In the context of Indian aesthetics, rasa is considered the actor’s and especially the spectator’s aesthetic experience. In an aesthetic context, rasa is translated as ‘sentiment’. The Natyashastra differentiates eight sentiments: erotic, comic, pathetic, furious, heroic, terrible, odious, and marvellous. Some later writers on Sanskrit poetics add one more rasa to this number, santa. The concept of rasa is phrased in the Natyashastra in the form of a short statement, a sutra: Vibhava- abubhava- vyabhicaribhava- samyogad rasa-nispattih. The translation is ‘Rasa is produced (rasanispattih) from a combination (samyogad) of Determinants (vibhava), Consequents (anubhava) and Transitory States (vyabhicaribhava’. Determinants (vibhava) are characterised as situations that cause the emergence of rasa. For example, the erotic rasa:has two bases, union (…) and separation (…). Of these two, the Erotic Sentiment in union arises from Determinants like the pleasures of the season, the enjoyment of garlands, unguents, ornaments [the company of] beloved persons, objects [of senses], splendid mansions, going to a garden, and enjoying [oneself] there, seeing the [beloved one], hearing [his or her words], playing and dallying [with him or her].
Consequents (anubhava) are defined as means of histrionic representation. In the above example, the erotic rasa in union should be represented on the stage by ‘Consequents such as clever movement of eyes, eyebrows, glances, soft and delicate movements of limbs and sweet words, and similar other things’.
—“Rasa” from Theatre and Consciousness: Explanatory Scope and Future Potential (images via History Of Indian Theatre, Volume 3)
The Natyashastra is an ancient Indian text credited to the sage Bharata Muni on aesthetics. It has shaped Indian performing arts such as dance, theatre, and music.