Rasa and Moksha

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It is hard not to think about Moksha once you gain a little bit of spiritual knowledge. Nowadays the Internet is full of spiritual talk, the stuff that is daily passed on as What’sApp messages.  Recently I received a message about the connection between Rasa and Moksha. At such time, being a person who learnt Bharatnatyam for a year, exploring it sounded like a great idea. Here are few interesting facts about the two.

Before we go further, you might wonder what a Moksha is.

As explained in Bhakti Yoga, the true devotee who ponders about God through Navavidha Bhakti and Bhava is ultimately searching for the ultimate truth in himself, called Moksha. It is nothing but the ultimate release, the central concept of the Hindu mythology, one of the four goals of human life.

What is Rasa?

Using human experiences, an artist portrays the relationship between a person and an object with various emotions and actions. Such vivid presentation, the aesthetic experience which connects the audience and the artist on the same level, evoking the same state of being in the audience is called Rasa. Here using art as a medium, they both share a spiritual experience and unite emotionally.

Rasa is an artistic experience where an artist brings forth the realities of life through mental perception while Moksha is the spiritual realization of the divine, the absolute self. They both involve Atman. However they are different.

  • Rasa depends on the art data and how the artist has constructed and explored it, while the Moksha is related to the devotee’s inner contemplation, ultimately realizing that world is nothing but an illusion.
  • Each artist must try to induce an emotional response in the minds of his/her audience While Moksha points towards the ultimate philosophy of life, to become one with the Divine.
  • Rasa-experience is short-lived, a transitory relief from the stresses of the worldly life while Moksha frees one from the bondages of life. It is everlasting, an inner joy, the ultimate freedom.
  • While dancing, the performer and the audience – both are lost in the presentation. In Moksha, the devotee loses himself in the Sadhana and searches for the Divine within.
  • While Rasa brings the pure art experience of joy, the Moksha brings enlightenment, the feeling of bliss.
  • Rasa entertains while the Moksha lets you seek, lets you search the inner peace.
  • While Rasa experience is connected with the hidden material desires, to attain Moksha, the Sadhak has to give up such desires.

However as one needs a total control of the senses and deep concentration to attain the Moksha, same qualities one needs if he/she wants to portray or experience the Rasa.

Ant dancer can’t evoke a Rasa or a Sadhak can’t attain the Moksha without a painstaking discipline and great deal of determination.  Also they both require a guru to guide them towards the right path. Also a great sense of calmness is required to achieve the both.

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