Untranslatable Words #3: Rasāsvāda

Hello peeps! @ailindigo here!

On this third week of Untranslatable Words we're moving to India! The word I bring to you for this edition is one full of meaning, and a term used in traditional Indian philosophy. We going deep!

It's the Sanskrit word: Rasāsvāda.

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At first one might think that this word refers to a sensation that we all have experienced at some point of our lives when seeking peace of mind (if found), but the term actually goes beyond that. I would say this sensation is a form of expansion of consciousness itself. In Indian philosophy, the word is used in terms of the sensation or taste of bliss.

Rasāsvāda means "appreciation", "sipping of juice", "perception of pleasure"; it refers to the taste of bliss in the absence of all thought which is an obstacle in the path leading to enlightment. Rasa (Juice/Essence/Nectar) + Āsvāda (To taste/Eating with a relish/Enjoying).

This is viewed in the setting of having removed all of the thoughts that have previously blocked one's path to enlightenment. So, colloquially speaking, rasāsvāda refers to that feeling of well-being/contentment when enlightment is finally reached, I would say. But the term has a deeper meaning in Hinduism, especially in Yoga and meditation practices.

In Hinduism, rasāsvāda (enjoyment) is one of the four obstacles in the path leading to Nirvikalpa Samādhi, which refers to meditation without an object according to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. For anyone who is interested in exploring their inner Self through meditation and Yoga, this is an important concept to take into consideration, because it makes possible to appreciate the obstacles in the path to spiritual enlightenment and overcome them by understanding its implications. *

In this context, rasāsvāda also means aesthetic consciousness, according to the Indian thinkers' classification of consciousness. This term is also related to the doctrine of Rasa in sanskrit literature, as well as to Rasa as the concept about aesthetics in Indian art. *


Indian aesthetics is all about evolved art with an emphasis on inducing special spiritual or philosophical states in the audience, or with representing them symbolically. According to its history, rasa blossomed into a fully developed aesthetic system. *

Rasa literally means "juice, essence or taste"; and refers to aesthetic relish. It is the most important concept in Sanskrit criticism and has influenced the theories of dance and the visual arts. It connotes a concept in Indian arts about the aesthetic flavour of any visual, literary or musical work that evokes an emotion or feeling in the reader or audience but cannot be described. *

Nowadays, in contemporary India the term rasa denoting "flavor" or "essence" is used colloquially to describe the aesthetic experiences in films. And this is something quite of delightful, the fact of having a concept that implies consciousness as the essence or goal of art makes me somehow feel some sort of rasāsvāda.

As the spiritual person I consider myself, this is a blissful and reafirming finding. I wasn't expecting rasāsvāda to have such a deep meaning and to be so related to art, realizing the term has so much to do with my vision of art -which is for its goal not only to entertain but to find enlightment and to trascend- really got me high, and I'm enjoying this given peace of mind very much.

What do you think? is rasāsvāda a feeling you would experience often or just in specific moments? Do you think the essence of things is inheretly spiritual? Am I involving too much my emotions into what art is about? Please let me know what you think in the comments!

Thank you very much for passing by! :)

Previous Untranslatable Words:

#1: Torschlusspanik
#2: Mono no aware

This content is part of a new series to get more people interested on languages and how they, perception and culture are related!

Exclusively for the Hive Cross Culture Community, the community for language exchange or cross-cultural purposes.

If you'd like to be part of the discussion don't hesitate to hop into the Hive Language and Culture Exchange Discord server! As well as subscribing to the Hive Cross Culture Community so you don't miss any new word comming ;) We'll be sharing a new Untranslatable Word each week!

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