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Seminars and Colloquia

Humanities and Social Sciences

The Concept of “Divine Success” in the Natyashastra  
Tue, Jun 19, 2018,   12:00 PM to 01:00 PM at Seminar Room 24 (Main Building)

Dr. Prashant Bagad
IIT Kanpur

The Nāṭyaśāstra discusses two types of dramatic success: human and divine. What constitutes human success is quite clear. The play achieves human success when a performance is immediately appreciated by spectators for its beauty or exhibition of skill. But the prominent indication of divine success is silence. How can we make sense of this silence? What is it that makes divine success divine? I put forth my interpretation of this intriguing but underexplored concept. I contend that the two kinds of success connote two different yet interdependent levels of interpretation of the play. On the level of human success, spectators engage with the individual parts of the play, and on the level of divine success they engage with the play as an aesthetic whole. I propose that the metaphor of “divinity” suggests that the beauty or success of a performance consists in the non-methodically, non-mechanically, intuitively synthesised, inherently meaningful (in a Kantian sense) and felt harmony among the play’s parts.

Prashant Bagad is a philosopher, writer and literary critic. He received his PhD from the University of Southampton. He is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur. His areas of interest are Aesthetics, Philosophy and Literature, Existentialism, Phenomenology, Hermeneutics, Gandhi Studies and Marathi Literature. His philosophical articles have been published in Journal of Aesthetic Education, Journal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research and Journal of Contemporary Thought. He received Baburav Bagul Award and P. N. Pandit Award for his short story collection, Vivade Vishade Pramade Pravase. His short stories, poems and literary critical essays have appeared in distinguished Marathi literary journals.