When we watch a gripping theatrical play or a movie, or else when we read a novel or poetry, we lose ourselves in the performance and subconsciously begin cheering on some character towards glory or wishing the downfall of some other character. We become their partners in their successes and struggles, joys and sorrows, friendship and enmity and other experiences and emotions. We come so engrossed in the experiences of the characters that we feel like they are part of our real life. The peculiar feeling that the audiences experience when they are totally engrossed in an artist’s performance is the evocation of Ras (emotions). This evocation of emotions also has a scientific definition based on scriptures.

The definition of Ras/Emotionality is as follows:

Ras, or emotionality, is the thrill experienced by spectators, audiences, or readers when a latent sentiment blossoms through triggers, experiences, and transitive expressions of an artist into an evocation of strong internalized feelings in the heart. 


Sthayi Bhaav (Latent Sentiments)

The sentiments that always exist as germs in the heart and are ordinarily hidden away, but manifest themselves in presence of a specific person, time or place as referred to as Sthayi Bhav or latent sentiments. Laughter, sorrow, anger, excitement, anxiety, fear, hatred etc are all latent sentiments. The following table shows the emotionality associated with each latent sentiment


Sthayi Bhav (Sentiment) Ras (Emotion)
Rati (Desire) Shringar (Adornment/Seduction)
Krodh (Anger) Raudra (fiery)
Vairagya (reclusion) karun/Shok (sorrow, depression)
Utsaah (excitement) Veer (bravado)
Jugupsa (disgust) Vibhatsa (morbid, grisly)
Bhaya (Fear) Bhayanak (scary)
Haas (Laughter) Haasya (Humor)
Sneh (love) Vatsalya (affection)


Vibhaav (Triggers)

The person, object, or place that arouses the Sthayi Bhaav (latent sentiments) is called a Vibhaav (trigger). There are two types of Vibhaav:

Alamban Vibhaav (Releasing Trigger): The person that arouses the Sthayi Bhaav is called an Alamban Vibhaav (releasing trigger).

Uddipan Vibhav (Stimulating Trigger): The object that enhances or aggravates the sentiment is called Uddipan VIbhaav (Stimulating Trigger).


Anubhaav (Experiences)

The efforts and actions taken by a person once their Sthayi Bhaav (latent sentiments) are aroused are referred to as Aubhaav (Experiences).


Sanchaari Bhaav (Transitive Sentiments)

Once a Sthayi Bhaav is aroused in a person, other fleeting thoughts and feelings that enhance the emotionality are called Sanchaari Bhaav (Transitive Sentiments).


Shringar Ras:

Shringar Ras is associated with the Sthayi Bhaav of Rati. The Alamban vibhaav of Shringar Ras is the husband, wife, or person you are attracted to. The Uddipan VIbhaav for this ras is gathering clouds, a singing nightingale, spring, etc. The rush experienced in the memory of a loved one, tears in the eye, etc is the Anubhaav of this Ras. Inertia, aggression, despondency, enthusiasm, passion, arrogance, etc are all sanchari bhav of this ras, which accentuate the Shringar ras, but themselves are fleeting emotions. 


Veer Ras: 

Veer Ras (bravado) is associated with the Sthayi Bhaav of Utsaah (excitement). The excitement can be about warfare, generosity, mercy, etc, because of which Veer Ras is understood to have many facets. Any person or activity that arouses excitement is the Alamban Vibhaav of Veer Ras, whereas bistapoorna lalkaar (full-throated challenge) is the Uddipan Vibhaav of this Ras. 

Restless waits, flailing of hands, grandiose bravado are the Anubhaav of this Ras, and ferocity, haughtiness, exhilaration, etc are the Sanchaari Vibhaav.


Vibhatsa Ras:

 Jugupsa/ghrina (disgust or nausea) is the Sthayi Bhaav or Vibhatsa Ras. Detestable objects such as meat, blood, corpses, or nightmares are the Alamban Vibhaav. Vultures, hyenas, etc. preying on corpses represent the Uddipan Vibhaav. Spitting, squeezing the nose, hopping to the side, etc are the Anubaav, and fear/horror are the Sanchaari Bhaav.


Raudra Ras:

Krodh (anger) is the Sthayi Bhaav of Raudra Ras. Harmful or damaging people are the Alamban Vibhaav and various unpleasant actions (such as uncouth behavior or indecency) of the harmful person are the Uddipan Vibhaav. Impulsiveness, labor, and aggression are the Sanchaari Ras.


Haasya Ras:

Haasya Ras is aroused when any object or person behaves abnormally, makes unusual expressions, dressed awkwardly, or makes peculiar actions to amuse an observer. The peculiar actions and efforts of the person are the Alamban Vibhaav, whereas contortions of the body and humorous actions are the Uddipan Vibhaav. Trivialization, disdain, amusement is the Sanchaari Vibhaav.


Karun Ras:

The despondency that sets in the heart when a prized possession is destroyed, or when a dear one is lost or something unpleasant happens is an example of Karun Ras. The person or object that is destroyed through unusual actions is the Alamban Vibhaav, whereas Uppian Vibhaav is exemplified by limp or listless body, unkempt and disheveled surroundings, etc. Deep despair is the Sanchaari Bhaav.


Bhayanak Ras:

Bhayank Ras is created when the heart is filled with a morbid fear by watching, hearing, or imagining a fearsome person or object. The person, situation, or object that arouses the feeling of fear is the Alamban Vibhaav. Astonishment, stupefication, etc are the sanchari vibhaav of this Ras.