Dramaturgy in the Venisamhara

by Debi Prasad Namasudra | 2016 | 70,412 words

This page relates ‘Shanta Rasa (the quietistic sentiment)’ of the study dealing with the Venisamhara of Bhatta Narayana and its practical application of Sanskrit Dramaturgy. The Veni-Samhara is an extraordinary drama in Sanskrit literature which revolves around the great war of Mahabharata within six Acts. This study deals with the author, background and the technical aspects, reflecting the ancient Indian tradition of dramaturgy (Natya-Shastra).

Śānta Rasa (the quietistic sentiment)

In addition to the eight rasas the later canonists propound that Quietistic is also the ninth sentiment[1] which develops from Nirveda or Śama, the tranquility of mind, which forms the permanent attitude (sthāyī bhāva) according to them. The universe realized as unsubstantial becomes the ālambaṇa. The study of the Upaniṣadic texts, the visit to the penance-groves, meeting with sages and seers excite the sentiment. Disinterst in the sensual pleasures (tṛṣnākṣya), indifference to friends and foes alike, meditation and steadfastness and Unmāda are the ancilliary feelings. The Śānta-rasa causes horripilatton, perspiration, cool tears and change of voice which are its Sāttvika-bhāvas.[2]

There is, however, an opinion of certain authors like Bhaṭṭa Prabhākara[3] who believe that Śānta-rasa can prevail only in Śravya Kāvyas and not in the dramatic literature. But later rhetoricians like Jagannātha[4] ably refute this view and believe that even the scenic art can, without prejudice, admit the ninth rasa. In actual practice also, the view of Jagannātha finds support in plays like the Bhartṛhari-Nirveda.

Very few canonists like Viśvanātha[5] believe in the existence of the tenth rasa viz., Vātsalya or the Affectionate sentiment, which subsists between the parent and child, guru and his pupil, and all such individuals related inter se as persons in loco parentis et fili, like the ruler and the ruled. But all such feelings are the subject of Bhāva-dhvani, and for the reasons detailed above they are incompetent to prevail as durable states and develop into independent rasas. Even Panditarāja Jagannātha, the most modern and rationalist among the classical critic canonists does not feel inclined to go far beyond the dictum of Bharata in recognizing eight rasas and to favour the loose opinions of poeticians like Rudraṭa and Bhojadeva.[6]

Footnotes and references:


For the case of Santa for being admitted to the category of Rasas and its various Suggestive factors and the survey of the development of the thought in favour of its recognition, vide Raghavan, The Number of Rasas.


K. Pr. Ullasa IV.


Rasa-pradipa p. 39.


K. A.; S. K. A. pp. 598-99.

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