Course in Indian Poetics


The purpose of the amorous poetry, namely the thumri, padam or ashtapadi, that remains central to Indian music and dance traditions, is not so much to divulge the inner condition, but for that ineffable inner condition to be recognized. And this requires the cultivation of an eye-for-nuance in equal measure, both in the performer as well as the partaker/viewer, called the rasika. Beginning with the Rasa theory as delineated by Bharata in the Natyashastra, the curated readings in this eight-week course will revolve around the poetic discourse that emerged out of the Saiva philosophy during the 1st millennium of the Christian era.  Focusing particularly on Pratibjijna or the Theory of Recognition, the course will touch upon Dhvani, the theory of Resonance, as well as the monumental shift that takes place in Indian poetics with the advent of the santa rasa. Linguistic debates regarding the purpose of poetry, i.e. whether for instruction or for pleasure or poetic resonance, as well as conceptualizations of God or Iswara will also be included.

The course will begin on 30th July till 17th September 2020. 

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