Religion Past and Present

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(280 words)

[German Version]

(lit. “taste, essence”) is primarily a term from Indian aesthetics and poetics that includes archetypal moods, the essence of what can be experienced, and of human feelings as such. The oldest written source is thought to be the Nāṭyaśāstra, a dance and theater manual, dated to the 2nd century (Kūtiyāṭṭam, Indian dance). It already lists eight of the nine moods current today: śṛṇgāra, “erotic mood”; hāsya, “comic”; karuṇa, “compassion”; raudra, “terrifying”; vīra, “heroic”; bhayānaka, “terrible”; bībhatsa, “revolting,” and adbhuta, “wonderful”; the l…

Cite this page
Moser, Heike, “Rasa”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 10 December 2019 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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