A work of art is always structured to evoke a certain response from the audience. It is to the artist’s credit if the intended reaction is obtained, if the right rasa is germinated in the spectator. The gods, in their human incarnations, acted and interacted with such dynamism that our epics abound with prospects for lively retelling of their tales of heroism, villainy, wit and wisdom that are as eternal as the gods themselves. And in rediscovering these tales over and over, we find that they always evoke the same, powerful rasas in us.
The Ramayana is no different. From the shringara evoked by the love Rama and Sita share to the hasyam from Shoorpanaka’s gawky attempt at seducing him, from the the viram from his lifting the mighty Shivadhanush to the karuna when he grieves over his father's demise, Rama’s life story is a rich tapestry of characters and events through which all the rasas – the Navarasas – can be experienced. Little surprise, then, that the Ramayana finds multifarious expression in the literature, art, music and theatre of India.
This performance seeks to establish and traverse through Ramarasa. Ramarasa is, at once, both an encapsulation of the Navarasas and beyond them in a league of its own. It is an actualisation of the gods, the universe, and ultimately, the true nature of man himself – the Pure Consciousness of existence – achieved through the life of Rama.
Shri Sadashiva Brahmendra, a noted saint and Carnatic music composer of the 18th century, summarised Ramarasa as “the supreme bliss, Brahmananda, and the essence of all gunas.”
This journey, Navarasa to Ramarasa, from the corporeal to the spiritual realm, takes us on the voyage of self-discovery.
A well known 20th century Indian poet exclaimed that "to be born as a woman, one has to do immense penance". Our scriptures too portray Parashakti as the Supreme Being. Devi is the core of the universe - the mother of all - the pious and the wicked, the rich and the poor, the saint and the sinner - all are her children.
The infinite potential in men and women is the same. The greatest strength of women lies in their innate motherhood, in their creative, life-given power. And this power helps the women to bring about far more significant changes in society than men could ever hope to accomplish. She is the provider, the nourisher.
The little child with little care in the world blossoms into a woman and when she enters Grihastashrama, she becomes to a man what banks are to a river. In spite of her never ending responsibilities, she takes out time for everyone from her little ones to the aged people at home. She is the first to rise and the last to sleep and in between her endless chores, she finds time to lend a helping hand to her spouse. Today the scene may have shifted to urban settings. The area of work, the kind of work may have changed but the woman still continues to effortlessly and gracefully play all the roles with elan.