The other day, I had a small private dance presentation with my Japanese friends. I performed an Abhinaya song (songs with stories). The space felt fine, delicate and melting in peace while I was dancing. After the dance finished everybody remained speechless feeling the energy in the space.
The audience remarked that the performance was “touching,” “my heart started beating highly,” “I had goosebumps,” “I could see you transform into character,” “Haruko looked really different,” etc. I felt happy knowing that I was able to achieve rasa. After the presentation, we left the studio and enjoyed a meal together. All of them talked with happy tears in their eyes for hours! We parted ways saying, “we had the happiest time,” “I felt intoxicated.” I think, sharing a dance space has healing power.
In Indian performing arts, the concept of “bhava and rasa” was written in Sanskrit poetries in the old texts called “Natya Shastra” and “Abhinaya Darpana” (BC 5 to AD 5). The performer presents an emotion —bhava— by describing the performing piece, and audience experiences the emotion; which is rasa. It is a shared experience.
It is easier to create rasa in a small space with a small audience. And not all people can feel rasa. I knew my audience was an highly sensitive one when they all felt rasa during my performance. It must have been due to the “satvika bhava” that transformed the dancer's face into the character. Satvika is the light and shining quality born from bliss and harmony. I have witnessed satvika bhava in performances done by my Odissi dance teachers Asako Takami, Kelucharan guruji, and Vishnu guruji. When I first witnessed them it attracted me, but I did not know what it was. Later on, I discovered that, that experience was explained in classical texts and led me to have a great admiration about Indian classical arts.
Outside of performing arts, bhava and rasa are expressed rather freely and vibrantly according to each musical and spiritual tradition in India. In the Krishna devotional tradition that bases Odissi dance, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is called the king of rasa. To be continued....

インド舞台芸術では、「バーヴァ(感情)とラサ(味わい、エッセンス)」というコンセプトが大変古い(紀元前5世紀か紀元5世紀とか)教義書「ナッティヤ シャーストラ」や「アビナヤ ダルパナ(演戯の鏡)」にサンスクリット語の詩の形で記されています。踊り手は演目に描かれている感情、バーヴァを表現し、それを受ける観客や聴衆の心の中で感動や追体験、ラサが起きます。踊り手も観客といっしょに体験します。
ラサは小さな空間で少人数の観客のほうが生まれやすいものです。ラサを感じとるのは人それぞれで、誰にでもわかるものではありません。先日の集まりでは全員が感じてくださったようで、とても感性の高い観客だったと思います。踊り手の顔が変わって見えた、というのは、調和と喜びの軽快で輝く気質「サットヴィカ バーヴァ」の現れに違いありません。私はこの輝くサットヴィカ バーヴァを師匠、高見麻子さんやケルチャラン グルジー、ヴィシュヌー先生の踊りに観て、オディッシーに心惹かれました。それが何かということはわからずに。後年、すべて古典書に定義されていることを知って、インド芸術の深さに敬服しました。
踊りの世界ではこのように定義されていますが、音楽の世界、宗教の世界ではバーヴァとラサはそれぞれの伝統の中で自由に語られ、生きているように思います。オディッシー舞踊の根底に流れるヴィシュヌー派クリシュナ神信仰の伝統では、聖者チャイタンニャ マハプラブーをラサの王者と崇めています。この話はまた今度にしましょう。

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