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Shanta Rasa – State Of Equanimity


Shanta or quietude is one of the nine sentiments described in the texts of classical Indian dance and rhetoric. This sentiment has Shanta (tranquility) as its sthayi bhava. It brings about moksha (liberation).

Shanta arises from vibhavas such as knowledge of the truth, renunciation, purity of mind etc. It is represented on the stage through anubhava such as yama (self control), niyama (austerity), adhyatma dhyana (meditation on the self), dharana (concentration), upasana (worship), kindness towards all creatures, wearing suitable attire and so on.

Patanjali’s ashtanga yoga (eight-limbed yoga) depicts all the accessories of Shanta rasa.
Ashtanga Yoga consists of yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dhyana, dharana and Samadhi. All these parts constitute the characteristics of a sage or a saint.
The saint-composer of the Carnatic music tradition, Tyagaraja, emphasized the need for Shanta (calmness) in his song opening with ‘Shantamuleka Saukhyamu ledu’ – there can be no happiness without calmness.

Its vyabhicharibhavas are nirveda, smriti, dhriti, sarvasrama, sauca, stambha, romanca, and so on.

In Shanta, there is neither sorrow nor joy, neither hatred nor jealousy, and their s always equanimity towards all living beings.

Rati and other sthayi bhavas (permanent states) are only vikriti (modifications), whereas Shanta is rated as prakriti (the root cause).

All the modifications from the root cause finally get absorbed in the root cause. Every state arises from shanta, depending upon its own component, but when the component departs, the state is absorbed by Shanta.

Sage Bharata in his text Natyashastra did not deal with Shanta Rasa, and the portion pertaining to this rasa seen in the text is considered only an interpolation.

Bibliography
The Number of Rasas (1975) Venkatarama Raghavan – Adyar Library And Research Centre Adyar
Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume IX page 244




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