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Indian Classical Dances
The Navarasas (emotions) of classical dances
Hasta Mudra
Hand Gestures
The Navarasas
Gesture & Posture
Feet in Dance
Qualities & Performances


NavarasasThe Navarasas or nine emotions give dance a completeness that allows the dancer and the rasikas (audience) to experience the full beauty and meaning of the lyrics and the movements potrayed.

The state of rasa is established due to Vbhava, which is the cause of emotion, Anubhava that is the effect of emotion and Sanchari or Vyavhichari bhava, which are subordinate emotions. These in their respective order change the Sthayi bhava that is primary emotion into rasa or bliss. Sthayi bhava is composed of the Nava rasas (nine rasas or moods).

The main difference between the Rasa and Bhava is that while rasa depends purely on imaginative transfiguration, bhava is more direct for it is concerned with creating a mood through physical media. Rasas express the beginning of a sentiment while bhavas complete or round it off either through the agency of mana; the brain or of the sharira; the body or through an action. Every rasa has its accompanying bhava.

There are Nine Rasas with an equal number of complementary moods.

These emotions are expressed in the eyes, the face, subtle muscle shifts and the body as a whole. They are:

1. Hasya (Happiness)
2. Krodha (Anger)
3. Bhibasta (Disgust)
4. Bhayanaka (Fear)
5. Shoka (Sorrow)
6. Veera (Courage)
7. Karuna (Pity)
8. Adbhuta (Wonder)
9. Shanta (Serenity)

The deities attached to different Rasas can be given as:

1. Shringara- Vishnu
2. Vira- Indra
3. Karuna- Yama
4. Rudra- Rudra
5. Hasya- Pramatha
6. Bhayanaka- Kala
7. Bibhatsa- Mahakal (a form of Shiva)
8. Adbhuta- Gandharva
9. Shanta- Narayana

Colour attributed to Rasas:

1. Shringara- Dark brown
2. Vira- Golden
3. Karuna- Indian rock dove
4. Rudra- Red
5. Hasya- White
6. Bhayanaka- Black
7. Bibhatsa- Blue
8. Adbhuta- Yellow
9. Shanta- White, like Kunda flower.

All dance forms are thus structured around the nine rasas or emotions. All dance forms follow the same hand gestures or hasta mudras for each of these rasas. The dances differ where the local ability has adapted it to local demands and needs.