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A C SUKLA - REPRESENTATION IN PAINTING AND DRAMA - ARGUMENTS FROM INDIAN AESTHETICS

A C SUKLA - REPRESENTATION IN PAINTING AND DRAMA - ARGUMENTS FROM INDIAN AESTHETICS

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Published by Sukla Ananta Charan
Published in the Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics 1992.
Published in the Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics 1992.

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Published by: Sukla Ananta Charan on Jan 09, 2013
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03/26/2015

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RepresentationinPaintingandDrama:ArgumentsfromIndianAesthetics
A.c.
SUKLA
1.Preface
Asearlyasthe4thc.Re.draffiawasconceivedinIndiaastherepresentationofactionsofthethreeworlds-heaven,earthandtheunderworldi.e.theactionsofthegods,humanbeingsanddemons.TheSanskritwordsusedforrepresentationbyBharata,thefatherofIndianaestheticsingeneralanddramaturgyinparticular,inhisworkentitiled
Natyasastra
are
anukrti
and
anukarana
whichliterallymeanimitationordoingafter..ButBharatacreatesproblemswhen,inhisdefinitionofdrama,healsousestwootherSanskritterms
bhavanukirtana
and
anubhavana
whichmeanre-(orafter)descriptionofemotionandre/afteroccurrenceofemotionrespectively.ThesetwosetsoftermsallowascopeforthecommentatorsofBharataforinterpretingthenatureofrepresentationindramaindifferentways.Butbeforecomingtothecommentators,itisnecessarytounderstandBharata'sownconceptionofdramaasavailableintheinformationheprovidesabouttheorigin'andthenatureofthedramaticarttakingboththeartworkitselfanditsexperiencebytheaudienceintoconsideration.II.
Introduction
ThegodsonceappealedtoBrahma,theproto-creatoroftheuniverse,topresentthematoy
(laidaniyaka)
whichshouldbebothvisibleandaudible.SuchatoywoulddelightfullypurifythecreaturesofJambudvipa(themythicalname.ofIndia)whohaddeviatedfromappropriateconductbeingafflictedbypassions(lust,jealousyandangeretc.).Brahma,thecomposerofthefourVedas,waspleasedtogranttheappealanddevisedthedrama,anaudio-visualtoy,combiningphysicalgestures,dialogues,music,danceandcostume.ThefirstappropriateoccasionforexhibitingthistoywasthebannerfestivalofIndra,thekingofheavenandtheactionrepresentedthereinwasthebattlebetweenthegodsanddemonsthatledtothedefeatofthelatter.Theactionnaturallyenragedthedemonssincetheirdefeatdelightedthegods,theirrivals.Therefore,theyimmediatelyevengedtheiroffencebydestroyingthestageandstoppingtheperformanceandfmallycomplainedthatBrahmahadexhibitedparochialismbyupholdingthevictoryofthegodsand.ridiculingtheirowndefeat.Brahmaunderstoodthatthedemonsintheaudiencehad.identifiedthemselveswiththedemonsrepresentedbytheactorsonthestageandthisidentificationhadbeentherootofalldisturbance.Hethenaddressedthedemons,thecorepointofhis
JournalofComparativelitraJureandAesthetics:volXV:Nos.1-2:1992
 
addressbeingthattheaudienceshouldnotidentifythedramaticrepresentationWIthfacmalreality.Asatoy,thisrepresentationismeantforthedelightoftheaudience,andwhatisrepresentedonthestageisnotanyparticularactionoreventthatcouldbeidentifiedwithanysuchphenomenoneveroccurringincourseofhistory;itisratherthelaw'ofaction,ageneralprinciplethatgovernsthecourseofaction.Sotheactionanditsagentsrepresentedinadramaareonlytheillustrationsofthislawofaction.WhatwasthereforerepresentedintheparticulardramastagedbyBharatawastheprinciplethatinthebattleofgoodandevil,theformeralwayswinsandthelatterloses..ItwasonlyincidentallythatBharatatookthegodsanddemonsastheexamplesofgoodandevil.Theremighthavebeenanyothereventandanyotheragentsexemplifyingthisprinciple.Thesubject-matterofdramacoversthewholerangeofculturalactivities
-religi.on,
arts,philosophy,customs,laws,emotionsandevents-notinanyparticularbutinageneralisedform.IAtthesametimeBralumiwasawareofacriticalpoint;theaudience-demons'identificationwiththeactor-demonswasduetothefactthatthewholeeventwasfactuallytrue..Ithadhappenedintheveryrecentcourseofhistorywiththesamegodsanddemons,whoconstitutedtheaudienceofthedrama,asactualparticipants.Sothispersonalidentitificationwasduetothecontemporaneityoftheactionrepresented.Bral1mathereforeinstructedthatnocontemporaryactionshouldberepresentedinthedrama;~dbysuchproscriptionBral1mawantedtosaythatthedramaticrepresentationisafictionandnotafactandthefictionalityofanactionmeansaparticularillustrationofagenerallawofaction.Thesamelawofactionmaybeillustratedseverallybyseveralparticularactionsandtheiragents.Theparticulareventsandcharactersinadramado(orshould)nothavetheircounterpartsintherealworld.ThenatureoftheeventsandagentsofthedramaisfurtherexplicatedbyBharatainthesixthchapterofhistextwhereheunderstandsdramaintermsoftheexperienceofaudience.Althoughinthefirstchapterhestatesthatthesubject-matterofdramaisaswide-rangingastoincludethewholerangeoflearningandaction
-
thearts,crafts,morals,history,religionandpragmaticinformationetc.-soastoattaintheauthenticityofthefifthVeda,inthesixthchapterBharatamentionsthatthesoleobject
(artha)
ofthedramaticrepresentationistogenerateemotionaldelight
(Rasa).
Acorrelationofboththecontextsleadstoanobservationthattheactionsrepresentedinthedramaarenecessarilyexpressiveofemotions.Inotherwords,representationofactionsmeansrepresentationofemotionsthroughactionsandtheiragents,whichultimatelygenerateaestheticdelight.Thesamepoint,therefore,explainsthenatureofthedramaticrepresentationasweltasthenatureofaestheticexperience.Althoughanydiscussionofthispointtendstowardanoverlappingofboththeissues,
it
19
 
ispossibletoseparatetheissueofrepresentationandexamineitinthelightofinterpretationsofferedbyseveralcommentatorsofBharatawholivedduringthe8th-10thcenturies.Bharatastatesthataestheticdelightisgeneratedbythecombinationof
Vibhavas
(1.charactersthatsheltertheemotionsand2thesituationsthatstimulatetheemotions)
Gl1uhhOvas
(theactionsofthecharacters)and
lyabhicarfbhOvas
(temporaryfeelings)4.Sofarasthequestionofrepresentationisconcerned,thisstatement,byimplication,referstothetrilateralrelationamongreality,dramaasaliterarytextanditsperformanceonthestage.111ecombinationasmentionedabovetakesplaceintherealworld(wheretheyarecalledcauseand.effectrespectively),itisdescribedinaliterarytextbytheplaywrightandfinallythetextisperformedonthestage.AsBharatahasalreadystated,theeventsandcharactersofthedrama(andbyimplicationinalltheliteraryformssuchasepic,lyricandprosenarrative)donotrepresentanyparticularfactorcharacteroftherealworld,butillustratethegenerallawsofactions.Nowwhatistherelationbetweenthetextualcharactersandtheactorsintheperformanceofthetext?Aperformanceingeneralisaspecificactionorsetofactionsandadramaticperformanceinparticularisthesingleoccurrenceofarepeatableandpreexistenttext.Thetextthereforeanticipatesandevenauthorizesitsseveralperformances(oroccurrences)logicallytranscendingthemall.sInotherwords,ifthecharacterset~.ofadramatictextaretheillustrationsofthegenerallawsofactions,performances(orrole-playing)bytheactorsindifferentoccurrencesofthesameplayarealsoillustrationsofthecharactersandtheiractions.Thefactthatdifferentperformancesofthesameplayarerepeatedlyattendedbythesameaudienceevidencesthehypothetical'perfection'ofaperfonnance.TheSanskritcritics,however,haveviewedtherepresentationalrelationsdifferently.OutofseveralcommentariesonBharataonlyonebyAbhinavagupta(LOthc.)survives,anditisratherriskytoconsidertheviewsofothercritics,asmentionedbyAbhinava,thatherejects.Butitisnotunfair,thoughnotadequate,toformulatesometheoriesofrepresentationdependinguponAbhinava'selaboratediscourse.III.RepresentationaslUusionLollata(9thc.A.D.)understandsthatthedramaticrepresentationinaperformanceisanillusionofrealityi.e.thecharactersetc.intheworldarepre-existenttotheirrepresentationbytheactors.6Hethinksthatintherealworldwhenanemotion(saylove)isintensified
(upacila)
byvirtueofitscombination20

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