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From "A Dancer on Dance" written by V.P. Dhananjayan, published by Bharata Kalanjali


The common concept is that Sringara Rasa refers to love between man and woman and its consequences. A much deeper sense is actually conveyed by this term. The meaning of this term, Sringara is beauty, Soundarya. That is why Sringara Lahari is also known as soundarya Lahari.

Beauty is that which attracts the mind or appeals to a particular penchant of the mind. That is love; love is not just Rati the amorous attitude. There can be love between a child and its mother, between friends, between a teacher and disciples and of course love towards God. The beauty in Man is love and this love is what distinguishes Man and makes him supreme in all creation. Hence, love is beauty, that is, Sringara is truth and naturally it is considered to be the king of the Rasas; not because it is seductive, passionate or amorous love, though the general belief is so.

Thus Sringara rasa can be created by many different kinds of methods. 'Kuru Yadunandana' from 'Geetagovindam' represents the Sambhoga Sringara. This can be depicted by the meeting between the male and the female, their attitudes to love varying from shy to bold. 'Krishna nee begane baro' can be shown as Vatsalya, the bond between a mother and child; or Bhakthi, the tie between a devotee and God. Amorous interpretation of this would be inappropriate.

While exhibiting, acting or dancing the basic idea of a theme, the study of various theories and literary allusions help the performer to elaborate it properly and give the required strength of mood and atmosphere for the audience, enabling it to get the most out of it. Of course, there are various kinds of Sringara - Sambhoga Sringara, Vipralambha Sringara etc., but these need independent treatment for themselves.

Rowdra can be expressed by violent jumps, striking the floor forcefully with the feet. Anger is one of the more easily communicable emotions. Audiences can easily identify this feeling. To evoke such a feeling, the performer endulges in violent actions. Roudram is characteristic of wicked characters, like Rakshasas, true, but it does not mean that good characters should not show Roudram even for a moment. Though their basic nature is not cruel, they can have a momentary fir of anger.

Bad characters , on the other hand, show their inherent quality of Roudram in their normal speech, action and even in the manifestation of their love. When such a character is shown the audience should immediately savour the taste of it, even by the figure, costume and make-up.

The next important Rasa is Veera. This quality of heroism is attributed only to great, benevolent and chivalrous men. Enthusiasm and valour is in the natue of such heroes. When one thinks of such a hero, one imagines a handsome valiant, beautifully attired, pleasing to look at and on entry, he should give the impression of leadership and heroism. The stature itself should create the Veera rasa. Otherwise, its opposite will result, Hasya. The very gait itself can differentiate between men, the heroes and fools.

Veera Rasa is generally associated with Sringara, because a hero's basic qualities are love and good nature. A veera, a hero that is, comes across a heroine and the ensuing relationship between them gives room for various other bhavas and rasas. Thus Sringara and Veera have been the dominant rasas in the most popular of tales from our Puranas, History, Literature, Folk Tales and even real life. hence these Rasas can be called the root of most creativity in all fine arts, and more so in literature, music and dance. There are various shades of heroes, Dhirodatta, Dhirodhhata, Dhiralalitha and Dhirashanta are some of them, their names denoting the qualities predominant in them.

Beebhatsa rasa is employed only in very brief stretches as no one likes to experience this rasa, disgust, for very long, whether reading a book or seeing something on stage. There is not much to describe in this rasa, except to say that it is creted when things like vomit, bad ocour are properly depicted. A good artiste can communicate this area easily and a bad one might create it inadvertently. The other Rasas, Hasya, Karuna, Adbhuta and Bhaya are also sparingly used in specific instances. It must be remembered that these are the lesser rasas.

There is a controversy whether this Rasa is to be included in the list of Rasas at all. That apart, this rasa has a great significance since it is here that every thing begins and ends. This denotes a frame of mind, blissful, free from tension, content and near salvation. This quality is personified by great sages like Buddha, Sankaracharya etc., Reading or hearing about them elevates the human mind to a higher realm of thought, of tranquil repose. Seeing such a saintly character of simple attire and serene demeanour, naturally ccompanied by a simple and elevating music, fills the audience with a feeling of purity and piety. This can be noticed quite often in the auditorium, when such a scene comes to pass in a drama, ballet, harikatha, musical discourse or ven a vocal concert.

One way of showing this area of rasa would be to show what it would be without it. A good example would be Thyagaraja's 'Santhamuleka Sowkhyamuledu'. It must be noted that to throw proper light on Shantha, the elaboratic must be about what it would be without it.