Indian Aesthetics

Course Name: Indian Aesthetics
Course Code: CCIA
Division: Kalakosa
Course HoD/ Coordinator: Prof. Sudhir Lall/ Dr. Mayank Shekhar
Duration: 3 Months
Total Credits: 4
Mode of Classes: Offline
Eligibilty: Graduation in any discipline (preferably in Sanskrit/Hindi/English/Linguistics/Philosophy Art History/Civilizational Studies)
FEES: Rs. 10,000

Course Objective

The course primarily aims to explore the history and issues of aesthetics originated and developed in India. In doing so, it encompasses the study of some major thinkers, brief analysis of their texts, underlining their contributions, and thus mapping the intellectual trajectories of Indian aesthetics. The thrust of the course is to prepare a foundation in domain of Indian theories of aesthetics and gradually conceptualizing an Asian aesthetics.

Course Outline
  • Indian Aesthetics: Context, Text & Issues
  • Interdisciplinarity of Indian Arts
  • Birth of Art: An episode from the Viṣṇudharmottara Purāṇa & the Citralakṣaṇa of Nagnajit
  • Introduction to the Nāṭyaśāstra of Bharatamuni: the foundational text of Indian Aesthetics
  • Reading some sections of the Nāṭyaśāstra
  • Art as Yoga (kalāyoga)
  • Six limbs of Indian Painting
  • The text of Kāmasūtra of Vātsyayana and Sixty-four arts
  • Brief study of thinkers and their texts: Bhāmaha, Daṇḍī, Vāmana, Udbhaṭṭa (Analytical period)
  • Ānandavardhana and Abhinavagupta: the philosophical period
  • Mammaṭa, Paṇḍitarāja Jagannātha: the elaboration period
  • Theories of aesthetics reception (rasa & bhāva)
  • Reading Modern Indian Aestheticians: Ravindranath Tagore, A K Coomaraswamy, Govind Chandra Pandey, Kanti Chandra Pandey, Kapila Vatsyayan


  • Coomaraswamy, Ananda. The Dance of Shiva. New York: The Sunrise Turn Inc, 1918.
  • Chakrabarti, Arindam, ed. The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Indian Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art. USA: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016.
  • De, Sushil Kumar. Studies in the History of Sanskrit Poetics. (Volume 1). London: Luzac & Co, 1923.
  • De, Sushil Kumar. Studies in the History of Sanskrit Poetics. (Volume 2). London: Luzac & Co, 1925.
  • Gnoli, Raniero. The Aesthetic Experience According to Abhinavagupta. Varanasi: Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, 1985.
  • Kane, P. V. History of Sanskrit Poetics. Delhi: MLBD, 1961
  • Krishnamoorthy, K. Some Thoughts on Indian Aesthetics and Literary Criticism (special lectures). Madras: University of Madras, 1968.
  • Raghvan, V. Studies on Some Concepts of the Alaṅkāraśāstra. Madras: The Adyar Library, 1963
  • Pandey, Kanti Chandra. Comparative Aesthetics (vol.1). Varanasi: Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, 1995.
  • Paranjape, Makarand, and Sunthar Visuvalingam, ed. Abhinavagupta: Reconsiderations. New Delhi: Samvad India Foundation, 2006.
  • Sasaki, Ken-ichi, ed. Asian Aesthetics. Singapore: NUS, 2011.