With well knit chapters Natyashastra covers every aspect of Indian art and drama. From issues of literary construction, to the structure of the stage or mandapa, from a detailed analysis of musical scales and movements (murchhanas), to an analysis of dance forms and their impacts on the viewers, Natyashastra covers every possible facet in detail. As an audio-visual form, Natyashastra mirrors all the arts and crafts, higher knowledge, learning, sciences, yoga, and conduct. Its purpose is to entertain as well as educate. Bharata was an ideal theatre artist. He has experienced pleasure as well as pain in life, and is gifted with restraint as well as vision. He understood the fact that performance is a collective activity that requires a group of trained people, knit in a familial bond and has best portrayed this understanding in the first chapter of his treatise, Natyashastra.
In the first chapter Bharata therefore talks about the response and involvement of the spectator in drama. The spectators come from all classes of society without any distinction, but are expected to be at least minimally initiated into the appreciation of theatre. This is because of the fact that they may respond properly to the art as an empathetic sahridaya. Theatre flourishes in a peaceful environment and requires a state free from hindrances. The first chapter ends emphasizing the significance and importance of drama in attaining the joy, peace, and goals of life, and recommending the worship of the presiding deities of theatre and the auditorium. The key terms here to understand are bhava and rasa. A bhava is a kind of mood or experience that comes with a scene or action, while a rasa is the inner feeling that the drama is protraying. There are eight rasas: love, humor, anger, compassion, disgust, horror, courage, and wonder. The theory is that it is through the signs and actions of dance and acting that the audience experiences the feelings the actor intends.
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