What do you understand by the Bhava-Rasa theory in Indian art? Discuss contribution of Abhinavagupta towards this theory.

The Rasa-Bhava is the central concept in Indian performing arts such as dance, drama, cinema, literature etc. Bhava means “to become”. Bhava is the state of mind while Rasa is the aesthetic flavor that results from that Bhava. The Bhava does not carry any meaning in the absence of Rasa. Rasa is the dominant emotional theme that is invoked in the audience. When we watch a movie, a sad scene makes us cry – that is Rasa. The Rasa-Bhava is what establishes a relationship between the performer and the audience.
The Rasa theory was basically propounded by Bharata in Natyashastra. He described eight Rasas.
Abhinavagupta wrote Abhinavabharati, a commentary of Naṭyasastra of Bharata. For the first timehe brought a technical definition of rasa. As per him, Rasa is the universal bliss of the atman colouredby the emotional tone of a drama. Abhivangupta introduced a ninth rasa called Santam which denotes the peace or tranquillity. These total nine rasas make the Navarasa.

Question for UPSC Mains:
What do you understand by the Bhava-Rasa theory in Indian art? Discuss contribution of Abhinavagupta towards this theory.

Published: March 2, 2016 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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