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Bhava, The Third Aphorism

Updated: Mar 9

Creating Emotion

This chapter of the oldest grammar book of painting is about the third aphorism out of six. It describes how to bring out the feelings or emotions of the painting or sculpture. The meaning of the third aphorism 'Bhava' is feelings that are born by emotional fluctuation. The author of the grammar book pointed out that it does not apply only to the human psyche; instead, he wanted to expand the impact of emotion in each part of our nature, such as animals, trees, sky, flowers, leaves, rivers, mountains, etc. His precept for artists is to interpret the emotional language of nature. You have to suffer to read its terminology and feel the touches, even about a minuscule particle of nature. You should become sensitive to understand the language of flowers, the sky, and that bird who sings sweetly in the morning.

The animals have a separate language in their universe. Likewise, they can show their feelings and emotions in their own way by using body language and articulation. Astonishingly, we also use such language to express our feelings, like shrugging shoulders, curvatures of mouth, and several body poses intended to impress others.   The language developed with human civilization, but we still unconsciously use our aboriginal body language to convey feelings and emotions. We habitually use it just like animals from the primitive era, when we had only a specific language to carry our feelings or emotions. 

Padmapani, Ajanta Cave.

By keeping up the stream of the human revolution, that ancient author discovered an important language related to our fingers that we recognize as a hand gesture. I have not found such a unique conception in another similar oldest book written in the third century BC or earlier. I, too, have found the uses of this language of fingers in the cave paintings of “Ajanta” and “Elora.” Simultaneously, various gestures performed unique meanings and symbols in multiple aspects. I consider it the most significant discovery of that oldest sage who created a language that silently speaks about most of our emotions. Therefore, it is not only a gesture but also a unique language of fingers that we have been using in Indian classical dance for a long time, such as Katthak, Manipuri, Kathakali, and many other forms and styles. Each gesture has a specific meaning. In most cases, you do not need to learn more about the intention to interpret those.

For example, I would like to show some images of beautiful gestures here.

I hope you detected how easily those are drawing the sense of said objects without using common human language. Thus, the language of ART always expresses everything without having any linguistic form. 

Agreeing with the author’s opinion, VHAVE (emotion) is universal and not limited to location, human language, caste, or religious belief; thus, it is the actual language of a human. Accordingly, it firmly established the relationship between humans and our surrounding nature and many others that we usually ignore but are invariably related to our conscious or unconscious mind.  Artists must feel those relations with their sensitive minds and properly press out their feelings or realizations on their canvas.

In the above paragraph, I said, “Artists have to press out their feelings properly.” however, the question is how they detect the emotional changes of nature properly and how they press them out. That oldest author specified it this way;-

Ascribing the importance of the sun, he reveals the secret of understanding the emotion of nature. He pronounced that the action of sunlight is the principal agent behind every emotional effect in nature. It is the central component or constituent of nature. The author described it as a source of animateness. He said the emotion of nature depends on color, and varieties of colors of nature depend on sunlight. The combinations of colors of our six seasons always create a specific value, and artists must realize this value. The sunrise and sunset moments do not have the same emotion every season. Sunset in winter brings an effect of sorrowfulness, whereas sunset in summer brings peacefulness to the human mind. In the spring, the sunset appears with a romantic mood. The author said, -  it is just the magic of sunshine. In other words, the author described the sunshine as an omnipotent creator who makes this artistic beauty of nature. It was the precept of the author for all artists to watch the emotional change of the sky in every season and also watch the consequence of the alteration in the human body and mind.  Their realization related to the impact of the alteration will help them to create a poetic description on the canvas. 


Please note that the discussion of the above paragraph ensures the importance of color generated from sunlight; therefore, we have to choose an effective color to convey emotion consciously.

Title - Anguish, Artist - Amar Singha (Author)

Here, I would like to share one of my paintings with the junior student artist and art enthusiast that expresses the emotional feeling of loneliness.

In another discourse of the oldest art book, I found a beautiful metaphorical description regarding the rainy season, where the author imagined the rainy season as a fickle adolescent girl who suddenly jumps to the ground as rain and descends over nature. She dances in the green area with her flying blackish hair, which looks like rain clouds, and the author imagines her smile as a metaphor for the streak of lighting in the sky. That author might be a poet, too!

It is necessary to have an emotional relation to the subject matter of the painting and the surrounding conditions that are related to the painting; however, it is not required to maintain the said relation directly; instead, you can use any metaphor to press out the same feeling. To clarify, I want to fetch a symbol of the summer season represented as a metaphor.

Nataraja; Lord Shiva in furious mood

 From the ancient era, the figure of Lord Shiva(one of the Gods of Hindus) was recomposed as a symbol of the summer season or the summer storm with a new name, “Nataraj.” In the figure of Nataraj, the lord is represented as the fierce figure of the summer season. In Asia, summer is the hottest season of the year, and to express the intensity of the hottest season, some unknown creative people composed an excellent dancing movement that beautifully describes the acridness of the hottest season. A mythological story has been performed from the mythical period behind this statue; however, I would not like to tell it here since it is unrelated to our discussion. 

I mentioned the above examples to recognize how to express your emotions or feelings on the canvas symbolically. As an artist, you have infinite possibilities to find out your very own process that you can use to press out your feelings on canvas. The ancient author didn’t draw any boundary line to obstruct the freedom of artistic imagination. Only he committed a little indication by saying the word VHAVE.  Because he had the most comprehensive knowledge, what would be the possibilities of an artist’s merit.

According to the author, “With your meditative mind, dive into the ocean of emotion that conceived of the form and pick up a jewel that would be competent for you.”

Remember that our brain is just like the water of a pond, and if you can calm down all the waves of the pond, it can perfectly reflect all your realizations in your mind. Our diverted mind gets very few moments to concentrate, but it is too necessary for an artistic observation.  

Now, It’s time to find out the gist of the overall discussion.

1.  What is VHAVE?

The meaning of VHAVE is feelings that are born by emotional fluctuation.


2.  How do we recognize the emotional impact in nature or the human mind?

Emotional impact in nature depends on the sunlight, and we have to study the differential factor of the sun that depends on the season; likewise, in the case of the human mind, we have to learn the body language and articulation intended to impress others. To press out the emotion effectively on canvas, we, too, must be conscious regarding choosing the perfect color.


3. How do you express emotion on canvas?

Using the perfect color, effective form, or any symbolic element conveys your feelings. 

Image Resource - Hand Gesture (Aruna at Malayalam Wikipedia (Wikimedia    

             Commons), Sunrise Photography (Quino AI - Unsplash),

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