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24 Dec

Kathakali: Navarasas Demonstrated

A Demonstration of Navarasas by Kalamandalam Atul Pankaj

The theory of rasa is pivotal to Indian aesthetics. The Sanskrit word rasa has several meanings including sap, juice, essence, water, flavour, taste, relish and sentiments. The Upanishads have used it to mean Brahman. The term rasa refers to the creative experiences of the poet, the aesthetic relish of the reader and the complex of emotional states present in the poem. In poetics, the term covers the subjective experiences of the poet and the reader and the objective structural focus of the poem.

Sthayibhavas are permanent emotions that lie embedded in the human organism. They are sthayi because (i) they remain embedded in the human system forever and (ii) they unify and dominate an entire work of art (Santa is the angirasa of Mahabharata; Karuna that of Ramayana). Bharata speaks of eight sthayibhavas. A ninth one (Nirveda) was added by later commentators on Natyasastra. The nine rasas and their corresponding sthayibhavas are listed below:

Sl No

Rasa

Sthayibhavas

Colour

Deity

1

Srngara

Rati (Love)

Green

Vishnu

2

Hasya

Hasa (Humour)

White

Rama

3

Karuna

Soka (Sorrow)

Grey

Varuna

4

Raudra

Krodha (Anger)

Red

Indra

5

Vira

Utsaha (Energy)

Golden

Rudra

6

Bhayanaka

Bhaya (Fear)

Black

Yama

7

Bibhatsa

Juguptsa (Disgust)

Blue

Mahakala

8

Adbhuta

Vismaya (Wonder)

Yellow

Brahma

9

Santa

Vairagya/ Sama / Nirveda (Detachment)

 

 

During the Suvarnam 2015 cultural extravaganza at Kottayam organised  by the Cultural Affairs Department, Government of Kerala,  Atul Pankaj, a student at Kalamandalam, gave the audience a foretaste of Kathakali by demonstrating the nine rasas on stage. Here is Atul Pankaj in action:

   Manu Mangattu

   Photo Courtesy: Anukkutan Photography

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