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Adbhuta Rasa

Adbhuta Rasa is one of the nine major rasas that may be communicated in aesthetic appreciation to denote a sense of wonder. This system is elaborated in Natyashastra of Bhrata Muni (1st Century BCE), one of the basic texts for all Hindu arts, literature and drama. On seeing or hearing about an uncommon and unfathomable experience, human beings are apt to express a sense of wonder. This has been exploited thoroughly in Hindu literature as a basic sentiment maturing into, or adding to, rasa when communicated with the requisite artistry and finesse outlined in the related texts.

Bhanudatta in his Rasatarangini (14th century CE), has defined adbhuta rasa as the total overwhelming of all senses and emotions by the feeling of wonder. Bharata Muni outlines the genesis of this sentiment from that of vira (heroism) and mentions Brahma, the creative principle, as its presiding deity and its color as yellow. Acharya Vishwanath (14th century CE) describes its deities as gandharvas (celestial musicians).

Adbhuta Rasa is defined in Sarasvati Kanthabharana as the elevation of consciousness resulting from a supernatural occurrence or an unusual phenomenon. As aesthetic appreciation implies a sense of wonder, some scholars like Narayana Pandita have described adbhuta as a basic rasa.

The complementary rasas of adbhuta have been described by Panditaraja Jagannatha as Sringara (romantic love), Vira (heroism),and Vatsalya (filial affection).

A good example of adbhuta rasa is the famous episode in Ramacharitamanasa of Tulsidas wherein Kausalya, the mother of baby rama, sees the entire creation as existing in the mouth of child Rama. Similarly, Srimad Bhagavatam abounds in episodes that arouse a sense of wonder at the deeds of Sri Krishna.