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Navarasas in Indian classical dance forms

Navarasa is a unique feature in Indian classical dance forms. Mainly in the South Indian dance forms and South Indian folk dance forms such features could be seen. Interpreting the meaning of the songs, the dancer uses facial expressions and hand gestures. Explaining and expounding the meaning of the song through hand gestures is known as Abinaya.


Beebacha emotion in dance arises out of hatred and distress.

Expressing the meaning of the song through the facial expression is called as Bhava. The essence of Bhava is called Rasas. According to Indian Classical dance forms there are altogether nine important Rasas mentioned. Each Rasa is linked with emotions of human life, or linked with different moods of human life.

The dancers, dramatics, and dance drama artists use these emotional sentiments to interpret the meaning. Emotional touch or the sentiments (rasas) could be seen not only in dance, drama, dance drama, teledrama, and cinema, but also could be felt in music.

Moods are expressed through the bavas. The bavas and rasas are inseparable. Thatís why it is always referred to Bhavarasas. According to Natya Shasthra there are altogether nine rasas.

Sringara Rasa originates from the love or romance. This love emotion involves, two types one is Samyoga, and other is viyoga. Samyoga means the union of two lovers. Viyoga means the emotion which arises out of separation.

Karuna means benevolence; it arises due to the kindnes, or sympathy, or sorrow and disgust with pain. This is divided into three. One is Dharamopagatal arises out of punishment; Ardhapacheya arises due to the loss of wealth, Soka due to the grief, and mental distress.

Veera arises out of bravery. There are three kinds one is, by giving gifts (dhana veera), another by charity (daya veera), and the last is (uddha veera).

Bhayanaka arises out of fear. There are altogether three types of Bayanaka. Bayanaka which comes out of deceiving, is called Vyajan, and fear arises out of wrong is called Aparadha, and another is Trasita Bhayanaka which arises out of terror.

Beebacha emotion arises out of hatred, disgust, and dislike in life. Raudra comes to human life due to anger, the Raudra arises out of words which is called Vak, anger reveals out of make up is (Nepadhya), and anger shows through limbs is anga rudra.

Another rasa is Hasya Rasa. Hasya Rasa means laugh. According to the way of expression the laugh is divided into six categories. Those are Smita (slight smile), Hasita (jesting way of laugh), Vihasta (Laughing), Upahasta (ridiculous way of laughing), Apahasta (silly way of laughing), and Athihasita (excessive laugh).

Adbutha Rasa, means wonder, or surprise, it can be divided into two, one is celestial (divya), other is joyful (ananda).

In the rasa sequence order Santha is the last rasa, which brings peace and consoles the mind. It joins the Rasa order later. After undergoing all the struggles, and stresses, at last the mind rest in peace.

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