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CHRYSSA VELISSARIOU

SONGSOPTOK THE WRITERS BLOG | 6/15/2015 |




PART TWO
THE "AESTHETIC EXPERIENCE» (RASA) IN INDIAN TRADITION


THE TERM "AESTETICS" applies to most of us primarily as a philosophical category, the domain of coextensive with the historic scope of the term "philosophy": a tradition rather coherent inaugurated in ancient Greek city, continues the medieval Christian world and results in the newer European -and, from a point onwards, North-American- thought. Its language is in principle Greek and Latin, with the subsequent contribution of German and Saxon languages. It is understood that other cultures, despite the undeniable contribution in various fields, did not produce something that is entitled to the name 'philosophy'. This position is now contested by many sides; certainly the crisis depends on exactly how we define the term "philosophy", however in general we can say that is wrong. If at least a part of Christian theology has obvious position on a comprehensive history of philosophical ideas, nothing prevents us to talk -for examble- for Arabic, Indian, Tibetan or Indian philosophy. The reluctance to do our due only to an implicit assumption, namely that a deficit of rationality (supposedly) paradoxically plagues all non-European peoples, which retroactively legitimizes the military, technological and economic dominance of the Europeans.

Today, that is difficult to explicitly say this without incurring the accusation of racism, this old colonial ideology has been changed in the terms of "irreducible difference ': these civilizations are in any event different, altogether foreign to us, and since the worldview presupposes given understanding concepts and ways of thinking follows that represent something hermetically impenetrable for the European consciousness - something which we in practice ignore. The concept of difference, axis of an extensive field of discussions identified with philosophical postmodernism of today, is not less metaphysical than the theological meaning of quite another, which constitutes its most direct ancestor. If we refuse to place the principle dualistic ontology of Plato, and a certain monotheistic tradition, we realize that nothing in the large community of real science is quite different to something else: nothing is absolutely identical with himself, absolutely nothing different from everything else, everything is already cracked and already complex mediated in countless ways. In the field of history this applies much more clearly. Understanding between cultures is not initiated without preconditions and especially today; the mediations are already many successively scaled - missionaries, colonialism, travel literature, social anthropologists, alternative movements with exotic spiritual research- creating a densely networked background for new comparative conceptualizations. It is also educative that for them the "others" Western culture is far from most other: African, Arab, Indian, Chinese, Japanese scholars studying intensively today western science, Marxism, phenomenology, the neopragmatism, psychoanalysis, the metastructuralism and consider self-evident that they have to incorporate them in their own tradition and in their own frame of mind. If Westerners refuse to do the same, only due to spiritual sloth this is resulting from the arrogance of their practical power.

In cultures that developed impressive artistic traditions are expected to meet some kind of aesthetic reflection, regardless of what form it is or how far it has survived to us. And when it comes to cultures also developed elaborate and centuries-old textual traditions, it becomes much more likely to encounter an organized aesthetic thinking with the meaning it has for us the term - thinking that sets similar to our own problems and oriented in related or similar answers. The Indian culture is probably the most wonderful such example.

The most important contribution of Indian thought in the global aesthetic philosophy is the concept of rasa. The suggestibility of poetic form is ultimately the bond that connects the word with vision or experience - and it is precisely this experience which explains the hardly explicable term rasa. The first thing to bear in mind, therefore, is that the rasa does not name something that can be positively identified as a natural object or form, but a type of lived experience: it is not something you "know" but something that we feel. A famous saying says that a poem without rasa is like a marriage without love; and as no one can make us intentionally fall in love, in the same way cannot make us experience rasa. The second thing that is essential for this idea is that the concept of rasa is inseparably encompassed by the vision of the author, the specific power of artistic work and aesthetic experiential response of the cultured reader. Already in the Vedic era is emphasized the unity of the poet and the listener, and in subsequent discussions, the aesthetic theory of recruitment or the reader, as you would say today, occupies considerably a big part of it. The aesthetically sensitive reader, the sahrdaya, often called rasika: is one who can be identified, ideally with the poet that enliven through the whole poetic vision and poetic emotion. We can therefore say preliminarily that the rasa is identified with what we call aesthetic shiver, a mysterious and difficult expressible quality captured only by its effects; the closest equivalent in Western thought is perhaps the Kantian concept of the sublime (reinterpretation and transformation, the idea of the height suggested by Longinus in the 1st century AD ). Because of its unexpressed and fleeting character rasa is paralleled by many Indian critics -although not completely identically- with religious or generally ecstatic experiences. The Ampinavagkoupta says that if you touch it with minimal roughness, it fades and disappears like a flower, and Anantavarntana says that the best thing we can do for it is to be silent.

The first important Literature of the Classical period, in which amongst other things we owe the first extensive negotiation of rasa, has been the Bharata's. Bharata nevertheless refers to the origin of this idea in Valmiki, the semi-mythical author of Ramayana who thanks to an early modern means of denotation trick appears in the very plot of the epic. There appears to say that true poetry "is not the product of intelligent manufacturing but the spontaneous outpouring of a heart flooded with rasa». Bharata  explains this concept developping a complex theory of aesthetically mediated emotions. The question is to understand what constitutes an aesthetically mediated emotion in the Indian world. It is clear than any emotion is not a rasa unless they are stimulated aesthetically: only one emotion caused and solved by artistic means is free from pathological potential that accompanies common, derived from the unconscious layers of emotions and amounts, regardless of what kind passions are at the starting point, to pure and redemptive joy. The creator to push  at the height of this experience must be selfless and detached from any personal aiming, fear or desire, able to meditate on the peaceful life situations without being affected by them. What thus captures and transmits through his work is according to a nice wording of Bharata, "the thrill of emotion." This secondary processing of emotion is the quintessence of aesthetic experience. But is such an experience "true"? Certainly not in the way that is the ordinary experiences of life. The Ampinavagkoupta, the greatest commentator of Bari, likens it to the artistic experience of the dream. In a sense, nothing is truly happening in the outside world: it would be ridiculous to fall in love with a character of drama or to be scared by a demonic presence on stage; in another aspect, the emotion is present and cataclysmic, although transient, and once experienced is truer than anything happens out in everyday life. Like the dream, can also have a lasting and transformative impact on the psyche of the listener / viewer. This cathartic element (in the sense that we are familiar from Aristotle) is actually one of the reconnaissance effects of rasa - the therapeutic character.

The other element that is undoubtedly familiar to every western philosophical aesthetics, from Aquinas to Kant, is selfless detachment that characterizes the aesthetic pleasure. We saw how critical is this component to the experience of rasa · and this somehow makes us think of the relationship between aesthetic and moral attitude. For the Indians, as for younger Europeans, aesthetic experience cannot be first unrelated to morality since it requires selflessness and detachment and selflessness is the root of all worthy of the name of morality. The moral attitude but suggests much more than simple detachment; it is essentially active, oriented purposes and requires forms of action in the public world, which by definition are excluded from the aesthetic attitude. The sole purpose of the latter is free from all feasibility meditation - which repeatedly makes the parallels in the Indian world with the experience of yogi (which has in itself nothing particularly moral). In general, the interests of the Indian world is more than moral epistemology, and in this respect the experience of rasa described much more often akin to the vision of truth. Yet here requires a substantial mitigation: the truth is not the truth conceptually articulated philosophy but the instantaneous intuitive flare featuring the more religious-type experiences enlightenment. Identifier to these experiences is the feeling of bliss that accompanies them, a joy which no fear and no desire can not be eclipsed. Says an old Vedic saying, only the man who has defeated selfishness and confronts the highest truth is in ecstatic jubilation because they're focused will always see the glory of Brahman. Essence of this bliss is to overcome individualism and identification with the infinite cosmic reality; and until someone stand able to permanently achieve, poetry --the Art-- is the only medium offering an occasional glimpse of this ideals of later life.

In the Indian world, the individual arts represent special codes morphic irreducible directly with each other, but which at the second level communicate and are potentially translatable via a fundamental anthropological correlation. And the depth of this correlation is always found the regulatory concept of rasa. As regards an art with such different media and construction techniques from poetry, like painting, its recurrence is that notifies us about the corresponding artistic effect. It is characteristic that in Santagka work, or the six rules of painting, which transcribed the painter Ampanintranath Tagore, brother of poet Rabindranath, in the early twentieth century from an old Sanskrit manuscript, 8 in six traditional construction principles -roupampenta (principle of morphological differentiation ) pramanani (measures, proportions, perspective view), Bava (of mind), take-giotzanam (artistic freedom or individuality) santrisiam (rhetorical methods of analogies with poetry), Varna-Baga (technique of coloring) - add two Latest dominant principles: rhythm (tschanta) and rasa (which the Giulio Cayman translates as "good taste"). The rasa certainly is, as we have seen, much more ... In any case it has become clear that, at the level of technical discussions, represents a critical transition point from a peculiar morphological field  to any particular art in single experiential field that enables artistic creativity and artistic delight in general, and at whose imaginary sources are potentially translatable and / or the effects of all the individual arts.

Only thus the idea of a deeper unity of the arts together was born in the Indian culture . Although each individual art is an expressive unit field, the common structure of unexpressed whole is reflected inside it , which itself constitutes an isomorphic image.
Ancient common roots of Indian and Greek music
There are signs that the Greek and Indian music share common musical Indo-European roots. Today's adventurous musicians, based on current scientific information, inspired by the system of Vedic hymns in order to reach the ancient musical modes, whose tradition was lost from Greece.
In India, the development of music associated with the historical evolution. During Ringside-Vedic era, 3.000-2.5000 BC, the ancient Indians used to accompany their sacred ceremonies with hymns. Musicians rules regulating these hymns, recorded in Vedic scriptures and preserved until today, giving detailed reports of musical art of those times.
The geographer Strabo (67p.Ch.-23 AD) argues that the ancient Greeks were the musicians how mainly in Indian music.

It is said that Pythagoras brought in Greece from the East the seven notes scales, the three octaves, like in the ancient musical system of ways. Modern scholars argue that Egyptians and Pythagoreans transferred to Byzantines and Arabs the most basic concepts of Indian music, while at the end of the Middle Ages musical concepts were known in the rest of Europe.

It is assumed, therefore, that the ancient Greek music had common roots with the Indian, or at least with the then international system of "modes", but whose delivery has maintained unchanged only Indians. Perhaps these similarities are explained by the relatively new theories, talking about immigration Dravidians  or Prodravidians tribes in ancient times by Greek territories to India.
END OF PART TWO.

[CHRYSSA VELISSARIOU]


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