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Published by Steve Mahashabde

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Published by: Steve Mahashabde on Aug 26, 2010
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Towards an Integral Appreciation of Abhinava’saesthetics of Rasa
For Elizabeth
Sunthar Visuvalingam
[The earlier version, without footnotes, of this now greatly expanded essay waspresented at the Indic Colloquium, 2002]
In this overview of Abhinava’s aesthetics,
I’ve attempted to maintain a balance between opposing constraints:
The first part of this essay was originally presented to theIndic Colloquium(July 2002) and hassince beenpublished in Spanish in the Sarasvat
journal (Madrid), issue #7 (May 2004). Thesecond part on
an abstract (of a paper yet to be) written for the WorldAssociation of Vedic Studies (WAVES) conference in 2002
nicely complements the precedingoverview. They are both being published here in print for the first time in English (as a combinedessay). All clarifications of a technical and
nature have been relegated to thefootnotes so as to ensure that the flow of ideas remains uninterrupted for the non-specialistaudience. For further post-publication developments of (the latter part of) this essay, checkhttp://www.svabhinava.org/abhinava/Sunthar-integral/default.htmPlease post your comments and queries regarding the contributions to this volume to theAbhinavagupta forum (where many of the theses in this essay have been already debated):http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Abhinavagupta/
focus on making the core insights accessible to educated laymen interested inaesthetics even while judiciously introducing technical Sanskrit terminology thathas no equivalent in non-Indian languages (also to satisfy the trained Indologistintent on recognizing what’s being ‘translated’).
provide sufficient historico-cultural context to clarify the specific expression theyfound in
doctrine even while highlighting the universal constants in humanexperience that the Indian formulations are derived from and seek to address inconsonance with a particular ethos.
enable the reader to ‘problematize’ Indian aesthetics through an account thatremains faithful to Abhinava’s explicit theorizing even while resituating hisdiverse pronouncements (and person) as a whole within our evolvingunderstanding of the tradition in relation to other cultures.
avoid making explicit comparisons (favorable or otherwise) privileging anyparticular non-Indian mode of artistic expression even while facilitating such
I thankRajiv MalhotraandTenzin Robert Thurmanfor having invited me to the Indic Colloquium at Menla (New York state), where I also got to knowMakarand Paranjape
, who hasassumed the daunting challenge of publishing this ongoing series on
The Synthesis of IndianCulture.
I also thank Chandana Dutta and Aneeta???for all their editorial work on this volume.Many of the scholars with whom I had the privilege of exchanging ideas, there at Menla, havesince joined the Abhinava forum (which now stands at more than 500 members). Ano-strings-attached grant of ten thousand dollars from the Infinity Foundationfacilitated my taking time off to prepare this volume, most of all for the varied research and exchanges that have gone into thisessay. I am most grateful to Felix and Aurora Ilarr
z for their steadfast friendship and generoussupport over the last two decades. I dedicate this essay to my dear wife, Elizabeth, whointroduced me to the continuing vitality of Bhairava-worship in India and Nepal, the hidden lifeof contemporary Benares, French intellectual (not just Indological) traditions, and has been aconstant resource and inspiration for my researches.

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