Kalātattvakośa Terms – Reference Cards

The Kalātattvakośa or Lexicon of Fundamental Concepts of the Indian Arts aims at throwing light on the basic concepts contained in the different disciplines. The approach thus differs from technical glossaries of separate disciplines or text-groups (e.g. the terminological Glossaries of Sanskrit begun by L. Renou which remained incomplete), assuming that in most cases there is an inner link and a deeper reason for the same concept being used in different branches of the Indian tradition. For example, the concept of rasa has a chemical and physiological meaning in Rasasastra and Ayurveda, which is not without an inner relation with the aesthetical concept of rasa as “aesthetic flavour’. Each concept has its own life and history which has evolved even up to the modern Indian languages, giving a particular ‘colour’ and ‘flavour’ to each cultural expression. All the dimensions and levels of these concepts have to be explored before we can discover their manifestation and usage in the various arts. The intention of the Lexicon is not to force any scheme of interpretation of these concepts, either of unity or of diversity, but to present the original textual material in a way which will make visible the underlying connection. In some cases the inner link many be obvious, the others it can be inferred, or it may stimulate further research.

The following method has been adopted for this Lexicon. In the first stage a list of about 261 Sanskrit terms was prepared in consultation with several scholars. The criteria of selection depended upon their multidisciplinary nature, i.e. only such terms were selected which occur in at least two or three different fields (e.g.Veda, Tantra, Ayurveda), and which also appear in one or the other branches of the arts. These terms have been grouped in broad conceptual categories, such as space-time, form, elements, creative process, as well as pervasive terms, the part and the whole. This categorization helps in clarifying some basic ideas underlying the Indian world-view, and their connection with the arts.

The next step consisted in selecting the most important primary texts (originally 108, then 275 and now 628) in Sanskrit, to a limited extent also in Pali and Prakrit, from which quotations/references were to be extracted. These references have been collected on cards by pandits and scholars, containing the term in question, the text, the quotation in Sanskrit, Pali, etc.. These cards have also been fed into the computer, and cards on a particular term are given to the scholar writing the respective article.

With this vast collection of digitized reference cards, we are going to disclose an enormous treasure of academic information (an outcome of a band of expert researchers’ untiring effort of about 26 years) before the eyes of scholarly world for the benefit and fulfillment of their academic interest.

  1. As stated above, at the time of preparing scheme of Kalātattvakośa 261 terms were chosen by the expert committee and for this work 628 texts have been selected in which these concepts are likely to be dealt with. (List of terms and texts are enclosed in appendix).

  2. To prepare an article Kalātattvakośa follows a specific framework where the contributor has to cover a vast range starting from Vedas up to the text on Architecture, etc. and in this course he has to venture through at least 20/22 Indic disciplines.

  3. Reference cards with translation and notes play a vital role in this task because there are the basic material which save the time, energy and labour of the contributor to whom these cards are sent for writing the article on the term assigned to him.

  4. Without these cards it will be hardly possible for any scholar to go though all these texts/disciplines, search out the materials and prepare the article within a given period. So far, approximately 67000 reference cards are prepared by the research staff since the inception of IGNCA Varanasi on 261 terms on Indian arts.

The reference cards contain quotations or citations with proper references from approx 628 different Indic texts as well as translation and notes as per the requirement of the article to be written. These are kept text-wise and term-wise for easy accessing for a scholar especially of Indic Study.

The retrieval facility of Kalātattvakośa Terms consists of three alternatives –

  1. The reference cards may be searched term-wise, the user just need to enter the term from the term list provided (261 terms). The system will display all the reference cards for a particular term one page at a time on the screen.

  2. The reference cards may be searched text-wise, the user just need to enter the text name from the text list provided (628 texts). The system will display all the reference cards for a particular text, one page at a time on the screen.

  3. The reference cards may also be searched with the combination of both term and text-wise.

All the terms are displayed page-wise one by one.

We hope, the world of scholarship as well as general users will find these cards of some interest and useful for their academic work.