Nine Emotions

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Natya Shashtra also depicts these Rasas with a prominent colour and a dominant deity. And today we journey back to meet the origin of all performance arts that not only preside over all Indian Classical Performance Arts but also the very core of every human heart. Join us as we dive into the magnificent world of Navrasas with celebrated Bharatnatyam dancer, Jayalakshmi Anand, whose face and grace add that much-needed touch of poised presence to our voyage!

Here, Jayalakshmi depicts the emotion of recalling sweet memories of her beloved draped in the colour of love- Green. Here, Jayalakshmi depicts Goddess Kali destroying the king of demons, draped in the colour of anger: Here Jayalakshmi depicts the terror of coming across a venomous snake draped in the colour of horror- Black. Here Jayalakshmi depicts the aura of standing up for yourself no matter what draped in the colour of heroism- Golden.


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Here, Jayalakshmi depicts watching a shooting star across dusky skies, draped in the colour of wonder: These emotions, or rasas, are what give life different hues, shades and colors. Thus it is not surprising that most performing art, which tries to present to the viewer a slice of human life focuses precisely on these rasas, or emotions in order to appeal to the audience.

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That rasas are the mainstay of performing art, or natya, is a fact that has been well-recognised for centuries now. The NatyaShastra is an ancient Indian text dated between 2nd century BC and 2nd century AD which analyses all aspects of performing art. It is often called the fifth veda because of its importance.

In it one finds a thorough exposition on the rasas, or emotions that characterise Life as well as Art. The NatyaShastra describes nine rasas or NavaRasas that are the basis of all human emotion. It is useful to keep in mind that a rasa encompasses not just the emotion, but also the various things that cause that emotion. These two things go hand in hand and are impossible to treat separately. This duality is part of every rasa to varying degrees. Through facial expressions, story telling, and drama, Bharata Natyam seeks to give the audience various rasas taste of the experiences that have unfolded in our history and mythology.

Nava Rasas refers to the nine emotions that are glorified in Bharata Natyam. During this performance, Priyanjali dancers will present the nine emotions or navarasas as they are known.

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Sringaram — Love in any form. Love of a mother, husband, wife, sister, friend. This is the emotion used to represent that which appeals to the human mind, that which one finds beautiful, that which evokes love. This is indeed the king of all rasas and the one that finds the most frequent portrayal in art.

Navarasa – the 9 Rasas or Emotional Essences

It can be used for the love between friends, the love between a mother and her child, the love for god or the love between a teacher and his disciples. Arputham— Wonder and curiousity of the world, marveling at nature, mankind, and the environment. In awe of news. The curiosity of man regarding the creation of the world and all its wonders, the astonishment caused by seeing something unusual and magical. The appreciation of a marvel that goes beyond the routine and the mundane. Beebathsam — Disgust and loathing, nausea.

The emotion evoked by anything that nauseates us, that revolts or sickens us. When something comes to our notice that is coarse and graceless, beneath human.

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Not surprisingly, this emotion is usually represented fleetingly. It usually acts as a catalyst for higher and more pleasant emotions. Rhoudhram — Anger and destruction. Anger and all its forms. The self-righteous wrath of kings, outrage over audacious behaviour and disobedience, the fury caused by an offense, the rage evoked by disrespect and anger over injustice are all forms of Rowdra, probably the most violent of rasas.

Navarasa – the 9 Rasas or Emotional EssencesRae Indigo Yoga

Bhayanhakam — Fear and sadness in fear. The subtle and nameless anxiety caused by a presentiment of evil, the feelings of helplessness evoked by a mighty and cruel ruler, and the terror felt while facing certain death are all aspects of bhaya.

Navarasas or Nine Emotions, Mohiniyattam, Lecture cum demonstration, Dr. Deepti Omchery Bhalla

Bhaya is the feeling of being overwhelmed and helpless. Dread, cowardice, agitation, discomposure, panic and timidity are all aspects of the emotion of fear. Viram — Pride and heroism. It represents bravery and self-confidence. Manliness and valiance are the trademarks of a Veer or a fearless person.