- Rasa (taste) is an important Indian aesthetic con-cept applied to literature, drama, and occasionally mythology. Literally, rasa is the taste, savor, or essence of something. In aesthetics rasa is the essential sentiment embedded in a work of art that evokes a corresponding emotion in the reader, listener, or viewer.Works of art are often classified according to their predominant rasa. The literature variously lists eight to 11 of them. The most common listed are 10: shringara (love), hasya (mirth), karuna (pity), raudra (anger), vira (heroism), bhayanaka (fear), bibhatsa (disgust), and adbhuta (won-der); some add shanta (tranquillity) and vatsalya (parental fondness).Further reading: Hari Ram Mishra, The Theory of Rasa in Sanskrit Drama, with a Comparative Study of General Dramatic Literature (Bhopal: Vindhyachal Prakashan, 1964); Tapasvi S. Nandi, The Origin and Development of the Theory of Rasa and Dhvani in Sanskrit Poetics (Ahmedabad: Gujarat University, 1973); V. Raghavan, Abhinavagupta and His Works (Varanasi: Chaukhambha Orientalia, 1980); ———, The Number of Rasas, 3d rev. ed. (Madras: Adyar Library and Research Centre, 1975).
Encyclopedia of Hinduism. A. Jones and James D. Ryan. 2007.