History Of Indian Aesthetics - Brief Notes

History of Indian Aesthetics

  1. Art is the expression of a man's feelings and imagination on through a medium. When both are given a form, it is called art.

  2. Artist has total freedom to deny reality because they are supposed to be the creator of beauty.

  3. The things which attracts you in an artwork.Where you feel pleasure in an artwork.It is not important that you capture reality. More important is what you thought. e.g. Van Gogh - Sunflower painting.  

  4. Aesthetics is a discipline in which  authors and philosophers try to explain the concepts of beauty. Different philosophers and aestheticians have lot of contradictions between them. But the standard of beauty is the same when it concerns.

  5. Indian aesthetics is earlier than the western aesthetics. Before Italian philosopher Croce there was no real aesthetics. In India a lot of scholars were particularly interested in aesthetics. thier main aim was to understand and find out the meaning of beauty.  

  6. Bharata was the first to write on aesthetics in Bharata's Natya Shastra. mainly in terms of Literature, Drama and Dance.

  7. Theory of aesthetics is in fact the theory of “sense of beauty”. In India there was a separate discipline for theory of beauty. Indians were not historically inclined, they did not record anything and always dedicated their works to Gurus and Gods.

  8. Bharata’s Natya Shastra (BNS)- the entire story is told in terms of music and dance and is not written for the folk artists. Purely classical form. Bharat Muni mentioned Indra the lord of heaven who had lot of dancers. Natyashastra according to scholars were written during 2nd c B.C. or A.D. hence we can say that drama existed for a long time before.

  9. There is a missing link between Indus Valley Civilization and the Mauryan period, which means that BNS must have been written during the Shunga Dynasty and that this form must be known in Harappa but does not conclude due to lack of evidence. BNS was the first available theory of music, dance and drama But these forms existed long before.

  10. Bharata in search of true Beauty uses the word RASA (essence of life,juice,amrit) rasa is only to be felt, it is the source of all life. We live on fluid(water) and consider it to be the source of all life. this theory became very popular, but since it is difficult in identifying, there are antagonists and protagonists to identify them.

  11. In 7th century bhama and dandin rejected the theory of rasa, some said that beauty in drama was sarcasm.

  12. In 9th century Anand Vardhan (kashmiri pandit) supported bharata’s rasa theory and natya shastra. He researched and explained the theory in terms of dhwani, in the book called dhvanyaloka.

  13. 10th century Abhinav Gupta (kashmiri pandit family). He wrote a book called Abhinav Bharti and elaborated the theory of dhwani and rasa through sutra and commentaries (eg. kali das). In Abhinav Bharti he pick out few important shlokas from these (maha kavyas) books and then category wise discussed them in his book Rhetorical Parts. By his analysis he proves that the most important element in poetic is rasa.

  14. Mahakavi were great poets who wrote Maha Kavya - Kalidas, Valmiki, Shudra, Bhawabhuti, etc. were some of them. The format of all this literature is in form of plays and dramas.

  15. 11th century Mammat - Re-established theory of Dhwani. He is also the follower of rasa theory. His contribution was that he didn't borrow shlokas from the earlier poems, he also took into consideration the work of his contemporaries.

  16. Rudrat tried to dispose the theory of rasa and said that it was not essential to the work of art. Rudrat & Dandin tried to prove their own elements like riti(style).

  17. Manahoran Ghosh in his translation of BNS uses the term “sentiment”, other writers have used the term “relish” for rasa.

  18. Aesthetics experience is described as “ Tasting of flavour ”. The taste in other words to the scholars if referred to as “Rasika“ a work of art possessing rasa is often described as “ Rasawant ” or “ Rasavat” .

  19. Bharta speaks of 8 sentiments RASA (to which a widely accepted 9th sentiment has been added by later writers) :-

    1. Shringara (शृङ्गारं) Love, Attractiveness. Presiding deity: Vishnu. Colour:green.

    2. Hasya  (हास्यं) Laughter, Mirth, Comedy. Presiding deity: Ganesha. Colour: white.

    3. Rudra (रौद्रं) Fury. Presiding deity: Rudra. Colour: red.

    4. Karuna (कारुण्यं) Compassion, Tragedy. Presiding deity: Yama. Colour:dove coloured.

    5. Bibhatsa  (बीभत्सं) Disgust, Aversion. Presiding deity: Shiva. Colour: blue

    6. Bhayānak (भयानकं) Horror, Terror. Presiding deity: Kala. Colour: black

    7. Vīra (वीरं) Heroic mood. Presiding deity: Indra. Colour:wheatish brown

    8. Adbhuta (अद्भुतं) Wonder, Amazement. Presiding deity: Brahma. Colour: yellow

    9. Śhant  Peace or tranquility. deity: Vishnu. Colour: white

A 9th rasa was added by later authors. It functions as an equal member of the set of rasa’s but is simultaneously distinct being the most clear from the aesthetic bliss. It is hinted as being as good as but never equal to the bliss of self realisation experienced by yogies.

 

  1. Rasa is born out of the union of “ Vibhav”  “Anubhava” and “Vyabhichari bhavas”.

    1. Vibhav (Determinants/causes) : Physical conditions for aesthetics reproduction, indication of time place and other ways.

      1. Alambana Vibhav - Substantial Determination - Shringara or Erotic rasa alambana could be lover and hero or heroine , nayak or nayika, without this the erotic sentiments would be difficult to imagine.

      2. Uddipina Vibhav - Excitant Determination - the moon, the sandalwood essence, ornaments, perfume, clothing and jewelry or isolated space in garden.

    2. Anubhav - specify unconventional means of producing emotions like gestures, holding hands, kissing, etc.

    3. Sanchari and Vyabhichari bhavas - Emotional status (Bharta mentioned 33 of them) There range from agitation, depression, tiredness, shame, joy, etc. One that is not loyal even in the saddest of the place there is humor He uses an example of recipe. e.g. sugar in kerala is used in their food.

  1. Finally there are listed 8 involuntary bodily responses they are called Sattvika - physical expression.. Bhava.

    • Perspiration

    • Paralysis

    • Fainting

    • Trembling

    • Change of Voice

    • Change of Colour

 

  1. RITI THEORY                   - Acharya Vamana - (bhama and dandin)- poetry Kavya

  2. ALANKAR THEORY         - bhamah

  3. DHVANI THEORY             - Anand Vardhan

 

  1. Elements of art- Five schools of Indian Aesthetics.

 

  1. Alankarwad               - bhamah

  2. Ritisiddhant               - Vaman

  3. Dhwani Siddhant       - Anand Vardhan

  4. Vakrokti                     - Kuntak

  5. Auchitya Vada           - khemindra

 

The rasa siddhānta (theory of aesthetic experience) of Bharata (5th c ) is based on the four kinds of abhinaya (acting/expression).

  1. āngika abhinaya (voluntary non-verbal expression) to depict emotions/feelings of a character being played by the actor.

  2. vācika abhinaya (verbal expression) to express emotions/feelings, tone, diction, pitch of a particular character.

  3. āhārya abhinaya (costume and stage expression) to enhance expression.

  4. sāttvika abhinaya (involuntary non-verbal expression) expressed by the presence of tears, mark of horripilation, change of facial colour, trembling of lips, enhancing of nostrils) to express the deepest emotions of a character.

Thus the main topic dealt with in the Nātyaśāstra is the harmonious and creative use of language-- both verbal and nonverbal—which makes the expression a highest kind of

poetry. Bharata puts this harmonious and creative use of language.

 

The alaṁkāra siddhānta (theory of figures) of Bhamah (6th c) defines kāvya togetherness of sound and meaning. According to Bhamah, alaṁakāra (poetic figure) is the most essential element of poetry and it consists in the striking manner of putting a striking idea in an equally striking words.

  • Anandavardhana view in Dhvanyāloka that “alaṁkārās (poetic figures) are those elements which, depending upon word and meaning , minister to the generation of poetic charm” also certifies the creative use of language in literature.

 

  • The poet uses alaṁkāras (figures) with a view to

  1. increasing the beauty,

  2. enhancing the qualities,

  3. depicting the nature,

  4. heightening the feelings,

  5. delineating the action or activities, circumstances,

  6. exposing the internal state,

  7. delineating the character,

  8. describing the physical beauty,

  9. exhibiting the objective.

  10. depicting the scene,

  11. characterizing the spontaneous movements, and

  12. putting thoughts in tune with feelings.

 

  • Alamkāra (figure) is used to

  1. underline integral part of a literal meaning;

  2. to nourish the literal meaning to its climax;

  3. to beautify the expression and give a different meaning

  4. to achieve excellence by its own splendour; and

  5. to express some impossible meaning.


 

  • The alaṁkāras have been further classified by Rudrata in the following way:

  1. śabdārthālaṁkāras (figures based on sounds or verbal figures and meaning).

  2. sadraśyamulakālaṁkāras (figures based on similarity),

  3. virodhagarbhālaṁkāras (figures based on difference),

  4. nyāyamulakālaṁkāras (figures based on logic),

  5. śraṁkhalāmulakālaṁakāras (figures based on chain),

  6. gudarthapratitimulakalamakaras (figures based on inference or hidden meaning),

  7. vargīkaraṇ- bahirgatālaṁakaras (admixture of figures),

  8. ubhayālaṁakāra (hybrid figures).


 

The rīti siddhānta (theory of style) of Vaman (8th c) is also based on three types of styles of the creative use of language. To sum up, rīti (style) mainly depends upon the fact how the meaning of kāvya (poetry) is imparted in consonance with rasa (sentiment). also read http://yabaluri.org/TRIVENI/CDWEB/thephilosophyofritiapr69.htm

 

The answer, in a word, lies in the oblique use of:

  • rhythm, rhyme, and meter facilitated by phonemes and syllables

  • lexical items— usage, synonym, transference, adjective, pronoun, indeclinable or compounds, particle and verb etc

  • grammatical items—tense, case, number, person, voices, affixes etc.

  • structural items or word powers—denotation, connotation, suggestion

 

Riti and Guna

3 types of riti

  1. Viadarbhi

  2. Gaudi

  3. Panchala

The dhvani siddhānta (theory of suggestion) Anandavardhana (9th c) - The meaning of a word or a sentence is understood by the use of its last symbol. Eg. Oh! - The pressure put on “h” will be different in happiness and when you are sad.

 

Dhwani was initially written for poetry but by time, it's used in art also for its suggestive meaning. In art the sphotvad (blast of words) is the tone. Tone has a meaning itself. Tonal variations i.e. tint and shades can give or change the meaning of the subject.

 

(Rasa Dhwani) When listening to something gives you some feeling of joy or sadness.

 

Mahima Bhatta states, vyanjanā is always latent. As we delve deep into abhidhā (primary meaning), we get the meaning of vyanjanā (tertiary or suggested meaning).

 

the denotative function (abidhâ), the indicative function (laksnâ) and the suggestive function (vyanjanâ)

“The Logic of Emotion”. Here, I would like to briefly mention that Ânanda linked dhvani torasa and pointed out that as meaning is suggested, emotions can be suggested (in fact, emotions can only be suggested and cannot be communicated directly, being mental qualities and hence invisible). This was taken further by Abhinava who developed it further in terms of the concept of rasa-dhvani. The significance of this theory for all art forms lies in the fact that visual arts (including gestural arts like theatrics and dance) also communicate through suggestion and can suggest both meanings and emotions.


 

The vakrokti siddhānta( theory of oblique expression) of Kuntaka (11th c)

According to Bhâmaha, all poetic speech is marked by round about turn of expression or vakrokti as opposed to straightforward expression of everyday language. It seems, these theorists were obsessed with the problem of differentiating poetic language from ordinary language. In the hands of Kuntaka, the term become enlarged in import.

 

The aucitya siddhānta( theory of propriety) propounded by Ācārya Kshemendra (11th c)

Aucitya or appropriateness is another such concept which needs a brief mention here. Bharata recognizes it in the context of performance (say, aptness of acting to the context, social stature of the hero, etc). Ânanda discusses it and so does Kuntaka. But it gets central focus in the hands of Ksemendra who highlights the fit among the elements, the subject, and the contexts and so on. Again, here is a concept that can extend without much modification to the various art forms. In simple words, there must be a fit between theme and form and this is so in all aesthetic fields.

 

Dosas and Gunas

In literary theory dosas (flaws to be avoided) and gunas (qualities of good writing) figure since the time of Bharata. Later aestheticians also discuss them. What is significant here is that dosas and gunas are relative to contexts and different ages and are rephrased differently by different theorists. While primarily discussed in the context of literature, they stand on solid foundations for applicability of all art forms. A work of art, in order to be successful must avoid certain defects and display certain positive qualities. This applies to fine arts as well as to the other art forms.



 

Shastra

  1. Natya Shastra

  2. Sangeet Shastra

  3. Saundarya Shastra

 

Mahakavi - great poets who wrote mahakavya

kalidasa, valmiki, shudra etc. 
 

Abhivan gupta wrote abhinav bharti - shloks - rhetorical parts - rasa

Vamana’s Kavyalankara Sutra

 

Rudrata - tried to dispose - proposed ornaments riti (style)

 

Bhavas

 

vaibhav

     1. alambana

  1. uddipina

 

2nd c. bc. Bharat Muni - Aim of beauty is Rasa - Natya Shastra

7th c. Bhama gave a new theory Alankarwad.

   Sangeet Shastra -

   Saundarya Shastra -

   Natya Shastra - Bharatmuni

9th  Scholars

  • Vaman - Kavya alankar Sutra vritti - Riti - soul of poetry -

  • Udbhat - Kavya alankar Sarva Sangraha.

  • Anand Vardhan - theory of sound. (Dhvanyaloka)

10th C. Dhananjay - theory of vritti

11th C. Kuntak - theory of Vakrokti

11th C. Mammat - Re-established theory of Dhwani

13th C. Jayadev - Gave importance to Dhwani (Ornamentation)

14th C. Vishvanath - Considered Rasa as another form

16th C. Pandit Raj Jagannath - again supported the theory of dhwani

 

IMPORTANT POINTS

 

  1. Visual (Plastic art) and Performing art. with ancient silpa text and examples of art.

  2. BHAVA and RASA - Difference - types of bhava pg 23-24

  3. GUNA and DOSHA types of dosh - pg 29-30

  4. DHVANI- Creative formulations pg 25-27 and 28-29

  5. Auchitya Siddhant or Doctrine of propriety

  6. Vyanjana - suggestive meaning (Mahima Bhatta) pg 27-28

  7. Riti pg 5

  8. Kalidasa and his poetry shakuntalam meghdoot pg 25-27

  9. Alankarvad

  10. Vaidarbhi- soft panchal- manner and gaudii- high sounding words 3 types riti and guna

  11. Theory of purpose

  12. Significance Of Classical Theory of Aesthetics

 

9. The alaṁkāra siddhānta (theory of figures) of Bhamah (6th c) defines kāvya togetherness of sound and meaning. According to Bhamah, alaṁakāra (poetic figure) is the most essential element of poetry and it consists in the striking manner of putting a striking idea in an equally striking words.

  • Anandavardhana view in Dhvanyāloka that “alaṁkārās (poetic figures) are those elements which, depending upon word and meaning , minister to the generation of poetic charm” also certifies the creative use of language in literature.

 

ORNAMENTATION OF POEM OR TEXT

 

  • Alamkāra (figure) is used to

  1. underline integral part of a literal meaning;

  2. to nourish the literal meaning to its climax;

  3. to beautify the expression and give a different meaning

  4. to achieve excellence by its own splendour; and

  5. to express some impossible meaning.

 

  • The alaṁkāras have been further classified by Rudrata in the following way:

  1. śabdārthālaṁkāras (figures based on sounds or verbal figures and meaning).

  2. sadraśyamulakālaṁkāras (figures based on similarity),

  3. virodhagarbhālaṁkāras (figures based on difference),

  4. nyāyamulakālaṁkāras (figures based on logic),

  5. śraṁkhalāmulakālaṁakāras (figures based on chain),

  6. gudarthapratitimulakalamakaras (figures based on inference or hidden meaning),

  7. vargīkaraṇ- bahirgatālaṁakaras (admixture of figures),

  8. ubhayālaṁakāra (hybrid figures).

 

7. The rīti siddhānta (theory of style) of Vaman (8th c) is also based on three types of styles of the creative use of language. To sum up, rīti (style) mainly depends upon the fact how the meaning of kāvya (poetry) is imparted in consonance with rasa (sentiment).


 

  • rhythm, rhyme, and meter facilitated by phonemes and syllables

  • lexical items— usage, synonym, transference, adjective, pronoun, indeclinable or compounds, particle and verb etc

  • grammatical items—tense, case, number, person, voices, affixes etc.

  • structural items or word powers—denotation, connotation, suggestion

Riti and Guna

3 types of riti

  1. Vaidarbhi

  2. Gaudi

  3. Panchala

 

3. Dosas and Gunas

In literary theory dosas (flaws to be avoided) and gunas (qualities of good writing) figure since the time of Bharata. Later aestheticians also discuss them. What is significant here is that dosas and gunas are relative to contexts and different ages and are rephrased differently by different theorists. While primarily discussed in the context of literature, they stand on solid foundations for applicability of all art forms. A work of art, in order to be successful must avoid certain defects and display certain positive qualities. This applies to fine arts as well as to the other art forms.

 

5. The aucitya siddhānta( theory of propriety) propounded by Ācārya Kshemendra (11th c)

Aucitya or appropriateness is another such concept which needs a brief mention here. Bharata recognizes it in the context of performance (say, aptness of acting to the context, social stature of the hero, etc). Ânanda discusses it and so does Kuntaka. But it gets central focus in the hands of Ksemendra who highlights the fit among the elements, the subject, and the contexts and so on. Again, here is a concept that can extend without much modification to the various art forms. In simple words, there must be a fit between theme and form and this is so in all aesthetic fields.

 

4. The dhvani siddhānta (theory of suggestion) Anandavardhana (9th c) - The meaning of a word or a sentence is understood by the use of its last symbol. Eg. Oh! - The pressure put on “h” will be different in happiness and when you are sad.

 

Dhwani was initially written for poetry but by time, its used in art also for its suggestive meaning. In art the sphotvad (blast of words) is the tone. Tone has a meaning itself. Tonal variations i.e. tint and shades can give or change the meaning of the subject.

(Rasa Dhwani) When listening to something gives you some feeling of joy or sadness.

Mahima Bhatta states, vyanjanā is always latent. As we delve deep into abhidhā (primary meaning), we get the meaning of vyanjanā (tertiary or suggested meaning).

 

the denotative function (abidhâ), the indicative function (laksnâ) and the suggestive function (vyanjanâ)

“The Logic of Emotion”. Here, I would like to briefly mention that Ânanda linked dhvani torasa and pointed out that as meaning is suggested, emotions can be suggested (in fact, emotions can only be suggested and cannot be communicated directly, being mental qualities and hence invisible). This was taken further by Abhinava who developed it further in terms of the concept of rasa-dhvani. The significance of this theory for all art forms lies in the fact that visual arts (including gestural arts like theatrics and dance) also communicate through suggestion and can suggest both meanings and emotions.