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The Ancient Muni and his Treatise of Natya Shastra

Known as “Bharata the Saint” Indian art of philosophy had its beginning laid by Bharat the ancient sage who is also called Bharat Muni. We all have heard the name “Natyasastra” once in our lifetimes and this classic treatise is India’s most ancient work in the field of art and philosophy which was created by Bharat Muni.

Natya Shastra Introduction

So, today we would see all the other details about Bharat Muni’s work on Natyasastra. After Bharata’s irreplaceable work India’s thoughts for the theory of poetics and art started to begin. Now we all know the efforts India has put in all these years in the field of arts.

At present the foundation of India’s theatrical performances are also assembled through the ‘rasabhinaya’ also called acting done out of the rasa as portrayed by Bharat Muni. There isn’t much actual information known about Bharata’s life period and his actual birth date and place but the scholars had mentioned his birth around the 2nd century BCE and 2nd century AD.

About Bharat Muni Natya Shastra

But it has also been mentioned in the “sourcebook of Indian civilization” by Bharata’s colleagues that the Natyasastra would not be older than the 5th or the 6th century. The hype about Bharata’s work on the theatrical as true as it was the formulation of theaters, dramatic passion, dances, cultures, style, instrumental music, mimics, etc.

Did you know that

Natyasastra this title is the combination of two Sanskrit words ‘Natya’ and ‘Shastra’. Natya meant the technique of drama and dance and Shastra referred to science. There are 6,000 stanzas in Sanskrit with 36 chapters of earliest literature about art and music. This work’s main focus was on drama and dance and music was just an addition to it.

Here, Bharat Muni had tried to explain the relationship between the director and all the audience, all techniques of acting, composing a play, all the musical instruments and the music itself, make-up and costumes, decoration of the stage, measurements of the stage, lighting, and size of the theater, and the most important seating arrangements for the audience.

From chapters 28 to 33 in Natya Shastra has been specified about music, instruments, and vocals. So, the description of music in these chapters can be categorized as (vocal), (instrumental), (vocal and instrumental), (music which is played before the drama starts).

Bharat Muni had classified acting in four categories of ‘Angikam’ is acting using all the body parts, ‘Vachikam’ is acting with speech or words and songs, ‘Satvikam’ is acting through expressing emotions, ‘Aharyam’ is representing the usage of decorations and dresses.

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About Rasa Valpika

In the sixth chapter of Natya Shastra with the topic, ‘Rasa Valpika’ and the word Rasa means essence and this includes the theory of Rasa which has the theory about the aesthetic experience from art and literature. Usually, rasas are nine in number but experts say that Bharat Muni included only eight of these Sringaram, Adbhutam, Hasyam, Karunam, Viram, Bhayanakam, and Bibhalsam the eight rasas.

Lastly, Bharat Muni categorized theatrical performances into Natyam, Nrittam, and Nrityam. ‘Natyam’ is acting where words and speech are important. The perfect example would be drama. ‘Nrittam’ is enchanting the gestures and movements of the body in significant and rhythmic flow, and ‘Nrityam’ is using the song in the background.

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In the End

So, in the end, Bharat Muni hasn’t left anything in the Natya Shastra and discussed almost everything from structuring the stage to decorating to the final response from the audience. His classical work of art and literature have contributed and influenced the whole world.

I hope this article was helpful for all of you and this was all about Bharat Muni’s work and his contributions. Thank you!

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