The fascinating world of multiple Bharatas that this book introduces its readers with is that of a perennial tale discovered and created afresh at each juncture of time; at each moment of self-doubt and self-exploration; at each rejoicing of self-discovery and self-recovery. If one does not come across a seamless continuity here, one does not encounter apparent ruptures either. The Bharatas, as narrated here, present us with amazing diversity with palpable consubstantiality expressed in myriad forms and multiple hues; tradition belonging as much to its contemporaneity as to its past; belonging as much to the spokes as to the axle; centrifugal and centripetal at once; a tradition old and new at the same moment of time.
The book is based on the proceedings of a seven-day international conference organized by the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) on the living traditions of the Mahabharata in the year 2011. The conference explored the multiple tellings and retellings of the Mahabharata story as sung, danced, and celebrated in festivals, inscribed on to geographic landscapes, committed to memory as sacred genealogy, embodied in rituals, and sculpted in shrines and temples. The presentations ranged from issues of poetics and ethics to translations, adaptations, and variations to folk and tribal traditions as sung, recited, and performed. Rather than exploring the Mahabharata as a book or a singular narrative, these papers focus on the multi-tradition of the Mahabharata in all its multidimensionality, multiplicity, and above all, in its fluidity. The book would certainly interest the scholars engaged in the study of the living heritage of Indian epics, folklorists, indologists, and anthropologists.
“…delves deep into the poetry of Jayadeva and throws new light on many little known aspects of Sanskrit kavya literature. The way words play in the Gitagovindam is a true marvel. All the technical details and classifications as also the multiple streams of expression in such poetry, the subtelities of puns and alliterations, and the inherent beauty of rasa and dhvani are brought out … It is a labour of love, and is worth studying because among all our ancient literature, this magnum opus alone has been the inspiration for the best in our arts – music, dance, painting, sculpture and more. Bhakti and Sringara rise and set in a profound cycle in this poem, like the sun and moon in an eternal flow of light and shade (This book) shares the pleasures of Sanskrit poetry with us, making the case for Sanskrit studies a must in modern India. What a loss to our civilization if we do not wake up to it now.” — (Lakshmi Viswanathan) KALAKSHETRA JOURNAL ISSUE 6, Feb 2017
“…The authors vividly elucidate the Nayaka and Nayika bhedas. The ten stages of love, called kamavasthas,….as elaborated in Natya Sastra, were beautifully employed by Jayadeva, and this is accurately pointed out by the authors…. the English translation of each verse is committed to the original without deviation….kudos to the authors who have unearthed the notes and established the raga and tala as mentioned by Jayadeva.
The effort in presenting this treasure trove for easy rendering of verses with well-hyphenated words is commendable.” — (M. Varadarajan) FRIDAY REVIEW, THE HINDU, June 23, 2017
“The Gita Govinda transports one to the world where everything glows with the love of Radha and Krishna. It reminds us of beauty in nature, the wonder of creation and complete surrender to the Lord. The work is a welcome addition to one’s collection of books. It brings us to the magical world of dance and music through the eyes of a Sanskrit scholar and a mature, expressive dancer. Two experts in their respective fields have come together to write this book. It makes the poetry much more meaningful and is a value addition to the world of literature and arts.” – (Meenakshi Krishnan) The JOURNAL of the MUSIC ACADEMY MADRAS,VOL 88, Dec 2017
This book critiques the poetics of theatre in early India by interpreting a system of theatre and performance along several themes such as theatre’s place in the premodern interdisciplinary knowledge systems, theatre space and architecture, cognition and emotion, performance, experience and consciousness, human and social behaviour, and music.
Theatre discourses of early India present theatre (natya) as an integrated art form, and the poetics of theatre as an interdisciplinary system of thought and performance. Theatre functions as a composite art production comprising dance (nrtya), song (gana), instrumental music (Atodya) and enactment (abhinaya). The poetics of this theatre provides thoughts, techniques, and instrumental frameworks for performance, based on an interdisciplinary reflection upon space, body, mind, motion, sound, memory, consciousness and theatre in relation to the other disciplines of knowledge.
This book attempts to examine the poetics of theatre in early India by interpreting a system of theatre and performance along several themes such as theatre’s place in the premodern interdisciplinary knowledge systems, theatre space and architecture, cognition and emotion, performance, experience and consciousness, human and social behaviour, and music. While focusing mainly on the aphoristic statements on theatre by Bharata in his Natyasastra (third century bce), the book responds to the principles of theatre and literature discussed and debated in a tradition of texts such as Nandikesvara’s Abhinaya Darpana (fifth-fourth century bce), Rajasekhara’s Kavyamimasa (tenth century ce) and Abhinavagupta’s Abhinavabharata (tenth-eleventh century ce). The major concepts elaborated in the book consist of the types of theatre space (ranga), forms of mental/emotive states (bhavas), forms of consciousness (rasas), human and regional variations of performance (vrtti and pravrtti), forms of vocal and instrumental music (gana and atodya), and various others. Divided into eight chapters, each addressing an aspect of theatre, the book is premised upon the argument that theatre poetics of early India presents a coordinated world of inner experience rooted in the self (citta) formed by cognition, emotion and consciousness, but that which develops on stage into an artistic network created by the primitive human behaviour, body, senses, space, sound and the external world, including the varieties of the social world.