28th chapter, which deals with stringed instruments – the Tala Atodya. Use of melodies according to Rasa, suitability of particular musical note to the instrument and Rasa, playing the tunes in the preliminary rituals, the four varnas etc were dealt in 119 slokas.
  • Chapter XXX deals with Sushira Atodya – the wind instruments played in combinations with Vina, Venu and Vocal in 125 slokas.
  • Chapter XXXI is Tala Adhyaya where time, various units of time, laya, qualities of singer and instrumentalists, rhythm, tempo etc along with delicate dance (lasya) its division and presentation were discussed in 378 slokas.
  • Chapter XXXII is dealt with Dhruva Vidhana – types of songs, five situations in which the song is used, content and metre of the song, its relation with character, emotion, and rasa in 436 slokas. Suggestions and purpose of song in drama is also discussed.
  • Chapter XXXIII deals with qualification of vocalists and instrumentalists in 23 slokas.
  • Chapter XXXIV deals with Pushkarvaadyas – percussion instruments in 304 slokas include some prose passages. Major and minor instruments, various aspects of playing the three types of percussion instruments, various tastes of audience etc were discussed.
  • Chapter XXXV deals with Bhumika Vikalpa – the distribution of roles to sutradhara, actors and actresses in 41 slokas.
  • Chapter XXXVI deals with Natya Shapa – the curse on drama in 50 slokas. Sages initiated Bharata regarding the drama dropped down to the earth from the heaven, Bharata’s explanation, importance of preliminaries, arrogant sons of Bharata being cursed by the sages, representation of celestials, compromise by Bharata were discussed.
  • Chapter XXXVII, Guhyatatvakathana (The Mythical account the drama descending on the earth) is dealt in 31 slokas. Nahusha invited the sons of Bharata to bring the drama to the earth, the greatness of Natyaveda and benefits were explained.

Thus the 6000 slokas in Bharata Natyashastra have been distributed in 37 chapters.


In Chapter VI-10 Bharata states that the eleven aspects are very important to define the picture of drama in so far as the author and the actor are concerned. They are eight types of (1) Rasas, the ninth Santa Rasa is added on, eight sthayi bhavas, thirty three Sanchari bhavas, eight satvika bhavas, thus total number of (2) Bhavas emotions are 49, (3) Abhinaya histrionic expression is of 4 types (Satvika) Vachika, Angika and Vachika (4) Dharmi school of acting is of two types Lokadharmi and Natya Dharmi, (5) Vritti – mode of expression and (6) Pravrithi regional identity are of four types each, Bharati, Satvati, Kaishiki and Arabhati, Avanti,Dakshinatya, Odri Magadhi, and Panchala Madhyama respectively, (7) Siddhi the success is of two types Daivi and Manushi. (8) Svara is of seven notes Sa, Ri, Ga, Ma, Pa, Da, Ni, (9) Aatodhya i.e. instrument is four types Tala, Avanaddha, Ghana, Sushira. (10) Gana the song is of five varieties Praveshaka, Akshepa, Nishkrama Prasadika and Antara. (11) Ranga the theatre is three forms Chaturasra, Vikrishta and Tyasra. This is the essence of Natya Shastra.


The chief aim of the presentation is to arouse a particular sentiment in the minds of audience. Drishya Kavya which is enacted on the stage and seen by audience is more effective to give the desired aesthetic pleasure. The plot, the characterization and everything is subordinate in promoting Rasa.

As Drama is a composite art, Bharata’s treatment towards all related subjects such as Architecture, Preliminaries, Postures, movements of limbs, songs, dance, speech, dress, musical instruments etc gave importance and greatness to Natyashastra.




Bharata’s Natyashastra is the oldest treatise on Rasa theory. The idea of Rasa in drama or poetry is a unique creation of Indian Dramaturgy and rhetoric. The translation of this word ‘Rasa’ is also very difficult as it is an enjoyment or experience in the mind of the sympathetic audience or reader. It is an individual experience brought through the expression of Bhava. The Rasa is created or promoted in the mind of a spectator by the Bhava being expressed. These two the Rasa and Bhava are interdependent as Rasa is not created without Bhava and Bhava has no existence if Rasa is not promoted. Bhava can be considered as the physical body and Rasa being its soul. Bhavas, the emotions has no meaning in the absence of Rasa. Bhavas, the emotions represented in the performance gets translated into emotional state of experience in the minds of spectator, so called Rasika and makes the presentation thoroughly enjoyable.


The eleven elements that are described as the essence of Natyashastra by Bharata, but Rasa and Bhava are the main aesthetic performances in provoking a desired emotion that leads to open the heart and mind of spectator to understand the message and idea of the poet. Rasa and Bhava occupy a significant treatment by Bharata. They are followed by other nine Abhinaya, Dharmi, Vritti, Pravritti, Siddhi, Svara, Aatodya, Gana and Ranga that embellish a dramatic presentation. Answering the inquiries made by the sages about Rasa and Bhava, Bharata puts in his Natyashastra as the combination of Vibhava, Anubhava and Vyabhichari Bhavas creates the Rasa. Rasa is produce in the minds of Sympathetic audience as a result of configuration of the determinants, the consequents and the transitory moods. (Vibha vanubhava Vyabhichari samyogat Rasanishpattih – N.S.VI) They are known as causes, effects and auxiliaries in the spoken language. The latent emotion that comes to be manifested by all the above things is called as Rasa like the food becomes relished with the mixture of different spices, Rasa accompanied    by    these     Bhavas    become     the    source     of    Ananda.           (Yathhi      Nan Vyanjanaushadhidravya Samyogat Rasanishpattih, talah Nanabhavopagramatrasanishpattih….Sthayinah bhavah rasatramapnuvanti – NS VI, Prose passage). Then what are these Vibhavas, Anubhavas and Vyabhicharam Bhavas? Bharata explains in detail. Vibhavas – the determinants are the causes. As many things are Vibhavyate (determined) by this through words, Gestures and the representation of the Temperament,is named Vibhava. (Determinants)1 (1. N.S.VII-4 (translation M.M.Gosh) P.119.) They create an illusionary reality when the character is being presented in a particular environment. When a spectator or a reader watches or reads a drama or poem, the basic emotion, (that is already exists) are excited by these Vibhavas – the determinants or the causes and leads to Anubhava – the consequent or the effect. Because they Anubhavyate (made to feel) things by means of words, gestures it is called Anubhava and it is related to words as well as to gestures and movements of major and minor limbs.2(2. N.S.VII-5 Translation M.M.Gosh). This will be a voluntary expression like smile, shedding tears, laughter, scary looks, angry looks etc.


Thus Vibhavas and Anubhavas create a State (Sattva). The Vibhavas are two types Alambana Vibhavas and Uddipana Vibhavas. Hero and Heroines are Alambana and seasons, flowers etc are the Uddipana. The emotions, the cause of excitation retained in the mind of a sympathetic spectator/reader till the Rasa is experienced,these inherent emotions are called Sthayibhava or Static emotion such as love etc is of eight types.The physical involuntary expression follow the identification of the emotion of sympathetic mind are called Satvika Bhavas or responsive emotions like the glances, sweating, horripulation etc. It can be said that Satvika Bhavas are Anubhavas the consequents, but Satavika bhavas are involuntary actions in an exalted state and Anubhavas are voluntary expressions. These are again eight types. The emotions those do not have stability like Vibhavas, Sthayibhavas, but rise, exist and vanish quickly are called Sanchari bhava- the transitory emotions. These are passing emotions that are compared to the waves of the ocean, promotes the creation of Rasa in the sympathetic mind and submerge into the same. They contribute to the creation of Rasa and retains till the realization of Rasa. These are 33 in number.


Vibhavas (the determinants) can be called as Sthayibhava(the static emotion) as they are cause of excitation. It is a clear manifestation of the determinant (alambana vibhava,uddipanavibhava)on the mind of the sympathetic spectator considered as the ocean,it becomes root cause of the creation of Rasa. Dormant emotions like love etc get excited when they come into contact with hero ,heroine. Similar to the seed sprouts when watered. These emotions which are not transient and sustained are eight types. They are 1 Rati-love 2. Haasa-mirth 3. Shoka- grief 4. Krodha – anger 5.Utsaha-enthusiasm 6.Bhaya-fear 7.Jugupsa-digust and 8 Vismaya-surprise.


Anubhavas (the consequents) are the physical expressions following the emotion caused by the determinant may be called as satvika bhavas(the responsive emotions)like love or seed germination is experienced by the glances or by words and gestures in case of love, sprouting in case of seed. The dormant emotions originated in the mind get accomplished by the responsive emotional expressions. The actor with concentrated mind can produce whatever the effect the situation demands. Anubhavas may be imitated simply by the practice of acting, but the responsiveness (Satva) is a mental state of an actor (inner feelings) expressed with the bodily actions (external movements).They are eight in number. (1) Sveda – Perspiration (2) Stambha – Stupefaction (3) Romancha – horripilation (4) Svarabhanga – change in tone (5) Vepathu – trembling (6) Vaivarnya – discoloration (7) Asru – tears (8) Pralaya – Swoon.


Vyahicharibhavanas – (the transitory emotions) are also called Sancharibhavas only flash momentarily and do not stay for a long time. The mind and body when subjected to an emotional impact, the mind experiences a series of emotions. They traverse between the actor and spectator, make the static emotion (Sthayi bhava) more stronger, make the mind respond favorably to the experience of Rasa. They are 33 in number (1) Nirveda – aversion, (2) glani – depression (3) Sankaa – doubt, (4) Asuyaa – envy (5) Mada – intoxication (6) Srama – weariness (7)   Aalasya – indolence (8) Dainya – piteousness (9) Chintaa – sorrow (10) Moha – passion (11) Smriti – recollection (12) Dhriti – courage (13) Vrida – shame, (14) Chapalatha – waywardness (15)   Harsha – Joy (16) Avega – agitation (17) Jadata – stupor (18) Garva – arrogance (19) Vishada – despair (20) Anautsukya – inquisitiveness (21) Nidra – sleep (22) Apsmara – epilepsy (23) Supta – dream (24) Viboodha – awakening (25) Amarsha – indignation (26) Avahitta – concealment (27) Ugrata – ferocity (28) Mati – Knowledge (29) Vyadhi – Sickness (30) Unmada – insanity (31) Marana – death (32) Traasa – fright and (33) Vitanka – deliberation.


All these Bhavas are subordinates to the principal Rasa. The sentiment is caused by the Vibhavas, expressed by the Anubhavas and nourished by Sanchari bhavas becomes Rasa. In an ordinary world, due to woman, moon etc Rati is produced. It is expressed with glances etc and enriched by Glani, Niveda etc. When the Sthayibhava, the permanent mood is experienced due to Vibhava, Anubhava and Vyabhichari then it becomes Rasa. According to Bharata the Rasa, Rasa is only Loukika Rasa. He explains it on the analogy of Paka Rasa. When we mix food made of rice wheat etc with some Vyanjanas (spices) a peculiar taste like Shadabha is produced which gives pleasure to the eater. Similarly with the help of Verbal, physical and mental gesticulation Rasa gives pleasure, Joy to the Sahridaya (sympathetic Spectator). Hence they are called Natya Rasa which is very important in any kind of art presentation.


Bharata has classified Rasas into 8 – 1. Srinagaara-amorous, 2.Haasya- humorous, 3. Karuna-pathetic, 4. Raudra-furious 5.Viira-valorous, 6. Bhayaanaka-horrifi, 7. Biibhatsa-repugnant, and 8. Adbhuta- wondrous. The eight static emotions that are responsible for these eight rasa-s, in order are – 1. Love , 2. Mirth, 3. Grief , 4.Anger, 5. Enthusiasm, 6.Fear, 7. Disgust, and 8. Surprise .


Bharata has indicated the corresponding colours and presiding deities for all the eight Rasas.


Each Rasa has again several sub  division :


Sringaara Rasa has two sub-divisions – Sambhoga-union and Vipralambha-separation, in which anga-the action, neepathya-the costume and vak-the speech vary correspondingly.


Hasya Rasa has six subdivisions -1.Smita-gentle smile, 2. Hasita-smile, 3. Vihasita-laughter, 4. Upahasita-laughter with riducule, 5. Apahasita-uproarious laughter and 6. Atihasita-convulsive laughter. Hasya Rasa is also governed by variations in action, costume and speech as in the case of Sringaara rasa.


Karuna Rasa has three subdivisions 1.Manasika 2.vachika 3. Angika caused due separation from loved ones, damage to virtue, loss of wealth etc.


Raudra Rasa is expressed through action, costume and speech.


Vira Rasa has three subdivisons viz., Daanavira-heroism in charity, Dharmavira –heroism in virtue and Yuddhavira -heroism in war.


Bhayaanaka Rasa has three subdivisions 1.Vyaja- fictitious horror, 2.Aparadha- horror due to a grievous mistake 3.Vitrasita- horror due to fear complex.


Biibhasta Rasa has two subdivisions -1shuddhaja-the exciting and 2.udvegaja-the inflicting. The exciting is created by seeing disgusting insects etc., and the inflicting is created by looking at blood, intestines etc.


Adbhuta Rasa has two subdivisions -1.Divyaja- the exquisite and 2.Anandaja the pleasurable.


Santa Rasa is yet a ninth, not mentioned by Bharata, but has been accepted as one of the Rasa’s during later periods. Sama or the placid static emotion gives rise to Santa Rasa.


Bharata has stated that the main independent Rasa-s are four – the amorous, the valorous, the furious, and the repugnant; and that the remaining four rasa-s re dependent – the humorous on the amorous, the pathetic on the furious, the wondrous on the valorous, and the horrific on the repugnant.


According to Abhinavagupta, Bhattallollata appears to be the first commentator on Bharata’s Rasa Sutra who opined that Rasa is created in the character described in the play. Later, Sri Sankuka, another commentator, contradicted Bhttaloollata’s opinion and stated that rasa is experienced by the actor alone. Still later, Bhattanaayaka, another reputed commentator, condemned these two arguments outright and gave the opinion the Rasa is experienced by the audience only as a result of the histrionic expression of an actor who portrays the emotions pertaining to the character described in the play. This argument is close to Bharata’s explanation of Rasa Sutra. Although Abhinavagupta has agreed with the commentary of Bhattanaayaka he was not convinced by the reasoning the Bhattanaayaka. So, he examined the views of all the three commentators in his commentary Abhinavabharatii (Ch.VI) and established with analytical reasoning that Rasa is experienced only by the sympathetic audience.


According to Abhinavagupta in the minds of the spectators a particular emotion (Sthayi Bhava) is already present in the form of Sanskara (Vasana). This inherent permanent mood inferred from its Loukika causes Ex: women, garden remains in the heart of the appreciating audience. This permanent mood depicted in a Kavya or presented in a Natya will have a special power and thereby lose their individuality and some kind of Universalization is affected. Such causes (Karanas etc) were given special names like Vibhava etc. The Vibhavas are generalized or impersonalized in the minds of the reader or the spectator through the suggestive power of clever representation. Then the Sthayi which in the heart of the Sahridaya in the form of Vasana gets aroused and Rasa gets manifested by itself.


In the world the love (Rati) of Rama (hero) for Sita (heroine), Sita becomes Alambana, moon etc. are Uddipanas, Asrupata etc. are Karyas, Cinta etc. are Sahakarins. All these things with beautiful situations with meaningful words, gestures enter in to the heart of the Sahridaya. They create a special power Bhava in him. By this power the Vibhavas Sita etc. leave their individuality and appear to him in a generalized form. At this time they are called as Aloukikas. These Vibhavas etc with the power of suggestion evokes the Rati etc. The Sthayi bhavas which are present in the heart of Sahridaya in a subtle form. Thus Rasa is manifested by the removal of enveloping obstacles and reveals something which already exists.

This manifestation becomes the source of transcendent charm and is spoken as Rasa. This Rasananda is said almost to be equivalent to the Philosophic bliss (brahmananda).

you can view video on Natyashastra and Rasa


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