Navarasas in the Mahabharata


The following is how Wikipedia [Link to article] defines a Rasa.

“A rasa (Sanskrit: ‘juice’ or ‘essence’) denotes an essential mental state and is the dominant emotional theme of a work of art or the primary feeling that is evoked in the person that views, reads or hears such a work. Although the concept of rasa is fundamental to many forms of Indian art including dance, music, musical theatre, cinema and literature, the treatment, interpretation, usage and actual performance of a particular rasa differs greatly between different styles and schools of abhinaya, and the huge regional differences even within one style.”

Regular readers of my blog would know my fascination with Indian mythology and more specifically the Ramayana and the Mahabharata (not necessarily in that order). The next series of posts will be an attempt by me to identify some incidents and characters in the Mahabharata where the various ‘rasas’ can be correlated to. This series will be approximately 9 posts long given that there are ‘navarasas’ most popularly alluded in most Indian dance forms.

The following shall be the various rasas for which I will try to find correlations within the Mahabharata in the next few posts. Read, enjoy and comment on the posts.

Another interesting feature will be that I will be trying to use Devdutt Pattanaik’s illustrations as the images for the posts so that readers can have the added bonus of enjoying the lovely illustrations along with the posts themselves.

  1. Shringaram – love, attractiveness,
  2. Hasyam – laughter, mirth, comedy
  3. Raudram – fury
  4. Karunyam – compassion, tragedy
  5. Bibhatsam – disgust, aversion
  6. Bhayanakam – horror, terror
  7. Veeram – heroism
  8. Adbutham – wonder, amazement
  9. Shantam – peace, tranquility
  10. Vatsalya – parental love
  11. Bhakti – spiritual devotion

Image courtesy :

25 thoughts on “Navarasas in the Mahabharata

    • @Ashish, yes, I did see your blog late last night and thought of cross linking my posts on your blog after I publish my entries.

    • @Proactive Indian, it is comments like these that keep me motivated to keep writing better posts all the time, thanks a lot đŸ™‚

    • @Vishal, that is something I have in mind, although that will take quite a long time, energy and efforts, maybe in a few years from now đŸ™‚ That being said I am humbled that you think something written by me would be so interesting đŸ™‚

    • @Kalpana, yes the Navarasas are from Indian classical dance only, however given that they depict various emotions I just thought I will try and draw a correlation between them and some episodes from the Mahabharata.

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