Natyashastra (English)

by Bharata-muni | 1951 | 240,273 words | ISBN-13: 9789385005831

The English translation of the Natyashastra, a Sanskrit work on drama, performing arts, theater, dance, music and various other topics. The word natyashastra also refers to a global category of literature encompassing this ancient Indian tradition of dramatic performance. The authorship of this work dates back to as far as at least the 1st millenn...

Chapter VIII - Gestures of Minor Limbs (upāṅga)

The sages question.

1-2. Through your kindness we have heard in due order everything relating to the origin of the States[1] and Sentiments[2]. We shall now like to know also what the experts say about the different kinds of Histrionic Representation, their meanings and different subdivisions.

3. O the blessed one, you are also to tell us accurately what kinds of Histrionic Representation are to be applied to which [places or occasions] by persons aiming at Success.

Bharata answers.

4. On these words of the sages, Bharata spoke thus relating to the four kinds of Histrionic Representation.

5. “O sages, I shall now speak to you in detail so that the Histrionic Representation becomes properly explained to you.

[3] We shall speak of [the fact that] the abhinaya (Histrionic Representation) is of four kinds. The question is, “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 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.

There is a Śloka on this point

6. As the root 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).

Meaning of abhinaya

7. Abhinaya is so called because in the performance [of a play] it together with the Śākha[4], the Aṅga[5] and the Upāṅga[6] explains the meaning of different [things].

Four kinds of abhinaya

8. O Brahmins, the Histrionic Representation of a play takes place in four ways, and on this [Representation] the plays of different types rest.

9. O Brahmins, this Histrionic Representation is known to be fourfold: Gestures[7] (āṅgika), Words, (vācika) Dresses and Make-up (āhārya) and the Sattva.

Gesture (āṅgika): its three varieties

10. Of these, the Sattva has been described before[8], along with the States; now listen first of all above the Gestures.

11. The Gesture is of three kinds, viz. that of the limbs (śārira), that of the face (mukhaja) and that related to [different], movements of the entire body (ceṣṭākṛta) including the Śākhā, the Aṅga and the Upāṅga.

12. Dramatic performance in its entirety relates to the six limbs including the major and the minor ones, such as head, hands, lips, breast, sides and feet.

13. The six major limbs (aṅga) are head, hands, breast, sides, waist and feet, and the (six) minor limbs (upāṅga) are eyes, eyebrows, nose, lower lip and chin.

14. Producers of plays should reckon the Śākhā, dance (nṛtta) and the Aṅkura as the three aspects of the Histrionic Representation.

15. The Gestures are called the Śākhā;[9] pantomiming through them is the Aṅkura[10] and that which is based on the Karaṇas[11] and consists of the Aṅgahāras[12] is called dance (nṛtta).

16. O Brahmins, listen first of all about the different gestures of the head, which are included in the facial gestures and which support many Sentiments (rasa) and States (bhāva).

Gestures of the head (śiras) and their uses

17-18. The gesture of the head is of thirteen[13] kinds, viz. Ākampita, Kampita, Dhuta, Vidhuta, Parivāhita, Udvāhita, Avadhuta, Añcita, Nihañcita, Parāvṛtta, Utkṣipta, Adhogata, and Lolita.

19. Ākampita: Moving the head slowly up and down is called the Ākampita.

Kampita: When the movements in the Ākampita head are quick and copious the same is called Kampita.*

20. (Uses): The Ākampita head is to be applied in giving a hint, teaching, questioning, addressing in an ordinary way (lit. naturally), and giving an order.

21. The Kampita head is applicable (lit. desired) in anger, argument, understanding, asserting, threatening, sickness and intolerance.

22. Dhuta and Vidhuta: A slow movement of the head is called the Dhuta, and when this movement is quick, it is called the Vidhuta.

23. (Uses): The Dhuta head is applicable in unwillingness, sadness, astonishment, confidence, looking sideways, emptiness and forbidding.

24. The Vidhuta head is to be applied in an attack of cold, terror, panic, fever and the first stage of drinking.

25. Parivāhita and Udvāhita: When the head is alternately turned to the two sides it is called Parivāhita, and when it is once turned upwards it is known as Udvāhita:

26. (Uses): The Parivāhita head is applicable in demonstration, surprise, joy, remembering, intolerance, cogitation, concealment and [amorous] sporting.

27. The Udvāhita[14] head is to be applied in pride, showing height, looking high up, self-esteem and the like.

28. Avadhuta: When the head is lowered once after turning it up it is called Avadhuta. (Uses): It is to be applied in [communicating] a message, invoking [a deity], conversation and beckoning [one to come near].

29. Añcita: When the neck is slightly bent on one side the Añcita head is the result. (Uses) It is applicable in sickness, swoon, intoxication, anxiety and sorrow.

30-31. Nihañcita: When two shoulders are raised up the neck bent on one side, the Nihañcita head is produced. (Uses): It is to be used by women in pride, Amorousness (vilāsa),[15] Light-heartedness (lalita)[16] Affected Indifference, (bibboka),[17] Hysterical Mood, (kilakiñcita),[18] Silent Expression of Affection (moṭṭāyita),[19] Pretended anger, (kuṭṭamita),[20] Paralysis and Jealous anger (māna).

32. Parāvṛtta: When the face is turned round, the Parāvṛtta head is the result. (Uses): It is to be used in turning away the face and looking back and the like.

33. Utkṣipta: When the face remains is raised up, the Utkṣipta head is the result. (Uses): It is used to indicate lofty objects and application of divine weapons.

34. Adhogata: The head with the face looking downwards is called Adhogata. (Uses): It is used in shame, bowing [in salutation] and sorrow.

35. Parilolita: When the head is moving on all sides, it is called Parilolita. (Uses): It is used in fainting, sickness, power of intoxication being possessed by an evil spirit, drowsiness and the like.

36. Besides these there are many other gestures of the head, which are based on popular acting. These are to be used according to the popular practice (lit. nature).

37. I have spoken about the thirteen gestures of the head. Now I shall discuss the characteristics of the Glances.

Thirty-six Glances (dṛṣṭi)

38. Glances expressing the Sentiments[21] are Kāntā, Bhayānakā, Hāsyā, Karuṇā, Adbhutā, Raudrī, Vīrā, and Bībhatsā.

39. Glances to be used in the Dominant States are Snigdhā, Hṛṣṭā, Dīnā, Kruddhā, Dṛptā, Bhayānvitā, Jugupsitā and Vismitā.

40-42. Glances to be used in the Transitory States such as Śūnyā, Malinā, Śrāntā, Lajjānvitā, Glānā, Śaṅkitā, Viṣaṇṇā, Muktā, Kuñcitā, Abhitaptā, Jihmā, Lalitā, Vitarkitā, Ardhamukulā, Vibhrāntā, Viplutā, Ākekarā, Vikośā, Trastā and Madira, make up their number thirty-six.[22]

Glances to express the Sentiments

43. I shall now explain the characteristics of these Glances in connexion with the various Sentiments and the States, and shall describe their functions.

44. Kāntā: When with a feeling of love a person contracts his eyebrows and castes a sidelong look, he is said to have a Kāntā (pleasing) Glance which has its origin in joy and pleasure. It is used in the Erotic Sentiment.

45. Bhayānakā: The Glance in which the eyelids are drawn up and fixed, and the eyeballs are gleaming and turning up is called Bhayānakā (terrible). It indicates a great fear and is used in the Terrible Sentiment.

46. Hāsyā: In the Hāsyā (smiling) Glance the two eyelids are by turns contracted, and they open with the eyeballs moving and slightly visible; it should be used in representing jugglery.

47. Karuṇā: The Glance in which the upper eyelid has descended, the eyeball is at rest due to mental agony, and the gaze is fixed at the tip of the nose, and there is tear, is called Karuṇā (pathetic).

48. Adbhutā: The Glance in which eyelashes are slightly curved at the end, eyeballs are raised in wonder, and the eyes are charmingly windened till the end, is called the Adbhutā (of wonder).

49. Raudrī: The pitiless Glance in which the eyeballs are rough, red, raised, and the eyelids are still and the eyebrows knitted, is called Raudrī (cruel), and it is used in the Furious Sentiment.

50. Vīrā: The Glance which is bright, fully open, agitated, serious, and in which eyeballs are at the centre of the eye (lit. leyel) is called Vīrā (heroic), and it is used in the Heroic Sentiment.

51. Bībhatsā: The Glance in which the cornets of the eyes are nearly covered by eyelids, the eyeballs arc disturbed in disgust and the eyelashes are still and close to each other, is called Bībhatsā (odious).

Glances to express Dominant States

52. Glances defined here are known to occur in relation to the Sentiments. I shall now explain the Glances relating to the Dominant States.

53. Snigdhā: The Glance which is not much widened (lit. medium widened), is sweet, and in which eyeballs are still, and there are tears of joy, is called Snigdhā (loving); it is used in love (lit. grows out of love).

54. Hṛṣtā: The Glance which is moving, slightly bent and in which eyeballs are not wholly visible (lit. entering), and there is winking, is called Hṛṣtā (joyful); it is used in laughter.

55. Dīnā: The Glance in which the lower eyelid is slightly fallen, eyeballs are slightly swollen, and which is moving very slowly, is called Dīnā (pitiable); it is used in sorrow.

56. Kruddhā: The rough Glance in which eyelids are motionless and drawn up, eyeballs are immobile and turned up, and the eyebrows are knitted, is called Kruddhā (angry); it is used in anger.

57. Dṛptā: The steady and widely opened Glance in which eyeballs are motionless, and which shows forth (lit. emits) prowess is called Dṛptā (haughty); it is used in showing energy (lit. grows out of energy).

58. Bhayānvita: The Glance in which the eyes are widely opened, the eyeballs are mobile in fear and are away from the centre [of the eye], is called Bhayānvitā (awestricken); it is used in fear.

59. Jugupsitā: The Glance in which eyelids are contracted but not joined together, and the eyeballs are covered and are turning away from the object coming in view (lit. the place in view) is called Jugupsitā (disgusting); it is used in disgust.

60. Vismitā: The level Glance which is fully blown and in which eyeballs are throughly turned up and the two eyelids are motionless, is called Vismitā (astonished); it is used in astonishment.

Glances to express Transitory States

61. These are the Glances relating to the Dominant States, that I have just defined. I shall now explain the characteristics of the Glances in the Transitory States.

62. Śūnyā: The Glance which is weak and motionless and in which the eyeballs and the eyelids are in ordinary position (lit. level), and which turns to the space and is not attentive to external objects is called Śūnyā (vacant).

63. Malinā: The Glance in which ends of the eyelashes are not shaking and ends of the eyes are pale, and which is characterised very much by half-shut eyelids, is called Malinā (pale).

64. Śrāntā: The resting Glance in which eyelids have been let down due to fatigue, corners of the eyes are narrowed, and the eyeballs are fallen, is called Śrāntā (tired).

65. Lajjānvitā: The Glance in which ends of the eyelashes are slightly bent, the upper eyelid is descending in shyness, the eyeballs are lowered due to shame, is called Lajjānvitā (bashful).

66. Glānā: The languid Glance in which the eyebrows and the eyelashes are slowly moving and eyeballs are covered [under the eyelids] due to fatigue, is called Glānā (lazy).

67. Śaṅkitā: The concealed Glance which is once moved, and once at rest, slightly raised, obliquely open and in which the eyeballs are timid, is Śaṅkitā (apprehensive).

68. Viṣaṇṇā: The bewildered Glance in which eyelids are down wide apart in dejection, and there is no winking and the eyeballs are slightly motionless, is called Viṣaṇṇā (dejected).

69. Mukulā: The Glance in which eyelashes are slightly trembling, the upper eyelids are of the Mukula type and the eyeballs are opened in happiness, is called Mukulā.

70. Kuñcitā: The Glance in which ends of eyelashes are bent due to the eyelids being contracted and the eyeballs are also contracted, is called Kuñcitā (contracted).

71. Abhitaptā: The Glance in which the eyeballs are slowly moving due to the movement of the eyelids, and which indicates much distress and pain, is called Abhitaptā (distressed).

72. Jihmā: The Glance in which the eyelids are hanging down and slightly contracted and the eyeballs are concealed, and which casts itself obliquely and slyly is called Jihmā (crooked).

73. Lalitā: The Glance which is sweet, and contracted at the end [of the eye] and which is smiling and has movement of the eyebrows, and shows signs of love is called Lalitā (amorous).

74. Vitarkitā: The Glance in which the eyelids are turned up for guessing, the eyeballs are full blown and moving downwards is called the Vitarkitā (conjecturing).

75. Ardhamukulā: The Glance in which owing to joy the eyelids are of the Ardhamukulā: type, the eyeballs are half-blown and slightly mobile is called Ardhamukulā.

76. Vibhrāntā: The Glance in which the eyeballs are moving and so are the eyelids, and the middle [of the eye] is wide open and full-blown, is called Vibhrāntā (confused).

77. Viplutā: The Glance in which the eyelids [first] tremble and then become motionless and the eyeballs are [again] disturbed, is called Viplutā (disturbed).

78. Ākekarā: The Glance in which the eyelids and the corner of the eyes are slightly contracted and joined together, and is half-winking, and the eyeballs are repeatedly turning up, is called Ākekarā (half-shut).

79. Vikośā: The joyful Glance in which the two eyelids are wide open and there is no winking and the eyeballs are not immobile, is called Vikośā (full blown).

80. Trastā: The Glance in which the eyelids are drawn up in fear, the eyeballs are trembling and the middle of the eye is full-blown due to panic, is called Trastā (frightened).

81. Madirā: The Glance in which the middle of the eye is rolling, the ends of the eyes are thin, the eyes are bent, and the corners of the eyes are fully widened, is called Madirā (intoxicated). It is to be used in representing light intoxication.

82. In medium intoxication this Glance should have its eyelids slightly contracted, the eyeballs and and the eyelashes slightly mobile.

83. In excessive (lit. the worst) intoxication the Glance should have [either too] much winking or no winking at all, and the eyeballs in it should be slightly visible, and it (the look) should be turned downwards.

84. These are the thirty-six Glances due to the Sentiments and the Dominant States described by me. Now listen about their uses.

Uses of Glances expressing Transitory States

85. Glances due to the Sentiments are to be used in representing them, while Glances due to the Dominant (States) should be used in expressing these. Now listen about the uses of Glances due to the Transitory States in representing these (States),

86-93. Śūnyā (vacant)—in anxiety and paralysis (motionlessness).
Malinā (pale)—in discouragement, change of colour.
Śrāntā (tired)—in weariness and depression.
Lajjānvitā—(bashful)—in shame.
Glānā (lazy)—in epilepsy, sickness and weakness.
Śaṅkitā (apprehensive)—in apprehension.
Viṣaṇṇā (dejected)—in despair.
Mukulā—in sleeping, dreaming and happiness.
Kuñcitā (contracted)—in envy, undesirable object, objects visible with difficulty and pain in the eye.
Abhitaptā (distressed)—in discouragement, accidental hurt and distress.
Jihmā (crooked)—in envy, stupor and indolence.
Lalitā (amorous)—in contentment and joy.
Vitarkitā (conjecturing)—in recollection and deliberation.
Ardhamukulā—in joy due to an experience of [sweet] smell or touch.
Vibhrāntā (confused)—in agitation, hurry and confusion.
Viplutā (disturbed)—inconstancy, insanity, afîliction of misery and death.
Ākekarā (half-shut)—in looking to a distant [object], separation, and consecration by sprinkling (prokṣita)l.
Vikośā (full-blown)—in awakening, arrogance, indignation, cruelty and assurance.
Trastā (frightened)—in fright.
Madirā (intoxicated)—in intoxication.

94-95. Here I have finished the proper description of thirty-six Glances; now listen about the [additional] Glances, and gestures of the eyeballs, the eyelids and the eyebrows due to the Sentiments and the States.

Eyeballs (tārā)

95-96. Eyeballs have gestures of nine kinds: Bhramaṇa (moving round), Valana (turning), Pāta = Pātana (relaxing), Calana, (trembling), Saṃpraveśana, (drawing inside), Vivartana, (turning sideways), Samudvṛtta (raising up), Niṣkrama (going out) and Prākṛta (natural).

96- 98. Bhramaṇa (moving round)—turning round the eyeballs at random.
Valana (turning)—moving (the eyeballs) obliquely.
Pātana = Pāta (relaxing)—relaxation (of the eyeballs.)
Calana (trembling)—tremor (of the eyeballs.)
Saṃpraveśana = Praveśa (drawing inside)—drawing (the eyeballs) in.
Vivartana (turning)—turning the eyeballs sideways in a sidelong glance.
Samudvṛtta (raising up)—raising up of the eyeballs.
Niṣkramaṇa (going out)—going out [as it were of the eyeballs.]
Prākṛta (natural)—eyeballs in the natural (glance.)

Uses of eyeballs

99-101. Now listen about their uses in [different] Sentiments and States.

Bhramaṇa (moving round), Valana (turning) and Samudvṛtta (raising of eyeballs)—in the Heroic and the Furious Sentiments.
Niṣkramaṇa (going out), and Valana (turning of the eyeballs)—in the Terrible Sentiment.
Saṃpraveśana (drawing of the eyeball)—in the Comic and the Odious Sentiments.
Pātana (relaxed eyeballs) in the Pathetic Sentiment.
Niṣkramaṇa (going out of the eyeballs)—in the Marvellous Sentiment.
Prākṛta (natural) eyeballs—in the remaining Sentiments (lit. States).
Vivartana (turning sideways of the eyeball)—in the Erotic Sentiment.

102. These are the natures of eyeballs based on the popular practice. They are to be applied [suitably] to all the different States.

Additional Glances

103-107. I shall speak about the varieties of Glance in special relation of these (lit. there). These are of eight kinds, viz. Sama (level), Sācī (sidelong), Anuvṛtta (inspecting), Ālokita (casual), Vilokita (looking round), Pralokita (carefully looking), Ullokita (looking up), and Avalokita (looking down).

Sama (level)—the eyeballs are in a level position and at rest.
Sācī (side-long)—the eyeballs are covered by eyelashes.
Anuvṛtta (inspecting)—Glance which carefully observes any form.
Ālokita (casual)—(the eyeballs) in suddenly seeing any object.
Vilokita (looking round)—(eyeballs) in looking back.
Pralokita (carefully looking)—turning (eyeballs) from side to side.
Ullokita (looking up)—(turning the eyeballs) upwards.
Avalokita (looking down)—(turning the eyeballs) towards the ground.

These are the gestures of eyaballs in relation to all the Sentiments and the States.

Eyelids (puṭa)

108-111. Now listen about the gestures of eyelids which follow the movements of eyeballs. They are: Unmeṣa (opening), Nimeṣa (closing), Prasṛta (expanding), Kuñcita (contracted), Sama (level), Vivartita (raising up), Sphurita (throbbing), Pihita (resting), and Vitāḍita (driven).

Unmeṣa (opening)—separating the eyelids.
Nimeṣa (closing)—bringing together the eyelids.
Prasṛta (expanding)—separating the eyelids widely.
Kuñcita (contracted)—contracting the eyelids.
Sama (level)—eyelids in a natural position.
Vivartita (raising up)—raising up the eyelids.
Sphurita (throbbing)—when the eyelids are throbbing.
Pihita (resting)—when the eyelids are at rest (lit. closed).
Vitāḍita (driven)—when the eyelids are struck ([accidentally].

Use of Eyelids

112-115. Now listen about their uses in different Sentiments and States:

Vivartita (raising up)—in anger.
Nimeṣa (closing)—in anger.
Unmeṣa (opening)—in anger.
Prasṛta (expanding)—in objects causing wonder, joy, and heroism.
Kuñcita (contracted)—in seeing undesired objects. [sweet] scent, flavour and touch.
Sama (level)—in love.
Sphurita (throbbing)—in jealousy.
Pihita (resting)—in dreaming, fainting, affliction due to storm, hot smoke, rains and collyrium and eye-disease.
Vitāḍita (driven)—in accidental injury.

These are the uses of eyeballs and eyelids in expressing the Sentiments and the States.

Eyebrows (bhrū)

116-120. Now, listen about the gestures of eyebrows, which accord with those of the eyeballs and the eyelids. [They] are seven in number and are as follows: Utkṣepa (raising), Pātana (lowering), Bhrukuṭī (knitting), Catura (clever), Kuñcita (contracted), Recita (moving) and Sahaja (natural).

Utkṣepa (raising)—raising of eyebrows simultaneously or one by one.
Pātana (lowering)—lowering of eyebrows simultaneously or one by one.
Bhrukuṭī (knitting)—raising the root of the eyebrows.
Catura (clever)—slightly moving and excending (?) the eyebrows in a pleasing manner.
Kuñcita (contracted)—slightly bending of eyebrows one by one or the both at once.
Recita (moving)—raising of one of the eyebrows in an amorous way.
Sahaja (natural)—the position which the eyebrows maintain by nature.

Uses of Eyebrows

121-125. Now I shall speak about their uses in [expressing] the Sentiments and the States.

Utkṣepa (???ing)—in anger, deliberation, passion, sportiveness, in seeing and hearing only one eyebrow is raised, and in surprise, joy and violent anger both the eyebrows are raised up.
Pātana (lowering)—in envy, disgust, smile, and smelling.
Bhrukuṭī (knitting)—in objects of anger, dazzling light.
Catura (clever)—in love, sportiveness, pleasing [object], [pleasing] touch and awakening.
Kuñcita (contracted)—in manifestation of affection, pretended anger and hysterical mood.
Recita (moving)—in dance.
Sahaja (natural)—in simple (anāviddha) conditions.

Nose (nāsā)

126-128. Gestures of the eyebrows have been described; now listen about those of the nose. They are of six kinds: Natā, Mandā, Vikṛṣṭā, Socchvāsā, Vtkūṇitā and Svābhāvikā.

Natā—lobes cling for a while [to the base]
Mandā—lobes are at rest.
Vikṛṣṭā—lobes are blown.
Socchvāsā—lobes when air is drawn in.
Vikūṇitā—lobes in the contracted nose.
Svābhāvikā—lobes in the natural nose.

Use of Nose

129-132. This is the description of the gestures of the nose. Now listen about their uses:

Natā—in slight weeping at intervals.
Mandā—in discouragement, impatience and anxiety.
Vikṛṣṭā—in strange smell, breathing, anger and fear.
Socchvāsā—in sweet smell and deep breathing.
Vikūṇitā—in laughter, disgust and envy.
Svābhāvikā—in the remaining conditions.

Cheeks (kapola or gaṇḍa)

132-134. Cheeks are of six kinds: Kṣāma (depressed), Phulla (blown), Pūrṇa (full), Kampita (trembling) and Kuñcita (contracted) and Sama (natural).

Kṣāma (depressed)—(cheeks are) fallen.
Phulla (blown)—(cheeks are) raised.
Pūrṇa (full)—(cheeks are) expanded.
Kampita (trembling)—(cheeks are) throbbing.
Kuñcita (contracted)—(cheeks are) narrowed down.
Sama (natural)—as (cheeks are) by nature.

Uses of Cheeks

135-137. Cheeks have been described. Now listen about their uses.

Kṣāma (depressed)—in sorrow.
Phulla (blown)—in joy.
Pūrṇa (full)—in energy and arrogance.
Kampita (trembling)—in anger and joy.
Kuñcita (contracted)—in horripilation (sensitive) touch, cold, fear and fever.
Sama (natural)—in the remaining conditions.

Lips (uṣṭha)

137-139. Gestures of the lips are six in number. (They are): Vivartana (narrowing), Kampana (trembling), Visarga (spreading out), Vinigūhana (concealing), Sandaṣṭaka (biting), Samudgaka (contracting).

Vivartana (narrowing)—lips narrowed down.
Kampana (trembling)—throbbing (of lips).
Visarga (spreading out)—to spread out (lips).
Vinigūhana (concealing)—drawing in (of lips).
Sandaṣṭaka (biting)—(lips) bitten by teeth.
Samudgaka (joining)—moving the lips together.

Uses of the lower lip

140-142. These are the gestures of the lower lips; now listen about their uses.

Vivartana (narrowing)—in envy, pain, contempt, laziness and the like.
Kampana (trembling)—in pain, cold, fear, anger, japa and the like.
Visarga (spreading out)—in women’s amour, affected indifference and painting of lips.
Vinigūhana (concealing)—in making efforts.
Sandaṣṭaka (biting)—in manifestation of anger.
Samudgaka (contracting)—in pity, kissing and greeting.

Chin (cibuka)

143-146. So much about the gestures of lips; now listen about those of the chin; (they are): Kuṭṭana, Khaṇḍana, Chinna, Cukṣita, Lehita, Sama and Daṣṭa.

Kuṭṭana—when the upper teeth clatter with the lower ones.
Khaṇḍana—when (the two lips) repeatedly come together with each other.
Chinna—when (the two lips) very closely meet each other.
Cukṣita—when (the two lips) are held widely apart.
Lehita—in licking the (lips) with the tongue.
Sama—when (the two lips) slightly parted from each other.
Daṣṭa—when the lower lip. is bitten by the teeth.

Uses of the chin

146-149. Kuṭṭana—in fear, cold, attack of old age, and sickness.
Khaṇḍana—in muttering mantras (japa), studying, speaking and eating.
Chinna—in sickness, fear, cold, (taking) exercise, and angry look.
Cukṣita—in yawning.
Lehita = Lehana—in greediness.
Sama—in a natural position.
Daṣṭa—in angry efforts.

So much about the gestures of the chin in relation to the teeth, the lips and the tongue.

Mouth (āsya)

149-156. Gestures of the mouth are: Vidhuta, Vinivṛtta, Nirbhugna, Bhugna, Vivṛta and Udvāhī.

Vidhuta—the obliquely open (mouth).
Vinivṛtta—spread out (mouth).
Nirbhugna—(the mouth) very much crooked
Bhugna = Vyābhugna—(the mouth) slightly spread out.
Vivṛta—the mouth with the lips kept apart.
Udvāhī—(the mouth) turned up.

Uses of the mouth

Vinivṛtta—in women’s envy, jealousy, anger, contempt and bashfulness and the like.
Vidhuta—in restraining, saying ‘not so’ and the like.
Nirbhugna—in looking into depth and the like.
Bhugna—in being ashamed, despondency, impatience, anxiety, summoning. It is natural for the ascetics.
Vivṛta—in laughter, sorrow and fear.
Udvāhī—in sportiveness and pride of women, in saying ‘go away,’ and disregard, in saying ‘so indeed’ and angry words.

156-157. The experts should also use the mouth in conformity with the varieties of Glances such as, Sama and Sācī and the like mentioned by others.

Colour of the face (mukharāga)

157-158. The colour of the face according to the circumstances (lit. meaning) is of four kinds: natural (svābhāvika) bright (prasanna), reddened (rakta) and dark (śyāma).

Uses of the colour of the face.

159-160. Natural face—in a natural and indifferent (mood).
Bright face—in wonder, laughter and love.
Reddened face—in intoxication and in the Heroic, the Terrible and the Pathetic Sentiments.
Dark face—in the Terrible and the Odious Sentiments.

161-162. The colour of the face should be thus used to represent the States and the Sentiments. The acting done with the Gestures of the Śākhā[23], the Aṅga and the Upāṅga is good, but without proper colour of the face it will not be charming (lit. beautiful).

162-163. Even a few Gestures when combined with the proper colour of the face will double their charm (lit. beauty) just as the moon will enhance the charm of the night.

163-164. Glances too when combined with the proper colour of the face will clearly express the different States and the Sentiments, and on this (i.e. the colour of the face) the Histrionic Representation rests.

164-165. The colour of the face suitable to the representation of the States and the Sentiments, should follow every gestures of the eye (Glance), the eyebrow and the mouth. So much about the colour of the face which is the basis of the States and the Sentiments.

Neck (grīvā)

166-167. I shall now tell you, O Brahmins, about the gestures of the neck. They are of nine kinds: Samā, Natā, Unnatā, Tryasrā, Recitā, Kuñcitā, Añcita, Valitā, and Nivṛttā.

Description and uses of neck gestures

167-171. Samā—the natural neck. (Uses): in meditation, natural pose, and muttering of mantras.
Natā—(neck with) face bent down. (Uses) in wearing (lit. binding) ornaments, putting one’s arms round (lit. taking) somebody’s neck.
Unnatā—neck with the face upturned. (Use): in looking up.
Tryasrā—neck with the face turned sideways. (Use): in carrying weight on the neck, and sorrow.
Recitā—the neck shaken or moved. (Uses): in emotion (hāva), churning and dance.
Kuñcitā—the neck with the head turned back. (Uses): in pressure of weight and in protecting the neck.
Añcitā—the neck with the head turned back. (Uses): in hanging [to death], arranging hair and looking very high up.
Vāhitā—the neck with the face turned sideways. (Uses): in looking with the neck turned round.
Nivṛttā—neck with the face towards the front. (Use): in (indicating) going towards one’s own place.

172-173. These are the many varieties of the neck gestures according to their [expressing different] customary states of men. Gestures of the neck are all to follow the gestures of the head, and the head gestures also are reflected in those of the neck. So much about the description of the gestures of the head and the connected minor limbs (upāṅga) and their uses. Now listen about the gestures of the remaining limbs (aṅga), which I am going to describe.

Here ends Chapter VIII of Bharata’s Nāṭyaśāstra, which treats of the Gestures of Minor Limbs.

Footnotes and references:




See VI.


This portion till the beginning of 6 is originally in prose.


See 15 below.


See 13 below.


See 13 below.


More properly ‘gestures and postures.’


VII. 92.


From Śārṅgadeva’s definition (SR. VII. 37-38) we learn that the śākhā means the flourish of the gesticulating hand (kara-vartanā) preceding one’s speech, whereas the aṅkura means such a flourish following it.


See IV. 299 ff.


See IV. 170 ff.


See IV. 170 ff.


The AD. has nine gestures of the head. See ed. M. Ghosh, 49-65, and A.K. Coomaraswamy, MG. pp. 36-38.


G. names the head movement as ādhūta.


SeeXXIV. 15.


See ibid 22.


See ibid 21.


See ibid 18.


See ibid 19.


See ibid 20.


The AD. has only eight glances, see ed. M. Ghosh, 66-78, and A. K. Coomaraswamy, MG. p. 40. But curiously enough the names of the eight glances in the AD. even if referred by Coomaraswamy’s text to the Bharataśāstra, does not occur in the NŚ. which has no less than thirty-six glances. Besides the eight glances Coomaraswamy’s text records (loc. cit.) forty-four glances which include those mentioned in the NŚ.


See note 1 to 38 above.


See 11 and 15 above.

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