The theory of Rasa-Bhava establishes a relationship between the performer and the spectator. The model spectator is a sahrdaya, someone "who empathizes with the author." Since the success of a performance is measured by whether or not the audience has a specific experience (rasa), the spectator becomes a vital participant in the play.
Bharata calls human soul as Bhava-Jagat (the world of emotions). Bharata and later authors explain how the Art universalizes emotions making them an instrument of appeal to the spectators. They say that the actor acts as bearer, media and connector of emotions of the character. By conveying emotions the actor step by step opens inner Bhava-Jagat of the character, creates special emotional atmosphere, which can be felt and relished. The actor introduces and involves the spectators into this emotional atmosphere. Thus, emotions of the character are spread through the actor to spectators, who share them collectively, as a group, by relishing the Rasa. Thus emotions are embodied and translated from one person to many.
Bharata says that which can be relished – like the taste of food – is rasa: "Rasyate anena iti rasaha (asvadayatva)."
According to Bharata, the playwright experiences a certain emotion (bhava). The director of the play should properly understand the idea and bhava-s of the character and convey his knowledge and understanding to the actors. The actors perform their parts using their own vision and experience, but they should follow the main idea and key bhavas emphasized by the director, Sutradhara.
The term bhava means both existence and a mental state, and in aesthetic contexts it has been variously translated as feelings, psychological states, and emotions. In the context of the drama, bhavas are the emotions represented in the performance.
Bhava is that which becomes (Sanskrit root "bhoo", "bhav" means "to become"); and bhava becomes rasa. In Natya Shastra it is said, that bhavas by themselves carry no meaning in the absence of Rasa: "Nahi rasadyate kashid_apyarthah pravattate." Forms and manifestations of bhavas are defined by the rasa. It is therefore said, Rasa is the essence of art conveyed.
Rasa is the emotional response the bhavas inspire in the spectator (the Rasika or Sahrudaya). Rasa is thus an aesthetically transformed emotional state experienced by the spectator. Rasa is accompanied by feelings of pleasure and enjoyment. Such emotions tunes perception of the spectators, they create atmosphere of empathy, make people more sensitive, help to open mind and heart to understand the idea and message of the play.
Rasa is associated with palate, it is delight afforded by all forms of art; and the pleasure that people derive from their art experience. It is literally the activity of savoring an emotion in its full flavor. The term might also be taken to mean the essence of human feelings.
Rasa is sensuous, proximate, experiential. Rasa is aromatic. Rasa fills space, joining the outside to the inside. What was outside is transformed into what is inside.
The actors convey bhavas using Abhinaya. The Sanskrit root "abhi" means "to lead", "to go together". Abhinaya is the process by which the meaning of the play is "led toward" the audience.
Human activity is divided into the physical, the verbal and the mental. Thus Abhinaya is four-fold – Sattvika (temperamental), Angika (physical), Vachika (verbal) and Aharya (dress, make-up, etc.).
Mrinalini Sarabhai uses famous shloka from "Abhinaya Darpanam" to explain these four aspects: "Where the hands go the eyes follow [anubhava], where the eyes go the mind follows [sattvika abhinaya], where the mind goes the mood [bhava] follows, where the mood goes there is rasa born."
Sattvika abhinaya is very important kind of Abhinaya, showing the highest level of actor’s identification with the character . All of the components of abhinaya must be applied by the actor in order for him to bring the audience to the correct rasa, and thus to the enjoyment of the play, but sattva, which literally means "purity", however in dramaturgy is the psychological ability of the actor to identify with the character and his emotions, is the hardest to master and to understand.
As Bharata asserts, "Sattva . . . is [something] originating in mind. It is caused by the concentrated mind. The Sattva is accomplished by concentration of the mind. It’s nature cannot be mimicked by an absent-minded man."
The Natya Shastra calls Sattvika abhinaya the "Spirited" modes of abhinaya, but the best explanations link it to Stanislavsky’s "Magic If" and "Sense of Truth." This allows the actor to convince himself the circumstances are real to the character, even though, as the actor, he knows they are not.
When executed properly, sattvika abhinaya allows the actor to exhibit the physical signs of the emotions the character’s feeling, such as tears, trembling, change of color, or horripilation (the hair standing on end, or goosebumps). For the audience to feel the correct rasa, the actor must manifest the outward expressions of the character’s emotion using all kinds of abhinaya, but especially sattva. The Natya Shastra insists, "The Histrionic Representation with an exuberant Sattva is superior, the one with the level Sattva is middling, and that with no [exercise of] Sattva is inferior."
Actions and feelings are evoked in connection with certain surrounding objects and circumstances, called Vibhava-s. Different mental and emotional states manifest themselves and become visible through universal physiological reactions called Anubhava–s.
Thus Bhava, the emotion felt by the character, results from a "Determinant" (vibhava), or determining circumstance, such as the time of year, the presence of loved ones, the decor or environment, and so on. The vibhava affects the character so that he feels sorrow, terror, anger, or some such emotion (bhava).
The "Consequent" (anubhava) of a particular bhava is a specific behavior exhibited by the actor as he portrays the character such as weeping, fainting, blushing, or the like. The anubhava, if properly executed, will cause the audience to feel a specific rasa corresponding to the bhava felt by the actor:
VIBHAVA — causes —> BHAVA — causes —> ANUBHAVA —> RASA
This is precisely the process Stanislavsky describes for his actors. A character’s feelings arise from the circumstances of the scene, both those in effect at the moment and those that occurred before. The feelings, combined with the "given circumstances," cause her to behave in a certain way — the "stage action." Replacing the Sanskrit terms of The Natyasastra with Stanislavskian terminology, the diagram might look like this:
GIVEN CIRCS — cause —> EMOTION — causes —> BEHAVIOR —> AUD. RESPONSE
Chapter VII of The Natya Shastra goes into great detail about the bhavas, which are broken down into three categories. Bharata mentions eight "Durable," "Permanent," or "Constant" emotional conditions called Sthayi bhavas:
These emotional states are inherent to humans. They are basic as they are inborn, understandable without explanation. They also are characterized by intensity, as they dominate and direct behavior. On the stage Sthayi bhavas are represented by certain Anubhavas, explained in Natya Shastra as follows:
Sthayi bhavas are manifested by corresponding Anubhavas:
The eight Sthai bhava-s evoke eight corresponding Rasa–s:
Smita and hasita should be employed in the case of superior characters, vihasita and upahasita in the case of middling ones and apahasita and atihasita in the case of the inferior types.
Abhinavagupta interpreted rasa as a "stream of consciousness". He then went on to expand the scope and content of the rasa spectrum by adding the ninth rasa: the Shantha rasa, the one of tranquility and peace. Abhinava explained that Shantha rasa underlies all the other mundane rasas as their common denominator. All the other rasas emanate from the Shantha rasa and resolve in to it. Shantha rasa is a state where the mind is at rest, in a state of tranquility.The other rasas are more transitory in character than is shanta rasa. The Shanta Rasa is the ultimate rasa the summum bonum.
Emotions have many shades, are characterized by different levels of intensity. Basic emotions can be also combined with each other. Such individual varieties of emotions, possible in different situations, in case f different characters are called Vibyachari (or Sanchari) bhava-s. They are many in number.
Sthayi bhava–s are accompanied by thirty–three Vyabhicari-bhavas, called "Complementary" or "Inconstant" modes, which may be seen as "Conditioning Forces" of a scene or the changeable conditions that affect character’s behavior, such as intoxication or exhaustion.
In case of superior persons – sleeping
Middling ones – laughing and singing,
Low ones – crying and using coarse words.
Stages of Mada –
(i) light smiling face, pleasant feeling, slightly faltering words, delicately unsteady gait.
(ii) medium drunken and rolling eyes, arms drooping or restlessly thrown about, irregularly unsteady gait.
(iii) excessive loss of memory, incapacity to walk due to vomiting, hiccup, tick protruding tongue and spitting. When there is panic, grief and increase of terror due to some cause, intoxication is to be stopped by effort.
(a) due to portends – looseness of all the limbs, distraction of the mind, loss of facial color, sadness, surprise, etc.
(b) due to violent winds – veiling the face, rubbing the eyes, collecting the ends of the clothes worn, hurried going, etc.
(c) due to heavy rains – lumping together the limbs, running, looking for some cover of shelter, etc.
(d) due to fire – eyes troubled with smoke, contracting all the limbs or shaking them, running with wide steps, flight, etc.
(e) due to elephants – hurried retreat, unsteady gait, fear, paralysis, tremor, looking back, etc.
(f) due to having something – getting up, embracing, giving away cloths and ornaments, tears, horripilation, etc.
(g) due to unfavorable news – falling down on the ground, rolling about on a rough surface, running away, bewailing, weeping and the like.
(h) due to calamity – sudden retreat, taking up weapons and armor, mounting elephants and horses and chariots, striking, etc.
(a) fever with a feeling of cold – shivering of the entire body, bending the body, shaking the jaws, desire for heat, horripilation, movement of the chin, narrowing down the nasal passage, dryness of the mouth, lamentation, etc.
(b) fever with a feeling of heat – throwing out cloths, the hands and the feet, desire to roll on the ground, use f unguents, desire for coolness, lamentation, dryness of mouth, crying.
(c) other types of sickness – narrowing down the mouth, dullness of the body, downcast eyes, deep breathing, making peculiar sounds, crying, tremor, etc.
(a) from sickness – looseness of the body, motionless of the limbs, closed eyes, hiccup, deep breathing, not looking towards surroundings people, indistinct words, etc.
(b) due to accidental injury –
(i) wounded by weapons – suddenly falling down on the ground, tremor, throbbing, etc.
(ii) snake bite or poison – gradual development of the following symptoms – thinness of the body, tremor, burning sensations, hiccup, foaming mouth, breaking of the neck, paralysis and death.
Temperamental states are expressed on the stage using Sattvika abhinaya. In fact, all the gesticulation of mental states may be designated as the Sattvika abhinaya. But the prominence given to the gesticulation of the temperamental states is due to the peculiar mental effort which is necessary for their presentation. Bharata has thus given first the gesticulation of temperament for, without it the real purpose of the performance would be lost.
Natya Shastra, Chapters VI and VII