” Love is the only reality and it is not a mere sentiment. It is the ultimate truth that lies at the heart of creation “. – Tagore. Love and Romance is perhaps the most widely explored genre in all types of art forms, all over the world. Theatre is no exception to this and hence Sringara Rasa ( romance, love, attractiveness ) is mother of all rasas which has remained one of the most popular rasas of all time. Sringara Rasa is usually translated as erotic love, romantic love or as attraction or beauty. If we delve a little deeper, we get to know that a rasa literally means ” juice, essence or taste “.
The Origin Of Sringara Rasa
These rasas originate from bhavas, the state of mind. The rasa theory has a dedicated section in the Sanskrit text ” Natya Shastra “, an ancient scripture from the 1st Millennium BCE, which is attributed to Bharata Muni. According to the Natya-Shastra, apart from the Sringara rasa in theatre, there are seven more primary rasas. These are Hasya (laughter, mirth) , Raudram (fury) , Karunyam ( compassion, mercy) , Bibhatsam ( Disgust, aversion) , Bhayanakam ( horror, terror) , Veeram ( heroism ) and Adbhutam ( wonder, amazement).
SRINGARA RASA IN THEATRE: WHAT THE NATYA-SHASTRA SAYS
According to the Rasa theory of Natya Shastra, entertainment is a desired effect of performance arts, but not the the primary focus. The most vital goal is to transport the individual in the audience into another parallel reality . Which is full of wonder and bliss . Where he experiences the essence of his own consciousness and reflects on spiritual and moral questions. In a closer inspection, we find that much of the entertainment and content of the traditional Indian arts revolves around the relationship between a man and a woman.
The primary emotion thus generated is Sringara. The romantic relationship between a lover and the beloved is a metaphor for the relationship between the individual and the divine i.e the Nara-Narayan relationship. According to the Natya-Shastra, Lord Vishnu is the presiding deity of Sringara rasa. The colour associated with this rasa is Green. Sringara rasa is referred to as the mother of all rasas in Classical Dance and Theater . Sringara actually gives scope for a myriad of other emotions including jealousy, fear, anger, compassion and of course for the expression of physical intimacy. However No other rasa has such a vast scope. Bharat Muni said that longing ( Abhilasha) is the but the first stage of love. However Other stages vary, depending on the kind of relationship shared between two individuals.
As we have already seen, Sringara originates in the relationship between men and women and relates to fullness of youth. Moreover Sringara Rasa or romance has remained the main theme of several hugely popular dramas . For instance Faust, Shakuntala, Frankenstein, Intrigue and love, As you like it, Antony and Cleopatra, Prometheus unbound and so on.
” Bishakto Panchali ” a production of Kolahal Theatre Workshop , where Sringara Rasa has been explored widely . In addition This project of Kolahol was with the transgender people of our society . However , their performance in this play was a protest against the violence, indignity and the insults that they endured for years.
In this play, protagonist Bhanumati is a local play ( Jatra) actor . Moreover being a man . acts as a woman in all performances . However , falls in love with Master, the hero of all the plays in which he performed. Bishakto Panchali explores various angles of love and human emotions, with an uninhibited honesty and hence is a true depiction of Sringara rasa in theatre.