Dr. Dhananjay Vasudeo Dwivedi,
Department of Sanskrit,
Ranchi College, Ranchi
‘Rasa’ is an exceedingly significant word in Indian literature. It is one of those words in Sanskrit whose precise significance is as indefinite as its usage is widespread. According to Bharat no meaning can proceed from speech without any kind of Rasa- ‘nahi rasādŗte kascidarthe pravartate’1.
In ordinary demeanour it is used in four senses- i. the six flavours of objects, such as pungent, astringent, saline, acrid, acid and sweet; ii. The rasa of Ayurveda; iii. The literary sentiment and iv. The devotional ecstasy. Viewed deeply it would be clear that some sort of relish is predominant element pervading all the aforesaid senses of Rasa. Here the goal is, however, not to examine all types of Rasas. The concern is only with the Poetic Rasa and sentiment.
Poetry occupies a pre-eminent position among the innumerable achievements of mankind. It is a unique creation of a person endowed with poetic genius possessing wide and profound knowledge of diverse scriptures and a sound experience of the going of the world. According to Ācārya Mammaţa-
Navarasaruciram nirmitimadadhati bharati kaverjayati” 2
i.e. Supreme is the poet’s speech which projects a creation, free from the restraints of nature’s laws, full of delight alone, independent of anything else, and charming on account of nine fold rasa.
Brahma’s (Creator’s) creation is subject to the well set laws which no object of the world can violate. A particular fragrance can be found in a particular flower. The fragrance of lotus cannot exist without lotus. But there is vast difference between the world of God and that of the poet. Inn the poetic world the charming fragrance can be brought about in the lotus like face of lady by the poetic genius. In the world the moon is known for its natural delighting property as cool rays. People are enraptured, feasted and fed to see the rays of moon. Hot rays can never be expected from moon. But on contrary, the poet can convincingly render it inflammatory and rays hot. For a love stricken person been separated from his beloved every pleasing thing of the world appears contrary. It is clear from following expression of Du¬yanta as described by Kavikulakaladhar Mahakavi Kalidasa-
“Tava kusumśaratvam śitaraśmitvamindordvayamidamayatham
kusumbananvajrasari karosi” 3
i.e. O’ flower armed God! The multitude of lovers is being hoodwinked by you and by the moon when on you two they rely for comfort. For having flowery arrows, and the moon’s cool rays; both these things appear top be quite untrue in the case of persons like me suffering the pangs of separations of his darling ˜akuntal¹; for the moon showers fire with rays, having cold in the interior and you, too, render your flower arrows having the hardness of adamant.
Similar is the position of R¹ma during the separation of S»t¹. Hanum¹na narrates the state of R¹ma to S»t¹. ˜r» R¹ma says: Ever since I have been separated from you, S»t¹, everything to me has become it very reverse. The fresh tender leaves on the trees look like tongues of fire; night appears as dreadful as the night of the final dissolution and the moon scorches like the sun. Beds of lotuses are like so many spears planted on the ground, while the rain clouds pour boiling oil as it were. Those that were friendly before have now become tormenting; the cool, soft and fragrant breezes are now like the breath of serpent. One’s agony is assuaged to some extent even by speaking of it; but to whom shall I speak it? For, there is no one who will understand my sentiments. The reality about the chord of love that binds you and me, dear, is known to my soul alone; and my soul never abides with you. Know this to be the essence of my love. ¸c¹rya Mammaa has also expressed this fact in a stanza which is the example of L¹t¹nuprasa figure of speech. He says-
“Yasya na savidhe dayit¹ davadahanastuhinad»dhitistasya
Yasya ca savidhe dayit¹ davadahanastuhinad»dhitistasya” 4
i.e. to one who has not his beloved near him, even the cool-rayed moon is like the forest-conflagration; while to one who has his beloved near him, even the forest-conflagration is like the cool-rayed moon.
In the world of the creator the doctrine of cause and effect is invariably set in operation. The cause must always precede the effect. But in poetry such rule is, at times, set aside. For example, Du¬yanta is uniquely blessed by the sage M¹r»ca. Du¬yanta says- Holy one, first came the fulfilment of my desires, and afterwards, the sight of you; thus the favour you showed me is without parallel. For, first appears the flower, then the fruit; first the clouds and then come the showers; such is a regular course of cause and effect; but fortunes came before your grace-
“Udeti pØrva‚kusuma‚ tataå phala‚ ghanodayaå pr¹ktadantara‚ payaå
Nimittnaimittikayoraya‚ kramastava pras¹dasya purastu sa‚padaå” 5
According to the creator’s rule the Heaven can be attained only after the end (death) of virtuous person. In this world it is impossible to acquire it. But the poet, by dint of his rare sapience, can make one attain the Heaven in this very life-“Svargapr¹ptiranenaiva dehena varvarªin»
Asy¹ radacchdaraso nyakarotitar¹‚ sudh¹÷” 6
i.e. This handsome woman represents the acquisition of the Heaven in this human form, and the loveliness of her lips puts nectar itself into the shade.
In fact, the poet is the only creator of the boundless poetic world. He can bring about any type of transposition in his world according to his sweet will. If the poet is amorous in poetry, the entire world will be made full of flavour. But if he himself happens to be a person whose thirst for pleasures has altogether disappeared and who is free passion from everything becomes platitudinous. The talented delineates freely even the inanimate objects as animate beings and animate beings like inanimate objects. That is to say the poet’s imagination and genius has immense and immeasurable capacity to create the things according to his will. Agnipur¹ªa says:
“Ap¹re K¹vyasa÷s¹re kavirekaå praj¹patiå
Yath¹mai rocate vi¶va‚ tatheda‚ parivartate” 7
The creation of Brahma is full of pleasure, pain and delusion etc. but the world of the poet is full of delight alone. How? Somebody can opine that the poetry composed by one’s foe may cause jealousy and sorrow, pain may be quite obvious in poetry suffused with pathetic sentiment and the non-availability of desired things may generate sometimes delusion. But that is not so. The connoisseur will certainly experience pleasure after listening to the poetry of the foe. Similar is the case with Karuªa rasa. Although to have any amount of pleasure in the case of a worldly sorrow is normally impossible, but in the case of the relish of pathetic sentiment, in the realm of poetry alone, we can pass on to a state of aesthetic delight through the experience of sorrow. The theorists who hold that all the rasas lead to an aesthetic bliss also acknowledge that ‘¶oka’ consists of unalloyed sorrow. But through rumination that very sorrow is transmuted by the touch of the poet and becomes pathetic sentiment and provides pleasure in the manner of the painful nail scratching and biting etc. in the time of an erotic dalliance leading to an inexplicable joy. It is true that the sorrowful is equally sorrowful both in the ordinary world and in the poetry. But it cannot be gainsaid that in the latter the cultured readers pass on from the ordinary experience to a state of aesthetic experience, where there is the unalloyed bliss. It is due to the wonderful power of ‘s¹dh¹raª»karaª’ i.e. generalisation that the pleasure derived in case of pathetic sentiment is not owing to nay blind appreciation of the dramatist or the actor, for in time of the aesthetic relish of even the Karuªa rasa, the absorbed spectator cannot afford to think of the dramatist or the actor or anything outside the dramatic situation which has a mesmeric effect on his mind. Will any connoisseur be unhappy to learn that a new author of Shakespeare’s or BhavabhØti’s or ˜aratcandra’s talent is writing new volumes of high class tragedy? It has rightly been observed by Kavir¹ja Vi¶van¹tha-
“Karuª¹d¹vapi rase j¹yate yatpara‚ sukham
Sacetas¹manubhavaå pram¹ªa‚ tatra kevalam” 8
The paramount bliss is produced even in the karuªa rasa. Here the experience of good hearted people is the only proof. If there would be any sense of melancholy, nobody would be ready to read the poetry. In that case even the exquisite poetry like R¹m¹yaªa etc which is the perennial source of the utmost delight will become the cause of sorrow. It is true that the sorrow is the permanent feeling of the pathetic and that sorrow can produce nothing but pain and not pleasure. But in poetry we get only pleasure from sorrow. The reason of all these is that all the worldly experiences become unworldly when they are adopted in poetry. This reality cannot be refuted-
Sukha sañj¹yate tebhyaå sarvebhyoap»ti k¹ k¬atiå” 9
The creation of Brahma is not independent. It is dependent upon material causes such as atoms and auxiliary causes such as Karma (action) etc. but the poetic creation is quite independent. The poet’s imagination and blissful genius are enough and enough to create the limitless poetic word. In fact his faculty overflowing with bliss creates itself through itself. Poetry needs no other cause. There are only six flavours in the creation of Brahma such as pungent, astringent, saline, acrid, acid and sweet. These flavours are not always invariably pleasant. Different from Brahma’s creation, however, is the creation of the poet which is full of ever delighting nine principal rasas such as i) the Erotic, ii) the Comic, iii) the Pathetic, iv) the Furious, v) the Heroic, vi) the Frightful, vii)the Disgustful, viii) the Marvellous and ix)Pietistic. These rasas purify our heart and provide immediate bliss par excellence. In fact, all sorts of worldly objects when depicted in poetry become full of rasa-“Ramaya‚ jugupsitamud¹ramath¹pi n»ca-
mugra÷pras¹di gahana‚ vikÅta‚ ca vastu
tann¹sti yanna rasabh¹vamupaiti loke” 10
Whether one takes a subject that is delightful or disgusting , exalted or lowly, cruel or kindly, obscure (as in the original story) or adapted to be more intelligible or whether one takes a subject originated by the imagination of a poet there is not subject that cannot be succeed in conveying sentiment among mankind.
Thus, the poetic creation is a transcendental achievement of poetic genius and the rasa is the quintessence of that creation. Poetry owes its being to the depiction of rasa, which is regarded, as the soul of poetry. The propriety of the use of different types of the elements like vÅitti (style), guªa (excellence), ala÷k¹ra (figures of speech), vakrokti (equivoque), etc is determined by rasa. The Agnipur¹ªa declares-
“V¹gvaidagdhyapradh¹nepi rasa ev¹tra j»vitam” 11
It means that, though, there is the predominance of dexterity of speech in poetry, it is only the rasa, which has its soul. It is worthwhile to quote Vi¶van¹tha who give the very definition of poetry in terms of rasa recognised as the soul- “V¹kya‚ ras¹tmaka‚ k¹vyam” 12
Poetry is a sentence, the soul whereof is ‘Rasa’. Declaring poetry as a sentence with Rasa as its soul ¸c¹rya Vi¶van¹tha, excludes all such compositions devoid of Rasa from the realm of poetry the chief function of great poet, observes ¸nandvardhana, lies in the incorporation of emotional mood in his poetry in such a way as to make it primarily an object of communication. It is not befitting a true poet to convey anything other than emotional experience.
It would not be out of context to point that rasa has many meanings and it is used in Upani¬adas to signify the highest, super-mundane relish or bliss. The famous statement of the Taittir»yopni¬ada ‘Raso vai saå’ 13 boldly asserts that the highest reality, Parabrahma is in essence rasa or bliss. ¸c¹rya Bharata tells us that nothing materialises or evolves without rasa. Poetry is a sentence, the soul whereof is rasa. ¸c¹rya Vi¶van¹tha declares rasa as the soul of the poetry. Even old and hackneyed ideas assume new values and charms in association with rasa. The objects though delineated in the past appear as if they were all fresh coming in contact with the poetic rasa as trees look novel in the spring season.
Poetry is primarily an expression of the poet’s overflowing emotion and is a medium to transmit this emotion to the readers in succession, and it because of this that emotions (rasa) are truly styled as the soul of poetic composition. Abhinavagupta in Natya¶¹stra-has admirably represented this idea- “Yath¹ b»j¹dbhavedvÅk¬o vÅk¬¹tpu¬pa‚ phala‚ yath¹
Tath¹ mØla‚ ras¹å sarve tebhyo bh¹v¹ vyavasthit¹å” 14
i.e. as from seed grows plant, from plant blossom and fruit, so ‘rasa’ is the root of balanced feeling.
Perhaps the above points will go a long way to prove that ‘rasa’ is the sin-quo-non of the poetic art. Defining the ‘Rasa’, ¸c¹rya Bharat Muni says-
“Vibh¹nubh¹vavyabhic¹risa‚yog¹d rasani¬pattiå” 15
The above aphorism (sutra) of Bharata is the basis of the entire deliberation of the rasa. The rasa gets accomplishment through the conjunction of the excitant, the ensuant, and the variant. Here one has to keep in mind that Vibh¹vas are the determinants, Anubh¹vas, the consequents and Vyabhic¹ribhavas, stand for the transitory mental states, which is a necessity for the realisation of Sth¹yibhava or the basic disposition.
The sutra has been interpreted differently by different ¸c¹ryas and each interpretation forms the basis of distinct theory regarding the genesis of rasa. Prominent among them are Bhaa Lollaa, ˜ri ˜a‚kuka, Bhattn¹yaka and Abhinavagupta. But before dwelling upon them the following k¹rik¹ of ¸c¹rya Mammata are quoted here for an easy grasp of different views on rasa-
“K¹rª¹nyatha k¹ry¹ªi sahak¹r»ªi y¹ni ca
Raty¹deå sth¹yino loke t¹ni cenn¹tyak¹vyayoå
Vibh¹v¹ anubh¹v¹stat kathyante vyabhic¹riªå
Vyaktaå sa tairvibh¹v¹dyaiå sth¹y»bh¹vo rasaå smÅtaå” 16
i.e. what are known, in the world, as causes, effects and auxiliaries of the permanent feeling of love and the like, -come to be spoken as excitants, ensuants and variants, when found in drama and poetry; and when the latent emotion comes to be manifested by these excitants, it is known as rasa.
It should be clear now that the poetic ‘rasa’ is the manifestation of the permanent emotion of the reader of the poetry. According to our ¸c¹ryas there are nine permanent emotions (basic feelings) which usually lie dormant in the heart of each human being. They are- Love, Mirth, Sorrow, Anger, Enthusiasm, Fear, Disgust, Astonishment, and Self-disparagement. These latent basic feelings are the sources of delight par excellence. They never perish. A permanent emotion may be compared to the ocean. Whether salty or sweet- all types of water assume the flavour of the water of the ocean immediately after entering into it. No good or water can influence the water of the ocean. Similarly, no other feeling whether consistent or inconsistent with it, can exercise its power on it. It, in effect, brings the other into harmony with it. These latent feelings become rasa when manifested through the excitants, ensuants, and variants.
An excitant (Vibh¹va) is that which causes the development of the feelings by it being recognised. It is of two types- Fundamental (¸lambana) cause and Inflaming cause (Udd»pana). The fundamental causes are hero, heroine and other characters of the poetry or drams and the inflaming causes are the circumstances, time and place. An Ensuant (Anubh¹va) on the other hand, is an extreme manifestation that serves to indicate feeling. The Variant emotions are those that especially accompany the permanent emotion in co-operation, emerging from it and being submerged in it like the waves of the ocean. According to ¸c¹rya Mammaa Variants are
¸lasya‚ caiva dainya‚ ca cint¹ mohaå smÅtirdhÅtiå
Vri©¹ capalat¹ har¬a ¹vego ja©t¹ tath¹
Garvo vi¬¹da Autsukya‚ nidr¹apasm¹ra eva ca
Marvy¹dhistathonm¹datat+h¹ maraªmeva ca
Tr¹sa¶caiva vitarka¶ca vijñey¹ vyabhic¹riªå
trayastri‚¶adam» bh¹v¹å sam¹khy¹t¹stu n¹mataå” 17
Going by the abovementioned k¹rik¹, the variants are thirty-three in number- Despair, Debility, Apprehension, Hatred, Intoxication, Lassitude, Indolence, Depression, Anxiety, Distraction, Recollection, Steadiness, Bashfulness, Unsteadiness, Joy, Excitement, Stupefaction, Arrogance, Despondency, Impatience, Drowsiness, Epilepsy, Dreaming, Awaking, Animosity, Constraint, Irreversibility, Resolve, Sickness, Mental Derangement, Moribundness, Alarm and Alternating thought.
As has already been said several doctrines of ‘rasa’ have come into being based on the interpretation of the aforesaid Bharata sutra. The prominent among them are succinctly given here-
Bhaalollaa is the first interpreter of the RasasØtra of Bharata. According to him Sa‚yog¹ta means ‘from conjunction’ and Ni¬patti means production (generation). By the conjunction of the excitants, ensuants and variants rasa is generated. There functions, however, are not of similar nature. The rasa is generated by the Excitant. Hence rasa is producible and Excitant in the shape of women etc. (basic cause) and garden etc. (the inflaming cause) is the generator. It (rasa) is rendered cognizable by the ensuants, namely, effects, such as the amorous glances and the tossing of arms and the like and lastly it is consummated by the variants such as self-disparagement, intoxication, impatience, indolence etc. This rasa primarily exists in the character to be acted dramatically such as R¹ma, but it is also apprehended in the stage player on account of his having assumed that character, and when thus recognised it is called ‘rasa’, passion.
¸c¹rya Mammaa has summarised it as follows-
“EtdvivÅªvate vibh¹vairlalanody¹n¹dibhir¹lambanoddipanak¹raªai raty¹diko bh¹vo janitaå asubh¹vaiå ka¹k¬abhuj¹k¬epaprabhÅtibhiå k¹ryaiå prat»tiyogyaå kÅtaå vyabhic¹ribhinirved¹dibhiå sahak¹ribhirupacito mukhyay¹ vÅtty¹ r¹m¹d¹vanuk¹rye tadrupat¹nusa‚dh¹n¹nnarttakeapi prat»yam¹no rasa iti bhaalollaa prabhÅtayaå” 18
This theory is incapable of explaining the emotion that arises in the mind of the spectator of the dramatic representation, as according to it, the rasa exists primarily in the personated character and secondarily recognised in the personating character.
This theory has been put forward by ˜ri ˜a¡kuka. According to him rasa is inferable and the Determinants, Ensuants and the Variants are the grounds of inference. Here Sa‚yog¹t stands for the conjunction of the inferable and the ground of inference and ‘Ni¬patti’ means inference. According to ˜ri ˜a¡kuka when an actor is personating R¹ma, the spectator has with regard to him, the idea that ‘this is R¹ma himself’; but this idea of a peculiar kind, being of the same nature as the idea of ‘horse’ that one has in regard to the picture of horse; it is different from all four kinds of ordinary notions:
(1) It is not of the nature of the ordinary right notion that one has in the case of real R¹ma. ‘R¹ma is the person’, which is also confirmed by the subsequent cognition ‘this is R¹ma himself’ [the cognition in question cannot be of this kind as R¹ma is not present there]
(2) It is different also from the ordinary wrong cognition ‘this is R¹ma’, which appears in regard to one who is not really R¹ma, and which is sublated by the subsequent cognition ‘this is not R¹ma’ [the cognition in question cannot be of this nature, as there is no such sublation in this case].
(3) Nor is it of the same nature as the doubtful cognition ‘this may or may not be R¹ma’.
(4) Nor lastly is it of the nature of the cognition of mere similarity, ‘he is like ‘R¹ma’ [the cognition in question cannot be of the nature of these last cognitions, as it partakes of the notion of identification]
And this actor gives expression to the causes, effects and auxiliaries by the display of his art acquired through instruction and practice, and pondering over such poetry as the following-
“Seya‚ mam¹¡ge¬u sudh¹rasaccha¹ supØrakarpØra¶l¹kik¹ dÅ¶oå
Manoratha¶r»rmanasaå¶ar»riª» pr¹ªe¶var» locanagocara‚ gat¹
Daiv¹dahamadya tay¹ capal¹yatanetray¹ viyukta¶ca
Aviralavilolajaladaå k¹laå samup¹gata¶c¹ya‚” 19
That is ‘that lady, the mistress of my life, a splash of nectar to my body, unguent of camphor to my eyes, the very embodiment of the glorious longings of my heart, glided within the range of my vision. Unfortunately I have today been separated from her, with eyes large and tremulous, and that season has arrived wherein clouds are constantly flitting about’
Here though all these causes, effects and auxiliaries are only artificially assumed by the actor, yet they are not regarded as such by the spectators. They consider them as real. Hence they are spoken of as ‘excitants’, ‘ensuants’ and ‘variants’. The ‘Sa‚yoga’, conjunction of these three i.e. through the relation of the indicative and the indicated, subsisting between these three and the resultant feeling leads to the inference of the ‘latent emotion’ of love e.g. though thus inferred, the emotion is be reason of the peculiar charm, different from all other objects of inference and hence it is recognized as something subsisting latently, and as, though thus inferred, this emotion is recognized, through its peculiar charm, as something recognized, and as such different from other ordinary inferred thing, it is imagined to be subsisting latently in the actor, and even though not really present in him it is relished by the spectators through their predisposed tendencies.
Under this view, the causes, effects and auxiliaries are the invariable concomitants of the emotion, and the inference of this non-existent emotion explained as being due to the predisposition of the audience.
The objection against this view is that inference is a purely intellectual process and hence cannot account for the highly complex phenomenon involved in rasa. Here though somehow the perception of rasa has been shown in the audience but the notion that the spectator is enraptured by imagining the sentiment like love etc. in the Actor is by no means acceptable. It goes without saying that inferred object cannot provide transcendental delight. If the permanent emotions like love etc are not present in the heart of the spectator then he cannot be delighted merely by inference. Thus this theory is also not totally acceptable.
It has been propounded by Bhaan¹yaka. He is the first ¸c¹rya who has admitted the importance of the spectator and audience. According to him ‘Passion’ is not cognised (inferred), or generated or manifested, either unconcernedly (as not concerning the spectator at all, as held by Bhaalollaa), or as subsisting in the spectator himself (relished by him, as held by ˜ri ˜a¡kuka); what happens is that in poetry and drama words are endowed with peculiar presentative potency, distinct from Denotation (and indirect Indication), which tends to generalise the Excitants, Ensuants and Variants, and thereby presents to consciousness the ‘latent emotion’, which thereupon comes to be relished by a process of delectation abounding in enlightenment and bliss, due to the plenitude of the quality of Harmony (Sattva). ¸c¹rya Mammaa has summarised it as follows-
“Na t¹asthyena n¹tmagatatvena rasaå prat»yate notpadyate n¹bhivyajyate api tu k¹vye n¹tye c¹bhidh¹to dvit»yena vibh¹v¹dis¹dh¹raª»karaª¹tman¹ bh¹vakatvy¹p¹reª bh¹vyam¹naå sth¹y» sattvodrekaprak¹¶¹nandamayasa‚vidvi¶r¹ntisatattvena bhogena bhujyate iti Bhaan¹yakaå” 20
It is Bhaan¹yaka who has first given us the brilliant principle of generalisation (Universalisation) of Excitants, Ensuants and Variants. The only objection raised against this theory is that the two vy¹p¹ras i.e. Bh¹vakatva and Bhojkatva given by him are unwarranted.
This is the most acceptable theory propounded by the revered ¸c¹rya Abhinavagupta. He has removed all defects found in the abovementioned theories and has made the position of rasa most venerable in the realm of poetry and drama. According to Abhinavagupta two extra functions of poetry such as Bh¹vakatva and Bhojkatva are unwarranted and uncalled for. These are included in the scope of ‘Vyañjan¹’ (suggestion) function of the words and the meaning. The poetry itself with its appropriate guªa and figures of speech etc brings rasa to the realm of realisation i.e. Bh¹van¹. The function with which the poetry does so is nothing other than suggestion i.e. Vyañjan¹. The relish of Rasa, which is regarded to be due to the bhojakatva function, also can be had by suggestion. Because what is conceived as Bh¹van¹ (realisation) is nothing other than Bhoga (relish). Thus, if rasa is to be suggested the bhoga also happens to be suggested along with rasa. Hence Abhinavagupta’s conclusion is that rasa is suggested, and it is relished in manner of realisation.
In this way there is a relationship of suggestged (Vya¡gya) and suggesting (Vyañjaka) between the rasa and excitants etc. the excitants, ensuants and variants are suggesting (Vyañjaka) elements and the rasa is suggested (Vya¡gya).
According to Abhinavagupta a particular permanent emotion is already present in the heart of the audience and that permanent emotion assumes the form of rasa after having been manifested by the excitants, ensuants and the variants. The existence of a particular emotion in the form of ‘predisposition’ is very important. If the audience is devoid of such emotions, he cannot experience rasa.
At the time of realisation of rasa all the causes of the manifestation of rasa i.e. the excitants, ensuants and variants are recognised in their most generated forms. For example we can take a blossomed rose in the garden. The very sight of the rose delights the onlooker.
But then what type of feeling is awakened in his heart? If he considered it of his own he would proceed to pluck it. If considered it of an enemy it would give rise to aversion. If treated it as of some neutral man, that would cause a feeling of detachment. Thus this rose is neither of yours, nor of your foe and nor of any neutral person. In this connection neither any relation is accepted nor discarded- “Parasya na parasyeti mameti na mameti ca
Tad¹sv¹de vibh¹v¹deå paricchedo na vidyate” 21
Thus in the realm of literature all the objects are taken merely in the generalised forms. Rose flower is simply a symbol of beauty. R¹ma is recognised not as a son of Da¶aratha, but, as a valiant man; and similarly S»t¹ not the wife of R¹ma but, mere charming lady. The realisation of rasa is not possible till all the objects are generalised form. And the generalisation is the outcome of the genius of the poet.
The pleasure of rasa is unworldly, for all the worldly, for all the worldly enjoyments are limited and are mixed with an element of dissatisfaction on account of lack of satiety. The concept of ‘Rasa’ happens to be one of the most fundamental concepts of Indian Aesthetics, and this concept constitutes the central pivot, around which other concepts revolve and on which all poetical entities depend for existence. The literary merit and the literary embellishment apparently appear to reside in the external texture of poetry, but this also goes to heighten aesthetic effect. ‘Rasa’ is usually explained with reference to poetic art, but this is applicable to all expressions of art, because all these lead to the attainment of aesthetic relish. The very designation ‘Rasa’ given to the state of beatitude produced from experience of art shows that, on one hand, it has similarities with fine beverage, the differing tastes of all ingredients in which merge themselves completely in the ultimate taste of the drink, and bring into being a separate flavour, and, on the other hand, it is practically identical with the experience of the Infinite. Indian Aesthetics projects the idea that in course of his attempt to transplant an emotive experience into the mind of the connoisseur, the literary artist is required to create characters and chains of events, situations and feelings: the magic wand of poetry, however, universalises these characters and situations and places them in a generalised pedestal. The process of universalisation, it is said operates in two aspects: on one hand, it universalises the object of experience and, on the other hand, generalises the subject of experience. In this peculiar state the artist, the connoisseur, the characters and the situations, all are universalised, as a result of which the self of the man, divested to all particularities rests on the universal self, which is nothing other than Infinite. It is not without reason, therefore, that the Upani¬ads describe ‘Rasa’ as identical with the Infinite, - the Grand and the Sublime. When Indian aesthetics proclaim that ‘Rasa’ constitutes the be-all and end-all of Poetry, it does not simply mean that the aim of poetic art is to generate emotive experience: it brings into expression the idea that poetic experience and poetic exercise are nothings but roads of leading to a glimpse of the Infinite. This affirmation of Indian Aesthetics rests itself on the assumption that like other forms of Yogic exercise leading to a vision of the Grand and Sublime, the Poetic exercise also is a Yoga terminating ultimately in the experience of the magnificent self of the universe.
The rasa relished in the same manner as before the eyes, penetrating into the inmost recess of the heart embracing the entire body and overpowering everything else, it makes one feel the rapturous bliss of Brahm¹- the emotion thus manifested becomes the source of transcendent charm and is spoken of as ‘rasa’.
Hence, it should be borne in mind that the poetic rasa is not an effect. A prima facie the study of the excitants etc many lead one to think that rasa is an effect of them. But in fact that is not true. They are helpful only in making the rasa manifested and relished. If it were an effect, it would continue to exist even after the destruction of the stick and other causes of the jar. However, such is not the case with rasa. It cannot exist in the absence of its so called causes names excitants etc. hence one may raise a very pertinent question-Can anything exist without any material cause? Our answer to this objection is-‘nowhere’- but this fact serves, not vitiates the transcendental nature of rasa.
It is also not cognisable, for the cognizance or illumination of only that thing is possible, the existence of which is already proved but is covered due to certain reason. But this is not the case with Rasa. It does not exist before the perception of excitants etc. This fact also bears out the extraordinary character of Rasa. It is the secret of the transcendence of Rasa that the thing, which produces fear or grief in the world or is the case of anger, that pours only bliss, par excellence, when depicted in poetry. This is why that evens the ‘Furious’ (Raudra) rasa based upon its permanent emotion, ‘Resentment’ (Krodh) produces bliss, Frightful (Bhayanak) is also rasa. ‘Disgust’ (Jugupasa) generating ‘Disgustful’ (Vibhatsa) Rasa is also delight and delight alone. At the time of relishing poetic Rasa all types of feeling of ‘Rajas’ and ‘Tamas’ are banished and those of ‘Sat’ only come into prominence. The rapturous state may be compound with Brahamananda. It fact, such a pure state of Rasa deserves to be designated as Brahma.
1. Dwived» P¹rasan¹tha (Editor), N¹tya¶¹stra of ˜ri Bharata Muni (Part II), Sampurnananda Sanskrit University, Varanasi, 1996, pp 33.
2. Singh Satya Vrata (Ed.), K¹vyaprak¹¶a of ¸c¹rya Mammaa, Chowkhamba Vidyabhawan, V¹r¹nas», 2009, pp 2
3. Malaviya Dr Sudhakar, Abhijñ¹na¶¹kuntalam of Mah¹kavi K¹lid¹sa, Chowkhamba Krishnadas Academy, Varanasi, 2008, pp 158
4. Singh Satya Vrata (Ed.), K¹vyaprak¹¶a of ¸c¹rya Mammaa, Chowkhamba Vidyabhawan, V¹r¹nas», 2009, pp 357
5. Singh Satya Vrata (Ed.), K¹vyaprak¹¶a of ¸c¹rya Mammaa, Chowkhamba Vidyabhawan, V¹r¹nas», 2009, pp 346
6. Up¹dhy¹ya Baldeva, Sa÷skÅta ¸locan¹, Prak¹¶ana, SØcan¹ Vibh¹ga, UP, 1957, pp 14
7. Regmi Acharya Sheshraja Sharma (Ed.), S¹hityadarpaªa of ˜ri Vi¶van¹tha Kaviraja, Chowkhamba Krishnadas Academy, Varanasi, 2007, pp 90
8. Ibid, pp 92
9. Vy¹sa Dr. Bhol¹¶ankar (Ed.), Da¶arupaka of Dhanañjaya, The Chowkhamba Vidyabhawan, Varanasi, 1967, pp 292
10. Up¹dhy¹ya ¸c¹rya Baladeva (Ed.), Agnipur¹ªa of Mahar¬i Vedavy¹sa, The Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, Varanasi, 1966, pp 490
11. Regmi Acharya Sheshraja Sharma (Ed.), S¹hityadarpaªa of ˜ri Vi¶van¹tha Kaviraja, Chowkhamba Krishnadas Academy, Varanasi, 2007, pp 24
12. Goyandaka Harikrishnadas (Comm.), ½¶¹di Nau Upani¬ad, Gita Press, Gorakhpur, Samvat 2029, pp 321
13. Dvived» P¹rasan¹tha (Editor), N¹tya¶¹stra of ˜ri Bharata Muni (Part II), Sampurnanand Sanskrit University, Varanasi, 1996, pp 107
14. Singh Satya Vrata (Ed.), K¹vyaprak¹¶a of ¸c¹rya Mammaa, Chowkhamba Vidyabhawan, V¹r¹nas», 2009, pp 65
15. Ibid, pp 91-92
16. Regmi Acharya Sheshraja Sharma (Ed.), S¹hityadarpaªa of ˜ri Vi¶van¹tha Kaviraja, Chowkhamba Krishnadas Academy, Varanasi, 2007, pp 96