Rasa literally means “nectar, essence or taste” it usually refers to cooking, the flavour and spice of a meal. To understand the figurative meaning of Rasa one must first understand (reference ZYL Weeks 69-73) how the Gunas might influence the same idea of the flavour metaphor. Consider that;
Rajas Guna influences to be too much spice and flavour.
Tamas Guna influences there to be too little which makes the meal bland and dry.
And Sattva Guna is the pure essence of that experience which is palatable for you to enjoy.
Robert Svoboda says, “Existence without juice is dry and tasteless. Rasa is life’s fluid reality, life’s juice, in every sense of the word.” Emotions govern human life, it is the essence of the human experience which make it worth living.
According to Tantric scholars, Rasas represents our most important and basic emotions, there are said to be 9 emotions;
Disgust, Fear, Anger, Sadness, Love, Courage, Wonder, Joy and Calmness
This was and still is celebrated as Indian actors and dancers are taught the facial characteristics of the nine emotions to be able to create an exaggerated face and therefore invoke emotion in the audience that correlated to the drama unfolding for their entertainment. Hurray for Bollywood!
In order for the Rasa to arise, we must first become aware of the bhava, or “true feeling state.” Bhava means “to become” Bhava is the feeling state of the emotion while Rasa is the reduced essence in its pure form. The Bhava themselves carry no meaning in the absence of Rasa. So to understand this relationship here are some examples of Rasa and it’s Bhava:
- Joy can exist without humour, however humour can’t exist without Joy.
- Compassion always holds the element of sadness, yet sadness can exist without compassion.
- Love can occur without beauty, while admiring beauty in something or someone there is always the essence of Love.
9 Rasas and their Bhava
- Love – Shringara – Bhava – Devotion, Romance, Love of beauty, Aesthetic sentiment, Admiration, Passion, Affection, Fondness, Intimacy, Infatuation, Besottedness, Tenderness
- Joy – Hasya – Bhava – Laughter, Humour, Exuberance, Sarcasm, Satire, Delight, Jubilant, Happy, Bliss, Rapture, Enjoyment, Excitement
- Wonder – Adbhuta – Bhava – Curiosity, Astonishment, Mystery, Awe state, Fascination, Surprise, Amazement, Marvel, Stunned,
- Courage – Virya – Bhava – Heroism, Determination, Confidence, Pride, Concentration, Bravery, Fearlessness, Gallant,
- Calmness – Shanta – Bhava – Peace, Contentment, Ease, Serenity, Relaxation, Rest, Tranquil, Quiet, Steady, Controlled, Equanimous, Still
- Sadness – Karuna – Bhava – Compassion, Sympathy, Pity, Unhappy, Sorrow, Regret, Misery, Despondency, Despair, Glum, Melancholy
- Anger – Raudra – Bhava – Violence, Rage, Irritation, Stress, Intolerance, Impatience, Annoyance, Vexed, Resentment, Outraged, Temper, Aggravation, Incensed
- Fear – Bhayanka – Bhava – Terror, Anxiety, Nervousness, Worry, Envy, Frightened, Panic, Dread, Distress
- Disgust – Vibhatsa – Bhava – Depression, Dissatisfaction, Self-pity, Vulgarity, Jealousy, Aversion, Loathing, Repulsed, Judgement, Criticism, Foul, Grisly, Gruesome, Hideous
In this fast-paced, modern world, we sometimes find ourselves eating without tasting our food, listening without being truly present, and doing yoga without experiencing the feelings that arise in us. We become human doings and forget about creating the space to notice what it is like to be a human being. One tool we can use to wake us up from this ‘doing’ state is the practice of RAIN
In this series of practices we will use different poses and sequence to cathartically express what emotions and their feelings are present. Be brave in allowing what is yours to hold, carry, and bare to unfold as you move and breathe. This practice of Yoga is raw, intimate and provocative. Give yourself the permission to feel your feelings, become more emotionally agile and see how they express within and change, leading you to a state of Yoga a state of lasting fulfilment, deep contentment and freedom from your hurt, pain and suffering as a result of being just human. Taste, smell and saviour the fullness of the experience, the rainbow of feelings within the emotions. Enjoy this series.