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Rasa or emotion in Bharatnatyam is the cumulative result of vibhava (stimulus), anubhava (involuntary run) and ybhikaribhav (voluntary run) as we have discussed earlier.

The Hasya Rasa is born from the sthayi bhava Hasa. In the art of acting, Hasya occupies a variegated position. Its colour is white and is attributed to Pramathas who are said to be the attendants of Lord Shiva. According to Bharata, hasya is a rasa caused by the reversal of decoration, changed conduct, speech, dress, changed or odd conduct of the limbs. The term itself means laughter. It helps one to get relief from tension and worries. Hasya is broadly classified into two types. Atmastha is the self-laughter where one is laughing oneself while Parastha is making others laugh. They are of three categories:

  • Utthama( superior or noble)
  • Madhya ( middle or average)
  • Adhama( inferior or mean)

Based on the intensity and way of laughing, hasya admits of 6 types:

  • Smitha: It is actually smiling very little, a gentle one and is shown by slightly blown cheeks and smiling without revealing the teeth. The dancer also shows this expression through glances.
  • Hasitha: Also can be termed as Mandahaasa. Herein, the dancer shows full blown cheeks eyes and face. Teeth are shown slightly in Hasitha.
  • Vihasitha: It means laughing. Slight sound will be heard while laughing, eyes are contracted, cheeks are blown and the face becomes bright.
  • Upahasita: In this, eyes are opened wide, nose is expanded, and head and shoulder are bent. The face shows ridiculous expression. It is the satirical laughter.
  • Apahasitha: The term means silly laughter. In this, while laughing tears come from the eyes, the person shakes the head and shoulder while laughing.
  • Atihasitha: This is excessive laughing .The person makes a noisy laughter with tears in the eyes and sides are grasped by hands. This type of laughter lasts longer. The person goes on laughing.

Hasya Rasa gets full expression only by means of words, impudence, disgusting costumes, acts etc. The vibhavas are change of dress, arrogance, greediness, idle talk etc. The Vyabhichari Bhavas are lassitude, dissimilation, sleep, envy etc. and Anubhavas are movements of the nose, cheeks, lips, contraction of the eyes, sweating, colouration of the face etc. It also has a comical sense which is displayed through action of the characters.

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