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Indian Philosophy in EnglishFrom Renaissance to Independence$
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Nalini Bhushan and Jay L. Garfield

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199769261

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199769261.001.0001

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K. C. Bhattacharyya, “The Concept of Rasa” (1930)

K. C. Bhattacharyya, “The Concept of Rasa” (1930)

(p.193) 5 K. C. Bhattacharyya, “The Concept of Rasa” (1930)
Indian Philosophy in English

Nalini Bhushan

Jay L. Garfield

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents an excerpt from Krishna Chandra Bhattacharyya’s 1930 essay, “The Concept of Rasa,” in which he provides a very nonclassical analysis of the classical Indian aesthetic construct of rasa (taste, essence). Bhattacharyya is perhaps India's best-known academic philosopher of the colonial period. He held the King George V Chair (now the B. N. Seal Chair) in Philosophy at the University of Calcutta and trained many of the eminent philosophers of the post-independence period. He is best known for his highly technical and even forbidding work on metaphysics, epistemology, aesthetics, and the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. In his essay, Bhattacharyya explains how Indian aesthetics presents the characteristic concept of rasa for which it is difficult to find an English equivalent. He also discusses the concept of aesthetic enjoyment in relation to sympathy and the distinction between an object's beauty and ugliness. Finally, he explains how the enjoyed quintessence of ugliness is what Indian aesthetic recognizes as a rasa, thus giving credit to the virility of Indian art and to the Indian theory of art.

Keywords:   rasa, Krishna Chandra Bhattacharyya, aesthetics, philosophy, aesthetic enjoyment, sympathy, ugliness, Indian art, theory of art, beauty

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