Gati in Theory and Practice

by G. Srinivasu | 2015 | 88,445 words

This page relates ‘Findings through this research’ of the study on the Theory and Practice of Gati (“gait”) which refers to the “movement of a character on the stage”, commonly employed (as a Sanskrit technical term) in ancient Indian Theatrics and the Dramatic arts, also known as Natya-shastra. This thesis explores the history and evolution of Gati and also investigates how the various Gatis are employed in regional performance traditions.

Findings through this research

1. Gati is an integral part of nāṭya (acting), nṛtya (expressive dance) and nṛtta (abstract dance)

Gati can be understood as seen in nāṭya, nṛtta and nṛtya. In nāṭya, gaits or walks can be connected with moods and characters, in nṛtya they can be movements and dancing steps performed with expressive elements and in nṛtta they can be just movements of the limbs, which add beauty to the theme. Gati is seen in nāṭya and nṛtta in the Nāṭyaśāstra. The Abhinavabhārati and Saṅgītaratnākara states that, gati can be performed for the bhāvas through the karaṇas. In Saṅgītamuktāvali, gati is based on bhāva, rasa and nṛtta. The Abhinayadarpaṇa gives a list of gati based on an animal’s movement. The Nṛttaratnāvali deals with gati based on rhythm. Therefore, there has been a wide range of gati in nāṭya, nṛtta and nṛtya. The present misconception of gati as related to rhythmic aspects alone is the evolution of gati seen in due course.

2. Gati is instrumental in bringing out the rasa in nāṭya

Rasa is an important aspect of nāṭya. Bharata states that gati is involved in bringing out the rasa as soon as the character enters.

yathāmārgarasopetaṃ prakṛtīnāṃ praveśane ||[1]

Nāṭya, which is termed as rasaśraya, is vākyārtha abhinaya says Dhananjaya.[2] The rasa is experienced on seeing the character enact the mood or the bhāva through the whole body. Thus, gati is an integral part of āṅgika abhinaya. It is a combination of āṅgika and sāttvika abhinayas. Therefore, gati is bhāvarasātmaka.

Footnotes and references:


Infra XII.2.


Daśarūpaka Infra. P.12

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