(Hinduism, Sanskrit)

Some sort of taste derived from sense perceptions. In the revealed scriptures (the smriti), the following twelve varieties of rasas are enumerated:

  1. raudra (anger)
  2. adbhuta (wonder)
  3. shringara (conjugal love)
  4. hasya (comedy)
  5. vira (chivalry)
  6. daya (mercy)
  7. dasya (servitorship)
  8. sakhya (fraternity)
  9. bhayanaka (horror)
  10. bibhatsa (shock)
  11. shanra (neutrality)
  12. vatsalya (parenthood)
These rasas are displayed between man and man and between animal and animal. According to scripture there is no possibility of an exchange or rasa between a man and an animal or between a man or any other species of living beings within the material world. These rasas are exchanged between member of the same species only.

However, in the spiritual world, these spiritual mellows of taste in a relationship with the Supreme are perfectly possible. Therefore the term rasa extends to describing the relationships between Lord Krishna and the living entities (or, jivas). The Supreme Personality of Godhead is therefore described in the sruti-mantras, the Vedic hymns, as "the fountainhead of all rasas". When one associates with the Supreme Lord and exchanges one's constitutional rasa with the Lord, then the living being is actually happy.

In Ayurveda rasa is understood to be a nutritional fluid. The first of the seven body tissues.

Let me explain:
Life is a combination of body, sense, organs, mind and soul. It is in perpetual movement. Its stability depends upon our conscious efforts to protect and preserve it. Ayurveda is concerned with the span and quality of life. The tie up of this combination should remain strong and all should work in perfect coordination. For this one should study all subtle branches of knowledge concerning man and universe. Whatever there is in the macrocosm so is in the microcosm.

Essentially all the living beings are represented by macrocosmos universe. The sun, the moon, the stars, the planets, the sea, the rivers, the mountains and the rains all are represented in one or the other form in the body of all living beings. Ayurveda is the eternal wisdom of the ancient sages who receive this science as the divine blessings (uhm - anyway, they've got it somehow). This wisdom is based on the perfect wholeness of cosmic consciousness through religious introspection and meditation. Epistemological background of ayurveda is mainly provided by the philosophies of the sankhya, yoga, nyaya, vaisheshika, mimansa and vedanta. This is concerned with 25 elements which are primarily responsible for the creation of universe. The first and foremost is Purusha (consciousness), then Prakriti (primordial nature), Mahat (intellect), Ahankara (sense of individuality or ego-self identification), Manas (mind), the five sense organs and five motor organs, the five subtle Tanmatras {atomic forms of ether, air, fire, water and earth - the shabda (sound), sparsha (touch), roopa (vision), rasa (taste) and gandha (smell) respectively} and panchmahabhoota (the gross forms earth (Prithvi), water (Aap), fire (Agni), air (Vaayu) and ether (Aakash)).

Rasa is an important nutritional concept in Ayurveda. Rasa is not merely incidental in terms of rendering the food palatable, but it is important in terms of nutrition as we shall see below. Accourding to the Ayurveda, there are six rasaa or tastes, namely Madhura (sweet), Amla (sour), Lavana (salt), Katu (pungent), Tiktha (bitter) and Kashaya (astringent). Each rasa serves a specific nutritional purpose. A balanced diet must have all the six rasas in a good balance. Rasas are also ultimately made up of the five mahabhootas (together they are called Panchamahabhoota). For example, Madhura rasa is composed of Prithvi and Jala and Amla rasa is composed of Prihtvi and Teja.
However it is also observed that specific rasas predominate in particular seasons and this has implications for how our food and regimen must change in various seasons.

  1. Seasons
  2. Predominant Bhoota in Nature
  3. Predominant Taste
  4. Bhoota in Rasa
Sisir (Late Winter)
Vayu+ Aakasha
Vayu + Aakasha

Vasant (Spring)
Vayu + Prithvi
Vayu + Prithvi

Greeshma (Summer)
Vayu + Teja
Vayu + Teja

Varsha (Monsoon)
Vayu + Teja
Vayu + Teja

Sharad (Autumn)
Jala + Teja
Jala + Teja

Hemantha (Early Winter)
Prithvi + Jala
Prithvi + Jala

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