Mirth / harṣa

One of the Emotional Modes


harṣa - joy, pleasure, happiness (1292) [1].

Now the Comic (hāsya) Sentiment has as its basis the Dominant emotion of laughter (110) [2]

This is created by Determinants such as showing unseemly dress or ornament, impudence, greediness, quarrel, defective limb, use of irrelevant words, mentioning of different faults, and similar other things (110) [2].

Transitory States in it are indolence, dissimulation, drowsiness, sleep, dreaming, insomnia, envy and the like (110) [2].

Book of Mormon

Drunk Lamanites (Alma 55:6-15)

And it came to pass that they found one, whose name was Laman; and he was one of the servants of the king which was murdered by Amalickiah. Now Moroni caused that Laman and a small number of his men, should go forth unto the guards which were over the Nephites. Now the Nephites were guarded in the city of Gid; therefore Moroni caused that Laman and a small number of men which was appointed to go with him.

And it came to pass that when it was evening, Laman went to the guards which were over the Nephites, and behold, they saw him coming, and they hailed him. But he saith unto them, Fear not. Behold, I am a Lamanite. Behold, we have escaped from the Nephites, and they sleepeth; and behold, we have took of their wine, and brought with us.

Now when the Lamanites heard these words, they received him with joy.— And they said unto him, Give us of your wine, that we may // [p. 380] drink; we are glad that ye have thus taken wine with you, for we are weary.

But Laman saith unto them, Let us keep of our wine till we go against the Nephites to battle.

But this saying only made them more desirous to drink of the wine.— For, said they, We are weary; therefore let us take of the wine, and by and by we shall receive wine for our rations, which will strengthen us to go against the Nephites.

And Laman saith unto them, You may do according to your desires .

And it came to pass that they did take of the wine freely, and it was pleasant to their taste; therefore they took of it more freely; and it was strong, having been prepared in its strength.
And it came to pass they did drink and were merry, and by and by they were all drunken.

And now when Laman and his men saw that they were all drunken, and were in a deep sleep, they returned to Moroni, and told him all the things that had happened.


This (Sentiment), is of two kinds : self-centered and centered in others. When a person himself laughs it relates to the self-centred (Comic Sentiment), but when he makes others laugh it (the Comic Sentiment therein) is centred in others (110) [2].

Somewhat surprisingly, the problem of a missing āśraya is not uncommon even in plays, despite the boasts of Abhinavagupta concerning the completeness of detail in the drama. The problem occurs most often in connection with hāsyarasa, the comic flavor, for which the corresponding sthāyibhāva hāsya, the emotion of laughter or amusement. When one character laughs at another, there is no problem: the one who laughs is the āśraya, or subject, of the emotion, and the butt of his laughter is the ālambana or object (literally, the "prop" or "support"). And when a character— usually the jester—laughs at himself, he is simultaneously the āśraya and the ālambana. But when a character who is obviously intended to be amusing appears without being amused himself and without the presence of an onlooker to laugh at him, as happens in many soliloquies and comic interludes, then we have only an ālambana, and in the absence of an āśraya he anubhāvas and vyabhicāribhāvas cannot possibly by represented. Theoretically such a situation cannot evoke an experience of rasa in the spectators since there is no substratum for the sthāyibhāva upon which the phenomenon of rasa is said to be based. Yet the commentators do not hesitate to speak of hāsyarasa in such instances (189-190) [3].

1. Monier-Williams, Monier. 1899. A Sanskrit-English Dictionary: Etymologically and Philologically Arranged. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
2. Ghosh, Manomohan. 1951. The Nātyaśāstra, ascribed to Bharata-Muni, Vol. I. Asiatic Society of Bengal: Calcutta.
3. Tubb, Gary A. 1991. “Śāntarasa in the Mahābhārata”, In: Arvind Sharma (Ed.). Essays on the Mahābhārata. Leiden: Brill.
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