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Rasa theory finds its root in late vedic period in

Atharvaveda ( 200 BC-100 BC)

Bharatmuni (First century AD approx.) gave

major statement in his Book Natyashastra

Natyashatra is Indian treatise on the

performing arts, encompassing theatre, dance
and music
Bharatmuni says

“rasa is realization of one’s own

consciousness as colored by emotions”

“rasa and emotions cannot be expressed

directly through words, their essence
being immediate experience; so they can
be only suggested by words”
Philosophical side of rasa theory

“rasa school emphasizes on experiential aspect

of literature, the qualitatively new product that
must be directly experienced in order not to
confuse with an aggregate of its natural
constituents. It is unworldly pleasure which
accompanies it as transcendental”
Analogy by Bharatmuni

“The unique taste delicacy arises from coming

together of many ingredients each of which has its
particular taste like conditioned response, but the
taste of dish is different and of a higher order than
that of each component”, the later one is
unconditioned response or called cultivated

“Similarly cooking involves providing heat as well

as expertise – thus it not only involves bhavas but
poetic inspiration and poetic art as well”
 The Rasa theory is built around the concept
of bhava which is subdivided into vibhava
(विभि), sthayibhava (स्थायी भाि), sancaribhava (
संकरी भाि), anubhava (अनु भि) and
sattvikabhava (सात्विक भाि).

 Bharata enumerates forty-nine bhavas - it is

a claim about the range of human
Rasa is an emotion experienced by the audience created by the facial
expression or the Bhava of the actor. Our discussion will focus only on
following sthayibhavas (स्थायी भाि).


Shringar(love) Rati Love/delight Pale Light Green

Hasya (humorous) Hasa Laughter White

Karuna (Pathetic/kindly) Shoka Sorrow Grey

Raudra (furious) Krodh Anger Red

Veera (heroic) Utsaha Heroism PaleOrange

Bhayanaka (Fearful) Bhaya Fear Black

Bibhatsa (Odious) Jugupsa Hate/disgust Blue

Adbhuta (Wonderful) Vismaya Wonder Yellow

Shanta (Peaceful) Shanta Peace White

Rasa can be experienced individually or collectively


Awakened Emotion
contemplative mood

Artists actions & their

Representation of Known characters/
Natural situation physical expressions
objects artists
of emotions
Kalidasa (Devanāgarī: काविदास "servant of
Kali") was a renowned Classical Sanskrit
writer, widely regarded as the greatest poet
and dramatist in the Sanskrit language.

His plays and poetry are primarily based on

Hindu Puranas and philosophy.

The text of Abhijñānaśākuntalam itself is

adapted version, “re-telling of story from the
epic Mahabharata. A radical departure from
the basic text. Focus: Political


Abhijñānaśākuntalam, Raghuvaṃśa,
 As per the available records, the play was the
first Indian drama to be translated into a Western
language, by Sir William Jones in 1789. ( Pre-
colonial India)
 Monier – Williams in 1855 ( colonial India)
 Kale in 1898 – Colonial India
 Chandra Rajan – Post –colonial India
 Currently there will be more 200 popular
versions of translation available in different

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