Sanskrit Aesthetic Theory about how we translate raw emotion into art. From the Sanskrit "Bhava" meaning intense emotion/feeling and "Rasa" meaning flavor, taste, or essence.

It is used to describe works of art as if they are banquets, having many flavors. And example of this is the Ramayana whose main flavor is said to be pity and pathos, but which also contains humor and heroics.

The 8 Bhavas and Rasas according to the Natyasastra (attributed to Bharata Muni, circa first century C.E.):

1. The bhava of rati (passionate love) leads to the rasa of srngara (erotic, lustful, romantic, sensual) in the artistic work in question.
2. hasya (comedy) leads to hasya (mirthful, hilarious)
3. soka (sorrow) leads to karuna (compassionate, filled with pathos)
4. krodha (anger) leads to raudra (furious, violent)
5. utsaha (enthusiasm, zeal, courage) leads to vira (heroic, valorous)
6. bhaya (fear, terror) leads to bhayanaka (frightful, horrifying)
7. jugupsa (disgust, revulsion) leads to bibhatsa (odious, repulsive)
8. vismaya (astonishment, wonder) leads to adbhuta (marvelous, filled with awe)

Also, a ninth bhava-rasa pair exists, a later interpolation on the aesthetic theory.
9. santi (peace, cessation) leads to santa (peaceful, still)
9. bhagavat-prema (divine love) leads to bhakti (devotion, participation in the divine)

The discrepancy between the two possible ninth bhava-rasa pairs can be seen by comparing the writings of Abhinavagupta (circa twelfth century C.E.) and Rupa Gosvamin (circa 16th century C.E.). In any case, the ninth bhava-rasa pair most likely came about due to the influence of Mahayana Buddhism on the art of natya (Sanskrit drama governed by the bhava-rasa theory), which in Bharata Muni's time derived solely from the Hindu worldview.

For more information on the bhava-rasa theory and a deeper understanding of natya, I highly recommend a reading of Concept of Ancient Indian Theatre by M. Christopher Byrski.

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