“Navaras’’, such an intriguing word!” My English lecturer said in a mystical tone. 

“Let us understand the scientific phenomenon of senses through our imagination, and creativity and infuse it with feelings and emotions. Senses perceive, convert, translate, and transform our responses to our surroundings. You feel the heat of the sun, and also the warmth of it! You appreciate the beauty of a rose but feel the prick of the thorn too…. So what are these emotions that are evoked? Art and literature encapsulate these emotions, internalise and evoke sensations deeper than the skin. Why does a thriller movie bring out the fear in you? Why do you burst out laughing while watching Laurel and Hardy or grip your friends hand while reading Dracula book? Each external feeling passes through the gateways of our consciousness and gets embedded in the depth of our heart, the fulcrum from where the emotions emanate…..”

I rushed to the library and picked up books on literary terms. I was curious to know the word NAVARAS in English. Emotions, feelings…. the essence, the depth, the soul was missing.

The unfathomable feeling of divine love and sensuousness; the anger that a villain evokes, the peace that emanates from within when immersed in religious texts,  nature that makes us wonder at its scheme of things, fear that makes us cringe, Jhansi Lakshmi Bai who inspires us to be valiant, the Harpic Ad while having dinner that leaves us disgusted…. Oh such diversified … emotions? Feelings? Oh no I am stuck again with these words that lack the depth of RASA.

“Madam, Navarasas have to be experienced, words are inadequate to explore the aesthetic quality of it.”

“Yes, Neha. What’s in a name, a rose would…” 

Is it Adbhut rasa? It has evoked…. feelings? 



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6 thoughts on “Essence

  1. Beautiful. This made curious to know what will be the next one. Such a beautiful way of presentation and this is another motion towards the meaning of RASA. Awesome writing.

  2. Textures, layers and subtle nuances of Navaras is brought out beautifully. Apt use of parallels and references drive home the point crystal clear. Shashikala’s style of writing and mastery of language is a delight to students of literature .

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