rasa

/rus"euh/, n.
(in Hindu aesthetics) flavor, sentiment, or emotion: regarded as one of the fundamental qualities of classical music, dance, and poetry.
[1790-1800; < Skt rasa sap, fluid, essence]

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▪ Indian aesthetic theory
Sanskrit:“essence,” “taste,” or “flavour,” literally, “sap” or “juice”

      in Sanskrit literature, the concept of aesthetic flavour, or an essential element of any work of art that can only be suggested, not described. It is a kind of contemplative abstraction in which the inwardness of human feelings suffuses the surrounding world of embodied forms.

      The theory of rasa is attributed to Bharata, a sage-priest who may have lived about AD 500. It was developed by the rhetorician and philosopher Abhinavagupta (c. AD 1000), who applied it to all varieties of theatre and poetry. The principal human feelings, according to Bharata, are delight, laughter, sorrow, anger, energy, fear, disgust, heroism, and astonishment, all of which may be recast in contemplative form as the various rasas: erotic, comic, pathetic, furious, heroic, terrible, odious, marvelous, and quietistic. These rasas comprise the components of aesthetic experience. The power to taste rasa is a reward for merit in some previous existence.

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Universalium. 2010.

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