In the performing arts of dance and drama, it is believed that two or three emotions can be intertwined together but the dominant emotion is only one. There are eight such dominant emotions that are considered as permanent states of being. They are part of the inherent nature of man. The artist through his art brings them out to the conscious level. Through an ingenious portrayal of these emotional states of being in his art, the artist strives to evoke an emotional response or re-create a similar state of being in the spectators which is called the experience of rasa. Regardless of the field or symbol that the artist used to present his idea, he has to make sure that through his creation, he evoked an emotional response from the audience to the beauty or truth of mankind in the art presented. This is the goal of all arts.
The emotional idea expressed by the actor arouses a ‘rasa’ i.e. a ‘sentiment’ in the spectator. A rasa or sentiment created through art is a result of sthayi-bhava (permanent state of being) producing a pleasurable sensation through the operation of involuntary (sattvika bhavas) and transitory (vyabhichari bhavas) states of being(A. Chandra et. al, 2014).
Hinduism preaches that the ultimate karma of a man is to find his path back to ‘The One’ universal source of power and while performing, the artist and the audience are both lifted into a spiritual plane of thoughts and feelings that are invoked by their interactions with each other. These are believed to guide a man into a state of calm and a state of oneness with the supreme power.
Regardless of one’s beliefs in the values Bharatanatyam upholds it has lifted the human spirit in many ways and bettered many lives. Like every other art form, it can mean to you what you seek and see in it.