Rasa and Bhava


Aesthetic is the philosophy of art. It is supposed to deal with the beauty in art, its relish or enjoyment, and the feeling of awareness of joy which accompanies an experience of beauty. To evoke Rasa in a spectator, has been the aim and object of all forms of art such as dance, drama, music, sculpture, painting and so on.

Creating Rasa means to give aesthetic delight or to give an experience of ultimate bliss and happiness. The term Rasa unfortunately has no equivalent in the English language. But it can be translated as flavour, to relish, sentiment (emotion) , as explained by scholars. Thus it could be best translated as the aesthetic feeling that is created in the spectator when he witnesses an effective presentation of the art.

It is the mood or the emotion created in the audience by the dancer, who in order to create that emotion, herself undertakes to perform Angika movements.
Imporatnce of Rasa

Any art without a Rasa is incomplete. Dance without Rasa will be purely a mechanical exercise of body motions and physical movements. It is only when dance results in the evocation of Rasa that it rises above the level of a mere physical endeavour, and becomes a meaningful creative enterprise. Thus Rasa is the quality that makes for the understanding between the artists and the spectator. When the dancer successfully conveys the message in the poem to the spectator, and in the process spectator reciprocates, rasa is said to be created.

Rasa is simply explained as that which is being tasted or enjoyed.
Bharata in the “Natya Shastra” gives the analogy of enjoyment of food in explaining the experience of the aesthetic delight (‘Rasa’).
“Rasa iti kaha padaarthaha Uchyate Aaswaadyatvaat ll”

That is; just as a well disposed person, whose mind is free from other thoughts and thus centered on the act of eating, relishes the flavours while eating food in which various spices are added and in this relish gets satisfaction. So also the spectator whose mind is engrossed in the spectacle relishes the “Sthayi Bhavas”(latent permanent states) aroused by the presentation of the various emotions with the help of verbal, physical and mental gesticulation and gets joy in this experience.

Bharata’s Natya Shastra gives the following

Rasa Sutra

“Vibhaavanubhaavyabhichaarisanyogaadrasanishpattihi ll”

That is; the combination of “Vibhava” (Determination), “Anubhava” (Consequents) and “Vyabhicharibhava” (Complementary psychological states) leads to Rasa.