(Last Updated on : 04/08/2010)
Bharata himself says, "whatever is sacred, pure, placid and worth seeing" can be compared to Sringara rasa. Of all the rasas, Sringara receives the most detailed and enthusiastic treatment by early rhetoricians and later writers on poetics. It is referred to as the king of the sentiments (rasaraja); as the lord of all sentiments (rasapati); writers vie in praising it. The word itself has been variously interpreted and a range of etymologies suggested for it. Just as the names of persons are assigned in accordance with the traditional customs and practice in his family so also the nomenclature of the Rasas and bhavas and other things in as much as they are concerned with the dramatic performance, proceeds along the tradition in vogue and the advice of persons in authority. In the case of Sringara Rasa too, it is so named because it goes along with an elegant bright dress and make up pleasant to all.
According to Natyashastra
, both male and female characters are behind the outcome of Sringara Rasa. It has two Adhisthanas or Bases namely Sambhoga (Love in Union) and Vipralambha (Love in Separation). Sambhoga is love in union and gets itself manifested through the Vibhavas or Determinants viz. the pleasant season, garlands, unguents, ornaments, people dear and near, sensual objects, excellent mansions, objects of pleasure, going to the garden, experiencing pleasures, listening to sweet voices, seeing beautiful things, play and sports etc. The presentation of Sringara Rasa in the drama is by means of gestures through the Anubhavas (consequents) viz, clever and significant glances of the eyes, movements of the eyebrows, movements of limbs and sweet Angaharas (major dance figures).
Bharata further explains that Vipralambha or Love in Separation should be displayed during the dramatic performance through the following Anubhavas (consequents) viz. Nirveda (dejectedness and indifference to worldly joys), Glani (languor), Sanka (apprehension), Asuya (jealousy), Srama (weariness), Cinta (anxiety and worry), Autsukya (yearning), Nidra (drowsiness), Supta (Sleep), Svapna (dream), Bibboka (feigned anger), Vyadhi (illness), Unmada (insanity), Anasmara (forgetfulness), Jadya (Sluggishness), Marana (death) and other conditions. Karuna rasa
is distinct from Vipralambha. The former involves a desperate condition as a result of curse affliction, downfall, separation from the near and dear, loss of wealth, imprisonment, slaughter etc. The Vipralambha or love in separation incorporates the condition of sticking to hopeful expectation of reunion out of yearning and anxiety.
The term Sringara refers to a man who is richly endowed with all desirable things and much interested in pleasure, who makes full use of the seasons for enhancing his pleasure and who is accompanied by a youthful maiden. Sringara Rasa is the outcome of the activities like the favourable season, garlands, ornaments sweet music, poetry, and persons dear and near, frequenting parks and gardens sporting activities. Its presentation in the dramatic performance is through graceful movements of the limbs accompanied by sweet smiles, pleasing words, fortitude, delighted expressions, serene eyes, beaming face etc.
Sringara has high visibility in the Indian arts. Natyashastra is not only treatise, though it is the most ancient one, to mention this kind of rasa. The concept of navarasas
had existed even before Bharata composed Natyashastra. He himself acknowledges his debt to older masters. Post the age of Bharata, distinguished dramatic works in which Shringara forms the subject came into existence. These included the poetic literature from the 7th century onwards. The kind of love treated, may be divine or human, but the passion seldom falters. In the post Gupta and medieval sculptures and Indian miniature paintings, the theme of Sringara is prevailing. In addition to these, the monuments, such as, Konark and Khajuraho, come to mind with the mention of eroticism in the arts of India. But it is not erotica that comes to the mind while thinking of Sringara. It is, rather, the sentiments in all its subtlety of aspects, its infinitely variegated forms, that figures so prominently in the arts. The mood, the flavour of love can be depicted and communicated movingly.
The rhetoricians say that Sringara is pre-eminent as a rasa because it is the only one with which all the complementing emotional states, barring fear, indolence, cruelty and disgust can be connected with which all the enduring emotional states (sthayibhavas) except that of disgust can be brought into harmony.
There is an absolute delight in viewing the art work dipped in Sringara rasa. The finest example exists in Rajput paintings
. Besides these the sculpture of divine lovers seated under a tree from Nachna during Gupta and post-Gupta period; Mughal painting where a prince waits for his bride; paintings with Radha-Krishna as the theme are also worth mentioning.