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R.K. NarayanThe Novelist and His Art$
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Ranga Rao

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199470754

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199470754.001.0001

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Cosmic Comedy

Cosmic Comedy

R.K. Narayan’s Gunas Comedy

(p.241) 20 Cosmic Comedy
R.K. Narayan

Ranga Rao

Oxford University Press

From our reading of Narayan’s fifteen novels and novellas, it seems that Narayan’s imagination had struck early a new vein of comedy which he cultivated, not consciously, but consistently and progressively. Narayan’s interest in people, a wide range of characters, leads us to believe that we have a conceptual possibility here, of a different species of comedy, the gunas comedy. The three gunas or qualities bear the names of satva, rajas, and tamas. The terms denote three personality types: ‘sattvic’ means gentle, mild, kindly, amiable. Similarly, ‘rajasic’ denotes domineering spirit, haughty, arrogant; and ‘tamasic’ is angry and wicked. These terms have their origin in the Gita. However, there are no pure categories: there is only predominance, and, more significantly, whatever the karmic make-up evolution runs its course. There is hope for everyone, for success is inevitable. With the gunas comedy we are in an ambience of R.K. Narayan’s humanism.

Keywords:   satva, rajas, tamas, gunas comedy, the Gita, R.K. Narayan’s humanism, karma

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