From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Rasa literally means ‘that which is tasted’.

General Meaning[edit]

One of the most extensively used words is Rasa. It has 24 different meanings and senses. In general, it means the essence or core-part of anything.

As per Darśanas[edit]

In the darśanas[1] it stands for the subtle element water.[2]

As per Ayurveda[edit]

In the Ayurveda and allied health sciences, it stands for mercury.

As per Culinary Arts[edit]

In the culinary arts, it represents six different kinds of tastes:

  1. Sweet
  2. Sour
  3. Salty
  4. Hot[3]
  5. Bitter
  6. Astringent

As per Poetics[edit]

In poetics, it stands for the navarasas or nine kinds of sentiments or emotions. They are:

  1. The amorous
  2. The heroic
  3. The wondrous
  4. The ridiculous
  5. The sentiments of compassion
  6. Humor
  7. Fear
  8. Horror
  9. Loathsomeness

As per Taittirīyopaniṣad[edit]

The Taittirīyopaniṣad[4] calls Brahman as rasa.


  1. Darśanas are the philosophical systems.
  2. It is called as ‘rasātan mātra’.
  3. It refers to pepper or chilies.
  4. Taittirīyopaniṣad 2.7
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

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