There are “Navarasa’s” (nine state of a being) mentioned in Vedic literatures as characteristics of human beings. I could not find an equivalent English word to describe a “Rasa” and kindly permit me to use the word “Rasa” through out this article. More than characteristics, I would imagine “Rasa” is the manifestation of behavior of human beings in each of these Rasa’s at different times in our Life. The nine Rasa’s are:
- 1. Hasya – Humour
- 2. Adbudha – Wonderment
- 3. Shringara – Romance (very approximate translation)
- 4. Raudra - Anger
- 5. Karuna – Compassion
- 6. Veera – Valor (Fearlessness)
- 7. Bhaya (Fear)
- 8. Bibhatsa – Disgust
- 9. Shanta – Peace
1. Hasya – Humour:
In our childhood we found everything amusing right from the butterfly to airplane and we never had any inhibitions to laugh and giggle. As we grew up whenever we laughed, we were told that we have to be serious to achieve in life. Parents and teachers progressively ensured that we loose our ability to have humour in life. In our corporate World humour has no place which acts as lubrication in our life and improves efficiency and relationship. The research shows the organization with lighter atmosphere achieves more and has the least attrition. Humour sabotages outcome is a myth and believing that seriousness means absence of humour is absurd.
People who blend humour in their transactions found to have better relationship and produce results better than people who are always serious. Medically smile is found to have therapeutic value for well-being. I recently attended E-Lab (Energy Lab) programme of Swami Shukbodananda where we were taught how to develop the sense of humour including flexing the cheek muscles, which have become rigid without usage of laughing. People with light heatedness are found to have healthy and long life. Let us have “Hasya Rasa” in our daily life.
2. Adbudha Rasa - Wonderment
The Adbudha rasa is an integral part of us when we have born. When we were a toddler we kept every object in our mouth to figure our what that object is all about. We were very curious and wondering to see everything around us. As we grew up, slowly got into the rut of conformity taking everything granted and no wonderment in spite of everything is a miracle around us. The heart beating, breathing, digesting and any other functions of the body happening without our conscious effort is a miracle. Earth rotating without a spinning mechanism, flowers blossoming, lotus not getting wetted by water and everything we see around us is a miracle. If we are are open for this vision there will be wonderment and we have closed our senses they are events of daily life. The falling apple was a wonder for only one human being when billions of them saw in the past and taken for granted as a normal incident. It was jokingly said when Newton asked his father “why the apply has fallen down?”, his father had no answer and seem to have said “My son it was falling during my father and grand father days as well! All of them took it, polished it and ate it! My son you also do the same!”
The learning quotient - LQ is a function of wonderment which kindles curiosity and some of us remain as learners throughout our life. “One who knows not that he knows not is a fool” which means that there are large domain in this universe still remains as a mystery to be unfolded and we don’t know that we don’t know. When we are in this domain the wonderment is the only Rasa that will help us investigate this mystery the nature has kept in its bosom and waiting its children’s to discover. Let Adbudha rasa keep your LQ drive your life.
3. Shringara Rasa – Romance
One of the experiences all of us would have gone through is Shringara – the romance either in our pre-marital or after marriage at least in the first six months. In Tamil there is a saying “Asai aruvadu nall, moham mupadu nall” which means that desire after marriage will last for 30 days and lust will last till sixty days. This means that the romance is temporary till the lust is present. All of those who fell in love or infatuation will recall that we felt the woman or men who we fell in love with is going to provide eternal happiness we experienced in the dating days! Alas, the fact is disastrous after marriage; why? The astronomical telephone bill during pre-marriage dating has not even reduced to answering sms once a day!
The Shringara rasa is not Lust for sex! It is far beyond the physical needs. Today needing a partner at adulthood is for either satisfying sexual needs or serving the person and that explains the disappearance of Shringara once the lust is fulfilled. Let me quote Kahlil Gibran’s version of marriage:
“You were born together, and together you shall be for evermore.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love.
Stand together yet not too near together: for the pillars of temple stand apart”
The Shringara is the most bonding ingredient between men and woman which adds spice to life even during the old age as it is free from lust for ephemeral aspects of life. If Shringara rasa is predominant during the married life it can keep the fire of love forever.
4. Raudra Rasa – Anger:
In my previous article “Anger Management” I presented the evil effects of anger. If anger is evil, the nature would not have created a Rasa of its kind. Let us look at the positive aspect of Raudra rasa.
The Raudra is divided into two rasas namely positive and negative. Positive anger ensures that you are not used as a doormat or taken for granted by the people around you. When anger expressed in a controlled manner it always has a positive effect. If the anger is expressed in an un-controlled manner it becomes a negative anger which spoils relationship and affects the image of the person. When one says “I am angry about ………” and expresses in a cool manner, the other person understands that the act is reprimanded and not the person. Often it is taken more seriously than expressed through an un-controlled anger. Raudra rasa hence is the positive anger that enhances your personality.
5. Karuna Rasa:
The approximate translation of Karuna Rasa is what Buddha called as “Compassion”. It is not sympathy as it is often misunderstood. Sympathy leads to giving and enforces the ego of the giver feeling superior to the receiver. As Vivekananda says “Giving is possible only when the receiver is willing to accept and hence we need to thank the receiver for accepting our giving!”
Compassion is a state of a being where we are so tolerant to the people that none of their act can hurt you as you feel that “They knows not what they are doing” as Jesus said when he was crucified or Lord Buddha was spat on his face. In modern days we feel that when someone slaps us in one cheek, we should slap them in both their cheeks! It is very hard to make the modern man to understand what is compassion is all about.
There are several occasions we come across a situation in our family and professional life where we react heavily and regret later that those reactions could have been avoided. Such a feeling comes only when we are compassionate to those beings that we felt have hurt us. Hence compassion is none other than of a state of a being when we forgive those who commit mistakes and seemingly hurting us. Hence Karuna is an advanced state of a being which one can master after developing the previous 4 rasas.
The balance Rasa’s to follow soon. Wish you all the best to apply the Navarasa’s in your life.