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Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 1, 2018

Aesthetics and Philosophies of Art

Shail Kumari
Pages 161-168

The Contributions of Indian Philosophy to Aesthetics

The term ‘Aesthetics’ has been considered in Indian Philosophy as Saundaryash a-stra or Nandansh a-stra which is a branch of philosophical enquiry and precisely means the philosophical study of ‘Beauty’ and ‘Sublime’. In my selected topic, I have tried to explain in brief the views of some best art-thinkers of India who described philosophical similarity between sculpture, painting, poetry, music and dance. Here, the foundation stone of saundaryash a-stra enlarges upon the maxim, Vibha-va, Anubha-va, Vyabhi­ca-ri samyoga-d rasnishpattih. It gets its origin in drama, reaches its culmination of growth in poetics and is developed in architecture and music. This maxim contains in it the psychological reality of a member of the audience as well as the contents of artistic expression which transforms the mental state of an individual. How an artistic expression works on audience as well as on actor or performer or creator has been presented through this maxim. According to it an artistic presentation transforms one’s emotions into a purely aesthetic transcendental feeling i.e., divine bliss. It is the transformation of mood (bha-va) into its essence - Rasa. Vibha-va is the means by which an emotion is activated. The outward manifestations as a result of vibha-va are the anub­ha-va. Vyabhica-rí or sancha-ri bhava-s (complementary states) are feelings which develop the permanent mood (Sthayibha-vas). The prime philosophical concept of ‘Time’ conceived in several schools of Indian philosophy as a portion of time and in any musical performance (including instrumental and dance) is actually measured in terms of time and named as ka-la-khanda. The aesthetic pursuit is primarily the pursuit of ‘Ka-ma’, which in wider sense as a constituent of the interactive relationship with the others, it could be linked to love or the aesthetic equivalent ‘S′rin·g a-ra’ and taken as a movement towards ‘moks′a’. Most of the aesthetic-thinkers of India consummate in bliss that is the goal of aesthetics. So, all explanations have been attempted to show how this purpose is served in different schools of Indian philosophy at various stages of their development.

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