Abhinaya; 15 Definition(s)
Abhinaya means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Buddhism, Pali, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.
Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)
Abhinaya (अभिनय) refers to “(the technique of) representation”, which is used in communicating the meaning of the drama and calling forth the sentiment (rasa). According to the Nāṭyaśāstra 1.17-18, when Brahmā created the Nāṭyaveda he took abhinaya (histrionic representation) from the Yajurveda.
Abhinaya (techniques of representation) can be summed up in four categories:
- aṅgika (physical representation),
- vācika (vocal representation),
- āhārya (costumes and make-up),
- sattvika (the temperament).
Abhinaya is so called because in the performance of a play, it together with the Śākha, the Aṅga and the Upāṅga explains the meaning of different things.Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra
Gesture (abhinaya) Gesture is the principal theme of what is here related. The root ni with the prefix abhi implies exposition, and the word abhinaya is used in this sense. According to another book (granthāntare), abhinaya is so called because it evokes flavour (rasa) in the audience.
There are three kinds of gesture:
- bodily (āngika),
- vocal (vācika),
- and ornamental (āhārya),
besides the pure, passionate, and dark (sāttvika, etc.).
Observe that abhinaya strictly speaking means “expression” whether by gesture, singing, or costume. In the present work it is expression by gesture which is considered, and on this account the term abhinaya has been rendered by “gesture” throughout.Source: archive.org: The mirror of gesture (abhinaya-darpana)
Abhinaya (अभिनय) is the imitation of the thing seen by self or is an expression of sentiment experienced by oneself. Abhinaya, the Sanskrit word, is made up of prefix abhi–towards and root ni–to carry. It means an act of communication, i.e., to convey the emotional experience of a man, through histrionic representation. The entire range of human emotional experience is consciously realised and is manifested in terms of idealised concepts of the histrionic arts.
Abhinaya is further explained by dividing it into four aspects, viz:
Abhinaya is common to all Classical Indian dances. The expression, which is shown to express poetic meanings, is Abinaya. Here the emphasis is more on facial expressions than rhythmic movements. Abhinaya is the expressional aspect of dance.
There are four kinds of Abhinaya:
- Angika (of limbs)
- Vachika (of speech)
- Aharya (of costumes)
1) Abhinaya refers to “artistic expressions”, as defined in the the second book of the Pañcamarapu (‘five-fold traditional usage’) which represents an important piece of Tamil literature.—Abhinaya (artistic expressions) is one type of kūttu. In abhinaya kūttu the actions of the leg, body, eyes, face and hands take place simultaneously. Expressing through abhinaya is called nāṭaka-icaittamil (dramatic representation with song).
This tradition [of abhinaya] includes the following six sub-divisions:
- Pindi or oṟṟaikkai-marapu (single-hand tradition),
- Pinnayal or reṭṭaikkai-marapu (double hand tradition),
- aṅga-kiriyai-marapu (the usage of the action of the body),
- Nine movements of the head,
- Three movements of the neck are,
- Eight glances of the eyes are.
2) Abhinaya refers to “histrionic representation” as used within the classical tradition of Indian dance and performance, also known as Bharatanatyam.—The term abhinaya is referred to by many scholars as “the gesture expression,” “histrionic representation,” “histrionic expression,” “the art of dramatic expression,” “the art of communication,” “the body language” and “acting”. Abhinaya evokes the flavour in the audience. There is a continuous chain of action and reaction taking place in the process of abhinaya. In the performance of a dramatic production, together with major and minor bodily limbs, the actor or the dancer, through abhinaya, conveys the meaning of a play or a song or a verse to the cultured spectator.
Nandikeśvara, in his Abhinayadarpaṇa speaks of the four kinds of abhinaya as follows:
Expression through the body and its limbs is āṅgikābhinaya. Expression through voice and speech is vācikābhinaya. Decorating the body with garlands, make-up and costume is āhāryābhinaya. Expression through sāttvika-bhāvas or conscious mind is sāttvikābhinaya.Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (natya)
Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).
Purana and Itihasa (epic history)
Abhinaya (अभिनय).—In Agni Purāṇa, Chapter 342, Abhinaya has been defined as follows: Abhinaya is the art of presenting before the people the ideas that are to be communicated to them. There are four divisions of this art known as Sāttvika, Vācika, Āṅgika and Āhārya depending on Sattva, Vāk, Aṅga and Āhārya. Besides these, another division known as Abhimānika (Abhimānottha) may also be mentioned. This signifies the expression of rasas like Śṛṅgāra. There are two kinds of Śṛṅgāra known as Saṃbhoga and Vipralambha. Four varieties of Vipralambha called Pūrvānurāga Vipralambha, Māna Vipralambha, Pravāsa Vipralambha and Karuṇa Vipralambha are mentioned. The union after Vipralambha is Saṃbhoga-Śṛṅgāra. All Sāttvika bhāvas are included in Śṛṅgāra. All these have to be expressed through Abhinaya.Source: archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia
Abhinaya (अभिनय).—Technique of dancing started by Bharata.*
- * Matsya-purāṇa 24. 30.
The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.
Nirukta (Sanskrit etymology)
Abhinaya (अभिनय) is so called because in the performance of a play, it together with the Śākha, the Aṅga and the Upāṅga explains the meaning of different things. Why is it called the abhinaya? It is said in reply to this that the abhinaya is derived from the prefix abhi, and the verbal root nī meaning ‘to cause to get’ (to attain), and the sufix ac attached to these two. Hence a full answer to this should be made after a consideration of the root and its meaning. As the root nī preceded by abhi means ‘carrying the performances (prayoga) of a play to the point of direct ascertainment of its meaning’, so the word made out of them becomes abhinaya (carrying towards).Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭyaśāstra (nirukta)
Abhinaya (अभिनय) is referred to by many scholars as “the gesture expression,” “histrionic representation,” “histrionic expression,” “the art of dramatic expression,” “the art of communication,” “the body language” and “acting”. The Sanskrit root ni with the prefix abhi forms the word abhinaya, which means to convey or lead towards. It is the conveyance of an idea, an emotion, or an event. Abhinaya evokes the flavour in the audience.Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (nirukta)
Nirukta (निरुक्त) or “etymology” refers to the linguistic analysis of the Sanskrit language. This branch studies the interpretation of common and ancient words and explains them in their proper context. Nirukta is one of the six additional sciences (vedanga) to be studied along with the Vedas.
General definition (in Hinduism)
Abhinaya is an inseparable component of Natya, the ancient Indian system of dramaturgy. The principles of Natya have been laid down by Bharata in his exhaustive treatise on the subject known as Natya Shastra which is almost 2000 years old. Bharata's Natya is a composite performing art form of theatre which combines not only the arts of dance, drama and music but also literature, painting and sculpture.
'Abhi' is the prefix meaning 'towards' and 'ni (naya)' is the root meaning to carry. So, Abhinaya means to carry towards, i.e. to carry the spectator towards the meaning. Thus, Abhinaya can be called a vehicle of Natya through which the spectator experiences the particular emotions of the dramatic character that is to lead him towards Rasananda - the ultimate bliss which is the aim of Natya.
The above definition of 'Abhinaya' makes it clear that in terms of ancient Indian dramatic theory, Abhinaya does not mean only acting, miming or facial expressions. The term applies to all the related aspects of histrionics which contribute in conveying the poetic content of drama to the spectators. Bharata has defined four major types of Abhinaya, viz., Angika Abhinaya, Vacika Abhinaya, Aharya Abhinaya and Sattvika Abhinaya.Source: HereNow4U: The Concept of Abhinaya According to Bharata
Languages of India and abroad
Abhinaya, (abhi + naya) a dramatic representation VvA.209 (sākhā°). (Page 65)Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary
Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.
abhinaya (अभिनय).—m S Action and postures expressive of sentiment; esp. the gestures and movements of dramatic representation.Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary
abhinaya (अभिनय).—m Action and postures expres- sive of sentiment, esp. the gestures and movements of dramatic representation.Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.
1) Acting, gesticulation, any theatrical action (expressive of some sentiment, passion &c.); नृत्याभिनयक्रियाच्युतम् (nṛtyābhinayakriyācyutam) Ku.5.79; अभिनयान् परिचेतुमिवोद्यता (abhinayān paricetumivodyatā) R.9.33; नर्तकीरभिनयातिलङ्घिनीः (nartakīrabhinayātilaṅghinīḥ) 19.14; Ki.1.42.
2) Dramatic representation, exhibition on the stage; ललिताभिनयं तमद्य भर्ता मरुतां द्रष्टुमनाः सलोकपालः (lalitābhinayaṃ tamadya bhartā marutāṃ draṣṭumanāḥ salokapālaḥ) V.2.18. S.D. thus defines and classifies अभिनय (abhinaya) :भवेदभिनयोऽवस्थानुकारः स चतुर्विधः । आङ्गिको वाचिकश्चैवमाहार्यः सात्त्विकस्तथा (bhavedabhinayo'vasthānukāraḥ sa caturvidhaḥ | āṅgiko vācikaścaivamāhāryaḥ sāttvikastathā) || 274, 'acting is the imitation of condition', it is of four kinds:- (1) gestural, conveyed by bodily actions; (2) vocal, conveyed by words; (3) extraneous, conveyed by dress, ornaments, decoration &c.; (4) internal, conveyed by the manifestation of internal feeling such as perspiration, thrilling &c.
Derivable forms: abhinayaḥ (अभिनयः).Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
(-yaḥ) 1. Indication of a passion or purpose by look, gesture, &c. 2. Acting, dramatic personification. 3. Ornament, decoration. 4. Civility, kindness. E. abhi, nīñ to guide, and ac aff.Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary
Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.
Search found 316 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:
Āṅgikābhinaya (आङ्गिकाभिनय) refers to the “gesture language of the limbs” and represents one of...
Āhāryābhinaya (आहार्याभिनय) refers to the “extraneous representation” and represents one of the...
Vācikābhinaya (वाचिकाभिनय) refers to the “verbal expression” and represents one of the four kin...
Sātvikābhinaya (सात्विकाभिनय) or simply sātvika refers to the first of four categories of abhin...
Sāmānyābhinaya (सामान्याभिनय).—The ‘harmonious representation’ (sāmānyābhinaya) is that in whic...
Sāttvikābhinaya (सात्त्विकाभिनय) refers to the “art of expression” (through acting out the diff...
Abhinaya Navanita (A.D. 1886) is the name of an important treatise dealing with Dance and Peror...
Śākhābhinaya (शाखाभिनय) is another name for simply śākhā, one of the representations through wh...
Lalitābhinaya (ललिताभिनय).—a. consisting of graceful gesticulations or acting; ललिताभिनयं तमद्य...
Abhinayavidyā (अभिनयविद्या).—science of acting or dramatic representation; art of dancing; मया ...
Vākyābhinaya (वाक्याभिनय) refers to “representation through words” and is another name for simp...
Abhinayācārya (अभिनयाचार्य).—a dancing preceptor; उभावभिनयाचार्यो त्वां द्रुष्टमिच्छतः (ubhāvab...
Sūcābhinaya (सूचाभिनय) is another name for simply sūcā, one of the representations through whic...
Abhinayadarpaṇa (circa A.D. 1000) is the name of an important treatise dealing with Dance and P...
Aṅkurābhinaya (अङ्कुराभिनय) is another name for simply aṅkura, one of the representations throu...
Search found 4 books and stories containing Abhinaya. You can also click to the full overview containing English textual excerpts. Below are direct links for the most relevant articles:
The Mirror of Gesture (abhinaya-darpana) (by Ananda Coomaraswamy)
Brihad Bhagavatamrita (by Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī)
The Natyashastra (by Bharata-muni)
Part 3 - Literature on Ancient Indian Music < [Introduction, Part 2]
Part 5 - Literature on the Ancient Indian Drama < [Introduction, part 1]
Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra (by Helen M. Johnson)