Showing posts with label advaita. Show all posts
Showing posts with label advaita. Show all posts



What Is Aesthetics Or Alamakara Shastra?

Sanskrit aesthetic theory (alamkara sastra) developed in India as a way to explain the aim of play and poetry, and is known as alamkara (ornamentation/beauty).

Early theoreticians interpreted alamkara to mean both beauty and beauty achieved via adornment.

In the first definition, alamkara (virtues/qualities) is innate, but in the second, it is created by the use of words or theatrical gesture to achieve a certain impression.

However, as with Anandavardhana's theoretical works, a philosophical change happened in this understanding of the connection of alamkara to the guna (c. ninth century).

He stated that even someone with minimal technical expertise but an intuitive sensibility may be brought to an aesthetic experience (Krishnamoorthy 1979: 123–25).

He did not dispute the importance of alamkara and guna to aesthetic experience.

This, of course, implies that there is something intrinsic in the work of art, whether it poetry, theater, or painting, that transcends its mechanics.

What Is The Theory of Rasa?

The idea of rasa, which first appears in the sixth chapter of the second-century Sanskrit dramaturgical handbook Natyasastra, is perhaps the most prevalent and influential Indian aesthetic philosophy.

The term rasa literally means "taste" or "appreciation." 

In terms of aesthetics, rasa is the consequence of a careful balance of stimulus (vibhava), automatic response (anubhava), and intentional reaction (anubhava) (vyab hicaribhava).

Rasa is likened to the cooking process, in which the components, each different in their own way, come together to create a singular flavor.

The flavor is the rasa aesthetic experience, the components are the different bhavas (emotions), and the person who can experience rasa is called as a rasika.

The Natyasastra lists eight basic rasas, each with its own set of bhavas (emotions).

To put it another way, if bhava is the feeling, rasa may be thought of as the aesthetic experience of that emotion.

The eight rasas are listed here, together with their corresponding sthayi bhavas (permanent/stable emotions) (Rangacharya 1986: 38–39).

  • Rasa (Bhava)
  • Srngara (erotic) 
  • Rati (desire) 
  • Hasya (comic),
  • Hasaaaaaaaaaa (laughter)
  • Karuna(compassion) 
  • Soka (grief)
  • Raudra (fearsome) 
  • Krodha (anger) 
  • Vira (heroic) 
  • Utsaha (energy) 
  • Bhayanaka (fearsome) 
  • Bhaya (fear) 
  • Bibhatsa  (loathsome) 
  • Jugupsa(disgust) 
  • Adbhuta  (wonder) 
  • Vismaya (astonishment) 

When rasa theory is applied to an Advaitic philosophical philosophy, a crucial ninth rasa, Santa (tranquility), is introduced.

It was just recently inserted into the Natyasastra text, and it is commonly attributed to the eighth-century philosopher Udbhata.

Santa, on the other hand, is not merely another rasa; it is the basic state of thought from which all other rasas are derived (Krishna moorthy 1979: 206–10).

Another key notion is sadharanikarana (universalizing emotion), which was first proposed by Bhatta Nayaka (ninth century) and further expanded by Abhinavagupta (tenth century) in his commentary on the Natyasastra, Abhinavabharati.

Abhinavagupta is largely speaking in the context of Natya when he comments on Bhatta Nayaka's notion offspring sadharanikarana (drama).

Natya refers to both the text itself and the actual performing that gives the text meaning.

Unlike emotions that one encounters in reality, which link one to the world, the emotions that occur as a reaction to art (or art-like experiences) lead readers/audience to transcend their subjectivity and individuality.

According to Abhinavagupta, a rasa experience is impossible without sadharanikaran. (Krishnamoorthy 1979: 214–15), and hence aesthetic experience correlates to the yogin's mystical bliss.


What Is Bhakti Rasa?


The rise of bhakti as a significant literary and theological movement has led to its classification as a rasa.

Bhakti rasa became the dominating and preeminent metaphor of divine experience, particularly within the intellectual circles of Vallabha, Caitanya, and the Gosvamis.

Bhakti was originally intended as a bhava, not a rasa.

However, two thirteenth-century interpreters on the Bhagavata Puran, Vopadeva and Hemadri, not only promoted bhakti as a rasa, but even replaced Santa to argue for it as the rasa par excellence.

Instead of Santa, the other nine rasas are now variations of bhakti.

The sensation of happiness created by listening, reading, and participating in some manner in the exploits of God and his followers is a basic description of bhakti rasa.

Other Vaisnava schools, especially Caitanya, Vallabha, and the Goswamis, have significant discrepancies in the formulation of bhakti rasa, and these schools have significant disparities among themselves.

Sringara or madhurya (sweetness) was the most effective medium for approximating the ecstasy of mystical connection for them (Krishnamoorthy 1979: 198–201).


What Is Aesthetic theory in Tamil Literature And Philosophy?


The complimentary ideas of interior/exterior, public/private worlds, and inner and outer in Tamil aesthetic theory are referred to as akam (inner) and puram(outer).

It grew up alongside what is known as the Sangam/Cankam era of poetry (first to third centuries).

Puram poetry represented monarchs, battle, and ethics, but akam poetry dealt with love, desire, and yearning.

The universe and emotions were divided into five landscapes (tinai) in the akam world, each of which symbolized a stage in the growth of love.

The hero, heroine, her friend, his friend, and so on were all anonymous and archetypal in the akam world.

The poetry, on the other hand, included named kings, 'real' events, and bards touring the countryside in quest of a wealthy patron.

Cankam poetry's aesthetic norms had a big effect on emerging Tamil bhakti poetry (sixth to ninth centuries).

These traveling poets stole the structures and genres of the previous literary era to convey a new religious sensibility.

For some ways, bhakti religion brought in a new literary form.

Although identifying the hero (god) and heroine (the poet in his/her persona) broke a basic aesthetic value, the bhakti poem used the form of the nameless hero and heroine of the akam poems.

In addition, the poets elevated the god to the status of monarch in their newly created poetry, transforming the bard-royal connection into that of the devotee and his chosen deity.

The shattering of the invisible and impassable barrier between the poet and the imagined poetic environment was perhaps the most profound aesthetic change of these new poems.

By identifying their characters and personalizing their poetic narratives, the new bhakti poems brought the listener into the poem in a manner that the antecedent akam and poems could not (Selby 2000: 26–35).

~Kiran Atma

See also: 

Abhinavagupta; Advaita; Bhakti; Caitanya; Drama;; Kashmiri Saivism; Languages; Poetry; Puranas; Sanskrit; Vaisnavism; Vallabha; Yogı Archana Venkatesan

References And Further reading:

  • Krishnamoorthy, K. 1979. Studies in Indian Aesthetics and Criticism. Mysore: Mysore Printing and Publishing House.
  • Rangacharya, Adya. 1986. Natyasastra (English Translation with Critical Notes). Bangalore: IBH Prakashana.
  • Selby, Martha Ann. 2000. Grow Long Blessed Night: Love Poems from Classical India. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Tapasyananda, Swami. 1990. Bhakti Schools of Vedanta: Lives and Philosophies of Ramanuja, Nimbarka, Madhava, Vallabha and Caitanya. Madras: Sri Ramakrishna Math.

Hinduism - ADVAITA

What Is Advaita?

Non-duality or 'not two-ness' is the literal translation.

One of the primary schools of Vedanta, Advaita, advocates a philosophical perspective. 

It is the concept that multiplicity is, in the end, the manifestation of a non-dual reality.

This philosophical stance is sometimes referred to as monism in the West (the belief that reality is one), but the meaning of 'non-duality' in a Hindu context is more nuanced, because it does not involve the postulation of even a single entity, because 'Being' (sat) is said to be beyond all signification, including the postulation of a One.

The non-dual principle of reality underpins the cosmos, yet it is not an entity in the same way that the many objects and entities do.

It is the foundation of their existence.

Furthermore, labeling such schools as monistic is difficult since they often preserve a multi-leveled definition of truth that does not necessitate rejecting the existence of plurality.

The idea is that the ontological substratum that permits such creatures to appear is fundamentally a non-dual principle of being.

The Upanisads include the oldest explicit exposition of non dualist notions, with Brahman as the basic substrate of existence from which the cosmos is believed to originate.

Early Upanisads, such as the Chandogya, compare the connection between Brahman and each individual being's basic self (Atman) to the mixing of salt and water in salty water.

The water tastes like salt that can't be seen, and the difference between the two is undetectable, just as Brahman can't be seen yet permeates the whole cosmos.

'You are That,' the sage concludes (tat-tvam-asi, Chandogya 6.10.3).

Numerous schools evolved in response to the primary topic of the link between the individual ego and Brahman, the substance of the cosmos, as a result of various efforts to construct a systematic philosophical interpretation of such passages in the Upanisads (veda-anta or 'end of the vedas').

The difference-non-difference school, dualists (who claimed a clear ontological split between the two), qualified non dualists, and non-dualist interpretation were among them.

The Mandukya Karika (also known as the Agamasastra or the Gaudapada Karika) is the earliest unambiguous explanation of Advaitaphilosophy.

It was presumably written about the sixth century of the Common Era.

Sankara, however, is the most well-known Advaita proponent (eighth century CE).

The universe of plurality, according to believers of the Sankarite view, is ultimately nothing more than a magical illusion (Maya).

The specific nature of this illusion was the topic of much debate (and opposing schools' contention), but the general consensus was that maya is unexplainable, being neither completely existing nor non-existent.

The key to grasping this concept is to recognize that there are two degrees of truth for Sankara: ultimate truth (where the non-dual Brahman is the solitary reality) and daily, practical truth (where a variety of diverse things exist).

Maya is a cosmic illusion, but it is not a mental delusion (as in a hallucination or a dream), not least because the concept of an individual self (jivatman) is ultimately illusory from the standpoint of ultimate truth.

The world of waking awareness is not a subjective deception, according to Sankara; it exists and acts on a practical plane of reality.

This universe is unreal in and of itself, but real in the sense that it is identical to Brahman, the source of all existence.

According to Sankara, avidya - metaphysical ignorance – is the root of the universe's seeming manifestation, which is basically our ignorance of the reality that everything is Brahman.

At the individual level, this entails projecting categories or 'adjuncts' derived from previously acquired experiences (including those from prior incarnations) onto the non-dual reality, causing it to look as something it is not.

Sankara utilizes the well-known example of the rope and the snake to convey his point.

In low light, a rope might resemble a snake.

We think we're looking at a snake, but it's only a rope.

We can realize the error that was committed in daylight (that is, with the benefit of knowledge) and no longer project the image of a snake onto the rope.

Similarly, Brahman is the source of all things, but we misinterpret it as distinct objects due to our inability to transcend our ignorance of reality's actual nature.

Sankara's interpretation of Advaita, on the other hand, is far from the sole kind of nondualism found in Hindu traditions.

The Bhagavata Purana (c. eleventh century CE) is centered on the playful figure of Krishna and mixes non-dualistic notions with Vaisnava devotionalism (bhakti).

Non-dualistic philosophies may also be found within the many Saivite movements.

The Pratyabhijna or Recognition School, which is commonly connected with Kashmir but also exists elsewhere, is notable for its clear rejection of Sankara's notion of maya's illumination.

The world is real, according to this school, since it is a vibration (spanda) of Siva's dynamic and creative awareness.

Later works, such as Vasistha's highly poetic Yoga Teachings (Yogavasistha), synthesize themes and concepts from a variety of non-dualist schools (including Buddhist ones), but with a clear orientation towards Vedantic interpretations.

Interest in Sankara's philosophy by various Western Orientalists and Hindu reformers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries helped to establish non-dualist ideas as important sources. 

Many of the key intellectual figures and gurus of Hinduism in the modern period, including Ramakrishna, his disciple Swami Vivekananda, SarvepalliRadhakrishnan, Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta Raj, Sri Aurobindo, and, to a lesser extent, Mahatma Gandhi, advocate non-dualism as a central aspect of their teaching.

Swami Vivekananda, perhaps more than anyone else, was responsible for catching the imagination of Hindus and Westerners alike with his promotion of non-dual ism as Hinduism's basic doctrine and 'spirituality' as the distinguishing quality of Hindu devotion.

~Kiran Atma

See also: 

Atman, Bhakti, Brahman, Buddhism's relationship with Hinduism, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi,Aurobindo Ghose, Modern and contemporary Hinduism, Kashmiri Saivism, Krishna, Maya, Puranas, Sir Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan,Sri Ramakrishna, Ramana Maharshi,Saivism, Sankara, Siva, Upanisads, Vaisnavism, Vedanta, Swami Vivekananda,Yogavasistha

References And Further reading:

King, Richard. 1999. Indian Philosophy: An Introduction to Hindu and Buddhist Thought. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Ram-Prasad, C. 1991. An Outline of Indian Non-realism: Some Central Arguments of Advaita Metaphysics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sharma, A. 1993. The Experimental Dimension of Advaita Vedanta. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.


(late tenth century) Abhinavagupta was a major thinker in Kashmiri Saivism, and the son of scholar Narasimhagupta, who was his first tutor.

Abhinavagupta wrote forty-one works, commentaries and independent treatises, on the three main branches of Kashmiri Saivism: Krama, Pratyabhijna, and Trika, as well as aesthetics, poetics, and language theory, becoming the most prominent and influential teacher in Abhinavagupta was the one who systematized the Trika doctrine based on a number of older and often obscure texts, most notably in his masterpiece, the Tantra loka (Light on the Tantras), a massive work in thirty-seven ahnika ('day-times,' i.e. chapters) that takes up twelve volumes in the Kashmir Series of Texts and Studies (1918–38) with Jayaratha's commentary.

The Tantra loka was summarized by its author in the Tantrasara (Essence of the Tantras), a widely read book that combines yoga, devotion to the Lord, and nondualism (advaita) in such a manner that it is applicable to a variety of systems.

The Patra trimsika Vivarana is a lengthy commentary on the Tantra Para trimsika's thirty-six pithy stanzas, which elaborates on all elements of Word/speech, whether liturgical, cosmogonic, psychological, epistemological, or metaphysical.

The Ma lin vijaya Varttika and the Isvara pratyabhijn a Vimarsin on Utpala deva's Pratyabhijn a Karika, both major works in the tradition, are two more commentaries worth noting.

All of these writings are significant, and Abhinavgupta's impact beyond not just his own school but also Tamil Nadu, where he was even regarded as an incarnation of Siva.

Not just in the sphere of poetics, with his focus on the primacy of suggestion, but also in the performing arts, particularly theatre, dance, and music, his writings on aesthetics were to be as authoritative and of enduring value.

Kiran Atma

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

See also: 

Advaita; Dance; Drama; Kashmiri Saivism; Music; Poetry; Siva; Tantras; Tantrism; Yoga

Hinduism - What Is Vivartavada In Hindu Philosophy?


The world is described as an illusory transformation of the Ultimate Reality or Realities, according to this philosophical model.

The Advaita Vedanta philosophical school is known for its vivartavada model.

The Advaitins believe in a causal model known as satkaryavada, which assumes that effects already exist in their causes and that when they appear, they are simply transformations (parinama) of those causes.

Milk is transformed into curds, butter, and clarified butter as a classic example.

Each of these effects was already present in the cause, according to proponents of asatkarya, and emerges from it through a natural transformation of the cause.

The Advaita school adheres to the philosophical position of monism, which holds that everything is merely different manifestations of a single Ultimate Reality.

Despite the appearance of difference and diversity in the world, Advaita proponents claim that reality is nondual (advaita), that is, that all things are "actually" nothing but the formless, unqualified Brahman.

The Advaitins' belief that an effect already exists in its cause is based on the principle that all things in the universe ultimately rely on Brahman as the first cause.

Simultaneously, the Advaitins refuse to acknowledge that Brahman ever changes because this would negate its eternal and unchanging nature.

As a result, they talk about a fictitious transmission (vivartavada).

The Advaitins believe that Brahman never truly changes because it is eternal and thus unchanging; the apparent changes are only illusory, based on human ignorance through shifting superimposition patterns (adhyasa).

Advaitins are able to maintain Brahman's transcendence while also accounting for (apparent) changes in the phenomenal world in this way.

Proponents of a different approach, which portrays the perceivable world as an actual trans creation of this unified reality, argue against this stance.

Proponents of the Samkhya, Vishishthadvaita Vedanta, and Bhedabhada philosophical traditions, who, like Advaitins, believe in satkaryavada, hold this position.

Each of these three schools thinks that the world as we see it is real, that it is rooted in a single ultimate source, and that this fundamental principle undergoes a genuine metamorphosis through which the universe is born.

This parinama connection permits these schools to explain the phenomenal world, but in a manner that undermines the transcendence of these initial principles by incorporating them within it.

Philosophically, they struggle to explain how the sublime might become commonplace, then transcendent again.

Kiran Atma

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

Hinduism - Who Was Mandana Mishra?


Mandana Mishra (early 9th c.) Founder of the Bhamati school of Advaita Vedanta, who is said to have lived about the same time as Shankaracharya, the Advaita school's greatest figure.

The Advaita school adheres to the philosophical idea of monism, which claims that all things are essentially different manifestations of a single Ultimate Reality.

Despite the appearance of difference and variety, Advaita proponents say that reality is non-dual (advaita)—all things are nothing but the formless, unqualified Brahman (the greatest reality in the cosmos).

The assumption of variety, according to Advaitins, is a fundamental mental misunderstanding of the ultimate essence of things, a symptom of avidya.

Although sometimes translated as "ignorance," avidya is more accurately defined as a lack of actual insight that leads to karmic bonding, reincarnation (samsara), and pain.

Mandana proposes the vivarta ("illu sory manifestation") causal linkage to demonstrate how the unchanging Brahman is linked to the seen universe.

Superimposition (adhyasa) is a notion that describes how people project a faulty understanding onto the correct knowledge.

A piece of rope, for example, is mistaken for a snake.

Despite the fact that this judgment is incorrect, one is genuinely observing something real, in this example the rope, but "superimuting" a false identity on it, therefore "transforming" it into something it is not.

Human awareness, it is believed, starts with the existing reality (Brahman), which is already there, but superimposes something that is not (the judgment of a diverse world).

Mandana also disagreed with Shankaracharya on a number of matters, which caused difficulties for his subsequent disciples.

One of these judgements was that the source of ignorance was in the Self, since it was ludicrous to think of Brahman as ignorant; another was that there were several Selves, because the liberation of one person did not result in the liberation of others.

Mandana's remarks imply the presence of a common (though illusory) reality over which he felt compelled to pass judgment; he eventually dubbed it anirvachaniya—"that which cannot be named." 

Mandana defined two types of ignorance in his analysis: a primary "covering" that prevents one from seeing the truth and a "projective" ignorance in which humans intentionally conceal facts.

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.