Overview for Saundarya: The Perception and Practice of Beauty in India
A Peculiar feature of the classical aesthetic thought in India has been the emphasis on the art experience as a special state of being, defined not so much by saundarya or beauty as by ananda or beatitude. Yet, saundarya has been a crucial ingredient in the aesthetic experience, prevalent not only in traditional are objects but also in articles of daily life. The discourse of saundarya, as distinct from its experience, was however conducted by or on behalf of the cultivated aesthete and was carried out within the ambit of classical thought. In contrast, modernity, understood not merely as modernization but as a departure from traditional modes of thinking and behaviour, has opened new vists of human experience and creativity, some of them in total opposition to traditional aesthetic norms. But even as modernity opens new discourse and initiates fresh debates on saundarya, we are reminded that the experience of beauty is a primal need, not easily overcome or substituted by another. Can a renewed quest for an understanding of the perception and practice of saundarya in India ensure that it is not relegated to the status of an archaic relic or curio, but restored as one f the bindas or foci of our lives? This volume, perhaps the first of its kind, is a unique contribution to the history of Indian aesthetic analysis. Its eminent contributors, ranging from aestheticians, linguists, philosophers, historians, literary critics, art collectors, curators, performing artists, painters, and musicians of the highest caliber, are drawn from across three continents and diverse countries. Profusely illustrated, this visual and textual treat on the craft and culture of beauty in India, promises to be a collectorâ€™s item.
Harsha V. Dehejia (Editor)
Harsha V. Dehejia has a double doctorate, one in Medicine and the other in Ancient Indian Culture, both from the University of Mumbai. He is also a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London, Glasgow and Canada, all by examination. He is Professor of Religion at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada where he teaches Indian Aesthetics. He has published three books, The Advaita of Art, Parvatidarpana (both by Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi) and Parvati, Goddess of Love (by Mapin, Ahmedabad). He is Curatorial Advisor to the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Dr. Dehejia is a practicing physician and lives in Ottawa.
Makarand Paranjape (Editor)
Makarand Paranjape is Professor of English at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and a student of modern Indian spiritual traditions. A poet, scholar, and critic, he is the author and editor of numerous books including Decolonization and Development: Hind Svaraj Revisioned and The Penguin Sri Aurobindo Reader.