Semantic functioning


The States (bhāva) should be indicated by the representation of the Determinants (vibhāva) and similarly the States are also indicated (lit. accomplished) by the representation of Consequents (anubhāva) (498) [1].

“Were it the function of speech to reproduce that to which it refers, we could never speak of fear, but only of fear-of-this-particular-oncoming-automobile, with all its specifications of time and place, or fear-under-specified-circumstances-of-drawing-a-wrong-conclusion from just-such-and-such-data. A lifetime would be too short to reproduce in words a single emotion. In reality, however, poet and novelist have an immense advantage over even an expert psychologist in dealing with an emotion. For the former build up a concrete situation and permit it to evoke emotional response” (70) [2].

We can remember that we underwent grief or rapture, but not just how the grief or rapture felt. This difficult ideal revivability is, however, more than compensated in the case of the emotions by a very easy actual revivability. That is, we can produce, not remembrances of the old grief or rapture, but new griefs and raptures, by summoning up a lively thought of their exciting cause. The cause is now only an idea, but this idea produces the same organic irradiations, or almost the same, which were produced by its original, so that the emotion is again a reality. We have ‘recaptured’ it. Shame, love, and anger are particularly liable to be thus revived by ideas of their object (474) [3].


vācya - denoted meaning
bhākta - figurative meaning
vyaṅgya - suggested meaning


Short Example

The quarreling couple

They lay upon the bed each turned aside
and suffering in silence;
though love still dwelt within their hearts
each feared a loss of pride.
But then from out the corner of their eyes
the sidelong glances met
and the quarrel broke in laughter as they turned
and clasped each other’s neck.
(107, 1.4g L) [4].

sthāyibhāva - rati (love)

āśraya - the couple

uddīpana vibhāva - side-long glances

ālambana vibhāva - the partner

anubhāva - clasp neck

vyabhicāribhāva - pride, fear

sāttvikabhāva - laughter

In the Mahābhārata

Yudhishthira's Pyrrhic victory

‘While thy army was being slaughtered like a forest cut down with axes, a loud wail was heard rising from thy camp! I am the sole survivor, O monarch, of that vast force!’ Hearing these evil tidings, Kunti's son Yudhishthira […] fell down on the Earth, afflicted with grief at the loss of his sons. […] Having recovered his senses, the son of Kunti lamented in great affliction, uttering these words rendered indistinct by sorrow: […] “The foe who were vanquished have become victorious! Our-selves, again, while victorious, are vanquished! Having slain brothers and friends and sires and sons and well-wishers, and kinsmen, and counsellors, and having vanquished them all, we ourselves are vanquished at last! Misery looks like prosperity, and prosperity looks like misery! This our victory has assumed the shape of defeat.’ […] Yudhishthira, crushed by grief, proceeded, with tears in his eyes and accompanied by those friends of his, to the field on which his sons had battled and which still teemed with diverse kinds of creatures. Having entered that cursed field abounding with fierce sights, the king saw his sons, well-wishers, and friends, all lying on the ground, covered with blood, their bodies mangled, and heads separated from their trunks. Beholding them in that plight, Yudhishthira, that foremost of righteous men, became deeply afflicted. That chief of the Kurus then began to weep aloud and fell down on the Earth, deprived of his senses, along with all his followers (39-40,42) [5].

sthāyibhāva - śoka (sorrow)

āśraya - King Yudhishthira

uddīpana vibhāva - news of the Pyrrhic victory, the corpse-strewn battlefield

ālambana vibhāva - his slain sons and allies

anubhāva - exclamation, collapses on the battlefield

vyabhicāribhāva - affliction

sāttvikabhāva - falls to the ground, indistinct voice, weeps

Draupadi's grief

Princess Krishnā: Having received that heart-rending intelligence about the slaughter of all her sons, she became exceedingly agitated. Trembling like a plantain tree shaken by the wind, the princess Krishna, arrived at the presence of Yudhishthira, fell down, afflicted by grief. Her face, adorned with eyes resembling a couple of full-blown lotuses, seemed to be darkened by grief like the Sun himself when enveloped in darkness.

Beholding her prostrate on the Earth, the wrathful [Bhima] Vrikodara, of prowess incapable of being baffled, advancing hastily, raised her up and clasped her with his arms.

The beautiful lady, comforted by Bhimasena [Bhima], began to weep, and addressing the eldest son of Pandu [Yudhishthira] with his brothers [Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula], said, —'By good luck, O monarch, having obtained the whole Earth, thou shalt enjoy her after the slaughter of thy brave sons in the observance of Kshatriya duties! By good luck, O son of Prithā, thou art happy at the thought of having obtained the whole Earth! By good luck, thy thoughts do not dwell on Subhadra's son whose tread resembled that of an infuriate elephant. By good luck, thou dost not, like myself while residing at Upaplavya, recollect thy heroic sons slaughtered in the observance of Kshatriya duties! (42-43) [5].

sthāyibhāva - śoka (sorrow), krodha (anger)

āśraya - Draupadi (Princess Krishnā)

uddīpana vibhāva - heart-rending intelligence, presence of Yudhishthira, after the battle, comforted by Bhima

ālambana vibhāva - slaughtered sons and Yudhishthira

anubhāva - rebukes Yudhishthira

vyabhicāribhāva - anxiety, despair, depression

sāttvikabhāva - “adorned with eyes resembling a couple of full-blown lotuses, seemed to be darkened by grief like the Sun himself when enveloped in darkness”, falls to the ground, indistinct voice, weeps

In the Book of Mormon

Defeat at Cumorah (Mormon 6)

And it came to pass that my men were hewn down, yea, or even my ten thousand which were with me, and I fell wounded in the midst. And [the Lamanites] passed by me, that they did not put an end to my life. And when they had gone through and hewn down all my people save it were twenty and four of us —among whom was my son Moroni— and we having survived the dead of our people did behold on the morrow, when the Lamanites had returned unto their camps, from the top of the hill Cumorah, the ten thousand of my people which were hewn down, being led in the front by me. And we also beheld the ten thousand of my people which were led by my son Moroni.
And behold, the ten thousand of Gidgiddonah had fallen, and he also in the midst. And Lamah had fallen with his ten thousand, and Gilgal had fallen with his ten thousand, and Limhah had fallen with his ten thousand, and Jeneum had fallen with his ten thousand; and Cumenihah and Moronihah and Antionum and Shiblom and Shem and Josh had fallen with their ten thousand each.
And it came to pass that there were ten more which did fall by the sword with their ten thousand each, yea, even all my people—save it were those twenty and four who were with me—and also a few who had escaped into the south countries, and a few who had deserted over unto the Lamanites, had fallen. And their flesh and bones and blood lay upon the face of the earth, being left by the hands of those who slew them to molder upon the land and to crumble and to return to their mother earth. And my soul was rent with anguish because of the slain of my people, and I cried:
[…] “O ye fair sons and daughters, ye fathers and mothers, ye husbands and wives, ye fair ones, how is it that ye could have fallen! But behold, ye are gone, and my sorrows cannot bring your return.”

sthāyibhāva - śoka (sorrow)

āśraya - Mormon

uddīpana vibhāva - complete defeat, the corpse-strewn battlefield and rotting bodies

ālambana vibhāva - his slain people

anubhāva - apostrophe to his people

vyabhicāribhāva - anguish

sāttvikabhāva - Change of voice (cries out)

1. Ghosh, Manomohan. 1951. The Nātyaśāstra, ascribed to Bharata-Muni, Vol. I. Asiatic Society of Bengal: Calcutta.
2. Dewey, John. 2005. Art as Experience. New York: Penguin.
3. James, William. 1890. The Principles of Psychology, Vol. 2. Macmillan: London.
4. Ānandavardhana and Abhinavagupta. 1990. The Dhvanyāloka of Ānandavardhana with the Locana of Abhinavagupta. Trans. Daniel H. H. Ingalls, Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson and M. V. Patwardhan. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
5. Roy, Protap C. and Kisari Mohan Ganguli. 1889. The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa: Sauptika Parva. Vol. 10. Calcutta: Bharata Press.
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