Introduction to Performing Arts

Performing arts are the arts which are performed before the audience. It includes dance, drama and music. Performing arts refers to the arts where the artists use his/her face, body and presence. The major types of performing arts include music, opera, dance, drama, and spoken words. The performing arts encourage children in exploring their emotions; expanding their imagination and helping themselves to develop their own unique voice. Each discipline – music, dance and drama, engage a child’s brain, body and emotions in different ways with a view to encourage their confidence and find joy in self-expression

Introduction to Navarasas

Yatho Hasta thatho Drishti

Yatho Drishti thatho Manah

Yatho Manah thatho Bhaava

Yatho Bhaava thatho Rasa.

Meaning –

Where the hands are, the eyes follow

Where the eyes are, the mind follows

Where the mind goes, the expression follows

Where there is expression, the mood/ navarasa is evoked.

The rasas are the centerpiece of Performing Arts, which tries to present various life-stages. Bhava is the cause of emotion and it is the reason of the state of rasa being established. Every rasa is about human state of mind and it corresponds to a particular bhava. Rasa circumscribes not just emotions but also the various things which cause that emotion.

The Navarasas give completeness to the performing arts. Nava means nine and rasa means emotions. The concept of rasa is fundamental to different forms of Indian Classical Dance and Music.

The Navarasas

According to India’s performing arts traditions, Navarasa are the nine emotions which are elicited in an audience during their experience of a dance, music or drama performance. The Sanskrit text on performing arts named “Natyashatra” written by Bharata Muni mentions only eight rasas viz. – Shringara, Hasya, Karuna, Rudra, Veera, Beebhatshya, Bhayankara and Adbhuta. The ninth one i.e. Shanta was included by Abhivangupta.

Shringara Rasa

Shringara is the king of all the rasas and the one that finds the most frequent portrayal in various art forms. It is the rasa of love, art, beauty and devotion. The mood of Shringara has two aspects viz. –

1.       The feeling of love in union which is called Sambhoga Shringara

2.       The feeling of love in separation i.e. Bipralamba Shringara

Hasya Rasa

The term “Hasya” itself means laughter. Hasya Rasa expresses joy or mirth with humor. Pure Hasya is the real happiness, a joy which comes from within.

Karuna Rasa

Karuna Rasa is also called Karunyam Rasa. It refers to the ‘pathetic sentiment’ or ‘the sentiments of the pathos’. In classical dance, Karuna Rasa is an expression of sorrow with a bhava of shoka or sadness. The (Vibhavas) determinants of this rasa are curse, distress, downfall, the death of near or dear ones, misfortunes, etc.

Veera Rasa

Veera Rasa is manifested when there is valour, heroism, mastery, pride and steadfastness. This rasa is also called the rasa of courage. It deals with the exhibition of energy and enthusiasm with persons of high rank. The Vibhavas or determinants of Veera rasa are Asammoha or Composure and absence of infatuation, Adhyavasaya or perseverance, Naya or good tactics, Vinaya or humility, Parakrama or Valour, Shakti or Power, Pralapa or Aggressiveness, Prabhava or mighty influence and other similar things.

Raudra Rasa

The Raudra Rasa depicts anger and is probably the most violent amongst the other rasas. The dominant emotion or the Sthayi Bhava in Raudra rasa is Krodha or anger. It takes its origin in the Raksasas, Danavas and very haughty human beings with a regular battle as its immediate cause. Its outcome is though the Vibhavas or determinants much as Krodha (anger), Dharsana (violation of

modesty), Adhiksepa (abuse), Apamana (insult), Anrtavacana (uttering falsehoods), Vakparusya (Harsh words), Droha (animosity), Matsarya (jealousy) and kindred ones.

Bhayanka Rasa

The Bhayanaka Rasa depicts fear and worries. Bhayanaka is a feeling evoked while facing something that is more powerful than oneself; it’s a feeling of being helpless. The most powerful form of Bhayanaka rasa that every advertiser wants to use in advertising is the fear of death. The Bhayanaka Rasa includes worries as well as severe anxiety.

Beebhatsya Rasa

Beebhatshya is the rasa of disgust or dissatisfaction with oneself and others. Vulgar and uncivilized acts, using of bad words and manners evokes an unpleasant feeling which is Beebhatshya. Beebhatshya Rasa has two subdivisions –

1.       Shuddhaja-the exciting and

2.       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

Adbhuta Rasa in Natyashastra is about the sentiment of wonderment surprise. The Sthayi bhava of the rasa is Vismaya or astonishment. This is the rasa of curiosity, astonishment and wonder. The feeling when one comes across something divine and supernatural, something never seen or imagined before is Adbhuta.

Shanta Rasa

Abhivangupta introduced a ninth rasa called Śāntam or the shanta rasa and it denotes the peace or tranquillity. It represents the state of calm and untroubled steadiness. Shanta represents complete harmony between the mind, body and universe.


These nine rasas are the integral parts of all the performing arts. Each Rasa carries the emotions from the performers to the audience. According to Natya shastra, a rasa is a synthetic phenomenon and the goal of any creative performance art, oratory, painting or literature. Rasas are created through a wide range of means, and the ancient Indian texts discuss many such means. For example, one way is through the use of gestures and facial expressions of the actors. Expressing Rasa in classical Indian dance form is referred to as Rasa-abhinaya. In Indian classical music, each raga is an inspired creation for a specific mood, where the musician or ensemble creates the rasa in the listener.

Ending the article with the following quote –

Rasa is a fusion of word and meaning,

that bathes the minds of readers,

with savor of bliss.

It is the truth of poetry,

shining without cessation.

Clear to the heart,

it is yet beyond the words.


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