The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Emotions in Classical Indian Philosophy 9781350167773, 9781350167780, 9781350167797

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Table of contents :
Cover page
Halftitle page
Series page
Title page
Copyright page
CHAPTER ONE Grief, Tranquility, and S´a¯nta Rasa in Ravisẹnạ’s Padmapur¯an
CHAPTER TWO Emotions in Vis´isṭ¯ạdvaita Ved¯anta1
CHAPTER THREE Joy as Medicine? Yogav¯asisṭḥa and Descartes on the Affective Sources of Disease
CHAPTER FOUR Some Analyses of Feeling
CHAPTER FIVE Lament and the Work of Tears: Andromache,Sı¯ta¯, Yas´odhara¯
CHAPTER SIX The Mind in Pain: The View from Buddhist Systematic and Narrative Thought
CHAPTER SEVEN Transparent Smoke in the Pure Sky of Consciousness: Emotions and Liberation-While-Living in the Jı¯vanmuktiviveka
CHAPTER EIGHT Gesture and Emotion in Tamil S´aiva Devotional Poetry
CHAPTER NINE The Emotion that is Correlated with the Comic: Notes on Human Nature Through Rasa Theory1
CHAPTER TEN Is there a Can˙kam Way of Feeling? Body, Landscape, Voice, and Affect in Old Tamil Poetry
CHAPTER ELEVEN Wretched and Blessed: Emotional Praise in a Sanskrit Hymn from Kashmir
CHAPTER TWELVE Savoring Rasa: Emotion, Judgment, and Phenomenal Content
CHAPTER THIRTEEN How Does it Feel to be on Your Own: Solitude (viveka) in A´svaghosạ’s Saundarananda
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Bloomsbury Research Handbooks in Asian Philosophy Series Editors Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad, Lancaster University, UK Sor-hoon Tan, National University of Singapore, Singapore

Editorial Advisory Board Roger Ames, Professor of Philosophy, University of Hawai‘i, USA; Doug Berger, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Southern Illinois University, USA; Carine Defoort, Professor of Philosophy, KU Leuven, Belgium; Owen Flanagan, James B. Duke Professor of Philosophy, Duke University, USA; Jessica Frazier, Lecturer in Religious Studies, University of Kent, UK; Chenyang Li, Professor of Chinese Philosophy, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; Ronnie Littlejohn, Professor of Philosophy, Director of Asian Studies, Belmont University, USA; Evan Thompson, Professor of Philosophy, University of British Columbia, Canada. Bringing together established academics and rising stars, Bloomsbury Research Handbooks in Asian Philosophy survey philosophical topics across all the main schools of Asian thought. Each volume focuses on the history and development of a core subject in a single tradition, asking how the field has changed, highlighting current disputes, anticipating new directions of study, illustrating the Western philosophical significance of a subject and demonstrating why a topic is important for understanding Asian thought. From knowledge, being, gender and ethics, to methodology, language and art, these research handbooks provide up-to-date and authoritative overviews of Asian philosophy in the twenty-first century. Available Titles The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Chinese Philosophy and Gender, edited by Ann A. Pang White The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Chinese Philosophy Methodologies, edited by Sor-hoon Tan The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Contemporary Japanese Philosophy, edited by Michiko Yusa The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Early Chinese Ethics and Political Philosophy, edited by Alexus McLeod The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Indian Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art, edited by Arindam Chakrabarti The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Indian Ethics, edited by Shyam Ranganathan The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Indian Philosophy and Gender, edited by Veena R. Howard The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Indian Philosophy of Language, edited by Alessandro Graheli The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Ved¯anta, edited by Ayon Maharaj ii



BLOOMSBURY ACADEMIC Bloomsbury Publishing Plc 50 Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3DP, UK 1385 Broadway, New York, NY 10018, USA 29 Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2, Ireland BLOOMSBURY, BLOOMSBURY ACADEMIC and the Diana logo are trademarks of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc First published in Great Britain 2021 Copyright © Maria Heim, Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad, Roy Tzohar, and Contributors, 2021 Maria Heim, Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad, and Roy Tzohar have asserted their right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, to be identified as Editors of this work. For legal purposes the Acknowledgments on p. vii constitute an extension of this copyright page. Cover image: Bharatanatyam Dance, Mylapore, Chennai. Paddy Photography/Getty Images. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publishers. Bloomsbury Publishing Plc does not have any control over, or responsibility for, any third-party websites referred to or in this book. All internet addresses given in this book were correct at the time of going to press. The author and publisher regret any inconvenience caused if addresses have changed or sites have ceased to exist, but can accept no responsibility for any such changes. A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. A catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress. ISBN: HB: 978-1-3501-6777-3 ePDF: 978-1-3501-6778-0 eBook: 978-1-3501-6779-7 Series: Bloomsbury Research Handbooks in Asian Philosophy Typeset by RefineCatch Limited, Bungay, Suffolk To find out more about our authors and books visit and sign up for our newsletters.







Introduction Maria Heim, Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad, and Roy Tzohar


1 Grief, Tranquility, and S´¯anta Rasa in Ravisẹ na’s ̣ Padmapur¯aṇa Gregory M. Clines


2 Emotions in Vi´s isṭ ¯advaita Ved¯anta ˙ Elisa Freschi


3 Joy as Medicine? Yogav¯asis ṭ ha and Descartes on the Affective ˙ Sources of Disease Ana Laura Funes Maderey 4 Some Analyses of Feeling Maria Heim 5 Lament and the Work of Tears: Andromache, S¯ıt¯a, and Ya´s odhar¯a Steven P. Hopkins 6 The Mind in Pain: The View from Buddhist Systematic and Narrative Thought Sonam Kachru








7 Transparent Smoke in the Pure Sky of Consciousness: Emotions and Liberation-While-Living in the J¯ı vanmuktiviveka James Madaio 8 Gesture and Emotion in Tamil S´aiva Devotional Poetry Anne Monius



9 The Emotion that is Correlated with the Comic: Notes on Human Nature Through Rasa Theory Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad


10 Is there a Can ˙ kam Way of Feeling? Body, Landscape, Voice, and Affect in Old Tamil Poetry Martha Ann Selby


11 Wretched and Blessed: Emotional Praise in a Sanskrit Hymn from Kashmir Hamsa Stainton


12 Savoring Rasa: Emotion, Judgment, and Phenomenal Content Sthaneshwar Timalsina


13 How Does it Feel to be on Your Own: Solitude (viveka) in A´s vaghosa’s ̣ Saundarananda Roy Tzohar







Gregory M. Clines is Assistant Professor of Religion at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. His research focuses on Jain R ¯am¯ayaṇa literature in Sanskrit and north Indian vernaculars and early modern Digambara Jainism in north India. He is also interested in Sanskrit literary and aesthetic theory. His work has appeared in the journals Religions, South Asian History and Culture, and the International Journal of Jaina Studies (Online). Elisa Freschi works on Sanskrit Philosophy and more specifically on topics of epistemology of testimony, philosophy of religion, philosophy of language, deontic logic, and on the re-use of texts in South Asian intellectual traditions. She is a convinced upholder of reading Sanskrit philosophical texts within their history and understanding them through a philosophical approach. She worked at the University of Vienna and as research leader of projects on Vi´s isṭ ¯advaita Ved¯anta and on deontic logic and M¯ım¯amṣ ¯a at the ˙ Austrian Academy of Sciences, and is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy, University of Toronto. Maria Heim is the George Lyman Crosby 1896 & Stanley Warfield Crosby Professor in Religion at Amherst College. She is a Guggenheim Fellow, and was educated at Reed College and Harvard University. Her recent books, Voice of the Buddha (Oxford 2018) and The Forerunner of All Things (Oxford 2014), focus on Buddhaghosa. Her current interests center on emotions in Sanskrit and Pali texts. Steven P. Hopkins is Mari S. Michener Professor of Religion and Asian Studies at Swarthmore College. His major field of scholarship is South Indian devotional literature in Tamil and Sanskrit, with special attention to the work vii



of medieval South Indian saint-poet and philosopher Ven ˙ kathan¯atha, though he has published widely in the area of comparative religious literatures. He has published three books on Ven ˙ kat e´s a with Oxford University Press, most ˙ recently The Flight of Love (2016), and was awarded the 2010 A.K. Ramanujan Book Prize for Translation. He is currently completing a comparative study of women’s laments in Greek, Hindu, and Buddhist literatures. Sonam Kachru is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia. His research focuses on the history of philosophy, with particular attention to the history of Buddhist philosophy in ancient South Asia, centering on topics in the philosophy of mind (consciousness, attention, imagination), metaphysics, and philosophical anthropology. His essays have appeared in the Journal of Indian Philosophy; Journal of the American Oriental Society; Sophia, and The Journal of Religion, among other places. His first book, Other Lives: Mind and World in Indian Buddhism, is forthcoming with Columbia University Press. James Madaio is a fellow at the Oriental Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences and at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. He is associate editor of The Journal of Hindu Studies and regional editor (Indic traditions) for Bloomsbury’s Introductions to World Philosophies book series. He received his PhD from the University of Manchester and was previously a fellow at New Europe College (Bucharest), an affiliated researcher at the Kuppuswami Sastri Research Institute (Chennai), and a lecturer at Charles University and the University of Maryland. Ana Laura Funes Maderey is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Eastern Connecticut State University (ESCU) where she teaches Asian Philosophies, East-West Comparative topics in Philosophy, and Feminist Philosophies. Her research seeks to establish dialogues between phenomenology, feminism, and notions of bodily self-awareness in the Indian philosophical schools of S¯amkhya, ̣ Yoga, and Ved¯anta. She recently co-edited with Christopher Chapple the book Thinking with the Yoga Su¯tra: Translation, Interpretation. Anne Monius was Professor of South Asian Religions at Harvard Divinity School, where she taught for seventeen years, educating and mentoring countless students in Tamil and Sanskrit cultures. Her undergraduate and PhD work were also from Harvard. Her research centered on the literary cultures and the histories of religion in South India. She authored Imagining a Place for Buddhism: Literary Culture and Religious Community in TamilSpeaking South India (Oxford 2001). Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad is Distinguished Professor of Comparative Philosophy and Religion at Lancaster University, and Fellow of the British



Academy. His most recent books are Divine Self, Human Self: The Philosophy of Being in Two Gita Commentaries, and Human Being, Bodily Being: Phenomenology from Classical India. He has written over fifty papers on a variety of topics in Indian and comparative philosophy, politics and political thought, and Indian religions. Martha Ann Selby is Professor of South Asian Studies in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of several books, including Tamil Love Poetry: The Five Hundred Short Poems of the Ain ˙ kurunu ¯ ru (Columbia, 2011), which was awarded the A.K. Ramanujan ¯ ¯ Translation Prize in March 2014. Her translation of the short fiction of Tamil author Dilip Kumar, Cat in the Agrah¯aram and Other Stories, appeared in March 2020 from Northwestern University Press. She is currently preparing a full translation of the Old Tamil anthology Kuruntokai for the Murty ¯ Classical Library of India, Harvard University Press. Hamsa Stainton is an Assistant Professor in the School of Religious Studies at McGill University. Recent publications include Tantrapus p̣ ¯añjali: Tantric Traditions and Philosophy of Kashmir; Studies in Memory of Pandit H.N. Chakravarty (co-edited with Bettina Bäumer; IGNCA, 2018) and Poetry as Prayer in the Sanskrit Hymns of Kashmir (Oxford 2019). Sthaneshwar Timalsina (PhD Martin Luther University, Halle, Germany) is Professor in the department of Religious Studies at San Diego State University. He works in the areas of Indian Religions and Philosophies. The primary areas of his research include consciousness studies and tantric studies. Besides four books, Seeing and Appearance (Shaker Verlag, 2006); Consciousness in Indian Philosophy (Routledge, 2009); Tantric Visual Culture: A Cognitive Approach (Routledge, 2015), and Language of Images: Visualization and Meaning in Tantras (Peter Lang, 2015), he has published over eighty essays and book chapters in his fields of research. He is currently working in the areas of time and memory, imagination, and emotion. Roy Tzohar is an associate professor in the East and South Asian Studies Department and the Philosophy Department at Tel Aviv University. He specializes in the history of philosophy with a focus on Buddhist and Brahmanical philosophical traditions in India. His current research deals with Buddhist notions of nonconceptuality and action, and the works of the Buddhist poet and philosopher A´s vaghosa. ̣ His monograph, A Buddhist Yog¯ac¯ara Theory of Metaphor (Oxford 2018), deals with Indian philosophy of language and the Yog¯ac¯ara philosophy of language and experience in particular.


We acknowledge first and foremost the sudden cruel tragedy that took Anne Monius from us in the course of completing the volume in summer 2019. Anne was a beloved friend, colleague, and mentor to many of the contributors gathered here; some of us had known and admired her for decades since graduate school while others count themselves fortunate to be among her many students. Among the three editors, Maria Heim benefited from Anne’s wise, insightful, and generous nature for many years at workshops and collaborative projects. All of us learned from her at the Amherst workshop that stimulated this volume and in her wonderful contribution now included in it. The loss of this beautiful, witty, and kind scholar is keenly felt, and we dedicate our efforts to her memory. We are grateful to the Willis Wood Fund in the Religion Department at Amherst College for supporting the gathering of most of the contributors just as the autumnal leaves of New England started to turn in late September 2019. We thank all of the participants who took the time and effort to travel, sometimes from great distances, to join a conversation now yielding what we hope, for all that, is a more cohesive and polished collective effort to advance the field of emotions research than it would be otherwise. We gratefully acknowledge the helpful interventions of all participants and attendees of the workshop, including Arindam Chakrabarthi, Jay Garfield, William Edelglass, Felicity Aulino, Anna Lee White, Kristin Culbertson, and Jed Forman. Finally, we offer effusive appreciation to Lisa Ballou for her able and welcoming assistance with the logistics and hospitality of the workshop. Many of the conversations and intellectual friendships generated at the workshop had precursors in previous Amherst emotions workshops and x



collaborations among the editors and participants. The three editors were fortunate to have the opportunity to come together and conceive the project a year and a half previous at the “Emotions across Boundaries, International Seminar and Workshop in the Philosophy and History of Emotion,” held by the Department of East and South Asian Studies, Tel Aviv University, in January 2018. Finally, our thanks go to Colleen Coalter, our dedicated philosophy editor at Bloomsbury, for her interest in this manuscript; and to Zoë Slatoff, who expertly and meticulously proofread this book. We feel gratitude—whether it be an emotion or not—to all of them.


Introduction ASPIRATIONS The chapters in this collection are written by textual scholars delving deeply into various genres of Indian texts that are rich with reflection on emotions and allied phenomena. Contributors read ancient literatures for how they explore and prompt emotional experience, sharing an approach to classical Indian sources that involves close reading for their distinctive ways of framing, describing, evoking, and theorizing human experience. We use “classical” in a relatively loose and intuitive way, as textual materials that come to be authoritative sources for the interpretation of different types of values (not only sacred, ethical, and social but also aesthetic, ratiocinative, and somatic) and serve as points of orientation for subsequent cultural reflexivity and production. Broadly and loosely, with no presumption of comprehensiveness, we look across traditions, the further characterizations— brahmanic and s´ramanic, ̣ or Hindu, Buddhist and Jain, or religious and secular—of which would bring their own points of contention and take us away from the thematic of this volume. If this collection prompts work on other periods, traditions, and genres, we would consider it to have been a fruitful undertaking. It bears remarking that none of the contributors approach the sources through the prism of a theoretical apparatus developed in the modern West, though some chapters make comparative gestures to some of the substantial scholarly literature on emotion that has emerged in many quarters (cognitive science, philosophy, history of ideas, classics, etc.) in the last several decades. The effort is not to, as is so often done, deploy Western theory to mediate and interpret non-Western “data.” Rather, each chapter reads closely the Indian textual materials for the emotional and literary texture, philosophical 1



insight, systematic reflection, or theoretical framework they provide, and if a theoretical model is useful to interpret emotions, it is drawn from the Indic sources themselves. We hold that it is time that the Indian sources join the conversation initiated by contemporary cross-disciplinary study of emotion, and that they can best do so as equal partners in developing the theoretical paradigms helpful for interpreting human experience. We submit further that the Indian sources are ideally situated to press beyond some of the dichotomies and theoretical stances that have grown stale in recent decades in contemporary studies of emotion—precisely because they are not saddled with the burdens of modern Western assumptions. Here we turn to our sources not so much to bridge or transcend dichotomies generated in modern Western reflections but to consider, from the outset, very different metaphysical and analytic assumptions and classifications. So for instance, innocent of Cartesian dualism of mind and body, and of its concomitant treatment of emotions in these terms, Indian thinkers do not cast emotion within this metaphysic (though they are capable of making analytic distinctions along these lines for particular purposes, as some of our chapters show). Notable in this regard, for instance, is Monius’ demonstration of the resistance of Appar’s Tamil poetic corpus to viewing emotions as states of the mind or heart, bodily feeling or thought, and its emphasis instead on the complex ways in which bodily and verbal gestures create emotion from moment to moment. In the same vein, while some of our materials show that Indian thinkers held a stable distinction between mental and bodily pain—as attested for instance by Funes’ comparative analysis of ̣ ’s psychosomatic theories of disease, and Descartes’ and the Yogava¯sis ṭ ha Kachru’s exploration of the mind-in-pain in the writings of Vasubandhu— both these accounts also clearly point out the striking differences of the emergent notions of subjectivity from that of the Cartesian framework. Another common assumption not shared by our sources is the too often taken-for-granted view of emotions as pertaining primarily to an “inner” subjective space—a view that in fact is culturally and historically specific and not consistently held even within the traditions of Western thought. Both Selby’s analysis of Tamil Can˙kam poetry and Tzohar’s account of As´vaghosa’s ̣ poetical works point to the way in which emotions appear primarily as perceptual modes (of the natural world in particular), thereby creating an emotional “space” in which the subject and the external world are, phenomenologically speaking, inextricably bound together. We should also indicate that the discussions in the Indian sources do not map any more neatly onto Western theological language (and its residue in secular formulations) that pits “the passions” against reason and cognition in highly oppositional terms (as traced by Dixon 2003, for example). Several



chapters serve to exemplify this point—for instance, Hopkins’ comparative account of women’s laments in three traditions (Greek, Sinhala Buddhist, and Sanskrit epic tales) demonstrates that even the most intense and “raw” emotions expressed in this genre are deeply rooted in ethical judgments of value; and Timalsina’s chapter points out the evaluative mechanism and processes involved in Abhinavagupta’s understanding of the savoring of emotion. Finally, our sources are also unencumbered by debates about whether emotions are social constructs or natural, cognitive or affective, public or private, etc., and so can offer up quite different distinctions for consideration. To give a few examples: some of our texts emphasize emotions as unstable, modal, and context-dependent processes (as explored by Heim, Monius, and Tzohar), while others turn our attention to issues connected with their temporality, bringing into play karma and deep-past habituation (Kachru, and Madaio’s discussion of va¯sana¯ as embodied conditioning in the context of medieval Advaita Ved¯anta). The latter two in particular serve to reframe the terms of the debate about the nature of emotion by demonstrating that some Indian thinkers considered the social and the natural realms as equally involved in the construction of emotion insofar as both are interdependently conditioned by far-reaching causal processes. In the same vein, many of the Indian sources discussed in this volume are not susceptible to a clear-cut distinction between the affective and cognitive with regard to emotions (see the chapters by Monius and Selby, and by Freschi, who adds an important discussion of action as mediating between these two categories). Finally, a nuanced context-specific discussion of the way in which emotions operate in confluence in both the private and public domains is provided by the chapters that deal with rasa theory (Ram-Prasad, Timalsina), the bhakti literature (Monius, Stainton), and epics-related works (Hopkins, Clines), reflecting their sources’ keen interest in mediating between, on the one hand, shared norms and a shared vocabulary—whether devotional, aesthetic, ethical, or related to gender roles and categories—and, on the other, individual experience. In all these undertakings, we are both aided and hampered by the English word “emotion,” a term that will draw the discerning reader’s attention to its historical specificity as a category whose meaning and current usage goes back scarcely two centuries. Before that, English speakers used a variety of considerably richer and less reductive terms to denote human experience (Frevert et al. 2014). In the early nineteenth century, “emotion” became a catch-all term for a wide swath of phenomena that had been previously distinguished as passions, appetites, sensibilities, affections, and sentiments— none of which is a synonym for the modern construct of emotion (for this



history and its implications see Dixon 2003). Such considerations suggest that even in the Anglophone world (not to speak of the European one, let alone other literary cultures around the globe), emotion is not a timeless and universal natural kind uninflected by historical, linguistic, and cultural networks of meaning and implication. As they invite us to consider, from the ground up, alternative ways of locating, describing, and analyzing these forms of subjectivity, the Indian materials can help us appreciate just how expressively rich and conceptually wide-ranging are the phenomena now encompassed by the term emotion. Whatever its limitations and potential obscurations, “emotion” can serve our studies of Indian materials in two ways: first, it helps us to notice certain phenomena that the Indian authors were—as we come to read them with emotion in mind—both interested in and reflective about (and, in turn, to notice our own prejudgments, and engage in a self-questioning in the Gadamerian sense); and second, it allows us to bring ideas from these texts into conversations that are lively in our own time. But we are hindered in its use too, because “emotion” is frequently taken to be a natural category, as though the modern English term somehow perfectly captures some important essential feature of human experience. In the contemporary study of emotions, a theoretical corollary to the latter view would be, for instance, Paul Ekman’s conception of emotions as universal categories, consistently presented in his earlier (1957) and later writings (1999). This view, however, has recently been contested by competing psychological models that are on the rise—for instance Feldman Barrett’s (conceptual act) constructionist view (2017a, 2017b)—which emphasize that emotions are not “hard wired” in the brain and are heavily influenced by somatic and mostly conceptual contexts. While the debate between the adherents of emotions as natural kinds and constructionists is far from settled (and one will find within this volume arguments that echo both stances), still, as a methodological constraint we aim here to disengage from the use of the term “emotions” as implying natural kinds. This is because if natural kinds are assumed in this context, the project of cross-cultural comparison cannot extend to much beyond exploring the question of how and if other traditions and languages conform to the current conception as defined in English. Because broader transcultural and historical perspectives cast doubt on the supposed naturalness of the English category, we do not attempt here to identify clear and decisive criteria for what counts as an emotion (which would seem to be more an exercise of stipulation than the close study of human subjectivity). Instead, we content ourselves with the expectation that the phenomena explored in the chapters that follow will be recognizable to contemporary English



speakers as “emotions” or as something functionally akin to them, and we leave the matter of policing the boundaries of the category to others. We also urge a methodological openness to the ways in which non-Western metacategories (in our sources, e.g., bha¯va and vedana¯, etc., as discussed below and in several chapters) carve up human experience quite differently than “emotion,” even while they overlap to some degree with it (and one another). What the chapters in this volume do is therefore somewhat different from much of the current literature on emotions. Most obviously, our concerns are quite distant from certain approaches in the study of emotions in psychology, insofar as the latter’s project has often, especially until recently, been to develop an “ontology” of emotions (the notion of an ontology of emotions has also been adopted in such areas as affective computing, e.g., López et el. 2008). It is perhaps more important, however, to distinguish the concerns of this collection from much contemporary philosophy of emotion. There is, of course, a two-fold philosophical approach to an ontology of emotions. One is the determination of a list of emotions and their types, especially in cognitive philosophy (for a recent example demonstrating the assumption of this goal in a burgeoning literature, see Keltner 2019). The other is the determination of what sort of things emotions are (e.g., Naar and Teroni 2018), a line of inquiry that grows out of the influential debates derived from the Greco-Roman classics about whether or not emotions are judgements (e.g., Nussbaum and other papers in Solomon 2004). In this sense, contemporary Western philosophy has primarily been concerned with determining what emotions are (one can do no better in navigating this vast literature than to begin with Scarantino and de Sousa 2018). Another, related, area in contemporary philosophy is the epistemology of emotion, concerned with the evaluation and justification of emotions (both ontology and epistemology are covered in a recent exploration of the relationship between emotions and values in Roeser and Todd 2015, although notably, the papers do not seek to identify and typologize emotions). By contrast, and as we might expect with classical scholars, we follow an exploratory rather than classificatory approach to emotions that brings Indian materials into a field mostly dominated by the study of Greek and Latin texts (but also see, on Classical Chinese, Virag 2018), and by what might be called the study of “emotions of the past” (Cairns 2019; Caston 2012; Kaster 2005; Konstan 2006). This broadly historical approach is growing with regard to Sanskrit and other South Asian languages (recent examples include Bilimoria and Wenta 2015, Ali 2006, and indirectly, under the discussion of the history of ka¯vya and poetics, McCrea 2009, Bronner et al. 2014, Pollock 2016 and Ollett 2019), and it is also worth noting the



long and complex context of Arabic and Persian (as discussed for instance in Alam and Subrahmanyam 2006, and more recently by Korangy, Al-Samman, and Beard 2017). Like much of this literature, we attend to the context— material, topological, cultural, linguistic, literary—of our texts, and seek to bring out the descriptive details of their presentation of subjective states that might be recognized as emotions and feelings. Our chapters are nevertheless also characterized by a more specific thematic, in that we approach emotions primarily as what might be gleaned about the philosophical anthropology of subjectivity from texts about, and texts that self-consciously express, emotions. In this regard, this collection is not only historical in its attention to context and description, but also phenomenological. By this we mean that our chapters are primarily concerned with phenomenology as a methodology, seeking to provide, in the words of David Carr, “a research program or method, a way of looking at and interrogating experience so as to bring to the surface its deepest-lying, uncritically accepted assumptions” (Carr 2003: 181, as quoted in RamPrasad 2018: 17). To make this more explicit, we treat the exploration of what it is to undergo emotions and how such undergoing is expressed in these texts as contextual descriptions of subjectivity, rather than either the classification of emotions or the reductive identification of fundamental states of the subject. This phenomenological methodology is primarily intended to elucidate the ways in which experiences are expressed through ways of being that are recognizably “emotions.” That is to say, if we are sensitive to the expression of these experiences as the expression of emotions, we see that there is much—terminologically, conceptually, contextually—in this textual culture that can contribute to a pluralistic account of emotions. Although the collection in this volume in no way speaks in one theoretical voice—in fact, it is wide-ranging and derived from the range of expertise and interests of the contributors and the texts considered—we venture that it is cohesive as a whole because the chapters are broadly coherent in adopting this methodological approach which emphasizes the contextual and descriptive analysis of subjectivity. Thus, without in any way committing our contributors to an overarching theory, we venture in what follows to explicate one way in which such a theoretical orientation might work, what Heim and Ram-Prasad have come to call “ecological phenomenology,” outlined elsewhere in substantial detail by Ram-Prasad (Ram-Prasad 2018; Heim 2018a). Here we invoke “phenomenology” (with a small p) as a scholarly method or approach rather than a position, one that is concerned with attending, in fine detail, to fields of experience. There are two entailments of this idea of



phenomenology as methodology. One is that we may identify in some of our sources phenomenological methods for interrogating experience, and which can be explored for the account of emotions they offer (as observed in the chapters by Heim, Monius, Ram-Prasad, Selby, Tzohar, and to some extent Kachru, insofar as his analysis unpacks the phenomenological criteria for mental pain, and Buddhist systematic cognitive phenomenology). The second is that our own task is to interrogate these methods, to critically question and understand their contexts and purposes of various conceptions of emotions (or bha¯vas, vedana¯s, or particular states, conditions, or processes). What results, we suggest, is a deliberate and theoretically committed pluralism towards the representation, expression and exploration of ways of being human that can properly be called “emotional.” As for the ecological metaphor, in the context of phenomenological methodology this idea gets its traction by suggesting that studying experience is something like studying an ecosystem, in that there is an irreducible contextuality, contingency, and plurality in how we can demarcate and describe fields of experience. In an ecosystem, where one organism ends and its environment begins is sometimes unclear, and the “same” thing looks different depending upon the contexts in which one frames the inquiry, and on its resolution and scope. The features of a forest, as suggested in Heim’s chapter, emerge gradually and only in relation to the questions and purposes of the disciplinary approach, yielding a different set of entities and processes to the microbiologist than to the mycologist, and still others to the forester, wildlife photographer, day tripper, and lumberjack. Nobody studying the environment in these multiple ways then thinks it is even meaningful to ask what, essentially, a tree is. (Ram-Prasad, too, has explored the methodological features of the ecological metaphor (2018: 24).) Bringing this back to the realm of emotions, in our methodological paradigm we suggest that this modest context-sensitivity should inform the philosopher, exegete, translator, or literary theorist as well. We find the study of experience to be similarly inflected by the disciplinary context and purpose of the inquiry itself, suggesting that any notion of an abstract, viewfrom-nowhere, final account of what emotions (or other phenomena) are, proves otiose. Emotion words are always embedded in narratives, scripts, taxonomic schemes, and therapeutic regimes of practice which need to be understood in the task of interpreting what they are and how they function (see Monique Scheer’s influential work on emotions as forms of practice, 2012). Our attention then shifts to the nature of the genre, context, and purpose of the discourses and how they achieve the account of the experience that they investigate. Ecological phenomenology tracks how what gets noticed and described in a field of experience is dependent, at least to some



degree, on the nature and purposes of the inquiry itself. As editors, we offer this broadly-based inquiry into experience not to provide a totalizing or final account of what emotions are, but on the contrary, to suggest the plurality of ways that emotions can be articulated and interrogated. At the same time, we are not in the volume aiming simply to describe an ancient Indian history of emotions, offering taxonomies of texts or accounting for the chronological emergence of terms and concepts. We take seriously the aspiration of these materials to delineate the human condition, to provide insights into how subjectivity feels to itself. So, while sensitive to the many contexts that determine how these texts present their ideas, we also seek to draw out those ideas as quite generally accessible to people open to the idea of thinking about themselves with a wider range of cultural resources than has tended to be the case in westernized modernity. Given the foregoing considerations, investigating any account of emotions entails interpreting the nature of the discourse itself (its stated purpose, register, context, and conventions of literary, scholastic, religious, medical, or philosophical genres). Textual treatments of emotions are in every case framed by an agenda or program that inflects not only how phenomena get described, but even what gets noticed in the first place. As we turn to outlining here some of the classical Indian theoretical and literary programs of emotional experience, our attention is first drawn to the nature of the genres in which these are elaborated. Below we outline three possible—but in no way exclusive—thematic schemes by which to group the approaches to emotion explored by the authors in this volume which we can call aesthetic, therapeutic, and evocative. This schema, again, representing just one way of looking at these chapters (which are ordered alphabetically by authors’ name), serves us to sketch some of the programmatic features of the genres considered, even while these approaches and programs are, in many chapters, interpenetrating and overlapping. Aesthetics and rasa theory One important and long-standing area of theoretical work on what we would call emotions occurred in India in the context of aesthetics, and is often referred to simply as “rasa theory.” To be sure, Sanskrit rasa theory is not the only tradition of aesthetic reflection in ancient India (the ancient Tamil Tokla¯ppiyam is another textual understanding of aesthetics, for example). However, as rasa has become one of the most prominent ready-athand categories when emotions in South Asia are discussed, and is also the focus of the chapters in this volume that deal explicitly with Indian aesthetics, it merits a closer look.



The known tradition of “rasa theory” was inaugurated in the context of dramaturgy in Bharata’s Treatise on Drama, dated roughly in the third to fourth century CE (but perhaps available earlier, see Pollock 2003: 42). Among many other topics related to the arts of the stage, Bharata outlined, in the distinctive codification of rules, lists, definitions, and practices that is the s´a¯stric genre, eight “stable” bha¯vas (a term often translated as emotions)—sexualized attraction, amusement/mirth, grief, anger, determination, fear, revulsion, and amazement. These work in generating aesthetic experience in combination with thirty-three “transitory” bha¯vas (these states range from despair, shame, joy, and pride to other conditions like sleepiness, intoxication, fatigue, etc., provoking the recognition that much work still needs to be done about how the classical aesthetic tradition draws upon various human phenomena to convey what we might reasonably call “emotions”). An additional eight somatic responses (sa¯ttvika bha¯vas), which include experiences such as paralysis, perspiration, trembling, and so on, are also enumerated as important representations for actors indicating emotion. This range and classification of bha¯vas suggest overlapping but not identical phenomena to what we might find in current lists of emotions. These eight “stable emotions” correspond to eight dominant types of aesthetic states, the production of which is considered to be the aim of performance art. These are the rasas, or aesthetic relishings, sentiments, or tastes, which are the erotic, comic, tragic, violent, heroic, fearful, macabre, and fantastic. Bharata asserts that bha¯vas are so called because they “bring into being” (bha¯vayanti) the rasas when they are manipulated with the other elements of dramaturgy in a successful performance (Na¯t ya ̣ s´a¯stra 6.34 in Pollock 2016: 51). In other words, he is interested in these phenomena not in themselves, but rather insofar as they are related to dramaturgy and aesthetic response; Bharata is not asking the same sort of questions about “emotions” that modern investigators such as, say, Charles Darwin did in trying to identify “basic” or “universal” emotions. Rather, Bharata is developing a system of knowledge about what makes effective dramaturgy, and how certain enduring emotions can be transmuted into aesthetic relish when artfully combined with further more transitory phenomena (as they are represented on stage) and the gestures and accoutrements of dramatic production. Within this project, he has a great deal to say in describing each of the forty-nine bha¯vas and the eight rasas, and his thinking about the stable emotions and their relationship to aesthetic experience generated centuries of development and debate in its wake. But to make Bharata (or Abhinavagupta or any of the theorists in the tradition) speak to our category of emotions is not a process of simple identification or equivalence. Rather we may need to



“look sideways” at rasa theory, as Ram-Prasad puts it in his contribution, to consider the philosophical anthropology of emotions the authors must have assumed before they could come up with their theories of how aesthetic experience works. We have to read critically and carefully to come to see how this theoretical literature with its own questions and answers can even speak to our questions. Bharata’s Treatise on Drama came to be absorbed by the Sanskrit literary traditions of India by theorists, critics, and poets in what became a millennium-long engagement with the challenge of explaining how literary art generates aesthetic relish and where the essence of this aesthetic experience lay—in actors, in characters, in literary style or techniques, or in the connoisseur. In his chapter, Timalsina explores one of the greatest literary theorists of rasa, the eleventh-century Kashmiri thinker, Abhinavagupta. The chapter examines how Abhinava’s thinking, as well as theories that oppose his, can contribute to contemporary work on emotions—especially to the understanding of their evaluative aspects and the division of labor between the cognitive and somatic—thus opening up and making alive the role of rasa theory in properly cross-cultural contemporary study of emotion. Ram-Prasad takes up one particular bha¯va/rasa pair, amusement and the comic, through a reading of a Sanskrit comedy to investigate, first, what rasa theory can teach us about the subtleties in the human experience of amusement and uproarious laughter, and second, why and how we aesthetically appreciate the comic. He thereby seeks to demonstrate that a literary reading of Sanskrit texts can be approached through a contemporary conceptual reading of rasa theory. In the ninth century, theorists formally added a ninth bha¯va/rasa pair, tranquility and peace, so that aesthetic theory could make sense of the devotional and religious literatures that aim at quieting the passions rather than prompting them. In his chapter, Clines takes up the important but often overlooked Jain contributions to literary production and criticism in India, suggesting that Jain narrative literatures had been cultivating the aesthetic experience of peace for centuries. In this context, it is also worth noting that the earliest practitioners of Sanskrit belle lettres (ka¯yva) were Buddhists, with the second century CE poet, As´vaghosa, ̣ whom Tzohar considers in his chapter, foremost among them. While not foregrounding rasa theory in his analysis, Tzohar presents what he takes to be a Buddhist theory of experience which is understood primarily in perceptual-aesthetic terms, and which serves for investigating the complex emotional evocations and equivocations of passion and peace in this very early instance of Sanskrit literary art.



Therapeutic approaches A distinctive insight of the Upanisads ̣ is the discovery of reflexivity, that is, the capacity of human awareness to be aware of itself as being aware. I am aware not only of what I am sensing and feeling, but that I am sensing and feeling; I am aware, as the Kena Upanis ad ̣ puts it, “of the hearing behind hearing, the thinking behind thinking” (Olivelle 1996: 227). That we can watch ourselves become absorbed in the phenomena of experience also entails the freedom to step out of this absorption and observe—and perhaps even manage—how we could become absorbed (e.g., Y¯ajñavalkya’s conversation with Janaka at Brhad ̣ a¯raṇyaka Upanis ad ̣ 4.3–4; Olivelle 1996: 58–68). This basic insight became foundational to the religious and philosophical therapies begun in the sixth to fourth centuries BCE that subsequently had long currency in India and beyond, indeed, to this day in Buddhism, Jainism, Yoga, and the strands of Upanisadic ̣ philosophy that came to be systematically developed in the Ved¯a nta schools. The identification of reflexivity and its possibilities for regulating experience had enormous importance for these traditions’ thinking on emotions and the therapeutic programs they developed to manage them. The so-called discovery of reflexivity was accompanied by an additional preoccupation articulated in the Upanisads ̣ that came to be broadly shared across these traditions (whatever their other differences). This concerned the problematic nature of desire. The earliest pages of the Brhad ̣ a¯raṇyaka Upanis ad ̣ locate desire as fundamental to the human condition in our primordial longings for sex, family, wealth, and the transitory stuff of this world. Such longings indicate a basic sense of incompleteness—“when one cannot obtain what one desires, he considers himself utterly incomplete” (Olivelle 1996: 17). Even when fortune or ambition allow us to attain the things of our desires, we find them transient; even when we manage to hold on to them for some time, our own desires are capricious, restless, and unsated. Insofar as our happiness is bound up with desire, we are, early Indian religious thinkers agreed, condemned to being discontent at best, and wretched at worst. Moreover, many of these traditions locate desire (and its flipside, aversion) at the heart of the pushes and pulls of emotional life, and thus feelings and emotions are treated by and large with suspicion. With this realization begins a quest for the quiescence of desire and emotion altogether or for a higher and transcendent happiness or bliss that is not conditioned by contingent and transient phenomena. Such quests often became ambitious ascetic programs to liberate practitioners from desire and the fleeting emotional experience conditioned by it. And so, when we combine the first Upanisadic ̣ insight (that we are able to observe ourselves having emotions) with the second (that desire



pervades our emotional life in a way that causes suffering), we find the basis for the therapeutic programs that all of these traditions developed systematically over subsequent centuries and millennia. Once they set out to free the human subject from desire and (at least to some extent) emotionality, all of these traditions came to see just how thickly and pervasively enmeshed in emotion human life actually is, leading many of them to complex psychologies and regimes of disciplinary practice designed to address it. The chapters on these therapeutic traditions—whose approach to emotions is by no means homogenous—demonstrate the complexity and textured nature of the emotional features of these programs, whether working within a distinctly systematic s´a¯stric register (Freschi, Heim), or with narrative (Clines), or with both (Funes, Kachru, Madaio, Tzohar). Systematic treatments involve a high degree of introspection and close observation of emotional phenomena; they develop analytical and classificatory practices (often lists) of emotional experience; and they offer technologies for dismantling deleterious emotions, cultivating salutary ones, and uprooting desire. This meticulous care for analysis and classification evident in the various Buddhist, Yoga, and Ved¯a nta systems taken up in this volume shows that far from being eliminated or sublimated tout court, the range of emotions-related affective and cognitive phenomena, were carefully sifted through and interrogated for how they might contribute to or hinder the soteriological path. Often feelings of compassion, love, and sympathy are valorized, and disgust and sorrow at the world are prerequisite to attaining liberation. For example, Freschi’s piece shows the subtle ways in which certain emotions are understood in the s´a¯stric literature of the Vis´isṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯anta, as necessary and useful to the path of liberation; similar moves are made in the chapters by Clines (dealing with Ravisẹ na’s ̣ Padmapura¯ṇa, a Jain version of the R¯ama story) and Tzohar (on As´vaghosa’s ̣ Saundarananda). In her chapter, Heim provides an analysis of vedana¯ (“feeling,” though it can also include more developed responses that we would include under emotions), and shows how the Pali Buddhist tradition understood the double aspect of feelings and emotions insofar as they are both parts of human subjectivity (constituting how one experiences the world) and at the same time can become objects of experience (we can become aware of them as objects to scrutinize). While not always elaborated as explicitly in other therapeutic programs, this insight presumably informs all of these traditions as they consider the ways emotional phenomena construct the way subjects experience the world, even while their regimes of introspection teach how to observe them as objects to be manipulated. Madaio’s chapter on an



Advaita Ved¯anta text, for example, demonstrates the subtle work introspection does to identify emotions as objects of awareness, as a crucial part of the project of teaching the subject to disidentify with them and remove them from one’s subjectivity; this is the ultimate soteriological project as one seeks to free the self from the turbulent emotionality of life in saṃ sa¯ra. Turning emotions (including the deepest dispositional traces of them) into objects purifies the subject of a phenomenality otherwise constituted by them. To do this work the text charts the precise ways that pride, hatred, pleasure, pain, indignation, anger, regret, fear, and so on distort vision, construct ego, habituate suffering, and superimpose human limitations on reality. Coming to see this with precision is itself to begin to escape their grasp. Lists and classificatory schemes are found everywhere in s´a¯stra, doing various kinds of work. Often lists tidy up feelings and emotions which must otherwise comprise the unruliest aspects of human phenomenality. Subjecting them to precise classification is itself therapeutic: delineating the varieties of mental anguish, psychological disruption, and psychosomatic illness, as for example both Kachru’s and Funes’ texts show, is the first step in taking command and addressing them. Classifications allow for distinctions useful for ethical and medical therapies; they generate schemes for achieving ever finer and more granular psychologies and techniques; and they manifest the scholastic impulse to regulate and order the world. In a new reading of how classificatory practices and proliferating lists might work in the Pali Buddhist sources, Heim’s chapter argues that the Buddha’s teachings on vedana¯ serve as modal analytic methods aimed at resisting reductionism and essentialism when defining affective life. Philosophical therapies of pain often exude an urgent and compassionate pragmatism, perhaps especially when dealing with the most intransigent obstacles to health and happiness. One could, for example, take Kachru’s engagement with Vasubandhu to imply that this Buddhist thinker is all too aware of the singular anguish of psychological break and the ways it brings the operations of perception, attention, imagination, and agency to collapse, and what it allows us to keep in view about persons. Similarly, Funes’ chapter on the Yogava¯sis ṭ ha ̣ —which draws from multiple therapeutic traditions—demonstrates a practical orientation to depression based on Indian medical theory, and raises some important questions regarding the kind of agency it presupposes. Her work with comparative and feminist ideas allows us to ask fresh and important questions about psychosomatic illness and how even the most holistic treatments of care often stop short of considering the social structures that constrain and inhibit health and flourishing.



Evocations All the contributors to this volume are alive to the emotional potency of literature, a potency explored in theoretical reflection by Bharata’s successors and utilized to curative effect by the religious and therapeutic traditions (as shown by Clines and Tzohar as they turn to Jain and Buddhist literary agendas). Yet it is worth delineating in a separate category (as long as the porous and intersecting nature of our heuristic classification is kept constantly in mind) devotional and literary genres, if only to signal that these advance some of the most searching and suggestive inquiries into emotions in Indian thought. Epic, poetic, and devotional forms not only express and evoke emotional experience, but they launch their own scrutiny of it, generating finely-grained explorations that may elude the notice and capacities of even the most intricate of the systematic genres. In literary evocations we see language struggling, if often succeeding, to deliver the inchoate and inexpressible qualities of emotion and affect. Perhaps where they succeed most is in subverting the tidiness of emotional regimes and taxonomies, and in these they successfully chart just how conflicted human life as lived actually is. Moreover, such evocations are often untethered from the therapeutic literatures’ aversion to desire, and in this they come to emotion without a predetermined distrust. Bringing Tamil sources to the conversation, Selby shows how the ancient Tamil Can ˙kam poets directly and affectively interpret the lives that we lead. They study the permeabilities between the “inner” and “outer,” between self and world, between longing and grief, and between love and violence as humans negotiate the dense ecologies of feeling and emotion in which we are always entangled. Along the way the poets upset even the distinctions erected by their own literary conventions. Hopkins’ subtle comparative exercise with women’s laments in three traditions—Greek, Sinhala Buddhist, and Sanskrit epic tales—similarly explores and troubles dichotomies, in his case between private and public, the universal and the particular, the wild and the domesticated, the raw and the cooked. He shows the “work” that the bitter and devastatingly eloquent laments of bereaved women do to memorialize and bear witness, but also to critique, blame, shame, resist, curse, demand, disrupt, and subvert the brutalities of celebrated male heroism (whether it takes the form of valor in war or of the emotionally barren ascetic regimes exalted elsewhere). The devotional turn in Indian religion referred to as bhakti offers the emotion researcher lush psychogeography for exploring nearly every human emotion in the context of nearly every human relationship. To be sure, bhakti refers to the intimate feelings of love shared between God and devotee, but since the Indian sources often took deities as themselves



emotional beings to whom devotees could relate in manifold forms and relationships (as parents, children, friends, lovers, and servants), the scope of devotional emotion is both wide and deep. Against the literary apologia for the consolations of peace and solitude explored in Jain narrative by Clines and in Buddhist poetry by Tzohar, the world of Hindu bhakti is unapologetically and sumptuously emotional, relational, embedded, compromised, and, often, anguished and joyful at once. Two of our contributors plunge into emotionally “hot” bhakti literature: Stainton working with Kashmiri Sanskrit hymns (stotras), and Monius with the Tamil poems of Appar. Stainton shows how even in the stylized and formal conventions of Sanskrit devotional praise—which was often denigrated in scholarship for being too artificial or “dry”—personal intimacies between devotee and God are conveyed through highly complex and intense emotional portraits in which contradiction, sarcasm, and doubt are embraced; and in which, alongside the feeling of being blessed, the depths of bitterness, jealousy, pity, estrangement, and self-abasement are unearthed. Monius shows how Appar inhabits much the same landscape of misery, doubt, and self-loathing even as he swings between these and joy and wonder at God’s grace and love. Even more significant perhaps is Monius’ nuanced reading of his poetry for the ways that Appar invites us to see emotions (and the humans who live them) not as stable states but as processes; emotions inhabit not so much mind or heart, but emerge in gesture, voice, and body. Against the ascetic impulses of the therapeutic literatures, Appar embraces the fleeting transience of emotion and desire as the precious stuff of life lived in divine love. The thirteen chapters gathered together here are meant to stimulate work in a startlingly neglected subfield of emotions research—considering that even some of the most thorough histories of emotions and the study of emotions (for instance Plamper 2012) scarcely glance at India or other non-Western material—and to help inch it forward toward a more cosmopolitan and comparative conception. We hope at the least to have gestured to the enormous riches classical India offers for any scholar interested in emotions. Our specific labors should by no means be taken as “representative” of the different approaches outlined here (and far less of all of Indian thought!), but instead as particular forays into them, with the awareness that we could assemble many other textual traditions within these classifications. And even within the traditions considered, other scholars might offer quite different choices and depictions. We are also keenly aware of the approaches and textual traditions on emotion omitted entirely here, such as the complex contestations about the value of certain emotions valorized in Tantric literatures (though we are heartened that some of this terrain is explored



among the articles assembled in Bilimoria and Wenta 2015), or accounts that emphasize the social history of emotions (Ali 2004). The anthropological literature on emotion in South Asia (Lynch 1990; Srinivas 2018; Trawick 1992) slowly emerging as it is, is still further along than the attention of textual studies to the topic and holds potential for further engagements, perhaps with some of the ideas put forth in this volume. The chapters in this collection consciously combine, to varying degrees, the philological and the philosophical, the textual and the conceptual. As we have noted, many chapters cut across various themes and draw on different genres. So, we have not tried to divide them artificially according to any one theme, but merely listed them in alphabetic order. We are mindful of the need to pay close attention to the rich literary textures of our texts, but we also want to draw out their equally rich if often implied subjectivity. It is this rather general methodology, rather than any one theory or account of emotions in classical India, that unifies the chapters in this collection. We hope that the studies in this volume contribute to a cosmopolitan sensitivity to the content and manner of the portrayal of emotions in classical Indian literature and philosophy. The study of both classical and contemporary representations and theorizations of emotion will surely be enriched by attending to the achievements of different traditions; and this volume seeks to make a modest contribution to that emerging global conversation. Chapter 1: Grief, Tranquility, and S´a¯nta Rasa in Ravisẹ n a’s ̣ Padmapura¯n ạ Gregory Clines Jains have long celebrated the serene ascetic, senses controlled and emotionally unperturbed. Examining the seventh-century author Ravisẹ na’s ̣ Sanskrit Padmapura¯ṇa, a Jain version of the R¯a ma story, this chapter demonstrates the role of emotion and, in particular, of grief, in the realization of that ultimate state of dispassionate emotionlessness. Arguing that the Padmapura¯ṇa aims to encourage renunciation through the production of s´a¯nta rasa, Clines demonstrates that Ravisẹ nạ engenders grief in both R¯a ma and the reader, and tracks how that grief both motivates R¯a ma to renounce the world and encourages the reader outside the text to do the same. Chapter 2: Emotions in Vis´isṭ a¯̣ dvaita Veda¯nta Elisa Freschi This chapter is a survey of the doctrines on emotions in the early Vis´isṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯anta. Freschi starts with the background of the Advaita Ved¯anta’s conception of the self as unchanging and therefore emotionless. Next, she examines the Vis´isṭ ¯ạ dvaita openness towards the theological use



of emotions found in the bhakti movements and its consequent adoption of the M¯ı m¯aṃs¯a view of a dynamic self in order to allow for an ontology of emotions. She then turns briefly to the intermediate nature of emotions between cognitions and actions, paying particular attention to the movement from the emotion of sorrow to that of despair, since the latter is the prerequisite for one’s soteriological path, as well as to the hindering role of the emotion of pride. She closes the chapter with a discussion of the role of poetry as an emotional pedagogy. Chapter 3: Joy as Medicine? Yogava¯sis ṭ ha ̣ and Descartes on the Affective Sources of Disease Ana Laura Funes Maderey Both Descartes and the author of the Yogava¯sis ṭ ha ̣ support the idea that most diseases have an emotional source and that we have certain control over it according to their respective psychosomatic theories. They both suggest that joy—as an intellectual movement of the soul (joie) for Descartes or as the blissful tranquility of the mind (a¯nanda) that results from emotional purification for Vasis ṭ ha—is ̣ necessary to heal from disease. Funes Maderey presents both medical models and assesses their claims by addressing queen Elisabeth’s objection to Descartes and by reading Vasis ṭ ha’s ̣ metaphors of disease from the “sick woman theory” perspective proposed by Johanna Hedva. She argues that any claim to joy as therapeutic must not forget the social and interdependent aspects of our emotional lives. Chapter 4: Some Analyses of Feeling Maria Heim This chapter looks at how vedana¯, feeling, gets analyzed in the Pali Buddhist materials (suttas, Abhidhamma, and Buddhaghosa’s commentaries). Feeling is a general category that can encompass sensation and also much of what we mean by emotion. Heim argues that the treatments in these sources offer a “modal” approach to feeling, rather than an attempt to argue for an ontological definition of it. That is to say, feelings are to be analyzed and understood not in terms of any putative substance or essence, but through different classifications that illumine the modes or aspects in which they can be known. Investigating feelings then requires us to attend to these modes of teaching and their practical and therapeutic purposes. Chapter 5: Lament and the Work of Tears: Andromache, S¯ıta¯, and Ya´sodhara¯ Steven P. Hopkins One oral-derived literary form that is particularly “good to think with” when we imagine emotions as equally affect and ethical appraisal, is lamentation,



and most strikingly, the ritual and narrative laments of women. Though they weep, shriek or sigh, mutely gesture or pantomime, evoking bird-song, bodies melting, or funereal perfumes at the very edge of speech, women’s laments are also artful; they give structure and certain rhythm to rage and to madness, moving from “experience to art, from tears to ideas.” Irreducibly particular, women’s laments trouble the traditional binaries of “raw” emotion and “secondary” reflection. Lament enacts a systematic and sober attentiveness to pain, overwhelming emotion experienced with and within acts of language. Hopkins focuses in this chapter on this ethical “work of tears” through a close reading of the lament speeches of Andromache in Homer, S¯ıt¯a in the Sanskrit R a¯ma¯yaṇa, and Yas´odhar¯a , the Buddha’s wife, in As´vaghosa and a Sinhala folk-poem. Chapter 6: The Mind in Pain: The View from Buddhist Systematic and Narrative Thought Sonam Kachru This chapter presents the Buddhist philosopher Vasubandhu’s (fl. late fourth to early fifth centuries CE) distinction between somatic and psychological pain, and the salience this distinction enjoyed. More specifically, to get at both the nature and the salience of psychological pain, Kachru takes his bearings from what Vasubandhu has to say about a special case of the mind in pain known as psychological disruption or breakdown (citta-ks epa ̣ ). In doing so, he will provide the tools necessary to follow Vasubandhu’s theoretical interest in understanding this extreme case, along the way providing an account of Vasubandhu’s interest in affect and cognitive experience more generally; in addition, attention is paid to Vasubandhu’s use of narratives to explicate psychological pain, with the goal of situating why it matters that Vasubandhu’s commitments enshrine the permanent possibility of psychological pain as a salient concern. Chapter 7: Transparent Smoke in the Pure Sky of Consciousness: Emotions and Liberation-While-Living in the J¯ı vanmuktiviveka James Madaio In this chapter, Madaio draws out salient ways that emotional experiences are accounted for within Vidy¯aranya’s ̣ fourteenth century J¯ı vanmuktiviveka, an important work in medieval Advaita Ved¯anta. The chapter demonstrates how attachment or involvement with emotional states is considered as constitutive of saṃ sa¯ra, and how this problematic condition serves as the alterity for the one who is liberated-while-living (j¯ı vanmukta). While pursuing key analyses and metaphors that contrast the “tainting” and “burning” of emotional states with the uninvolved “coolness” of the



j¯ı vanmukta, Madaio also shows how the activation of embodied conditioning—or, broadly, va¯sana¯—may overcome the stability of non-dual knowing in sages who are enlightened but not yet perfectly liberated. Chapter 8: Gesture and Emotion in Tamil S´aiva Devotional Poetry Anne Monius This chapter examines in detail the scope and nature of what we take to be “emotion” in the poetic corpus attributed to Appar, one of the first three poets (mu ¯var) of the Tamil-speaking S´aiva tradition and long noted for his emotional intensity, self-loathing, and doubt. In Appar’s poetry, emotions are not stable things or states to be evoked, made manifest, or merely expressed. Rather, Appar’s devotional corpus demonstrates the complex ways in which bodily and verbal gestures create emotion from moment to moment, rendering human feeling less a state of mind or heart, and more an ever-emergent process. Recognition of love, despair, or joy as processes rather than states or things opens up new ways of understanding Appar’s general reluctance to name specific emotions or to distinguish clearly between mind and heart, feeling and thought. Emotions-as-processes are unstable, transitory, arising only in the particular moments of bodily gesture, speech, and specific spatial contexts. Chapter 9: The Emotion that is Correlated with the Comic: Notes on Human Nature Through Rasa Theory Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad In this chapter, Ram-Prasad outlines his understanding of the “patterned emotion” (bha¯va) that is said to be evoked by the rasa or aesthetic essence of the Comic (ha¯sya), namely “ha¯sa.” Drawing primarily on Abhinava’s brilliantly original commentary on Bharata’s canonical views on ha¯sa, RamPrasad takes it to be a unified term for a range of fine-grained states that in English can range all the way from amusement to mirth. He explores the phenomenological features of the amused or mirthful person through a reading of the fifth to sixth century work, “The Kick” (Pa¯data¯ḍitaka) by S´y¯amilaka, arguing that the aesthetic essence asserted of a literary work or dramatic production within the rasa framework draws upon a tacit understanding of the nature of emotions in the world of the reader/audience. Chapter 10: Is there a Can ˙ kam Way of Feeling? Body, Landscape, Voice, and Affect in Old Tamil Poetry Martha Selby In this chapter, Selby examines two different methods of reading Old Tamil poetry, composed in the early centuries of the Common Era and designated



as can˙kam, poems of the “academy.” She pays particular attention to the ways in which we should feel our ways through the poems, both from within the world of can˙kam landscape convention and from the standpoint of uri, the “emotional content” of any given poem. Selby considers the concept of tiṇai, often translated as “landscape,” and how the reliance on landscape elements alone to read these poems often results in overdetermined and sometimes even dissonant readings, and suggests that by regarding tiṇai through the lens of affect theory, we arrive at better readings, which it could be argued, are more true to their emotional content. Chapter 11: Wretched and Blessed: Emotional Praise in a Sanskrit Hymn from Kashmir Hamsa Stainton This chapter considers how the popular genre of Sanskrit hymns known as the stotra can explore complex emotions through poetic praise by focusing on a case study from fourteenth-century Kashmir, the D¯ı na¯krandanastotra (Cry of the Distressed) of Jagaddhara Bhatṭ a, ̣ part of his collection called the Stutikusuma¯ñjali. Stainton examines the range, complexity, and layering of emotions in this lengthy hymn and analyzes how the central features of the stotra genre facilitate the creation of complex constellations of emotions, including contradictions and what can be described as emotional puns. ¯ helps to complicate Furthermore, he argues that studying stotras like the DA narratives about the history of devotional traditions, such as that of “the bhakti movement.” His conclusion is that there is need and potential for further work on stotra literature as a critical part of the study of emotions and their history in premodern South Asia. Chapter 12: Savoring Rasa: Emotion, Judgment, and Phenomenal Content Sthaneshwar Timalsina This chapter grounds emotion in classical Sanskrit aesthetics with a focus on key concepts such as “raw emotion” (bha¯va), “aesthetic emotion” (rasa), and the “evaluative mode of consciousness filled with aesthetic experience” (camatka¯ra). The focus here is the experiential domain of “aesthetic emotion” (rasa). This analysis rejects two traditional readings that equate rasa either with mystical experience or with catharsis. Among several classical approaches of rasa, the “manifestation” or “emergence” (abhivyakti) model of Abhinavagupta enjoyed central place, and primarily by applying an Abhinavaguptian approach to rasa, Timalsina also rejects the reading that equates rasa with bha¯va. Along the same lines, he also confronts the transcendentality of rasa, the approach that takes away rasa from the immediate sensory domain.



Chapter 13: How Does it Feel to be on Your Own: Solitude (viveka) in As´vaghosa’s ̣ Saundarananda Roy Tzohar This chapter examines the Buddhist notion of ascetic solitude (viveka) as presented in As´vaghosa’s ̣ (second century CE) poetical work, the Saundarananda. Exploring the work’s references to viveka along with its conception of the forest (as both the cultural epitome and the concrete loci of the solitary life), and grounding it in the Buddhist doctrinal models for solitude, the chapter demonstrates that far from being conceived as a physical withdrawal from the world (into an interior subjective space) solitude is seen as a mode of engagement with the world, a dynamic and transformative experiential process. This understanding, Tzohar argues, is set within a broader Buddhist conception of emotions primarily in terms of a shifting evaluative perceptual content. Within the Saundarananda, emotions are akin to “ways of seeing”—a matter of perceptual modes and patterns of salience and what they experientially pick and leave out.



Grief, Tranquility, and S´¯anta Rasa in Ravisẹ na’s ̣ Padmapur¯aṇa GREGORY M. CLINES

1. INTRODUCTION To the extent that a person knows anything about Jains, it is probable that words like “austere,” “ascetic,” and “sober” immediately come to mind. Kendall Folkert (1993: 24) notes that scholars working on Jain material will come across such a portrayal “with almost monotonous regularity.” As M. Whitney Kelting (2007: 110) further points out, Jain philosophy has historically thought of the ultimate goal of enlightenment as arising from a passionless state, free from the fetters of emotion that “are seen as part of the world of suffering and rebirth.” There is perhaps no better rendering of this concept than the serene figures of the Jinas themselves which, as John E. Cort (2010: 21) explains, depict those beings who have “overcome all bodily attachments and passions.” Again, as Kelting (2007: 110) points out: “It is not surprising. . .that scholarship has accepted—if not reified—Jainism’s anti-emotion stance by focusing on its veneration of passionlessness.” This chapter aims to demonstrate that at least in one work of Jain literature—the seventh-century Sanskrit Padmapur¯aṇa (“The Story of Padma”), a Jain version of the R¯ama1 epic authored by the Digambara monk Ravisẹ nạ 2 —this celebrated emotionlessness and dispassion is inextricably linked to the 23



experience of intense grief (s´oka), and that this is true for both characters in the narrative and for the reader. Drawing on, and contributing to, the concepts of rasa (literally, “taste”) and, relatedly, emotion (bh¯ava) in Sanskrit literature, I argue that Ravisẹ nạ uses s´oka as an impetus for both R¯ama’s and the reader’s experience of nirveda (“disgust,” “despair,” or “world weariness”). Nirveda encourages worldly renunciation which leads to s´ama, dispassionate tranquility. Through this, the Padmapur¯aṇa thus highlights the inherently and inescapably painful nature of the physical world and presents the adoption of Jain ascetic life as the way of overcoming it.3 In making these arguments, the chapter proceeds in four sections. I first provide a brief introductory account of Ravisẹ nạ and the Padmapur¯aṇa, including a description of the narrative’s plot and the major ways in which Jain versions of the R¯ama story differ from their better known “Hindu” counterparts. Second, I introduce the broad concepts of bh¯ava and rasa. I also discuss here the specifics of s´¯anta rasa and its related stable emotion (sth¯ayibh¯ava), s´ama, in both Jain and larger Sanskrit literary history. As I point out, though, systematic theories of what rasa is, how it is experienced, and by whom, postdate Ravisẹ nạ by centuries. My goal in this chapter is thus not to suggest that Ravisẹ nạ proposes, or even acknowledges, a coherent theory of rasa in the Padmapur¯aṇa. Rather, I focus on the specific emotional work of the text itself, both in terms of R¯ama as a character and the reader as a reader. Thus, in sections three and four I delve into the text, demonstrating how Ravisẹ nạ skillfully uses s´oka, first for R¯ama as the motivating factor for worldly renunciation and the experience of s´ama.4 This occurs when his brother Laksma ̣ nạ dies. For the reader, however, grief emerges earlier in the narrative, with the death of R¯avana. ̣ The reader’s grief, I argue, is intentionally never mollified. Instead, the reader recognizes in R¯ama’s experience the efficacy of worldly renunciation and is thus encouraged to do the same.

¯ ṆA 2. RAVIS E ̣ ṆA AND THE PADMAPURA Ravisẹ na’s ̣ Padmapur¯aṇa is a Jain version of the story of R¯ama, the epic prince of Ayodhy¯a. The text consists of nearly 18,000 verses divided into 123 chapters (parva); the majority of the text is written in s´loka meter, with the exception of the last stanza or few stanzas in each chapter. Ravisẹ na’s ̣ is not the earliest Jain version of the R¯ama narrative, that being Vimalasu ¯ri’s fifth-century CE Paümacariya, composed in Maharastri Prakrit, and on which Ravisẹ na’s ̣ work is probably based.5 Ravisẹ na’s ̣ Padmapur¯aṇa is, though, the earliest extant Sanskrit Jain version of the R¯ama story. In terms of style, Kulkarni (1990: 102) describes Ravisẹ na’s ̣ Sanskrit as “simple and lucid” and “easy and fluid.” Ravisẹ nạ has a penchant for descriptive flair;



whereas Vimalasu ¯ri’s Prakrit version of the story is sparse in description, Ravisẹ nạ relishes describing localities and environments and different characters’ artistic proficiencies.6 As with many pre-modern South Asian authors, scholars know little about Ravisẹ na’s ̣ life beyond the meagre information he provides in the Padmapur¯aṇa itself. He explains that he wrote the work 1,203 years and six months after Lord Mah¯av¯ıra, the most recent Jina, attained nirv¯aṇa, which would date him to around 676 CE.7 He does not provide information as to where he composed the text, nor does he mention a particular san ˙ gha to which he belonged.8 The Padmapur¯aṇa is also Ravisẹ na’s ̣ only surviving work, though tradition credits him with composing additional texts, including a Harivaṃ s´apur¯aṇa. As a whole, the plot of the Padmapur¯aṇa resembles that of more widely known R¯ama narratives, such as V¯alm¯ıki’s Sanskrit R¯am¯ayaṇa.9 There are, though, identifiable components of Jain versions of the story that mark them as distinctive.10 Most fundamental is that starting with Vimalasu ¯ri, Jain authors depict both R¯ama and R¯avanạ as human,11 in contrast to, say, V¯alm¯ıki, for whom R¯ama is divine and R¯avanạ is a ten-headed r¯aksasa ̣ .12 In general, Jain authors depict R¯avanạ in a more tragic light than do many “Hindu” accounts of the story. Ravisẹ na’s ̣ R¯avanạ is a pious Jain, a committed vegetarian, and is renowned for both his exemplary kingship and his admirable austerity. His one vice, though, is uncontrollable lust, which leads him to eventually abduct S¯ıt¯a. Queen Kaikey¯ı, R¯ama’s stepmother who is responsible for his exile to the forest, also becomes a more sympathetic character in Jain versions of the story. Instead of being portrayed as greedy and power-hungry, concerned only for her own fortune, Jain authors cast Kaikey¯ı as a loving mother concerned about losing her son Bharata to mendicancy. To stop Bharata from following in his father’s footsteps and becoming a monk, Kaikey¯ı concocts the plan of making him king instead of R¯ama, thus investing in Bharata the responsibilities of running a kingdom. R¯ama’s exile to the forest, then, does not stem from Kaikey¯ı’s avarice, but rather from her knowing that Bharata would never accept the throne while R¯ama remained in the kingdom. The end of many of the main characters of the narrative also differs from what is presented in “Hindu” versions. R¯ama, his brother Bharata, and Hanum¯an all at some point over the course of the story take Jain vows of mendicancy and eventually attain moksạ , liberation from saṃ s¯ara, the transitory world of rebirth and re-death. S¯ıt¯a, after proving her purity in the fire ritual, also accepts Jain ascetic vows and, after practicing austerities, is reborn as a god. As will be discussed in more detail below, R¯avanạ and



Laksma ̣ nạ both die over the course of the narrative and, because they have committed grave acts of violence, are immediately reborn in hell, though the reader is assured that both will achieve moksạ in a future birth.

¯ NTA RASA 3. EMOTION, AESTHETICS, AND S´A Let me first introduce the theoretical scaffolding that will aid in explicating the emotional work of the Padmapur¯aṇa. This is the literary concept of rasa (literally “taste”), and specifically s´¯anta rasa, the peaceful sentiment, and its relationship to bh¯ava, “emotion.” Discussing rasa is a complicated task, in one way because, as Wallace Dace (1963: 249) points out, there is no direct English equivalent for the term. Anne Monius (2015a: 153) expresses a similar sentiment, explaining that in English, rasa “ranges in meaning from ‘sap’ or ‘juice’ to ‘essence’ but. . .is perhaps best left untranslated in this literary context.” Further complicating this discussion is the fact that rasa itself—questions of how and in whom rasa is engendered, or even exactly what the experience of rasa entails—has evolved and transformed over time.13 Does rasa exist in the poet? In the text itself? Or is rasa engendered in the qualified reader of a piece of literature? Is rasa the experience of vivid or heightened emotion itself, or rather an experience of a sublime aesthetic delight that stems from the appreciation of recognizing such emotion? Even the idea of rasa as the “soul of poetry” (k¯avyasya ¯atm¯a) does not emerge until around the ninth century CE.14 Theorists of Sanskrit literature have taken up all of these questions, though space precludes an exhaustive discussion of the history of their engagement. What I will provide, though, is some of the basics of thought on rasa that seem more-or-less consistent throughout the centuries of discussion. First, there are eight commonly agreed upon rasas—the erotic (s´r n ˙̣ g¯ara), the comic (h¯asya), the pathetic (karuṇa), the furious (raudra), the heroic (v¯ı ra), the terrible (bhay¯anaka), the disgusting (b¯ı bhatsa), and the marvelous (adbhuta)—which we might call “original,” that is, present in the earliest extant treatment of rasa, Bharata’s15 N¯atya ̣ s´¯astra (“Treatise on Drama”). A ninth rasa, the peaceful (s´¯anta), is generally regarded as a later addition, though as we will see below, Jains possibly recognized s´¯anta centuries earlier than other authors and theorists.16 Further, discussions of rasa are consistent in that, wherever it resides or is engendered, rasa is a sort of transcendent experience, produced in individual experiences but somehow going beyond and subsuming them. Well-constructed humorous scenes, for instance, produce or give way to the larger essence of “the comedic.” Second, rasas come about because of the creation of stable or permanent emotions (sth¯ayibh¯ava), brought on by the concomitance of transitory, that



is, less permanent, emotions (vyabhic¯ar¯ı bh¯ava), environmental factors (vibh¯ava), and characters’ physical expressions (anubh¯ava). These are emotions present in the text itself, felt and expressed by characters. Third, from at least the ninth century onwards, theorists posit that while many rasas can exist within a work of literature, one functions as the predominant sentiment (an ˙ g¯ı rasa). What makes a predominant rasa predominant? To the ¯ nandavardhana the answer to this question ninth-century Kashmiri theorist A ¯ nandavardhana, is simple; Lawrence McCrea (2013: 182–3), analyzing A explains that “it is the conclusion—the way the story ends—that determines the aesthetic flavor of the work as a whole, seemingly regardless of the length, complexity, or emotional variegation of the narrative that precedes it.” Thus, the emotional mood on which a work ends dictates its predominant sentiment. Scholars have previously pointed out Jain authors’ affinity for prioritizing s´¯anta. For example, Anne Monius (2015a: 162) argues that: Jain poetic narrative. . .results in something more important than a hero and heroine in eternally loving embrace, namely: the renunciation and liberation of the hero from worldly life, his escape from the eternal miseries of embodied rebirth and redeath, in the final scenes evocative of none other than s´¯antarasa. . .where all Jain narrative texts eventually end. Ravisẹ na’s ̣ Padmapur¯aṇa follows this pattern. Further, Jains have acknowledged the existence of s´¯anta as a rasa since at least the third century ¯tra (“The Door to the Anuyoga”; Prakrit CE; the Anuyogadv¯arasu “Anuogadd ̣ ¯ar¯aim”) lists the rasa (called pras´¯anta) as one of the nine foundational sentiments in literature: S´¯antarasa is to be known as characterized by an absence of (mental) perturbation; as arising from composure of the mind divested of all passions and as marked by tranquility. Here is an example: “Oh, (look) how the lotus-like face of the sage shines! It is full of beauty (of mental calm) and genuinely devoid of any contortions (due to the upsurge of passions), with its calm (devoid of all urge to look at beautiful objects) and gentle eyes unperturbed (by anger, lust, etc.).”17 Thus, for the early Jain literary tradition, s´¯anta was concretely identified with the tranquil, meditating sage. This is the extent of the discussion of s´¯anta in the Anuyogadv¯arasu ¯tra, and the early Jain canonical reference to



s´¯anta—or, indeed, rasa more broadly—had little influence on subsequent centuries of Sanskrit literary theory.18 It was not until many centuries later, with the advent of sustained engagement in literary theorization by Kashmiri authors beginning in the ninth century, that s´¯anta came to be regarded as one of the primary moods of Sanskrit aesthetics.19 That does not mean, though, that there was a large uptick in the actual production of works whose dominant mood was s´¯anta. As McCrea (2013: 181) points out, specifically in reference to the twelfth-century author Kalhanạ and his R¯ajataran ˙ giṇ¯ı (“The River of Kings”): [T]here were very few extended literary works considered to have s´¯anta as their primary rasa. . .In Kalhana’s ̣ time and for three hundred years or so leading up to it, there was one and only one major literary work which was generally acknowledged to have s´¯anta as its principal rasa: the Mah¯abh¯arata of Vy¯asa. This chapter contends that, contra to the “generally acknowledged” view, Ravisẹ na’s ̣ Padmapur¯aṇa is a “major literary work” that has s´¯anta as its principal rasa and thus that contemporary scholarship would benefit from a more sustained engagement with Jain works in writing the history of Sanskrit literature. What, though, does s´¯anta as a dominant aesthetic mood actually look like?20 How is it brought about, and what specific emotions are present in the characters of a work in its attempt to engender s´¯anta? As with all rasas, s´¯anta arises out of the depiction of a sth¯ayibh¯ava, s´ama (tranquility),21 which ¯ nandavardhana defines as “pleasure that comes from the cessation of A desire” (tr ṣ ṇ̣ ¯aksayasukha ̣ ). This pleasure is commonly preceded by a character’s experience of nirveda, defined by Tubb (1985: 146) as “fundamental disillusionment, a psychological state of disregard directed against the entire phenomenal world.” It is grief, I argue, that in the Padmapur¯aṇa engenders nirveda: R¯ama himself becomes disillusioned with the physical world after the death of his brother, and this inspires him to become a renunciant resulting in his eventual experience of s´ama.

4. STARTING AT THE END: FROM S´OKA ¯ ṆA TO S´AMA IN THE PADMAPURA ¯ nandavardhana’s argument that a For the sake of the analysis, I follow A work’s conclusion dictates its overall dominant aesthetic mood. I will begin, then, with an analysis of how Ravisẹ nạ uses grief as the inroad to R¯ama’s eventual experience of s´ama. As I stated earlier, R¯ama experiences this



disillusionment with the physical world and the happiness that comes from the extinction of cravings, but it is an experience that particularly emerges out of the grief he feels upon the death of his brother Laksma ̣ na. ̣ The story of Laksma ̣ na’s ̣ death goes as follows: Two unwise gods, out of curiosity, became resolved to investigate the love between R¯ama and Laksma ̣ nạ [N¯ar¯ayana]. ̣ Completely intent on causing mischief, united by mutual affection, they, their minds set, approached, saying, “We will witness the love and devotion between these two. Laksma ̣ nạ is uncomfortable with not seeing R¯ama even for a day. How much, then, will he struggle upon hearing of the death of his elder brother! We will laugh watching the struggles of him who is overcome with grief; let us go, then, to the city of Kos´al¯a [Ayodhy¯a]! His face will indeed become stricken by grief! At whom will he become angry? Where will he go and what will he say?” Having thus set their minds, the two gods, Ratnacu ¯la and Mrgac ̣ u ¯la quickly covered the distance to the beautiful city of Ayodhy¯a. Reaching there, in the palace of R¯ama, the two utilizing their powers of illusion caused all of the women in the inner apartments to begin to wail aloud. Gatekeepers, wise ministers, priests, and other leaders, their faces downcast, went to Laksma ̣ nạ and told him of R¯ama’s death. Having heard the words, “R¯ama is dead,” Laksma ̣ na’s ̣ eyes became weak, like a blue lotus flower shaken by a hurricane. “Alas, what happened?” he said shakily, as his mind became dejected and he quickly began to shed tears. He felt as if a bolt of lightning had struck him and he fell back against a golden pillar. He went to his lion-throne and sat there, as if he were a statue made of clay. His eyes were not closed, and yet he was separated from everything going on around him. It was as if his body stood alive, but his mind was somewhere else. Seeing him, whose life had left his body, struck by the fire of the death of his brother, the two gods became perplexed and were unable to revive him. Thinking, “Such a death is certainly because of fate,” the two, filled with surprise and dejection and disgusted, went back to the Saudharma heaven.22 Thus, Laksma ̣ na’s ̣ death comes about because of a trick played on him by two gods, and R¯ama is grief-stricken by the death of his brother: And once that hero, Laksma ̣ na, ̣ had attained death, R¯ama, the best of the age, entirely abandoned the world. And even though the soft, sweetsmelling body of Laksma ̣ nạ had become abandoned of all life, still R¯ama did not leave it. He embraced the body to his own, wiped away dust from



the body, smelled it, kissed it, and held it longingly in his arms. He did not trust to release the body even for a moment, for he felt it to be as dear to him as a child holds dear the sweet nectar of a fruit. R¯ama wailed, “O brother, is it proper that you have abandoned me and gone on alone? O mighty one, how could you not have known that I would be unable to bear the pain of separation from you? Did you desire this, having suddenly thrown me into the fire of sorrow? O brother, why have you done this cruel thing, that the journey to the next world has been undertaken without telling me? Beloved brother, give to me now just one nectar-like answer! On account of what fault do you not do this? Why are you, a bearer of goodness, angry with me? O heart-stealing one, you have never been one to be prideful with me, why do you appear so now? Tell me what I have done! Previously, having seen me even at a distance you would be respectful and rise from your seat. Having established R¯ama on the lion-throne, you would sit on the floor. O Laksma ̣ na, ̣ even now, when your foot, with its row of beautiful nails, is placed on my head, why are you angry and do not forgive me? O Lord, get up immediately! My two sons have gone to the forest! Before they have reached too far, we will fetch them back! Those women, seized in the grasp of your virtues, but abandoned by you, roll about uncontrollably on the earth, their voices like the songs made by pained kurar¯ı birds. Their earrings, girdles, diadems, and necklaces are all broken and fallen away. Why do you not stop this sight of your beloveds, who are crying and bewildered? What do I do? Where do I go, now that you have abandoned me? I see nowhere where I will find happiness!”23 The piteousness of R¯ama’s reaction to Laksma ̣ na’s ̣ death here is palpable. On the one hand, faced with Laksma ̣ na’s ̣ unmoving body R¯ama seems to be in disbelief, thinking instead that his brother is angry with him and wondering what offense he has committed that would lead Laksma ̣ nạ to ignore him so stoically. On the other hand, though, there does seem to be some recognition that Laksma ̣ nạ is truly gone. R¯ama asks why his brother has “abandoned [him] and gone on alone” and chastises Laksma ̣ nạ for not considering the suffering caused by the brothers’ separation. Further, R¯ama’s description of the women of Laksma ̣ na’s ̣ life crying like the kurar¯ı bird is especially evocative and a common trope in Indian k¯avya literature.24 R¯ama’s lamentation—marked in the Sanskrit by the use of verbal roots lap, meaning “to wail, bemoan,” and lal, meaning “to roll about,” or “to be agitated,” as well as R¯ama’s repeated, unsuccessful questioning of Laksma ̣ na, ̣ who of course cannot and will never respond, poignantly depicts the sorrowful nature of the scene. Later in the chapter, R¯ama repeatedly commands his



brother to wake up (uttisṭ ha ̣ ) and leave his sleep aside (nidr¯am mun ˙ casva/ mun ˙ ca),25 unable to grasp the fact that his brother is dead. Ravisẹ nạ continues to describe R¯ama’s grief and lamentations over the death of his brother. In chapter 118, the author describes R¯ama’s reaction to being urged to perform his brother’s cremation and funeral ceremony. Laksma ̣ na, ̣ R¯ama’s beloved brother and faithful companion in the fights against R¯avana, ̣ was dead. Their trusted allies, Sugr¯ıva and the others, declared, “King R¯ama, let us now make a funeral pyre. Give us the body of Laksma ̣ na, ̣ lord among men, so that we may cremate it properly.” But R¯ama was not in his right mind and he retorted, “May you all burn on that pyre, with your fathers and mothers and even your grandfathers too. And may all of your friends and relatives die with you, you men of evil heart. Come, get up, Laksma ̣ na. ̣ Let us go somewhere else, where we will not have to hear such cruel words from scoundrels like these.” R¯ama then went to lift the body of his brother. The kings. . .in a flurry rushed to help him, grabbing the shoulders, back and other parts of the body. But R¯ama did not trust them and so he carried Laksma ̣ na’s ̣ body all by himself and stole away from them, as a child might steal away with a poison fruit. R¯ama’s eyes overflowed with tears as he said, “O brother! Why are you still asleep? Get up! It’s time. Come, come and take your bath.” And with those words he placed the dead body on the throne that had been prepared for his own bath.26 Here, again, R¯ama asks his brother to awaken from what he thinks to be a deep slumber. R¯ama’s inability to admit that his brother is dead and the lengths he goes to in order to sustain his self-delusion—even giving his brother a bath in the hopes that it will revive him—hammer home the heartrending nature of scene.27 The Padmapur¯aṇa does not end, though, with R¯ama wallowing in grief. We see R¯ama’s sorrow give way to tranquil s´ama in chapter 118. His grieffueled delusion lasts for a full six months, during which time he carries around Laksma ̣ na’s ̣ corpse alone. Eventually, R¯ama’s enemies—mostly family members of R¯avana—get ̣ word of his condition and hatch a plan to conquer Ayodhy¯a. Upon learning of this, two gods, Krṭ ¯antavaktra and Jat¯ạ yu, go to Ayodhy¯a to assist R¯ama. Jat¯ạ yu first dispatches the vidy¯adhara army approaching the city, crushing R¯avana’s ̣ family members to such a degree that their shame in defeat leads many to become Jain ascetics. Then, both Krṭ ¯anta and Jat¯ạ yu approach R¯ama and through their magical powers show him the futility of his sorrow. Krṭ ¯anta attempts to water a longdead tree, and Jat¯ạ yu yokes a pair of dead oxen to a plow. Krṭ ¯anta then



attempts to churn water into butter, while Jat¯ạ yu crushes sand as if it would provide oil. R¯ama notices the two gods performing such useless tasks, but it is not until Jat¯ạ yu appears in front of R¯ama carrying a corpse—thus mirroring, of course, R¯ama’s own actions—that R¯ama recognizes that Laksma ̣ nạ is truly dead and that his attempts to revive him are indeed futile.28 Ravisẹ nạ describes this awakening with natural imagery, explaining that: “Freed from the clouds of his delusion, King R¯ama shone with the light of awakening, as the moon, freed from a host of rain clouds, shines with its radiant light. His mind was pure again, restored to its former clarity, like the autumn sky, restored to its pure state after the rain clouds have all gone.”29 After this awakening, the two gods ask R¯ama if he is happy, to which R¯ama responds that only Jain ascetics, who have renounced the world, are truly happy.30 It is here that R¯ama’s disillusionment with the physical world germinates and where s´ama begins to emerge. This realization does not come from study, thought, or intellectual endeavor; rather, it emerges from R¯ama having felt grief and having experienced the debilitating effects of that grief in his own life. This is driven home by the fact that earlier in the narrative R¯ama had actually mocked Hanum¯an and other relations who had taken ascetic d¯ı ks¯ạ : “Having learned that Hanum¯an and the eight sons of Laksma ̣ nạ had renounced the world, R¯ama laughed and said, ‘What pleasure can these cowards possibly enjoy?’ ”31 Indeed, before encountering his own motivation for renunciation R¯ama had witnessed numerous other characters renounce worldly pleasures and take on the life of mendicants: his father, Das´aratha; his brother Bharata; many of R¯avana’s ̣ relatives after R¯avana’s ̣ death; Hanum¯an; and his own wife, S¯ıt¯a. R¯ama had thus been exposed to the fact that life in the phenomenal world is something to abandon, but he failed to understand that fact because of his lack of emotional experience of it. It is thus only the confrontation with grief, the reader comes to understand, that motivates R¯ama to give up a life of ephemeral pleasures and leads him to tranquility and ultimate release at the work’s conclusion. To return to the story, though, R¯ama thus leaves the two gods and finally cremates Laksma ̣ na’s ̣ body. He places his brother S´atrughna on the throne of Ayodhy¯a, explaining: “Now you must rule over the mortal kingdom. I am going to retire to the penance grove. There, with my mind free from all trace of desire, I shall strive to attain the place of the Jinas, Final Release.”32 R¯ama thus takes ascetic initiation (d¯ı ks¯ạ ) from the Jina Munisuvrata and commences with the life of a wandering ascetic. The tranquil happiness that R¯ama experiences in this new life as a mendicant, unconcerned with the physical world, is evident in Ravisẹ na’s ̣ description:



Lord [R¯ama], in whom envy and sensual desire had been calmed, performed extremely difficult tapas, impossible for common people. With the sun blazing brightly in the middle of the sky, he, firm in performing fasts, including the asṭ ama ̣ fast, wandered the forest being worshipped by herdsmen, etc. He was knowledgeable of the timeless vows of the five rules of conduct (samiti) and the three rules of restraint (gupti). He had conquered his senses. He possessed great affection for s¯adhus. He was dedicated to his study of sacred texts. He was fortunate and virtuous (sukr ṭ ). He was one who attained many great attainments, and yet he remained unchanged [in his goal]. He was eager to overcome delusion and the worldly trials that function as its servant. Elephants and tigers, pacified by the power of his asceticism, regarded him without aggression, as did herds of deer, their necks outstretched and eyes wide. His heart set on attaining ultimate bliss, free from attachment and desire, he traversed a remote and exhaustive path into the middle of the forest. Sometimes standing on a slab of rock and at other times assuming the paryan ˙ ka position of meditation, he entered into meditation as the sun enters into the clouds. Sometimes in a pleasant spot he stood upright in the pratim¯ayoga posture, his long arms hanging down, his mind immovable like the Mandara mountain. Other times he wandered, resplendent and peaceful, looking off towards the horizon, and he was worshipped by celestial women who inhabited the forest trees. And thus, in such a manner, he of peerless soul performed tapas which others in this degraded time cannot even contemplate.33 On the one hand, the asceticism that R¯ama performs is of the utmost strenuousness; Ravisẹ nạ highlights this not only with references to specific ascetic postures (paryan ˙ ka, pratim¯a), but also by explicating the fact that common people cannot even fathom the extent of his practice. On the other hand though, R¯ama qua mendicant is far removed from the emotional torment brought about by his brother’s death. His destination-less wandering signifies his tranquil existence in the forest, and he proceeds indifferent to the (no doubt enticing) attention of celestial women who reside in the woods. Senses controlled and desires conquered, R¯ama is not only at peace himself— an inner peace that is reflected in his physicality—he also emanates peace to his surroundings. The trope of the tranquil monk effortlessly creating an environment in which normally aggressive animals—elephants (particularly in rut) and lions—become pacified is common in Jain literature; indeed, Ravisẹ nạ uses similar language to describe Mah¯av¯ıra in the beginning of the Padmapur¯aṇa.34 The happiness that stems from R¯ama’s disinterest in worldly affairs and commitment to the monastic life is evident in his dedication to



study and his eagerness (samudyata) to overcome the delusion that he now recognizes characterized his previous life. This, I argue, is s´ama exemplified. Finally, the fact that s´¯ama serves as the dominant emotional takeaway for the narrative becomes evident with R¯ama’s eventual attainment of omniscience and, ultimately, liberation from the world of saṃ s¯ara at the end of the narrative: And at that time, ultimate knowledge arose in [R¯ama], that great-souled one. And when his all-seeing, omniscient eye had come into being, he realized that everything, that which both belongs to the world and which is outside of it, is as worthless as a cow’s footstep in mud.35 It is thus in R¯ama’s attainment of enlightenment and, eventually, moksạ , that s´ama reaches its fulfillment.

¯ VAṆA, THE READER, AND NOVEL GRIEF 5. RA Turning now away from how s´oka is created and depicted in R¯ama in the Padmapur¯aṇa, Ravisẹ nạ also skillfully creates a novel type of grief for the reader of his work. Indeed, Laksma ̣ na’s ̣ death is not the reader’s first experience with grief in the narrative. They experience it also when R¯avanạ dies in battle at the hands of Laksma ̣ na. ̣ In the text itself, the sorrowful nature of the episode is best expressed in Ravisẹ na’s ̣ description of the lamentation of R¯avana’s ̣ wives after they get word of his death: In the meantime, the women’s quarters became aware of the death of R¯avana, ̣ and immediately became filled with a great wave of grief. And all the women, sprinkling the ground with their tears, staggering, immediately went to the battlefield. And having seen their handsome husband, who resembled the crest-jewel of the earth, unconscious on the ground, all the women fell down violently. Rambh¯a, Candr¯anan¯a, Candramanḍ ̣ al¯a, Pravar¯a, Urvas´¯ı, Mandodar¯ı, Mah¯adev¯ı, Sundar¯ı, Kamal¯anan¯a, Ru ¯pin¯ı̣ , Rukman¯ı̣ , S´¯ıl¯a, Ratnam¯al¯a, Tanu ¯dar¯ı, S´r¯ık¯ant¯a, S´r¯ımat¯ı, Bhadr¯a, ¯ n¯and¯a, Anan Kanak¯abh¯a, Mrg̣ ¯avat¯ı, S´r¯ım¯al¯a, M¯anav¯ı, Laksm ̣ ¯ı, A ˙ gasundar¯ı, Vasundhar¯a, Taḍinm¯al¯a, Padm¯a, Padm¯avat¯ı, Sukh¯a, Dev¯ı, Padm¯avat¯ı, K¯anti, Pr¯ıti, Sandhy¯abal¯ı, S´ubh¯a, Prabh¯avat¯ı, Manoveg¯a, Ratik¯ant¯a, Manovat¯ı, and 18,000 more grief-stricken wives, having surrounded their husband, wept in agony. Some of the chaste women, sprinkled with sandalwood paste, fainted, as if they were lotuses whose stalks had been uprooted. Some, embracing their husband tightly, fainted, resembling a line of mountains of collyrium at twilight. Some who had regained



consciousness were wearily beating their chests and resembled a garland of lightning intertwined in heavy rainclouds. One of the women, extremely distressed, having placed [R¯avana’s] ̣ head in her lap, touched his chest and 36 immediately fainted. R¯avana’s ̣ wives’ grief in the passage is clear. Upon seeing their husband dead on the ground, they are unable to remain standing, instead falling to the ground. The list of names, presumably of only the thirty-nine most important of R¯avana’s ̣ wives, draws in the reader, and the utter vastness, the allencompassing nature of the scene’s sorrow is driven home by the near offhandedness with which Ravisẹ nạ adds 18,000 more wives, all “[weeping] in agony” (cakruḥ ¯akrandaṃ sumah¯as´uc¯a). Ravisẹ na’s ̣ comparison of the women to lotuses that have been uprooted and are therefore limp, wasting away, and will inevitably die themselves, provides a devastating image of the women’s misfortunate state. On the one hand, the reader is meant to empathize with R¯avana’s ̣ wives’ grief, so painfully articulated in the above passage. However, there is also a particular sorrow that only the reader experiences upon R¯avana’s ̣ death because that death is in fact the culmination of a long, excruciating, and grotesque transformation of R¯avana’s ̣ character to which only the reader has borne witness. To demonstrate this, let me provide a brief description of how Ravisẹ nạ characterizes R¯avanạ in the first half of the Padmapur¯aṇa.37 R¯avanạ is the first major character introduced in the work, and the reader spends multiple chapters learning about R¯avanạ independent of his eventual antagonistic relationship with R¯ama, whose birth does not occur until chapter twenty-five. During the time that the reader spends exclusively with R¯avana, ̣ Ravisẹ nạ highlights three primary character traits. First, R¯avanạ is a fair and righteous king who works towards the legitimate goal of reclaiming his ancestral homeland of Lan ˙ k¯a, the throne of which had previously been usurped by a rival vidy¯adhara named Indra. Second, he is a sincere and devout Jain who supports mendicants and the restoration of temples.38 Third, he is especially disciplined and skilled in ascetic practice. At one point, R¯avanạ and his brothers decide that they will work toward acquiring magical weapons by performing acts of asceticism. While undergoing these austerities, the brothers are happened upon by a yaksạ named An¯avrta. ̣ Originally delighted to see the men so dedicated to ascetic practice, An¯avrta ̣ eventually becomes enraged when none of the brothers will break their practice to speak with him. In response, using his magical powers, An¯avrta ̣ generates a horrific scene to shake the brothers’ will. The scene is set in Pusp̣ ¯antaka, the city of the brothers’ youth, and includes an army of mlecchas (barbarians) ransacking the city and tormenting the brothers’ family members. The



mlecchas cut off the hands of the brothers’ lamenting parents; R¯avanạ sees the heads of his two brothers being cut off and thrown at his feet, while the two brothers see the same scene with R¯avana’s ̣ head. At this, while R¯avanạ remains unmoved, focused solely on his ascetic practice, the minds of his two brothers begin to break. Here, the text shifts to focus specifically on the resoluteness of R¯avana’s ̣ tapas: But [R¯avana] ̣ retained purity of mind. That extremely heroic one, splendorous, remained firm like the Mandara mountain. Having destroyed the influence of his sense organs, he made his mind, trembling like lightning, obedient like a servant. It was similar to how protection was done by Kanṭ aka ̣ and Sambara, and so he, who was free from any blemish because of his concentration, continued to recite mantras uninterrupted.39 In this episode we see R¯avanạ as possessing a superhuman fortitude, an impressive ability to control his emotions and passions. As we will see, this trait disappears when he encounters S¯ıt¯a. R¯avanạ becomes, instead, beholden to his lustful desires, even though he rationally understands that they will mean his downfall. I provide the above description to highlight the fact that the reader of the Padmapur¯aṇa is supposed to like R¯avanạ at the point in the story where he confronts R¯ama, S¯ıt¯a, and Laksma ̣ nạ at their forest hermitage. R¯avanạ is not faultless, but he is a good king and a good Jain. His transition, though, from a sympathetic and likeable character to a pitiable one begins in the immediate lead-up to his abduction of S¯ıt¯a. R¯avanạ is led to R¯ama’s, S¯ıt¯a’s, and Laksma ̣ na’s ̣ forest hermitage under false pretenses; his sister, Candranakh¯a, lies to him, claiming that R¯ama and Laksma ̣ nạ had sexually assaulted her.40 Ready to defend his sister’s honor, it is at the hermitage that R¯avanạ first lays eyes on S¯ıt¯a and he immediately becomes enamored of her. As Ravisẹ nạ explains: “[R¯avana], ̣ his mind like that of a small child because of it being completely overtaken by passion, resolved to kidnap [S¯ıt¯a], which is similar to death by poison.”41 This verse is a turning point in how R¯avanạ is described throughout the rest of the narrative; it is the first time the reader sees any sort of description that portrays R¯avanạ as “child-like.” The reason for this change in portrayal is the arising of uncontrollable passion within R¯avanạ upon seeing S¯ıt¯a for the first time. This seemingly inevitable arising of passions, against which R¯avanạ is powerless, contradicts his earlier representation as being especially self-controlled. S¯ıt¯a’s effect on R¯avanạ is intense and immediate. Even before reaching Lan ˙ k¯a after kidnapping her, R¯avanạ professes his love for the woman, all but begging her to accept his affection:



O virtuous woman! I have been struck by the extremely delicate flowerarrows of K¯amadeva. If I die, then you will be bound with the sin of killing a man. O beautiful woman, your lotus-like face shines even though it is angry, for the beauty of all beautiful things persists eternally. O goddess, cast your uncertain glance just once on my face, for by bathing in the sweet waters of your glance all my fatigue will melt away!42 S¯ıt¯a, of course, rebuffs R¯avana’s ̣ advances. Enraged by her response, R¯avanạ deposits her in a beautiful garden and retires to his own quarters, where Mandodar¯ı, his chief queen, finds and attempts to console him. Her attempts are unsuccessful; R¯avanạ continues to bemoan his unrequited love for S¯ıt¯a and reiterates that he cannot live without her, reinforcing an increasingly pathetic image of himself: If she, S¯ıt¯a, that unmatched creation of virtue who is nevertheless decorated only with sorrow, does not desire me to be her husband, certainly I will not remain alive! Having attained that singularly beautiful one, her charm, grace, youth, and the beauty of her limbs has become my only desire.43 The immediacy and utter completeness of R¯avana’s ̣ transformation from confident ruler to child-like, groveling suitor is shocking both to the reader and to R¯avana’s ̣ associates in the narrative. Mandodar¯ı at one point tells him, essentially, to snap out of it: Why have you adopted so much uncertainty? What is all this risk for? Why do you, who are so strong willed, cause so much distress both to yourself and us [your wives]? What have you lost? Your land is the same as it was before! Harness your mind, which is currently on an improper path! This desire of yours has surely become dangerous! Quickly restrain the horses that are your senses; you bear the reins of discrimination!44 To make matters worse, the pitiful aspects of R¯avanạ are accompanied by a newfound penchant for wickedness. In chapter forty-six, R¯avanạ again attempts to convince S¯ıt¯a into accepting him as her lover. He is, of course, again shunned, at which time R¯avanạ loses self-control and magically creates terrifying environments meant to intimidate S¯ıt¯a into taking refuge with him. Having been censured thusly, R¯avanạ immediately began to create illusions. All the damsels became terrified and ran away, and everything



was disturbed. And when this came about, the sun along with its circle of rays, set immediately, as if out of fear of R¯avana’s ̣ illusion. But S¯ıt¯a, even though she was frightened by the masses of violent, deeply bellowing rutting elephants, did not take refuge with R¯avana. ̣ And even though she was frightened by tigers, soundless and unbeatable, their gaping mouths full of sharp teeth, S¯ıt¯a did not take refuge with R¯avana. ̣ And even though she was frightened by lions, with their terrible hooked claws and their shaking manes, S¯ıt¯a did not take refuge with R¯avana. ̣ And even though she was frightened of great serpents, with their tongues twitching to and fro and whose eyes were frightening likes sparks of fire, S¯ıt¯a did not take refuge with R¯avana. ̣ And even though she was frightened by terrible monkeys, openmouthed and flying around up and down wildly, S¯ıt¯a did not take refuge with R¯avana. ̣ And even though she was frightened by black-colored ghosts, high up and bellowing loudly, S¯ıt¯a did not take refuge with R¯avana. ̣ Thus, even though she was frightened by all these different kinds of terrible, fear-inducing disturbances, still S¯ıt¯a did not take refuge with R¯avana. ̣ 45 The illusory animals that R¯avanạ creates are obviously threatening. Rutting elephants threaten to trample S¯ıt¯a; sharp tigers’ teeth and lions’ claws threaten to pierce her. R¯avanạ sees himself as being abused by S¯ıt¯a, her rebuffs to his advances interpreted as unjustified insults. R¯avana’s ̣ production of magical dangers further shows a lack of self-control that comes about because of his unchecked desire for S¯ıt¯a. R¯avanạ is portrayed as tempestuous, and, indeed, it is S¯ıt¯a in this passage who comes across as superlatively selfcontrolled. In the face of seemingly endless danger, S¯ıt¯a remains calm; though frightened, she refuses to cower in front of R¯avana. ̣ The continued repetition of the phrase “though frightened, S¯ıt¯a did not take refuge with R¯avana,” ̣ reinforces this fact. Thus, in a textual blink of an eye, R¯avanạ becomes nearly unrecognizable; the transformation is immediate and irreversible. It serves, on the one hand, as a shocking reminder to the reader of the existential danger of lust and passion, but it also creates an affective response; the reader has suddenly lost someone that they have come to know over many chapters. They witness this character, whom they have come to like and respect, as he barrels headlong towards his own demise. Theirs is a personal grief over the loss of a friend. R¯ama and Laksma ̣ na, ̣ of course, do not share the reader’s affective response to R¯avana’s ̣ death, and Ravisẹ na’s ̣ description of the brothers’ interactions with R¯avana’s ̣ family is complicated. On the one hand, the brothers seem to share in the women’s grief, as Ravisẹ nạ (chapter 77, verses 45–6) describes them as being “ready [to offer] their pity” (karuṇodyukta)



and their eyes as being filled with tears (v¯asp̣ ¯apu ¯ritalocanau). The two also prevent R¯avana’s ̣ brother Vibh¯ısạ nạ from committing suicide out of despair. Yet, at the same time, R¯ama and Laksma ̣ nạ encourage Vibh¯ısạ nạ not to mourn his brother’s death: O king, enough with this mourning! Abandon now your despair! Indeed, you know that what has transpired was determined by karma. On account of the authority of previously accrued karma, a man’s pursuit of error will certainly lead to consequences. What, then, is the reason for this grief?46 There is a disjuncture here between R¯ama’s and Laksma ̣ na’s ̣ physical response and their words of consolation. They seem moved by the grieving women, sharing in their tears, and yet in their counsel to Vibh¯ısạ na, ̣ they attribute R¯avana’s ̣ entire predicament, the entirety of his transformation from righteous king to miserable, hapless, and wicked abductor, to the natural workings of karma. It is a mechanical explanation, one that strikes the reader as insufficient to assuage their own sorrow in seeing the death of a character they have grown to like. For the reader, this karma-based explanation does not ameliorate the sadness that emerges from R¯avana’s ̣ death. Instead, it rings hollow, accentuating the episode’s emotional rawness. If we remember the description of Laksma ̣ na’s ̣ death, we will recognize a brief but similar sentiment expressed by the two gods who tricked Laksma ̣ na. ̣ Unable to understand the consequences of their deceit, the gods relegate Laksma ̣ na’s ̣ death to the imprecise workings of fate (vidhin¯a).47 The gods use this rationalization to alleviate any responsibility they might bear over Laksma ̣ na’s ̣ death, and certainly such an explanation would do little to console R¯ama’s grief. Here, though, we see that the occasion of Laksma ̣ na’s ̣ death is not the first time an imprecise, nebulous account of karma or fate serves an emotionally unconvincing explanation of death.48 Most important about the reader’s grief over R¯avana’s ̣ death is the fact that it is not shared by R¯ama and, because of this, it is never adequately addressed or resolved. There exists an emotional gap between the reader and the protagonist throughout the majority of the rest of the story. In a way, the reader waits for R¯ama to “catch up” with their own emotional experience, to feel the grief of losing someone you care about. This, of course, happens when Laksma ̣ nạ dies, and R¯ama’s subsequent renunciation of the world and experience of s´ama not only mollifies his own grief over the death of his brother, but also points out how the reader might alleviate their own grief. In a final turn—and this is as close as I think we can come to defining s´¯anta rasa with respect to Ravisẹ nạ and the Padmapur¯aṇa—the reader is encouraged to realize that nirveda and renunciation are the cure not only for their



particular grief over the death of R¯avanạ but, of course, for the grief that stems from the very fact of existence in the physical world.

6. CONCLUSION At its most basic level, the goal of this chapter has been to demonstrate the fundamental role of emotion and, in particular, that of grief, in Ravisẹ na’s ̣ Padmapur¯aṇa, both for the story’s characters and the reader. I demonstrated that the dispassionate state that both Jain literature and scholarship so valorizes emerges out of the careful construction of emotion, both for R¯ama in the text and the reader outside of it. Grief, specifically, serves as the primary impetus for R¯ama’s nirveda, his world-weariness, which leads him to renounce the world and eventually gives way to his experience of s´ama, or tranquility. Subsequently, the reader’s encounter with R¯ama’s sorrow is all the more powerful because they too have experienced, and indeed have long held on to, their own novel grief that stemmed from R¯avana’s ̣ death earlier in the narrative. While R¯ama’s grief is resolved in his eventual experience of s´ama, the reader’s necessarily is not. What the reader is left with is the universalized realization that renunciation is the ultimate escape from a world marked by sorrow; the text leaves the reader with the decision to actually act upon that realization. This chapter has also aimed to contribute to ongoing scholarly discussions of s´¯anta rasa and the history of aesthetics in Sanskrit literature, first by acknowledging the simple fact that engagement with Jain literary materials can contribute to these discussions in the first place. If Anne Monius is right that s´¯anta has historically played a central role in Jain Sanskrit literary composition, then scholars should take Jain material more seriously as a way of understanding how authors conceptualized, produced, and utilized s´¯anta. For Ravisẹ na, ̣ s´¯anta does not seem to be either simply a heightened emotional state or merely a sublime pleasure. The Padmapur¯aṇa encourages at least the recognition of the paramount importance of renunciation; it expects to have real-world effects on its readers, kindling and anticipating their desire to put an end to their own grief. S´¯anta, then, is perhaps that very motivation which exists in the turn from text to real life.

NOTES 1. “Padma” is a common name for R¯ama in Jain literature. 2. All subsequent references to Ravisẹ na’s ̣ Padmapur¯aṇa refer to the three-volume edition edited, with Hindi translation, by Pann¯a L¯ala Jain and published by Bh¯arat¯ıya Jñ¯anap¯ıtha. ̣



3. Anne Monius has convincingly argued that Jain authors also used h¯asya rasa, or the comedic sentiment, as a lead in to s´¯anta: “Jain authors clearly favor something akin to s´¯anta in the undercutting of love (the erotic) and war (the heroic) and in the inevitable renunciation of the hero” (2015a: 162). 4. S´oka is traditionally considered to be the sth¯ayibh¯ava of karuṇa rasa, or the “pathos-invoking” sentiment. Thus, one could also argue that Ravisẹ nạ consistently engenders karuṇa as a supporting rasa that gives way to s´¯anta at the work’s conclusion. 5. Kulkarni (1990: 92) asserts that Ravisẹ nạ probably “borrowed wholesale” from Vimala when composing the Padmapur¯aṇa, though he does acknowledge the possibility that both Vimala and Ravisẹ nạ shared a third, unknown source. One of the major differences between Vimala’s and Ravisẹ na’s ̣ versions of the narrative is that Ravisẹ na’s ̣ is a pointedly Digambara text. As Kulkarni (1990: 101) explains: “Ravisẹ nạ has reproduced the narrative of the Paüma-Cariya with some alterations to suit the Digambara tradition. He has studiously avoided the use of the word S´vet¯ambara from the narrative of Vimala by substituting Digam ˙ bara or Anam ˙ bara in its place.” 6. All of this contributes to the fact that Ravisẹ na’s ̣ work is nearly double the length of Vimalas¯uri’s. For more on this, see Kulkarni (1990: 102) and Clines 2019a. 7. Later authors also mention Ravisẹ nạ in their works, including Udyotanas¯uri (mid-late eighth century) in his Kuvalayam¯ala (“The Garland of Blue Lotuses”), Jat¯ạ siṃhanandi (c. sixth–ninth century) in his Var¯an˙gacarita (“The Deeds of Prince Var¯an ˙ga”), Punn¯atạ Jinasena (late eighth century) in his Harivaṃ s´apur¯aṇa (“The Deeds of the Hari Clan”), and Svayambh¯udeva (c. ninth–tenth century) in his Apabhramsha version of the R¯ama narrative, Paümacariu. For more on this last author, see De Clercq 2018. 8. He does, though, provide (ch. 123, v. 167) a brief guru lineage: his immediate teacher was Laksma ̣ nasena, ̣ whose teacher was Arhanmuni, whose teacher was Div¯akara Yati, whose teacher was Indraguru. 9. See Kulkarni 1990 for an in-depth examination of the common elements of Jain R¯ama narratives, as well as differences that exist between the numerous Jain versions of the story. 10. Space prevents an in-depth discussion of traditional Jain definitions of the pur¯aṇa genre or Jain visions of universal history into which the characters of the Padmapur¯aṇa are placed. For more on these, see Cort 1993. 11. R¯avanạ is actually a vidy¯adhara, a super-human with magical powers, including the ability to shape shift. This also applies to the rest of R¯avana’s ̣ family; for more, see De Clercq 2016. Finally, Hanum¯an and the rest of the v¯anaras also undergo an existential change at the hands of Jain authors. Whereas V¯alm¯ıki presents the v¯anaras as literal monkeys, in Jain versions of the narrative, the v¯anaras are another clan of vidy¯adharas who simply have the monkey as their banner emblem. 12. Jain authors, including Ravisẹ na, ̣ mount a direct refutation of this claim that R¯avanạ had ten heads. They argue that in reality, as a child R¯avanạ was once



given a necklace with nine inlaid gemstones. The reflection of R¯avana’s ̣ face in the nine stones earned him the nickname Da´s¯anana, or “Ten-Headed One.” 13. See Pollock 2016 for a detailed history of the evolution of rasa theory. For an account of the qualified reader’s experience of rasa according to Abhinavagupta, see Masson and Patwardhan 1985: vii–viii. 14. For more on this see Monius 2015a: 153. 15. Pollock (2016: 7) dates Bharata only to the “early centuries CE.” 16. There would be later theoretical controversy over the possibility—or not—of bhakti (devotion) being accepted as a tenth rasa. For more on this, see Bhaduri 1988. 17. Anuyogadv¯arasu ¯tra 262.10. Translation and Prakrit in Masson and Patwardhan 1985: 37. niddosamaṇasam¯ah¯aṇasambhavo jo pasantabh¯aveṇaṃ | avik¯aralakkhaṇo so raso pasanto tti ṇ¯ayavvo || pasanto raso jah¯a— sabbh¯avanivvig¯araṃ uvasantapasantasomadiṭṭh¯ı ’aṃ | h¯ı jaha muṇiṇo soha’i muhukamalaṃ p¯ı varasir¯ı ’aṃ || 18. This is borne out given the fact that the text also proposes a “shameful” (vr¯ı danaka ̣ ) rasa that replaces bhay¯anaka. As Warder (1972: 41) explains, this rasa was “not known to have found recognition elsewhere.” Masson and Patwardhan (1985: 37), who date the entirety of the Anuyogadv¯arasu ¯tra to the fifth century, also express concern with the dating of this specific passage, implying that it could be a later interpolation: “We cannot of course say for certain that the following passage is interpolated, and thus it could, in theory, be as old as the fifth century AD. But the possibility of interpolation, especially in the case of a text that provides examples in numbered objects, is not unlikely. In any case, this could not possibly be the origin of [s´¯anta rasa], especially since it is the only reference to s´¯antarasa in Jain literature before the tenth century AD.” 19. McCrea (2013: 181) credits Udbhatạ (ninth century) as the first to introduce the rasa into Kashmiri discussions of literary aesthetics. I understand that bringing into conversation the Anuyogadv¯arasu ¯tra, which (possibly) predates Ravisẹ na, ̣ with Kashmiri literary theorists that postdate Ravisẹ nạ may seem odd. I do this, though, because it is important to point out the fact that Jains had some idea of not only rasa generally speaking, but s´¯anta rasa in particular before even Bharata. It is also a fact, though, that there is no sustained theory of what rasa is or how it works following the Anuyogadv¯arasu ¯tra. That comes only later with the Kashmiri theorists. Thus, there is a substantive “reading back” of theory onto Ravisẹ na. ̣ This is, though, how theory usually works. Authors do not write to conform to theory; rather, theorists theorize to make sense of literature. ¯ nandavardhana in the Dhvany¯aloka (see Masson and Patwardhan 20. According to A 1985: 106), the epic Mah¯abh¯arata is the paradigmatic work possessing ´s¯anta as its dominant mood. Unfortunately, as both Tubb and McCrea point out, the Mah¯abh¯arata actually serves as an unhelpful paradigm in this respect. As McCrea (2013: 184) argues: “The problem with this is that this particular emotional state [tṛṣṇ¯aksayasukha ̣ ] is nowhere in evidence among the central characters of the



epic, the P¯anḍ ̣ avas and, in particular, the oldest P¯anḍ ̣ ava brother Yudhisṭ hira. ̣ He remains throughout the story tied to the pursuit of worldly ends, with its consequent distasteful ending of suffering and despair.” Further, Tubb (1991: 148) explains that “what Yudhisṭ hira ̣ seeks and finds is not the liberated state of one who has passed beyond attachment, but rather the engaging world of a warrior’s paradise.” Thus, both Tubb and McCrea here point towards a real ¯ nandavardhana’s analysis of the Mah¯abh¯arata vis-à-vis ´s¯anta rasa: tension in A how can it be the dominant aesthetic mood of the narrative if the related sth¯ayibh¯ava is nowhere present? In dealing with this tension, both Tubb and McCrea agree that at least in the Mah¯abh¯arata, the actual site of experience of ´sama, the sth¯ayibh¯ava for ´s¯anta rasa, shifts away from the characters of the narrative itself to the reader or consumer of the work: “The ‘happiness produced ¯ nandhavardhana refers by the extinction of craving’ (tṛṣṇ¯aksayasukha ̣ ) to which A must exist outside the work” (Tubb 1985: 158). It is the reader who experiences disillusionment with the ephemeral world and the subsequent pleasure of the extinction of craving, not the actual characters in the narrative. 21. See Tubb 1985: 144–6 for a discussion of the controversy surrounding s´¯anta rasa generally and, more specifically, on s´ama as a depictable sth¯ayibh¯ava. The ninth century theorist Rudratạ (translated in Masson and Patwardhan 1985: 93–4) in his K¯avy¯alan˙k¯ara (“The Ornaments of Poetry”) gives “right knowledge” (samyagjñ¯ana) as the sth¯ayibh¯ava of s´¯anta and explains “its hero is one whose passions are completely gone.” 22. Padmapur¯aṇa 115, 2–15. kutu ¯halatay¯a dvau tu vibudhau kṛtani´scayau | padman¯ar¯ayaṇasneham¯ı ham¯anau par¯ı ksitum ̣ || kr¯ı ḍaikarasik¯atm¯an¯avanyonyapremasan˙gatau | pas´y¯avaḥ pr¯ı timanayority¯ag¯at¯aṃ pradh¯araṇ¯am || divasaṃ vis´vasityekamapyasy¯adars´anaṃ na yaḥ | maraṇe pu ¯rvajasy¯asau hariḥ kinnu vicesṭ̣ ate || s´okavihvalitasy¯asya v¯ı ksam ̣ ¯aṇau vicesṭ̣ itam | parih¯asaṃ ksạ ṇaṃ kurvo gacch¯avaḥ kos´al¯aṃ pur¯ı m || s´ok¯akulaṃ mukhaṃ visṇ̣ orj¯ayate k¯ı dr s´̣ aṃ tu tat | kasmai kupyati y¯ati kva karoti kimu bh¯asạ ṇam || kṛtv¯a pradh¯araṇ¯amet¯aṃ ratnacu ¯lo dur¯ı hitaḥ | n¯amato mṛgacu ¯las´ca vin¯ı t¯aṃ nagar¯ı ṃ gatau || tatraity¯akurut¯aṃ padmabhavane kranditadhvanim | samast¯antaḥpurastr¯ı ṇ¯aṃ divyam¯ay¯asamudbhavam || prat¯ı h¯arasuhṛnmantripurohitapurogam¯aḥ | adhomukh¯a yayurvisṇ̣ uṃ jagus´ca balapan˙cat¯am || mṛto r¯aghava ityetadv¯akyaṃ s´rutv¯a gad¯ayudhaḥ | mandaprabhan˙jan¯adhu ¯tan¯ı lotpa lanibheksạ ṇaḥ || h¯a kimidaṃ samudbhu ¯tamityarddhakṛtajalpanaḥ | manovit¯anat¯aṃ pr¯aptaḥ sahas¯a ‘s´ru ¯ṇyamun˙cata || t¯adito ̣ ‘s´aninev¯a ‘sau k¯an˙canastambhasaṃ s´ritaḥ | siṃ h¯asanagataḥ pustakarmanyasta iva sthitaḥ || anim¯ı litanetro ‘sau tath¯a ‘vasthitavigrahaḥ | dadh¯ara j¯ı vato ru ¯paṃ kv¯api prahitacetasaḥ || v¯ı ksya ̣ nirgataj¯ı vaṃ taṃ bhr¯atr m ̣ ṛtyanal¯ahataṃ | tridas´au vy¯akul¯ı bhu ¯tau j¯ı vituṃ datumaksamau ̣ || nu ¯namasyedr s´̣ o mr tyurvidhineti ̣ kr ṭ ¯as´ayau | vis¯ạ davismay¯a ‘pu ¯rṇau saudharmamaruc¯ı gatau ||



23. Padmapur¯aṇa 116, 1–15. k¯aladharmaṃ paripr¯apte r¯ajan laksma ̣ ṇapun˙gave | tyaktaṃ yugapradh¯anena r¯ameṇa vy¯akulaṃ jagat || svaru ¯pamṛdu sadgandhaṃ svabh¯avena harervapuḥ | j¯ı ven¯a ‘pi parityaktaṃ na padm¯abhastad¯a ‘tyajat || ¯alin˙gati nidh¯ay¯an˙ke m¯arsṭ̣ i jighrati nin˙ksati ̣ | nis¯ı̣ dati sam¯adh¯aya saspr ha ̣ ṃ bhujapañjare || av¯apnoti na vis´v¯asaṃ ksạ ṇamapyasya mocane || b¯alo ‘mṛtaphalaṃ yadvat sa taṃ mene mah¯apriyam || vilal¯apa ca h¯a bhr¯ataḥ kimidaṃ yuktam ¯ı dr ṣ ạ ṃ | yatparityajya m¯aṃ gantuṃ matirek¯akin¯a kr ṭ ¯a || nanu n¯a ‘haṃ kimu jñ¯atastavaḥ tvadvirah¯asahaḥ | yanm¯aṃ niksipya ̣ duḥkh¯agn¯avak¯asm¯adid am¯ı hase || h¯a t¯ata kimidaṃ kru ¯raṃ paraṃ vyavasitaṃ tvay¯a | yadasaṃ v¯adya me lokamanyaṃ dattaṃ pray¯aṇakam || prayaccha sakṛdapy¯as´u vatsa prativaco ‘mṛtam | dos¯ạ d kiṃ n¯a ‘si kiṃ kruddho mam¯api suvin¯ı takaḥ || kṛtav¯anasi no j¯atu m¯anaṃ mayi manohara | anya ev¯a ‘si kiṃ j¯ato vada v¯a kiṃ may¯a kṛtam || du ¯r¯adev¯anyad¯a dṛsṭ̣ v¯a dattv¯a ‘bhyutth¯anam¯adṛtaḥ | r¯amaṃ siṃ h¯asane kṛtv¯a mah¯ı pr ṣ ṭ̣ haṃ nyasevayaḥ || adhun¯a me s´irasyasminninduk¯antanakh¯avalau | p¯ade ‘pi laksma ̣ ṇanyaste rusẹ mr ṣ yati ̣ no kathaṃ || deva tvaritamuttisṭ̣ ha mama putrau vanaṃ gatau | du ¯raṃ na gacchato y¯avat t¯avatt¯av¯anay¯amahe || tvay¯a virahit¯a et¯aḥ kr ṭ ¯artakurar¯ı rav¯aḥ | bhavadguṇagrahagrast¯a vilolanti mah¯ı tale || bhr ṣ ṭ̣ ah¯aras ´iroratnamekhal¯akuṇdal ̣ ¯adikaṃ | ¯akrandantaṃ priy¯alokaṃ v¯arayasy¯akulaṃ na kim | kiṃ karomi kva gacch¯ami tvay¯a virahito ‘dhun¯a | sth¯anaṃ tann¯anupas´y¯ami j¯ayate yatra nirvṛtiḥ || 24. The kurar¯ı is mentioned in A´svaghosa’s ̣ Buddhacarita (8.51) in a description of Gautam¯ı and also in V¯alm¯ıki’s R¯am¯ayaṇa (6.110. 26) in a description of the reaction of R¯avana’s ̣ wives to his death. For more on this, see Dave 2005: 348–9. 25. Padmapur¯aṇa 116, 34 and 37. 26. Granoff 2007: 115–16. 27. The reader also cannot help but to notice R¯ama’s inability to rationalize his own brother’s death in the same way he did R¯avana’s ̣ earlier in the narrative. No understanding of the workings of karma can alleviate R¯ama’s sorrow in this, his personal confrontation with the death of a loved one. He does not ask himself the reason for his own grief, as he did earlier with Vibh¯ısạ na. ̣ 28. Granoff 2007: 118–22. 29. Granoff 2007: 122. 30. It is especially poignant that Jat¯ạ yu is one of the two gods who aids R¯ama here, as R¯ama had previously helped Jat¯ạ yu when he was a mortal vulture. R¯ama previously set Jat¯ạ yu on the path of correct action by modeling proper charity to ascetics, and Jat¯ạ yu here now helps to clear R¯ama’s delusion and inspires him to take up that path of asceticism. 31. Padmapur¯aṇa 114, 1. pravrajy¯amasṭ̣ av¯ı r¯aṇ¯aṃ jñ¯atv¯a v¯ayusutasya ca | r¯amo jah¯asa kiṃ bhogo bhuktastaiḥ k¯atarairiti || 32. Granoff 2007: 124.



33. Padmapur¯aṇa 122, 1–10. bhagav¯an baladevo ‘sau pras´¯antaratimatsaraḥ | atyunnataṃ tapas´cakre s¯am¯anyajanaduḥsaham || asṭ̣ am¯adyupav¯asasthaḥ svamadhyasthe virocane | paryup¯asyata gop¯adyairaraṇye gocaraṃ bhraman || vrataguptisamity¯adyasamayajño jitendriyaḥ | s¯adhuv¯atsalyasampannaḥ sv¯adhy¯ayanirataḥ sukṛt || labdh¯anekamah¯abalbdhirapi nirvikriyaḥ paraḥ | par¯ı sahabha ̣ ṭaṃ mohaṃ par¯ajetuṃ samudyataḥ || tapo ‘nubh¯avataḥ s´¯antairv y¯aghraiḥ sim ˙ hais´ca v¯ı ksita ̣ ḥ | vist¯arilocanodgr¯ı vairmṛg¯aṇ¯aṃ ca kadambakaiḥ || niḥs´reyasagatasv¯antaḥ spṛh¯asaktivivarjitaḥ | prayatnaparamaṃ m¯argaṃ vijah¯ara van¯antare || s´il¯atalasthito j¯atu paryan˙k¯asanasam ˙ sthitaḥ | dhy¯an¯antaraṃ vives´¯asau bh¯anurmegh¯antaraṃ yath¯a || manojñe kvaciduddes´e pralambitamah¯abhujaḥ | asth¯anmandaraniskampacitt ̣ ¯aḥ pratimay¯a prabhuḥ || yug¯antav¯ı ksạ ṇaḥ s´r¯ı m¯an pras´¯anto viharan kvacit | vanaspatiniv¯as¯abhiḥ surastr¯ı bhirapu ¯jyata || evaṃ nirupam¯atm¯asau tapas´cakre tath¯avidham | kale ‘smin duḥsame ̣ s´akyaṃ dhy¯atumapyaparairna yat || 34. Padmapur¯aṇa 1, 102. 35. Padmapur¯aṇa 122, 67cd–68. y¯ame kevalamutpannaṃ jñ¯anaṃ tasya mah¯atmanaḥ || sarva[dravyam] samudbhu ¯te tasya kevalacaksụ sị | lok¯alokadvayaṃ j¯ataṃ gospadapratima ̣ ṃ prabhoḥ || 36. Padmapur¯aṇa 77, 9–20. etasminnantare jñ¯atadas´¯anananip¯atanam | ksubdhamanta ̣ ḥpuraṃ s´okamah¯akallolasan˙kulam || sarv¯as´ca vanit¯a vaspadh ̣ ¯ar¯asiktamah¯ı tal¯aḥ | raṇaksọ ṇ¯ı ṃ sam¯ajagmurmuhuḥpraskhalit akram¯aḥ || taṃ cu ¯ḍ¯amaṇisan˙k¯as´aṃ ksiter ̣ ¯alokya sundaram | nis´cetanaṃ patiṃ n¯aryo nipeturativegataḥ || rambh¯a candr¯anan¯a candramaṇdal ̣ ¯a pravarorvas´¯ı | mandodar¯ı mah¯adev¯ı sundar¯ı kamal¯anan¯a ||ru ¯piṇ¯ı rukmaṇ¯ı s´¯ı l¯a ratnam¯al¯a tanu ¯dar¯ı | s´r¯ı k¯ant¯a s´r¯ı mat¯ı bhadr¯a kanak¯abh¯a mṛg¯avat¯ı || s´r¯ı m¯al¯a m¯anav¯ı laksm ̣ ¯ı r¯an¯and¯anan˙gasundar¯ı | vasundhar¯a taḍinm¯al¯a padm¯a padm¯avat¯ı sukh¯a || dev¯ı padm¯avat¯ı k¯antiḥ pr¯ı tiḥ sandhy¯aval¯ı s´ubh¯a | prabh¯avat¯ı manoveg¯a ratik¯ant¯a manovat¯ı || asṭ̣ ¯adas´aivam¯ad¯ı n¯aṃ sahasr¯aṇi suyosit ̣ ¯am | pariv¯arya patiṃ cakrur¯akrandaṃ sumah¯as´uc¯a || k¯as´cinmohaṃ gat¯aḥ satyaḥ sikt¯as´candanav¯ariṇ¯a | samutplutamṛṇ¯al¯an¯aṃ padmin¯ı n¯aṃ s´riyaṃ dadhuḥ || ¯as´lisṭ̣ adayit¯aḥ k¯as´cidg¯adha ̣ ṃ mu ¯rcch¯amup¯agat¯aḥ | añjan¯adrisam¯asaktasandhy¯arekh¯adyutiṃ dadhuḥ || nirvyu ¯dham ̣ u ¯rchan¯aḥ k¯as´cidurast¯aḍanacañcal¯aḥ | ghan¯aghanasam¯asan˙gitaḍin m¯al¯akr ti ̣ ṃ s´rit¯aḥ || vidh¯aya vadan¯ambhojaṃ k¯acidan˙ke suvihval¯a | vaksạ ḥsthalapar¯amars´ak¯ariṇ¯ı mu ¯rchit¯a muhuḥ || 37. For a more detailed account of R¯avana’s ̣ early life, see Clines 2019b. 38. See, for example, chapter fourteen, where R¯avanạ requests that the recently enlightened mendicant Anantabala provide for him a discourse on proper dharma.



39. Padmapur¯aṇa 7, 310–12. das´agr¯ı vastu bh¯avasya dadh¯ano ‘tyantas´uddhat¯am | mah¯av¯ı ryo dadhatsthairyaṃ mandarasya mah¯aruciḥ || avabhajya hr ṣ ¯ı̣ k¯aṇ¯aṃ pras¯araṃ nijagocare | acir¯abh¯acalaṃ cittaṃ kr tv ̣ ¯a d¯asamiv¯as´ravam || kaṇṭakena kṛtatr¯aṇaḥ sambareṇa samaṃ tataḥ | dhy¯anavaktavy¯at¯ah¯ı no dadhyau mantraṃ pratyantaḥ || 40. Note the similarity in the effective causes of both R¯avana’s ̣ and Laksma ̣ na’s ̣ deaths. Both come about because of false information: Laksma ̣ nạ is lied to about the death of R¯ama and R¯avana’s ̣ sister lies to him about her assault. 41. Padmapur¯aṇa 44, 77. iti saṃ cintya k¯am¯artaḥ s´is´uvatsvalpam¯anasaḥ | visavanmara ̣ ṇop¯ayaṃ haraṇaṃ prati nis´citaḥ || 42. Padmapur¯aṇa 46, 4–6. m¯arasy¯atyantamṛdubhirhato ‘haṃ kusumesubhi ̣ ḥ | mriye yadi tataḥ s¯adhvi narahaty¯a bhavettava || vaktr¯aravindametatte sakopamapi sundari | r¯ajate c¯arubh¯av¯an¯aṃ sarvathaiva hi c¯arut¯a || pras¯ı da devi bhr ty ̣ ¯asye sakṛccaksurvidh ̣ ¯ı yat¯am | tvaccaksụ ḥk¯antitoyena sn¯atasy¯apaitu me s´ramaḥ || 43. Padmapur¯aṇa 46, 48–9. yadi s¯a vedhasaḥ sṛsṭ̣ irapu ¯rv¯a duḥkhavarṇan¯a | s¯ı t¯a patiṃ na m¯aṃ cesṭ̣ i tato me n¯asti j¯ı vitam || l¯avaṇyaṃ yauvanaṃ ru ¯paṃ m¯adhuryaṃ c¯arucesṭ̣ itam | pr¯apya t¯aṃ sundar¯ı mek¯aṃ kṛt¯arthatvamup¯agatam || 44. Padmapur¯aṇa 73, 49–51. kimarthaṃ sam ˙ s´ayatul¯am¯aru ¯ḍho ‘sya tul¯amim¯am |sant¯apayasi kasm¯atsvamasm¯aṃ s´ca niravagrahaḥ || ady¯api kimat¯ı taṃ te saiva bhu ¯miḥ pur¯atan¯ı | unm¯argaprasthitaṃ cittaṃ kevalaṃ deva v¯araya || manorathaḥ pravṛtto ‘yaṃ nit¯antaṃ tava san˙kaṭe | indriy¯as´v¯anniyacch¯a ‘s´u vivekadr d ̣ hara ̣ s´mibhṛt || 45. Padmapur¯aṇa 46, 96–104. evaṃ tiraskṛto m¯ay¯aṃ kartuṃ pravavr te ̣ drutam | nes´urdevyaḥ paritrast¯aḥ saṃ j¯ataṃ sarvam¯akulam || etasminnantare j¯ate bh¯anurm¯ay¯abhay¯adiva | samaṃ kiraṇacakreṇa pravives´¯astagahvaram || pracaṇḍairvigaladgaṇḍaiḥ kiribhirghanavr ṃ ̣ hitaiḥ | bh¯ı sit ̣ ¯apyagamats¯ı t¯a s´araṇaṃ na das´¯ananam || daṃ sṭ̣ r¯akar¯aladas´anairvy¯aghrairduḥsahaniḥsvanaiḥ | bh¯ı sit ̣ ¯apyagamats¯ı t¯a s´araṇaṃ na das´¯ananam || calatkesarasaṃ gh¯ataiḥ siṃ hairugranakh¯aṃ kus´aiḥ | bh¯ı sit ̣ ¯apyagamats¯ı t¯a s´araṇaṃ na das´¯ananam || jvalatsphulin˙ghabh¯ı m¯aksairlasajjihvairmahoragai ̣ ḥ | bh¯ı sit ̣ ¯apyagamats¯ı t¯a s´araṇaṃ na das´¯ananam || vy¯att¯ananaiḥ kṛtotp¯atapatanaiḥ kru ¯rav¯anaraiḥ | bh¯ı sit ̣ ¯apyagamats¯ı t¯a s´araṇaṃ na das´¯ananam || tamaḥpiṇd¯ạ sitaistun˙gairvet¯alaiḥ kṛtahun˙kr tai ̣ ḥ | bh¯ı sit ̣ ¯apyagamats¯ı t¯a s´araṇaṃ na das´¯ananam || evaṃ



n¯an¯avidhairugrairupasargaiḥ ksạ ṇoddhrataiḥ | bh¯ı sit ̣ ¯apyagamats¯ı t¯a s´araṇaṃ na das´¯ananam || 46. Padmapur¯aṇa 77, 47–8. r¯ajan alaṃ ruditv¯a eva vis¯ạ daṃ adhun¯a tyaja | j¯an¯asyeva nanu vyaktaṃ karmaṇ¯amiti cesṭ̣ itam || pu ¯rvakarm¯anubh¯avena pram¯adaṃ bhajat¯aṃ nr ṇ ̣ ¯am | pr¯aptavyaṃ j¯ayataivas´yaṃ tatra s´okasya kaḥ kramaḥ || 47. In chapter 117 Vibh¯ısạ nạ comes to Ayodhy¯a to try to console R¯ama about his brother’s death. He gives a sermon about the nature of saṃ s¯ara, the frailness of the physical body, and the inevitability of death. He does not talk extensively of karma, though. 48. Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty (1980: xxiii) points out that in many South Asian religious narratives, the relationship between karma and fate (vidhi, niyati, daivam) seems to modulate; the two “are sometimes conflated and sometimes explicitly contrasted.” In the Padmapur¯aṇa there is no extensive discussion of the difference between these two, and there does not seem to be a substantive difference between how R¯ama speaks about karma to Vibh¯ısạ nạ and the two gods’ offhanded remarks about fate.



Emotions in Vis´isṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯anta1 ELISA FRESCHI

1. PREMISE: SOME WORKING DEFINITIONS Sonam Kachru, at the end of his review of a fundamental work on emotions in South Asia, (Bilimoria and Wenta 2015), writes: “Ironically, this book’s attempt to think with South Asia’s theoretical pasts has convinced me that a history of emotions would do well to think with a less monolithic category than the modern ‘emotion’. Pre-moderns, whether in Europe (as Anastasia Philippa Scrutton has long argued) or South Asia, typically had recourse to far more diverse, nuanced and flexible vocabularies” (Kachru 2016: 666). In other words, one needs at least a working definition of what one means when one speaks of “emotions,” and preferably also an explanation of why a term coming from a given cultural background can be used in a different one. In this chapter, I will give a pragmatic answer to both problems. As for the issue of using a term loaded with European history in a different context, the concept of emotion has undergone several developments in European history, so that each use of the term even within European culture would need caution. However, if taken to its extreme consequences, this approach would lead to a linguistic paralysis, since each term would need a careful investigation of its history. From my point of view, the only viable solution between the Scylla of using terms uncritically and the Charybdis of not translating any term at all is a critically aware use of selected terms. I will 49



therefore continue to use the term “emotion” as discussed below also for the South Asian context. Within Vis´is ṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯anta,2 I can add, in an eliminitavist fashion, that by emotions I mean whatever phenomena do not belong to the a¯tman in the liberated state according to Ny¯a ya-Vais´esika, ̣ S¯a n ˙khya, and Advaita Ved¯a nta, and are not clearly identifiable as cognition and/or action. Accordingly, I will discuss different cases, ranging from desperation to pride. This negative definition also contains the main crux of my definition, namely the fact that I am construing a category which is not already available as such in a straightforward way in the texts I will analyze. However, as will be seen below, this negative definition does not at all entail that “emotions” play only a residual role in Vis´is ṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯anta. By contrast, I will argue that one of the characteristics of this school is exactly the role played by some of these “emotions.”

2. EMOTIONS ON ONE’S WAY TO SALVATION: A BRIDGE OR A STUMBLING BLOCK? For R¯am¯anuja, the main Ved¯antic opponent is Advaita Ved¯anta. Advaita Ved¯anta inherited from S¯an ˙ khya the basic idea of the self as a pure observer and therefore imagines that in the state of liberation, no emotion (like any cittavrtti ̣ ) is experienced. This condition might be nonetheless described by Advaita Ved¯anta authors as inherently blissful since bliss would be the inner nature of the self. Here, like in S¯an ˙ khya-Yoga, emotions should be first avoided and then overcome. In addition, the Advaita Ved¯a nta school also denies the ultimate existence of individual selves, thus eliminating a fundamental precondition for the possibility of individual emotions as ultimately real. For Vis´is ṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯a nta, by contrast, emotions are considered to be useful and are not to be avoided. In other words, the Vis´isṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯anta authors do not think that one should aim at some form of ataraxìa. Why not? Because for Vis´isṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯a nta authors, just like for most thinkers influenced by the various poets and saints praising a personal relation to God (bhakti), one needs emotions in order to start on one’s path toward God. Moreover, emotions are not just useful as preliminary steps, insofar as emotions are present also in the liberated state (in contrast to the S¯an ˙ khya and Yoga, as well as the Ny¯aya and Advaita Ved¯anta schools). This does not mean that all emotions are necessarily good. The emotions which are praised are, in chronological order within one’s soteriological path, dejection and desperation (s´oka, *atikheda) and then confidence (s´raddha¯), love (ranging from friendship to passion and awe) and possibly



generosity (daya¯) and compassion (ka¯ruṇya). By contrast, pride (garva) is unanimously censured as a big obstacle on one’s spiritual path. Dejection and the absolute desperation in one’s ability to improve one’s condition are absolutely needed at the start of one’s spiritual path. In fact, as long as one thinks one is able to achieve something, no matter how small, one is unconsciously doubting God’s omnipotence and locating oneself above Him. Paradoxically, one’s extreme dejection and the feeling that one will never be saved, since one is not even worthy of begging God for help, are therefore the preliminary steps for God’s grace to take place. One’s feeling of extreme distance from God is therefore much closer to Him than the selfconscious confidence of a person who thinks that they are a good Vaisṇ ava. ̣ Once God’s grace has touched one, one feels blissed and joyfully responds to God’s grace with an emotional overflow of confidence and love. The hymns ¯ lv¯ars, which have been recognized as being as authoritative of the A ¯ as the Veda in Vis´is ṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯anta, display a vast array of love expressions. One can love God with maternal love (va¯tsalya), looking at Him as if He were the young Krṣ ṇ a. ̣ One could also love God with admiration, looking at Him as the ideal king R¯ama, and so on. This vast array is less variegated in the theological works of the Vis´is ṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯a nta philosophers, who rather tend to focus on the feeling of reverence and awe for God. For instance, ̣ ¯alạ texts insist on one’s being a slave (atiy ̣ ¯en) of God. Ven ˙ kat an ̣ ¯a tha’s Maniprav ¯ The interesting element here is that this reverence is not instrumental to the obtainment of God’s favor. One does not present oneself as a slave in order to secure God’s favor and then be able to raise to a higher status. By contrast, one’s ideal condition, the liberated state one strives to reach is exactly permanent servitude (as described in Ven ˙ kat an ̣ ¯a tha’s Rahasyatrayasa¯ra, henceforth RTS). This new axiology of emotions was not uncontroversial. The Vis´is ṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯a nta appreciation of the role of emotions was not immune to tensions, since Vis´isṭ ¯ạ dvaita was also a Ved¯anta school and as such it had to deal with copious statements about the value of detachment (vaira¯gya) and celebrating the ascetic engaged in the attainment of a salvific gnosis only. R¯am¯a nuja had already reframed the latter statements by reinterpreting the Upanisadic ̣ insistence on knowledge (jña¯na) as meditation (upa¯sana) and this as focusing on God’s gracious nature. Moreover, he put detachment as a prerequisite for the practice of knowledge (jña¯nayoga), but not for that of devotion (bhaktiyoga). Similarly, he pointed out that one needs to overcome whatever is an obstacle (virodhin) to the attainment of God, which means that it is not the case that individual emotions qua emotions should be abandoned. In other words, only those emotions which are obstacles for the attainment of God need to be overcome.



¯ NTA FOR 3. LOOKING OUTSIDE VEDA DISCUSSING EMOTIONS As hinted at above, the Vis´is ṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯a nta school did not have within its Ved¯anta roots the resources to deal with emotions in a productive way, i.e., by not just transcending them but by using them. Thus, it needed to look elsewhere for a theoretical justification for the presence of emotions in the subject even beyond liberation. For this purpose, Vis´isṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯a nta drew not just from the M¯ım¯a ṃs¯a,3 like it did in many other cases, but also from the dramaturgical tradition of the Na¯tya ̣ s´a¯stra. 3.1 M¯ı ma¯ṃ sa¯: the subject as knower and agent M¯ım¯aṃs¯a authors consider the subject as an agent and a knower and therefore as endowed also with feelings and emotions, as an intrinsic part of its being. Their general adherence to common experience makes them refute the idea of a subject devoid of what appears to be constitutive of its nature in common experience, namely emotions. The use of M¯ım¯aṃs¯a views enabled Vis´isṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯anta authors to elaborate a concept of subjectivity richer than the minimal a¯tman found in Advaita Ved¯anta. In contrast to the S¯an ˙khya and Advaita Ved¯anta model, the M¯ım¯aṃs¯a sees the self as inherently an agent and a knower. It acknowledges the sequence, originally discussed by Ny¯aya authors, of moving from cognitions to volitions and then to efforts and actions;4 and considers that one and the same actor is responsible throughout the process. Volitions are described, as in Ny¯aya, as having the form of desire to obtain or desire to avoid, thus including an emotional coloring. In this sense, one would imagine that emotions are implicitly considered to be (proto)-volitional acts. This point is particularly explicit whenever M¯ım¯aṃs¯a authors make fun of the claim of “desireless actions” and claim that in order to undertake any action one needs desire (ra¯ga) or aversion (dvesạ ). The term desire (ra¯ga) has a strong emotional connotation and includes one’s strong attachment to something or inclination toward it, and the same applies to aversion (dvesạ ).5 Since in the next sections I will frequently refer to R¯am¯anuja’s and Ven ˙ kat an ̣ ¯a tha’s commentary on the Bhagavadg¯ı ta¯ (henceforth BhG) and especially on BhG 18.66, let me exemplify their adoption of the M¯ı m¯a ṃs¯a view of the self with a few excerpts from these commentaries. For the sake of comparison, I will first translate the last lines of the commentary by S´an ˙ kara, who was the first Ved¯anta author to inaugurate the use of commenting on the BhG: Therefore, it is said that it is indeed unreal that the self, which is not involved in the activities of the bodies etc., is an agent and an experiencer.



By contrast, this whole [idea] occurs based on an error, just like in a dream or in an illusion. [. . .] Hence, this erroneous conception which is the saṃ sa¯ra is only based on an erroneous cognition, it is not ultimately real. Therefore, it is sure that it will finally cease due to a correct understanding.6 That is, any stir of bodies and minds is only illusory and the self is beyond any activity. By contrast, R¯a m¯anuja is quite straightforward in highlighting how the addressee of the verse is someone who is engaged in activities (kurva¯ṇaḥ “while he is doing”) and cognitions (e.g., anusandha¯- “to assemble cognitions”) and has feelings (e.g., he is said to be s´ocat “worried”). At the same time, also God Himself is said to be an agent (kartr)̣ and able to have feelings (e.g., He is said to be a¯ra¯dhya “gladdened”).7 The indebtedness to M¯ım¯a ṃs¯a is even clearer in the case of Ven ˙ kat an ̣ ¯a tha, who uses the category of God as anumantr ̣ “one who allows actions” (see below, section 5.3), explicitly explains the role of one’s surrender to God through the parallel with the expiation rites (pra¯yas´citta), and even mentions the M¯ı m¯aṃs¯a maxim of ought entails can.8 3.2 Bhakti, aesthetics, and dramaturgy: emotions in one’s relation to God Apart from their reliance on the M¯ı m¯a ṃs¯a , Vis´is ṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯a nta authors looked for further theoretical supplements, because they needed to deal with more emotions than the desire-aversion pair dealt with in the M¯ı m¯a ṃ s¯a. Why did they need more emotions? Because of their devotional background, i.e., because of the way they had incorporated the approach of the poet-saints praising bhakti. The role of bhakti was gradually moving toward acknowledgment even among intellectuals, and this progress is evident if one observes the early history of Vis´is ṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯anta from R¯am¯anuja to Ven ˙ kat an ̣ ¯atha. Moreover, exactly at the same time—from the eleventh century CE onwards—possibly the growing influence of the role of bhakti made various authors consider the importance of emotions and even their soteriological role, often via the embedding of the dramaturgical theories of the Na¯t ya ̣ s´a¯stra.9 How much of the Na¯t ya ̣ s´a¯stra theories were known to Ven ˙ kat an ̣ ¯a tha? Possibly a fair bit, due to their influence in the whole of South Asia and to some direct hints in Ven ˙ kat an ̣ ¯atha’s own works. For instance, an explicit mention of the presence of emotions in the devotion to God can be read in the following text by Ven ˙ kat an ̣ ¯atha, which also mentions the Na¯tya ̣ s´a¯stra: The Brahma¯ṇḍapura¯ṇa is the most important among the Pur¯a nas, ̣ which are a nourishing extension (upabrm ̣ ̣ haṇa) of the various Upanisads, ̣ having



as their content what is most beneficial for all people. Therefore it is considered the first among them. In the Brahma¯ṃ ḍapura¯ṇa, through the praise (ma¯ha¯tmya) of the Land of True Vows (satyavrataksetra ̣ ),10 the greatness of the Gracious one is shown, in order for the devotees who have a taste for it (bha¯vuka) to rejoice in their hearts and so that there be emotion (bha¯va) in their minds, passion (ra¯ga) in their voices, rhythm (ta¯lam ̣ ) in their hands. Emotion, passion and rhythm are as prescribed in the Na¯tya ̣ s´a¯stra by Bharata.11 A further indirect hint of the beginnings of a theological use of the Na¯tya ̣ s´a¯stra can be found in how, well after Ven ˙ kat an ̣ ¯atha, the interaction of aesthetics and soteriology became paramount in another school of Vaisṇ ava ̣ Ved¯a nta, namely, Gaud¯ı̣ ya Ved¯a nta, which has been deeply influenced by the S´r¯ı Vaisṇ ava ̣ school of R¯a m¯anuja and Ven ˙ kat an ̣ ¯atha.12

4. ON THE ONTOLOGY OF EMOTIONS IN ¯ DVAITA VEDA ¯ NTA VIS´ISṬ ̣ A What exactly are emotions? Vis´isṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯a nta authors do not have a systematic answer to this question, but one can guess what their answer could have been when one looks at the way they deal with some of them. 4.1 Does God have emotions? How can God be “gladdened”? Vis´isṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯anta texts (and, in general, most Vaisṇ ava ̣ texts) insist on God’s being gladdened by the devotion of His devotees (see below, section 5.1, for a few examples). Tamil texts in particular also dwell on how S´r¯ı can make Him change His mind with her tenderness. In general, God appears as a full-fledged person and not just as an abstract a¯tman. The fact that according to Vis´is ṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯a nta authors even God has emotions is the ultimate evidence that emotions are constitutive of one’s being a subject and a person and that they are not an element typical of the bounded soul only, to be relinquished once one achieves a higher condition. However, this does not hold true for all emotions, as will be shown in the next sections. 4.2 On the nature of emotions Are emotions (proto)-cognitive acts?13 According to the sequence of jña¯na– iccha¯–prayatna–kriya¯ (cognition-desire-effort-action), it seems that we need



to have already cognized a given thing in order to have an emotional response about it, but isn’t emotion itself also some sort of underdeveloped judgment about the thing? Isn’t a positive emotional response, for instance, a form of knowledge about the goodness of the thing it is about? By contrast, one might look at the above sequence in the opposite direction, i.e., starting with kriya¯ “action” and argue that emotions are (proto)-volitional acts. After all, emotions often motivate one to act and, in this sense, they seem to be strongly linked to volitions. Alternatively, are they something completely different than cognitions and volitions? And which part, function or organ of the self is responsible for emotions? In this case, as in the case of the ontology and characterization of emotions, Vis´isṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯a nta authors inherited the M¯ı m¯a ṃs¯a model and could therefore state that the liberated subject will continue to experience emotions. The M¯ım¯aṃs¯a model understood actions as undertakings, independently of their possible effects on matter. In that sense, it included cognitions and emotions within actions, as mental acts.14 Vis´is ṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯anta could thus regard the possibility to prove emotions as inhering in the subject in an essential and constitutive way, like the capacity to undertake actions. Some further hints of the connection between emotions and cognitions are discussed below, section 5.3. However, one might think that emotions are not just mental acts, but also have a (more or less fundamental) bodily component, as stressed by the Na¯tya ̣ s´a¯stra.15 Does this mean that emotions have the body as their substrate? The S¯an ˙ khya criticism of emotions makes it clear that emotions do not belong to the a¯tman. They could, therefore, belong to the antaḥkaraṇa (i.e., the thinking organ including intellect, personal identification (ahan ˙ka¯ra), and mental organ) or to the body itself. What happens, then, after liberation, given that both intellect and body are allegedly extinguished at that point? The RTS explains that a subtle body is restored, so that one is never deprived of the possibility of experiencing and of feeling emotions.16 Last, what exactly is the object of emotions? This can be provided by the sense-faculties, but does not need to be, as will be made clear in the last section. In fact, one can feel emotions also in regard to objects which do not exist independently of the subject, such as the mental object of one’s inner visualization. This openness toward emotions generated by such objects might be due, again, to the Na¯tya ̣ s´a¯stra model and hint at some aesthetic roots for the Vis´is ṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯a nta theory of emotions. This early history enables Vis´isṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯anta authors to take it for granted that, for example, poetry can also generate emotions in the absence of their corresponding objects in the external world.



5. EMOTIONS ON THE WAY TO SALVATION: ON GOOD AND BAD EMOTIONS Emotions are not dealt with by Vis´is ṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯anta authors as a single whole. In this section, I will discuss some of them and their positive and negative roles. 5.1 Positive emotions: despair according to R a¯ma¯nuja The verse 18.66 of the BhG is according to Vis´is ṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯a nta the “ultimative verse” (caramas´loka),17 which contains the essence of what one needs on one’s path to God.18 The speaker of the verse is in fact Krṣ ṇ ạ and the addressee is Arjuna. In a preliminary translation (more on the details in the next sections), the verse reads as follows: sarvadharma¯n parityajya mam ekaṃ s´araṇaṃ vraja | ahaṃ tva¯ sarvapa¯pebhyo moksayi ̣ sỵ a¯mi ma¯ s´ucaḥ || Having abandoned all dharmas, come to me alone as your refuge | I will free you from all evils, don’t grieve || The text explicitly evokes at least one emotion, namely sorrow or grief (´s oka).19 Whence would grief arise from? R¯am¯anuja spells it out when he explains what he thinks to be implicit in the expression “all evils” (sarvapa¯pebhyaḥ), namely one’s endless wrongdoings and omissions. The contrast between their endlessness and one’s lifespan, which is by definition limited, necessarily leads to grief. Which kind of grief exactly? R¯am¯anuja describes it in a way which rules out the depressive kind of sorrow. Ven ˙kat an ̣ ¯atha (column A) explicitly states that forms of abandonment due to a dull (ta¯masa) condition are deprecated. The invitation to abandon all dharmas is not addressed to one who was unable or unwilling to undertake them, like a modern-day hikikomori, but should touch on people who were doing their duty although knowing that their efforts will be useless. Accordingly, R¯am¯anuja (beginning of the commentary on BhG 18.66) explains that the only abandonment (paritya¯ga) which is in accord with the authoritative texts (´s a¯stra) is one that is operated by a person who was performing all dharmas in the proper way.20 This means that sorrow cannot be the result of laziness or sloth. Therefore, R¯am¯anuja and Ven ˙kat an ̣ ¯atha agree that the abandonment of all dharmas occurs for a person who is conscious of their duties and tries hard to keep them. Consequently, the abandonment of the dharmas can only be caused by the clear awareness that there is no way one



could achieve one’s goal through a strict observance of all duties. In other words, the abandoner realizes that what they thought to be their duty is in fact impossible to accomplish. This means that they cannot but feel extremely dejected and cannot see any way out, but for God’s intervention in the process. In the following passages, R¯am¯a nuja explains how desperation must arise from one’s complete commitment to ritual action, etc., and not from laziness or sloth. The one who does all dharmas, consisting in the practice of ritual actions, the practice of knowledge and the practice of devotion, and being the instruments to realize the supreme summum bonum, according to his eligibility [and] with exceeding delight (atima¯tra-pr¯ı ti) as something pleasing me, this very person alone should abandon them all through the giving up of the result, the action, his being the agent of it, etc. Then, he should aim at me alone, as the doer to be pleased, the goal to be reached and the instrument. This one alone is the way of abandoning all dharmas according to the sacred texts.21 I will free you from all sins: I will free you, who exist in this way (i.e., as a proper abandoner), from all sins consisting in the not doing of what should have been done and the doing of what should not have been done, which have been piling up since beginningless time and which run against the attainment of me. Don’t grieve, i.e., don’t sorrow. Alternatively, the practice of devotion can be brought about by a person extremely dear to the Revered one and free of all evils, but the evils obstructing (virudh-) its undertaking are endless. One considers [therefore] that it is impossible for oneself to undertake the practice of devotion, because these [evils] are extremely difficult to overcome through dharmas consisting in the expiation for them and [which should have been] undertaken since unlimited time. The Revered one, removing the grief of Arjuna, who is grieving, said: Abandon all dharmas and come to me as the only shelter.22 How does one achieve this desperation? Through contemplating the incommensurability between the beginningless sins one has accumulated and the limited time one has to repair them. Accordingly, in the next passage R¯a m¯a nuja explains that the dharmas (“duties”) one needs to give up are not all one’s ritual and social duties, but only the expiation rituals, since they would anyway never be enough. Leave all [ritual] dharmas consisting in the various expiations (pra¯yas´citta)—conforming to the various endless evils accumulated since a beginningless time and being an obstacle to the undertaking of the



practice of devotion—[. . .] which can hardly be performed by you, who exist in a limited amount of time, since they are endless and manifold. In order to establish the production of the practice of yoga, come to me alone, who am supremely compassionate, am the one where the whole world can take shelter without distinction, and am the ocean of parental love for those seeking refuge, as the shelter.23 As a summary, God tells Arjuna that he should stop grieving. However, should he stop grieving because he has found a solution? Or is the sorrow Krṣ ṇ ạ evokes something Arjuna should discontinue because it is an obstacle on the path to Him? Possibly not, since it is exactly his sorrow due to his inadequacy which enables him to look at another path beyond the karmaand jña¯nayoga. Since Arjuna realizes that his lifetime will not be enough to expiate his wrongdoings, he turns to God as his only possible shelter. However, this last step is not explicit in R¯am¯anuja. 5.2 Positive emotions: despair according to Ven ˙katan ̣ a¯tha Ven ˙ kat an ̣ ¯a tha takes a further step in the appreciation of the role of sorrow. In fact, for him, unlike for R¯a m¯a nuja, going to God as one’s shelter (s´araṇa¯gati or prapatti) is not just the preliminary step in order to make the practice of bhakti possible.24 Rather, it is a separate path and in fact it is the only one open to normal human beings. Consequently, sorrow is a necessary step in order to realize that one needs to take shelter in God. In his commentary on BhG 18.66 Ven ˙ kat an ̣ ¯atha sticks to the terminology used within it by R¯am¯a nuja and speaks therefore of s´oka, which literally means sorrow, but he deepens its understanding, so that the sorrow he speaks of seems to be much closer to an existential despair. I will consequently translate s´oka as despair in this section. First, Ven ˙ kat an ̣ ¯a tha spells out even more clearly the unavoidability of despair, given the limits of the human condition: One who exists in a limited time, means that one has only one body (s´ar¯ı ra). His despair is due to the ascertainment that [the expiations he needs] could be realized (sidh-) [only] in several rebirths, as they are based on impossible performances. Having abandoned all dharmas: in this construction [of the verse] only the abandonment of the own nature [is meant].25 Nor is it the case that through that much only one ends up with the cessation of fixed and occasional rituals, because it has been said that expiations, etc., have as content wrong performances.26 27 Whence exactly does one’s despair come from? From the certitude that bhakti can only be undertaken once one has removed the obstacles for it and



that these obstacles are innumerable and one’s limited life won’t be enough to perform all the required expiatory rites. Ven ˙ kat an ̣ ¯a tha elaborates on that while commenting on two possible variants: Accordingly, the reading (pa¯tha ̣ ) “done over a defined time” suggests that it is impossible to bear the delay. In case of the reading “done over an unlimited time,” by contrast, one should insert the word “even” (api). Through that one suggests that the instrument (upa¯ya) cannot be accomplished. [. . .] Since bhakti is the topic one is already discussing in the previous verse, the linguistic expression “all evils” in the present verse refers to the evils which are the cause of worries insofar as they are obstacles for the undertaking of it (bhakti). The linguistic expression “all dharmas” refers to the heap of dharmas (i.e., expiation rites) said [before] in order to destroy this or that (evil). This (linguistic expression denoting the heap of dharmas) appeases the group of those (evils), according to “Through dharma he removes sin” (MBh 17.6). Through the plural and through the word all the manifoldness and endlessness of sins and dharmas is suggested.28 Outside the locus classicus of BhG 18.66, despair is also mentioned among the prerequisites for self-surrender (prapatti) in RTS: One who has been seen accurately [by the Lord or by the guru], who knows the discourse which is the essence, one whose cognition of themselves and the others is sharp, one who has a single standpoint and who has conquered selfish attachments, one for whom the tools (i.e., selfsurrender and bhakti) is evident, one who is extremely depressed (atikhinna), who has performed the surrender with its auxiliaries. | One who experiences the injunction of worship, which is here enjoined, according to their own situation and without transgressions,29 This one alone at a certain point is liberated of his gross and subtle nature and experiences fixedly the Unchanging. ||30 The same concept seems to be hinted at also through the insistence on the fact that in order to undertake self-surrender one needs to be akiñcana “without anything,” i.e., without any other option left (see, e.g., RTS Ch. 23, Viraraghavacharya 1980: 644). 5.3 Despair and knowledge in Ven ˙katan ̣ a¯tha: abandoning pride and self-sufficiency The positive function of despair is that it makes one look at God as one’s only shelter. Ven ˙ kat an ̣ ¯atha repeats that despair is not produced out



of sloth and that (soteriologically relevant) despair arises in exceptional people, who had tried to do their best and realized that they were bound to fail: It is not the case that on the part of Arjuna—who has a subtle intellect, is a Ksatriya ̣ and is the best (agresara) among the knowers of dharma—this despair occurs because of lack of knowledge with regard to the instruments shown by the omniscient one, or because of unworthiness or because of not having determined what is the principal part.31 Therefore, having eliminated (these causes), the despair [at stake in the verse] comes about because it is impossible to realize the instruments (i.e., fulfilling one’s duties) which need to be attended upon with much attention, in uninterrupted succession over a long time, or because the result is delayed.32 Thus, an emotion like despair arises from a cognition, namely from the awareness of one’s being limited in time and therefore unable to fulfill all the needed requirements. Since despair only accrues to advanced practitioners, it also has the function to hold back one’s pride (garva).33 Why should this be relevant? Because pride is an obstacle on the way to salvation. Through pride one is deluded about one’s own nature and deems oneself to be an independent agent. In one of his Rahasyas in Maniprav ̣ ¯ala, ̣ the Hastigiri, Ven ˙ kat an ̣ ¯a tha discusses this condition in connection with Brahm¯a and how pride is his obstacle and becoming aware of his error in claiming independency is the beginning of a possible path to salvation. Particularly striking is Ven ˙ kat an ̣ ¯atha’s initial description of Brahm¯a: Even though Brahm¯a was born in [Visṇ u’s] ̣ navel (na¯bhija¯ta), since he is so learned and noble (abhija¯ta), since he exposed the Veda in all directions, because he has Sarasvat¯ı as his wife, since he has the manifold powers to create the four varṇas, the arrogance (garva) linked with his birth and his learnedness in the form of “Who would be equal to us?” made him feel independence (as if he created everything independently).34 By contrast, as seen in BhG 18.66, through despair one realizes the vanity of one’s efforts and therefore abandons them. What exactly does one give up? Ven ˙ kat an ̣ ¯a tha is here more specific than R¯am¯a nuja. karmatya¯ga “abandonment of the action” is the abandonment of the wrong cognition (abhima¯na) in regard to what one deems to be one’s



own. Also in the practice of bhakti one needs to abandon all fruits other [than devotion itself], such as sovereignty (ais´varya) (over special powers). In fact, one needs to avoid the idea that something is supplemented (s´esat ̣ a¯) to oneself, through the idea that also the fruit called liberation is supplemented to the Revered one, who is the Entire to which everything belongs (sarvas´esin ̣ ). The word “etc.” [in R¯a m¯a nuja’s commentary] encompasses the wrong cognition that Indra and the other [deities], who are cuirasses (kañcuka) [of the only God], are the ones gladdened [by one’s practices]. The word “etc.” [also] encompasses the cognition that there is agency in regard to the act [and] that [the act] belongs to oneself.35 The agent is determined insofar as the agent (i.e., God) is the promoter (prayojaka), the inner controller (antarya¯min) and the one who allows [that one acts]. Once one inquires into it, one abandons the wrong conception of one’s own agency.36 Noteworthy here is the connection between knowledge and emotions. What one needs to get rid of is one’s attachment to one’s acts and one’s misconception of oneself as the real agent. This misconception is factually wrong, insofar as God is the real agent, and soteriologically dangerous as well, since it leads one astray from one’s path to prapatti. One’s misconception of oneself as the agent is therefore the cause of one’s being satisfied and proud of oneself. It is noteworthy that the term used in this context to denote misconception is abhima¯na37 and that pride can also be called abhima¯na in Sanskrit.38 It is hard to imagine that Ven ˙ kat an ̣ ¯atha did not think of this ambiguity when he selected this word to indicate the misconception at play. Even if the hypothesis of a deliberate wordplay on an ambiguous word is wrong, it would remain that Ven ˙ kat an ̣ ¯a tha strongly advises against the risks of pride (garva) and that this pride is often39 based on a misconception (abhima¯na) about one’s autonomy and independence. Conversely, an antidote to pride appears to be the correct cognition (dh¯ı ) that the only one acting is God, as one’s antarya¯min “inner controller” or as the one who allows us (anumantr)̣ to act. The fact that a cognition can block an emotion seems to suggest that they share the same nature, or at least that cognitions have a causal power with regard to emotions. However, the cognition that God is the real agent appears not to be a piece of knowledge one is in the position to firmly establish once and for all, since it needs to be repeated again and again (as in the S´araṇa¯gatigadya and here with the insistence on aparimitaka¯la). This seems to suggest that emotions are a (proto) form of cognition or a positive disposition toward the cognition,



which is not firmly established and needs to be frequently reinforced (as will be discussed in section 6). It might be that at a more advanced stage (and surely in the liberated stage) the same cognition would be firm enough so that there is no possible lapse back into doubt. Meanwhile, one needs to be aware of the risk of how wrong cognitions about agency and causation can cooperate with the pride one takes in oneself as the real agent and cause of results. As an antidote, one needs not only to know the correct answers, but also to reiterate them, thus allowing them to act deeply in oneself and in one’s feelings. 5.4 Are there negative emotions? I have shown so far how emotions are not only tolerated, but even needed on one’s soteriological path. However, the previous section has discussed emotions like arrogance and pride which can be obstacles on one’s path. Does this contradict the previous assumption? Are emotions also something dangerous, so that one should rather avoid them, since they can jeopardize one’s chances to save oneself? In other words, are there emotions, like pride, that one needs to get rid of completely? And what does this tell one about the appreciation of emotions in Vis´isṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯a nta? Should not the case of the need to subdue pride be evidence of the way one also needs to deal with other emotions? This does not seem to be the case and even the presence of emotions which can be obstacles does not change the general positive role of emotions. Pride, to begin with, is described as remediable insofar as it is based on a fundamental error. In this sense, it seems that the problem of pride as an obstacle on one’s path to salvation should be solved not by subduing it directly, but rather through the process of cognitive-emotional reparation hinted at above (section 5.3) and below (section 6). This general possibility of repairing wrong emotions and using them in a positive way seems to be presupposed also in other instances, for example, in the case of the charge against Arjuna found in Y¯a mun¯a c¯a rya’s G¯ıta¯rthasan ˙graha and in Pilḷ ai ̣ Lok¯ac¯a rya. Arjuna is described as loving his cousins and uncle too much and therefore being unable to undertake the right course of action. However, the obstacle for him is not, as one might first think, the excessive love, but rather the fact that his love is misplaced (astha¯na, GAS, v. 5).40 Thus, love, even excessive love, is not condemned. It is, in contrast to pride, a positive element and a good guide for one’s action, just like compassionate love led Krṣ ṇ a’s ̣ actions. In sum, emotions remain in general a fundamental element for one’s soteriological path, although they might need some adjustment.



6. INDUCING EMOTIONS: POETRY AS PRACTICAL PHILOSOPHY As discussed above, emotions are intrinsic to the soul according to Vis´isṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯anta and at least some of them will therefore remain with the a¯tman forever, including in the state of liberation. Moreover, emotions are also instrumental to reach liberation. Therefore, emotions are also part of an emotional pedagogy which is instrumental to the Vis´isṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯a nta soteriology. How can this happen? Vis´is ṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯a nta treatises can speak about the importance of loving God, feeling desperate about one’s condition, etc., but this is not enough to induce such emotions. Therefore, s´¯astric texts such as the commentary on the BhG again and again insist on the need to relinquish one’s identification with the act and so on, possibly because the repetition of the same point is meant to operate at a subtle level. There are then texts at the border of genres, such as the S´araṇa¯gatigadya and the RTS in which the emotional pedagogy is even more evident. In fact, there is something formulaic in the way R¯a m¯anuja repeats that the sins are endless and manifold etc., even in his commentary on the BhG. Just like in the S´araṇa¯gatigadya, the repetition itself is not sheer redundancy but rather achieves a purpose, namely that of inducing in the reader a certain mental state, again an emotional one, for example, pondering and musing on one’s shortcomings.41 The mere enunciation of the fact that one is unable to practice devotion would not be enough, whereas the repetition allows the reader the time to muse on the topic and slowly enter the emotional state enabling the realization that this is actually the case. This need for a slow transformation might also be the reason for Vis´isṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯a nta’s emphasis on three key mantras, the caramas´loka, the dvayamantra and the tirumantra. In fact, a whole genre (the Rahasyas) was dedicated to the slow pondering about the meaning of each of these mantras. Moreover, for the same purpose, a key author such as Ven ˙ kat an ̣ ¯a tha changed role and started using poetry. This might have been due to his own personal inclination, but possibly also to his approach to emotional pedagogy. The turn to poetry constitutes also a massive turning point in regard to R¯a m¯a nuja’s use of repetitions. In fact, Ven ˙ kat an ̣ ¯a tha wrote more than thirty diverse poetical works, ranging from dramas to hymns and he indeed used poetry to induce emotions, such as awe and love. For instance, through detailed descriptions of the beautiful body of God in his hymns, he could let his readers visualize God and achieve at the same time a cognitive and emotional content. In this sense, poetry is not a substitution for philosophy, but a continuation of philosophy on a level which would not be reached by philosophy.42



7. CONCLUSIONS Although the Vis´is ṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯anta school did not develop a global theory of emotions, this school, and within it especially Ven ˙ kat an ̣ ¯atha, considered at least some emotions (despair, love, etc.) as a valuable device on one’s path toward God. However, other emotions, such as pride, could have a completely negative effect on one. Thus, poetry played an important philosophical part as a form of pedagogy of emotions.

ABBREVIATIONS BhG, Bhagavadg¯ıta¯, see Shastri 1938. GAS, G¯ı ta¯rthasan ˙graha, see Govind¯ac¯a rya 2012. RTS, Rahasyatrayasa¯ra, see Viraraghavacharya 1980.

NOTES 1. Research for this chapter has been funded by the FWF project V_400. I read Ven ˙ katan ̣ ¯atha’s Hastigiri and Pil ḷ ai ̣ Lok¯ac¯arya’s S´r¯ı vacanabhu ¯ sạ ṇam during the NETamil workshop on Ved¯anta De´sikan’s Cillarai Rahasyan ˙ kal ̣ (Pondicherry, ¯ ¯ February 18–22, 2019). I am therefore particularly grateful to its organizer, Suganya Anandakichenin, and to the workshop’s participants. I am indebted to Daniele Cuneo for some enlightening conversations on Abhinavagupta. I am also grateful to Dania Huber for her help with the proof-reading of the chapter and to Marco Lauri for improving its English form. Last, this chapter has very much benefitted from the critical reactions of the editors of the volume. 2. Each paper on South Asian philosophy needs to find a balance between the need to briefly sketch the landscape and the need to be precise in one’s own distinct contribution. I will refer to schools (such as S¯an ˙ khya and Advaita Ved¯anta) in the first case and to individual authors in the second. I will refer in particular to R¯am¯anuja, whom later authors regard as the founder of the school (traditional dates: 1017–1137) and to Ven ˙ katan ̣ ¯atha (also known with the title of Ved¯anta De´sika, traditional dates: 1269–1370), whom I consider to be the author of the peculiar synthesis of elements which creates what all successive authors up until today consider to be Vis´isṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯anta. I will assume that South Asian philosophical schools and authors are already known to the reader. For my introduction to Vis´isṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯anta, see Freschi forthcoming(b), for my introduction to Ven ˙ katan ̣ ¯atha, see Freschi 2016. 3. For other examples of the Vis´is ṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯anta use of M¯ım¯aṃs¯a, see Freschi forthcoming(a). 4. On the sequence knowledge-will-action, see Nya¯yabha¯sya ̣ ad 1.1.1. In Nya¯ yabha¯s ya ̣ ad 1.1.10, prayatna (effort) as a separate step is also mentioned. The M¯ım¯aṃs¯a school is keen in identifying the moment of the undertaking of the action (prayatna or pravr tti ̣ ) as distinguished from the action. See Freschi 2012 and Freschi 2010.



5. On the unavoidable link between desire and subjectivity in M¯ım¯aṃs¯a, see Freschi 2007, Freschi 2014, and Freschi 2012. 6. tasma¯d asad evaitad g¯ı yate deha¯d¯ı na¯ṃ vya¯pa¯reṇa¯vya¯pr ta ̣ a¯tma¯ karta¯ bhokta¯ ca sya¯d iti. bhra¯ntinimittaṃ tu sarvam upapadyate. yatha¯ svapne ma¯ya¯ya¯ṃ caivam. [. . .] tasma¯d bhra¯ntipratyayanimitta eva¯yaṃ saṃ sa¯rabhramaḥ, na tu parama¯rtha iti samyagdar´sana¯d atyantam evoparama iti siddham || 18.66 || (Shastri 1938: 411). 7. All words are from the first lines of the commentary by R¯am¯anuja on BhG 18.66 (Shastri 1938: 411). 8. The last topic is dealt with in Shastri 1938: 412, latter part, column B. 9. In this connection, one is immediately reminded of Abhinavagupta and his aesthetics and soteriological theories, which could however be more the result of a certain Zeitgeist than its initiator. On the psychology of emotions in the Na¯tya ̣ ´sa¯stra’s main commentary, Abhinavagupta’s Abhinavabha¯rat¯ı , see Cuneo 2007. For a comparison between the Na¯tya ̣ ´sa¯stra’s and Abhinavagupta’s theory of emotions (bha¯va) and aesthetic experience (rasa) see Cuneo 2013 and the bibliography therein. Especially noteworthy for the connection of Utpaladeva with an aesthetic of devotion is Cuneo 2016. 10. On satyavrataksetra ̣ see Hopkins 2016. 11. sakalalokahitatamavisayavividhaved ̣ ¯antopabṛṃ haṇa˙nkal¯ạ na pur¯aṇa˙nkaliḷ ¯ mukhyatamam ¯akaiy¯al¯e murpatạ eṇṇappatṭ ạ brahm¯aṇḍapur¯aṇattil satyavratakset ̣ ¯ ram¯ah¯atmyamukhyatt¯al¯e sandar´sitam¯ana p¯erarul¯ạ lạ n perumaiyai bh¯avukar¯ana ¯ ¯ ¯ bhagavannisṭ haru ̣ taiya ̣ hṛdayarañjan¯artham¯aka. manassil¯e bh¯avamum, varakkil¯e r¯agamum, karattil¯e t¯alamum ̣ ¯aka bh¯avar¯agat¯alạ ˙nkalai ̣ vakutta bharata´s¯astrattiṇ patiy ̣ ¯e (Ven ˙ katan ̣ ¯atha’s Hastigiri, in Ran ˙ kan¯at¯ac¯aryar 1995: 398–400). 12. On the interaction of dramaturgy and soteriology in Gaud¯ı̣ ya Vaisṇ avism, ̣ see Haberman 1988. 13. Unfortunately, I could not find an extensive discussion of the nature of emotions in Vi´sisṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯anta. The next paragraphs are therefore speculative and are based on the presupposition that a theory can indeed be inferred from various hints found in the philosophical texts of the Vis´is ṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯anta authors and of their sources. 14. For more on the definition of action in M¯ım¯aṃs¯a, see Freschi 2010 and Freschi 2013. On desire, action, and knowledge, see Freschi 2007. I will need to leave aside here the question of the nature of volitional acts. 15. The Na¯tya ̣ ´sa¯stra always connects bha¯vas with the corresponding bodily effects. For a discussion on bha¯vas and their link to “emotions,” see various chapters in this volume. 16. This suggests that the bodily dimension is unavoidable for human experience and especially for emotions, as in the Na¯tya ̣ ´sa¯stra. I cannot elaborate on this topic now, but I can recommend Ram-Prasad 2018, from which I derive the following quote: “To clarify, my primary concern is not with a conceptual analysis of ‘body’, but rather, how ‘body’ is used in the exploration of the nature of the human being; that is to say, in the intriguing way in which ‘body’ is the ineliminable presence in experience” (2018: 11).



17. The compound could also be interpreted as “verse about the ultimate.” 18. In this chapter, I will focus exclusively on the Vis´is ṭ ¯ạ dvaita interpretation of this verse. I will leave out of the picture whether this is an accurate elucidation of the BhG itself. 19. In the following I will call this emotion more precisely despair, since it is deeper than sorrow. Already in the ninth century, the literary theorist Rudratạ suggested to include despair as a separate rasa, see Pollock 2012, chapter III. 20. karmayogajña¯nayogabhaktiyogaru ¯ pa¯n sarva¯n dharma¯n [. . .] yatha¯dhika¯raṃ kurva¯ṇa eva uktar¯ı tya¯ phalakarmakartṛtva¯diparitya¯gena parityajya [. . .]. esạ eva sarvadharma¯ṇa¯ṃ ´sa¯str¯ı yaparitya¯ga iti (Beginning of R¯am¯anuja’s commentary on BhG 18.66, Shastri 1938: 411, see also next footnote for a translation). 21. karmayogajñ¯anayogabhaktiyogaru ¯ p¯an sarva¯n dharma¯n paramani´s´sreyasas¯adhana bhu ¯ t¯an mad¯ar¯adhanatvena atim¯atrapr¯ı ty¯a yath¯adh¯ı k¯araṃ kurv¯aṇa evoktar¯ı ty¯a phalakarmakartṛtv¯adiparity¯agena parityajya ma¯m ekam eva kart¯aram ¯ar¯adhyaṃ pr¯apyam up¯ayaṃ c¯anusandhatsvaḥ, esạ eva sarvadharm¯aṇ¯aṃ ´s¯astr¯ı yaparity¯aga iti. (Beginning of R¯am¯anuja’s commentary on BhG 18.66, Shastri 1938: 411). I emphasized the words related to emotions. Words printed in bold indicate portions of text from the BhG which R¯am¯anuja is commenting upon. 22. ahaṃ tva¯ sarvapa¯pebhyo moksayi ̣ sỵ a¯mi evaṃ vartama¯naṃ tva¯ṃ matpra¯ptivirodhibhyo 'na¯dika¯lasañcita¯nanta¯kṛtyakaraṇakṛtya¯karaṇaru ¯ pebhyaḥ sarvebhyaḥ pa¯pebhyo moksayi ̣ sỵ a¯mi; ma¯ ´sucaḥ ´sokaṃ ma¯ kṛtha¯ḥ. athava¯ sarvapa¯pavinirmukta¯tyarthabhagavatpriyapurusanirvartyatv ̣ a¯d bhaktiyogasya tada¯rambhavirodhipa¯pa¯na¯m a¯nantya¯c ca tatpra¯ya´scittaru ¯ pair dharmaiḥ aparimitaka¯lakr tai, ̣ tesa¯̣ ṃ dustarataya¯ a¯tmano bhaktiyoga¯rambha¯narhata¯m a¯locya ´socato 'rjunasya ´sokam apanudan ´sr¯ı bhagava¯n uva¯ca sarvadharma¯n parityajya ma¯m ekaṃ ´saraṇaṃ vraja iti (Shastri 1938: 412). I added emphasis on words related to emotions. 23. bhaktiyoga¯rambhavirodhyana¯dika¯lasañcitana¯na¯vidha¯nantapa¯pa¯nuguṇa¯n tattatpr¯aya´scittaru ¯ p¯an kṛcchrac¯andr¯ayaṇaku ¯ sm ̣ ¯aṇḍavai´sv¯anarapr¯aj¯apatyavr¯atap atipavitresṭ itriv ̣ ṛdagnisṭ om ̣ ¯adik¯an n¯an¯avidh¯an anant¯aṃ ´s tvay¯a parimitak¯alavartin¯a duranusṭ ḥ ¯an¯an sarva¯n dharma¯n parityajya bhaktiyog¯arambhasiddhaye ma¯m ekaṃ paramak¯aruṇikam an¯alocitavi´ses¯ạ ´sesaloka ̣ ´saraṇyam ¯a´sritav¯atsalyajaladhiṃ ´saraṇam prapadyasva (Shastri 1938: 312). I added emphasis on words related to emotions. Also parental love (v¯atsalya) has been added to the list of rasa. See Ram-Prasad 2018: 146. 24. On the relation of bhakti “devotion” and prapatti “self-surrender,” with the latter being preliminary to the former, in R¯am¯anuja, see Lester 1966, Raman 2007, Freschi 2017–18. 25. Ven ˙ katan ̣ ¯atha explains in the following lines that the “abandonment of one’s own nature” (svaru ¯ paparitya¯ga) is the abandonment of the idea that one is the real agent, that one is performing an autonomous act, and that one will obtain a result out of it. 26. I.e., don’t say that since expiations are enjoined for wrong performances of fixed and occasional rituals you will skip these two altogether and thereby avoid the need to perform expiations!



27. parimitaka¯lavartinety eka´sar¯ı ra¯bhipra¯yaḥ. atiduskar ̣ a¯nusṭ ḥ a¯namu ¯ la¯nekajanmas aṃ siddhisa¯dhyatvani´scaya¯d eva hy asya ´sokaḥ. sarvadharma¯n parityajya iti svaru ¯ patya¯ga eva¯sya¯ṃ yojana¯ya¯m. na ca ta¯vata¯ nityanaimittikalopaprasan ˙ gaḥ, duranusṭ ḥ a¯napra¯ya´scitta¯divisayatvokte ̣ ḥ (Shastri 1938: 412, lower paragraph). Emphasis added. 28. parimitaka¯lakṛtair iti pa¯the ̣ vilamba¯ksamatva ̣ ṃ su ¯ citam. aparimitaka¯lakṛtair iti pa¯the ̣ tu api´sabdo 'dhya¯hartavyaḥ. tenopa¯yasya dussampa¯datvavyañjanam. [. . .] pu ¯ rva´sloke bhaktiyogasya prakr tatv ̣ a¯t tada¯rambhavirodhitvena ´sokanimittapa¯pavisayo ̣ 'tra sarvapa¯pa´sabdaḥ. tattannira¯karaṇa¯yoktadharmavarg avisaya ̣ ḥ sarvadharma´sabdaḥ yasyaitatsan ˙ graha´sa¯sanaṃ “dharmeṇa pa¯pam apanudati” [MBh 18.6] iti. bahuvacanena sarva´sabdena ca vaividhyam a¯nantyaṃ ca pa¯pesụ dharmesụ ca vyajyate (Shastri 1938: 412, upper paragraph, column B). 29. In the commentary: vigatam a¯gaḥ, apara¯tam. 30. saṃ dr ṣ ṭ ạ ḥ sa¯rava¯jvit svaparani´sitadh¯ı ḥ saṃ gajin naikasaṃ sthaḥ spasṭ op ̣ a¯yo 'tikhinnaḥ saparikarabharanya¯sanispannak ̣ ṛtyaḥ | sva¯vastha¯rhaṃ saparya¯yavidhim iha niyataṃ vya¯gasaṃ kva¯pi vibhrat nirmuktasthu ¯ lasu ¯ ksmapra ̣ kṛtir anubhavaty acyutaṃ nityam ekaḥ (end of RTS chapter 22). Emphasis added. 31. I.e., God? 32. api c¯atra m¯a ´sucaḥ ity etan na prathamotpann¯asth¯anasneh¯adimu ¯ la´sokapratikṣe p¯arthaṃ tasya pu ¯ rvam eva ni´s´seṣakṣ¯alitatv¯at; ato yath¯a “m¯a ´sucaḥ sampadaṃ daiv¯ı m abhij¯ato ’si” (5.16) ity atr¯avyavahitaprastutop¯adhika´sok¯apanodan¯arthatva ṃ tath¯atr¯ap¯ı ti yuktam. na tu su ¯ kṣmadhiyaḥ kṣatriyasya dh¯armik¯agresarasy¯arjunasya sarvajñapradar´siteṣu ¯ p¯ayeṣv ajñ¯an¯ad anarhatv¯at pradh¯an¯aṃ ´s¯ani´scay¯ad v¯a ´soko 'yam (Shastri 1938: 412, columns A–B). 33. Already in the eleventh century the scholar-king Bhoja suggested to include pride as a separate rasa, see Pollock 2012, chapter III. 34. brahma¯ na¯bhija¯tana¯yt t¯onrac ceyt¯e abhija¯tatamana¯kaiya¯lum sarvatomukhama¯ka ¯ ¯¯ ¯ vedapravartanam paṇṇukaiya¯lum sarasvat¯ı sahacaritadharma¯va¯kaiya¯lum, na¯lu varṇan ˙ kalaiyum ̣ srusṭ itta ̣ na¯na¯vidhasa¯marthyatta¯lum “namakku nikar a¯r?” enru ¯¯ abhijanavidya¯vr ttagarva ̣ n ˙ kalum ̣ sva¯tantryaccerukkum ¯eri (Hastigiri, ¯ Ran ˙ kan¯at¯ac¯aryar 1995: 404). 35. karmatya¯gaḥ svak¯ı yata¯bhima¯natya¯gaḥ. bhaktiyoge 'pi ai´svarya¯diphala¯ntaraṃ tya¯jyam eva; moksa¯̣ khyaphalasya¯pi hi sarva´sesibhagavacche ̣ satvadhiy ̣ a¯ sva´sesat ̣ a¯dh¯ı ḥ pariha¯rya¯. a¯di´sabdena kañcukabhu ¯ tendra¯d¯ı na¯m a¯ra¯dhyatva¯bhima¯naḥ saṃ gṛh¯ı taḥ. karmaṇi kartṛtvaṃ svak¯ı yata¯buddhir a¯di´sabdena saṃ gr hyate ̣ (Shastri 1938: 411, column A). 36. karta¯raṃ kartuḥ prayojakataya¯ntarya¯mitvena, anumantṛtaya¯ ca avasthitam ity arthaḥ. tadanusandha¯na¯t svakartr tv ̣ a¯bhima¯natya¯gaḥ (Shastri 1938: 411, column B). 37. That abhiman- is used in an epistemological sense and not primarily in the sense of pride in Ven ˙ katan ̣ ¯atha’s commentary on BhG 18.66 is clear by the context. See, for instance, the following sentence: “The people who have not studied the Upanisads ̣ act having misunderstood the following: They put agency



elsewhere, in their own self, they revere Indra and the other [deities], who are different than that (the Supreme Self), they consider that the thing to be reached is heaven or the like, which is different from both (Supreme Self and deities) and they consider that the instrument [to reach it] is the ritual action, which is different from all the above. You should not think like that. You should ascertain that this all belongs to me alone” (anyatra sva¯tmani kartṛtvaṃ , tato 'nyasmin indra¯da¯v upa¯syatvaṃ , tadubhaya¯nyasmin svarga¯dau pra¯pyatvaṃ , tebhyo vyatireke karmaṇi upa¯yatvaṃ ca¯bhimatya hy anadh¯ı taveda¯nta¯ḥ pravartante; na tatha¯ tvaya¯nusandheyam; etat sarvam ekasmin mayy anusandhatsveti, Shastri, 1938: 411, columns A–B). 38. An insightful discussion on various forms of ma¯na, ranging from considering oneself superior to the excessive contempt of oneself, can be read in Heim 2009. 39. Often but not always, as shown by the case of Brahm¯a (immediately above), whose pride is rather the consequence of his noble birth. 40. Cf. the sequence of su ¯ tras 20–3 in Pil ḷ ai ̣ Lok¯ac¯arya’s S´r¯ı vacanabhu ¯ sạ ṇam: jit¯endriyarir ralaiya¯y a¯stika¯gre´sarana¯y k¯e´savasya¯tma¯v enru kṛsṇ̣ anukku ¯ ¯¯ ¯ ¯¯ dha¯rakana¯y irukkirav arjunanukku dosam ̣ etu ennil, bandhukkal ̣ pakkal ¯ ¯ ¯¯ ¯ sn¯ehamum, ka¯ruṇyamum, vadhabh¯ı tiyum “If it is said, ‘What flaw can there be to Arjuna who is the vessel (dha¯raka) to Krṣ ṇ ạ who is the a¯tman of Ke´sava (Visṇ u), ̣ and who is the foremost (agre-´saran) among the believers (a¯stika) and ¯ the best (talai) among the ones who conquered the senses?’ [The answer is:] Affection toward family and compassion and fear of killing [them]” (McCann 2016). The following su ¯ tras clarify that Arjuna should have rather placed more compassion on Draupad¯ı̣ instead, just like Krṣ ṇ ạ did. I am grateful to Erin McCann, who read passages of the S´r¯ı vacanabhu ¯ sạ ṇam during the NETamil workshop on Ved¯anta De´sika’s Cillarai Rahasyan ˙ kal ̣ (see the first footnote). ¯ 41. The function of the form of the S´araṇa¯gatigadya in letting readers achieve its content is discussed in Freschi 2017–18. 42. On the aesthetic experience of beauty as a means toward salvation, see Torella forthcoming.


Joy as Medicine? Yogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ and Descartes on the Affective Sources of Disease ANA LAURA FUNES MADEREY

1. INTRODUCTION In a letter written to Elisabeth, Princess Palatine and Abbess of Herford (1618–80), after knowing that she had been sick for several weeks with slow fever, accompanied by dry cough and “other signs of serious illness,” Descartes—with whom she held a philosophical friendship through several years of correspondence—voices his opinion on the matter: “The most common cause of a low-grade fever is sadness” (AT 4:201, May 18, 1645).1 The doctor philosopher suggested that if she could just make her soul content again despite the misfortunes surrounding her, she would probably heal completely. And this, he thought, she (and all virtuous souls) could do, because the soul has an intrinsic power of making itself move towards its own well-being (Passions II.148, AT 441.25–442.5). Descartes distinguished between volitions of the soul and passions in that the former do not depend on the immediate affection caused by external circumstances, although they can resemble the latter (Passions I.29, AT 350.15–25; II.147, AT 440.25–441.5). A virtuous soul, Descartes thought, 69



cultivates the power of not succumbing to the violent assaults of the passions because it knows this is the best for itself: it preserves its tranquility and prevents the body from falling ill. Worried by the political position of her family and the horror that the Thirty Years’ War had caused, Elisabeth was indeed suffering from sadness, anguish, and distress, but she did not think this was the cause of her disease. She attributed it to the lack of exercise and to her circumstance as a female (who—she believed—has a “natural” tendency to fall easily into the afflictions of the soul). Had sadness been the cause of her illness—she responds to Descartes in her letter of May 24, 1645 (AT 4:209)—it would be surprising to see her still alive, given the weak state of her body and the matters of distress to which she has constantly been subjected. Determining the cause(s) of a disease is fundamental for the intervention, since knowledge of the cause(s) may give hints on finding a cure. Yet, for each symptom or set of symptoms there is a multiplicity of hypotheses about diseases, for each disease there is a multiplicity of hypotheses about its antecedents, and for each of its antecedents there are multiple hypotheses about the possible conditions that caused them, which might, in turn, depend on context and cultural beliefs. This is why contemporary biomedical theories focus not on finding the specific cause(s) of the disease— many of which are out of our control—but on the particular mechanisms and factors underlying the disease, with which we can directly interfere. Knowing the specific type of virus, bacteria, carcinogen, gene, or any other physiological or biochemical mechanism responsible for the disease at hand helps to address directly the type of treatment and protocol to be followed.2 In a way, Descartes’ therapeutic suggestion to Elisabeth follows a similar train of thought except that, for him, the underlying particular factor for disease usually lies in an improper management of the emotions. Treating the physiological or chemical mechanism will not be enough without remedying the passion that causes and perpetuates the physical disruption in the first place. The well-known problem with the Cartesian “medical theory” is the infinite gap between volitions or changes that occur in the soul—which are distinguished from the passions such as love, hatred, joy, sadness, and desire—and bodily effect(s). Not only is it left unexplained how the immaterial soul causes an effect on the material body, but even if it could be explained—as Descartes indeed does3—through the mediation of passions, these would be just one of the multiple factors causing the disease. Contemporary reductionist biomedical models of disease do not usually take into consideration the emotional circumstance of the patient to



determine the treatment. Influenced themselves by the Cartesian mechanistic model of the body, they tend to treat the disease by only addressing the alleged underlying dysfunction understood as a physiological mechanism. Yet, the Cartesian intuition—that there is an affective source at the root of most diseases and that we have certain volitional control over it—is shared by other traditional, ancient, and also contemporary holistic medical theories both in the East and in the West. Holistic theories of medicine may understand the nature of the disease as a disturbance of a specific mechanism of the body, be it physiological, ¯ yurvedic medical systems). chemical, or “humoral” (as in ancient Greek and A But, unlike reductionism, holistic medical approaches include other information available regarding the possible causes of such disturbance or physical imbalance to determine the treatment. Take, for example, the Indian ¯ yurveda, for which diseases arise when a humoral medical system of A substance collects in the wrong part of the body, becomes irritated, or swollen, excessive or deficient. It is precisely the imbalance or disturbance in the body that has to be corrected, but in order to do so, one has to eradicate as much as possible the factors that produced such imbalance or misplacement in the first place. The disease is understood in terms of the imbalance, but the cause of such disturbance is recognized as multiple. Weather variations during the seasons of the year, food intake, inappropriate behavior, emotional agitation, mistakes from the past, and violation of good judgment are among ¯ yurveda (See Wujastyk 1998: 30– the most important causes of disease in A 4 ̣ counsels—or, as we shall see, 2). The Yogava¯sisṭ̣ ha, where sage Vasis ṭ ha gives therapeutic advice to—the young prince R¯a ma who has fallen into a deep state of depression, adds to this list bad company, bad moods, and bad actions (YV VIa.81.18–21). And it is known that for Descartes it was also important to take into consideration sleeping patterns, intellectual stimulation, as well as exercise. Among the physical, psychological, and social causes of disease that are acknowledged by holistic approaches, I focus in this chapter on the psychological and emotional causes. It is the emotional aspect of the disease which makes it (1) a personal experience, and (2) an experience that may be immediately changeable by an inner movement of one’s soul (or self). This perspective on disease is not only well articulated throughout Descartes’ letters and in his Passions of the Soul but also in one of the stories narrated by Vasis ṭ ha ̣ to R¯a ma in the Yogava¯sisṭ̣ ha. Like Descartes, Vasis ṭ ha ̣ also thinks that mental agitation can cause bodily disturbance and that the ultimate remedy for all psychosomatic diseases lies in a state of inner contentment (a¯nanda) or, what Descartes calls, joy (jouissance). Yet Vasis ṭ ha, ̣ unlike Descartes, makes a more careful distinction



between types of diseases and types of treatments: (1) those that can be treated with the help of doctors, medicaments, as well as supplemented by traditional remedies such as incantations, mantras, rituals, and purificatory ceremonies, and (2) those which cannot really be treated, but that may be overcome by knowledge of the self. In what follows, I first present the “medical theories” of Descartes and Vasis ṭ ha ̣ in order to understand how each of them explain physical diseases as developing from mental agitation. In other words, I elicit their respective psychosomatic theories of disease and analyze their respective views on healing in light of the main philosophical problem that arises: How much control does one have over one’s own mental agitations (particularly on the affective sources of the disease) and thus, upon one’s own healing? Second, I argue that while both offer a similar “remedy” for healing based on cultivating a purified emotion of joy independently of the effect of an external circumstance, Vasis ṭ ha’s ̣ typology of disease allows for a more subtle and useful phenomenological distinction that can accommodate the subjective feeling of the experience of disease as something that “affects us” while being, at the same time, an experience that we can transcend, and in this way, “heal,” even if the disease is not always cured. Third, I question Vasis ṭ ha’s ̣ use of the snake and the rope analogy for our experience of “incurable diseases” and reinterpret it from a feminist, intersectional perspective inspired by Elisabeth’s objection to Descartes and by Johanna Hedva’s manifesto: “Sick Woman Theory.” Sick Woman Theory was written by Johanna Hedva (2015) to make visible the experience of those who, like her, live with chronic illness and that are subject to political, racial, economical, sexual, and other oppressions resulting from patriarchy, colonialism, and capitalism. Sick Woman Theory “redefines existence in a body as something that is primarily and always vulnerable, following from Judith Butler’s work on precarity and resistance. Because the premise insists that a body is defined by its vulnerability, not temporarily affected by it, the implication is that it is continuously reliant on infrastructures of support in order to endure, and so we need to re-shape the world around this fact” (Hedva 2015, no page number). The term “sick woman” refers thus to anyone (male, female, genderfluid) who is systematically denied from the privilege of receiving care in any of its forms. Bringing this perspective into the dialogue with Vasis ṭ ha ̣ will allows us to see that any psychosomatic theory of disease that advances the remedy of “joy” as an autonomous movement of the “soul” has to take into consideration the social and contextual aspects that make room for such autonomy.



2. ON HOW TO CHOOSE JOYFUL THOUGHTS ACCORDING TO DESCARTES Despite his systematic dualism, it is well admitted that Descartes’ medical model is psychosomatic (and somatopsychic)5 because of the intimate connections that it posits between the material body and the incorporeal soul. Not only did he carefully describe the influence of the bodily dispositions on the state of the soul, but he also stressed the effects of the soul on the body. Psychosomatic diseases, understood in general terms, are bodily ailments that have their primary cause in some mental distress. According to Descartes’ mechanistic view of the body, the heart is powered by an inner heat that makes the blood in the heart expand to all the limbs of the body and make them move (Passions I.8, AT 333.10–I.10, AT 335.10). External objects arouse movements in the respective areas of the nervous system which, in turn, represent these objects to the soul (ibid., I.13, AT 338.15). Because these representations are received, rather than made by the soul, they are called passions (ibid., I.17, AT 342.15–20)—for whatever is not an action is a passion—and these include all other thoughts, perceptions, or sensations that arise from within the body such as thirst, hunger, or pain. However, in the stricter sense of the term, passions refer to those motions that are immediately felt in the soul in relation to itself, and not to anything external (ibid., I.25, AT 347.20-25–348.5), such as joy, sadness, fear, wonder, love, hate, etc. Among these, sadness is the passion to be avoided if one wants to heal or preserve one’s own health because sadness causes the heart to contract and restrain the blood flow. Slow blood circulation through the body would make blood particles accumulate at different parts of the body causing burden and disruption to the organs.6 Everything in Cartesian mechanistic physiology is explained by the assumption that motion is transferred from part to part by contact. The soul could be made sad by external or internal influences. Saddening thoughts or images are transmitted to the soul first by motions in the body’s surface—in the case of visual images, motions of the eye and the optic nerve. Then, this stimulates the movement of the “animal spirits” that travel through the nerves carrying them to the brain and then to the pineal gland—where the soul has its principal seat—which is then moved by these spirits, causing a particular impression in the soul (Passions, I.38, AT 358). The soul’s sadness, in its turn, creates an image in the gland that is then “reflected” to the animal spirits that will communicate it to the heart and from there to the rest of the body (ibid., I.36, AT 356.10–357.10), creating the overall embodied experience of “sadness.”



The influence of the soul upon the body and vice versa occur through the passions, yet the soul cannot modify the effect of the passions upon itself directly. The soul is not able to make sadness vanish—or any other emotion, including desire—just by willing it. Instead, the soul must think of or imagine objects that are related to the emotion that it wants to feel. Thus, if the soul dwells upon thoughts and images that cause it to feel sad, or fearful or hateful, then the emotion will persist and get stronger, producing the overall negative effect of those passions upon the bodily organs, affecting health. But if the soul decides not to dwell upon saddening thoughts and rather retrieve joyful images, the corresponding physiological processes will be activated (Passions I.45–46, AT 363.5–364.10). It is only in this way that the soul can have an influence on our emotive life, by choosing the images associated with the desired emotion, and by making a habit of representing at will those which bring joy to the soul and, with it, causing an impression upon itself that will bring beneficial expansion to the heart. Descartes thought that the soul could decide to focus on joyful thoughts even in the midst of a truly unhappy situation. If tragedy were to arise, the soul would then rejoice in its power to rise above it. Through effort and great care, that person would be able to “to turn her imagination from them [the sources of displeasure] so that she thinks of them only when practical matters oblige her to, and so that she considers only those objects which are capable of bringing her contentment and joy” (Letter to Elisabeth, May or June 1645, AT 4:219). Not unlike the yogic discipline of pratipaksạ bha¯vana or the “cultivation of the opposite mood” described in the Yogasu ¯tras of Patañjali (my translation of su ¯tra 2.33) and the instructions of constant practice (abhya¯sa) and detachment (vaira¯gya), Descartes’ therapeutic advice consisted in turning our attention away, as much as possible, from the things and persons that annoy us; to look at the source of the saddening circumstance with reason alone; to use the medical remedies appropriate for the physical condition; and above all, to cheer up by taking pleasant walks and contemplating beautiful things.

3. ON HOW TO SPREAD JOY OVER THE BODY ACCORDING TO VASIS Ṭ ̣ HA The medical model found in the Yogava¯sis ṭ̣ ha appears in the context of Vasis ṭ ha’s ̣ advice to prince R¯ama who, after traveling around the whole country and seeing the miseries and troubles of life, came back to the palace feeling a complete lack of motivation and existential meaning. The king, worried about his son’s indifference to the pleasant activities of the royal life



such as dancing, playing, and other gatherings, asked the sages in the court for help. Among all the sages, Vasis ṭ ha ̣ demonstrated himself to be the most prepared to treat R¯ama, mainly through a series of embedded dialogues and stories that would allow him to see the true nature of the world, and thus, liberate him from his existential sorrow. In the middle of one of these stories,7 R¯ama enquires about health and disease. How do diseases arise, and how are they healed? How do somatic diseases arise from psychological distress?8 Vasis ṭ ha ̣ then proceeds to explain his psychosomatic model, not without first making important distinctions. Psychosomatic diseases are the type of diseases where a physical ailment arises from mental disturbance or anxiety (a¯dhi). But there are also physical ailments (vya¯dhi)—especially the ones with an external source—that can be followed by mental anxiety or that may appear together with mental disturbance.9 The sage divides physical diseases into two types: those that have their source in the activities of daily life (sa¯ma¯nya) and those that come from birth or are congenital (sa¯ra).10 The former ones can be remedied and prevented by taking care of the immediate needs: good nutrition, good company, proper environment, good habits, good sleep, and conventional medical treatments.11 The congenital ones can be attenuated or prevented from emerging primarily by avoiding mental anxieties.12 All ailments, whether somatic (vya¯dhi), ordinary (sa¯ma¯nya), congenital (sa¯ra), psychological (a¯dhi), or psychosomatic (a¯dhivya¯dhi), cause pain.13 While they can be treated with medicaments, therapeutic devices, or by cultivating an appropriate mental and affective state, the real “cure” to them is liberation (moksạ ) because their real origin is not mental distress, but ignorance. This caveat is important because it distinguishes between cessation of disease (vinas´yati) and true healing, a difference that becomes evident in Vasis ṭ ha’s ̣ ultimate remedy for congenital and mental diseases, both of which, he says, can only be destroyed (nas´yati) with knowledge of the self.14 This point will become clearer after reviewing Vasis ṭ ha’s ̣ theory of psychosomatic diseases and testing it against Elisabeth’s concerns. Unlike Descartes, Vasis ṭ ha ̣ does not metaphysically oppose the “mind” (citta) or a soul to the body. In Vasis ṭ ḥ a’s ̣ universe, everything is made out of consciousness (cit), including the “physical” body. The relation between mind and body is thus, not a relation between two different substances but between two levels of “ideations” of consciousness which influence each other as agitations or vibrations (spanda).15 In this way, explains the sage, when the mind is distressed, the body gets equally disturbed (saṃ ksobha ̣ ).16 This can be seen in a person who, overcome by anger, cannot think or see very well, and thus, acts in ways that may be detrimental to herself.17 A person affected by anxiety or other psychological ailments might make



decisions that adversely affect her body, such as irregular eating, sleeping, and daily patterns.18 Due to the mind-body agitation (saṃ ksobha ̣ ), the “vital winds” (pra¯ṇa-va¯yus) that flow through our body fall out of balance, causing the physiological systems that they nurture to fail and the substances that run through them to clog up or dry out.19 Vasis ṭ ha ̣ considers that the first bodily system to become affected by mindbodily imbalance is digestion.20 While the relation between the Yogava¯sis ṭ̣ ha ¯ yurveda is uncertain, both coincide in and the Indian medical system of A their consideration of digestion as the central process of the body.21 Digestion turns food into chyle; then the body’s heat turns chyle into blood, blood is transformed into flesh, and the process goes on until the rest of the body’s tissues (dha¯tus) are generated (Wujastyk 1998: 5). Since the physical disease is produced by an imbalance in our “vital flows” (pra¯ṇava¯yus) and these ones are affected by our mental states, it is necessary to address these in order to eliminate the physical ailment.22 Vasis ṭ ha ̣ then gives his therapeutic advice: purify your mind with mantras and procure the company of virtuous and wise people.23 But what does he mean by “purifying” the mind and why is reciting mantras the main remedy for mental disease? The use of mantras for healing comes from the ancient Vedic medical tradition. Diseases were considered to have been brought by demons and other supernatural beings.24 Mantras were recited to dispel the demons from the affected body during healing rites and were also used during the preparation of herbal medicines, antidotes, and remedies, a practice that was ¯ yurvedic manuals (Zysk 1989). The mantras that Vasis ṭ ha preserved in A ̣ refers to as therapeutic—ya, ra, la, va—coincide with the b¯ı ja mantras or “seed sacred syllables” used before the beginning of a Tantric ritual to remove the defilements of the mundane body and transform it into a divine image.25 The rite of the “purification of the elements” or bhutas´uddhi involved the visualization of the worshipper’s own body as re-enacting the destruction of the cosmos through the dissolution of the natural elements into their primal, material, amorphous source. Along with the visualization, b¯ı ja mantras were chanted repeatedly to actualize the transformation produced due to the sonic nature of the mantras which represent the vibration of basic cosmic powers (s´aktis): yam, the b¯ı ja of wind; ram, of fire; lam, earth; and vam, water (Wheelock 1989: 103). In uttering the mantra, the body of the worshipper—or the ill person in this case—would experience dissolution into its elemental components, removing with that all defilements (mental and physical). In the Tantric ritual, bhutas´uddhi is followed by the recreation of the worshipper’s body, now as a divine and perfected visualization of the cosmos.26 However, in the Yogava¯sisṭ̣ ha, the company of the sages is



suggested as the complement for the mantra recitation. Perhaps because, by spending time with those whose minds are already pure, with those who have cleansed their hearts and minds from the tendencies (va¯sanas) of likes and dislikes (ra¯ga-dves´a), and the thoughts of ownership and dispossession,27 the ill person can thus reconfigure her body and visualize herself anew, having their image (and life) as a model. Vasis ṭ ha ̣ is not explicit about this, but one thing he makes clear is that once the mind has been assuaged and a state of quiet contentment (upas´ama) is achieved, an overall subtle feeling of joy (a¯nanda) emerges and spreads all over the body (vardhate dehe),28 healing it. This feeling of joyful tranquility is the mark of the purified mind and generates a healing mood that brings back the homeostatic flow of the vital breath, alleviates digestion, and ceases disease.29 Descartes’ healing jouissance and Vasis ṭ ha’s ̣ a¯nanda are states that arise independently of the effect of a joyful circumstance. In Cartesian terms, this “joy” strictly speaking, is not a passion but an action, “the purely intellectual joy (joie) that arises in the soul through an action of the soul alone” (Passions II.91, AT 397.5). In the case of Vasis ṭ ha, ̣ such action entails getting rid of all mental agitation (including the intellectual). Since this joy arises in the soul as a representation of something good that belongs to itself (in the case of Descartes), and since this mental quietness “spreads” immediately throughout the body like the moon rays over the earth (as Vasis ṭ ha ̣ poetically says),30 the “intellectual” feeling quickly becomes indistinguishable from its homologous passion: embodied joy or sukha.

4. ON HOW A “SICK WOMAN” WOULD RESPOND TO DESCARTES AND VASIS Ṭ ̣ HA It has been shown that both Descartes’ and Vasis ṭ ha’s ̣ medical theories of psychosomatic diseases claim that (1) there is an affective source at the root of many (if not most) diseases—sadness (Descartes)/mental anxiety (Vasis ṭ ha); ̣ and that (2) we have some control over the affective cause of our disease— we can choose to focus on joyful images and thoughts (Descartes)/we have the choice of engaging in purifying practices (Vasis ṭ ha). ̣ To begin to assess these claims, we must notice to whom Descartes’ and Vasis ṭ ha’s ̣ medical model and therapeutic advice are addressed. Both of their philosophical “patients” were young members of the royalty. However, Elisabeth, unlike R¯a ma, had fallen sick in the midst of political turmoil and lack of religious freedom which endangered the safety of her family and the economic stability of her homeland. How is it possible to remain joyful, content, or calm, if everything around (and sometimes within) you is collapsing? The experience of her disease is marked by constant lack of



certainty, of control, of freedom to act.31 Her circumstance as an aristocratic woman in the seventeenth century restrained her access to exercise, while her femininity, which she—perhaps ironically—believed to be a “weakness,” prevented her from using reason alone, separated from her emotions. She knew that our ability to reason well was not only fallible, but also subject to luck, for illnesses could certainly diminish anyone’s power to make right decisions (Letter to Descartes, August 16, 1645, AT 4:269). Moreover, social situations might put us in the position of having to hold the “use of reason alone” for the sake of convenience. As Elisabeth narrates, even when she wants to act upon reason alone, “I am constrained to abide by the impertinent established laws of civility so that I do not acquire any enemies” (Letter to Descartes, September 30, 1645, AT 4:304). Descartes’ therapeutic advice did not seem to take into consideration Elisabeth’s personal and social situation. Above all, while it showed concern for her mental and affective state, it failed to see or acknowledge the social forces underlying her mental life. Descartes claimed to have healed himself from a “dry cough and a pale color” that he believed he inherited from his mother and that remained with him until he was twenty years old (Letter to Elisabeth, May or June 1645, AT 4:221). Yet later in his life, when he was obliged to teach daily philosophy lessons at five in the morning to the merciless Queen Christina during a cold Swedish winter, it proved impossible for him to cultivate the feelings of detached contentment and intellectual joy that he said noble souls knew how to generate by a free autonomous movement. Descartes fell ill and eventually died unexpectedly early at the age of fifty-four. Vasis ṭ ha ̣ uses the metaphor of wild elephants splashing in a river as they cross it to refer to the disturbance of our vital breaths in times of sickening distress.32 This comes closer to recognizing the subjective feeling of uncontrollable disruption when diseases (and other tragedies)—especially those with “elephantic” proportions—fall upon us. Perhaps it was witnessing this type of commotion in people’s lives during his travels around the country that caused R¯ama to lose all motivation and meaning in life.33 Somehow observing other people’s sufferings awakened this sixteen-year-old prince to the realization of the incurable vulnerability of human lives. His lack of interest in all activities could have been interpreted as “depression” in our society; instead, it was seen as a sign of highest wisdom by the Hindu sages. They thought R¯a ma was close to the state of liberation, for he had completely detached from all desires and pleasures of this world (YV 2.2.3). Yet, his mind was not fully purified; it continued to feel aversion. Vasis ṭ ha’s ̣ role as an enlightened sage was to “heal” him from such mental agitation.



Vasis ṭ ha ̣ advises to calm the mind from all its turmoil in order to produce a joyful quietness that is healing for the body. But this is accompanied with the warning that not all diseases can be cured with just an embodied feeling of bliss. Without “knowledge of the self ” (a¯tmajña¯na), congenital diseases and mental anxieties cannot be destroyed.34 To illustrate how this works, Vasis ṭ ha ̣ compared it with the misperception of the snake and the rope. True healing, not merely the cessation of disease but its destruction, is like true perception: only this can tell us that the snake that we “see” is in reality a rope. But what is the snake that we see when we suffer an “incurable”— include here also all chronic—disease? What kind of mistake could we be making in the experience of our own illness? The snake-and-the-rope scenario points at the mistake of perceiving X (the rope) as Y (a snake), without noticing that Y is in reality X. Is Vasis ṭ ha ̣ saying that when we perceive or experience ourselves as ill, we perceive ourselves mistakenly because, in reality, our true “self ” is not really ill? This interpretation of the analogy would present many phenomenological problems; for one, when we experience ourselves as ill, it does not matter if the “real” self in us is not ill “in reality.” What matters is the experience itself, which does not vanish with the information that “there is no disease in my body” or that “I am never really ill.” Perhaps we can understand the analogy as referring to a mistake we make when we perceive our disease as X, but we should rather perceive it as Y. Vasis ṭ ha ̣ could be telling us that our experience of the disease is like our false perception of a snake-and-the-rope because we perceive it as something that has come-to-us without desiring it, when we should think of it as some error we have made and can correct by putting some effort or by changing our perspective or beliefs. This reading reflects Vasis ṭ ha’s ̣ position that we have some control over the experience of our disease, mainly the modification of our mental and affective states which can be attained with the recitation of mantras and learning from the company of wise people. But it conflicts with the original purpose of the analogy, which was to offer the “remedy” for diseases over which we have no control. Maybe the mistake lies in the perception of the disease as “mine” or as “belonging to me.” Dissolving the idea of ownership of a disease would give us then insight into a truth that otherwise remains veiled, i.e., that the disease is not really a trait of the self. If the disease is not an essential aspect of ourselves, then this realization could help us cope with it better and maybe even have a better perspective on how to cure it.35 This way of reading the analogy has the potential of solving the tension between the phenomenological and the metaphysical aspects of the disease, but only if we understand that congenital diseases as well as mental anxieties



do not arise within the individual person alone, but within and from a context that the individual inherits, either from family or society as a whole. In this sense, when Vasis ṭ ha ̣ traces the root of congenital diseases and mental anxieties to an original state of ignorance (maurkhyamu ¯la, YV 6a.81.14), we should not understand it as something that is embedded in one person alone or in one individual mind, but in the minds of all. It is not just up to the individual who suffers a disease to “choose” the right images, thoughts, practices or persons that will bring her to a better corporeal and mental place. For even having access to that therapeutic advice might be out of one’s personal reach. It is not gratuitous that both Vasis ṭ ha ̣ and Descartes are talking to members of the royalty, rather than to a disabled, non-educated, or otherwise outcast member of their societies, for example. And yet, whatever the social context of their dialogues, we must note that it is the narrative act of addressing their interlocutors—through letters in the case of Descartes and through stories in the case of Vasis ṭ ha—that ̣ makes the healing movement of the soul and the purification of the mind possible. The ignorance that Vasis ṭ ha ̣ talks about is not a lack of knowledge, but knowledge of false things (atattvajña¯na-vas´ataḥ, YV 6a.81.15). To believe that one knows that something is the case when it is actually not so is called delusion (moha). But it is not only the individual who can reproduce deluded ideas of health, education, government, economical systems, and even of her own self; whole societies and social discourses are needed to actualize them. The deluded mind, says Vasis ṭ ha, ̣ is vulnerable to likes and dislikes and to its desires of ownership and appropriation, which are the real obstacles to a tranquil mind. A society run by mentally agitated people will inevitably subdue everybody to improper eating, unhealthy habits, and less than joyful experiences. I am not suggesting that Vasis ṭ ha ̣ had this in mind when he introduced the snake-rope-disease analogy. But the philosophical implications of his analogy in the face of Elisabeth’s and the “sick woman’s” concerns reveals that the claim: “Joy has therapeutic effects in our bodies,” if meaningfully true, must take “joy” as arising from a social common choice in the autonomous actualization of caring for one another. Even ordinary diseases (sama¯nya), easily remediable per Vasis ṭ ha’s ̣ definition, are in many cases not so because the goods necessary for a person to sustain her body/mind—the very means that make possible the autonomous generation of intellectual joy and tranquility—are not available to her due to class, race, color, gender, disability, colonialism, or mere loneliness and isolation. To paraphrase Vasis ṭ ha’s ̣ verse (6a.81.33): Just as the social order decays when there is bad government, the vital winds cannot work harmonically if one’s breathing is oppressed.36 An intimate relation between health, freedom, joy, friendship,



and social justice becomes evident if Vasis ṭ ha’s ̣ analogy of the snake-and-the rope is read with the “sick woman” in mind. Liberation (moksa) ̣ is attained through knowledge of the self. According to the Yogava¯sis ṭ̣ ha, true perception of oneself is knowing that we are in reality pure consciousness, a mind with no agitation and no illness. But the “snake-and-the-rope” mistake does not lie in perceiving oneself as ill when, in reality, the self is never so. Rather, the mistake consists in perceiving this world as healthy, when in reality existence itself is a dis-ease, a product of the agitation of the mind. Real healing does not necessarily mean that the disease is cured, but that we destroy its image as pathological. Indeed, perception of the “real non-existence” of the disease (snake) in the self (rope) can free a person from suffering because, as Shulman says in his wonderful analysis of san ˙kalpa in the Yogava¯sis ṭ̣ ha, “the profound perception of ‘nonexistence’. . .allows for, or perhaps reestablishes, a capacity for further connection, which is akin to the capacity for movement in any direction” (2012: 114). In the reading I offer here, this connection and capacity for new movement is understood as enabled through the dialogue established with others to see our disease as meaningful in the context of a particular social and biological reality. Vasis ṭ ha’s ̣ treatment of R¯ama’s state of dejection as an opportunity for enlightenment is an example of a non-pathologizing way of looking at disease. Cartesian joy (joie) and Vasis ṭ ha’s ̣ bliss (a¯nanda) can be medicine when the peace of mind they embody arises in the recognition of the incurable vulnerability of our bodies, of the ontological instability of existence, and of the need to protect each other through “mantras” as Vasis ṭ ha ̣ says, but above all, through accessible, empathic, just, and mutual holistic care.

5. CONCLUSION Descartes’ and Vasis ṭ ha’s ̣ theories of disease describe in detail (according to their time) the mechanism by which a physical ailment develops from mental distress. Both of these medical models established that most diseases have an affective source and suggested that the best way to treat such ailments was by cultivating a purified feeling of joy or bliss along with other treatments appropriate for the physical aspect of the disease. Both accounts agreed that this purified joyful feeling could appear in our soul or mind by an autonomous inner movement or choice, in spite of experiencing adverse circumstances. I argued that the assumption that the individual has a certain control over the affective sources of their diseases tends to disregard the contextual, social, and interdependent aspects of an individual’s emotive life. Elisabeth’s objection to Descartes showed the limitation of the detached, rational, and



privileged male position of a solitary philosopher unconcerned with family, political, and social commitments. On the other hand, I showed that Vasis ṭ ha’s ̣ classification of diseases better accommodates the “sick woman’s” experience of disease but only when his metaphors and analogies about mental distress as the source of disease are interpreted in a non-individualist way. Under this more inclusive perspective, it becomes clearer that the healing transformation of our affective states is linked to a common effort of mutual support and not just to an isolated movement in each one’s own mind or soul. I also argued that knowledge of the self—Vasis ṭ ḥ a’s ̣ ultimate remedy for disease—heals by virtue of destroying our pathological view of diseases, and not necessarily (although it does not exclude it) by curing them. I would like to express my gratitude to Roy Tzohar, Maria Heim, and Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad, organizers of the Workshop “Emotions in Classical Indian Thought” that took place at Amherst College, MA (September 2018), to Arindam Chakrabarti, and to the participants of the Workshop for their very helpful remarks and critical comments on an earlier draft.

NOTES 1. The correspondence between Princess Elizabeth of Bohemia and René Descartes has been published in Shapiro (2007). I am following the standard citation for Descartes’ letters (hereafter AT) used in Cottingham, Stoothoff et al. 1985. 2. There is an ongoing debate in philosophy of medicine about the notion of “disease,” the relation between causal theory and medical explanation, and the need for integrating psycho-social-environmental factors into the current biomedical model (Engel 1977; Fuller 2017). The very issue of what constitutes a cause of a disease has given place to the establishment of different criteria for causation that can be distinguished by different approaches: experimentalist, inferentialist, determinist, probabilistic, etc. Contemporary criticisms of the notion of universal and necessary causes of disease are giving place to considerations of other factors, such as “risk factors,” in the causal determination of a disease, some of which can include social and environmental aspects (see Hill 1965; Carter 2003; Reiss 2017). 3. Descartes did explain how the passions in the soul would cause physical disturbances and also how physical movements (in the blood and in the nerves) would cause the passions in the soul (Passions II.94–111), but his dualistic metaphysics rendered the explanation unsatisfactory. Antonio Damasio (2018) in his book The Strange Order of Things offers a naturalistic explanation of emotions by tracing their origin to “feelings” which are the result of a “cooperative partnership of body and brain, interacting by way of free-ranging chemical molecules and nerve pathways” (p. 19). Compare Descartes with what Damasio says: “Continued sadness motivated by personal losses, for example,



can disturb health in varied ways—reduce immune responses and diminish alertness that can protect us from everyday harms” (ibid.: 162). 4. The Yogav¯asisṭ̣ ha (circa tenth century CE) is an extensive philosophical text (approx. 32,000 verses) of unknown authorship, although it is attributed to V¯alm¯ıki. It is famous for its nested stories illustrating the means towards liberation influenced by various traditions (Yog¯ac¯ara Buddhism, Advaita Ved¯anta, Vaishnavism, Shaivism). An earlier version of this text known as the Moksop ̣ ¯aya (MU) (c. 950 CE) was found to be composed in Kashmir. It was reinterpreted with non-dualist Ved¯anta orthodox tones by subsequent renditions of the text in a shorter version called the Laghuyogav¯asisṭ̣ ha (LYV) (Hanneder 2006: 14). I rely on the vulgate version which presupposes both the MU and the LYV, available in the third edition of the text, first published by V.L. Sharma Pansikar in 1911. 5. See Steven Shapin (2000: 147). 6. Letter from Descartes to Elisabeth, May or June 1645, in (2007), AT 4: 219. 7. Vasisṭ ha’s ̣ theory of diseases appears in verses YV VIa.81.11–43 within the story of “Cu ¯d¯ạ l¯a and S´ikhidhvaja.” 8. “Oh lord of the sages! Tell me exactly how do illnesses and diseases arise in this body and how are they destroyed?” kimavin¯as´¯aḥ kimutp¯ad¯aḥ s´ar¯ı re’smin mun¯ı s´vara | ¯adhyayo vy¯adhayaḥ ca eva yath¯avat kathay¯as´u me || (YV 6a.81.11). “How is it that physical ailments may appear from psychological disturbance and how can they be treated other than by medicines and other treatments such as reciting mantras and virtuous actions?” ¯adheḥ katham bhavet vy¯adhiḥ katham ca na vinas´yati | dravy¯aditaray¯a yukty¯a mantra-puṇy¯adi-ru ¯pay¯a || (YV 6a.81.29) 9. mithaḥ kad¯acit j¯ayete kad¯acit samam eva ca | pary¯ayeṇa kad¯acit ca ¯adhivy¯adh¯ı s´ar¯ı rake || (YV 6a.81.13) Verses from the Yogav¯asisṭ̣ ha used in this chapter are paraphrased or directly translated by me. 10. dvividho vy¯adhiḥ asti ¯ı ha s¯am¯anyaḥ s¯ara eva ca | vyavah¯ara astu s¯am¯anyaḥ s¯aro janmamayaḥ smṛtaḥ || (YV 6a.81.23). 11. pr¯aptena abhimatena eva nas´yanti vy¯avah¯arik¯aḥ | ¯adhiksaye ̣ ṇa adhibhav¯aḥ ks¯ı̣ yante vy¯adhayaḥ api alam || (YV 6a.81.24) ¯an¯adhij¯a vy¯adhayaḥ tu dravyamantra-s´ubhakramaiḥ | cikitsak¯adis´¯astra uktaiḥ nas´yanti anyaiḥ iha athav¯a || (YV 6a.81.27) sn¯ana-mantra-ausadha-up ̣ ¯ay¯a vaktuḥ ca ¯adhigat¯ani ca | tvay¯a cikits¯as´¯astr¯aṇi kim anyat upadis´yate || (YV 6a.81.28). 12. ¯adhivy¯adhivil¯as¯an¯am r¯ama s¯ar¯adhisaṃ ksaya ̣ ḥ | sarves¯ạ m mu ¯lah¯a pr¯avṛnnad¯ı iva tad av¯ı ru ¯dh¯am || (YV 6a.81.26). 13. ¯adhayo vy¯adhaya ca eva dvayam duḥkhasya k¯araṇam | tannivṛtti sukham vidy¯at tat ksayo ̣ moksạ ucyate || (YV 6a.81.12). 14. ¯atmajñ¯anam vin¯a s¯aro na ¯adhiḥ nas´yati r¯aghava | bhu ¯yo rajju avabodhena rajjusarpaḥ hi nas´yati || (YV 6a.81.25). 15. For a more detailed description of the relation between the mind and the body in the Yogav¯asisṭ̣ ha, see the story titled “The teaching on how the descending of infinite consciousness into the cycle of birth and rebirth is produced” in Book 4.14.15–49.



16. citte vidhurite dehaḥ samksobhamanuy ̣ ¯ati alam | tath¯ahi ru ¯sito ̣ jantuḥ agram eva na pas´yati || (YV 6a.81.30). The psychosomatic theory found in the Yogav¯asisṭ̣ ha does not necessarily establish a causal relation between mental and corporeal ideations. Perhaps it would be more accurate to call this association “co-incidental.” It is not that the emotion (i.e., the mental motion = notion) causes the disturbance in the body. It is rather that we see it as associated and explain it causally through our conceptual projections (see Buxton 2006: 397). The bodily disturbance is just consciousness in motion, in a particular state of agitation. 17. anaveksya ̣ puro m¯argamam¯argam anudh¯avati | prakṛtam m¯argam utstṛjya s´ar¯artaḥ hariṇaḥ yath¯a (YV 6a.81.31). 18. bhṛs´am sphuranti-isvacch ̣ ¯asu maurkhyam cetasi-anirjite | durannabhi-avahareṇa durdes´a-akramaneṇa ca (YV 6a.81.17). dusḳ ¯ala-vyavahareṇa duskriy ̣ ¯asphuraṇena ca | durjan¯asan ˙ga-dosẹ ṇa durbh¯ava-udbh¯avanena ca (YV 6a.81.18). 19. ksị ṇatv¯ad-v¯a prapu ¯rṇatv¯at-n¯aḍ¯ı n¯am randhra-saṃ tatau | pr¯aṇe vidhurat¯am y¯ate k¯aye tu vikal¯ı kṛte || (YV 6a.81.19). 20. “Problems with digestion such as indigestion, lack of appetite, or congestion, arise from the irregular movement of the vital breath. Like the current of a river carries the wood-logs and accumulates them in a certain place, in that way the vital wind guides the food through the interior of the body. When the intake of food is stopped or the food is stuck in the body, then disease arises transforming one’s constitution.” kuj¯ı rṃ atvam aj¯ı rnatvam at¯ı jirnatvam eva v¯a | dos¯ạ yaiva pray¯ati annam pr¯aṇasam ˙ c¯araduskram ̣ ¯at || (YV 6a.81.35). yath¯a k¯asṭ̣ h¯ani nayati pr¯ac¯ı des´am saridrayaḥ | tath¯a ann¯ani nayatyantaḥ pr¯aṇav¯ataḥ svam¯as´rayam || (YV 6a.81.36) y¯anyann¯ani nirodhena tisṭ̣ hantyantaḥ s´ar¯ı rake | t¯anyeva vy¯adhit¯am y¯anti pariṇ¯ama svabh¯avataḥ || (YV 6a.81.37).

¯yurveda was already 21. The Indian system of medical ideas and practices called A 1,000 years old by the time of the composition of the Yogav¯asisṭ̣ ha. Its influence on yogic texts such as this one may be due to its cultural popularity at the time. Its unified system of therapy and medical ideology expressed in Sanskrit treatises was widely in circulation and adopted as the “basic curriculum for the organized teaching of medicine in scholarly families and schools” (Wujastyk 1998: 1–3). 22. evam¯adheḥ bhavet vy¯adhiḥ tasy¯abh¯av¯at ca nas´yati | yath¯a mantraiḥ vinas´yanti vy¯adhayaḥ tatkramam s´ṛṇu (YV 6a.81.38). 23. yath¯a virekam kurvanti har¯ı takyaḥ svabh¯avataḥ | bh¯avan¯avas´ataḥ k¯aryam tath¯a yaralav¯adayaḥ (YV 6a.81.39). s´uddhay¯a puṇyay¯a s¯adho kriyay¯a s¯adhusevay¯a | manaḥ pray¯ati nairmalyam nikasẹ ṇeva k¯añcanam (YV 6a.81.40). 24. A story in the Yogav¯asisṭ̣ ha reflecting this belief is that of the demoness Karkat¯ı̣ , who is depicted as the cause of cholera (YV 3.68–82). Described as what would almost seem a tantric goddess in her divine terrible manifestation (blazing eyeballs, dark, hungry for blood and human flesh, carrying skulls around her neck and waist, etc.), Karkat¯ı̣ undergoes harsh austerities in order to be granted the boon of becoming a microscopic needle that can pierce the hearts and flesh of living beings and suck them from within. As the god Brahm¯a grants her this new bodily form, he pronounces the mantra that will protect and heal human



beings from her terrible actions: “Om I bow to the powers of Visṇ ụ hr¯ıṃ hr¯aṃ r¯ıṃ r¯aṃ. Om I invoke these Vaisṇ ava ̣ powers to destroy, take away, root out, shake off, and vanish this ailment. Let it go as far out as the cold mountains of the Him¯alaya. Let it be washed away by the light of the full moon.” “Om hr¯ı ṃ hr¯aṃ r¯ı m ˙ r¯am ˙ visṇ̣ us´aktaye namaḥ | om namo bhagavati visṇ̣ us´aktim en¯am om harahara nayanaya pacapaca mathamatha uts¯adaya du ¯rekuru sv¯ah¯a himavantaṃ gaccha j¯ı va saḥ saḥ saḥ candramaṇḍalagato’si sv¯ah¯a” (YV 3.69.14). 25. For the possible tantric influence in some stories of the Yogav¯asisṭ̣ ha (see Bhattacharyya 1951; Hanneder 1988; Funes Maderey 2017). 26. This ritual process is called ny¯asa and consists in accompanying the utterance of the mantra with a bodily act, touching various parts of the body (Wheelock 1989: 104–105). 27. atattvajñ¯ana-vas´ataḥ sva-indriya-akramaṇam vin¯a | hṛdi t¯anavam-utsṛjya r¯aga-dvesu-an ̣ ¯aratam (YV 6a.81.15). idam pr¯aptam idam na iti j¯aḍy¯at va dhana-moha-d¯aḥ | ¯adhaya sampravartante vars¯ạ su mihik¯a (YV 6a.81.16). 28. “R¯ama, bliss emerges in the body when the mind is pure, [spreading all over it] as the full moon spreads its rays over the earth.” ¯anando vardhate dehe s´uddhe cetasi r¯aghava | pu ¯rṇendavudite hi atra nairmalyam bhuvane yath¯a (YV 6a.81.41). 29. satvas´uddhy¯a vahantyete krameṇa pr¯aṇav¯ayavaḥ | jarayanti tath¯ann¯ani vy¯adhiḥ tena vinas´yati (YV 6a.81.42). 30. The moonlight is seen as having therapeutic (and not just poetic) qualities in the story of the demoness Karkat¯ı̣ mentioned above (see above note 24). The healing mantra given by Brahm¯a to counteract the disease caused by her is to be recited while visualizing the rays of the full moon illuminating the sick person as if this one were “an oblation given to the fire” (agnau havisạ iva purṇacandramaṇḍale rogiṇo bh¯avanay¯a praksepa ̣ ḥ k¯arya iti dyotan¯artham) (see the T¯atparyaprak¯as´a commentary on YV 3.69.14, Pansikar 2008 [1911]). 31. These are common phenomenological characteristics of the experience of disease. Carel Havi (2016) calls them “features of illness” and differentiates them from features of disease because they refer to the first-person experience rather than to the objective, abstract entity of disease constructed by biomedical models. 32. saṃ ksobh ̣ ¯at s¯amyam utsṛjya vahanti pr¯aṇav¯ayavaḥ | dehe gajapravṛsṭ̣ ena pay¯am ˙ s¯ı va sarittaṭe (YV 6a.81.32). 33. Vasisṭ ha’s ̣ dialogue with R¯ama is itself embedded within three other dialogues ¯ gastya who narrates to Sutiksna (between Sutiksna ̣ and sage A ̣ the dialogue between young brahmin K¯arunya ̣ and his father Agnives´ya, who narrates to K¯arunya ̣ the dialogue between king Arisṭ anemi ̣ and Valmik¯ı). They all present the difficulty of choosing between the householder or the ascetic life, i.e., between a life of ritual action, “karma,” or a life of knowledge and meditation, “jñ¯ana.” The Yogav¯asisṭ̣ ha challenges across many of its stories the orthodox social framework of the time that presents the life of knowledge as only available for males of the brahmin caste. Here, a prince is being taught the life of knowledge without having to renounce his princely affairs. In some stories, like the one where we find the theory of disease here analyzed, it is the woman



herself, queen Cu ¯d ala, ̣ who conveys that teaching to her husband, S´ikhidhvaja (see above note 7). 34. “Without knowledge of the self, R¯ama, congenital diseases as well as mental illness or anxiety cannot be removed. Indeed, it is just as the illusion of the serpent and the rope, which is only destroyed by the knowledge of it being, in reality, a rope.” ¯atmajñ¯anam vin¯a s¯aro na ¯adhiḥ nas´yati r¯aghava | bhu ¯yo rajju avabodhena rajjusarpaḥ hi nas´yati || (YV 6a.81.25). 35. I thank Roy Tzohar for this implication of the analogy. 36. Literally: “When the vital breath flows irregularly or with difficulty, [the vital winds] move haphazardly through the tubular channels, just as the social order [gets corrupted] when there is bad government.” ¯asamam vahati pr¯aṇe n¯aḍyo y¯anti visamsthitam | asamyaksaṃ sthite bhu ¯pe yath¯a varṇ¯as´ramakram¯aḥ (YV 6a.81.33).


Some Analyses of Feeling MARIA HEIM

We do not have a single term in the Pali Buddhist sources that maps in any tidy way on to the modern English term emotion. This should hardly surprise us, as prior to the eighteenth century, English speakers did not either: emotion in the way we think of it today as a strong feeling or agitation of mind, would have been referred to with a range of terms before that (affections, passions, humors, and so on), none of which exactly matches emotion. Noting this situation makes the perhaps obvious point that even the metacategories we want to explore are hardly universal, and that emotion is not a natural kind. It also presents an opportunity to ask what a phenomenology of affective or emotional life might look like without the central category of emotion. How might different metacategories shift how this area of human experience can be conceived? The Pali Buddhist intellectual tradition offered a sophisticated and intricate phenomenology that managed to get along quite well without the term emotion. To begin to see how, we can investigate one of its principal metacategories, vedan¯a, which may lie closest to what is referred to by the modern English term emotion. Vedan¯a, reasonably rendered feeling, in many contexts suggests something a bit more rudimentary than emotion, something very basic to conscious human experience in all of its permutations; in other contexts, it can also include phenomena we would consider emotions and phenomena adjacent to them. The term is found everywhere in the early sources as a key aspect of phenomenological life that the Buddha frequently observes, analyzes, defines, classifies, and deconstructs. My aims are two-fold. First, I show how feeling was conceived in a phenomenology that functions, from the ground up, very differently from 87



many explorations of emotions in the modern West. Second, and intertwined with this, I attend to and render explicit the distinctive methodological approach the canonical and commentarial Pali sources take to examine and describe experience. Both aims are achieved by following vedan¯a around in the many practices of analysis the texts deploy to investigate the ways humans feel and experience the world. These analyses aim to explore experience in order to transform it via contemplative practice; moreover, these purposes themselves shape the modes of inquiry and how phenomena are described. Specifically, by carefully tracking vedan¯a in the suttas, the Abhidhamma texts, and the early commentaries, I argue that these texts articulate a modal and analytical approach to human experience. The early Pali approach to feeling (and other phenomena) is “modal” in the sense that phenomena are to be analyzed and understood not in terms of any putative substance or essence, but through different classifications that illumine the modes or aspects in which they can be known. A “mode” is the purpose for, and the way in which, a phenomenon can be investigated. Since we bring different purposes to our discussions of feeling, many modal analyses are possible, and indeed required for conveying in a broad way how feeling might be understood. To take seriously a modal approach is to resist the temptation to think of phenomena ontologically in terms of possessing an essence or being expressive through a unitary and universal definition. This approach might be usefully contrasted with the ambitions of a recent volume entitled The Ontology of Emotion (Naar and Teroni 2018). In the words of one of the adherents of this approach the aim is to determine which “ontological category” emotions belong to, that is, whether they are “cognitive states, conative states, affective states, evaluative judgements, phenomenal feelings, bodily sensations, episodes and conditions of bodily arousal, physiological expression and behavioural tendencies.” This is to be decided by uncovering “what is essential” to emotion in general or to particular emotions in question (Soteriou 2018: 71). The Pali approach is skeptical of this kind of inquiry and instead aims to destabilize single or unitary definitions of phenomena such as feeling. It is also worth noting that the canonical and early commentarial Pali philosophical project that I consider here is significantly different from that of other Buddhists, including the northern Abhidharmikas. While these differences are considerable and it would take another chapter (at least) to begin to describe them, a crucial feature distinctive to the Pali tradition is its insistence that the therapeutic, philosophical, and intellectual project is always, and at bottom, hermeneutic and analytic. (Buddhaghosa defines his school as the Analysts [“Vibhajjav¯adins”] at Vism XVII.25.) Further, analysis



does not attempt to establish ontological reality, but rather is an open-ended project of contextualization, classification, and reconfiguration of experience for contemplative and therapeutic purposes. It is, we can say, analysis all the way down. To put it another way, ontology is what one arrives at when one stops the analysis at a set of categories and takes them to be final and ultimate reals. The canonical Abhidhamma tradition and Buddhaghosa’s work do not stop at any single list or set of categories, but rather deploy the categories of analysis to allow an endlessly ramifying set of classifications with which to contemplate experience.1 The Pali approach that I present below thus tries to resist essentialist definitions and ontological categories and yet still say something meaningful and helpful about feeling (and experience more broadly). I offer its distinctive approach to feeling and emotional phenomena as one expression of the “ecological phenomenology” that C. Ram-Prasad and I perceive in so much of the Indian thinking on emotions and bodily experience.2 To develop the ecological metaphor: forest ecology, for example, involves studying how an organism is constituted by its relationships with other phenomena, in ways that are local, context-dependent, dynamic, and changing through time. What counts as a “redwood tree” turns out to be linked biologically to other trees that nourish it, to microscopic fauna under the soil, and to the lichen and epiphytes with which it lives in symbiotic relationships. In certain analyses, it seems that where an individual tree ends, and another organism begins is unclear. Moreover, what counts as an organism to begin with depends, in a nontrivial way, on the purpose, nature, and perspective of the discourses and tools of analysis we use to describe it. What is salient to notice and describe about a redwood—indeed, what it is—differs depending on whether one is a microbiologist, fungi expert, forester, timber conglomerate, poet, spotted owl nesting in its canopy, day tripper, or land management official. A redwood tree is thus not a pregiven, self-evident term remaining stable across all of these contexts and descriptions— there is no single, final, view-from-nowhere definition we can give of it. Might not the features of human experience be similar? How we talk about the phenomena of experience is always context- and discourse- dependent, and, of course, we only have contexts and discourses to work with as we learn to describe it. Even the Pali Abhidhamma—which purports to describe “bare” phenomena as closely, abstractly, and multifacetedly as possible—claims to offer nothing but multiple schemas and analyses that show how phenomena such as feeling can begin to be described. Or perhaps I should say especially the Pali Abhidhamma, for in fact I think that its modal, multi-faceted, contextdependent, and open-ended approach to phenomena is a paradigmatic case of this kind of ecological methodology. I have learned how to think in these ways from this tradition.



To show how modal analyses work we need to follow Pali analytical methods and classifications of feeling around the texts. Pali modal analyses show tendencies toward both reductive analysis and ramifying classification, which are the chief methods and practices of defining and understanding phenomena. The bulk of this article is given over to tracking vedan¯a through some of the main classifications utilized to define it. I end with some larger observations about what this approach can teach us about the study of emotion.

THE “MANY-TYPES-OF-FEELING SUTTA” We can begin with an instructive teaching on feeling given in several places in the suttas. The discourse begins with an argument between an intelligent and thoughtful architect, Pañcakan ˙ ga, and a learned monk, Ud¯ayi. Ud¯ayi holds that there are three kinds of feeling—pleasant feeling (sukh¯a vedan¯a), painful feeling (dukkh¯a vedan¯a), and neither-painful-nor-pleasant feeling (adukkhamasukh¯a vedan¯a). Pañcakan ˙ ga disagrees, insisting rather that there are just two kinds: pleasant feeling and painful feeling, as neither-painfulnor-pleasant feeling should be included in the “excellent pleasure that is peace” (santasmiṃ es¯a paṇ¯ı te sukhe). Neither can convince the other of his ¯ nanda takes the controversy to the Buddha, who responds position, and so A thus: ¯ nanda, it was actually a true mode of teaching (pariy¯aya) that Ud¯ay¯ı “A would not accept from the architect Pañcakan ˙ ga, and a true mode of teaching that the architect Pañcakan ˙ ga would not accept from Ven. Ud¯ay¯ı. ¯ nanda, I have stated two types of feeling in one mode of teaching. I have A stated three types of feeling in another mode of teaching; I have stated five types of feeling in another mode of teaching; I have stated six types of feeling in another mode of teaching; I have stated eighteen types of feeling in another mode of teaching; I have stated thirty-six types of feeling in another mode of teaching; and I have stated one hundred and eight types of feeling in another mode of teaching. This is how the Dhamma is taught through [various] modes of teaching. “When the Dhamma is taught by me through such modes of teaching it can be expected that even what is well spoken and well said by some will not be approved, accepted, or conceded by others, and they will live quarrelling, disagreeing, arguing, and attacking one another with verbal ¯ nanda, the Dhamma is taught by me through such weapons. But still, A modes of teaching. When the Dhamma is taught by me through such modes of teaching it can be expected that what is well spoken and well said by some will be approved, accepted, and conceded by others, and



they will live in harmony, politely, not arguing, blended like milk and water, and gazing upon one another with loving eyes.” Bahuvedan¯ı yasuttaṃ in Majjhima i.396–400; cf. Saṃ yutta iv.223–28, 231–32 This exchange suggests that the Buddha was not interested in teaching or arguing for a single, final listing of feelings or establishing a single “mode of teaching” (pariy¯aya) that would work for all contexts. Teachings about feelings can be divided up variously according to the practical and pedagogical purposes required by the terms of the discussion taking place. Further, the listings of feelings can get quite long, up to 108 (and perhaps more) as feelings are divided, subclassified, or parsed with ever increasing granularity or via different modes. The Buddha may also be seen here as rejecting a reductive ontology of feelings, one that in a final and indisputable way would settle the matter, and indeed he disapproves of quarrelling over such things. Within this overarching framework, we may turn to some of the “modes of teaching” the Buddha taught, dividing feeling into divisions of two, three, five, six, and so on. We cannot hope to be exhaustive: even within the suttas the places in which feeling is subdivided and then occurs within lists and schema of analyses are considerable. Once we follow the suttas’ preliminary analyses into the Abhidhamma, which is said to develop listings and classifications even further, we soon find ourselves swimming in a great ocean, an immeasurable “ocean of methods,” (nayas¯agara) according to Buddhaghosa,3 that endlessly ramifies the analyses in which feeling, and other terms for the features of our experience, may be both discerned and therapeutically reconfigured. The ultimate expression of these endless modes of teaching is the last book of the Abhidhamma, the Patṭ ḥ ¯ana, a book of classificatory and analytical methods that is so large that it has never been (and perhaps never can be) fully written down.4 Types of feeling Elaborations of the lists of feelings ranging from two to 108 in the “ManyTypes-of-Feeling Sutta” are given in another sutta. They may be briefly outlined here: Two feelings: bodily and mental Three feelings: pleasure and pain and neither-painful-nor-pleasant Five feelings: according to five faculties – the pleasure faculty, the pain faculty, the joy faculty, the distress faculty, and the equanimity faculty Six feelings: born of contact with the senses—the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind



Eighteen feelings: each of the feelings based on the six senses accompanied by joy, each of them accompanied by distress, each of them accompanied by equanimity Thirty-six feelings: the eighteen feelings when based on the household life, and the eighteen when based on the life of renunciation One hundred and eight feelings: the thirty-six feelings when felt in the past, when felt in the present, and when felt in the future.5 We can see that these parsings get finer and finer and the trajectory is toward proliferation in a modal sense. In this analytic exercise, feelings are classified according to where they seem to present (body or mental awareness), valence (how they feel), the faculties that shape them, the ways they are based on sensory contact, the kinds of feelings that differ for lay people and trained monastics, and how all of these can be analyzed in time. To go deeper into some of these modes of teaching, we may consider the list of six feelings, which describes the feelings one gets from sensations coming in through the six senses (note that mind, mano, is one of the senses—it apprehends ideas). We can generate a list of eighteen feelings when each of the feelings borne from the senses is accompanied by joy, distress, or equanimity. This move shows that feeling can include not just feelings from sensory input, but also a second movement of how one responds, in joy or distress or equanimity, to those sensations. We might say that feeling can be both what is felt from the six senses as a sort of sensation, as well as something heading in the direction of what we would call emotion, where sensations are accompanied by responses or judgments of a sort—also called feelings—of joy, distress, or equanimity. Vedan¯a, we might say, opens here toward both sensation and emotion. This captures how ordinary language in both Pali and English works at least when it comes to verbs: I feel the sensation of visceral pain when injured, and I can feel the emotion of sadness or distress that I am feeling such pain. The verb feel is the same, but where contemporary English would separate the noun feeling from the higher-order emotion as though they refer to discrete phenomena, the Pali term vedan¯a collapses them. (The English verb “emote” is encountered only rarely and then usually in a performative context.) In contrast to contemporary English and recent philosophy of emotions,6 in this Pali tradition feeling is the metacategory and we do not get a separate term for the second-order movement, response, or judgment that we would call emotion—though the texts are capable of making this analytic distinction, as they do here, when deemed important. This reading is confirmed by a different sutta that suggests that when assailed by a painful feeling, a person with no contemplative training



“sorrows, grieves, laments, weeps, beats his breast, and becomes bewildered. He feels two feelings—a bodily one (k¯ayika) and a mental/psychological one (cetasika)”;7 in the first he feels what we might call a sensation, in the second, he is struck by what the text calls “a second dart” (dutiyena sallena) of feeling pain, a more reflective, developed response or judgment about the sensation that we might call emotion. The text contrasts these two darts with the experience of a disciple advanced in contemplative training who does not beat his breast, weep or lament, and feels only one feeling, the bodily feeling. This is because he has not allowed himself the additional response (the second dart) of a painful “mental” or “psychological” aversion to the physical pain. In these terms we can see that feeling can be a matter of something happening at the level of the senses, as well as a further trainable response we give to that sensory impact. Feeling in these ways is the bigger category and includes the “second dart,” and thus encompasses phenomena we would call emotions. We should exercise some caution with the introduction of the distinction between “bodily” feeling and “mental” feeling that we have just seen and avoid seeing these as ontological categories. Within the dualistic metaphysical assumptions of the Cartesian West, scholars debate about the extent to which emotions and feelings are either physiological or mental: are they physical responses to the world (e.g., William James) or are they a form of cognitive judgment (e.g., Martha Nussbaum)? Since the Pali sources do not presume or advance a metaphysical dualism of body and mind, they do not entertain such debates, though they are capable of making analytic and observational distinctions in certain instances, as here, between what may present as physical and mental/psychological feelings (and other phenomena) for certain purposes. (It is notable, in any case, that the term in question here, cetasika, refers more generally to the factors involved in awareness rather than something specifically “mental.”) Here we can see that it is useful, in this context, to separate the sensory response of pain from an additional response to it, as the text is trying to show how its techniques of training help one cope with sensory pain and our further responses to it. But, critically, both are feelings. The distinction between bodily and mental here does not become an opportunity to debate whether feelings are, in some sort of final, ontological way, bodily or mental, and we should avoid assuming that analytical distinctions refer to, assume, or construct these phenomena as ontological entities (especially since other listings rejigger any apparent line between bodily and mental, as when the sensations from the six senses include the mind sense). We now have an understanding of multiple types of feelings in terms of their valence (pleasant, painful, etc.), and in terms of the ways that parse



feeling according to (what we would call) both sensation and emotion. Additionally and relatedly, feeling can be understood in terms of five faculties (the faculties of pleasure, pain, joy, distress, and equanimity). The faculties are those parts of our subjectivity or psychology that exercise a controlling influence on how one responds, whether it is the predominant experience of pain at an injury or the predominant experience of distress at having been injured, in our example. Feelings can be, we might say, indelibly tied up and intertwined with the psychological processes that shape or control the nature of the response, and sometimes it is a useful mode of teaching to describe them in such terms. And so it is that a feeling (such as pleasure, sukha) can also be a faculty (sukhindriya, the faculty of pleasure). Within the Abhidhamma system a single item can occur in multiple listings because, in a modal way, different aspects of it function diversely. Buddhaghosa likens the basic phenomena (dhammas) in the Abhidhamma listings to artisans in various guilds: one and the “same” artisan can work for different guilds with different capacities, areas of expertise, and involvement in each.8 The guild (or listing or schema) defines and constitutes in some fundamental way the expression of the artisan’s (or phenomenon’s) work. This idea resists a conception of dhammas as fixed, self-contained, essential entities with a single expression or nature. Pleasure can be a feeling that we get from sensory input, but it also can be a faculty that we bring to experience that shapes our response to sensory input. The distinction between the household life and the life of renunciation that takes the eighteen feelings and considers them in relation to these two different practices of life, indicates an analysis of feeling that indexes it to a more global ecology of lifestyle and practice of persons. One will have different kinds of feelings based on whether one is engaged in a mode of disciplining them in specific ways as is (ideally) required by the monastic life, or whether one is living an untrained life. Again, this distinction is useful for particular purposes, most notably in a body of religious teachings whose main aim is to articulate the contemplative practices that make liberation possible. A related distinction, found in yet another sutta, notes the difference between feelings that are carnal (s¯amisa) and those that are spiritual (nir¯amisa): the three valences can also be indexed to these, making six feelings possible, and thus generating a different list of six than the foregoing. According to the commentary, “carnal” refers to the pleasure, pain, etc. that come from sensual desire (k¯ama), while “spiritual” feelings refer to feelings one encounters in vipassan¯a and other forms of contemplative practice.9 Finally, these thirty-six can be ramified further when we consider how they occur in time across past, present, and future bringing us up to 108. These



modes of analyzing feelings are to be understood within the imminently pragmatic purposes in which these discussions are embedded.

THE CONDITIONS OF FEELINGS Feelings lie adjacent to other phenomena with which they operate and from which they can sometimes be distinguished. These are variously given in the suttas and Abhidhamma, but some of the basic categories of phenomena with which they are often grouped are sensory contact (phasso), perceptual judgment (saññ¯a), intention (cetan¯a), and awareness or consciousness (viññ¯aṇa or citta). In the canonical Abhidhamma, these four along with feeling occur in every moment of awareness, part of the basic apparatus that comprise it. We frequently encounter passages that indicate how they condition and affect one another as, for example, feeling is conditioned by contact (when our senses make contact with an object, a feeling arises). There is an important sense, however, that these momentary and fleeting phenomena are hard to separate out, even for analytic purposes. A sutta passage notes that “feeling, perceptual judgement, and consciousness are conjoined, not separate, and so it is not possible to distinguish each of these phenomena to define their various activities.” This is because “friend, what one feels, one perceives, and what one perceives, one cognizes.”10 One is perceiving and cognizing that which one feels, and the task of fully separating out these mutually constitutive processes is, at some level, not possible (unless you are the Buddha). The idea that they cannot be discerned at all, however, may be overly hasty in that the Abhidhamma tradition, which does precisely this, is predicated on the Buddha’s own deep introspection that reveals them. The Buddha was said to dissect moments of experience to identify their contents, a task much like scooping up a handful of seawater and dissecting it into droplets and tasting them to identify which rivers each came from.11 But for most of us without such introspective capacities, these rudimentary processes are hard to discern. The texts then offer the Buddha’s teaching about how they operate and how they can be identified. The analyses of how feelings come about will often follow a pattern in which sensory contact stimulates feeling; in one discourse we see a line of conditions that describes how the diversity of sensory elements (dh¯atu) leads to the diversity of sensory contacts (phasso), and the diversity of sensory contacts leads to the diversity of feelings (vedan¯a).12 Lest this get codified as a single or linear causal chain, elsewhere it is noted that we feel based on many conditions including our views, modes of concentrating, initiatives, thinking, and perceptions, and these again in terms of whether they are agitated or calmed. The Buddha describes a range of conditions for what is felt:



What is felt has wrong view as its condition and what is felt has right view as its condition. What is felt has wrong concentration as its condition and what is felt has right concentration as its condition; what is felt has initiative as its condition; what is felt has thinking as its condition; and what is felt has perceptual judgement as its condition. Also, initiative that is not calm, thinking that is not calm, and perceptual judgment that is not calm—what is felt has that as its condition. Also initiative that is calmed, thinking that is calmed, perception that is calmed—what is felt has that as its condition.13 This series of complex and changing conditions for feeling is presented in a sutta in which the Buddha is describing what he had realized after a period in seclusion, a period in which he is said to have gone back and revisited what had occurred to him on the night of his awakening. The commentaries reinforce this idea that seeing the diverse conditions of feeling (and the other categories of experience of Abhidhamma analysis) was the realization the Buddha achieved when he became awakened.14 Further, Buddhaghosa says that this brief sutta illustrates the Buddha’s seeing of feeling without limitation and from all sides, rather than from just one side or aspect. That is, when the Buddha came to experience the Abhidhamma at the time of his awakening, he became aware of feeling unrestrictedly (nippadesa), rather than only partially or just from one side (padesa).15 And feeling was one mode by which other Abhidhamma categories were seen as well (the other aggregates, the sensory elements, the objects of sensory experience, and so on16). The commentaries also say that the Buddha contemplated feeling for three months considering all of the modes in which it can be analyzed, and then moved on to further lengthy ponderings of other categories of phenomena.17 Finally, Buddhaghosa cites this sutta as showing that conditions work in multimodal, mutually causal ways rather than solely in linear causal relations: “and he dwelled there through seeing the modes of conditions, not through seeing only arising.”18 What becomes clear is that feeling and allied phenomena are mutually conditioning, and while sometimes there can be identified a linear causal process, all of these phenomena are, in an important sense, conditioning and constituting one another. Nor are these analytical categories exhaustive for how we can explore the conditions of feeling. In another mode of teaching, the Buddha insists that feelings can have different etiologies: those who would say that our feelings are caused exclusively by past karma are simply wrong. In fact, feelings can arise from imbalances of bile, phlegm, or wind, or from changes in weather, careless behavior, or assault.19



FEELING WITHIN SCHEMAS While the various types and etiologies of feeling engage a practice of breaking down the category and its conditions as we have just seen, equally important are the schemas and methods in which feeling is conceived as itself a component of a larger set of relations in which it functions. Most notably, feeling is one of the five aggregates, one link of the twelve-fold dependent origination, and one component of the four foundations of mindfulness. These doctrines are so well known that we need not linger beyond a brief account of how feeling is featured in them. Feeling functions as a key feature in the processes constituting and conditioning the experiences of the whole human person. The five khandhas are an analysis of the human person that dismantles it into five “aggregates”: form (ru ¯pa), feeling (vedan¯a), perception (saññ¯a), volitional constructions (san ˙ kh¯ara), and consciousness (viññ¯aṇa).20 These five clusters of phenomena, each subject to further division and their own conditions (as above), comprise an analysis of human experience that avoids identifying any one of them with a self, and aims to demonstrate how the entire content of experience can be accounted for without any reference to a self. The doctrine is also deployed to show how each of the aggregates is “subject to clinging” (upad¯ana), an analysis that shows how achieving freedom from such clinging is central to the soteriological project. The Buddha reports that so long as he did not understand the five aggregates he could not claim to have been awakened.21 Another central analytical practice is dependent origination (paticcasamupp ̣ ¯ada), the twelve-fold chain of mutually conditioning phenomena that further breaks down experience into analytic categories to show causal linkages between them. This teaching is frequently encountered in the texts, but one of the most concise reads: With ignorance as a condition, volitional constructions [arise]; with volitional constructions as a condition, consciousness [arises]; with consciousness as a condition, name-and-form [arise]; with name-and-form as a condition, the six sense bases [arise]; with the six sense bases as a condition, contact [arises]; with contact as a condition, feeling [arises]; with feeling as a condition, craving [arises]; with craving as a condition, clinging [arises]; with clinging as a condition, becoming [arises]; with becoming as a condition, birth [arises]; with birth as a condition, agingand-death, sorrow, lamenting, suffering, distress, and desperation arise.22 This is an analysis of the conditions of suffering both on a moment-tomoment basis and across lifetimes. Feeling is one of the twelve conditions,



where it is prompted by contact with the six sense bases and gives rise to craving or attachment to sensory objects. This analytic practice is always aimed at the therapeutic and soteriological purpose of breaking the chain— eliminating ignorance or craving interrupts the whole process and releases one from the conditions that produce suffering. Here, as with the aggregates, the way to understand feeling is to understand it in relation to the other phenomena with which it is at work, and always in relation to the purposes of the doctrinal practice at hand. The extended analyses of these teachings are developed in the Abhidhamma and Visuddhimagga where the potency of these ideas and their implications find richer and fuller expression. A further schema in which feeling functions as a basic component of an analytic and contemplative exercise to end suffering, is the four foundations of mindfulness in which feeling is one of the four. In this practice a monk is to contemplate, each in turn, four phenomena: while being “strenuous, attentive, mindful, and having removed covetousness and distress in regard to the world, the monk dwells, contemplating body in body, feeling in feeling, mind in mind, and phenomena in phenomena.”23 This highly-trained focus on these phenomena is a “path of purification” and eliminates sorrow and lamentation.24 Learning to watch feelings appear, linger for a while, and disappear is part of a practice of ending one’s investment and identification in them in a way that is said to be liberating. What we might say is that in many of these practices, but perhaps most obviously in this last one, feeling is not only part of the apparatus with which we are aware of the world, but it can become an object of our awareness. There are two sides to our phenomenology of feelings: feeling is that through and with which we know an object; and, especially by training one’s awareness, it itself can become an object of awareness and study. And turning it into an object of awareness through various modes of inquiry is a fundamentally therapeutic practice, for only then can it be addressed and transformed.

DEFINING FEELING All of these modes of teaching that classify feelings or locate them as components in larger analyses of experience may make feeling seem elusive and difficult to pin down. The suttas agree—feeling is like an underwater bubble of air that surfaces and pops: “for a monk looking at it, inspecting it, and investigating it down to its origins, it appears empty, it appears hollow, and it appears without substance, for what essence could there be in feeling?”25 Indeed, this realization is, in large measure, the point of both Pali phenomenological and contemplative analysis. These analytic practices aim



to rid practitioners of the tendency to define their experience in reductive ontological terms. A redwood tree is not a single essential thing, but is only ever identified in terms of how it is constituted by and functions with other processes, themselves salient for the purposes of our descriptions. Feelings, too, come to appear empty of substantive, ontological essences, and these diverse modes of analyzing them demonstrate this very insubstantiality. Feelings are said to pass through like winds in a clear sky, or guests at a lodging house.26 One should train in learning to see feelings as “impermanent, constructed, dependently-arisen phenomena subject to decay, subject to fading away, subject to disenchantment, and subject to cessation.”27 Still, there must be something that makes feeling different than, say, perceptual judgment (saññ¯a), or intention (cetan¯a), or any of the other phenomena found in experience. Surely we need some sort of definition to identify feeling and to distinguish it, if only analytically, from other processes. The suttas take this up: “Feeling, feeling, it is said, friend. With reference to what is ‘feeling’ said?” The answer is simple though perhaps not as tautological as it might first seem: “It feels, it feels, friend, that is why ‘feeling’ is said.” “What does it feel? It feels pleasure, pain, and neither-pain-norpleasure.”28 Here we get a functionalist account of feeling—feeling is what it does, the verbal form of it: it feels. It is different from perceptual judgment and intention in that they perceive and intend. The commentary goes further to specify that feeling is “what feels pleasure” in that “it feels, it experiences pleasure as its object.”29 This specifies that feeling is intentional, it is always about an object. Finally, the commentary clarifies that feeling itself is what feels; it is not that there is a subject or some other experiencer who feels.30 This kind of definitional practice of defining a phenomenon by what it does is developed further in the commentaries. Buddhaghosa deploys a scholastic definitional practice that identifies the “characteristic” (lakkhaṇa), the “function” (rasa), the “manifestation” (paccupatṭ ḥ ¯ana) and the “proximate cause” (padatṭ ḥ ¯ana) of each of the dhammas (that is, the factors or phenomena of awareness) in the Abhidhamma system. The “characteristic” refers to the particularity (sabh¯ava) or generality (s¯amañña) of each of the phenomena. The “function” refers to [its] work or accomplishment. The “manifestation” refers to [its] occurrence or fruit. The “proximate cause” refers to [its] near cause.31 This style of defining a term is described as an “analysis of terms” (padabh¯ajan¯ı ya), a definitional practice that shows how a phenomenon occurs in experience, how it presents, what it does, what generates it, and what makes it either particular or part of more general categories. (The



particularity or distinctiveness (sabh¯ava) of a phenomenon in this literature refers not to any sort of putative “essence” or “own nature” that made the Sanskrit cognate svabh¯ava the target of Madhyamaka critiques of the north Indian Abhidharma traditions. Rather, for the canonical Abhidhamma tradition and Buddhaghosa, sabh¯ava refers simply to the particularity that allows us, as we have seen, to characterize feeling as “that which feels” in contrast to the characteristic ways other phenomena present and function; it does not denote a metaphysical term.) Buddhaghosa applies this fourfold definitional practice to feeling, specifically the types of feelings that occur in a moment of awareness that is classified as good (kusala) and “accompanied by joy”:32 Feeling is causing to feel. Its characteristic is what is felt; its function is experiencing, or its function is enjoying the aspect that is desired; its manifestation is tasting the psychological phenomenon; and its proximate cause is calmness.33 As we have already seen, feeling is defined in terms of its verb; here it is that activity that causes something to be felt, the very characteristic or specificity of feeling. Its function can be seen in two ways: that which experiences or that which enjoys the aspect of the object that it desires. As we see in his elaboration of this, feeling is always intentional, that is, it always has an object; and it experiences, even relishes its object, as its main function. Note how he defines manifestation as feeling tasting the psychological phenomenon (cetasika). This suggests that the object of feeling is not the thing “out there,” but the factors that apprehend it, such as the sensory contact with it, or the feeling of pleasure it arouses. Finally, the pleasurable feelings in kusala awareness are conditioned by a basic level of calmness; turbulence in experience would seem to preclude this kind of feeling. Notice how even in this very technical and abstract register of defining terms (the most technical and abstract that he gets on this term), Buddhaghosa does not offer a “generic” definition of feeling. He is concerned here with feelings that are part of a kusala, or good, and joyful moment of awareness, and so, by definition, pleasant or indeterminate. In other words, he does not treat feeling qua feeling, but always and only as it occurs in a particular classification, which is here a list of phenomena that can be present in a kusala and joyful experience. This is very much in keeping with the antiessentialist and modal thrust of the whole system. One defines terms only in terms of how they operate within a particular analytical context or schema. However, Buddhaghosa does go on to note, in a general way, that experiencing or enjoying (anubhava is both) is the function (rasa) for all three



types of feeling, whether pleasure, pain, or neither-pain-nor-pleasure. But then he expands that in this class of feeling, feeling is “enjoying the aspect [of the object] that is desired.” He suggests that feeling has a deeper and fuller encounter with its object than any of the other basic cetasikas that apprehend the object. Sensory contact (phasso), perceptual judgement (saññ¯a), intention (cetan¯a), and even awareness (viññ¯aṇa) have only a “partial” immersion in it, whereas feeling “enjoys the taste of the object.”34 Feeling, he says, is like a king who gets to relish fully the delicate foods put in front of him, in contrast to the cook (who is likened to the other cetasikas) who merely gets to taste the food to test it. Feeling, as king, is sovereign in the encounter with the object: “just as the king, having become the lord because of his mastery and expertise, enjoys [the object] as he desires, so too feeling experiences the taste of the object by its mastery, expertise, and becoming the lord.”35 This is rather phenomenologically subtle: does it not often seem that feeling plunges in and savors the object, especially its most desired properties, more than any other part of our phenomenality? In a way, it seems to “know” the object more intimately than our other modes of apprehension. This definition of feeling’s function is an attempt to arrive at some specificity in phenomenological description, at least for the type of vedan¯a that is kusala.36 The reader may be forgiven for finding the preceding lists and technicalities hard going. They are important to present, though, because they show how definitional analysis proceeds as Buddhaghosa uses this framework to tease out how feeling functions and manifests in a way different than other allied phenomena of sensory contact, etc. Along the way, I hope that the reader perceives the psychological subtlety with which the phenomenology of feeling is conceived to operate.

CONCLUSION The English verb “feel” can do many things: I feel sick, I feel angry, I feel that time goes by too quickly, I feel happy when I think of my children, I feel we should work for world peace, I feel strange, I feel hot, I feel better after taking a nap, I feel startled when you shout, I feel calm only when walking in the woods, I feel pain in my left knee, I feel fear when considering global warming, and so on. Can all the feelings indicated by these familiar uses of the verb feel be captured in a single essential abstract definition? Is it our task to establish in some universal and abstract way that feelings or emotions, at least as we might define them technically or philosophically, are to be restricted to episodes or lingering dispositions, physical sensations or mental states, cognitive or affective states, physiological conditions or social



constructions, or whatever? If one’s intuitions go in this direction, as we see in much contemporary analytic philosophy, one’s arguments will proceed along these lines: a central task of the philosophy of emotions is to establish the nature of the ontological categories involved. The Pali sources suggest a quite different approach. Their methods for describing (and altering) the phenomenality of feeling and emotional life develop diverse analytical practices that pick out salient features of the category in relation to the context and purposes at hand. Feelings operate only and always within the broader ecology of phenomenological life where they are conditioned and constituted by context—where context can be variously defined by what other phenomena are present in a moment of awareness, as well as by the complex lived contexts in the experience of persons. Further, and inescapably, our capacities to describe such phenomena—even what we decide to identify as phenomena to begin with—are themselves always shaped by the modes of inquiry deployed. In the Pali sources modes of inquiry aim practically at transforming experience, often at very granular levels; these modes themselves inflect what gets noticed and how in their descriptions of phenomena. These considerations have bearing on the study of emotion. We have seen in at least one schema examined in the Pali analyses something like emotions. In an analysis of feeling into two modalities there is the “first dart” of painful or pleasurable sensation as one kind of feeling; another is the “second dart,” that is, the psychological reaction to the first dart, which might be a useful way of construing much of what we modern English speakers would call emotions. So it is not as though the Pali analyses are unaware of phenomena that we in English consider the larger category. But in its treatment of emotional reactions as a feeling, the Pali sources are poised to subject it to manifold analyses that interrupt any tendency to define it in any single way.

NOTES 1. This reading is available more extensively in Heim 2018b (Voice of the Buddha): ch. 4, and in my forthcoming article on the Abhidhamma. The early Pali approach can be said to contrast with the philosophical agenda of Vasubandhu and other north Indian Abhidharmikas as these are discussed by Sonam Kachru in this volume (and I am grateful to him for helping to sharpen these differences in our discussions, though sketching out the differences would require systematic attention that exceeds the ambitions of this chapter). It also differs from the later Pali tradition as it is represented by the eleventh century Abhidhammatthasan ˙ gaha and subsequent commentators. 2. I have discussed ecological phenomenology briefly in relation to Dharmas´¯astra discourse in Heim 2018b (“Emotions”): 419–21; and Ram-Prasad has



developed it further in relation to bodily experience across a range of Indian textual traditions in Ram-Prasad 2018, especially 19–26. 3. Atthas¯alin¯ı 11–12. 4. The Patṭ ḥ ¯ana (Starting Points) is the most monumental and daunting of the Abhidhamma texts. U N¯arada’s formidable two-volume translation (1969, Vols. I and II) begins the expansion of the matrix of triplets and couplets of the Dhammasan ˙ gaṇ¯ı through analyzing these in the first of the twenty-four causal relations; the result begins to show the algorithmic methods that ramify questions to understand the possibilities of cause and effect among phenomena. The Pali text does not spell all of these out, but, according to U N¯arada’s calculations, if these were to be fully extended, they would require “over three crore of books of 400 pages each” to do so (Vol. I, xv). 5. Katam¯a ca, bhikkhave, dve vedan¯a? K¯ayik¯a ca cetasik¯a ca—im¯a vuccanti, bhikkhave, dve vedan¯a. Katam¯a ca, bhikkhave, tisso vedan¯a? Sukh¯a vedan¯a, dukkh¯a vedan¯a, adukkhamasukh¯a vedan¯a—im¯a vuccanti, bhikkhave, tisso vedan¯a. Katam¯a ca, bhikkhave, pañca vedan¯a? Sukhindriyaṃ , dukkhindriyaṃ , somanassindriyaṃ , domanassindriyaṃ , upekkhindriyaṃ —im¯a vuccanti, bhikkhave, pañca vedan¯a. Katam¯a ca, bhikkhave, cha vedan¯a? Cakkhusamphassaj¯a vedan¯a. . .pe. . .manosamphassaj¯a vedan¯a—im¯a vuccanti, bhikkhave, cha vedan¯a. Katam¯a ca, bhikkhave, atṭ ḥ ¯arasa vedan¯a? Cha somanassu ¯ pavic¯ar¯a, cha domanas su ¯ pavic¯ar¯a, cha upekkhu ¯pavic¯ar¯a—im¯a vuccanti, bhikkhave, atṭ ḥ ¯arasa vedan¯a. Katam¯a ca, bhikkhave, chattiṃ sa vedan¯a? Cha gehasit¯ani somanass¯ani, cha nekkhammasit¯ani somanass¯ani, cha gehasit¯ani domanass¯ani, cha nekkhammasit¯ani domanass¯ani, cha gehasit¯a upekkh¯a, cha nekkhammasit¯a upekkh¯a—im¯a vuccanti, bhikkhave, chattiṃ sa vedan¯a. Katamañca, bhikkhave, atṭ hasata ̣ ṃ vedan¯a? At¯ıt¯a chattiṃ sa vedan¯a, an¯agat¯a chattiṃ sa vedan¯a, paccuppann¯a chattiṃ sa vedan¯a—im¯a vuccanti, bhikkhave, atṭ hasata ̣ ṃ vedan¯a. (Saṃ yutta iv.231–3). For a translation of the whole passage see Bodhi 2000: 1280. 6. For example, Peter Goldie takes feeling as a subset or component of the larger metacategory of emotion (2000: ch. 3); in contrast, the Pali tradition takes what we might call emotional phenomena as different varieties of feeling. 7. Saṃ yutta iv.208–9: puthujjano dukkh¯aya vedan¯aya phutṭ ho ̣ sam¯ano socati kilamati paridevati uratt¯alị ṃ kandati sammohaṃ ¯apajjati. So dve vedan¯a vedayati—k¯ayikañca, cetasikañca. 8. Atthas¯alin¯ı 135. 9. Saṃ yutta Atṭ hakath ̣ ¯a iii.79. 10. Majjhima i.293: vedan¯a y¯a ca saññ¯a yañca viññ¯aṇaṃ —me dhamm¯a saṃ satṭ ḥ ¯a, no visaṃ satṭ ḥ ¯a. Na ca labbh¯a imesaṃ dhamm¯anaṃ vinibbhujitv¯a vinibbhujitv¯a n¯an¯akaraṇaṃ paññ¯apetuṃ . Yaṃ h¯avuso vedeti taṃ sañj¯an¯ati, yaṃ sañj¯an¯ati taṃ vij¯an¯ati. 11. The analogy is in Milindapañha i.133 and cited in Atthas¯alin¯ı 142. 12. Saṃ yutta ii.141: dh¯atun¯anattaṃ , bhikkhave, paticca ̣ uppajjati phassan¯anattaṃ , phassan¯anattaṃ paticca ̣ uppajjati vedan¯an¯anattaṃ .



13. Saṃ yutta v.12: micch¯aditṭ hipaccay ̣ ¯api vedayitaṃ ; samm¯aditṭ hipaccay ̣ ¯api vedayitaṃ . . .pe. . .micch¯asam¯adhipaccay¯api vedayitaṃ ; samm¯asam¯adhipaccay¯api vedayitaṃ ; chandapaccay¯api vedayitaṃ ; vitakkapaccay¯api vedayitaṃ ; saññ¯apaccay¯api vedayitaṃ ; chando ca avu ¯ pasanto hoti, vitakko ca avu ¯pasanto hoti, saññ¯a ca avu ¯pasant¯a hoti, tappaccay¯api vedayitaṃ ; chando ca vu ¯pasanto hoti, vitakko ca vu ¯ pasanto hoti, saññ¯a ca vu ¯pasant¯a hoti, tappaccay¯api vedayitaṃ . 14. Atthas¯alin¯ı 30–1; Visuddhimagga XVII. 9; both texts refer to this sutta as the “Padesavih¯arasutta,” although it is not called this in the Saṃ yutta. 15. Saṃ yutta Atṭ hakath ̣ ¯a 3.128. On nippadesa characterizing the Abhidhamma, see Heim 2018b: 156–7; 174–5. 16. Ten categories of phenomena constitute the modes of analysis by which each may be considered; these are: the aggregates, bases, elements, truths, faculties, modes of conditions (dependent origination), foundations of mindfulness, jh¯anas, name-and-form, and phenomena. (khandhapadeso ¯ayatanadh¯atusaccain driyapaccay¯ak¯arasatipatṭ ḥ ¯anajh¯anan¯amaru ¯papadeso dhammapadesoti) (Saṃ yutta Atṭ hakath ̣ ¯a 3.128). As we see below for some of them, vedan¯a constitutes a part of most of these (it is an aggregate; a link in dependent origination; one kind of feeling (dukkha) is the first truth; five feelings are faculties (as we have seen); one foundation of mindfulness is feeling; and pleasure is felt in some of the jh¯anas). 17. Atthas¯alin¯ı 30–1; Saṃ yutta Atṭ hakath ̣ ¯a 3.128. 18. Visuddhimagga XVII.9: tatra ca paccay¯ak¯aradassanena vih¯asi, na upp¯adamattadassanen¯ati. 19. Saṃ yutta iv.230–1: pittaṃ semhañca v¯ato ca, sannip¯at¯a utu ¯ ni ca; visamaṃ opak kamikaṃ , kammavip¯akena atṭ ham ̣ ¯ı. This characterizes how “some feelings arise here” (idhekacc¯ani vedayit¯ani uppajjanti). 20. As for example in the Suttanta, Saṃ yutta iii.59–61, and much more extensively in the Abhidhamma, the first chapter of the Vibha˙nga, and then in Visuddhimagga ch. XIV. 21. Saṃ yutta iii.59. 22. Saṃ yutta ii.1–2: Avijj¯apaccay¯a, bhikkhave, san ˙ kh¯ar¯a; san ˙ kh¯arapaccay¯a viññ¯aṇaṃ ; viññ¯aṇapaccay¯a n¯amaru ¯paṃ ; n¯amaru ¯papaccay¯a sal¯ạ yatanaṃ ; sal¯ạ ya tanapaccay¯a phasso; phassapaccay¯a vedan¯a; vedan¯apaccay¯a taṇh¯a; taṇh¯apaccay¯a up¯ad¯anaṃ ; up¯ad¯anapaccay¯a bhavo; bhavapaccay¯a j¯ati; j¯atipaccay¯a jar¯amaraṇaṃ sokaparidevadukkhadomanassup¯ay¯as¯a sambhavanti. For the extended analysis, see Vibhan ˙ ga, ch. VI, and Visuddhimagga, ch. XVII. 23. Saṃ yutta v.141: bhikkhu k¯aye k¯ay¯anupass¯ı viharati ¯at¯ap¯ı sampaj¯ano satim¯a, vineyya loke abhijjh¯adomanassaṃ . . .vedan¯asu vedan¯anupass¯ı. . .citte citt¯anupass¯ı . . .dhammesu dhamm¯anupass¯ı . 24. Saṃ yutta v.141: maggo satt¯anaṃ visuddhiy¯a sokaparidev¯anaṃ samatikkam¯aya. For extended treatments see this entire sutta in the Saṃ yutta (Satipatṭ ḥ ¯anasaṃ yutta) as well as Vibhan ˙ ga, ch 7. 25. Saṃ yutta iii.141: Tassa taṃ passato nijjh¯ayato yoniso upaparikkhato rittakaññeva kh¯ayati, tucchakaññeva kh¯ayati, as¯arakaññeva kh¯ayati. Kiñhi siy¯a, bhikkhave, vedan¯aya s¯aro?



26. Saṃ yutta iv.218–9. 27. Saṃ yutta iv.214: vedan¯a anicc¯a san ˙ khat¯a paticcasamuppann ̣ ¯a khayadhamm¯a vayadhamm¯a vir¯agadhamm¯a nirodhadhamm¯a. 28. Majjhima i.293: “ ‘Vedan¯a vedan¯a’ti, ¯avuso, vuccati. Kitt¯avat¯a nu kho, ¯avuso, vedan¯ati vuccat¯ı”ti? “ ‘Vedeti vedet¯ı ’ti kho, ¯avuso, tasm¯a vedan¯ati vuccati. “Kiñca vedeti? Sukhampi vedeti, dukkhampi vedeti, adukkhamasukhampi vedeti. 29. Majjhima Atṭ hakath ̣ ¯a ii.342: Sukhampi vedet¯ıti sukhaṃ ¯arammaṇaṃ vedeti anubhavati. 30. Majjhima Atṭ hakath ̣ ¯a ii.342: “Feeling alone feels, and there is no other [by whom] it is felt—this is what is said.” (Vedan¯ayeva hi vedeti, na añño koci vedit¯a n¯ama atth¯ı ti vuttametaṃ .) 31. Atthas¯alin¯ı 63: tesaṃ tesaṃ dhamm¯anaṃ sabh¯avo v¯a s¯amaññaṃ v¯a lakkhaṇaṃ n¯ama. Kiccaṃ v¯a sampatti v¯a raso n¯ama. Upatṭ ḥ ¯an¯ak¯aro v¯a phalaṃ v¯a ¯ sannak¯araṇaṃ padatṭ ḥ ¯anaṃ n¯ama. Note this paccupatṭ ḥ ¯anaṃ n¯ama. A specialized sense of rasa, which in Pali scholastic literature means, as Buddhaghosa says here, its “work or accomplishment,” allowing us to render it as “function.” How exactly this meaning is related to the aesthetic sense of Sanskrit ideas of rasa explored elsewhere in this volume is a matter for further scholarly attention. 32. That is to say, this particular class of awareness is distinguished from the start as good (kusala) and accompanied by joy (somanassasahagata) (Dhammasan ˙ gaṇ¯ı 9). Elsewhere the text catalogues the content of kusala awareness accompanied by equanimity (upekkhasahagata) (28), bad (akusala) awareness accompanied by joy (75), bad awareness accompanied by equanimity (81), and bad awareness accompanied by distress (domanassasahagata) (83), among many other distinctions. We do not get a “generic” list of phenomena, as phenomena are always listed in such classifications. (This contrasts with the more generic listing of phenomena that we find in the Abhidhammasan ˙ gaha, as I argue in Heim, forthcoming.) 33. Atthas¯alin¯ı 109: Vedayat¯ıti vedan¯a. S¯a vedayitalakkhaṇ¯a, anubhavanaras¯a itṭ ḥ ¯ak¯arasambhogaras¯a v¯a, cetasikaass¯adapaccupatṭ ḥ ¯an¯a, passaddhipadatṭ ḥ ¯an¯a. 34. Atthas¯alin¯ı 109: “the remaining associated dhammas enjoy [it] only partially” (sesasampayuttadhamm¯a ekadesamattakameva anubhavanti) while “feeling alone enjoys the taste of the object” (vedan¯ava ¯arammaṇarasaṃ anubhavati). Intriguingly, here he helps himself to the nontechnical sense of rasa as taste. 35. Atthas¯alin¯ı 109: Yath¯a pana r¯aj¯a issaravat¯aya vissavit¯aya s¯am¯ı hutv¯a yadicchakaṃ bhuñjati, evaṃ vedan¯api issaravat¯aya vissavit¯aya s¯amibh¯avena ¯arammaṇarasaṃ anubhavati. 36. The function (rasa) of experiencing for Buddhaghosa should not be mistaken for Sthiramati’s notion that experiencing is vedan¯a’s essential “own nature” (svabh¯ava) (as suggested in Kachru’s chapter in this volume, chapter 6, fn.18 ). Buddhaghosa never says this, and his philosophical project is quite different from the north Indian and Mah¯ay¯ana agendas on this point and others.



Lament and the Work of Tears: Andromache, S¯ı t¯a, Ya´s odhar¯a STEVEN P. HOPKINS

tasy¯aḥ s¯a d¯ırghavipul¯a vepanty¯aḥ s¯ıtay¯a tad¯a dadr s´̣ e kampin¯ı veṇ¯ı vyal¯ı va parisarpat¯ı And when S¯ıt¯a began to wildly tremble her long thick braid shook like a writhing serpent —from the R¯am¯ayaṇa, Sundarak¯aṇḍam 23: 9 [25: 9]

1. INTRODUCTION Emotions and ethical appraisal There are many and various ways, across cultures, religions, and literary traditions, that one might speak of primary emotions and the literary expression of the experience of emotions. In binary terms, one can speak of what is the raw and what is cultivated or refined; what is dangerous and what has been (often only partially) domesticated; variations on the wild and its disciplinary borderlands. Or we can speak of the goals of what might be 107



termed religious or ritual or scholastic and commentarial etiquette, making affect safe for thinking; making naked fear, love, hatred, disgust, grief, and shame safe for a generic ethics, the move from the private and particular to generalizable “universals,” though what is also so often implied is that there is no “universal” experience without a rootedness in the particular. One oral-derived literary form that is particularly “good to think with” when we imagine emotions as equally affect and ethical appraisal, is lamentation, and most strikingly, in still-lived ritual traditions and their literary transformations, the laments of women. In retaining the claims of irreducible particulars, women’s laments trouble the traditional binaries of “raw” emotion and “secondary” reflection; loss for words and the spontaneously voluble in times of trauma; inarticulate crying/weeping, the marked excess of emotion, and highly formal aesthetic frameworks that express a systematic and sober attentiveness to pain, emotion experienced with and within acts of language. Time, love, and particularity Though they weep, sob, shriek, or sigh, include mute gesture and pantomime, evoking bird-song, bodies melting, or funereal perfumes at the very edge of speech, women’s laments are also artful; they give structure and rhythm to rage and to madness; moving, in Gail Holst-Warhaft’s words, from “experience to art, from tears to ideas.”1 Margaret Alexiou sees many common elements in a variety of lament forms in the Greek tradition. I will expand on her analysis, to better anticipate our comparative discussion.2 In lament, after a series of questions, initial hesitation—of how to manage to cry, hold oneself together, given the weight of emotion—there comes contrast and comparison, with a temporal flavor. Past and present time, imagined future, pivoting on the n˜un, the to ¯ra, the now; there was then, but now. Before, and after. Word-markers that burn with pain. In laments across traditions, from those of Greek women like Andromache and Helen, the Hindu S¯ıt¯a, to Yas´odhar¯a, the Buddha’s wife in medieval Sinhala Buddhist texts, we are given intimate details, the particulars of a life, sometimes secrets (familial, domestic, erotic) divulged nowhere else, narrative surprises, which the poets of lament love to explore in their “oral-derived” texts.3 In the South Asian contexts these intimate details, as we will see, may have karmic resonances that stretch across various life-times, though the immediate “time-of ” present pain seems to swallow any proleptic karmic confidence in eventual resolution. The temporal dimension—karmic or otherwise—may also include tender memories of love, experiences in the now of love-inseparation, or a kind of tempiternal experience where ecstatic past love/ loving fuses with the pain of current absence; memory making the past



present again, and almost in the very same breath, the reminder of absence. Then comes the contrast of the mourner with the dead or absent one, in direct address. The ego ¯, the “I” and the “you” (sú). Then praise and reproach. Amassing proper names and the particular attributes of individuals, laments memorialize. In Holst-Warhaft’s phrase, they “inscribe, imprint, engrave, impress”4 the dead or lost love onto the social body, weaving and spinning songs like the moîri who determine the fate of human persons by writing their marks on the faces of children,5 calling for action, for revenge, for social justice; they perform what is impossible to speak in any other way. One might blame the dead or the absent one, in a veritable reversal of praise; there may be shaming, guilt, ambivalent emotions, even rage, the threat of suicide. Here is where we may have various registers of female critique; social, political, and emotional resistance and agency, or at least the “rhetoric of resistance.” The “restless and strangely baited” tone Ann Carson sees in Sappho, for instance.6 Finally, there is an unfulfilled wish and a curse, a cursing of enemies or perhaps judgment on the person mourned, or, as Alexiou notes, “invocation to some divine power,”7 and what Holst-Warhaft calls “naming, blaming, fixing in a landscape.”8 Often, as we will see, the lament ends abruptly, leaves everything open, uncertain, with a threat of suicide; often one’s fellow mourners chime in, mourning for the beloved of the lamenter, then rather quickly, shifting to laments over their own sorrows. Alexiou will claim that there is ultimately a balance of opposites in the lament. I would argue more for the instability, the sometimes stark and ambivalent moral universe revealed in the structures of lament, in whatever tradition. I will focus here most specifically on literary transformations of women’s laments in Greek, Sanskrit, and Tamil literatures.9 “Female acts” in early Greek, Hindu, and Buddhist traditions. We will come to understand, through selected narrative examples, the elaborate structures of laments, their extravagant artful and work-like character; their connections to memory and memorialization, emotional contagion, cursing, critique, shaming, and the revealing of secrets. Laments express madness, vulnerability, erotic, filial, and parental love, and what might be termed, after the work of Catherine Lutz and Martha Nussbaum, violent emotions that are rooted in ethical “judgments of value.”10 Nussbaum cites a brilliant phrase from Proust in her work on emotions that will also be important for our theme. Lament, like passionate and irreducibly particular love, inspires—again, perhaps not without paradox—“veritable geological upheavals of thought,” drawing emotions deep into the field of ethics.11 For Ricoeur it is Aeschylus: to ¯ páthei 12 mathós. “Through suffering, understanding.” We suffer and learn through the voice of a Greek woman, Andromache, one of the tender and quietly



savage voices that cry the Iliad to a close, the bitter wife who speaks the voices of all women; S¯ıt¯a in the R¯am¯ayaṇa, her fierce lamenting in the As´oka grove in Lan ˙ k¯a as the captive of a rival king, her “single braid a writhing serpent”; and Yas´odhar¯a, the abandoned wife of Siddhartha Gautama, tearing off her precious pearl and gemstone jewels, her silks, and her toe rings, becoming lifeless as a stone, then breaking into tears, the beautiful “Yashu” evoked by a contemporary Dalit poet who himself is witness to very private but also public, social, and political loss. These will be our guides in our journey through the Infernos, Purgatorios, and Paradisos of lament.

2. “RESTLESS AND STRANGELY BAITED”: HOMER’S ANDROMACHE Lament into literature It has been argued by many that lament poetry sung by women is an important primary source, if not the performative oral foundation, of classical literature since Homer, and certainly women’s voices and various female acts, including lament, provide one major thread upon which the Iliad and Odyssey are woven, narratively and thematically.13 We will look at one of the three great laments that close the Iliad, that of Andromache, the wife of Hector. Crying and speaking a wife’s tears In a curious reversal of what Maria Pantelia has identified as “a general epic tendency for climactic progression” based upon an “ascending scale of affection,” which would have put her last in line, Andromache goes first.14 Going first, she has a place of honor at the funeral, though not necessarily in the poem or for the poet. And it has been commonly noted that in Andromache’s lament here, like in her proleptic death-lament for Hector in Iliad 6, there is a distinct element of reproach.15 In Iliad 6, Andromache’s accusation of abandonment and threat of suicide, combined with subtle, intimate, even erotic touches, resonate with the laments of other wives left behind in epic literature, S¯ıt¯a and the Buddha’s wife Yas´odhar¯a: Éktor atàr sú moí essi pat¯e r kaì pótnia m¯e t¯e r ¯ dè kasígn¯e tos sù dé moi thaleròs parakoít¯e s E all’áge n˜un eléaipe kaì autou mímn’epì púrgo ¯ m¯e paid’orphanikòn th¯e ¯e s ch¯e r¯e n te gunaika Hector, you are to me father and queenly mother, you are my brother and my skillful



lover. Come now, pity me, stay here on the wall. Don’t leave your son fatherless and your wife a widow —Iliad 6: 429–3216 She is, in essence, as Pantelia observes, asking Hector “to forgo his glory.”17 At Hector’s funeral, after the singers, the leaders of lament (aoidoùs/ thr¯e no ¯ n exárkhous), who will wail/groan out the songs (hoí te stenóessan aoid¯e n), begin to lament, groups of women add their own wailing cries (hoi mèn ár’ ethr¯e neon, epì dè stenákhonto gyna˜ıkes). Among these women is lovely “white-armed” Andromache, and she is holding her tender baby Astyanax, bitterly ironic given her earlier plea for Hector not to go into battle. Her last lament begins with all of the intensities, and noises, of yóoio, then, as she holds Hector’s head, she begins alone to cry, with, as one scholar puts it, “fluid eloquence and coherence”:18 You’ve been torn from my life, my husband, in young manhood, and you leave me empty in our hall. The boy’s a child whom you and I, poor souls, conceived; I doubt he’ll come to manhood. Long before, great Troy will go down plundered, citadel and all, now that you are lost, who guarded it and kept it, and preserved its wives and its children. They will be shipped off in the murmuring hulls one day, and I along with the rest. You my little one, either you will come with me to do some grinding labour, some base toil for a harsh master, or an Akhaian soldier will grip you by the arm and hurl you down from a tower here to a miserable death— out of his anger for a brother, a father, or even a son that Hector killed. Akhaians in hundreds mouthed black dust under his blows. He was no moderate man in war, your father, and that is why they mourn him through the city. Hektor, you gave your parents grief and pain but left me loneliest, and heartbroken.



You could not open your strong arms to me from your deathbed, or say a thoughtful word, for me to cherish all my life long as I weep for you night and day. —Iliad 24: 725–4519 And as we read, we listen: o ¯ s éphato klaíous’, epì dè stenákhonto guna˜ıkes. . . So she spoke, crying, and the woman wailed in response. This is a bitter speech, quietly devastating, and its barely-disguised rage comes to us so clearly and starkly through the centuries. There is no mention of kléos here, no glory for Hector here, who is referred to coldly as “husband,” but rather deep ambivalence.20 She shames, blames, and fixes her fate as well as the fate of her son, “in a landscape” of captives, of slaves, and even of death. She anticipates her son’s ignominious death by the Akhaians, for we know that Astyanax will be thrown from Troy’s high wall. It is thus a deeply inauspicious “fate-speech” (moirológi), almost in the realm of the curse, a speech that dooms her son by her dark words, perhaps in revenge for Hector dying, for she implies that Hector is responsible for his son’s murder.21 The presence of Astyanax adds to the overwhelming domestic intimacy of the lament, its full particularity, for we actually have two bodies here, son and mother/wife, addressing in their physical proximity the dead body of the father/husband. The lines at the very end are deeply poignant; they invoke a scene far from the funereal clamor we much imagine around her as she speaks her lament. More literally: . . .for you did not die in our marriage bed, stretching your arms out to me, nor tell me some last intimate word (pukinòn epos) that I would always (aieì) remember all the days and nights of my weeping. As Perkell notes, this last phrase, pukinòn epos, scholars usually view as connoting “urgency, importance, something that might change the outcome of events,”22 a saving word, what Fitzgerald translates as “meaningful word.” But she is right to see this rather as a “word of love”—far more than a “thoughtful” one—an index of irreducible and particular passion and affection, and not some key to future success or stratagem. As Perkell adds: “From Andromache’s perspective, it would be a deeply painful irony to



know that Hector, in the last moments of his life, as the poet imagines them, gave no thought to her but to his own shame.”23 As for “tempiternal” layers of lament-speech, we as listeners also dwell, for the few moments it takes to hear Andromache’s spoken words, in an alternate spacio-temporal reality, where a beloved husband dies at home in the marriage bed, stretching his hands out to a loving, grieving wife, in a domestic space, as Nancy Sultan remarks, where traditionally the tales of kléos would be told upon the hero’s return and eventually woven into a wife’s death-lament.24 The marriage bed, which is often also an image of the “wife” herself, the body of the wife.25 But here there is no glory-tale of a dying hero, no kléos, and no real past, just a dreaded imagined future. Just the pain of a wife tracked in measured, elegant speech at the very edge of despair. And it all seems rather jarring, the sudden transition to “so she spoke, crying, and the women added to her crying their own wailing.” All three female laments at the end of the Iliad are disruptive of closure, even subtly subversive; in their ritual setting they are also more than rhetoric of resistance. In Helen Foley’s words, in the Iliad, “the themes expressed in lamentation also subtly counter the ideology of the poem (see especially the lamentations of Andromache), which celebrates the immortal kleos acquired by the warrior in battle.”26 “Lament,” as Sheila Murnaghan argues, “is at once constitutive of epic and antithetical to it, one of epic’s probable sources and a subversive element within epic that can work against what epic is trying to achieve.”27 Lament’s complex, sometimes subversive, always “restless and strangely baited,” ethics of affect is not limited to the Greek tradition. With our Greek examples in mind, we now turn to laments and lament narratives in two different traditions, Hindu and Buddhist.

¯ IN THE AS´OKA GROVE: SHAMING, 3. S¯I TA BLAMING, FIXING IN A LANDSCAPE S¯ıt¯a’s formal lament (vil¯apa) in the R¯am¯ayaṇa is more “restless and strangely baited” than the previous lament. It evokes what Sally Sutherland Goldman has called a powerful “rhetoric of resistance.”28 In the vehemence of its witness to loss, its fierceness and focus on revenge and vendetta, it more resembles the laments of rural Greek women than the comparatively subtle ironies of Andromache. S¯ıt¯a lives in the pinch and dip of raw emotion, more like the Virgin Mary of Greece and Ireland, the Cassandra or Electra of the Greek tragedians. But the basic patterns of lament are present: tears and liquefaction (the uses throughout of the verb rud, crying, weeping); the threat of suicide; shaming and blaming—both herself and R¯ama, the object



of her lamenting—and fixing in a landscape, from the pleasure garden prison of the as´oka grove, the charnel ground of the battlefield, the inner apartments of the r¯aksasa ̣ women, to the splendid demon city about to become a cremation ground, and the eirenic wilderness of sages. Though less focused on poignant personal memories with R¯ama, S¯ıt¯a holds fast to irreducible particularity, to her unbounded erotic unity with her husband, in spite of appearances and in spite of his actions, critiquing abstract ethics for the sake of particular love and love-ties. She is also a figure of possession (note the many transformations of the word vipra, the “trembler”; vepam¯an¯a, one trembling, possessed), reflecting what Foley, in the context of Greek women, has called “associations between possession and the performance of lamentation.”29 The extravagance of her grief: this is her danger. The setting of the speech is uncanny, even surreal. And S¯ıt¯a is the very image of the female lamenter: unwashed, having abandoned her ornaments, save the cuḍ¯amaṇi jewel hidden in her dirty clothes, with her hair twisted into one long snake-like braid falling down her back. Sutherland Goldman claims she has withdrawn her sexuality. It seems also possible that she has simply coiled it deep inside her.30 R¯avanạ sees it this way: ekaveṇ¯ı dhar¯as´ayy¯a dhy¯anaṃ malinam ambaram asthane’py upav¯asas´ ca n’aitany aupayik¯ani te. This single braid, this sleeping on the ground, this brooding and these dirty clothes: you fast out of season, such things do not become you. —5.18: 8 Yet he is wrong, and is made to know it, for we will see that mourning well becomes S¯ıt¯a. S¯ıt¯a responds, slowly, with sorrow, in a soft, measured, and sad voice (¯art¯a d¯ı nasvara d¯ı naṃ pratyuv¯aca s´anaiḥ vacaḥ). “Stung by sorrow, weeping, trembling” (duḥkh¯arth¯a rudat¯ı S¯ı t¯a vepam¯an¯a tapasviṇ¯ı ), dressed in the dirty garb of a forest ascetic, she places a straw between her and R¯avana—how ̣ close are they really?—and begins a powerful, emboldened, response (5.19). Part critique, part curse, she narrates R¯avana’s ̣ coming destruction in harsh words (vacanaṃ parusam ̣ ) and in his rage he threatens to have the r¯aksasa ̣ ladies slaughter her so he can “eat her for breakfast” (5.20: 8–9). Sutherland Goldman draws attention here to the r¯aksas ̣ ¯ı s’ curious reaction as they seemingly egg S¯ıt¯a on, with mute gestures and the movement of their lips (5.20: 10–11).31 Though S¯ıt¯a could reduce R¯avanạ to



ashes with the heat of her austerities (5.20: 19–20), we know she will make room for R¯ama to come to her rescue, proving himself a hero, preserving his k¯ırti, and urging the narrative forward. This is part of her s´akti. By the time she begins her lament, she has been taunted relentlessly by the demon women, shadow female ogres whose bodies are exaggerated and distorted in almost comic ways,32 and when the pitch of rage becomes the most intense, the threat of imminent slaughter is in the air: looks like S¯ıt¯a is indeed on the menu for breakfast (5.22: 36–7). The space of lament here, as in many examples across traditions, is, in Sutherland Goldman’s words, a “momentary breakdown of some traditional boundaries,” a “narrative space for a rhetoric of resistance.”33 And lament is serious rhetoric, and more. We begin with violent bodily affect: As the ogre women spoke their many bitter words, the daughter of Janaka began to cry. Though terrified, virtuous Vaidehi replied, her voice choked back by sobbing. “A human woman can never be a demon’s wife. Do what you want, go ahead and eat me, I’ll never do what you say”. . . S¯ıt¯a shook with violence, seemed to shrink from sight, pulling deep into her self like a doe in a dark forest, far from the herd, threatened by wolves. . . Bathing both of her two heavy breasts with bright streams of tears, deep in anxious thought, she could not reach the end of sorrow. Trembling, she fell to the ground like a kadal¯ı in a wind, stung by a sharp fear of those savage ogre women, her face pale, she lost all color. Trembling with violence, her long thick braid shook like a writhing serpent. Maithil¯ı, with heavy sighs, her mind sick



with pain and deep suffering, eyes flooded by tears, began to wail, crying. . . —5. 23: 1–3; 5; 7–8; 9–1034 From that long single raven-hued braid, a writhing serpent, very synecdoche for the dangerous female threat of lament, to the wild noises of crying and the wetness of tears, S¯ıt¯a, like Andromache in Euripides, will “draw out the things usually kept closely under wraps.”35 We begin the formal lament, in all its performative power. From the beginning cry of “h¯a,” the breathless cry on the very edge of language, the (monosyllabic) word of (choking, swallowed) silence, we move slowly into a sad, measured speech that combines with elegance of effect, affect with judgment, indulgent self-pity and sentimental longing with curse and reproach. The wrath of S¯ıt¯a here will gradually build in intensity. “Ai ai R¯ama,” and again “Ai ai Laksma ̣ na,” ̣ “Ai ai” she cried out, ‘Mother-in-Law Kaus´¯alya’, “Ai ai Sumitr¯a”—S¯ıt¯a stung by sorrow, lovely passionate S¯ıt¯a, filled with wrath. “What the wise say is all too true, it’s hard for a man or woman to die before their time—just look at me, still alive, even for a moment here, without R¯ama, tortured by these cruel monsters. A miserable, grieving woman, with so little merit and no one to protect me, I am like a little boat, full laden, struck hard by a storm wind in the middle of a great ocean. In the clutches of these ghouls, out of sight of my husband, I crumble in my sorrow like sandbanks in a torrent flood. His pretty eyes are tender leaves torn from the lotus flower, and though he walks with the great strides of a victorious lion, confident,



with a grateful heart, his voice, so sweet on the ear. O lucky they are who see this man, my dear Lord! Living without my great famous Lord R¯ama is drinking bitter poison, it’s a wonder I am still alive at all . . . I want to kill myself, overwhelmed by this great sorrow. A captive guarded by these terrible women, I will never touch R¯ama again. How wretched, this human life, how shameful, to be under another’s power. But though it be my dear heart’s desire, I cannot end my life” (20). —5. 23: 11–17; 19–2036 Touching and seeing, the tactile, bodily memories of R¯ama; with the repetitions, this is almost a willing of his return and presence. There is also the theme of karma and “fate” (daivam) and one’s limited power over one’s own life and death. We begin here her dialectic lament, precisely between life and death. Also, the dangerous images of possession, vipra/vepam¯an¯a), S¯ıt¯a as a kind of shamanness, shaking and trembling, possessed by grief, then a shift to steady sober pondering (5.24: 1–10; southern recension 26: 1–10). There is self-curse, self-blame, and also, quite subtly at first, she begins to question the awareness, attentiveness, even the care of R¯ama. In the end, somehow, our omniscient Lord, who is also the “supreme inner self ” (mah¯atm¯a), may not even know she is there (southern recension 5. 26: 18–21; 25; 27; 33), or have little use left for her as a wife (5. 26: 38). Perhaps he’s already dead— killed by R¯avana, ̣ or by excess of sorrow—and happy in heaven (5.26: 36–7). He could be dead, indeed, but even worse—in a piece of savage irony for the “great-souled tireless hero who crushes his foes”—he could have become distracted and, with his brother, renounced the world: athav¯a nyastas´astrau tau vane mu ¯laphal¯as´anau bhr¯atarau hi naras´resṭ hau ̣ carantu vanagocarau. . . .perhaps he and his brother have laid down



their weapons, the best of men now gather roots and shoots, wander the forest alone. (42). . . —5. 26: 41–4237 S¯ıt¯a’s image of the great hero and his dutiful brother wandering the forest eating roots and shoots, seemingly distracted while S¯ıt¯a is still captive, is a quietly devastating, almost humorous, reproach. She has condemned herself, but also her R¯ama. We remain with the exalted (and finally ironic) image of male ascetic renunciation in the last verses of the vil¯apa, sages who can valiantly control their emotions, the abstract ones who can step back from feeling, transcending humanity, all the particular ties that bind—a vision which is suddenly shattered by S¯ıt¯a’s direct and concrete threat of suicide: Lucky indeed are those great-souled sages, the silent ones who do honor to truth, their senses subdued and possessed of good fortune, not swept away by pleasure or pain. For pleasure does not arise from sorrow, and from unpleasant things come fear. Praise to those great-souled men who detach themselves from both! As for me, captive booty of the wicked demon R¯avana, ̣ left here alone by my so beloved and famous R¯ama— I’m going to end my life. . . —5. 24: 45–4738 Beloved “famous,” “celebrated,” R¯ama (r¯ameṇa vidit¯atman¯a), deeply ironic and also bitter here; ironic again, the praise of those who can detach themselves from feeling. The entire speech—like that of Andromache—begs the question of tone. Rage, indeed, though held in check; slow, clear, wilful curses; measured, quiet irony. So many appeals to her own weakness, her lack of merit (puṇya), virtues (guṇas), or luck (dh¯anya), though this is S¯ıt¯a, and she is a goddess. R¯ama may forget this, but we (listener/readers) never do. And we must remember that in the frame story, R¯ama is listening along with us, following the story right up to his present.



Good omens on the wind and hanging by a braid After this speech, there is a surprise, a shift in tone, when an old r¯aksasa ̣ woman, Trijat¯ạ , turns on her fellow ogres, telling them about her frightening dream of R¯avana’s ̣ downfall, in a speech at once richly lyrical, evocative, and foreboding (5.25). The following chapter is a moving, plaintive lament— intensified by a change in meter, and a focus on death—that recapitulates S¯ıt¯a’s earlier, longer vil¯apa, reimagining essentially a faithless R¯ama, returning victorious and happy to Ayodhy¯a after the war, his vow to his father accomplished, without a care in the world, making love to “long-eyed women” (5. 26: 14). Then we have a final image that stops the narrative in its tracks: s´ok¯abhitapt¯a bahudh¯a vicintya s¯ıt¯atha veṇyudgranthanaṃ gr hitv ̣ ¯a udbadhya veṇyudgrathanena s´¯ı ghram ahaṃ gamisỵ ¯ami yamasya mu ¯lam S¯ıt¯a, burning with grief and lost in thought, gathered her heavy woven braid in her hands, and said “I’ll hang myself by my own woven braid and on this very day enter the dark house of death.” —5. 26: 1739 It has been argued that S¯ıt¯a’s lamenting, in forcing R¯ama to be the hero and to come to her rescue, is hardly subversive. “The resistance in S¯ıt¯a’s words,” Sutherland Goldman argues, “serves the larger narrative as a valorization of the masculine world and its patriarchal code.”40 S¯ıt¯a indeed makes R¯ama the hero, she is a giver of glory (k¯ı rti), but laments, in this Hindu context, as in the Greek and Buddhist traditions, are deeply ambivalent. I would argue that the shaming, blaming, and cursing are equally persistent witness and critique from within. Throughout the speech R¯ama’s k¯ı rti, his “kléos,” his “glory,” is questioned. Questioned as it is evoked, time after time. However compromised, as we have seen, laments open up spaces of critique and witness to loss that cannot easily be closed. Lament is never forgotten; it is what we remember, whether it is the lament of an Andromache, a S¯ıt¯a, or, as we will see, a Yas´odhar¯a. It really almost doesn’t matter that the next chapter of the Sundarak¯aṇḍa—composed entirely in the upaj¯ati meter



that reflects extreme agitation41—is an exhaustive list of S¯ıt¯a’s bodily auspicious signs of victory, rescue, and union with her beloved; her lament still leaves behind its dark residue.42

¯ 4. TEARS FOR SIDDHARTHA: YAS´ODHARA THE BUDDHA’S WIFE In the Buddhacarita of As´vaghosa, ̣ Yas´odhar¯a has already given birth to her son R¯ahula. Her husband, Siddhartha Gautama, the future Buddha, leaves both mother and child suddenly in the middle of the night. The young master’s departure causes great suffering in the inner rooms of the palace. In the midst of the extremity of grief around her, as the other women are variously “hurting” their bodies (ap¯ıḍayan), her eyes “red with anger” (rosapraviraktạ locan¯a), her voice choking in the “bitterness of despair,” tears streaming, breasts heaving, Yas´odhar¯a addresses the grieving charioteer, Chandaka, and eventually the horse, with savage irony and bitter reproach (vigarhituṃ ), with words “steeped in lamentation and wailing” (paridevit¯a´s rayaṃ ): nis´i prasuptam avas´¯aṃ vih¯aya m¯aṃ gataḥ kva sa chandaka manmanorathaḥ Leaving me helpless and alone in the dark of night as I slept, o Chandaka, tell me, where did he go, my heart’s sweet joy?43 And after she hears the story, and her mother-in-law Mah¯apaj¯apati cries her lament, with its tender details (in the idiom of a Hecuba, in the idiom of the mother’s breast) of a perfect boy and a perfect man, Yas´odhar¯a’s formal lament begins, first with the bodily disorder of grief. She “falls to the ground like a cakrav¯aka bird without its mate,” lament returns with its birdsongs, evoking perhaps subtly the images from V¯alm¯ıki’s poem and the voice of S¯ıt¯a.44 And vil¯apa is written into the very sounds of As´vaghosa’s ̣ Sanskrit: s´aṇais´ ca tat tad vilp¯apa viklav¯a muhur muhur gadgadaruddhay¯a gir¯a . . .and she slowly began to murmur over and over again under her breath confused fevered laments in a voice choked back



by incessant endless sobbing45 And then we move from choked incoherent sounds on the other side of language to a lament that Patrick Olivelle describes not only as “heartrending” but a “forceful tirade,” an eloquent critique of male heroic ascetic renunciation by his wife who is his proper “partner in dharma” (sahadharmac¯ariṇ¯ı ).46 No ethics (dharma) in this, no merit here, in “ascetic toil” (tapas), she says to him, without your dharmic wife. Like S¯ıt¯a she mocks the ascetic pretenses of forest renouncers, at least for the man with a family, a sweetly smiling, babbling child (8: 67), and ties that bind. Also like S¯ıt¯a, sexual jealousy and swift erotic betrayal are not far from her thoughts, for it seems that men go into the forest to do their tapas simply to win lovely nymphs (apsarases) “in Great Indra’s world (mahendraloke).”47 And though it is obvious that Yas´odhar¯a is melting with grief, again like S¯ıt¯a, she reflects that her heart must be very hard because it does not break (8: 69). The labor of lament But there is another story that draws asceticism and lament together into the same domestic space. Many important early narrative sources have the son R¯ahula conceived on the night Siddhartha leaves for the forest, and not born just before his “great departure,” drawing a kind of parallel between the bodhisattva’s ascetic quest for the “unbinding” of suffering (nirv¯aṇa) and the feminine labor of Yas´odhar¯a’s pregnancy.48 Her labor is child-bearing, his labor, giving birth to “Buddhahood.” Like his birth-mother M¯ay¯a, Yas´odhar¯a, along with the other co-wives, follows her husband’s progress while mourning in her palace room. Thus, he has truly never really “gone into homelessness” (pravrajy¯a), and she is not just “giving birth,” but her lamenting (vil¯apa) is a kind of ascetic practice (tapas) that mirrors the intensive spiritual ardor of the bodhisattva. The Saṃ ghabhedavastu of the Sanskrit Mu ¯lasarv¯astiv¯ada Vinaya draws the parallel:49 Together with the harem, Queen Yas´odhar¯a, upon hearing of her husband’s condition, was overcome by grief for her husband. Dejected, her face wet with tears, her garlands and ornaments thrown aside, she [too] engaged in arduous practices. She [too] survived on one sesame seed, one grain of rice, one jujube fruit, one pulse pod, one bean, and she [too] slept on a bed of grass.50 Nicole Loraux has argued, in the context of classical Greek literature, for the equation of the piercing agony of labor in childbirth (o ¯ dines) with the pain



(ponos) of warriors engaged in the “interminable work of war,” linking “ambush to childbed,” masculine ideals to the suffering labors of women in childbed.51 And there seems to be something like this happening here, even though, as Ohnuma has pointed out, this does not necessarily mean in the Buddhist context that mothers in labor are “equal” to a Buddha in labor. “Parallelism” and “balance” is not the whole story, for the Buddha, as is the case with his milk-mother Mah¯apaj¯apati, is always the “better mother,” for it is the father alone (who of course begins as a son) who “ultimately fulfils both quests.”52 The male ascetic Buddha is still a better “mother”; here, he is a better mother than his wife, who, as Ohnuma argues, is constructed as ultimately passive, whereas the male is active in the process of labor and bearing his “Buddhahood.”53 Such recognizably ambivalent resonances aside,54 we cannot forget what Yas´odhar¯a is actually doing when she is “laboring” along with her husband, and this is hardly passive, as we have seen. In either version of our story, Yas´odhar¯a is lamenting, and, as we have seen over and again, lament, in its bodily postures or its rhetoric, is never passive. Lament is not victimage, it is witness, and throughout Buddhist traditions, on both the elite and popular levels, it is Yas´odhar¯a’s voice, and most particularly, the voice of her lament, that we remember of her, her active and creative work of mourning, her willed giving birth to speech. “When we were squirrels” Ranjini Obeyesekere recalls that the “melancholy rhythms of Yasodhar¯a’s lament haunted my childhood imagination and left a lasting resonance,” and that this was also true for many Sri Lankan women of her generation.55 Yas´odhar¯a’s voice, most particularly her lament, resonates in popular traditions in a variety of Buddhist folk cultures, the distinctly human voice in a narrative about human transcendence. The lament (vil¯apaya) in the Yasodhar¯avata, a popular Sri Lankan Sinhala “folk” poem composed sometime between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the work of a secular poet that draws together many disparate themes, perhaps has its roots in early poems composed by women.56 Verses from this poem are still sung as part of women’s rice-planting songs and, along with the lament of Maḍḍ¯ı Dev¯ı in the Vessantara k¯avya, as part of funeral laments in rural Sri Lanka,57 though, as in ancient Greece, contemporary Egypt or Bangladesh, religious and political “reforms”—here early twentieth century forms of “protestant Buddhism”—have served to subdue, and even in some cases, silence women’s “weeping,” the ritual beating of breasts, and loud cries.58



The first part of the poem is deeply touching, particularly the descriptions of M¯ay¯a’s pregnancy cravings, her transparent belly like a reliquary shrine, the breast milk paste with a touch of gold fed to the new-born, and so soon in the narrative, Siddhartha watching his wife Yas´odhar¯a’s milk flowing from her golden breasts, and his child sucking milk from that mänik karandu, the breast that is like a jeweled relic casket in the domed shape of a stu ¯pa.59 The cultic body, the mother as a reliquary; a material, decorative, and ultimately passive frame for a divine image. Then, in a quicksilver swiftness, Siddhartha backs out of the room where his wife and child are sleeping. The poem lingers on scenes of mother and child, so reluctantly let go, lingers on his wife’s motherly breasts, as we follow the prince’s progress out of the palace. The vil¯apaya (72–102) possesses all of the patterns we have seen in other formal laments, reflecting complex, ultimately unresolved emotions. The reliquary, no longer “passive,” begins to speak back. First, with her body: with loose hair, with her tears. In Ranjini Obeyesekere’s translation: Her combed hair falls like loosened strands of gold Her full breasts like two domes made of pure gold. Her lord gone to become a Buddha, to seek nirv¯ana, ̣ Yasodhar¯a falls on her bed and breaks into sobs. —72 Her breasts seem to draw us literally into the domestic sphere of the female body, the world that the bodhisattva has abandoned, and her breasts oozing milk for a child haunt the entire lament. She then speaks words, with gentle reproach: “You left resolved, your mind set on being a Buddha. I too made a firm resolve to be always your wife. We made our joint resolves and you gave me your hand, Why then did you leave today without a word?” —73 Why did you leave me without a word? This is a very intimate request, a most tender and subtle reproach. Her eyes are tears, tears soaking her garments as she remembers the past, but not only the past of this life. The aqueous body overflows the boundaries of many lives, innumerable lives they’ve lived together, husband and wife, as deer, as ascetics in the forest, as squirrels: “Once in a former birth we were born as squirrels And our young one into the ocean’s waters fell,



I know how hard you strove to save him then, My husband lord, why did you leave me now?” —78 The refrain—why did you leave me now—is repeated, with variation, in several verses throughout the vil¯apaya, like a plaintive lullaby, lament’s linguistic conjure of loss. “In the shadows of the forest you now walk. There is no resting-place for you in that dark. Unceasing burns the fire that sears my heart, O golden one, I beat my breast and weep.” —81 She tore off her precious pearl and gemstone jewels, Took off her golden ornaments in her ears, The queen sat lifeless as if turned to stone. —93 “I shall wait weeping and wailing, lamenting my woes, Boundless tears will flow as I sob unceasingly, Confused and troubled I now weep endlessly. Why did you do this to me, depart as never before?” —94 Her lament is a round of plaintive interrogations: Where are you roaming? Why did you leave me? Why did you do this to me? Why did you cause such pain? Why have you abandoned our son? Of course, there is no answer, because he left in secret the wife who never kept secrets (87, 91), even now, in her vil¯apaya, in which we hear of their many lives together. He can no longer hear her sad lamenting, and she cannot see her “gold-hued lord even in her dreams” (101). The lament ends with a blessing that must be spoken with some irony: May all the forest fruits turn sweet for you. May men surround you as do bees around a flower. May the sun dim his scorching rays for you May gods create shelters for you as you walk. —100 At the end she returns to her room, telling her beads, becoming an arhant, lamentation and the quest drawn together in her grieving, thinking only of her lord “as the air around her” (102).



Though Yas´odhar¯a eventually attains nirv¯aṇa, by powers rooted in the history of her very particular sorrow, in her vil¯apa, which is also a form of tapas, it is the sorrow that we will always remember, a sorrow always kept open in the “melancholy rhythms of Yas´odhar¯a’s laments.” The Marathi Dalit Buddhist poet, Hira Bansode, also remembers, “wails in response,” wills not to forget, “Yashu, just you”: My heart breaks, seeing your matchless beauty, separated from your love, dimming like twilight. Listening to your silent sighs, I feel the promise of heavenly happiness is hollow.60

5. THE ETHICS OF AFFECT IN THE WORK OF TEARS Vigilant melancholy Yashu, for Bansode the Dalit poet, represents those who are thrown away, ground down, crushed, by the “great tradition,” betrayed by the kiss of the renouncer, by his “great splendor” and his “songs of triumph.” But the poet, one of the crushed, sees only her “beautiful face” “between the closed eyelids of Siddhartha,” “Yashu, just you.” For him, she is a face of great “injustice,” and her lament a witness, personal, but also political. She is our model for an ethics drawn into the center of a charged field of emotion. Hers is a vigilant melancholy shimmering between the “closed eyes” of the Buddha. And of course men lament. The laments of Achilles in the Iliad and Bharata, R¯ama’s passionate and loyal brother, particularly in the twelfth century Tamil R¯am¯ayaṇa of Kampanˍ , are deeply significant, and represent critical ethical decisions that question, and in certain fundamental ways, call a halt to the heroic or triumphant narrative lines of their stories.61 But male lament has its paradigmatic sources in female acts, female ritual divisions of labor, reflected in the various colors of women’s voices, from Greek, Sanskrit, and Sinhala literary traditions, woven together here into a single think braid. A braid that is beautiful but also dangerous, threatening, in its implicit snakiness, in its tightly-wound energies of anger, pain, revenge, particular love still held dear against absence and death. Andromache’s patient waiting for her husband’s happy death, and a tender last word; S¯ıt¯a’s luminous and angry braid, her hole in the earth, left open, even as it closes; Yas´odhar¯a, and the Buddha’s milk-mother, Mah¯apaj¯apati, who goes blind with crying. Lament, as an oral-derived literary form of affect, is a simple, stark witness of pain and loss to power, an ethic of witness deployed by poets across



cultures, religions, and literatures, for a purpose. A literary order and structure—“a habitation and a name”—but not at the service of forgetting, of simply getting on, of “success” at the work of mourning in Freud’s sense, but a paradoxical “ordering” of the irrevocable and its dark memorialization. In a fundamental way, lament lays hold of, and does not let go, of melancholy.62 In lament, mourning refuses to accomplish itself. And in this way, as James Wilce has argued, lament is hardly “backward,” a “synecdoche of a ‘dead’ or ‘dying’ culture,” but rather reflects, in its “voice of nostalgia,” the “rhetoric of mourning” that “pervades (post)modern theoretical discourses.” “In significant ways,” Wilce goes on to say, “(post) modern narratives of loss are consubstantial with traditional lament.”63 To use a formulation of Jacques Derrida: the deep ambiguities of mourning and melancholy are expressed in an “unfaithful fidelity” in which “success fails” and “failure succeeds.”64 “Restless and strangely baited,” reflecting deeply troubled moral worlds, lament zigzags across traditions, busy opening wounds and keeping them open.

NOTES 1. Holst-Warhaft 1992: 22. 2. See Alexiou 1974: 161–84. 3. I take this term “oral derived texts,” following Fishman 2008, from the work of James Foley. See Foley 1995: 60–5; 80–1. 4. Holst-Warhaft 1992: 35. 5. Holst-Warhaft 1992: 41. 6. Ann Carson’s phrase for Sappho’s Helen-Anaktoria poem, a lyric infused with lament. See Carson 2002: 362. 7. Alexiou 1974: 179. Again, I have greatly expanded Alexiou’s discussion in Alexiou 1974: 161–84. 8. Holst-Warhaft 1992: 73. 9. This is a shorter version of a longer paper and MS-in-progress, “Her Single Braid a Writhing Serpent: Love and the Particularity of Lament,” submitted for the Symposium/Workshop “Emotions in Classical Indian Thought,” Amherst College, September 20–23, 2018. I am deeply indebted to the organizers, Maria Heim (Amherst College), Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad (Lancaster University, UK), and Roy Tzohar (Tel Aviv University, Israel) for their generous comments on my chapter and for their encouragement of this project. I am particularly grateful for Roy Tzohar’s insightful comments on the original manuscript, all of which has made this a better chapter. I am also grateful to Sonam Kachru, for his insights in conference discussions and for sharing with me his marvellous work on Sundar¯ı in As´vaghosa’s ̣ Saundarananda. See chapters by Kachru and Tzohar in this volume, directly relevant to my work in this chapter.



10. Lutz 1988; Nussbaum 2001: 19–88. Nussbaum’s meditations on “emotions as judgments of value” are inspired by her own personal experience of her mother’s death (esp. 20–2). Her mother’s loss is part of her story of love. 11. “L’amour cause ainsi de véritables soulèvements géologiques de la pensée. Proust 1954, Volume II, Sodome et Gomorrhe: 1078. The context is the on-going saga of M. de Charlus’ doomed love for Morel. The entire passage is worth close pondering. See also Nussbaum 2001. 12. Ricoeur 1969: 159. Or there’s Joni Mitchell’s remark in a live performance of the song Hejira: “still suffering, still thinking.” Mitchell 2004. 13. See Weinbaum 2001 for a perceptive overview of this issue. 14. Pantelia 2002: 23. She is using the work of Kakridis 1949. 15. Dué 2006: 52–4. 16. “skilful lover/vigorous, flourishing/blooming/husband/bedfellow”: thaleròs parakoít¯e s. 17. Pantelia 2002: 24. 18. Perkell 2008: 101, citing the commentary of Nicholas Richardson, Richardson 1993. 19. Fitzgerald translation. Homer 1992a: 592. 20. Perkell 2008: 98. Here I would not agree with Dué that “Her [Andromache’s] grief, and the city’s grief, are Hector’s glory” (Dué 2006: 43). 21. Perkell 2008: 101. 22. Perkell 2008: 101. 23. Perkell 2008: 101. 24. Sultan 1999: 91–3. 25. Loraux 1995: 23–43. 26. Foley 2001: 44 and also Perkell 2008: 107. 27. Cited in Dué 2006: 41. See also Murnaghan 1999: 2003, Weinbaum 2001: 36–7, and Foley 2001: 14. See also Perkell 2008: 107: “these particular laments in this particular closure serve, in an exceptional and authentic way, to endorse a range of moral values alternative to those embodied in the heroic code of glory and, thus. . .they function in opposition to the poem’s dominant ideology.” 28. See Sutherland Goldman 2001. 29. Foley 2001: 43. See also the sexual threats imbedded in the “deep defiant lament” (pulampal) of Draupad¯ı, the Hindu goddess, wife, and queen of the Mah¯abh¯arata in the Gingee Tamil performance traditions studied by Alf Hiltebeitel. There is much important material on laments/women’s laments in the Mah¯abh¯arata literary traditions, but this is far beyond the scope of this chapter. See Hiltebeitel 1991: 400–6. 30. Sutherland Goldman 2001: 228. 31. Sutherland Goldman 2001: 230–1. 32. Doniger 2009: 232–3; 246, for the “ogres” (r¯aksasas ̣ ) as “projected shadows of individual human figures,” loaded with sexual threat and deep anxieties about aggression.



33. Sutherland Goldman 2001: 232. 34. tath¯a t¯as¯aṃ vadant¯ı n¯aṃ parusạ ṃ d¯aruṇaṃ bahu / r¯aksas ̣ ¯ı n¯am asaumy¯an¯am ruroda janak¯atmaj¯a / / evam ukt¯a tu vaideh¯ı r¯aksas ̣ ¯ı bhir manasvin¯ı / uv¯aca paramatrast¯a b¯aspagadgaday ̣ ¯a gir¯a: / / ‘na m¯anus¯ı̣ r¯aksasasya ̣ bh¯ary¯a bhavitum arhati / k¯amam kh¯adata m¯aṃ sarv¯a na karisyami ̣ vo vacaḥ / / . . . vepate sm¯adhikaṃ s¯ı t¯a vis´ant¯ı v¯an ˙ gam ¯atmanaḥ / vane yu ¯thaparibhrasṭ ¯ạ mr g̣ ¯ı kokair iv¯ardit¯a / / . . . s¯a sn¯apayant¯ı vipulau stanau netrajalasravaiḥ / cintayant¯ı na s´okasya tad¯antam adhigacchati / / s¯a vepam¯an¯a patit¯a prav¯ate kadal¯ı yath¯a / r¯aksas ̣ ¯ı n¯am bhayatrast¯a vivarṇavadan¯abhavat / / tasy¯aḥ s¯a d¯ı rghavipul¯a vepanty¯aḥ s¯ı tay¯a tad¯a / dadr s´̣ e kampin¯ı veṇ¯ı vyal¯ı va parisarpat¯ı / / s¯a niḥsvasant¯ı duḥ¯art¯a s´okopahatacetan¯a / ¯art¯a vyasr jad ̣ as´ruṇi maithil¯ı vilal¯apa ha / /. ¯ me˜ıs d’, hoisper egkeímesth’ aeí,/ thr¯e noisi kaì góosi kaì dakrýmasi/ pros aìthér’ 35. E ekteno˜umen ... “As for me, I will draw out the things I usually keep closely under wraps, my laments, my wailing and my tears, I will draw them out and lift them to the heavens. . .” from Euripides, Andromache: 91–3, adapted from Dué 2006: 154–5. 36. h¯a r¯am eti ca duḥkh¯art¯a h¯a punar laksma ̣ ṇeti ca / h¯a s´vas´ru mama kausalye h¯a sumitreti bh¯amin¯ı / / lokaprav¯adaḥ satyo’ yam paṇḍitaiḥ samud¯ahr ta ̣ ḥ / ak¯ale durlabho mr tyu ̣ ḥ striy¯a v¯a purusasya ̣ v¯a / / yatr¯aham¯abhiḥ kru ¯r¯abh¯ı r¯aksas ̣ ¯ı bhir ih¯ardit¯a / j¯ı v¯ami h¯ı n¯a r¯ameṇa muhu ¯rtam api duḥkhit¯a / / es¯ạ lpapuṇy¯a kr pan ̣ ¯a vinas´isỵ ¯amy an¯athavat / samudramadhye nau pu ¯rṇ¯a v¯ayuvegair iv¯ahat¯a / / bhart¯araṃ tam apas´yant¯ı r¯aksas ̣ ¯ı vas´aṃ ¯agat¯a / su ¯d¯ami khalu s´okeṇa ku ¯laṃ toyahataṃ yath¯a / / taṃ padmadalapatr¯aksạ ṃ siṃ havikr¯antag¯aminam / dhany¯aḥ pas´yanti me n¯atham kr taj ̣ ñaṃ priyav¯adinam / / sarvath¯a tena h¯ı n¯ay¯a r¯ameṇa vidit¯atman¯a / t¯ı ksṇ̣ aṃ visam ̣ iv¯asv¯adya durlabhaṃ mama j¯ı vitam / / . . . j¯ı vitaṃ tyaktum icch¯ami s´okeṇa mahat¯a vr ṭ ¯a / r¯aksas ̣ ¯ı bhis´ ca raksanty ̣ ¯a r¯amo n¯as¯adyate may¯a / / dhig astu khalu m¯anusya ̣ ṃ dhig astu paravys´yat¯am / na s´akyaṃ yat parityaktum ¯atmacchandena j¯ı vitam / /. In the southern recension 25: 1–20. I have occasionally combined the two texts, with variants. 37. Critical edition, Sarga 24, see Goldman and Sutherland Goldman 2006: 230–8. I follow here southern recension Sarga 26: 1–10; 18–21; 25; 27; 33; 35-43; 45–7, though I often combine both texts in my translation. 38. dhany¯aḥ khalu mah¯atm¯ano munayaḥ satyasaṃ mat¯aḥ / jit¯atm¯ano mah¯abh¯ag¯a yes¯ạ ṃ na staḥ pry¯apriye / / priy¯an na saṃ bhavad duḥkhaṃ apriy¯ad adhikaṃ bhayam / t¯abhy¯aṃ hi ye viyujyante namas tes¯ạ ṃ mah¯atman¯am / / s¯ahaṃ tyakt¯a priyeṇeha r¯ameṇa vidit¯atman¯a / pr¯aṇ¯aṃ s tyaksỵ ¯ami p¯apasya r¯avaṇasya gat¯a vas´am / /. 39. Southern recension 5. 28: 17. Literally, “I’ll go into the land/house/place of Yama (god of death).” 40. Sutherland Goldman 2001: 238. 41. Sutherland Goldman 2001: 394.



42. See Singh 2009 for a treatment of postmodern R¯am¯ayaṇas, focusing on Nina Paley’s popular short film Sita Sings the Blues, one of many contemporary retellings that focus on S¯ıt¯a’s suffering and her laments. 43. Buddhacarita 8: 32, adapted from Olivelle 2009: 222–3. 44. In the longer version of this study, I note with detail the association of S¯ıt¯a’s lament with that of the bereft female krauñca bird whose cries of grief (rur¯ava, wailing, crying, groaning, screaming) frame the R¯am¯ayaṇa story. See also Goldman 2004 and Goldman Sutherland 2004: 51: “The female krauñca is, I argue, a harbinger of the sexual threat to be loosed upon the males of the Iksṿ ¯aku lineage by various females, particularly S¯ıt¯a.” 45. Buddhacarita 8: 60, adapted from Olivelle 2009: 232–3. 46. Olivelle 2009: xxxiii–xxxiv. 47. Buddhacarita 8: 64–5, Olivelle 2009: 234–5. 48. See Ohnuma 2012: 139–48. 49. John Strong has studied this text in some detail, see Strong 1997. 50. From Samghabhedavastu i, 106. See citation in Ohnuma 2012: 140. 51. Loraux 1995: 3–19. 52. Ohnuma 2012: 144. 53. Ohnuma 2012: 143. Ohnuma argues that motherhood comparisons are often actually rather forced, and that the male authors, often quite subtly, identify with the (male) fetus rather than the pregnant woman (146–8). 54. Ohnuma points to later narratives in the Mu ¯lasarv¯astiv¯ada Vinaya that describe the Buddha returning home to Kapilav¯astu, and where Yas´odhar¯a is a deeply ambivalent figure. In one episode she tries to seduce the Buddha with an aphrodisiac, which is subsequently eaten by his little son R¯ahula, who immediately falls in love with his father. In another, after again unsuccessfully trying to seduce her husband, she throws herself off the roof of the palace in despair—the suicide theme—and is saved at the last minute by the Buddha, as “blessed Buddhas are always alert” (Ohnuma 2012: 145). 55. Obeyesekere 2009: 1. 56. Ranjini Obeyesekere remarks that one of the “earliest extant Sinhala palm leaf manuscripts of a Yas´odhar¯a poem has a verse in the body of the text that states that the author was a woman, the eldest daughter of a minor king [Bopiti nirindu] of the fourteenth century” (2009: 16; 21). 57. Obeyesekere 2009: 15–17. 58. Obeyesekere 2009: 18. James Wilce argued that traditional laments often become the required “other” to modernity, a “backward” practice to a rationalized or scripturalized Islam in the case of Bangladesh. “Loud weeping was locally popular, but ‘Islam does not like this.”’ Wilce 2005: 63–6. 59. Yas´odhar¯avata 25–48 in Obeyesekere 2009: 40–4. 60. From Hira Bansode’s poem “Yashodhara,” translated by Jayant Karve and Philip Engblom, in Dangle 1992: 31–2.



61. See Kampanˍ Ir¯am¯avat¯aram. Ayo ¯ ttiy¯a K¯aṇtam ̣ 10 (Kampanˍ 1984: 346–7; 352; 361) for descriptions of Bharata’s excessive weeping/crying/lamenting (aˍl utal; iran ˙ kutal; pulamputal). Bharata is described in Kampanˍ as a “man who possessed the heart of a lamenting woman” (makaliri ̣ nˍ iran ˙ kum neñcinˍ anˍ ) or the laments of Dhrtar ̣ ¯asṭ ra ̣ in the Mah¯abh¯arata, see Hudson 2007. 62. Freud 1917: 164–79. 63. Wilce 2005: 60–1; 66–8. 64. See Derrida 1986: 35. See also Zeiger 1997: 135–68. I am indebted to Amy Hollywood for these references. See Hollywood 2002: 335–56 and Hollywood 2006.


The Mind in Pain: The View from Buddhist Systematic and Narrative Thought SONAM KACHRU

You will experience no end of pain, so many infelicities of mind . . . —Sumedha, Ther¯ı ga¯tha¯ 513a–c1

1. INTRODUCTION: THE LIFE OF THE MIND AND THE CLIMATE OF AN AGE Philosophers in antiquity could distinguish between physical and psychological pain. Diogenes Laertius tells us that: Epicurus also differed from the Cyrenaics in that they taught that bodily pains are worse than mental pains and pointed out that offenders undergo bodily punishment; whereas Epicurus held that pains of the mind are worse, since the body is afflicted only momentarily in the present, but the mind in the past, present, and future. —Strodach 2012: 90 131



The distinction between physical and psychological pain, however variously drawn and however variously weighted, is not idle: it once served to bring a distinct domain of care into view, as in the stylization of philosophy as a form of therapy in Hellenistic antiquity (Nussbaum 1994; for a historical characterization, see Grant 1982: 214–71). So central was the conceit that Cicero could complain that it was an overused commonplace (Tusculane Disputationes IV, 10, §23).2 To recognize in distress a medical symptom, one that can be treated in a regimen that, however otherwise distinct, is analogous to physiological medicine, promoted a distinct set of dispositions, skills, and methods, to be cultivated through self-consciously adopted (and newly developed) practices targeting the management of psychological life (see Harris 2004: 339–401).3 The therapy for pain represented a two-fold choice, against which, for example, one might set representations that stress, if not valorize, the suffering of a body in pain (Perkins 1995: 2–3), or non-philosophical forms of ritual healing (see Grant 1982: 224–232; Mayer 2018; Penniman 2018). The philosophical therapies for pain involved the development of new practices, practices which in turn could not be specified without the distinctive (and contested) criteria for success. Along with various distinctions between physical and psychological pain, then, one finds various conceptions of psychic health or flourishing.4 Neither the wisdom of drawing a distinction (however contested) between physical and psychological pain, nor the consequentialness of that distinction, nor even the therapeutic stance towards the psychological life of individuals, are restricted to philosophy in Hellenistic antiquity. As specialists of South Asian antiquity have long known, many traditions promoting practices of self and techniques of self-control in South Asia styled themselves as therapeutic practices (Burton 2010; Collins 2018; Ganeri 2010; Halbfass 1991; Stcherbatsky 1927: 54–6),5 and as practices concerned with the governance of what we today might call emotions, such as anger and fear (McGowan 2010). This framing of philosophical knowledge in South Asia is exemplified in varying vocabularies (every bit as ramified as, if not more so, than the vocabularies we can find in the Hellenistic world) for the distinctive variety of symptoms each tracked and the cures they professed their methods to effect. You might almost expect to hear a character say, as does a monk to Nanda in As´vaghosa’s ̣ Beautiful Nanda, that “careful examiners who know interiority / are doctors for minds filled with passion / and dark ignorance” (8.5c–d; cf. Covill 2007: 151).6 Or, consider the verse cited by Vasubandhu to characterize the infelicities of life: “If the ascetic life has been well practiced, and this way well cultivated, at the end of his life one is happy, as at the disappearance of sickness” (Pradhan 1967: 44; cf. Pruden 1988–90, Vol. I: 166).7



The therapeutic framing of philosophical knowledge and practice has received more attention than does the distinction many of these traditions have drawn between physical and psychological pain. As Sumedha’s conviction in the inevitability of “infelicities of the mind” (P¯a li: domanassa/ Sanskrit: daurmanasya), in addition to the prospect of pain per se (P¯a li: dukkha/Sanskrit: duḥkha) suggests, a distinction between physical and psychological varieties of pain has an important place in the Buddhist imaginaire. And though the word “domanassa” was available to be used alongside many other words to enumerate and convey the degree and kinds of distress that comprise the suffering criterial of our way of being in the world,8 we find it very early used pairwise with dukkha to comprehend the totality of possible forms of pain, physical and psychological (Davids and Stede 1993: 325). We shall here explore the latter use of the word to mean a category analyzed by many Buddhist philosophers as being a special variety of experience, one analogous with, but not reducible to, physical pain.9 While the distinction between physical and psychological pain is not restricted to Buddhists,10 it is a particular Buddhist explication of the distinction we owe to the philosopher Vasubandhu (fl. late fourth–early fifth centuries CE) and his Treasury of [Buddhist] Metaphysics (Abhidharmakos´abha¯sya ̣ [AKB]) that will occupy me here. More specifically, to get at both the nature and the salience of mental pain, I have taken my bearings from what Vasubandhu has to say about a special case of the mind in pain: an extreme situation, called mental or psychological disruption. This is a category for an event that comes close to what in the last couple of hundred years and until very recently has been the model of “the extreme form of being very ill,” the nervous breakdown, “involving melancholia, panic, overwhelming fatigue, and bodies that felt and moved like lead” (Shorter 2013: 1). As we shall see, like the nervous breakdown, psychological disruption is conceived by Vasubandhu to be an embodied breakdown of the person as a whole. With the help of the concept of psychological breakdown, in sections 2, 3, and 4, I first sketch an outline of the category of mental pain that is found in systematic thought. To explore the salience of the category for Vasubandhu, section 5 will attempt to show what the distinction allows us to keep in view about persons. Section 6 follows Vasubandhu’s lead and considers, albeit briefly, why he needed to adduce narratives to explicate the sense of the category. The reader should bear in mind that though much of what I will outline here might resonate with South Asian Buddhist materials before the fifth century CE more broadly, for the most part the texts I am using belong to, and may be taken as partly constitutive of, what is worth calling a North and



North-Western Buddhist system of possibility.11 By that I mean, a connected set of discourses which constrain the descriptions, objects, and experiences that are available to be entertained, and how (cf. Hacking 2002: 97). In what follows, I will try to bring into view how this system of possibility enshrines the permanent possibility of mental pain as a salient concern.

2. ON PSYCHOLOGICAL DISRUPTION AND MENTAL PAIN In the Treasury of Metaphysics (ad 4.58b–c), Vasubandhu considers how beings like us—that is, all but awakened beings (Pruden 1988–90, Vol. II: 634)—must live with the permanent possibility of experiencing psychological disruption (citta-ksepa ̣ ). As we shall shortly see, psychological disruption is held to be an extreme variety of mental pain, one that is constituted by what I shall call loss of cognitive grip on the world and on ourselves. I mean by that phrase to invoke two ideas: the idea of a loss of normatively valuable theoretical and practical connections holding between mind and world; and the idea that the loss of such a connection is something experienced, possessing a particular felt-texture. Disruption, we are told, can be variously caused: “[mental disruption arises] from fear; from being attacked [and tortured by non-human beings]; from physical disorders, and from grief ” (AKB ad 4.58cd; Pruden 1988–90, Vol. II: 633).12 Beings who have successfully transformed themselves through Buddhist practices of self, the a¯rya¯ḥ, or nobles, can achieve a partial freedom from psychological disruption, being susceptible to it only at the breaking down of the body. Apart from Buddhas and the noble among humans, all other beings are susceptible to various pressures, internal and external, and thereby vulnerable to the loss of psychological equilibrium in various ways. What unites the various tokens of psychological distress into a single type, in part, is an experience of imagination crowding-out perceptual receptivity and the loss thereby of deliberative control. We are to understand that all of the enumerated characteristics of a mind disrupted—that it is a mind disordered and confused (vya¯kula); anarchic and beyond control (avas´aṃ ), and one whose presence of mind, or mindfulness, is ruined (bhrasṭ asm ̣ r tika ̣ ṃ )13—are captured by the following criterial identification: psychological disruption is “asat-vikalpa,” imagining what is not actual (AKB ad 4.58a; Pruden 1988–90, Vol. II: 633; cf. AKB ad 1.33).14 I will first address how we might think of imagination in this characterization, before turning to the experiential quality associated with psychological disruption in the next section.



The use of imagination in judgment to constitute content at variance with what is the case is potentially problematic for Vasubandhu, even when motivated by therapeutic commitments. Thus, Vasubandhu counsels against exercises manipulating appearances to generate conviction in the foulness of the body: Cultivation of the [recognition that the body is] foul does not result in the abandoning of afflictive properties, but only their [momentary] subduing. For it is an act of attention which is not concerned with reality, but with a voluntary representation or visualization; it is, furthermore, not concerned with the totality of things, but with only one part of the visible form of the realm of desire. —AKB ad 6.9d; Sangpo 2012, Vol. III: 1899 As the example of synecdoche suggests, imagination is here a variety of description-dependent re-contextualization of the manifest. Vasubandhu adds that such acts of bringing imaginative construction and recontextualization of what is manifest to us in sensory experience to bear on perceptual attention can look to be purely perceptual (vijña¯navat; Sangpo 2012, Vol. III: 1899), as if they involved only a passive receptivity to content, being cognitively “silent” sensory episodes rather than active constructions of content; much more so, presumably, the involuntary and more directly infelicitous penetration of imagination in perception that characterizes psychological distress. In mental disruption, the constructive and re-contextualizing capacity of imagination runs riot, operating without our ability to track or control it. We lose not only our perceptual connection with the world, but thereby as well, our grip on ourselves, indexed by an inability to bring attention to bear on current mental states (or past experiences), and the inability to act skillfully (in ways that are not ultimately self-defeating in the future): [Those suffering extreme psychological disruption] cannot, in the first place, so much as attend to themselves in thought (a¯tma¯nam api ta¯van na¯bhicetayanti), much less think of what ought to be done and not done. —AKB ad 4.58d; Pradhan 1967: 234; cf. Pruden 1988–90, Vol. II: 634 The kind of orientation to oneself Vasubandhu here has in mind is best cashed out with the kind of minimal awareness of ourselves “from the inside” which he believes necessary for being oriented as an individual in a world. Vasubandhu believes that being free from psychological disruption is a necessary condition for our having experiential memory (Kapstein 2001:



367),15 and he believes that experiential memory is distinctive of our own access to our mental lives, and necessary for being oriented as persons in practical life. I believe that the relevant sense of self-awareness at issue is exemplified for us by S¯ıt¯a in the R a¯ma¯yaṇa, when she espies Hanuman in the grove in Lan ˙ k¯a, and cannot believe what she sees (V.32.21–23; after Goldman and Goldman 1984, Vol. V: 199): But I do not think this is a dream. . .can it be that this is some mental delusion (cittamoha) or some hallucination (va¯tagatis)? Or can it be, perhaps, some mental disorder born of madness (unma¯dajo vika¯ro), or perhaps just a mirage? On the other hand, this cannot be a mental disorder or a delusion with the symptoms of madness; for I clearly apperceive (saṃ buddhye) both myself and this forest creature. What is criterial for psychological disruption in Sanskrit literature more generally appears to be the loss of the ability to orient oneself successfully and to place things with respect to ourselves as situated in a world; in other words, what we lose in psychological disruption is the variety of pre-reflective bearing and orientation to ourselves necessary for the intelligibility of our being persons in a world.16 Psychological disruption as the loss of cognitive grip is characterized by an incapacity of two kinds—an incapacity of judgment and an incapacity of action. There is also, however, “something it is like” to undergo such loss of cognitive grip on the world and on oneself. That is, the phenomenon has a qualitative texture, one characterized for Vasubandhu by the affect, or experience termed infelicity of mind, or psychological pain (daurmanasyavedana¯; cf. AKB 2.8bc in Pruden 1988–90, Vol. I: 41).

3. AFFECT AND EXPERIENCE To understand all that is involved in speaking of psychological or mental pain as a variety of experience it is important to clarify the use of the words “mental event” (an instance of citta), “experience” (anubhava), and “affect” (vedana¯). This section presents the philosophical vocabulary we will need to appreciate the full-dress definition of mental pain addressed in the next section. With Vasubandhu, let us characterize a mental event, or an instance of citta, as follows: all and only mental events exhibit intentionality, that is, contentfulness (in Sanskrit, sa¯lambanata¯), and all and only mental events further involve a mode by which intentional content is apprehended and engaged (a¯ka¯ra).17



This distinguishes mental events from physical events, which are, instead, characterized by the fact that only (and possibly all) physical events exhibit resistance to co-occupancy and/or the fact that (some) physical features are ostensible (see Dhammajoti 2007: 244–9; Kachru 2017). But we need, additionally, the particular structure that Buddhist philosophers take mental events to exhibit. They speak of the mind (citta) as a frame for mental functioning—defined by the registering of intentional content. Additionally, a mental event involves a range of functions (caitta) whose occurrence specifies the causal and moral properties of a given mental frame (cf. Ganeri 2017: 9). What Vasubandhu means by affect (vedana¯) is a necessary function (caitta), because it is one that is entailed by the occurrence of any mental frame. Vasubandhu defines affect as three-fold experience (trivida¯nubhava; Kramer 2012: 121),18 further enumerating what experience here means in terms of three possible modes of responsiveness to content: Where one wishes to remain or be united with some X; where one wishes to be separated from X; and where one’s response does not consist in being disposed to either unite or separate from X (Kramer 2012: 121). You could with justice translate vedana¯ as feeling, as is more usual, and as Maria Heim does in her contribution to this volume. You could work with either, as long as you allow two aspects of the use of vedana¯ in Vasubandhu’s philosophical world to come through. In outlining these two aspects we might also underscore the centrality of vedana¯ to a Buddhist philosophical anthropology. First, talk of “experience” is used by Vasubandhu to underscore that vedana¯, going beyond the simple registering of the presence of content, involves a distinctive mode of presentation, a distinctive way in which content can come into view for us, as priming, soliciting, and rendering intelligible action.19 The connection between vedana¯ and the disclosure of the world in terms of qualitative values that motivate and render intelligible our engagement with the world is one which contemporary (anglophone) philosophical uses of “affect” are well-poised to capture (see Johnston 2001: 181–2).20 So too, could “feeling” if we do not allow this word to mark a contrast with states linked to action, as it so often does in contemporary philosophy of mind (see Godfrey-Smith 2019: 3). Secondly, we must note that Vasubandhu uses vedana¯ to entitle one to speak of the experiential (and qualitative) properties involved in representation-carrying mental events (Engle 2009: 267–8; cf. Ganeri 2017: 51).21 The mind, if understood only in terms of the criterion provided by the presentation of content at which we are directed (prativijñapti), would not in the absence of vedana¯ be strictly synonymous with what (anglophone) philosophers today, after Ned Block, mean by phenomenal consciousness, or



“experience[:] the phenomenally conscious aspect of a state [defined by being] what it is like to be in that state” (Block 1995: 227; see also p. 230).22 Experience (anubhava) is a richer word in Sanskrit than is presentation of content (vijñapti): not the least because that talk of anubhava, as talk of episodes of presentation of content (vijñapti) does not, typically entail the use of first-personal qualitative descriptions to capture what undergoing this kind of mental event involves;23 and this richer sense, which straddles pre-theoretical and theoretical ways of speaking, is reserved on the part of Vasubandhu and philosophers in his scholastic tradition for descriptions involving vedana¯. It is worth unpacking this. Ned Block’s now influential distinction between “phenomenal consciousness” and “access consciousness” is intended to disambiguate the pre-theoretical and “mongrel concept” of consciousness (Block 1995) available to contemporary English speakers; it allows him, and contemporary anglophone philosophers of mind, to distinguish and separate experiential awareness involving qualitative properties from that which underwrites the availability of (not intrinsically qualitative) information for cognitive processing; in Vasubandhu’s case, since every instance of a mental frame entails affect, the relevant distinction between the intentional presentation of content and experience cannot be a thesis to the effect that experience and information encoded in representations are strictly separable;24 nevertheless, there appears to be an analytic distinction drawn by Vasubandhu (and some of his commentators) which allows us ever so delicately to distinguish the concept of mind (citta) defined as the presentation of content, and the mental factor (caitta) affect (vedana¯) when defined as experience. Even if the distinction does not entail identifying vedana¯ with what we now call phenomenal consciousness (cf. Smith forthcoming), the distinction is analytically provocative, and has been useful to some Buddhist authors to get at the distinctive contribution vedana¯ makes to the kinds of conscious beings we are. Take, for example, the case of what Buddhists call a phantom (nirma¯ṇa) being, generated by the power of Buddhas to manipulate the order of appearances: such beings, which populate many of the narratives and scriptures of Buddhist literature in Sanskrit, can look, talk, infer, and even converse “like” or even better than living beings (see Rotman 2008: 286), and so incline us to credit them as living, thinking beings. They can think, and to that extent are not mindless. But their way of being in the world, however intelligent, is not like ours. How did Buddhists preserve the distinction? Such beings, says the author of the Large Treatise on the Excellence That Is Wisdom (Maha¯prajña¯pa¯ramita¯ s´a¯stra), unlike living beings, “experience neither pain nor pleasure, and thus are different from



humans” (Lamotte [2001]: 313). More so than the ability to manipulate information, it is whether or not vedana¯ is available to one “from the ground up” that makes a difference for one’s way of being in the world; unlike living beings, mind and world can be coupled for phantom beings in ways that involve no first-personally presented experience, no disclosure of actionsoliciting and sensuously apprehend “values.” And that is why there might be nothing “it is like” to be such beings.25 The word “affect,” I suggested, is useful when underscoring the connection between vedana¯ and the disclosure of solicitations for action. It is useful as well to understand how the above “thought-experiment” intimates an overlap in the meta-conceptual function the categories of vedana¯ and phenomenal consciousness might have in their respective contexts. Whereas clinical and ethnographic work suggests that contemporary English speakers would find it natural to use talk of “(phenomenal) consciousness” to distinguish cases like phantom beings—or to use today’s philosophical fictions of choice, functional zombies—from ourselves (Huebner 2010), Buddhist philosophers have used vedana¯; but as Huebner shows, whether we intuitively ascribe (phenomenal) consciousness to a being or not, appears to vary with whether or not we ascribe pain (and emotion) to a being, making the continuity with the Buddhist case more intriguing: might not what premodern Buddhist philosophers call vedana¯ and what we intuitively mean by phenomenal consciousness be intimately related? Depending on whether or not you use “affect” or “feeling,” and depending on whether or not you link what you mean by these with evaluation and action, you will get so many different ways of thinking comparatively, particularly given recent debates on the bases for phenomenal consciousness in philosophy of biology which seek to refine the explanatory target for explanations of consciousness by asking whether or not it is something closer to feeling or affect that is criterial for (phenomenal) consciousness (Godfrey-Smith 2019: 13–15; Reber 2019). At least, the (possibly historically variable) conceptual nexus of life, affect and/or feeling, and consciousness is a helpful way of underscoring the salience of vedana¯ for northern Buddhist accounts of the kind of creatures we are.

4. PAIN AS SOMATIC AND MENTAL EXPERIENCE For many Buddhist scholastics, what it means to be alive, at all scales of life, intimately involves the experiential possibilities that affect makes available to us; and that includes the kind of experience which pain involves. We now know what it means to say with Vasubandhu that pain, like all affect, involves experience of—and not alone unconscious, or non-conscious operations



on—intentional content. However, not all tokens of experiential awareness, nor even all awareness of qualitative features, though classified as mental and not physical phenomena, are, shall we say, constitutively mental. Take the experiential mode of responsiveness to phenomena Vasubandhu classifies as pain. All pain counts as mental by virtue of being parasitic on an episode of a conscious frame presenting some X as available content. And every instance of pain involves the experiencing of X as something from which one wants to be disengaged (Engle 2009: 231). Nevertheless, Buddhist scholastics still sometimes speak of a distinction between physical or, better yet, somatic pain, on the one hand, and mental pain, on the other. To make this distinction, we must note different ways in which intentional content can be made available. Some pains—like some varieties of experiential awareness more generally—have content that is entirely made available by our sensory receptivity to the world and our own bodies. Call these somatic experiences (cf. AK 1.14c). They are not strictly speaking physical events. But they should be distinguished from what we, following a distinction which Buddhist scholastics make, might call cognitive experiences. Cognitive experiences in Buddhist scholasticism (AKB ad 2.7; Pruden 1988–90, Vol. I: 160–1)26 are instances of experiences that are partly constituted by the activity of thought: A cognitive experience involves judgment not only in our response to the stimulus, but also as a source for its content, and as a constraint on its qualitative features (AKB ad 2.12c, Pruden 1988–90, Vol. I: 173). The distinction between experiential awareness that is bound up with the sensing body, and the variety of experiential awareness that is not, is part of a wider investment on the part of Buddhist philosophers to make categorical space for what we might call the grammar for a systematic cognitive phenomenology. At least, Buddhist philosophers, unlike the thrust of anglophone philosophy of mind in the last century, do not believe that the experiential character of mental life ends with perceptual awareness, nor even that the category of conscious experience is exhausted by non-cognitive sensation or feeling (cf. Strawson 2011; for Vasubandhu’s views, see Pruden 1988–90, Vol. I: 169). Partly, the attention to the experiential character of cognitive activities neither reducible to, nor even necessarily derived from, sensory episodes has to do with doing justice to the new possibilities for experience brought into being, and made available to us, on the basis of mental exercises. Much of the attention in this regard is devoted to securing the possibility of varieties of experiential felicity that do not partake of strictly sensory receptivity with the world (Pruden 1988–90, Vol. I: 173; see also Collins 1998: 304–9). But there are also other reasons for the salience of cognitive experience, particularly with respect to the mind in pain.



Mental pain in general is a variety of cognitive experience. Additionally, for Vasubandhu, the category of psychological disruption—the extreme variety of mental pain we canvassed above—is an extreme variety of experience at the limits of cognitive experience, just being the felt experience of losing control over the mind’s constructive capacities, or loss of cognitive grip. In addition to speaking of the untethering of thought from the world, as imagination constructs and re-contextualizes content beyond our ability to track or control it, we now know what it might mean to say that this has a qualitatively particular variety of distress as its “feel.” In the next sections, we will begin to explore what a cognitive phenomenology of such mental pain might look like, and then why it is salient.

5. THE SALIENCE OF MENTAL PAIN The category of mental pain allows us to bring certain things into view and to keep them in view. Consider the following example used by Vasubandhu to illustrate the fact that psychological disruption is mental pain (AKB ad 4.58d; cf. Pruden 1988–90, Vol. II: 634): But beings in hell invariably suffer from mental disruption [in fact, they experience disruption alone (eva)]. For their vital parts are unceasingly hurt over and over by several different kinds of torments, and they are at the mercy of/or struck by (abhinunna¯/abhitunna¯) painful sensations. They cannot, in the first place, so much as attend to themselves in thought, much less think of what ought to be done and not done. There is an example in connection with this, that of a being in hell who laments out loud: “O, Mind!” (ha¯ citta). We should take Vasubandhu’s cosmological examples seriously as disclosing real possibilities for us, and thereby, as suggesting conceptual revisions in what we might (without the benefit of his cosmological examples) take to be constitutive of our own human situation. For Vasubandhu, to link up talk of psychological disruption with the category of mental pain is to contextualize this category within the basic modalities of possible experience (vedanendriya). It is insufficient to try to describe sentient beings only in terms of their possible forms of consciousness. What you need are also those determinables, like sex, gender, capacities for sensation, etc., the different possible determinates of which, available in different possible worlds, will help you flesh out the full phenomenological and practical shape of a possible form of being.27 The permanent possibility of the pain of psychological disruption is one such determinant, constitutive of the beings we are if we take into



account the full range of possibilities available to us in this life, and the forms of life we have exemplified in the past, and might exemplify in the future. The way Vasubandhu’s description works also shows us something more than is captured by the propositional content of its utterances. To see it, we must focus on the salience of mental pain in a context one might otherwise think dominated by physical suffering. There are two things I have in mind here. First, compare Vasubandhu’s concern with mental pain in hell with the Buddhist physician V¯agbhat a’s ̣ concerns in The Heart of Medicine with a clinical conception of psychological distress: This [insanity (unma¯da)—so called because it is a madness (mada) of the mind caused by a deviation (unma¯rga) of the humours)] causes the intelligence, understanding, and memory to go astray. Because of that, the body loses any sense of joy or sorrow, and wanders about purposelessly, like a chariot which has lost its driver. —Heart of Medicine 6.6; Wujastyk 1998: 294; see also p. 246 For V¯agbhat a, ̣ madness is “framed” by the body, given that it is the body which contextualizes the etiology of madness and the consequences of its symptoms. This holds true notwithstanding the allowance for the psychological roots of some cases, such as the case where “one’s reason is devastated by mental anguish,” one of the “six corruptions” that can cause the deviation of the humors South Asian physicians took to be responsible for madness. Contrast this physical framing of the psychological symptoms with Vasubandhu’s own, where the physical reality of suffering and pain in hell forms the context for the psychological reality and salience of psychological pain more generally. Note also the way in which the enumerative order in Vasubandhu’s description enacts a kind of moral concern on Vasubandhu’s part, with an implicit hierarchy to guide our concern. Beginning with the external physical reality of torment, and then the registering of physical pain, we move step by step, until we are no longer moved “inward” so much as into another dimension, from physical to phenomenological concerns. We move from sensations to the ability to attend to oneself, until at last, what is brought into view is the mere consciousness on the part of such beings of nothing more than their own failing and pained mind, expressed in the bathetic specter of their resources for self-expression being constricted to exclamations: “O Mind!” You will recall this pained vocative plea directed at a now strangely alienated mind as being all that Vasubandhu’s being in hell could manage to articulate.



Such a controlled form of attention in Vasubandhu’s description is significant, directing us to the moral salience of the discussion of mental pain in general. The availability of such attention is not taken for granted in Buddhist narratives, where we find that its actualization can serve as an event worthy of dramatization. As it is, almost invisibly, in a life-altering moment in the story of S´roṇa “Money Ears” (Kot ikar ̣ ṇa), the first story in the collection Divine Stories: The caravan leader [Mr. Money Ears] reflected, “Why are [these donkeys] plodding along so slowly?” With this in mind, he began to beat them with his goad. The donkeys became agitated and confused and were no longer mindful. They set off on the wrong path . . . —Rotman 2008: 46; text in Vaidya 1959: 7 Note the transition of attention from body (framed in terms of the quality of the donkeys’ passage, speed, and eventual agitation) to an accompanying inner life (tagged by “mindfulness, or better, presence of mind” (smr tir ̣ ), a necessary entailment of mind on the part of animals, we are to understand, no less than humans). The narrator exhibits this kind of attention before Mr. Money Ears does. But when the latter does eventually catch on to what the narrative allows us to see, it changes everything. This is the first time we see Mr. Money Ears attend to the mind of another, observing the effects his actions have on the mind of another. It is important that this seems trivial, that it takes place all too quickly, and is likely overlooked on first reading. You need to know that shocked at his own unthinking cruelty and insensitivity, Mr. Money Ears frees the donkeys, prays for their well-being, and sets off on his own on foot to find a way home. That path will involve his circuitous meandering in and out of hitherto invisible non-human realms of torture and suffering, each of which the narrative fleshes out at great length with considerable literary and psychological ingenuity. But Mr. Money Ears’ first step into a non-human life-world, however brief, was made in the simple act of attention to the inner life of his beasts of burden. That is the step which allows him to see the worlds he goes on to discover on his way home. The narrative of other, non-human worlds and minds to come, is no more and no less mysterious for this narrative than is the ability to acknowledge the minds of others: and I take it that the narrative point here is to underscore the kind of fragile, often unattended moments on which the course of all our lives might be said to depend; how entire worlds exist, and lives play out, on stages hidden from our view in plain sight. Attention to pain and the consequences of pain has been dramatized before more explicitly, as being, in fact, an achievement of nothing less than



ultimate moral concern, as it is for Siddh¯a rtha in As´vaghosa’s ̣ Life of the Buddha: And seeing the men labouring, the colours Of their bodies breaking In the moving dust, and The rays of the sun, and seeing The oxen undone past weariness By the burden of bearing up and dragging The plough, the best of men reached The very farthest compassion.28 Attention involves learning what to see, and how. Before the effects of pain came into view for him, Siddh¯artha could see only a natural idyll in a vista marked for special attention by an elite culture devoted to leisure (5.4, Olivelle 2008: 125); then, as if in recoil, he is morbidly preoccupied by the torn up grass and the corpses of tiny insects in the soil (5.5, Olivelle 2008: 125). To see the suffering of the living—the human and non-human persons—in his environment is an achievement, as is learning to attend to what suffering can do to one, even to the most vulnerable and most easily overlooked among us.29

6. THE VIEW FROM NARRATIVE For As´vaghosa’s ̣ Siddh¯artha, to see what one could not or would not see before, to acknowledge what is hidden in plain sight, is what moral concern and the beginning of wisdom look like. I have been trying to suggest that Vasubandhu’s careful parsing of the distinction between varieties of pain, likewise, might involve a variety of moral attention. If one is disinclined to find this in definitions, perhaps it is easier to see in Vasubandhu’s carefully contoured description of how beings suffer in hell, which involved, you will recall, an appeal to the evidence of narratives. It is significant that Vasubandhu exemplifies psychological pain with the help of narratives. The uses of narrative in the history of Buddhist (systematic) thought have been many, even restricting ourselves just to the class of narratives in Sanskrit, the avada¯na, to which Vasubandhu adverts. They have been used as neither fables nor histories, but as a self-consciously adopted narrative form in which legal scholars chose to frame the conceptual issues which mattered to them (Schopen 1997: 61); they have been used to elicit, understand, and even take the place of legal and moral rules (Rotman 2008: 27–8); they have been used to create moral worlds and to exemplify what it



can mean to think and fashion oneself as an ethical being in such worlds (Rotman 2008: 3; McClintock 2017). Given this rich background, my goal here is modest: I want to briefly consider why Vasubandhu, a philosopher few have associated with narratives, might have found it important to invite us to think narratively when thinking about pain. To begin with, Vasubandhu’s example of the denizens of hell does not only offer us formal criteria for mental disruption, but a possibly phenomenological one, based on the testimony of one from among many narratives of lamentation (the Ha¯citta-avada¯na). That shows us the necessary room to flesh out the categorization of pain with the help of first-personal testimony from narrative and lyric. What could be more memorable than Vasubandhu’s citation of a scream—“O, Mind!”—and the constricted scope and resources for linguistic expression? The example may also serve a theoretical function. Mental pain appears to be contentful, though the intentional content is not best captured with declarative linguistic forms. Vasubandhu’s example suggests the following possibility. If, as Colin Klein (2007) has recently suggested, physical pain is best treated as having its contentfulness captured by sentence-shaped bits of language in an imperative (and not indicative) mood, Vasubandhu might have in mind to recommend the vocative form as the right way to underscore the salience and the contentfulness of psychological pain. I would, furthermore, unpack the vocative as an unstated imperative directed at a nolonger specifiable subject. “O, Mind!” the scream went, and not “O, My Mind!” At the extremities of psychological pain, pain disappears the subjects we are from our view. What matters are not the details of the proposal, but the imaginative room that narrative can make for philosophical theorization of the content and character of psychological pain. Vasubandhu also alludes to a narrative to account for the relationship of grief and psychological disruption, saying that we should look to the example of V¯asisṭ ḥ ¯ı (AKB, concluding comment on 4.58c–d; Pruden 1988–90, Vol. II: 633). V¯asisṭ ḥ ¯ı ’s (Pali: V¯a set ṭ ḥ ¯ı ’s) story is one of extreme grief at the loss of one’s children leading to self and social alienation. She tells it best in her own voice, preserved for us in the Ther¯ı ga¯tha¯ (verses 133–4 in Hallisey 2015: 77): I was wounded by grief for my son, mind unhinged, mad, without clothes, hair unkempt, I walked from place to place. Resting on heaps of garbage in the streets, in cemeteries, on highways



I wandered for three years, always hungry and thirsty.30 “Mind unhinged” translates khittacitta¯, which, as ksiptacitt ̣ a¯ in Sanskrit, is the word used by the source Yas´omitra adduces as the one to which Vasubandhu is directing our attention (see Pruden 1988–90, Vol. II: 732, n. 240). The narrative (or proto-narrative) in this verse does more than flesh out the sense of the category of psychological disruption. Despite the impersonal tone with which Vasubandhu seems to specify the causal occasions and vectors of disruption, his appeal to narratives as examples suggests that we cannot exhibit the character of the mental illness without a story. A story offers more than the causal development of an impersonal condition; it attempts to show us how a subject can fall into such a condition, and what the condition does to the subject (cf. Sacks 1985: vii–viii). It is also possible to suggest that literature offers us more than narratives of psychological disruption. As I have tried to argue elsewhere (Kachru 2019a), with As´vaghosa’s ̣ portrait of Sundar¯ı ’s ruin in Beautiful Nanda in mind, Buddhist authors in lyric have also used portraits of psychological breakdown in the event of distress to modulate our attention to the fact and salience of psychological pain, trying to show us not only something important about how the fragility of being a person is experienced by those in distress, but thereby also how difficult it can be to keep individuals as persons—and the possibility of their succumbing to debilitating, isolating psychological pain—in view in our conventions of speech, and quotidian habits of attention. Work on this dimension of Buddhist narrative and lyric, however, is still in its infancy, and much more remains to be done (see McClintock 2017).

7. CONCLUSION Bernard Williams, concluding his “The Legacy of Greek Philosophy” declared that, “If there are features of the ethical experience of the Greek world which can not only make sense to us now, but make better sense than many things which we find nearer to hand, they are not all to be found in its philosophy” (Williams 2007: 46). He was thinking of the “classics” of Greek literature, above all else, tragedy. What is true of what has come down to us in Greek is true of Buddhism in South Asia: we ignore literature at our own peril (cf. Matilal 2015). Although we do not need to say with Williams that “the best” is not on view in systematic thought. To put the point contentiously, literature and systematic thought are perhaps more closely connected in South Asia than was the case in Greek antiquity.



We have now seen various ways in which Buddhist authors acknowledge the mind in pain, and, in particular, how the mental pain of psychological disruption can disappear a person from view. That it mattered to South Asian authors in antiquity ought to matter more to us. But what shall we make of the acknowledgement of the possibility and salience of minds in pain? Some have thought that the eighteenth century of the European world was the era for nervous illnesses. Thus, Tissot: “I do not hesitate to say that if they were once the rarest, they are today the most frequent variety” (quoted in Foucault 2006: 363). For physicians of this period, like Matthey of Geneva, it was the precariousness of humans that had newly come into view, for now “an unexpected event, a sharp and sudden emotion of the soul” could “abruptly change” a person (quoted in Foucault 2006: 363). Michel Foucault concurs that there is something new in the way that “[madness was now] situated in those distances man takes in regard to himself, to his world, to all that is offered by the immediacy of nature” (Foucault 2006: 371). It is an unsettling thought that the new possibilities of experience thought to hold true of individuals in early modern Europe seems descriptively accurate enough as far as the narrated life of fictions in Buddhist texts from South Asian antiquity is concerned. All we need to add to Foucault’s characterization of the eighteenth century is one form of vulnerability peculiar to South Asian Buddhist sources of the period. As Vasubandhu has it: One who troubles and deranges (ksepayanti ̣ ) the mind of another through drugs or spells; one who forces someone, against their wishes, to drink poison or alcohol; one who terrifies game, either in the hunt, or by setting the jungle on fire, or by hollowing out traps; and one who, by whatever means, troubles the presence of the mind (smr tir ̣ ) of another—each will have his own mind deranged (ksipyate ̣ ) through the ripening of the consequences of these actions. —AKB ad 4.58b; Pradhan 1967: 233; cf. Pruden 1988–90, Vol. II: 633 We are vulnerable, the Buddhist imaginaire would have it, not only to contingency given our variable bodies, moods, and dependence on external events, but also because of the ineluctable consequences of the “deep past” of the actions of the beings whose former lives condition our own. The psychological derangement to which we are vulnerable devolves from the harm done by the persons we have been to the minds as well as the lives of others. (Notice how both Vasubandhu in the passage above, and the author(s) of the story of Mr. Money Ears, highlight the fragility and salience of another’s presence of mind, or mindfulness (smr tir ̣ ).) Minds, or more



accurately, mental presence, involves two kinds of vulnerability: we are vulnerable, in the present, to what others may do to us; we are vulnerable with respect to the past given what we have done to others, and the (for Buddhists) all-too natural mechanisms of moral retribution. I have here only tried in a very preliminary way to bring into view the radical vulnerability of minds and the subsequent precariousness of sentience that the category of psychological disruption seeks to underscore. How conviction in such vulnerability was generated as a stable feature of the intelligibility of a Buddhist ethical experience of a world (to echo Bernard Williams’ way of speaking) calls for further study—such orienting cosmological commitments, after all, are not simply found, but made (cf. Justice 2008). So too, we will want to know how such vulnerability, once convincingly made available to experience, was intended to be treated or managed. The texts would have it that the promise of being less vulnerable depends on the exacting and fine-grained regimentation of the least details of one’s inner and outer life; but we might go on to consider the salience of vulnerability at the level of practices of self from a perspective outside of the texts as well. In contrast with the case of Hellenistic antiquity, however, we do not at present possess the kind of social histories of South Asian antiquity that would allow us to flesh out the concrete availability and lived consequences of either the vocabularies we have considered above, or the ways they might be used to bring the psychological life of individuals into view. At least in part, such a story would need to take the form of a history of the institutions that were correlated with newly available vocabularies and descriptive possibilities with an eye to the control of behavior and the regulation of norms (cf. Porter 2002: 1–3). But whatever else might be said about the possibilities of psychological breakdown and disruption envisioned by the Buddhist authors considered above, and whatever else we might say about the social reality and salience of mental pain outside of the texts, it is perhaps clearer that psychological disruption forms what we, adapting a phrase from Peter Brown, might call one of the “regular verbs in a stable grammar” (Brown 1981: 108) of a Buddhist system of possibility. You cannot tell a story of being human—what we are like, and what we might yet become—without it.

NOTES 1. aparimitañ ca dukkhaṃ bahu ¯ ni ca cittadomanassa¯ni / anubhohisi (text in Hallisey 2015: 235). 2. Quoted in Wolfson 1934, Vol. II: 263–4.



3. For a very different way of joining medical therapy and philosophy, one which would subsume even physical symptoms to thought, see Shapin 2000; see also the contribution of Ana Funes Maderey in this volume. 4. Thus, for Seneca it is “peace of mind” (tranquillitate animi, with tranquillitas used by Seneca in rough continuity with Democritus’ euthymia, cheerfulness, or better, invulnerability to fortune (Grant 1982: 232)) that forms the therapeutic end of the treatment of mental vacillation and psychological immobility. For Epicureans, the elimination of psychological pain is not to be understood without the cultivation of mental pleasure (Strodach 2012: 160; 173; 175–6); as for the Skeptics, it is mental disquietude (tarach¯e), rooted in the striving for and possession of beliefs, that forms the especial target inquiry undertaken for the sake of mental quietude (ataraxia; Forster 1989: 10). On apatheia in Stoicism, and the links to Anitisthenes, see Grant 1982: 236. 5. Among metaphors and use of therapeutic paradigms in primary sources, one might consider the beginning of Mah¯ay¯aṇa-su ¯tr¯alaṃ k¯ara 1.4a–b (Lévi 1907: 2) and the claim in 1.6d (Lévi 1907: 3) that being a therapeutic antidote is criterial for something to be credited as what the Buddha taught. Likewise, the verses of The Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Lines conclude with a statement of the therapeutic paradigm: see verse XXXII.6 in Conze 1994 [1973]: 71. On the different uses to which therapeutic analogies may be put as constraints on philosophizing in South Asia, see Neale 2014: 15; 17–18. 6. As´vaghosa’s ̣ monk-philosopher addresses Nanda perhaps contemporaneously with Serenus, who addresses Seneca in similar terms, offering to tell him “the truth as [he] would a physician” (see Stewart 1900: 250). A more systematic appeal to the therapeutic paradigm informing Buddhist commitments is presented by Vasubandhu in his comments on the ordering of the four realities of the noble, AKB ad 6.2c–d in Pruden 1998–1990, Vol. III: 897. This was to continue to be relevant for many centuries, as the valuable note in Santani 1971: 160, n.6, to V¯ıryas´r¯ıbhadra’s use of the medical analogy in his comments on the four truths of the noble in the Arthavinis´cayasu ¯tra attest. ¯ gama) recovered from 7. In the Sanskrit Upasena-Su ¯tra (from the Saṃ yukta-A Turfan (see Waldschmidt 1957), the verse is the second of four verses ascribed to S´¯ariputra. The text is available online: 8. As in the enumerative compound “sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair” (P¯ali: soka-parideva-dukkha-domanass-up¯ay¯as¯a), used to partly characterize the reality of discomfiture as a whole, as for example in the Saccavibhan˙ga; note that this text goes on to stress the somatic (k¯ayikaṃ ) nature of what is meant by “dukkha” in the above compound, and the mental (cetasika) nature of what is meant by “domanassa” (translation in ѯanamoli ̣ and Bodhi 1995: 1098–9; text in Chalmers 1899: 250). The enumerative use is general, and unrestricted to one school or language. See Ṣadha su ¯tra, line 27, in Glass 2007: 140–1. 9. This distinction is related to a more familiar extension of the use of duḥkha/dukkha we find in Buddhist sources, particularly in the four truths of the noble, but it is distinct. It is with psychological pain that is felt, and not the fact of existential discomfiture which we are to understand (not necessarily feel) that we are interested here. On the use of words like duḥkha to incorporate facts and not feelings, see Carpenter 2014: 9; Somaratne 2018. For the advice



of philosophers in the Ny¯aya tradition concerning the pre-theoretical and technical senses of duḥkha, see Stcherbatsky 1927: 55–6, n. 3. 10. Gaudap ̣ ¯ada’s commentary to the opening verse of the S¯aṃ khya K¯arik¯a, for example, divides the first category of distress, that which devolves from facts pertaining to an individual (¯adhy¯atmikaṃ ), into physical and psychological varieties of pain (tatr¯adhy¯atmikaṃ dvividhaṃ —s´¯ar¯ı raṃ m¯anasaṃ ceti); for the Ny¯aya, see V¯acaspati Mis´ra’s comments on Ny¯ayasu ¯tra I.1.21, and IV.i.55–56, discussed in Ratnam 2003: 18–22. 11. On the geographical home of As´vaghosa’s ̣ works and the Mu ¯lasarv¯astiv¯adaVinaya (from where much of the material of the Divine Stories is drawn), see Schopen 2005: 80; on Vasubandhu and the North-West, see Willemen, Dessein, and Cox 1998: 269. For the historically situated first millennium “world” or imaginary we glimpse evolving in the Divine Stories, see Rotman 2008: 8, 17–19. On the Mah¯aprajñ¯ap¯aramitas´¯astra, see Lamotte [2001], Vol. III: 874–7. 12. Vasubandhu’s exclusion of possession from examples of his category distinguishes this sense of madness from the categorization of unm¯ada as madness in Classical Indian Medical Literature; see Weiss 1977. It is consistent, however, with the Yog¯ac¯arabhu ¯mi, which seems to distinguish madness as intoxication (mad-) from madness as what Vasubandhu is calling disruption (unmad-); see Bhattacharya 1957: 13. For a preliminary survey of conceptions of madness (as mental pathology) in Buddhist (based on P¯ali) sources, see Collins 2014. 13. As offered in AKB on 4.58c in Pradhan 1967: 234; cf. Pruden 1988–90, Vol. II: 633–4. 14. It is interesting to note that citta-ksepa ̣ would include within a single category what some, like the physician Gaubius, wanted to distinguish more finely, namely, “a disorder of the imagination,” and “madness.” Others, like Samuel Johnson preferred to run these senses together, as discussed in Boswell 2008: 42. 15. As Vasubandhu says (after the translation of Kapstein 2001: 367): “[For experiential memory to be possible] it is necessary. . .that the force [of the prior enjoyment of an object] not be destroyed by peculiarities of the basis [i.e., the body], grief, disruption [ksepa ̣ ].” 16. After formulating the above, I chanced across a discussion by Laing (1999: 17) in which he defines a schizoid (a term he wished to motivate “existentially,” so as to keep the person in view) as someone whose experience is split in two main ways: “In the first place, there is a rent in his relation with his world and, in the second, there is a disruption of his relation with himself.” 17. See AKB 2.34b–d; Pruden 1998–1990, Vol. I: 205. 18. Pañcaskandhakaprakaraṇa 20; Sthiramati (in his commentary to Vasubandhu’s Triṃ s´ik¯a, and expanding on this definition), helpfully glosses this by noting that affect has experience (anubhava) as its intrinsic and defining nature: “vedan¯a anubhavasvabh¯av¯a” (Buescher 2007: 54). 19. As Sthiramati puts it in his commentary to Vasubandhu’s Triṃ s´ik¯a: “Affect is three-fold, because of the different ways of making evident the [qualitative] nature (svaru ¯pa) of an object—as something pleasurable, painful, or as something distinct from these” (s¯a punar visayasy ̣ ¯ahl¯adaka-parit¯apaka-



tadubhay¯ak¯ara-viviktasvaru ¯pa-s¯aks¯ạ tkaraṇabhed¯at tridh¯a bhavati) (Buescher 2007: 54). Sthiramati offers more extended comments in his commentary to the Pañcaskandhakaprakaraṇa; see Engle 2009: 267. 20. Though we should not conflate this account of affect with the contemporary account of valence, given the motivated defense of a mode of responsiveness to content that is neither pain nor pleasure (see Engle 2009: 267). My thanks to Susanna Siegel and Maria Heim for helpful comments on this point. 21. There are issues important to Buddhist philosophers that need not detain us here but which are worth flagging. Among them are the fact that the qualitative experience of X can be related in complex (and contested) ways to the content and causes of the mental event. (See for example, Sthiramati’s discussion of Vasubandhu’s definition of vedan¯a in Engle 2009: 267–71.) In particular, we can treat the Buddhist debate concerning the place of “sensory contact” in the definition of feeling as addressing an issue we might today frame in terms of the degree of continuity of feeling and perception, and the possible (non-judgment based) epistemic authority of affect (see Johnston 2001). And there is a debate as to whether affect is active, or passive (and less perceptual than “constructive”). In what follows, I speak of the qualitative features involved in “the experience of X” without specifying whether the qualitative features made evident in the experience of X are features of the experience, or features of X (but see Engles 2009: 267). 22. Caroline Rhys Davids cautioned against equating “citta” in Buddhist scholastic contexts with “consciousness” in modern philosophy and culture (Rhys Davids 1900: xvii). Restricting ourselves to the history of Buddhist philosophy in Sanskrit, Dign ˙¯aga’s use of reflexive awareness (svasaṃ vedan¯a), arguably, might render Buddhist accounts of intentional episodes synonymous with the category of phenomenal consciousness. If that is so, as Dharmottara helps us see (Ny¯ayabindut¯ı̣ k¯a on verse 10; Stcherbatsky 1962: 29–30) this is because reflexive awareness, firstly, is made criterial for any event involving intentionality; and, secondly, reflexive awareness is defined so as to incorporate the kinds of qualitative experiences—ones classified as vedan¯a in Buddhist scholastic contexts and a function determining intentional content—into the content of every intentional episode, thereby supplementing the contribution to content made by the intentional object. All intentional states, on this account, become “non-transparent,” being suffused with the qualitative properties and textures (such as pains, or feelings of well-being) thought to be entailed by being directed at any intentional object. On the import of this new conception of the mental, see Kellner 2010; Kachru 2019b. On “non-transparency,” see Byrne 2018: 2–3; Thompson 2007: 283–6. 23. That is a claim too large to defend here, requiring as it does careful scrutiny of non-theoretical uses of verbs and nouns formed from anu-bhu ¯, and cases where philosophers in Sanskrit reflect on such use. Treat it as a methodological hypothesis. Sthiramati articulates and defends it, given his use of first-personal reports to exemplify the nature of the experiential dimension of vedan¯a—as in sentences like “I have a feeling in my hand,” and so on (Engle 2009: 247). Secondly, there is his contention that “In both everyday discourse and theoretical contexts, the term ‘experience’ (anubhava) is recognized as meaning ‘that which



makes something directly evident’ (*viviktasvaru ¯pa-s¯akṣ¯at-karaṇa). It is not understood in terms of being either a result or a cause” (Engle 2009: 268). That vedan¯a is constitutively experiential renders it unlike other mental features, unlike even the presentation of content which defines the mental frame. We must recall that Abhidharma philosophers treat the presentation of content as “transparent,” with the only content involved being provided for by the intentional object; and crucially, before Dig˙n¯aga, what we today take as a paradigmatic notion of experiential properties—colors, sounds, smells, touches, and so on—are not self-evidently treated by Buddhist philosophers as being constitutively phenomenal or experiential, given that they take such content, unlike the content involved in vedan¯a (pains, pleasures, and the like), to be exemplified as powerproperties in the world, treated as physical, and entirely causally describable. 24. For the thesis that, in the context of analyzing mental factors, inseparability does not entail lack of analytic distinction, with such distinctions being grounded in difference of function rather than in discrete spatio-temporal occurrence conditions, see the helpful discussions in Milindapañha III.7.16, and II.3.15, in Rhys Davids 1890: 133–4, 97–8. 25. Importantly, an ambiguity can result depending on whether or not one takes these phantom beings to be models of the kinds of beings we could, perhaps ought to become, even if we note that they are not models of the kinds of beings we are. Recall, some Buddhist philosophers had to debate the truth and the implications in the claim made by some that S´¯akyamuni Buddha—the Buddha of our historical epoch and place—was just such a phantom being (see Vasubandhu’s Vy¯akhy¯ayukti [Peking Tanjur 5562, sems tasam si] 129b4 fol.). The ambiguity, then, results from how one chooses to evaluate the centrality of affect to our way of being in the world. However historically and philosophically interesting, these issues are beyond the scope of this essay; see Dunne 1996; Siderits 2011. 26. See AKB on 2.7c–d and AKB on 2.8d for the criteria of psychological (as distinct from somatic) pain; Pruden 1998–1990, Vol. I: 160–2. 27. For this interpretation of indriy¯aḥ as modalities of sentience, see AKB 2.5; Pruden 1998–1990, Vol. I: 158–9. 28. kr ṣ ata ̣ ḥ purus¯ạ ṃ s´ca v¯ı ksam ̣ ¯aṇaḥ pavan¯ark¯aṃ s´urajovibhinnavarṇ¯an | vahanaklamaviklav¯aṃ s´ca dhury¯an param¯aryaḥ param¯aṃ kṛp¯aṃ cak¯ara || 5.6 || (Olivelle 2008: 126) 29. A fuller discussion will have to take into account how labor and a laboring class come into view in Buddhist sources of the time. As Schopen (2014: 253) notes, “there is nothing noble” about labor in the sources from this time, and “nothing romantic” in the appearance of laborers. But some descriptions seem to confirm the cultural views of an upper class, and others to challenge them. As´vaghosa’s ̣ depiction, at least, does not seem to repeat a commonplace. As Arindam Chakrabarti suggested in a response to this essay (Amherst College, September 22, 2018), we might begin thinking of a Buddhist politics (and not only a poetics) of pain. 30. puttasoken¯ahaṃ atṭ ¯ạ khittacitt¯a visaññin¯ı | nagg¯a pakiṇṇakes¯ı ca tena tena vic¯arihaṃ || 133 || vasiṃ san˙k¯araku ¯tesu ̣ sus¯ane rathiy¯asu ca | acariṃ t¯ı ṇi vass¯ani khuppip¯as¯a samappit¯a || 134 || (Hallisey 2015: 76).


Transparent Smoke in the Pure Sky of Consciousness: Emotions and Liberation-WhileLiving in the J¯ıvanmuktiviveka JAMES MADAIO

INTRODUCTION Written at an important moment in the institutional and theological development of Advaita Ved¯anta, Vidy¯aranya’s ̣ (d. 1386) J¯ı vanmuktiviveka1 encapsulates, and in certain ways foreshadows, a number of significant developments in the tradition. As a kind of paddhati, or monastic manual, which develops philosophical positions by weaving together citations from other sources, the J¯ı vanmuktiviveka delineates the nature and means to liberation-while-living (j¯ı vanmukti). Unlike works from the early period of the Advaita Ved¯antic tradition, the J¯ı vanmuktiviveka has a striking yogic orientation (Fort 1998) that emphasizes the importance of attentional stability and absorptive concentration or sam¯adhi, evidencing medieval 153



Advaita Ved¯antic appropriations of the P¯atañjalayogas´¯astra (Comans 1993; Bouy 1994). It also integrates important advaitic works such as the Laghuyogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ 2 and the Su ¯tasaṃ hit¯a,3 both of which demonstrate ´ familiarity with Trika Saivism. Perhaps not unrelated to the interests of Vidy¯aranya ̣ during his tenure as mahant of the S´rn ˙̣ geri matha ̣ in Southern Karnataka, the J¯ıvanmuktiviveka addresses renouncers (saṃ ny¯asin), who, broadly speaking, undertake a formal process of monastic renunciation (saṃ ny¯asa). Those who are eligible for saṃ ny¯asa are depicted as exhibiting an extreme form of detachment (vair¯agya, virakti) typified in the utterance: “may there never be a world of rebirth” (punar¯avr ttisahito ̣ loko ‘yaṃ m¯astu kas´cana, J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 1.08).4 In setting forth his saṃny¯asic teaching, Vidy¯aranya ̣ employs a number of vivid descriptions that invoke affective responses in the reader, particularly disgust (aruci) for the saṃs¯aric condition.5 In that way, the teaching harnesses emotional states, such as disgust and desire, for awakening, in order to facilitate soteriological advancement on the path to freedom (moksam ̣ ¯arga). Given Vidy¯aranya’s ̣ advaitic metaphysics, this necessarily entails a transformative tension considering that identification with all states, such as disgust, must ultimately be given up in non-dual awakening. Vidy¯aranya ̣ also teaches a number of contemplative remedies (pratik¯ara) that counteract afflictive tendencies, as well as other imaginative techniques for cultivating (√bhu ¯) divine (daiva) virtues, including the well-known quartet of kindness (maitr¯ı), compassion (karuṇ¯a), joy (mudit¯a), and equanimity (upeks¯ạ ).6 Although these issues are interesting, particularly in how Vidy¯aranya ̣ positions “other”-regarding virtues within an explicitly advaitic metaphysics—and, in doing so, develops a kind of non-dual ethics—they are not typologically distinct from similar techniques for “cultivating the affective life” (Heim 2007: 24), which are evident in a number of Indic traditions, including the Buddhist and Jaina. In light of this, in the present chapter, we will focus on salient ways that emotional experiences are accounted for within Vidy¯aranya’s ̣ vision of life and the “vertical” agenda of his J¯ı vanmuktiviveka. Paying attention to the way Vidy¯aranya ̣ describes emotions, it will become clear that he holds involvement with emotional states as ultimately constitutive of saṃ s¯ara. Indeed, a subjectivity that is vulnerable to identification with agitations, strong feelings, and passions serves precisely as the alterity for the one who is liberated-while-living (j¯ı vanmukta). While pursuing key analyses and metaphors that contrast the “taint” of emotional involvement with the “purity” of consciousness,7 we will uncover how the residual power of embodied conditioning—or, broadly, v¯asan¯a—threatens the stability of nondual knowing. Importantly, the emotional states linked to v¯asan¯a are depicted



as overcoming even a “knower of brahman,”8 collapsing ownerless knowing into a localized and bordered field of experience constituted by a sense of ownership, movement, and emotional involvement.

¯RIC SPACE OF EXPERIENCE THE AHAṂKA In light of sophisticated accounts of emotional experience in the aesthetic and dramaturgical traditions of India, Vidy¯aranya’s ̣ J¯ı vanmuktiviveka is a peculiar place to look for a robust theoretical treatment of emotions. With that being said, the general approach of the J¯ı vanmuktiviveka toward disidentification with sense faculties and emotional states, evidences a broader trend in classical India linked to the notion of an ultimately nonegological, non-agential, and non-relational selfhood implicated in the sources of Ved¯anta, as well as the P¯atañjalayoga and S¯aṃkhya traditions. In the case of the Advaita Ved¯antin tradition, the self is pure consciousness, which is characterized as the eternal “seeing” or, as Vidy¯aranya ̣ puts it, “the self-attained seeing.”9 On this account, the one who undergoes and reacts to emotional states is not the real self, which is pure consciousness, but a virtual construct. If Advaita Ved¯antins hold that the self qua consciousness always coincides with itself—bereft of content—how does it appear caught up with objects as if not self-coincident? Commenting on the opening verses of Patañjali’s Yogas´¯astra, Vidy¯aranya ̣ explains the saṃs¯aric situation as follows: “although the unchanging seer always abides in (its) intrinsic nature, when mental events arise, the light [lit., “reflection”] of awareness reflects upon them and the seer does not abide in itself, as it were, due to lack of discernment between them [i.e., between consciousness and the mental event].”10 Although the “seer” (i.e., ¯atmanic consciousness qua reflexive presence) is eternally present to itself, due to unwisdom (avidy¯a)—or “non-discernment” (aviveka), as in the previously cited verse—there is an apparent identification with (insentient) objects, such as mental events.11 This lack of discernment is the cause of the (apparent) delimitation of unbounded consciousness into a locus of subjectivity that takes itself to be a separate subject in relation to objects. As a subject that is unaware of itself as reflexive presence (i.e., as the eternal seeing or witnessing12), the “self-illuminating space of consciousness”13 becomes an enworlded subjectivity; that is, the ahaṃk¯aric space of experience.14 The above provides a rough account for understanding the phenomenology of the j¯ı va, the egoic self who undergoes emotional states. This way of experiencing the world—as a subject set off against objects—persists on the basis of avidy¯a, which plays out through superimposition (adhy¯asa). The



process of superimposition entails the false ascription of one’s identity to the mind-body complex and the view that this circumscribed entity, or j¯ı va, is an agent and owner of states and objects. As Vidy¯aranya ̣ explains: “the person, a living being, is of the nature of the mind, characterized by pleasure, pain, etc. on account of being an agent and experiencer. Since [this situation] consists of affliction, there is bondage. The removal of this (bondage) is liberation-while-living (j¯ı vanmukti).”15 What is important to note here is that j¯ı vanmukti, the soteriological goal of Vidy¯aranya’s ̣ project, entails the removal of the felt-sense that one is a subject who experiences independently existent objects and that one is an agent or doer of action. Vidy¯aranya’s ̣ diagnosis of the human condition is rather counterintuitive since he treats what we typically consider as human life—that is, an emotionally involved life—to be the product of a tragic misidentification of the self with the mind-body, which is a distortion of the natural state of affairs. Despite this apparent bondage, Vidy¯aranya ̣ holds that the true self, immutable and immediate presence, is indeed recognizable after a program of analytic and yogic disciplines. Such practices deconstruct, and withdraw identification with, the egoic self who undergoes emotional states on account of the sense faculties (particularly the mind) and in relation to forces of encounter more broadly.

EGOITY AND EMBODIED CONDITIONING As an agent within a field of experience constituted by relationships, the j¯ı va is understood as a cosmological entity who is subject to karmic causality, dharmic injunction, and transmigration. On this account, the body of the j¯ı va is multi-layered, including a subtle, transmigrating “body” that is, not unlike the inner instrument, conditioned by dispositional tendencies (v¯asan¯a) that habituate an egoistic stance in the world: “Producing rebirth, being replete with thick egoism, and having the form of a very thick ignorance, a latent tendency is proclaimed by the awakened one to be impure.”16 Glossing this verse, Vidy¯aranya ̣ indicates that dense ignorance occludes the difference between the five “sheaths”17 and the witness-consciousness. He further elaborates that thick egoism, or what he calls elsewhere a swollen (p¯ı na) mind, entails emotionally charged and appropriative tendencies, such as desire, anger, pride, and a strong sense of ownership. Such dispositional tendencies solidify a state of character “in the same way that milk becomes thick by mixing it with buttermilk, or melted ghee becomes very thick when put for a long time in a place that is completely cold, so v¯asan¯a should be understood. And, in this context, ‘becomes thick’ means the continuation of erroneous understanding.”18 The sense of solidification here, which is linked



to misunderstanding, is suggestive of how the habit-force of v¯asan¯a is difficult to change, not unlike the momentum of a flow (ogha) or river (sarit).19 What becomes clear is that the thick egoism associated with v¯asan¯a, which is also equated with k¯ama and affective disposition (bh¯ava20), implies an evaluative framework that construes one’s sense of prosperity in terms of the procuring and sustaining of hedonic objects and states.21 From this vantage point, pleasure (sukha) consists in favorable (anuku ¯la) events but leads to longing (spr ha ̣ ), or the misplaced expectation that pleasure will indefinitely continue. Likewise, the attainment of something good (s´ubha) engenders boasting (abhinanda). Pain (duḥkha), on the other hand, consists in unfavorable (pratiku ¯la) events and begets regret (udvega) and self-accosting: “I am wretched, shame on me, a wicked person” (ahaṃ p¯apaḥ, dhiṅ m¯aṃ dur¯atm¯anam). Vidy¯aranya ̣ also enumerates other feeling-states that exemplify the way in which egoic selves define their self-worth in relation to others. Pride (garva) is the contention “I am above others” (anyebhyo ‘dhiko ‘ham); indignation (asu ¯ya), on the other hand, arises from comparing one’s own knowledge to that of another, which spurns hatred (dvesạ ) or a preoccupation with hurting or killing enemies. Hypocrisy (dambha) entails an ostentatious display of chanting (japa) and meditation (dhy¯ana), while attachment (abhisneha) arises on account of seeing oneself through the demotion or advancement of another person. Vidy¯aranya’s ̣ enumeration of three key areas around which v¯asan¯as cluster—namely, society (loka), tradition (s´¯astra), and the body (deha)22— further drives home the way in which the j¯ıva is conditioned within a field of relationships, and in terms of normative social values. Tendencies related to the body (deha) and society (loka), for example, overlap with issues intimated above, such as the persistent sense of identifying with the body, as well as valorizing bodily qualities, such as one’s appearance, smell, etc.23 The tendency related to society (loka) is illustrated by a preoccupation with one’s reputation, and is exemplified well in Vidy¯aranya’s ̣ observation regarding “people’s common attachment to the dharma of their own region, custom, family [and their] colloquial way of speaking found in their various [vernacular] languages.”24 Tendencies pertaining to tradition (s´¯astra), however, call into focus the way in which v¯asan¯a may also indicate seemingly non-volitional, compulsive patterns of behavior, including “addiction to study, addiction to many scriptures, and addiction to ritual performance.”25 Vidy¯aranya ̣ illustrates these addictions (vyasana26) through a number of stories, drawn from scriptural accounts, which depict sages who are obsessively compelled into object-oriented intellectual and religious pursuits (Madaio 2016). This also makes plain the moral stance evident in Vidy¯aranya’s ̣ analysis, which positions such activities as impure (as´ubha, malina) or



negative (dur-) on account of the fact they do not facilitate the highest good of non-dual liberation.

¯ SANA ¯ AND THE KNOWER OF BRAHMAN VA Inheriting an already well-developed discourse within the Advaita Ved¯antic tradition on the persistence of the body and world after non-dual awakening, Vidy¯aranya ̣ endorses the position set forth by S´aṃkara that a certain kind of karma, whose fruition has already begun (pr¯arabdha), continues to manifest results after realization until it is exhausted through experience (bhoga).27 Since the sukha-duḥkha spectrum of experiences, determined by pr¯arabdhakarma are merely mental events, “it is possible to neutralize (abhi√bhu ¯) all mental events by the practice of yoga”;28 that is, non-conceptual absorptive concentration or nirvikalpa-sam¯adhi (Madaio 2018). In that way, while in objectless sam¯adhi, which is bereft of the subject-object structuring of experience, there is no sense of ownership, let alone agential action, or emotional involvement. However, Vidy¯aranya ̣ is sensitive to the fact that when one returns from sam¯adhi, as it were, there may be obstacles that trigger (re-)identification with an enworlded self. Indeed, he argues that even after realization29 non-dual knowing must be protected or secured (raks¯ạ ) through the continued practice of s¯adhana, particularly sam¯adhi, as well as disciplines associated with v¯asan¯aksaya ̣ , i.e., the effacement of impure tendencies through the cultivation of pure (s´ubha) or good (su-) tendencies.30 One of the key post-gnosis hindrances identified by Vidy¯aranya ̣ are latent tendencies (v¯asan¯a), such as anger, pride, and desire, which are “cognized suddenly like [when one suddenly desires] herbs found on a path.”31 The way in which v¯asan¯a is described here—as an unexpected desire—is suggestive of how impulses emerge from latent conditioning. Vidy¯aranya ̣ elaborates that the suddenness of emotionally charged v¯asan¯as, such as anger, precludes reflection on their consequences: “The cause of specific mental modifications such as anger and the like—[modifications] that are being produced suddenly, without considering antecedent [causes] and subsequent [consequences]—is a latent tendency, which is a residual impression (saṃ sk¯ara) located in the mind.32 [This is the case] because [these modifications] are remaining (√vas) in the mind through repetitive occurrences.”33 What is important here is that in Vidy¯aranya’s ̣ account, knowers of brahman, unlike j¯ıvanmuktas, are susceptible to residual tendencies (Madaio 2018), which are capable of disrupting the stability of non-dual knowing, i.e., the perpetual recognition that “the self alone is all this.”34 Notably, when the fictive interlocutor queries



the kind of tendencies that may arise after realization, Vidy¯aranya ̣ responds by quoting the Laghuyogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ , which emphasizes both the subjugating and evocative power of v¯asan¯a: “The seizing (¯ad¯ana) of things through firm conception (dr ḍ ̣ ha-bh¯avan¯a) without deliberation on antecedent [causes] and subsequent [consequences] is called latent tendency (v¯asan¯a).”35 This indicates the way in which residual tendencies may suddenly provoke the reification of objects. Vidy¯aranya’s ̣ citation of the Laghuyogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ further elaborates: A person of such a nature, being subjugated by v¯asan¯as, is confused [in thinking that] a thing which he sees is real. On account of losing control of himself in the momentum of latent tendencies he abandons his true nature. A person with poor vision therefore sees everything confusedly as if under the influence of intoxication.36 On this account, residual tendencies may obscure one’s true nature so that a “poor vision” resumes, which entails the mistaken construal of appearances as inherently real. The disruptive, even intoxicating, sense of v¯asan¯as is evidenced by Vidy¯aranya’s ̣ reading of the life-stories of sages (Madaio 2016). R¯ama, for example, is depicted in the Laghuyogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ as knowing all there is to know,37 which Vidy¯aranya ̣ understands as indicating that he is a knower of brahman; R¯ama, however, remains compelled and afflicted by residual tendencies: “What will a feeble one such as I do? As the prior net38 of latent tendencies compels me, oh sage, so I remain.”39 Further, citing the Br had ̣ ¯araṇyaka Upanisad ̣ , Vidy¯aranya ̣ argues that despite being a knower of brahman the r ṣ ị Y¯ajñavalkya was also susceptible to impure v¯asan¯as, including a thirst (tr ṣ ṇ̣ ¯a) for wealth (dhana) and pride in his learning (vidy¯amada) (Madaio 2016). Vidy¯aranya ̣ points out that the awakened Y¯ajñavalkya was driven to kill S´¯akalya by putting a curse on him when he was “overcome” (paravas´a) by anger (krodha), an emotion associated broadly in Indic literature with the color red and various perturbations in the body (Hara 2001). The depiction of krodha as having the power to “overcome” shows what emotions, associated with v¯asan¯a, are understood as doing; that is, krodha obstructs (pratibandha) the natural condition of non-dual knowing by seizing, or impelling, a reified subject into an unreflective, violent course of action. The power of residual conditioning is partly why Vidy¯aranya ̣ argues for the continued practice of disciplines after non-dual awakening in order to secure or protect the recognition of reality (tattvajñ¯ana). The gnostic who has sufficiently secured or stabilized gnosis is thereby considered a j¯ıvanmukta.



THE J¯I VANMUKTA AND EMOTIONAL UNINVOLVEMENT In what follows we will detail the way in which Vidy¯aranya ̣ positions the j¯ı vanmukta as impervious to emotional involvement and explore what this account tells us about how emotions are understood in relation to the everyday person. As a first step, it is worth noting that Vidy¯aranya ̣ posits three subdivisions (av¯antarabheda) of liberation-while-living, which are distinguishable by their respective degrees of quiescence (or vis´r¯anti [= manon¯as´a]). Notably, in the first two stages (bhu ¯mi), the j¯ı vanmukta is capable of arising from nirvikalpa-sam¯adhi albeit with differing levels of difficulty; however, in the third and final stage there is no emergence from objectless sam¯adhi but merely “the state of absorption in the one natural condition” (svabh¯ava-eka-nisṭ hatva ̣ -, Laghuyogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ 3.9.123 at J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 4.1.44), which is brahman. In that way, during the first two stages, the j¯ıvanmukta may be active in the world, as it were, but since the sage lacks a sense of agency there is no possibility of conditioning or karmic repercussions: “he whose nature is not an I-construct [and] whose intellect is not tainted (√lip) either while acting or not, he is called liberatedwhile-living.”40 Commenting on this verse from the Laghuyogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ , Vidy¯aranya ̣ explains that “the inner consciousness of a person bound to the world is an I-construct [insofar] as when he performs ´s¯astric actions, he [still thinks] ‘I am the doer.’ ”41 Importantly, Vidy¯aranya ̣ asserts that for such an agential person, who is bound to the world, the mind is tainted (√lip) by excitement (harsạ ) because there is expectation of a future result that “I will obtain” (pr¯apsy¯ami). Even if the person does not perform an action—and thinks “I have renounced” (tyaktav¯an asmi)—there is egoism (ahaṃ kr tatva ̣ ) since, presumably, there is a sense of identification with the act of renouncing. In this case, disappointment (vis¯ạ da) arises because no beneficial result, in the end, is gained. In contradistinction to the person bound to the world, Vidy¯aranya ̣ notes, “the one who is liberated-while-living, however, does not have these two faults because there is no superimposition of identity and ̣ seems to be getting at here because he lacks harsạ , etc.”42 What Vidy¯aranya is that since there is no superimposition in the case of a j¯ı vanmukta, there is no identification with feeling-states, such as harsạ , which would otherwise be “tainting.” It is perhaps taken for granted that experiences of pleasure and pain elicit emotional reactions and that such reactions are understood to be part of our on-going evaluations, personal narratives, and plans of action. Vidy¯aranya, ̣ however, argues that pleasure and pain do not generate any “inward” change in a j¯ıvanmukta. On this issue, he again quotes a root verse from the



Laghuyogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ : “The radiance of his [i.e., the j¯ı vanmukta’s] face neither ascends nor declines in pleasures or pains; he remains the same in all circumstances. That one is called the liberated-while-living.”43 Vidy¯aranya ̣ unpacks the verse as follows: The radiance of his face [signifies] excitement (harsạ ). Unlike a person enmeshed in saṃ s¯ara, excitement does not arise even when he incurs pleasures such as garlands, sandal paste, kind treatment, etc. The decline [of the radiance of his face signifies] misery (dainya). Even when he incurs pain, such as losing wealth, contempt, etc., there is no despondency (d¯ı na). . .The lack of excitement, etc., is justified because due to the strength of sam¯adhi there is no apprehension of garlands, sandal paste, etc. And [the lack of excitement is also justified] because even when there is sometimes the sudden apprehension [of those things] when there is the state of activity, he does not have the thought that he should abandon or accept [those things] due to the strength of his discernment (viveka).44 It is worth noting that harsạ is indicated in this passage through splendor or radiance (prabh¯a) in the face—a view Vidy¯aranya ̣ reiterates later in the J¯ı vanmuktiviveka when he defines harsạ as causing, in the everyday person, pleasure in the mind (cittagatasukha) and a change in the face (mukhavik¯arya).45 Not unlike the sense of krodha, the description of harsạ here resonates with the archaic sense of “emotion” as a perturbation in the body (which, of course, includes the mind). Returning to Vidy¯aranya’s ̣ elucidation above, it is explained that despite encountering apparently pleasurable or painful experiences, the j¯ı vanmukta does not undergo emotional states such as delight or depression. This is so because of the perpetuity of non-dual insight or discernment (viveka). According to Vidy¯aranya, ̣ after non-dual awakening sattvic or pure v¯asan¯as, “by which what is known is known,”46 support “the functioning of the senses with continued [non-dual] realization” (bodh¯anuvr tty ̣ ¯a sahita indriyavyavah¯araḥ, J¯ı vanmuktiviveka 2.4.42). In other words, when the j¯ıvanmukta emerges from sam¯adhi there is still “the continuous ‘remembering’ of reality” (punaḥ punas tattv¯anusmaraṇam, J¯ı vanmuktiviveka 2.3.4). Given the non-effortful persistence of non-dual insight or discernment (viveka), “objects” are not construed as real or separate, nor are they appraised. Indeed, “due to the absence of the superimposition [of the notion of what is] favorable and unfavourable, there is no hatred (dvesạ ) or desire (¯ak¯aṅ ks¯ạ ). . .”47 Without the imposition of favorability or un-favorability, hatred and desire do not arise because activities are not sifted into evaluative categories. This is



suggestive of the way in which all experiences, from the highest standpoint, are fundamentally of the same taste or quality, that is, equality (samatva). So far, we have seen how Vidy¯aranya ̣ distinguishes the j¯ı vanmukta from the person who is bound to the world: the latter, on account of a sense of agency, is subject to the stain of emotional reactions, which are linked to goal-seeking and the pursuit of states/objects. The j¯ı vanmukta, on the other hand, acts without a sense of agency and does not think (√cint) about the future (bhavisya ̣ -) or past (at¯ıta-) but follows the present moment (vartam¯ananimesam ̣ . . .anuvartate).48 Here we are reminded of the fact that despite the ascetic emphasis evident in Vidy¯aranya’s ̣ yogic approach, which valorizes nirvikalpa sam¯adhi as the highest stage of j¯ı vanmukti, he also affirms that when a j¯ıvanmukta emerges from sam¯adhi, the sage retains perfect lucidity. Citing again the Laghuyogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ , Vidy¯aranya, ̣ however, does suggest that the j¯ıvanmukta may appear as if under the sway of emotions: “he who even while acting [outwardly in ways] that accord with passion (r¯aga), hatred (dvesạ ), fear (bhaya), etc., [remains] utterly transparent within like the sky, he is called a j¯ı vanmukta.”49 The emotional state listed first in the s´loka is r¯aga, from √rañj, meaning “passion” or “attachment,” but also coloring, dying, tinting, and inflaming. The extended sense of r¯aga here aligns well with the passage cited earlier that employs the verb √lip—to taint, to stain, to defile, to burn—in order to describe what emotions, such as passion, hatred, fear, etc., do to the mind within an ahaṃk¯aric field of experience. The coloring sense of passion— in conjunction with the notion of tainting—is evocatively juxtaposed by Vidy¯aranya ̣ to the clarity of the j¯ıvanmukta, who, like the sky, is perfectly clear inside (i.e., not stained or polluted): “in the state of activity, even though such conduct [that resembles passion, hatred, etc.] is brought about due to repetition, [the j¯ıvanmukta’s] quiescent mind [remains] clear inside because it is devoid of impurity (k¯alu ¯sya ̣ 50). In the same way, for instance, the sky is totally clear though it is endowed with smoke, dust, clouds, etc., because its nature is to be untainted.”51 While it is not entirely clear why repetition or habit may lead a j¯ıvanmukta to act in ways that appear emotionally charged, Vidy¯aranya ̣ is adamant that the j¯ıvanmukta remains inwardly clear. In that way, although mind-body activities occur they cannot be considered “emotional” since there is no one, i.e., no agent identified with the activities, who is affected. Indeed, in the case of the j¯ıvanmukta, for whom non-dual knowing is steady (sthita) or well-protected (suraksita ̣ ), r¯aga appears “like a snake with its fangs pulled out”52 since it no longer has any grip or bite that could evoke or impel identification, affectivity, or agential action. The conventional depiction of emotional phenomena as coloring and tainting is supported by similar metaphors used to connote heating and



burning, which are positioned in contradistinction to the “coolness” of a j¯ıvanmukta: “He who is ‘cool’ (s´¯ıtala53) even while carrying out all kinds of transactions, who is fulfilled as if [he was carrying out those transactions] for the sake of another person [and not himself], he is called liberated-whileliving.”54 Vidy¯aranya’s ̣ commentary on this verse is illuminating because he calls attention to both the burning or agitating sense of emotional states as well as the nature of the non-emotional or inwardly uninvolved status of the j¯ı vanmukta. He gives the following example: Even when, having gone by oneself to a wedding, a celebration, and the like, at the house of another person, one engages in actions for him out of kindness, one does not acquire an afflicted (saṃ t¯apa55) mind consisting of excitement (harsạ ) and disappointment (vis¯ạ da) on account of obtaining or losing [something]. [Similarly], the freed one is “cool” [i.e., freed from passion] with regard to his own actions as well. There is “coolness” [for the j¯ı vanmukta] not only because he does not have an afflicted/hot [mind], but also because there is awareness of the all-encompassing essence. This is the characteristic definition of j¯ıvanmukta.56 Having removed superimposition, the j¯ı vanmukta is “cool”—or not subject to emotional excitation—because, in part, there is no investment in securing desirable results and avoiding undesirable outcomes, which are the cause of an emotional or afflicted (that is, a hot, heated, or burning) mind. The j¯ı vanmukta who has come out of sam¯adhi does not look upon one’s own actions as “mine” any more than the activities of another person. This does not, however, entail “coldness” in the colloquial sense of insouciance, which assumes a kind of selfishness or a particular disposition behind an aloof character; rather, it is suggestive of an awakened impartiality. In the passage above, for example, Vidy¯aranya, ̣ points out that the “coolness” of the j¯ı vanmukta rests on the fact that there is awareness or recollection of the complete or all-encompassing essence, the Being of all beings. From this vantage point, it can be asserted: “if yogis do not see another person as different from themselves, respect and contempt are difficult to experience [for them].”57 Indeed, the understanding of the true, singular source of all (apparent) objects and others is not a knowing of something but rather knowing by identity: “O Purusottama, ̣ he goes beyond classes and stages of life [i.e., he becomes a j¯ıvanmukta], the one who knows by means of the Ved¯anta: ‘I am that one who, in the body of a caṇḍ¯ala, of a beast, of a brahmin [and] in other existing [beings] in different degrees, is pervading at all times, like the sky, without any bond, uniform, the great god, immutable, beyond death.’ ”58 The sky (and also “space”) is suggestive here of both the



“inward” condition of a j¯ıvanmukta as well as the nature of the all-pervasive consciousness, which is uniform (or “pure”) in the sense that it is ultimately of “one taste” (ekarasa);59 that is, unmixed by anything other than cognizance. In addition to the safeguarding of gnosis (jñ¯anaraks¯ạ ), Vidy¯aranya ̣ posits other functions or prayojanas of realizing j¯ı vanmukti, including the elimination of suffering (duḥkha). We have already indicated above how affliction is rooted in superimposition, agential action, the appraisal of experience, and the solidification of egoic tendencies. It is, however, worth exploring here how j¯ı vanmukti culminates in the manifestation, or presencing (¯avirbh¯ava), of bliss and the “attainment” of all desires. With regard to the latter, “the attainment of all desires is threefold: being the witness of everything, being bereft of desires at all times, and being the enjoyer of everything.”60 In relation to the j¯ı vanmukta being the witness of everything, Vidy¯aranya ̣ explains: “The one who knows—‘I am that brahman alone, the witness-consciousness that is present in [all] bodies ranging from Hiranyagarbha ̣ to inanimate beings’—is the witness of all desires in his own body as well as in the bodies of other [beings].”61 In other words, the transcendental awareness of the j¯ı vanmukta is the eternal seeing—the de-individualized awareness that is present “in” all beings—that allows for any particular states/objects, such as desire, to shine or appear within the (apparently) delimited spaces of different bodies. According to Vidy¯aranya, ̣ the j¯ı vanmukta is also the “enjoyer” of everything (sarvabhoktr )̣ since the j¯ı vanmukta is aware of her own self abiding in everything as sat, cit, and ¯ananda.62 Here the maximal sense of affectivity—bliss—is transmuted into a signifier for consciousness itself, which, unlike temporally extended feelings or emotional states, has no beginning, middle, or end. Whereas Vidy¯aranya ̣ had earlier employed bhoktr ̣ to describe the j¯ı va in bondage, it is used here in the sense of one who knows oneself as the ever-present, unbounded, imperturbable plenum, which is perfect peace or serenity. This is the witnessing consciousness, which is transparent and pure, i.e., of the singular nature of luminous awareness, and not tainted, burned, or stained by identification, agitation and the perturbation of emotional involvement.

CONCLUSION As a celebrated dharmas´¯astrin before his entrance into the saṃ ny¯as¯as´rama, Vidy¯aranya ̣ certainly inherited the broad, brahmanical understanding that emotions are “part of the organic ecology of being in the world” (Heim 2018a), a position evident through a number of Vedic cosmogonies that imbue the cosmos, from the very beginning, with emotional states across the spectrum of the opposites. The aspirant who embarks on the renunciate path



established in the J¯ı vanmuktiviveka, however, is encouraged to look upon the emotional intensities of the dharmic inscribed cosmos as a non-real construction that ought to be “cast off ” (saṃ +ni√as) in favor of recovering, as it were, one’s true nature as pure consciousness. Indeed, emotional involvement—which entails attachment—is the principal way by which a person exacerbates the afflictive bondage of the saṃs¯aric condition. Vidy¯aranya ̣ teaches an introspective or inward (antarmukha) soteriology that turns or inverts the focus of the ahaṃk¯aric persona away from objects in the world and toward the precondition of its own being, i.e., self-reflexive consciousness. On this account, however, even “knowers of brahman” may still be susceptible to the disturbing force of emotions, such as anger, that trigger an ahaṃk¯aric field of experience, which obstructs non-dual knowing. As Vidy¯aranya’s ̣ key source, the Laghuyogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ , puts it: “when one’s own nature, which is true [and] pure, is forgotten, even for a moment, the world-appearance emerges like a cloud in the rainy season.”63 Unlike the mere “knower of brahman,” the “cool” j¯ıvanmukta, who is clear like the sky, who has secured non-dual knowing, never “forgets” that “the self alone is all this” despite the ineffectual appearance of clouds and smoke.

NOTES 1. Citations to the J¯ıvanmuktiviveka are to Robert Goodding’s (2002) critical edition. All translations are my own. My appreciation to Jonathan Duquette, Pawel Odyniec, and Gianni Pellegrini for comments on earlier versions of this chapter. 2. On Vidy¯aranya’s ̣ usage of the Laghuyogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ (Panasikara 1985), one of the key “Yogav¯asisṭ ha” ̣ texts, see Raghavan (1938–9). Recent studies have shown (e.g., Hanneder 2006) that the well-known Yogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ -Mah¯ar¯am¯ayaṇa of almost 30,000 verses presupposes the similar Moksop ̣ ¯aya (tenth century) as well as the “Laghuyogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ ” (both of which are of K¯a´sm¯ı ra origin (e.g., see Divanji 1935). The “Laghuyogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ ” is an abridgement of the Moksop ̣ ¯aya and, exept for the last three chapters, reproduces verses nearly identical to those in the Moksop ̣ ¯aya. 3. On the Su ¯tasaṃhit¯a, see Raghavan (1942) and Cox (2013). 4. Mendicants are depicted as “wandering forth” (pra√vraj)—that is, as taking up the life of a renouncer, desiring (√is)̣ the “experience that is the self ” (¯atm¯anubhava). This is Vidy¯aranya’s ̣ gloss on “pravrajanti” from the famous passage at Br had ̣ ¯araṇyaka Upanisad ̣ 4.4.22, which serves as his principal justificatory source for vividis¯ạ saṃny¯asa, or the renunciation for the one who desires knowing. 5. In general, Vidy¯aranya ̣ prohibits, and in some cases lampoons, worldly activities on the basis of whether or not such interests and pursuits cause mental disturbances that inhibit the realization of the highest aim of non-dual



liberation. For example, he asserts that mendicants should fear (bh¯ıta) congregations of people, and give up worldly conversation, property, and concern with proper homages (namask¯ara). He likens being held in high esteem (saṃm¯ana) by others to death (maraṇa), and he puts forth a number of passages that depict women as repulsive (jugupsita). This can be seen as part of a broader rhetoric that depicts the human body as impure, particularly given the Advaita Ved¯antin diagnosis that the body is not the authentic self, and that sexual desire is an attachment that hinders realization. It should be noted that while the text assumes a heteronormative male audience, Vidy¯aranya ̣ does offer an extended argument regarding the eligibility of women to undertake a non-formal or mental renunciation, citing the example of Maitrey¯ı, whom he considers as enlightened, to justify his position. Certainly, Vidy¯aranya’s ̣ key source text, the Laghuyogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ , also features depictions of enlightened women, such as queen Cu ¯ḍ¯al¯a, see Madaio (2019). 6. On the latter virtues, see Laghuyogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ 4.5.21 at J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 2.6.3, P¯atañjalayoga´s¯astra 1.33 at J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 2.7.1, and J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 2.7.1–27. Although Patañjali’s Yoga´s¯astra 1.33 is Vidy¯aranya’s ̣ main source (which is correlated with the Laghuyogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ ), these virtues are also indicative of the ´sramanic ̣ heritage of certain yogic traditions inherited by Vidy¯aranya. ̣ It should be noted, however, that the cultivation of (or habituation toward) virtues such as kindness is an ethos Vidy¯aranya ̣ clearly locates within a non-dual metaphysics, a distinctive feature of his illustrative contemplations. 7. For example, nirañjana, meaning spotless, immaculate, or devoid of emotion, is a term often employed by Advaita Ved¯antins to describe brahman/¯atman as pure consciousness. 8. In this chapter, I employ “knower of brahman” in reference to the one who has realized brahman but is not yet a j¯ı vanmukta, see Madaio (2018). Vidy¯aranya ̣ uses various terms in the J¯ıvanmuktiviveka to indicate the soteriological status of such a knower, including vidvat, jñ¯anin, tattvavit, and brahmavid. 9. “It is not possible to remove the self-attained seeing [i.e., consciousness].” svataḥ siddhasya dar´sanasya niv¯arayitum a´sakyatv¯at. J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 3.9.9. In other words, consciousness/awareness is always intrinsically luminous so that it does not require anything to make it aware. On one’s true identity as the pervasive (sarvagata) nature of seeing (dr´ṣ i´svaru ¯pa), see Upade´sas¯ahasr¯ı P 10.1.1-3 at J¯ı vanmuktiviveka 3.5.34–36. 10. nirvik¯aro drasṭ ¯ạ sad¯a svaru ¯pa ev¯avatisṭ hate, ̣ tath¯api vr tti ̣ su ¯̣ tpadyam¯an¯asu tatra ci tich¯ay¯ay¯aṃ pratibimbit¯ay¯aṃ tadavivek¯ad asvastha iva drasṭ ¯ạ bhavati. J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 3.10.1 One is reminded of ´Saṃkara’s commentary on Brahmasu ¯tra 2.3.50, which holds the individuated being (j¯ıva) to be a reflection of consciousness (¯atman) like the reflection of the sun in water. In the J¯ı vanmuktiviveka, Vidy¯aranya ̣ cites the following verse from the Su ¯tasaṃhit¯a: “Just as the fact that the sun [apparently] moves [on the surface of water] is due to the movement of the water, there is [apparent] transmigration of the self, due to the transmigration of the egoity.” jalasya calan¯ad eva cañcalatvaṃ yath¯a raveḥ | tath¯ahaṃk¯arasaṃs¯ar¯ad eva saṃs¯ara ¯atmanaḥ || See Su ¯tasaṃhit¯a 5.35 at J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 1.10.17.



11. It should be noted that Vidy¯aranya’s ̣ account is innocent of the mind-body divide, so representative of the Cartesian heritage of Western philosophy. Here the mind and body, which are made of the same ontological stuff, as it were, are not of consciousness but witnessed by it. In that way, all cognitive, sensual, and affective modalities of experience, which are non-conscious, are appearances rendered knowable by reflexive awareness. We may accept the position that objects of consciousness are insentient (jadạ ) provisionally—whether all later streams of “Advaita Ved¯anta,” some of which are aligned with forms of Tantra, hold to this view is another story. This is also to say nothing of Advaita Ved¯antin positions that are closely related to, absorb, or hierarchize elements of a “consciousness only” or cinm¯atra standpoint. The division between acit and cit should be understood as a disciplinary method rather than a final ontological position. On cinm¯atra, which is also a principal philosophical stance in Vidy¯aranya’s ̣ key source, the Laghuyogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ , see Timalsina (2006, 2009) and Madaio (2019). 12. On brahman as the nature of consciousness, which is the witness (s¯aksicaitanyar ̣ u ¯pa), see J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 4.4.4. For Vidy¯aranya’s ̣ explication of the s¯aksin ̣ as cid¯atman, see J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 2.4.20. Also, J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 1.10.4, 6. 13. “svayaṃ prak¯a´sam¯anaṃ cidvyoma” at J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 1.4.12. 14. In the same way that space itself is undivided but appears to be divided on account of factors of delimitation. 15. j¯ıvataḥ purusasya ̣ kartr tvabhokt ̣ r tvasukhadu ̣ ḥkh¯adilaksạ ṇa´s cittadharmaḥ kle´saru ¯patv¯ad bandho bhavati, tasya niv¯araṇaṃ j¯ıvanmuktiḥ. J¯ı vanmuktiviveka 1.3.3. 16. ajñ¯anasughan¯ak¯ar¯a ghan¯ahaṃk¯ara´s¯alin¯ı | punarjanmakar¯ı prokt¯a malin¯a v¯asan¯a budhaiḥ || Laghuyogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ 1.1.11 at J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 2.4.18. 17. A popular deconstruction of personhood in Advaita Ved¯anta is its analysis into five layers or sheaths, including food, breath, mind, understanding, and bliss. These evanescent sheaths are understood to seemingly obscure the “always there” unchanging substratum that is consciousness. The ´srutic source identified with the pañcako´sa doctrine is the Taittir¯ıya Upanisad ̣ (cf. 2.1ff. and 3.1ff.). 18. yath¯a ks¯ı̣ raṃ takramelanena ghan¯ıbhavati, yath¯a v¯a vil¯ı naṃ ghr tam ̣ atyanta´s¯ı talaprade´se ciram avasth¯apitaṃ sughan¯ıbhavati tath¯a v¯asan¯a drasṭ avy ̣ ¯a. ghan¯ı bh¯ava´s c¯atra bhr¯antiparampar¯a. J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 2.5.18. 19. See Laghuyogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ 2.1.7 at J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 1.3.21 and Laghuyogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ 2.1.9 at J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 1.3.23. 20. “ ‘Now if an impure affective disposition compels you into difficulty then that earlier disposition, sir, is to be conquered by your own effort.’ Affective disposition (bh¯ava) is latent tendency (v¯asan¯a).” atha ced a´subho bh¯avas tv¯am yojayati saṃkatẹ | pr¯aktanas tad asau yatn¯aj jetavyo bhavat¯a svayam || bh¯avo v¯asan¯a. J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 1.3.22 (citing and glossing Laghuyogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ 2.1.8). 21. The account that follows is derived from Vidy¯aranya’s ̣ glosses on BhagavadG¯ıt¯a 2.5.6 at J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 1.6.10 and on Paramahaṃsa Upanisad ̣ 2 at J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 5.2.8.



22. lokav¯asan¯a ´s¯astrav¯asan¯a dehav¯asan¯a. J¯ı vanmuktiviveka 2.4.43. Vidy¯aranya ̣ includes a fourth category, which he calls mental tendencies (m¯anasa-v¯asan¯a), which are the afflictive feeling-states discussed above that are correlated with the demonic conditions (¯asura-sampad) enumerated in the Bhagavad-G¯ı t¯a. 23. See J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 2.4.70–71. 24. atra ca svasvade´s¯ac¯arakuladharmabh¯as¯ạ bhedatadgat¯apa´sabd¯adisụ pr¯aṇin¯am abhinive´saḥ s¯am¯anyata. . .J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 2.4.15. 25. “There is a tripartite categorization of tendencies pertaining to tradition: addiction to study, addiction to many scriptures, and addiction to ritual performance.” ´s¯astrav¯asan¯a trividh¯a, p¯athavyasana ̣ ṃ bahu´s¯astravyasanam anusṭ ḥ ¯anavyasanam. J¯ı vanmuktiviveka 2.4.40. 26. In addition to addiction, vyasana can be rendered as compulsion, longing, attachment, obsession, etc. Woodroffe (2001 [1927]: f.3, 215), citing the Amarako´sa, notes that the term refers to “. . .vicious habits engendered by lust or anger. . .There are various kinds, such as excessive addiction to women, intoxicating drinks, gambling, hunting, etc.” Redington (2013), on the other hand, translates the term as “obsession” in his discussion of Vallabha’s kr ṣ na ̣ centered theology. The bh¯asya ̣ on Yoga´s¯astra 2.55 notes that “longing (vyasana) is attachment in the sense that it puts him a long way from (vy-asyati) a good.” See Woods (2003 [1927]: 198). 27. “This [present] body, however, has already commenced, therefore even by gnosis it is not possible to prevent the commencement of this [body]. Nor is gnosis resulting in the ceasing of this body because even for people who are not realized this body ceases at the time of the exhausting of operative karma.” ayaṃ tu dehaḥ pu ¯rvam ev¯arabdhaḥ, ato jñ¯anen¯api n¯asy¯arambho v¯arayituṃ ´sakyate. etaddehanivr ttir ̣ api na jñ¯anaphalam, ajñ¯ananin¯am apy ¯arabdhakarmaksaye ̣ tannivr tte ̣ ḥ. J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 2.3.55. 28. sarv¯a´s cittavr ttayo ̣ yog¯abhy¯asen¯abhibhavituṃ ´sakyante. J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 1.3.4. Vidy¯aranya ̣ therefore asserts that “since operative-karma is more powerful than tattvajñ¯ana, let it be that yogic-practice is more powerful than [operative] karma.” athav¯a pr¯arabdhaṃ karma yath¯a tattvajñ¯an¯at prabalaṃ tath¯a tasm¯ad api karmaṇo yog¯abhy¯asaḥ prabalo ‘stu. See J¯ı vanmuktiviveka 1.3.11. 29. As Vidy¯aranya ̣ puts it, “even when there is realization, mental faults, starting with conceit in being a knower of brahman and desire to procure objects of experience, etc., continue to arise.” saty api bodhe j¯ayam¯ano brahmavittv¯abhim¯an¯adir bhog¯arth¯ap¯aditak¯am¯adi´s ca dh¯ıdosạ ḥ. . .J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 1.4.16. “What more is there to say? Impure latent tendencies occur in knowers of brahman beginning with Y¯ajñavalkya.” kiṃ bahun¯a, brahmavid¯aṃ y¯ajñakalky¯ad¯ın¯am asty eva malinav¯asan¯anuvrtti ̣ ḥ. . .J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 2.9.28. 30. On the function of pure tendencies after non-dual realization, see below. 31. “There are three types of desires, namely [desires that are] outer, inner, and consisting simply in latent tendencies. Outer [desires] [concern things] such as sweetmeats, etc. that are acquired; inner desires [concern things] such as sweetmeats, and the like, which are hoped for; and [desires that have] the nature of latent tendencies [are desires that are] cognized suddenly like [when one suddenly desires] herbs found on a path.” k¯am¯as trividh¯aḥ, b¯ahy¯aḥ ¯antar¯a



v¯asan¯am¯atraru ¯p¯a´s ceti. up¯arjitamodak¯adayo b¯ahy¯aḥ, ¯a´s¯amodak¯adaya ¯antar¯aḥ, pathigatatr ṇ ̣ ¯adivad ¯ap¯atataḥ prat¯ıt¯a v¯asan¯aru ¯p¯a´s ca. J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 1.5.8. 32. Saṃsk¯ara may also be translated as a “distillation” or “refinement” of experience that is in the mind. 33. pu ¯rv¯aparapar¯amar´sam antareṇa sahasotpadyam¯anasya krodh¯adivr ttivi ̣ ´sesasya ̣ hetu´s cittagataḥ saṃsk¯aro v¯asan¯a pu ¯rvapu ¯rv¯abhy¯asena citte v¯asyam¯anatv¯at. J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 2.2.5. The root √vas has a range of related meanings and could be translated variously, e.g., diffusing, lingering, enmeshing, perfuming, etc. Certainly, v¯asan¯a, and the related b¯ıja, was richly developed in the Yog¯ac¯arin context, a tradition not unknown to the Kashmiri author(s) of Vidy¯aranya’s ̣ key source, the Laghuyogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ . As with a number of issues pertaining to the “Yogav¯asisṭ ha” ̣ texts, S. Dasgupta’s (1952: 268 ff.) early discussion first noted the affinity of these works with certain elements of the Laṅ k¯avat¯arasu ¯tra and Yog¯ac¯ara Buddhism. On parallels with Vasubandhu’s Viṃ´satik¯a, see Hanneder (2006: 183–5). Also useful here are M.A. Stein’s (1900: 8–9) observations, derived from Kalhana’s ̣ twelfth century R¯ajataraṅ giṇ¯ı, on the amalgamation of ´Saiva and Buddhist traditions in medieval Kashmir. 34. “The recognition of the reality (tattvajñ¯ana) is this conviction: the self alone is all this. While forms, tastes, etc., are experienced, they do not ultimately exist but comprise the phenomenal illusion that is the world.” idaṃ sarvam ¯atmaiva, prat¯ı yam¯anaṃ tu ru ¯paras¯adikaṃ jaganm¯ay¯amayam na tv etad vastuto 'st¯ıti ni´scayas tattvajñ¯anam. J¯ı vanmuktiviveka 2.2.8. Vidy¯aranya ̣ later reiterates that tattvajñ¯ana entails the understanding of (1) the non-dual nature of brahman, the substantival cause of everything (sarvajagad-up¯ad¯ana), and (2) that the “world,” which is merely names and forms (n¯ama-ru ¯pa), is superimposed on brahman. See J¯ı vanmuktiviveka 4.1.47. 35. dr ḍ ̣ habh¯avanay¯a tyaktapu ¯rv¯aparavic¯araṇam | yad ¯ad¯anaṃ pad¯arthasya v¯asan¯a s¯a prak¯ı rtit¯a || Laghuyogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ 5.10.48 at J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 2.4.8. 36. t¯adr gr ̣ u ¯po hi purusọ v¯asan¯aviva´s¯ıkr ta ̣ ḥ | saṃ pa´syati yad evaitat sad vastv iti vimuhyati || v¯asan¯avegavaiva´sy¯at svaru ¯paṃ prajah¯ati tat | bhr¯antaṃ pa´syati durdr ṣ ṭ ị ḥ sarvaṃ madava´s¯ad iva || Laghuyogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ 5.10.50–51 at J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 2.4.10–11. 37. “Oh R¯aghava, most excellent of gnostics, there is nothing else for you to know. With your own subtle intellect, you have come to know everything.” na r¯aghava tav¯asty anyaj jñeyaṃ jñ¯anavat¯aṃ vara | svayaiva su ¯ksmay ̣ ¯a buddhy¯a sarvaṃ vijñ¯atav¯an asi || Laghuyogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ 1.3.17 at J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 4.1.3. 38. For “net of desires” (icch¯a-j¯ala) see Laghuyogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ 5.10.9 at J¯ı vanmuktiviveka 3.5.49. The metaphor of the net also features in the bh¯asya ̣ on Yoga´s¯astra II.13: “Propelled by experiences of afflicted actions and their fruition [which form] habit patterns, this mind has been crystallized from time without beginning, as it were variegated, spread out in all directions like a fishing net [matsya-j¯ala] with its knots [granthi]. These v¯asan¯as have many lives behind them.” See Whicher (2005: 606). 39. pr¯aktanaṃ v¯asan¯aj¯alaṃ niyojayati m¯am yath¯a | mune tathaiva tisṭ ḥ ¯ami kr pa ̣ ṇaḥ kiṃ karomy aham || Laghuyogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ 2.1.4 at J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 1.3.18. On the depiction of R¯ama in the “Yogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ ,” see Madaio (2019).



40. yasya n¯ahaṃkr to ̣ bh¯avo buddhir yasya na lipyate | kurvato 'kurvato v¯api sa j¯ıvanmukta ucyate || Laghuyogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ 3.1.94 at J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 1.4.19. 41. loke baddhasya purusasya ̣ ´s¯astr¯ıyaṃ karma kurvato 'haṃ karteti cid¯atm¯ahaṃkr to ̣ bhavati. J¯ı vanmuktiviveka 1.4.20. 42. j¯ıvanmuktasya tu t¯ad¯atmy¯adhy¯as¯abh¯av¯ad dhar ṣ ¯ạ dyabh¯av¯ac ca na dosadvayam ̣ . J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 1.4.19. 43. nodeti n¯astam ¯ay¯ati sukhaduḥkhair mukhaprabh¯a | yath¯apr¯apte sthitir yasya sa j¯ıvanmukta ucyate || Laghuyogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ 3.1.91 at J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 1.14.13. 44. mukhaprabh¯a harsạ ḥ. srakcandanasatk¯ar¯adisukhe pr¯apte 'pi saṃs¯ariṇa iva harsọ nodeti. astamayo dainyam. dhanah¯anidhikk¯ar¯adiduḥkhe pr¯apte 'pi na d¯ıno bhavati. . .sam¯adhid¯arḍhyena srakcandan¯adiprat¯ıtyabh¯av¯at, kad¯acid vyutth¯anada´s¯ay¯am ¯ap¯atataḥ prat¯ıt¯av api vivekad¯arḍhyena heyop¯adeyatvabuddhyabh¯av¯add hars¯ạ dir¯ahityam upapadyate. J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 1.4.14. The term vyutth¯ana, which refers to the mundane, outgoing, or active state (cf. P¯atañjalayoga´s¯astra 3.9, 3.37), also has the sense of emergence, i.e., when the j¯ıvanmukta rises up from sam¯adhi (e.g., note the verbal usage of vi+ut√sth¯a at JMV 4.1.50). 45. See J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 5.2.8. 46. “It is said that, just like a roasted seed, the pure [latent tendency], by which what is known is known, remains after having cast off the sprout of rebirth [and] is alive for the sake of [sustaining] the body.” punarjanm¯aṅ kuraṃ tyaktv¯a sthit¯a saṃbhr ṣ ṭ ab ̣ ¯ıjavat | deh¯arthaṃ dhriyate jñ¯atajñey¯a ´suddheti cocyate || Laghuyogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ 1.1.12 at J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 2.4.19. 47. . . . anuku ¯lapratiku ¯l¯adhy¯as¯abh¯av¯ad dves¯ạ k¯aṅ ksẹ na staḥ. J¯ı vanmuktiviveka 1.8.8. 48. See Laghuyogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ 5.1.64 at J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 2.11.37. 49. r¯agadvesabhay ̣ ¯ad¯ın¯am anuru ¯paṃ carann api | yo 'ntarvyomavad atyacchaḥ sa j¯ıvanmukta ucyate || Laghuyogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ 3.1.93 at J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 1.4.17. 50. Also, having the sense of mental disturbance. 51. saty api vyutth¯anada´s¯ay¯am ¯ıdr´ṣ a ¯acaraṇe pu ¯rv¯abhy¯asena pr¯apite vi´sr¯antacittasya k¯alusyarahitatv ̣ ¯ad antaḥsvacchatvam. yath¯a vyomni dhu ¯madhu ¯limegh¯adiyukte 'pi nirlepasvabh¯avatv¯ad ati´sayena svacchatvaṃ tadvat. J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 1.4.18. 52. utkh¯atadaṃsṭ ṛ ¯auragavat-, Br had ̣ ¯araṇyaka-upanisad-bh ̣ ¯asya-v ̣ ¯arttika 1.4.1746.1 at J¯ı vanmuktiviveka 2.9.14. 53. Also, meaning an absence of passion or emotion. 54. yaḥ samast¯arthaj¯atesụ vyah¯ary api ´s¯ıtalaḥ | par¯arthesṿ iva pu ¯rṇ¯atm¯a sa j¯ıvanmukta ucyate || Laghuyogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ 3.1.97 at J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 1.4.25. 55. Also, meaning torridness and fire. 56. paragr he ̣ viv¯ahotsav¯adau svayaṃ gatv¯a tatpr¯ıtyai tad¯ıyak¯aryesụ vyavaharann api l¯abh¯al¯abhayor harsavi ̣ s¯ạ daru ¯paṃ buddhisaṃt¯apaṃ na pr¯apnoti. ayaṃ muktaḥ svak¯arye 'pi ´s¯ıtalaḥ. na kevalaṃ saṃt¯ap¯abh¯av¯ac ch¯ıtalatvam, kiṃ tu evam paripu ¯rṇasvaru ¯p¯anusaṃdh¯an¯ad api. iti j¯ıvanmuktalaksạ ṇam. J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 1.5.26.



57. yad¯a yoginaḥ sv¯atmavyatiriktaṃ purus¯ạ ntaram eva na prat¯ıyate tad¯a m¯an¯avam¯anau du ¯r¯apastau. J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 5.2.5. This is one of numerous examples within medieval Advaita Ved¯anta that is indicative of the way in which ethics is aligned with advaitic metaphysics. Despite influential critiques to the contrary, this kind of approach did not newly emerge in the colonial period, see Madaio (2017). 58. caṇd¯ạ ladehe pa´sv¯adi´sar¯ı re brahmavigrahe || anyesụ t¯aratamyena sthitesụ purusottama ̣ | vyomavat sarvad¯a vy¯aptaḥ sarvasaṃbandhavarjitaḥ || ekaru ¯po mah¯adevaḥ sthitaḥ so 'haṃ par¯amr ta ̣ ḥ | iti yo veda ved¯antaiḥ so 'tivarṇ¯a´sram¯ı bhavet || Su ¯tasaṃhit¯a 5.25–27 at J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 1.10.11. 59. Vidy¯aranya ̣ describes the “self that is peace” (´s¯ant¯atman), which is without delimiting factors (nirup¯adhika-), as follows: “The self that is peace, which is within everything, is the homogeneity [or ‘one taste’] of consciousness.” ´s¯anta ¯atm¯a sarv¯antara´s cidekarasaḥ. J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 3.8.2. 60. sukh¯avirbh¯avas tredh¯a sarvak¯am¯av¯aptiḥ kr tak ̣ r tyatva ̣ ṃ pr¯aptapr¯aptavyatvaṃ ceti. sarvak¯am¯av¯aptis tredh¯a sarvas¯aksitva ̣ ṃ sarvatr¯ak¯amahatatvaṃ sarvabhoktr ṛ u ¯patvaṃ ceti. J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 4.4.4. 61. hiraṇyagarbh¯adisth¯avar¯antesụ dehesṿ anugataṃ s¯aksicaitanyar ̣ u ¯paṃ yad brahma tad ev¯aham asm¯ıti j¯anataḥ svadeha iva paradehesṿ api sarvak¯amas¯aksitvam ̣ asti. J¯ıvanmuktiviveka 4.4.4. 62. See J¯ı vanmuktiviveka 4.4.6. 63. svaru ¯pe nirmale satye nimesam ̣ api vismr te ̣ | dr´ṣ yam ull¯asam ¯ay¯ati pr¯avr ṣ ¯ı̣ va payodharaḥ || Laghuyogav¯asisṭ ha ̣ 6.9.220.



Gesture and Emotion in Tamil S´aiva Devotional Poetry ANNE E. MONIUS

Emotion has long served as a central organizing principle in the study of South Asian devotion (bhakti), its onset separating an earlier “intellectual” devotion (bhaktiyoga) from the more effusive vernacular outpourings of later regional poet-saints (see Hardy 1983). For scholars of South Asian religion, devotion is “heart religion, sometimes cool and quiescent but sometimes hot—the religion of participation, community, enthusiasm, song, and often of personal challenge” (Hawley 2015: 2). As Peterson notes, “the type of religiosity called bhakti . . . can be defined in simplified terms as an emotional and intimately personal relationship with the God of one’s choice” (1989: 70). Within complex bodies of devotional poetry, the scholarly framing in terms of intellect and emotion endures: “The tension in bhakti is between . . . emotion to reaffirm the social context and temporal freedom . . . [and] intellection to ground the bhakti religious experience in a thoughtful, conscious approach” (Pechilis Prentiss 1999: 20). Yet what precisely is the “emotion” of devotional poetry? What constitutes “love” or “despair,” “joy,” or “longing,” in any given body of work? Extant scholarship tends to consider devotional poetry—like ritual worship of the divine—to be expressive of loving devotion to a personal deity; the love exists in the poet, who then expresses that love in beautiful verse. Discussing 173



the songs of the Tamil-speaking S´aiva poet-saints, for example, Peterson notes that each “gives subtle and powerful expression to the emotional aspect of Tamil S´aiva religion” (1989: 207). Anthropologists of South Asia have focused to some degree on the social construction of emotion (see, for example, Lynch 1990; Trawick 1990a and 1990b), and recent work has begun to explore the materiality of emotion through themes of embodiment and image (Holdrege 2015; Jacobsen, Aktor, and Myrvold 2015; Holdrege and Pechilis 2016; Schuler 2018). Yet the nature of human feeling itself— and the conditions under which specific emotions arise—in the work of any devotional poet have yet to be investigated fully. Given the sheer diversity of devotional poetry in South Asia, this chapter will examine the poetic corpus attributed to one of the earliest poet-saints: Tirun¯avukkaracar, more affectionately known by devotees as “Appar” or “Father.” One of the first three poets (mu ¯ var) of the Tamil-speaking S´aiva tradition whose works are canonized in the first seven books of the Holy Collection (Tirumuṟ ai),1 Appar’s work has long been noted for its emotional intensity, self-loathing, and doubt. “You who embody the world, grant me proper knowledge,” Appar wails aloud to S´iva, “to rid me of this filthy body, this stinking disease, fetid and rotting!”2 Appar repeatedly imagines his senses “itching, gnawing away [at him] little by little,”3 not allowing him to think about his lord.4 Often he calls out to his “ignorant heart-mind” (matạ neñcam¯e) (as at 5.33),5 urging it to wake up, pay attention, and focus properly on S´iva. Before proceeding further, it is important to note that “emotion” as a conceptual category appears nowhere in the poetry considered here. Sanskrit terms generally taken to suggest literary categories of emotion (such as rasa and bha¯va) do not appear in Appar’s poetic corpus. Bha¯va (Tamil pa¯vam), for Appar, generally means a state or condition of existence—as in “he destroys the earthly existence (pa¯vam) of those who perform devotion”6—and no Tamil equivalent of Sanskrit aestheticized emotion (rasa) occurs at all.7 Uṇarcci—used in modern Tamil to mean “emotion”—occurs twice in Appar’s poetry, but, in both contexts, clearly points to something more cognitive than emotional.8 Indeed, as many have noticed in other contexts in South Asia (see, for example, Parish 1994), words that clearly distinguish “heart” from “mind”—as the loci of feeling and thought, respectively—are difficult to find. Appar most often uses neñcam to describe both mind and heart. Words that refer to what we would consider specific emotions—love or fear, joy or despair—are used rather sparingly. By far the most common term used to denote a specific emotion, love (aṉ pu), occurs more than one hundred fourteen times in the extant body of Appar’s poetry;9 ka¯tal—also signifying love—is used roughly fifty times by the poet. Joy or bliss (iṉ pam) occurs at



roughly one-third the rate of “love” (fifty-three times), while “confusion” (tikai) occurs thirty-three times. Fear (añcam) appears occasionally. This chapter examines in detail the scope and nature of what we take to be “emotion” in the poetic corpus attributed to Appar, ultimately arguing that emotions are not stable things or states to be evoked, made manifest, or merely expressed through poetry. Rather, Appar’s devotional corpus demonstrates the complex ways in which sensation, embodied action, and verbal gesture10 create emotion from moment to moment, rendering human feeling less a state of mind or heart, and more an ever-emergent process. Recognition of “love,” “despair,” or “joy” as processes rather than states or things opens up new ways of understanding Appar’s general reluctance to name specific emotions or to distinguish clearly between mind and heart, feeling and thought. Emotions-as-processes are unstable, transitory; they arise only in the particular moments of bodily gesture (from the incoherent, meaningless gestures that generate quotidian misery to the gestures of service and praise focused pointedly on S´iva that constitute joy), verbal action, and specific spatial contexts.

WHO IS APPAR? For Tamil-speaking S´aivas today, Appar, one of the great poet-saints of the tradition, became a Jain monk while still a young man. Suffering acute stomach pain, he turned in vain to doctors, but found relief only at a S´aiva temple. He then renounced Jainism and became a devout follower of S´iva, spending the remainder of his life praising his lord as he traveled from one holy shrine to another.11 Scholars tend to place Appar roughly in the seventh century (see Gros 1984), although this dating is provisional at best. The poetic praise of S´iva attributed to Appar comprises books four through six of the Divine Songs (T¯eva¯ram), which itself constitutes the first seven books of the Holy Collection (Tirumuṟ ai), the S´aiva poetic canon. A total of 312 poetic decads (patikam) (although not all number ten verses) survive, and today Appar’s work is sung by professional singers (¯otuva¯r) in the S´aiva temples of the Tamil-speaking region (see Peterson 1989: 51–75). Following the lead of scholars who have questioned the historicity of traditional accounts of early poet-saints’ lives and the impetus to read poetry through hagiographic lenses (see Gros 1984; Francis 2014; Orr 2014; Monius 2019), this chapter will make no assumption that the “I” of the poetry attributed to Appar represents in any way the experiences of the poet himself. In what follows, “Appar” refers simply to the first-person poetic narrator, eschewing any concern with the real-life author behind the text. Within the 312 poems of the textual corpus, Appar’s overall message is quite



straightforward. Ordinary human life is misery; the only relief from pain lies with S´iva. Addressing his audience directly, for example, Appar pleads: “Go and worship the one with golden matted locks who dwells in Tiruve¯tka ̣ lam! ̣ Every day your karma will diminish and disappear, and you will live with growing joy!”12 Elsewhere, before his lord at Tirunallam, Appar commands his audience, whom he addresses as “poor fools” (¯eḻ aika¯l ): ̣ “Before speech falters and the body fails, pay homage to Nallam, the place where he has a white bull! Worship! Associate with those who worship! Leave those who do not worship!”13 In general, Appar’s emotional register alternates consistently between extreme, self-abasing despair and joyful, loving hope that karma can be eradicated, and true bliss found in S´iva’s presence.

EMOTION IN THE WHIRL OF REBIRTH AND ¯ RA) REDEATH (SAṂ SA Appar devotes a significant amount of space—far more so than nearly all other canonical S´aiva poets—to diagnosing the human condition. The particular sources of human misery, the root causes of emotions ranging from despair to self-loathing, to which Appar points again and again, are the five senses—often simply called “the five” [aivar]. “Many ignorant people,” he writes, “are compelled to follow the desires of the deceitful senses; they will fall into the depths” of suffering.14 Before an image of S´iva enshrined at Tiruppukalu ¯ r, Appar characterizes his own existence: “Being without knowledge, I acted according to the five senses that daily troubled my body, and I became confused. What am I to do?”15 The five senses, for Appar, are the primary means of human contact with the larger world, yet such sensecontact leads inevitably to grasping at the world in unproductive ways. The five senses lead to bodily and verbal gestures that are counter-productive and utterly fruitless, like a child grasping for a lollipop just out of reach. Those unproductive, unsatisfying gestures, in turn, generate the deep yearning and despair that dominate so much of Appar’s poetry. The child wails aloud because she cannot reach the lollipop; if her mother moves it within reach, the child will soon devour that one and want another. Governed only by the demands of his senses, Appar claims again and again, he gestures with his body and his words in all the wrong directions, desiring what is unfulfilling, satisfying only for a moment. Indeed, the worldly desires wrought by sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell constitute one of the four emotional themes that dominate Appar’s depiction of the human condition, alongside confusion, frustration, and fear. Sense-perception, and the pointless gestures and words that follow on sense-perception, all serve to generate desires that remain forever unfulfilled.



“The five senses do not desire what I desire,” Appar sings, “and thus I cannot lead a life of truth.”16 Those desires generated through the errant bodily and verbal gestures driven by the demands of the senses are repeatedly likened in Appar’s poetry to disease, particularly to maddening skin rashes. He notes again and again how “there are five senses in the body that itch and torment [me].”17 In a remarkable hymn in which he rails against various aspects of quotidian existence in every stanza, Appar exclaims, “in the body and mind, taste, sight, touch, sound, and smell—you are the five senses and their objects.” He continues, “for you who relish their habits of body and mind, alas! This world will not suffice.”18 The never-ending processes of sensecontact, fruitless bodily and verbal gestures, and the desires that thus continually emerge are all repeatedly tied by Appar to the continuation of life in a miserable cycle of rebirths and redeaths (saṃ sa¯ra). “I have not abandoned the five senses,” he wails before his lord at Tirukkoṇt¯ı̣ ccuram, “oppressed by the ulcer that is illusory birth without end, I see no way out.”19 Human yearning, created by sense-perception and embodied action in the world, is also contagious, like a disease; the desires of others (particularly women, in Appar’s case) generate, in turn, male desire. “Enjoying the body tormented by a desire (v¯etkai ̣ ) for union with women of [sweet] speech, stringed instruments, and flutes,” he accuses his audience, “you are without any understanding.”20 He bewails the sensual desires of his audience with even more fervor in a hymn to S´iva enshrined at Tiruv¯aru ¯ r: You who suffer the afflictions of existence— great sorrow, desire (v¯etakai ̣ ), hatred— are you not satisfied that the worlds tremble in fear as you run and harass people?21 The incoherence of sense-perception and gesture that generates never-ending desire also gives rise to a closely related set of emotions in Appar’s poetry: confusion (tikai), tinged with both anxiety and regret. Appar signals perplexity or bewilderment, for example, in poem 6.68, addressed to S´iva enshrined at Tirumutukuṉ ṟ am; each stanza ends with a plaintive wail of “I accrued bad karma. Confused (tikaitta), I did not know. What a pity!”22 Such selfcastigation continues in the following hymn, 6.69, as Appar ends each stanza with a similar moan of “undisciplined and useless, I suffered. What a pity!”23 The senses, and the unproductive bodily and verbal gestures that follow senseperception, in turn beget a confusion that sounds an audible moan throughout Appar’s work. Often, when describing quotidian life, he wails aloud, “what a pity!” (a¯ṟ ¯e), as at 6.3, a poem in which each stanza ends with “having previously neglected him, I am now a wretched person. What a pity!”24



Such confusion, in turn, leads Appar further into deep regret and frustration at having wasted much of his life before turning toward S´iva. While he rues many aspects of an earlier life—time spent among Jains, time spent in the sexual clutches of beautiful women—the deepest sense of self-loathing emerges in poetic comments about precious moments wasted. As with the wails of self-pity noted above, the production of this frustration requires not simply sense-contact and bodily gesture, but verbal structuring as well. In Appar’s hymn to S´iva at Tiruppullirukkuv ̣ e¯lu ¯̣ r, for example, each stanza ends with the plaintive wail: “Without worshiping the Lord, I wasted so many days!”25 Such refrains of frustration and regret echo throughout Appar’s corpus. Song 6.79 concludes with “without approaching [you], I wasted many days!”26 and, in hymn 6.88, each stanza ends with “not approaching [the lord in this place], I was bewildered and wasted many days.”27 Throughout Appar’s poetry, sense-contact with the world generates bodily and verbal gestures toward all the wrong things, all the wrong people, and all the wrong pursuits, creating a perplexed confusion that culminates, in quotidian life, in fear (añcu), particularly the terror of impending death. Such terror, as above, also requires poignant verbal structuring. Regretting an earlier time in life when “I was confused, my mind filled with dark desires,” Appar remarks that “I was without understanding. . .I was afraid.”28 Elsewhere he states, “I was afraid of being caught in the net of the five elements,”29 and he calls out to his audience: “Consider in fear the bludgeon of Yama, the god of death!”30 The depths of the fear that sense-perception and fruitless bodily and verbal gestures generate are even more palpably obvious when Appar calls on his audience to reject the ordinary and focus on S´iva. In a poem devoted entirely to death and its possible reprieve at Tiruv¯atp̣ o ¯kki, Appar cries out to his audience, “Sinners! There will be no resulting erasure of karma [for you] when the dispatched minions [of Yama] come,” if you do not love the lord enshrined in that temple.31 He continues with, “the minions [of Yama] will appear to surround [you] and sow hatred, before they separate one from the other.”32 Only rejecting the pull of the five senses toward the everyday world and turning instead to S´iva will allow one to elude the painful torture of Yama’s noose: “Our troubles will cease if we sing praise, pining for the lord of Tiruv¯atp̣ o ¯kki who relishes dancing and singing.”33 The emotional turbulence of quotidian life—generated by senseperceptions that give rise to a never-ending series of incoherent gestures toward the world—is repeatedly summed up by Appar in the striking image of calling himself a lowly dog (na¯y¯eṉ ). Not only do dogs occupy the lowest rungs of the animal kingdom in Brahmanical hierarchies of purity,34 but dogs act only on instinct, following their keen senses to no particular end save the



satisfaction of immediate bodily needs. The dog spies a morsel of food that has fallen from the table, and he immediately runs to it; the dog notices a squirrel in the park and immediately strains the leash to chase after it. Praising the greatness of his lord enshrined in Tiruv¯aru ¯ r, Appar ends each verse by lamenting his disordered, lowly state: “Not realizing, I who am a dog of a servant, what a pity that I forgot [him]!”35 Appar continually likens his quotidian existence to the lowest of embodied forms, to an animal without aim or purpose, governed only by instinctual drive. Indeed, Appar’s continual refrain of “I am a dog” points to a view of everyday life wherein sense-perceptions, actions, and words remain disjointed, distracted, pointless. There exists no cohesion of action and intention, intention and result, desire and goal; there exists no cohesion of body and world, feeling and action. The sense-perceptions, gestures of the body, and speech of quotidian life are, for Appar, forever searching for fulfilment in all the wrong places, continually generating desire, confusion, regret, and fear. When Appar likens himself to a dog, he further claims that he, like the dog, is utterly oblivious to such incoherence. So distracted is the poet in everyday life, his gestures and feelings so unaligned with his goals, that Appar fails to recognize the gestures that S´iva himself continually makes toward his devotees. A constant theme is Appar’s failure to see S´iva’s loving grace right in front of him. As he calls out to his lord: I have no self-restraint. I do not recognize the foot of S´iva resting in my thoughts. I do not have a goal. I do not possess a single virtue. I do not speak the great things that have been spoken. I do not possess any wisdom to pursue the path. I do not think of you. I have no knowledge. I am exhausted.36 It is in this context that Appar continually appeals to his heart-mind, urging it to ignore the wayward demands of sense-perception, to focus on what truly matters, to forge some sort of unity of sensation, thought, action, speech, and purpose. In another hymn to S´iva enshrined at Tiruv¯aru ¯ r (6.31), for example, Appar calls out emphatically to his own heart-mind (neñcam¯e), in each stanza, imploring sensation and thought combined to “come here,”37 to “hear what is suitable,”38 to “fix your thoughts on Tiruv¯aru ¯ r.”39 The emotions of everyday life, ever-emergent in the processes of sensory contact with the world and the gestures such contact creates, amount to nothing but misery.



EMOTION IN THE PRESENCE OF S´IVA For Appar, the source of any unity or cohesion of sensation, body, action, and word is clear focus on S´iva as ultimate lord. “Formerly, when I was young,” he writes, “I ran about, not thinking of [S´iva’s] form. . .Without purpose, I was like foolish women drying grain at night.”40 In a song to his lord enshrined at Tirukkatav ̣ u ¯ rv¯ı ratṭ am, ̣ Appar plays in every verse with refocusing sense-perception, word, thought, and action away from the world and toward S´iva. “If you want to eliminate the deluge that is the pleasure of women, the unreal body with its [nine] holes – then desire to offer lamps to S´iva.”41 He continues in the next stanza, “if you are proud, baffled by the body in this world. . .[realize that] the lord in Tirukkatav ̣ u ¯ rv¯ı ratṭ am ̣ is like a jewel in the eyes of those devotees who dance and sing sweet, melodic songs.”42 Toward the end of the poem, he states the matter even more straightforwardly. “Giving up women whose eyes are like carp,” he sings, “growing in love (aṉ pu) for S´iva, and bathing [his image] with milk, good yogurt, ghee, and many other things,” you will be rescued from Yama’s noose of death.43 Focused on their proper object—S´iva—sensation, body, speech, and action constitute a coherent set, orienting the poet toward the world in new ways. What had been erratic sense-perceptions, actions, and utterances in Appar’s prior life now become consequential gestures, bodily actions and words that do not merely express pre-conceived ideas or feelings, but rather themselves bring about new moods, fresh sentiments; here the nature of emotion emerges mostly clearly in Appar’s work. The alignment of sense-perception, gestures of body and speech, and thought creates not the scattered desires, confusion, and fear of quotidian life, but emotions far more powerful. While the emotions that emerge through the gestures of a life of service to S´iva are never clearly differentiated in Appar’s work from the everyday, poetic context distinguishes clearly between the feckless “love” felt for women and the “love” of the divine, the “joy” of material gain and the true “joy” of loving the lord. Appar often describes the difference in terms of illusion or transitoriness (ma¯yam) in quotidian life. He cries out in the final stanza of hymn 6.93, for example: Who is a father? Who is a mother? Who are siblings and a wife? Who are sons? Who is one to oneself? How did you come? Where will you go? This is all illusion (ma¯yam). You need not feel even a little joy (makiḻ am) at this.44



Here the everyday world—including the emotions generated by gestures of word and body—are simply transitory (ma¯yam), not worth thinking further about “even a little” (¯etum). In the gestural contexts of loving service to S´iva, small or quotidian emotions take on new depths, new qualities or characteristics, particularly “love” (aṉ pu) and “joy” (iṉ pam), when all gestures align in meaningful service to the divine. Love driven by lust (ka¯mam), for example, is often used by Appar in a wholly derogatory sense. In a song to his lord enshrined at Tiruvatikaiv¯ı ratṭ ¯ạ ṉ am, the poet bemoans his sorry state: “I have not given up the cruel disease that is lust (ka¯mam); I have not eliminated the bondage known as love (ka¯taṉ mai).”45 Yet the term for lust (ka¯mam) is rejuvenated— as a wholly positive loving devotion to S´iva—when generated through meaningful gestures of speech (praise) and deed (service). As Appar sings to his god at Tiruvoṟ ṟ iyu ¯ r: For those who, enveloped in love (ka¯mattul ).̣ . . night and day praise only S´iva, the self-existent one, who is the S¯ama Veda, the king who possesses Oṟ ṟ iyu ¯r is that light in the sacrificial fire.46 In a similar way, “desire” (v¯etkai ̣ )—often used by Appar, as discussed above, to refer to the intense longing generated by sense-perceptions and thoughtless bodily gestures toward the world—becomes transformed into something positive and S´iva-affirming if generated through processes of proper speech and action, applying even to the lord himself. S´iva “is the one who desires (v¯etkaiyar ̣ ) her from whose flower-like long eyes honey drips,”47 a reference to his beloved consort, P¯arvat¯ı. At the other end of the emotional spectrum, “joy” (iṉ pam), most commonly used by Appar to refer to the joy of receiving god’s grace, can, if generated in a distracted, real-world context, mean something quite different. On the one hand, joy emerges as the utter delight of the devotee in the gestures of praising the lord and receiving his grace; quite typical is Appar’s comment that “there was joy (iṉ pam) in seeing our lord” at a particular place and time.48 Yet, if created through gestures of body, mind, and speech that do not align or cohere on S´iva’s presence, then “joy” clearly signals a far more transient feeling of only limited satisfaction. At 5.49, for example, Appar implores his audience: “Stand firm in the path regarding heaven, and do not wander desiring the joys (iṉ pam) of the flesh.”49 “Joy” is no single thing or state-of-being merely to be expressed; rather, joy must be constituted again and again in particular contexts, through words and actions that are either incoherent (and thus generative of more cravings and desires) or properly focused on the divine.



What differentiates the “small” pleasures of ordinary life from the “big” joys of knowing S´iva is creation through a cohesion of meaningful gestures, specifically of body and speech; also critical, in the poetry of Appar, are certain considerations of space or place. The gesture of the body most critical to the emergence of love and joy is service (atimai ̣ ) to S´iva: ritual worship, singing, and dancing before the lord. For Appar, service attracts S´iva and, in turn, merits his saving grace (arul ).̣ Poem 4.15 exemplifies the fully embodied gestures of service, as Appar ends each stanza with an emphatically declared catalog of his active service, from “I placed within my heart-mind my highest lord” in the opening verse50 to “I approached the lion of Atikaiv¯ı ratṭ am ̣ that is surrounded by dharma”51 and “I approached and embraced in love the father who is the colour of fire.”52 Appar repeatedly implores his audience specifically to create, to constitute love for the lord through bodily and verbal gestures. “Oh servants who are our family!” he cries, “seek Kuran ˙ k¯atutu ̣ ṟ ai and dance! Weep! Worship! Praise his feet! Join together at the place where the supreme lord resides!”53 Never once does Appar command his audience to “love” S´iva, nor does he ever declare, “I love S´iva” or “I felt joy.” Such emotion only emerges in the embodied gestures of service and praise. In two separate hymns—one to the lord enshrined in Tiruvaiy¯aṟ u and one to the lord of Tirumaḻ ap¯ati—Appar ̣ ends each stanza by acknowledging the overwhelming effect of such service: “Crying out [the names and deeds of S´iva], I fainted.”54 So strong is this theme of emotion generated through bodily and verbal gestures of service that the central emotion in Appar’s work—love (most often aṉ pu)—is repeatedly paired with the verb “to do” (cey). S´iva, for example, “is close at hand in Kuran ˙ k¯atutu ̣ ṟ ai for those devotees who show love” (aṉ pu ceyyum, literally who “do love”).55 S´iva himself, in similar fashion, does not merely claim to love his devotees, but rather actively “does” both love and grace. “There is no suffering for those able to worship M¯aṟ pe¯ṟ u, the home of the one who grants grace (arul ̣ ceytavaṉ ) without flaw, along with joy, and shows love (aṉ pu ceytu).”56 Equally critical to the processes of generating emotion within the world of Appar’s poetry—as evident in several of the examples above—are verbal gestures that cohere with those of body. Appar’s poetic techniques are complex and varied; for the purposes of this chapter, two elements in his repertoire of verbal gestures emerge as particularly significant to the topic of emotion. The first concerns Appar’s frequent evocation of motifs and imagery from earlier classical Tamil poetry, the so-called “Can ˙ kam” anthologies on themes of love and war.57 More than merely reworking Can ˙ kam language and tropes to grant authority or heighten certain literary qualities, such imagery emerges as truly new and creative speech in Appar’s work.



Several of Appar’s hymns—and many individual stanzas—take on the basic structure of a classical love poem, put in the mouth of a mother or foster-mother worried about a sudden change in a beloved daughter’s behavior and demeanor; the daughter, of course, has just spied the hero, and is utterly smitten. In the midst of a song to S´iva enshrined at Tirupp¯aṇtikko ̣ tumu ̣ ti,̣ for example, after describing both the many brilliant forms of the deity and calling out to his own ignorant heart-mind (matạ neñcam¯e), the poet suddenly takes on the voice of a concerned mother: A young daughter58 does not enjoy her swing, and her anklets have slipped off. She does not know how to talk, except to say, “The lord in Tirupp¯aṇtikko ̣ tumu ̣ tị is love (n¯ecam)!”59 This beautifully poetic verse echoes numerous images of abandoned swings in Tamil classical literature, as smitten girls leave their amusements behind to follow their new lovers.60 Yet here the emotions generated through verbal gesture and imagery are quite distinct. The girl (p¯etai) is very young, yet in leaving behind both swing and tinkling anklets, her words carry profound wisdom; love for S´iva here emerges in the intersection of the child’s youth and innocence, the physical abandonment of her childish things, and her straightforward verbal acknowledgement of S´iva’s love. The frustrated sexual despair of classical literature is redirected here through the eyes and words of a child, transforming a sexualized love for a human suitor into love for the divine. To cite another example, in song 5.45 Appar revisits the voice of the concerned mother, this time with a daughter a bit older and far more disobedient: “If I say, ‘Stay in the house, as befits a woman,’ my daughter says, ‘Who are you to tell me proper conduct? I will become a servant of the lord in To ¯ṇipuram who emanates light.’ ”61 The poem goes on to detail the girl’s strange behavior and utter fascination with her love interest, S´iva, and her mother recognizes that “the reason for that [love-sickness] is the intention to adorn with Indian laburnum (koṉ ṟ ai) flowers the lord of To ¯ṇipuram.”62 The emaciation wrought by sexual longing, the disobedience to parental figures in pursuit of satisfying desire, and the pining for the beloved hero in classical literature are here transformed into a verbal gesture that generates love (aṉ pu) of a very different sort, one not focused on frustrated sexuality but instead on a gracious god who will eventually satisfy the girl’s desires. Another of Appar’s verbal gestures that mark the generation of love for the lord are his signature verses. Appar closes the majority of his songs with



reference to R¯avaṇa,63 the demon-king of Lan ˙ k¯a. Drawing on a set of narratives found in the S´ivapura¯ṇa and widely depicted in the temple iconography of Appar’s day (see Gillet 2007), Appar’s R¯avaṇa—filled with pride and furious with S´iva—journeys north to Mount Kail¯asa and shakes the lord’s mountain home, frightening S´iva’s consort. S´iva crushes R¯avaṇa’s ten heads (or twenty shoulders) with his toe, and R¯avaṇa screams out in pain until S´iva grants his grace, making R¯avaṇa an ardent devotee of the lord. So profound is R¯avaṇa’s newfound devotion to S´iva that he fashions a stringed instrument out of his own intestines (or tendons) and sings the S¯ama Veda to the lord’s delight. Several poems in their entirety are devoted to R¯avana’s ̣ redemption. In hymn 4.34, for example, Appar narrates the coming of R¯avaṇa to Mount Kail¯asa, alternating between R¯avaṇa’s pride (a¯ṇmai) at his strength and S´iva’s laughter (nakku) at the scene. In the end, S´iva (here enshrined in Tirumaṟ aikk¯atu) ̣ graciously grants his former nemesis a small sword, enabling R¯avaṇa “to sing songs before the lord, having cut sinews” from his own body to forge an instrumental accompaniment.64 The story of R¯avaṇa exemplifies, in condensed narrative form, the journey from everyday disordered, meaningless action and language to the cohesion of creative speech (in this case, song) and embodied gesture (in R¯avaṇa’s instance, the literal use of his own body to create music) that in turn generate a true love (aṉ pu) for the lord. The creation of emotion in Appar’s poetry also depends upon place.65 Towns and temples—and natural imagery more generally—are used to great effect in Appar’s work, creating verbal gestures that link the human body, speech, and the generation of emotion to specific locations and seasons. In a beautiful song to the lord enshrined in Tiruvaiy¯aṟ u, for example, each verse imagines the poet’s movement toward S´iva’s feet in alignment with the joyous approach of elephants, roosters and hens, cuckoos, peacocks, and other birds, pigs, black stags and does, cranes, parrots, and cattle.66 Joy, excitement, anticipation, and love are generated not only by the poet’s own movements and speech-gestures, but by the physical movements of the natural world, both wild and domesticated. In another hymn to the lord of Tiruvaiy¯aṟ u, again the natural world coheres with the gestures of human bodies: “If one falters, his are the qualities of a scorching hot fire; if one unites with [S´iva], his are the qualities of a great cloud summoning rain.”67 Approaching the temple at Tillai, Appar sings blissfully that the place itself will grant him “food and gold; moreover, having seen my desire to raise a noise [of praise] in this world, will it grant me an opportunity to be joyful (iṉ pu uṟ a)?”68 So powerful is the role of specific place in generating emotion, in other words, that Tillai itself will grant Appar’s greatest wish.



In the absence of such powerful places to focus bodily and verbal gestures—turning random words and actions into meaningful speech and movement—Appar calls on his own body to play the part of temple or shrine. “Head, you worship!” he cries at 4.9, and goes on to command his eyes, ears, nose, mouth, heart-mind, and hands to do the same. What good are the body and legs, he goes on to ask, if they are not used to circumambulate the temple and bring one to the lord?69 The ultimate gesture, filled with meaning, of the tongue—again, in a song attached to no particular place (4.11)—is the recitation of the holy five-syllable mantra of S´iva (namaciva¯yam), another verbal utterance in the embodied process of generating love, even when specificity of place is undetermined. For Appar, the mantra is “the light within that destroys darkness, the light within goodness.”70 The coherence of gestures, both physical and verbal, together with the particulars of place or natural world, yield a more authentic sense-perception for Appar, far removed from the vagaries of the five senses that he so rails against throughout his poetry. Several songs to the deity enshrined in specific places end with the joyous refrain of genuine visual perception. “Veṇṇiyu ¯ r is the place,” Appar concludes nearly every stanza of poem 5.17, “where yesterday I saw S´iva.”71 In similar fashion, each verse of 6.74 ends with a joyously emphatic, “in the good town of N¯araiyu ¯ r, I saw [the lord]!”72 In a song to S´iva enshrined in Tiruv¯aru ¯ r, Appar’s bodily and verbal gestures of worship—praising and ritually serving, in turn, S´iva’s omnipotence, power, ¯ ru and graceful tenderness—culminate in each verse with, “it is in A ¯ r that I 73 obtained a vision” of the lord. Seeing—truly seeing—the lord, for Appar, is the climax of a process of properly focused gesture of body and speech, generating a joyous, devoted love. This “seeing” that occurs so consistently throughout Appar’s work marks a transformation of the senses, body, mind, heart, and speech that is love itself. Motifs of softening, even melting, dominate Appar’s declarations of true vision, suggesting that the alignment of bodily and verbal gestures, in a particular place and time, that generate love for S´iva are simultaneously transformational in a wholly embodied way. Forms of the verb “to melt” (uruku) occur more than thirty times in Appar’s work, signaling a complete reconstitution of senses, heart-mind, and body. “Singing [praise] of the lord wreathed with the cool moon, along with his good consort,” Appar writes, “becoming one whose thoughts soften within, I will come knowingly, melting,” toward S´iva in Tiruvaiy¯aṟ u.74 Approaching S´iva in a particular temple, Appar declares again and again, “my heart-mind melts” (ul ḷ am ̣ 75 urukum). The bodily transformation implied by images of “softening” or “melting” furthermore demands a response from S´iva. “Those who melt and



forget themselves”—here before the lord enshrined at Tiruppulḷ irukkuv ̣ e¯lu ¯̣ r— “will be comforted in their heart-minds.”76 In a song before the lord of Tiruv¯aru ¯ r, the reciprocal nature of bone- and heart-melting love becomes clear: Casting off all suffering and becoming happy— continually praising night and day, as the bones become tender, and joyously meditating— these are the ones who love [the divine] without ceasing. ¯ ru The lord of A ¯ r is the one who loves them.77 In the end, as these last two brief examples above suggest, the emotions generated by bodily and verbal gestures coherently focused on S´iva yield not simply individual experience but relationship. S´iva ceases to be a deity enshrined in some far-off temple and becomes an intimate companion. In relationships generated by love and joy, S´iva is “our father” (entai, as at 6.22.3) and “our lord” (emma¯ṉ , as at 6.22.10).78 He is “mine, my wife, my father, my precious life.”79 Addressing the lord with the familiar secondperson pronoun (n¯ı ), Appar calls out to S´iva: “You are mother; you are father; you are lord. You are loving maternal aunt and uncle. You are wife, equal [to the husband].”80 The power of this reciprocity produced by emotion-generating gestures is so strong, in fact, that S´iva ultimately resides within Appar’s own heart-mind itself. In a difficult stanza filled with reflexive pronouns (ta¯ṉ ), the poet lays out the culmination of love brought about by the processes of coherent human gesturing: “The lord is known to oneself within oneself, and communes in the knowledge of those who [know S´iva] in themselves. If one is without knowledge of [S´iva] within oneself, it is difficult to recognize oneself in one’s own self.”81 Elsewhere he refers to S´iva as “the one who dwells in the temple within me,”82 and, in a number of songs, the culminating refrain is, “he is in my heart-mind.”83 So strong is the link between S´iva and the poet himself that, in at least one song, the emotions generated by coherent gestures of lord and servant merge. At the end of each verse addressed to S´iva enshrined in Tirucco ¯ṟ ṟ uttuṟ ai, Appar calls out: “Shining light! S´iva! I am your fearlessness (apayam)!”84

TOWARD A DEVOTIONAL THEORY OF EMOTION This identification of Appar with his lord—generated in the processes of gesturing toward S´iva both bodily and verbally and by the emotion that



thereby emerges—can occur only in a coherence of setting, praxis, and utterance. Gestures of speech and body all produce emotion for Appar, from anxiety to sheer joy. When sensations, words, thoughts, and deeds fail to align coherently, a chasm of despair opens, rendering even the most sacred of ritual actions utterly meaningless. “Why chant the Veda,” he asks, “why perform sacrifices? There is nothing, except for those who think of the lord.”85 The love and happiness that Appar seeks are ever emergent, neither fully achieved or lasting; the nexus of bodily action and verbal utterance that results in moments of love (aṉ pu) and joy (iṉ pam) remains forever ephemeral, fragile, always tinged with the anxiety that such precious moments of loving bliss will not last. Appar repeatedly exults in moments of joyous cohesion, only to worry in the next line that such love cannot hold. “There are those who say that days we do not worship you are days of sorrow,” he worries, for example, “and those who say that days we worship you are days of joy.”86 Each stanza of a song to S´iva enshrined in Tiruppaḻ aṉ am ends with a dubative -¯o. Will S´iva neglect me?87 Will he abandon me?88 Will time not pass for me?89 Such doubt never leaves the poetic narrator entirely, as each verse of a hymn to the lord of Tiruv¯aṉ aikk¯a closes with a desperate question: “Will I who am your servant suffer more affliction?”90 Although Appar’s poetry deploys no general terms for “emotion,” his work clearly assumes that longing and despair, confusion and fear—no less love and joy—emerge only in the verbal and embodied gestures through which all human beings engage the world. There can be no love, no joy, apart from the words of divine praise and acts of divine service (all in appropriate spatial contexts) that produce those emotions. Yet human beings living in the world cannot sustain any particular gesture indefinitely, and thus the experience of any given emotion cannot endure. Emotions, throughout Appar’s corpus, are forever unstable, transitory, arising only in the particular moments of verbal articulation, bodily gesture, and setting. How relevant Appar’s understanding of emotion might be for other devotional literatures of South Asia (and beyond) can only be determined through further research. What Appar’s work does demonstrate clearly is that emotion is not simply an inner state of mind or heart to be expressed through elegant poetry. Rather, the deeply frustrated and desperate yearnings of ordinary life are forged by the gestures that follow immediately on ordinary sense-perception: grasping at money, searching endlessly for love, boasting with pride at one’s own accomplishments. Without verbal exclamations of devotion or acts of service to the lord, simply put, love and joy cannot exist.



NOTES 1. These first seven books are known themselves collectively as the Divine Songs (T¯ev¯aram). 2. Appar (1985: 75), 4.75.7: c¯ıttaiyai citampu tanˍ nˍ ai cetị kol ̣ no ¯ y vativu ̣ onˍ ˍru ill¯a / u ¯ttaiyai kaˍlikkum vaṇṇam uṇarvu t¯a ulakamu ¯rtt¯ı . Citations from Appar (1985) follow standard scholarly Tamil conventions of transliteration, and thus the punctuation and any euphonic consonants and vowels added to this edition have been dropped. All translations are by the author. 3. Appar (1985: 185), 5.74.6: kaˍrumpi u ¯rvanˍ a aintu ulạ k¯ayattil. 4. Appar (1985: 193), 5.82.6: ninˍ aikka ninˍ aikkuˍr¯ar. 5. Appar (1985: 143–4). The ambiguity of words such as neñcam—which in Tamil can mean both “mind” and “heart”—will be taken up for further discussion below. 6. Appar (1985: 64), 4.64.9: patti ceypavarkal ̣ p¯avam paˍraippavar. For this survey of “emotion” terms in Appar’s corpus, I am indebted to the Concordance provided by Subramanya Aiyar, Chevillard, and Sarma (2007). 7. The earliest Tamil theoretical analogue to Sanskrit poetic emotion—meypp¯atụ , literally “arising from the body” (Tolk¯appiyam 2000: 1–33)—is never used by Appar. The Tamil word that, in later literary theory, comes to signify rasa— cuvai—does occur throughout Appar’s poetry, but in its primary sense of “taste” or “sweetness.” At 4.92.7 (Appar 1985: 91), for example, S´iva grants grace to his devotees and “feeds them sweet nectar” (cuvai amutu u ¯tṭ ị ). 8. The first occurrence of uṇarcci—at 5.79.1—clearly veers toward more cognitive mental processes, as Appar sings: “Those without inner understanding (uṇarcci) of the golden feet” of S´iva enshrined at Tiruppulḷ irukkuv ̣ e¯lu ¯̣ r will find themselves in hell (1985: 190). In the second instance, Appar accuses S´iva of enslaving him with sense perception and impurities, and, here again, uṇarcci obviously carries cognitive meaning: “Having conjured upon me the two [kinds of karma] and the three [guṇas of sattva, rajas, and tamas], hatred within hindered understanding (uṇarcci), and I did not know you” (1985: 376), 6.99.10. 9. One hymn—5.80—uses some form of the word nine times. 10. Throughout the chapter to follow, “gesture” or meaningful bodily movement draws from the motif running through Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception (2012), The World of Perception (2004), The Prose of the World (1973), and The Visible and the Invisible (1968). 11. This traditional life-story of Appar is drawn entirely from a twelfth-century hagiography of the sixty-three saints (n¯ayanˍ m¯ar) of S´iva, the Periyapur¯aṇam attributed to Ce¯kkiˍl¯ar. For the full story in Tamil, see Ce¯kkiˍl¯ar (1999: 453– 536), vv. 1271–699; for a translation of the narrative into English, see Ce¯kkiˍl¯ar (2006: 122–55). 12. Appar (1985: 153), 5.42.1: nanˍ ˍru n¯al ̣ toˍrum nam vinˍ ai po ¯ y aˍrum / enˍ ˍrum inˍ pam taˍlaikka irukkal ¯am / cenˍ ˍru n¯ı r tiruv¯etka ̣ lattu ̣ l ̣ uˍrai / tunˍ ˍru ponˍ cataiy ̣ ¯anˍ ai toˍluminˍ ¯e.



13. Appar (1985: 154), 5.43.5: urai talarntu ̣ utal ̣ ¯ar natụ ṅ k¯a munˍ am / narai vitai ̣ utaiy ̣ ¯anˍ itam ̣ nallam¯e / paravuminˍ paṇiminˍ paṇiv¯arot¯ẹ / viravuminˍ virav¯arai vitumi ̣ nˍ ¯e. 14. Appar (1985: 175), 5.64.1: v¯eˍlampattu aivar v¯eṇtị ˍrˍru v¯eṇtị po ¯y / ¯aˍlam paˍrˍri v¯ıˍlv¯ar pala ¯atarkal.̣ 15. Appar (1985: 54), 4.54.1: poˍri il¯enˍ utalam ̣ tanˍ nˍ ul ̣ / akaittitṭ ụ aṅ ku atanˍ ai n¯alum ̣ aivar koṇtụ ¯atṭ ạ ¯atị / tikaittitṭ ¯ẹ nˍ ceyvatu enˍ nˍ ¯e. 16. Appar (1985: 28), 4.26.2: meyyanˍ ¯ay v¯aˍlam¯atṭ ¯ẹ nˍ v¯eṇtị ˍrˍru onˍ ˍru aivar v¯eṇt¯ạ r. 17. Appar (1985: 185), 5.74.6: kaˍrumpi u ¯rvanˍ a aintu ulạ k¯ayattil. 18. Appar (1985: 258), 6.27.4: unˍ uruvinˍ cuvai olị u ¯ˍru o ¯ cai n¯aˍrˍrattu uˍruppinˍ atu kuˍrippu ¯akum aiv¯ı r nuṅ kal ̣ / manˍ uruvattu iyaˍrkaikal¯ạ l cuvaipp¯ırkku aiyo ¯ vaiyakam¯e po ¯ t¯at¯e. 19. Appar (1985: 67), 4.67.1: varaikil¯enˍ pulanˍ kal ̣ aintum varaikil¯a piˍravi m¯aya / puraiyul¯ẹ atạ ṅ ki ninˍ ˍru puˍrappatum ̣ vaˍliyum k¯aṇ¯enˍ . 20. Appar (1985: 123), 5.12.6: kuˍlalai y¯aˍl moˍliy¯ar icai v¯etkaiy ̣ ¯al / uˍlalai y¯akkaiyai u ¯ṇum uṇarvu il¯ır. 21. Appar (1985: 259), 6.27.7: itar ̣ p¯avam enˍ a mikka tukka v¯eṭkai veˍrupp¯e enˍ ˍru anˍ aiv¯ırum ulakai o ¯tị / kutaiki ̣ nˍ ˍr¯ırkku ulakaṅ kal ̣ kuluṅ ki nuṅ kal ̣ kuˍri ninˍ ˍratu amaiy¯at¯e. 22. Appar (1985: 326–8), 6.68: t¯ı vinˍ aiy¯enˍ aˍriy¯at¯e tikaitta ¯aˍr¯e. 23. Appar (1985: 328–9), 6.69: payil¯at¯e p¯aˍl¯e n¯anˍ uˍlanˍ ˍra ¯aˍr¯e. 24. Appar (1985: 216–8), 6.3: ¯eˍlaiy¯enˍ n¯anˍ paṇtụ ikaˍlnta ¯aˍr¯e. 25. Appar (1985: 303–4), 6.54: po ¯ˍrˍr¯at¯e ¯aˍrˍra n¯al ̣ po ¯kkinˍ ¯enˍ ¯e. 26. Appar (1985: 344–5), 6.79: c¯ar¯at¯e c¯ala n¯al ̣ po ¯ kkinˍ ¯enˍ ¯e. 27. Appar (1985: 358–9), 6.88: c¯er¯at¯e tikaittu n¯al ̣ celuttinˍ ¯enˍ ¯e. 28. Appar (1985: 76), 4.76.1: marul ̣ av¯a manˍ attanˍ ¯aki mayaṅ kinˍ ¯enˍ mati il¯at¯enˍ . . .añci. . . 29. Appar (1985, 155), 5.44.4: pañcapu ¯tavalaiyil patuvata ̣ ˍrku / añci. 30. Appar (1985, 134), 5.24.3: ku ¯ˍrˍru taṇtattai ̣ añci kuˍrikkoṇminˍ . 31. Appar (1985: 196), 5.86.2: vitutta ̣ tu ¯tuvar vantu vinˍ ai kuˍli / patutta ̣ po ¯tu payanˍ ilai p¯avik¯al.̣ 32. Appar (1985: 196), 5.86.5: m¯aˍru koṇtụ valaittu ̣ eˍlu tu ¯tuvar / v¯eˍru v¯eˍru patuppata ̣ nˍ munˍ nˍ am¯e. 33. Appar (1985: 196), 5.86.8: ¯atal ̣ p¯atal ̣ ukanta v¯atp̣ o ¯ kkiyai / v¯atị ¯etta nam v¯atṭ am ̣ tavirum¯e. 34. For a tongue-in-cheek survey of dogs in Sanskrit literature, see Bollée (2006). 35. Appar (1985:261–3), 6.29: aˍriy¯atu atị n¯ay¯enˍ ayartta ¯aˍr¯e. 36. Appar (1985: 57), 4.57.7: ceˍrivu il¯enˍ cintai ulḷ ¯ẹ civanˍ atị teriyam¯atṭ ¯ẹ nˍ / kuˍri il¯enˍ kuṇam onˍ ˍru ill¯enˍ ku ¯ˍrum¯a ku ¯ˍram¯atṭ ¯ẹ nˍ / neˍri patụ mati onˍ ˍru ill¯enˍ ninˍ aiyum¯a ninˍ aiyam¯atṭ ¯ẹ nˍ /aˍrivu il¯enˍ ayarttu po ¯ nˍ ¯enˍ . 37. Appar (1985: 264–5), 6.31.1, 3: n¯ı v¯a.



38. Appar (1985: 265), 6.31.4: porunta k¯el ̣ n¯ı . 39. Appar (1985: 265), 6.31.6: tiru ¯aru ¯r¯a enˍ ˍr¯e cinti neñcam¯e. 40. Appar (1985: 29), 4.28.1: munˍ pu el¯am ilaiyak ̣ ¯alam mu ¯rttiyai ninˍ aiy¯atu o ¯ti.̣ . .. / . . .aruttam inˍ ˍri / pinˍ pakal uṇaṅ kal atṭ um ̣ p¯etaim¯ar po ¯nˍ ˍr¯enˍ . 41. Appar (1985: 32), 4.31.1: polḷ atta ̣ k¯ayam ¯aya porulị nˍ ai po ¯kam¯atar / velḷ attai ̣ kaˍlikka v¯eṇtiḷ virumpuminˍ vilaikku ̣ tu ¯pam. 42. Appar (1985: 32), 4.31.2: maṇ itai ̣ kurampai tanˍ nˍ ai matittu n¯ır maiyal eytil. . . / paṇ itai ̣ cuvaikal ̣ p¯atị ¯atṭ um ̣ pattarkku enˍ ˍrum / kaṇ itai ̣ maṇiyar po ¯lum katav ̣ u ¯rv¯ıratṭ ạ nˍ ¯ar¯e. 43. Appar (1985: 33), 4.31.9: c¯elinˍ n¯er anˍ aiya kaṇṇ¯ar tiˍram vitṭ ụ civanˍ ukku anˍ pu ¯ay / p¯alum nal tayir neyyo ¯tụ palapala ¯atṭ ị enˍ ˍrum. . . 44. Appar (1985: 366), 6.93.10: tantai y¯ar t¯ay y¯ar utạ nˍ piˍrant¯ar t¯aram ¯ar puttirar ¯ar t¯am t¯am ¯ar¯e / vanta ¯aˍru eṅ ṅ anˍ ¯e po ¯m ¯aˍru ¯eto ¯ m¯ayam ¯am itaˍrku ¯etum makiˍla v¯eṇt¯ạ . 45. Appar (1985: 28), 4.26.7: kaˍlittil¯enˍ k¯ama vem no ¯ y k¯atanˍ mai enˍ nˍ um p¯acam / oˍlittil¯enˍ . 46. Appar (1985: 46), 4.45.4: k¯amattul ̣ aˍlunti ninˍ ˍru. . . / c¯amattu v¯etam ¯aki ninˍ ˍratu o ¯r cayampu tanˍ nˍ ai / ¯emattum itai ̣ ir¯avum ¯ek¯antam iyampuv¯arukku / o ¯ mattul ̣ olị atu ¯akum oˍrˍriyu ¯r utaiya ̣ ko ¯v¯e. 47. Appar (1985: 136), 5.25.5: matṭ ụ aviˍlnta malar netụ ṅ kaṇṇip¯al / itṭ ạ v¯etkaiyar ̣ ¯aki iruppavar. 48. See, for example, Appar (1985: 174), 5.62.7–8, where each stanza ends with this phrase: em pir¯anˍ ai kaṇtụ inˍ pam atu ¯ayiˍrˍr¯e. 49. Appar (1985: 160), 5.49.3: u ¯nˍ no ¯kkum inˍ pam v¯eṇtị uˍlal¯at¯e / v¯anˍ no ¯kkum vaˍli ¯avatu ninˍ minˍ o ¯. 50. Appar (1985: 16), 4.15.1: em uttamanˍ ai ulḷ attu ̣ lḷ ¯ẹ vaitt¯enˍ ¯e. 51. Appar (1985: 16), 4.15.4: aˍram cu ¯ˍl atikaiv¯ıratṭ attu ̣ arim¯anˍ ¯eˍrˍrai ataint ̣ ¯enˍ ¯e. 52. Appar (1985: 17), 4.15.7: aˍlal ¯ar vaṇṇattu amm¯anˍ ai anˍ pil aṇaittu vaitt¯enˍ ¯e. 53. Appar (1985: 175), 5.63.8: n¯atị nam tamar ¯ayinˍ a toṇtark ̣ ¯al ̣ / ¯atumi ̣ nˍ aˍluminˍ toˍluminˍ atị / p¯atumi ̣ nˍ paramanˍ payilum itam ̣ / ku ¯tumi ̣ nˍ kuraṅ k¯atutu ̣ ˍraiyaiy¯e. 54. Appar (1985: 274–6 and 280–1), 6.37 and 6.40: enˍ ˍru enˍ ˍr¯e n¯anˍ araˍrˍri naikinˍ ˍr¯enˍ ¯e. 55. Appar (1985: 174), 5.63.4: kuraṅ k¯atutu ̣ ˍrai tanˍ il / aṇavanˍ k¯aṇ anˍ pu ceyyum atiyarkk ̣ ¯e. 56. Appar (1985: 171), 5.59.7: anˍ pu ceytu inˍ potum ̣ / vaˍlu il¯a arul ̣ ceytavanˍ m¯aˍrp¯eˍru / toˍla val¯ar tamakku illai tuyaram¯e. 57. For an introduction to classical Tamil poetics, see Hart (1975). 58. P¯etai, typically a girl between the ages of five and seven. 59. Appar (1985: 192), 5.81.3: u ¯cal¯al ̣ allal ̣ oṇ kaˍlal¯al ̣ allal ̣ / n¯ecam ¯am tirupp¯aṇtikko ̣ tumu ̣ tị / ¯ıcanˍ ¯e enˍ um ittanˍ ai allatu / p¯ecum ¯aˍru aˍriy¯al ̣ oru p¯etaiy¯e. 60. See, for example, Akan¯anˍ u ¯ˍru 38, set in a mountain landscape (kuˍriñci), where the poet imagines the return of a male lover: “But if he comes, he’ll see / that



the place is empty where our swing used to be, with its ropes tied to the high / unbending branch of the ceyalai tree with its lovely shoots. . .” Translation by Hart (2015: 47). 61. Appar (1985: 156), 5.45.1: m¯atu iyanˍ ˍru manˍ aikku iru enˍ ˍrakk¯al / n¯ı ti t¯anˍ cola n¯ı enˍ akku ¯ar enˍ um / co ¯ti ¯ar taru to ¯ṇipuravarkku / t¯ati ¯avanˍ n¯anˍ enˍ nˍ um enˍ taiyal¯e. 62. Appar (1985: 156), 5.45.7: to ¯ṇipuravar tam / konˍ ˍrai cu ¯tum ̣ kuˍrippu atu ¯akum¯e. ´ 63. Whereas other early Saiva poets (such as Campantar and Cuntarar) close with references to a poetically self-referential “I.” 64. Appar (1985: 36), 4.34.10: munˍ kai m¯a narampu vetṭ ị munˍ irukku icaikal ̣ p¯atạ / am kai v¯al ̣ arulị nˍ ¯anˍ . 65. Much has been made of the geographic specificity of early Tamil S´aiva poetry— the linking of specific poems to particular towns and temples (see, for example, Peterson 1982)—yet roughly one-third of Appar’s poems have no specific references to place apart from simply naming the town or shrine (Orr 2014: 195). 66. Appar (1985: 4–5), 4.3. 67. Appar (1985: 139), 5.28.5: iˍlukkinˍ vaṇṇaṅ kal ̣ ¯akiya v¯e aˍlal / kuˍlaikkum vaṇṇaṅ kal ̣ ¯akiyum ku ¯tiyum ̣ / maˍlaikkaṇ m¯a mukil ¯akiya vaṇṇamum / aˍlaikkum vaṇṇamum ¯avar aiy¯aˍr¯e. 68. Appar (1985: 111), 5.1.1: anˍ nˍ am p¯alikkum tillai ciˍrˍrampalam / ponˍ nˍ am p¯alikkum m¯elum ippu ¯micai / enˍ nampu ¯alikkum ¯aˍru kaṇtụ inˍ pu uˍra / inˍ nˍ am p¯alikkumo ¯ ippiˍraviy¯e. 69. Appar (1985: 10–11). 70. Appar (1985: 13), 4.11.8: il aka vilakku ̣ atu irul ̣ ketuppatu ̣ /. . .nal aka vilakku ̣ atu . . . 71. Appar (1985: 127–8), 5.17: neru nal kaṇtạ veṇṇiy¯e. 72. Appar (1985: 335–7), 6.74: n¯araiyu ¯r nanˍ nakaril kaṇt¯ẹ nˍ n¯anˍ ¯e. 73. Appar (1985: 20–1), 4.19: n¯anˍ kaṇtatu ̣ ¯aru ¯r¯e. 74. Appar (1985: 4), 4.3.6: taṇ mati kaṇṇiyinˍ ¯anˍ ai taiyal nall¯alọ tum ̣ p¯atị / ul ̣ meli cintaiyanˍ ¯aki uṇar¯a uruk¯a varuv¯enˍ . 75. See, for example, 5.14.6 and 5.64.2. 76. Appar (1985: 190), 5.79.3: uruki naipavar ulḷ am ̣ kulirum ̣ ¯e. 77. Appar (1985: 117), 5.7.4: tunˍ pu el¯am aˍra n¯ıṅ ki cupattar¯ay / enˍ pu el¯am nekku ir¯appakal ¯etti ninˍ ˍru / inˍ par¯ay ninˍ aintu enˍ ˍrum itai ̣ aˍr¯a / anˍ par ¯amavarkku anˍ par ¯aru ¯rar¯e. 78. Appar (1985: 250–1). 79. Appar (1985: 176), 5.65.2: enˍ nˍ anˍ enˍ manˍ ai entai enˍ ¯ar uyir. 80. Appar (1985: 368), 6.95.1: appanˍ n¯ı ammai n¯ı aiyanˍ um n¯ı / anˍ pu utaiya ̣ m¯amanˍ um m¯amiyum n¯ı / oppu utaiya ̣ m¯atarum. . .n¯ı. 81. Appar (1985: 209), 5.97.29: tanˍ nˍ il tanˍ nˍ ai aˍriyum talaimakanˍ / tanˍ nˍ il tanˍ nˍ ai aˍriyil talaippatum ̣ / tanˍ nˍ il tanˍ nˍ ai aˍrivu ilanˍ ¯ayitiḷ / tanˍ nˍ il tanˍ nˍ ai c¯artaˍrku ariyanˍ ¯e.



82. Appar (1985: 201), 5.91.1: enˍ . . .akampatị ko ¯ yil¯anˍ ai. 83. See, for example, Appar (1985: 293–4), 6.48 (avanˍ enˍ manˍ attu ul¯ạ nˍ ¯e) and (1985: 281–2), 6.41 (enˍ neñcu ul¯ạ y¯e). 84. Appar (1985: 286–7), 6.44: tikaˍl oliy ̣ ¯e civanˍ ¯e unˍ apayam n¯anˍ ¯e. 85. Appar (1985: 211), 5.99.4: v¯etam o ¯ til enˍ v¯elvika ̣ l ̣ ceykil enˍ / . . .¯ıcanˍ ai ulkuv ̣ ¯arkku anˍ ˍri illaiy¯e. 86. Appar (1985: 23), 4.21.9: tunˍ pam nummai toˍl¯ata n¯alka ̣ l ̣ enˍ p¯arum / inˍ pam nummai ¯ettum n¯alka ̣ l ̣ enˍ p¯arum. 87. Appar (1985: 13), 4.12.1: ikaˍlv¯anˍ o ¯. 88. Appar (1985: 13), 4.12.2: oˍliv¯anˍ o ¯. 89. Appar (1985: 14), 4.12.8: po ¯k¯ata poˍlutu ulat ̣ o ¯. 90. Appar (1995: 316–8), 6.62: allakaṇtam ̣ koṇtụ atiy ̣ ¯enˍ enˍ ceyk¯enˍ ¯e.


The Emotion that is Correlated with the Comic: Notes on Human Nature Through Rasa Theory1 CHAKRAVARTHI RAM-PRASAD

This chapter outlines my understanding of the patterned emotion (bh¯ava) evoked by the aesthetic essence of the comic (h¯asya rasa), namely “h¯asa,” and applies it to some features of the fifth- to sixth-century text, the P¯adat¯aḍitaka, henceforth, “The Kick,” of S´y¯amilaka. I will first lay out my methodological approach, which is the reading of a philosophical anthropology of emotions from out of the scholarly tradition of aesthetics (rasa ´s¯astra). This will be followed by a closer look at the specific emotion of h¯asa that is correlated with the aesthetic essence of the comic (h¯asya rasa). Taking h¯asa to be a unified term for a range of fine-grained states more specifically named in English, I will suggest that its occurrence should be located in contexts where the subject of emotion is held between feeling a distinct sense of otherness and an often implicit identification with what one takes to be the human object of that emotion. As this chapter is not concerned to explain the nature of humor or offer a theory of laughter, I do not try to 193



say what triggers the emotion of h¯asa and what makes the constituents of its manifestation. Rather than bringing out the causes of h¯asa, I try to sketch out the phenomenological position of the mirthful or amused human being when something turns out to be funny in whatever way it does. Then, after briefly describing the nature of the category of play called the bh¯aṇa under which “The Kick” is placed, I will summarize its narrative. I will go on to examine more closely some characters and events in “The Kick,” in light of what I have said is the situation of the subject of h¯asa. Seeing what is happening to the emotional human being in the face of what is comical might enable us to think a little bit about the nature of the human being as emotional being.

EMOTIONS OUT OF AESTHETICS; OR LOOKING AT RASA SIDEWAYS States that are clearly categorizable under conventional English usage as falling within the formal term “emotions” are, of course, found everywhere in Sanskrit and other classical Indian languages, as Jadunath Sinha’s wellknown compendium amply demonstrates.2 Many kinds of analysis as well as programs of transformation in these Indian traditions involve specific states and dispositions of being that we are able to theorize as emotions. But while acknowledging these many alternative possibilities, in this chapter I want to present an example of a programmatic project that I call, not entirely unseriously, “looking at rasa sideways.” Very briefly, I propose to look at the concept of rasa not as what both the tradition and modern scholarship explicitly treat as a matter of what we can recognize cross-culturally as literary analysis and aesthetics,3 but in terms of what it can tell us about the nature of the human being as a being of emotions that makes literary production and appreciation possible at all. I call this “looking at rasa sideways” because, while the classical and modern discussions of aesthetics become ever more richly layered, I am approaching these discussions at an angle of 180 degrees, trying to make sense of what is going on with the actual emotions adverted to, even as they are deployed within rasa theory itself only as aesthetic expression. (To put the visual metaphor very simply, while the tradition and scholarship look at how the cake looks whole from above, I am looking sideways at the layers in a slice.) Even while the discussions themselves, both within the historical tradition and in contemporary scholarship are not so concerned to thematize the emotions, it is precisely such a thematization, as part of a philosophical anthropology, that I seek to undertake. Everywhere, emotions are presupposed and present in the layers of theoretical discussion of aesthetics and literary criticism.



And since the entire purpose of rasa is to examine artistic production (and I elide here various technical debates about the compass of the arts with which rasa theory is concerned), I hope to apply this rasa-derived understanding of emotions to literary texts in order to elucidate some features of those emotions. While a fully developed account of this approach must wait, I want to offer a few words of clarification about what I aim to do in this chapter. Now, at no time in the tradition of texts that explicitly go back to Bharata’s N¯atya ̣ S´¯astra (c. 300 CE) is there any lack of awareness of the human being as a being of emotion, even if the related treatises on poetics or literary techniques (i.e., alaṃ k¯ara´s¯astra) are less concerned with the consequences of that awareness. The assumption that the human being is a being of emotion is always present in the long history of debate over whether the attainment of an essential aesthetic awareness—“taste,” rasa—is in the organic relationship between elements of a play, the productive genius of the artist, the narrative depth of the literary character, or in the receptive reflexivity of the audience.4 But an important element of this theory of rasa, in the many guises it takes over the centuries, is that it pertains at all times to something called bh¯ava. I propose to start with the widely held convention that in this context bh¯ava is most easily (if not necessarily obviously) translated as “emotion.” The main reason why I do not choose such words as “sentiments,” “passions,” and the like are because they are already located in very particular places in the history of emotions in Western thought (unlike “emotion” which, despite its own specific modern history, has evolved into a formal word that can work for a variety of disciplinary and cultural ends).5 “Feelings” too, does not quite work. It lacks the typological implication of “emotion” when it comes to the way “bh¯ava” is presented in the rasa literature as the term for particular subjective conditions (even though they can commingle). “Feeling” refers most naturally to a welter of physical and other modes of undergoing that are transient, often inchoate and—importantly—the very kinds of experiential reactions that feed into the naming of an emotion. This dynamic fluidity is evident in the range of components given in rasa theory as the determinant aesthetic counterparts of ordinary affects: transitory phenomenal states (vyabhic¯aribh¯avas), responses of the bodily whole (s¯attvikabh¯avas), and stimuli (udd¯ı pana). A larger project will call for an inquiry into these factors and what they contribute to discussions on the relationship between emotions and feelings. For the time being, the translational equivalence between “bh¯ava” and “emotion” is merely stipulative; as with the English word, so too with the Sanskrit, we have to look at the theoretical, literary, or other context of



usage to see what is meant there. So, I am not troubled by the conceptual openness of either word; so long as contextual usage shows sufficient conceptual overlap between the semantic resonances of the pair—as Englishlanguage scholarship has shown over decades—that translation is the starting point of inquiry. A further point should be made about how bh¯ava occurs in the theory of rasa. Strictly speaking, it is true that “bh¯ava” occurs in theoretical considerations about rasa as the primary category of the aesthetic elements. But it occurs in the slippage between life and aesthetics, as Krishnamoorthy says, drawing on Abhinavagupta: “A little analysis is enough to show how the very material of art is furnished by feelings, emotions and sentiments of men and women as they are and as they might be. The actual passions in the world provide no doubt the material for art but are not artistic in themselves. Cittavr tti ̣ s or mental states in life are attended with their pleasures and pains and govern the daily actions of men. When an artist turns to them, he puts them into a pattern. . .It is these patterned mental states obeying the law of imagination, that are called bh¯avas.”6 It seems to me that it is this location of the concept of emotion between life and the aesthetic in the classical Indian tradition that makes it such a rich source for my project. This can go both ways. Sometimes, forgetting the aesthetic context of bh¯ava can lead one to misplace its concerns in comparative context. Pollock makes this point when he says that one way of getting around seeing the listing of bh¯avas as being part of a discussion of whether there is a set of basic emotions is to remember that “the list of eight in the Treatise [the N¯atya ̣ S´¯astra]. . .comprises only those that can actually be communicated in performance.”7 At the same time, bh¯ava as emotion “may have some role to play” in contemporary “literary criticism, philosophical aesthetics, and even social theory,” as well as “cognitive theories of the emotions.”8 While my project lies in none of these, it may be called a hybrid philosophical study of emotions, and bh¯ava in rasa theory seems equally relevant for it. The simplest way of putting what I am saying is that there could not be an aesthetic theory without the presupposition that human beings are beings of emotion: there could not be an evocation of emotions in the arts unless the evocation was an artistic expression of pre-existing emotions, and there could not be an aesthetic reception of artistic expression unless those who receive it possess emotions that equip them for that reception. The economy of aesthetics can function only within the ecology of emotions. This argument for the presupposition of emotions for the very possibility of aesthetics has an important implication for our reading of literary texts, namely, the hermeneutic function of what the theorists call the “real world” (loka). It is technically true that the “real world” for the theoreticians is the



“real world of the play.” But there is a deep reason, I think, why they chose that as the term to distinguish between what is felt there and in the world of the audience: the real world of the play is aesthetically effective (and affective of rasa) in that it presupposes the real world per se, the world of emotions that humans inhabit. There are therefore two divides that have different pertinence for aesthetics. One is that between the real world of the play in which emotions are depicted and the aesthetic world of the audience in which rasa occurs from out of the artistic integration of emotions; the other is that between the real world of emotions and the aesthetic world of rasa. With regard to the latter divide, the real world of the play is psychologically of a piece with the real world of the audience. Consequently, when we are not talking about aesthetics, but about the world in which emotional beings live, to talk of the world of the play is profoundly to talk of the world from which the audience has stepped into the theatre. If I am right, we are able to explore emotion through the world of the text simultaneously with the world from which the audience or reader has stepped into (the performed or read) text. In that way, we arrive at the quite familiar notion of what literature can teach us about emotions, but through a conceptual route learnt from the classical Indian aesthetic tradition itself.

¯ SA9 THE EMOTION CALLED HA What is the emotion, called h¯asa, that is correlated with the rasa of h¯asya (which latter can be called the aesthetic of the comic)? It is whatever unites the continuum we perceive in English from mirth all the way to amusement.10 Emotion words like these are not wrong, but they are partial in rendering the full semantic range of h¯asa. Consequently, I will use these English words when they are appropriate, but often also just “h¯asa” to mean exactly, “that emotion that includes everything from uproarious mirth to mild amusement.” Abhinava makes an interesting claim about the intimate connection between the comic rasa and the emotion, h¯asa with which it is correlated.11 When attraction is the object of that experience called “relishing,” it does not take the form of mere attraction. The determining, foundational factors are not shared with the emotion at the start. But the relishing of h¯asa (i.e., the comic rasa, h¯asya)—since incongruous costume and so on cause h¯asa in the audience in just the same way they do in real life—is of the nature of h¯asa itself; the determining, foundational factors are shared. That is called a rasa [of the comic] through the subsequent savoring of what is intrinsically [the emotion of] h¯asa. —Commentary for NS´ preceding VI. 4912



For our immediate purposes, we do not need to go into Abhinava’s claim that only with attraction and grief is there a restriction through stimulating factors so that they are directed exclusively at the appropriate characters in the play in order to become rasas. This then opens up a divide between (1) the occurrence of these emotions per se, and (2) the qualification, through relevant determining aesthetic factors, of the emotion, so that it is transmuted into a specialized aesthetic savoring of the erotic and tragic respectively, which is quite different from the original emotion from which it arose. Is the aesthetic of all the other emotions simply the second-order awareness of the very factors that caused the correlated emotion in the first place, rather than a highly sensitive transmutation of the emotion into aesthetic savoring? Whatever the view we might take for a larger consideration of the process according to Abhinava, it seems intuitively compelling at any rate that h¯asa and h¯asya have a straightforward, organic connection: what generates the emotion is itself what is present in the subsequent savoring of it as the aesthetic essence of a dramatic moment; the funny gag works in the living room as it does on stage. By contrast, with sexualized attraction and with grief, it is equally clear that what happens in real life is not continuous with what happens in the aesthetic appreciation of the erotic or the tragic. In the latter, particular contributory aesthetic factors restrict the focus of the emotion to the appropriate character in the text.13 Abhinava’s insight allows us to make a relatively easy transition from the determining foundational factors that inform the comic aesthetic to the things in the world that prompt mirth-and-amusement: they are the same. Abhinava associates this ease of transition from worldly emotions to aesthetic appreciation with the vulgarity of h¯asa and other lesser rasas compared to the refinement of the erotic and tragic; but he concedes them a very specific social valence: their phenomenological spread through subjectivity— their “coloring” of the awareness of an audience—is due to cues that are not particularly refined or which require sophisticated taste or cultivated knowledge. Mirth, etc., too are essential because they diffuse colour [through awareness], their aesthetic factors being very easily accessible to everyone. This is why h¯asa, etc., are commonly found in those of inferior nature.14 These aesthetic essences are found in people who react easily and unthinkingly; and “are always amazed by the simplest of nice apothegms” (alpasukhabh¯asiṭ atvena ca sarvatra vismayati). But quite apart from this being an aesthete’s social coding, one might well ask if Sanskrit literature itself adhered to this rule before Abhinava. In any case, we find almost the opposite exhortation in



“The Kick.” At the very beginning, an audience that is implied to be high-class is invited to laugh heartily, for “a merry tale does not dash the hope for heaven” (svarg’¯ayatiṃ na parih¯asakath¯a ruṇaddhi). “So, with a glad heart, the wise should set aside hypocrisy, and just laugh” (tasm¯at prat¯ıtamanas¯a hasitavyam eva | vrtti ̣ ṃ budhena khalu kaurukuc¯ıṃ vih¯aya) (10).15 In the view of the theoreticians—Bharata as much as Abhinava—h¯asa is prompted by inversion (vipar¯ıta) of norms (whether the normative is explicit or implicit). The examples of such inversion, that are held to easily invoke laughter, amply demonstrate othering, for one does not wish to be the people who possess these qualities or behave in these ways. H¯asya is first said to come of a perception of the oddness or incongruity (vikr ta ̣ ) of attire and ornaments. Abhinava spells out the normative background against which this perception occurs: it is what inverts what is settled in place and time and nature (prakr ti ̣ ). What dares to be different for him displays effrontery or audacity (dh¯arsṭ ya ̣ ), which is a lack of shame (nirlajjat¯a). The comic is displayed in inconstancy (laulya), and deception (kuhaka). But worse, it is brought out by a deformity of limbs (aṅ gavigama). The faults that focus the comic according to Bharata also concern fear, and other emotions, in one who is not of a particular nature doing what ought not to be done; but they could include even just incongruous clothes (atat prakr ter ̣ api bhay¯adayaḥ ak¯aryakaraṇ¯adya´sca vikr tave ̣ s¯ạ daya eva v¯a) (commentary on NS´ VI. 49–50; p. 321, p. 308). It is a bleak catalog of Otherness, in its way truthful in its cold-eyed observation of what people in most cultures and times have found appropriate to laugh about. As theoretical determination of what the dramatists and poets have represented as making people laugh in the world of the story—and therefore indicating what it is that people in the real world begin with finding funny—it is not wrong, but perhaps incomplete. But the core insight into the role of inversion (and if we read between the lines, of subversion) remains with us to this day.16 Persona and narrative contexts in fact influence the comic in actual literature, and change what we may think about the emotion of h¯asa itself from this deterministic theoretical starting-point. So we find that this Othering, simple if also “sinister,”17 is not the only aspect of the comic in the play. I want to argue that the comic is a more complex situation, and implicitly, therefore also the emotion of h¯asa. What qualifies the object of laughter is the power, whether we identify it as social, psychological or even metaphysical that inflects Otherness. (For example, with regard to metaphysical power, the laughter around Ganẹ ´sa is obviously to do with all the features and behavior that Hindus have found funny being integral to his divine power.18) This thought about power will inform my analysis of key figures and features in “The Kick.”



Although there is another complex and contested history about what Bharata means when he divides the comic into “centered on self ” (¯atmastha) and “centered on the other” (parastha) (prose text for VI. 49; p. 321, p. 307), I want to make a relatively quick point that has a bearing on the structure of “The Kick”: one way of reading this is as a distinction between where the character whose h¯asa regarding others is (1) opaque, and where it is (2) transparent. By opacity, I mean that the persona of that character is the primary focus of our attention, and we cannot look through him but must make him the focus of attention. We must understand him and his nature in order to make sense of what it is to laugh or smile with him about whatever it is that is the point of his own h¯asa. In short, the comic is evoked by his own h¯asa, his own expressive laughter. The typical character is the vidu ¯saka ̣ , the clown-companion of the hero.19 By contrast, a character is transparent if we see through him to what is the point of his h¯asa, while his own persona and motivation, in sum, his narrativized nature is not relevant to what prompts the comic; this is the narrator in his persona as the hedonistic rogue (su ¯tradh¯ara-as-vitạ ) in “The Kick.” Here, the comic is created through the character’s amusement regarding other characters. I look at the latter, for he literally offers a more direct route to the examination of the emotion, since our perspective is his perspective, psychologically speaking: the audience looks through him to the figure who provokes humor. And it is perhaps here that the line between the aesthetic and the emotion becomes hardest to sustain, as Abhinava explains (convincingly to my mind). In h¯asya-h¯asa, we are suspended between being alienated from and identifying with those who configure the h¯asa emotion. And at each pole, we find both the phenomenal feel that one undergoes in that emotion (that “feel” that is theorized aesthetically as anubh¯avas) but also the presence of social normativity (aucitya). So, the occurrence of the comic aesthetic points to—and is an example of—the ecology of affect and normativity within which we find “human nature.” The rest of this chapter is about some of the things we can learn about human nature from looking at what goes on in the evocation of the comic aesthetic in “The Kick”; and through it, at what can be said about h¯asa as it is depicted in the play and (what is implied about it) in the audience.

THE TEXT The P¯adat¯aḍitaka by S´y¯amilaka is a bh¯aṇa, which the translators of this and three other similar texts (the so-called “caturbh¯aṇ¯ı ”), Csaba Dezso ˝ and Somadeva Vasudeva, enterprisingly call a “causerie.” This category of



composition is defined in the N¯atya ̣ S´¯astra itself, and quoted in the 20 21 Introduction to the collection. The Causerie has many parts but it is performed by a single actor who narrates his own experiences and also recounts what has happened to others. The speech of others is performed by the actor himself with replies, dialogues, speaking to others as if they were present (lit. “speaking to people in empty space”), gestures and mime. Experts should by all means introduce rogues and pimps into it, make it contain various situations and a single act, and make it eventful. “The Kick” conforms totally to this definition. The narrator meets a man who tells him how one Taunḍ ̣ ikoki Visṇ un ̣ ¯aga, upon receiving a kick—acknowledged as legitimate within love-play—from the courtesan Madanasenik¯a, foolishly and ignorantly took it as an insult. The narrator hears how the angry upper-class fool—rejecting the tearful apologies of the now-horrified woman—demanded from the council (parisad ̣ ) of brahmins learned in the Vedas an appropriate propitiatory ritual (pr¯aya´scitta). They, stifling their laughter, in mock-seriousness said they could not find anything appropriate in all the sacred texts, and that he should go to a meeting of the council of cultured, dissolute hedonists (vitạ ; on this word, I deviate from the translators’ choice, which is “pimp,” because it seems to me to carry implications of procurement that are not necessarily tied to it). The narrator is told that he has been tasked to convene such a council. He agrees and embarks on a mini-picaresque through the courtesans’ quarter of the great city of Ujjain, meeting both women and men involved in the business and pleasure of sex. Broadly, there are three sources of entertainment here: (1) the cosmopolitan range of courtesans and customers, described with a gimlet anthropological eye; (2) men caught by the narrator trying to escape being detected by him, thereby manifesting their hypocrisy; and (3) stories of wild sex recounted by men or of misbehaving men recounted by women to the narrator. Finally, the council is assembled and the foolish Visṇ un ̣ ¯aga puts his case again, to be met with a variety of mocking suggestions (almost all obliquely sympathetic to the hapless Madanasenik¯a), whose stylish exaltation of sexplay he predictably fails to understand. Finally, the principal member of this surreal council, Bhatṭ ị J¯ımu ¯ta says that the propitiation should take the double form of Visṇ un ̣ ¯aga not only forswearing sex for a long time, but watching Madanasenik¯a kick J¯ı mu ¯ta’s head instead. The silly man is satisfied with this decision, and life in this quarter returns to a great festival (mahotsava) of intercourse (saṃ gama) between rogues and courtesans.



The attraction of otherness: the ḍiṇḍin, figure of chaos A particularly sharp focus of humor in “The Kick” is the ḍiṇḍin, a figure who demonstrates the complexity of what constitutes the object of the comic rasa and what that implies for the emotion of h¯asa. The translators pick up the possibility that the figure might likely have a historical connection with the P¯a´supata worshippers of S´iva (by virtue of Ḍinḍ ̣ i being a site of S´iva worship in various sources), while also noting that the term is used for those who subvert social order and sow chaos through their ways of living.22 In “The Kick,” dị ṇḍins are neither to be condemned nor simply accepted, but they provide laughter in the play. The translators choose “cynic” for “ḍiṇḍin,” and seek to ground it in the connection with the P¯a´supatas, before drawing on the comparability between the sect and the Greek Cynics explored by Daniel Ingalls.23 However, as they also admit, the term appears to be applied more generally to those with “a loose tongue and a liking for eccentric behaviour.”24 It is interesting that S´y¯amilaka is himself called both an esteemed man (“genteel,” ¯arya),25 but also a mischief-making poet (“cynic mendicant poet,” ḍiṇḍi-kavi), the “bald Shy¯amilaka, the rogues’ bard” (dhu ¯rtac¯akrikaḥ khalati´sy¯amilako), whose baldness the translators argue might imply the shaven-head of the P¯a´supatas (it is certainly intriguing otherwise as to why baldness—even with a certain implication of being funny—should be mentioned here).26 The figure of the ḍiṇḍin—as someone who flouts ordinary civic norms, not arbitrarily but as a deliberate way of life—is a lens for the comic in “The Kick.” The freedom with which he acts—apparently at random, but perhaps for a hidden, structured, reason—is expressed by the narrator in different registers of amusement, whether befuddled, admiring or condemnatory. But that wry amusement is clearly meant to arouse amusement, and contribute to an aesthetic of the comic (i.e., h¯asya). The figure of the ḍiṇḍin as a means for the evocation of the aesthetic of h¯asya helps us think of how the treatment of the emotion of h¯asa serves to bring out that aspect of human nature by which we oscillate between othering that alienates and othering that goes with the yearning for identification. Since what others and what we yearn for are formed by the norms that we grow up with and that determine our conception of our own telos, the very sense of self that is expressed in h¯asa and is aestheticized in h¯asya is shown to be ecologically situated in a subjective locus of feeling and sociality. I will consider two examples of this type of character. One is Bhatṭ ị Makhavarman, who is said to be from the western Indian region of Lata. ̣ The core tension comes from the narrator finding him having had sex with



Puspad ̣ ¯asi (“The Servant of the Flower,” whose name is chosen for no other reason than that the word for flower can also mean menstrual fluid) during her period, which the narrator—at once hedonist and arbiter of norms— cannot consider “respectable” (¯arya; 129). The narrator mocks and yet grudgingly admires the man, who exemplifies a “L¯atạ cynic,” for like others from that land, he Always bathes naked in public, washes his clothes himself, musses up his hair, goes to bed without washing his feet, eats anything, wears a torn garment even when he walks on the street. And, once a L¯atạ has brutally hit one’s weak point he boasts for a long time. —11227 Then follows a conversation in which it transpires that the man has not been duped by the courtesan but has gladly gone to her. “I’ve been favoured,” he says, and describes lovemaking with the recognizable tropes of the erotic, all the while leaving the narrator, on behalf of the audience, well aware that a sexual norm has been flouted by both lovers. When he is told that he should be an object of loathing for the civilized, the L¯atạ appeals grandiosely to the Mah¯abh¯arata, saying that it teaches that He who does not have many enemies, whom people do not fear, who they do not unite to censure: that man, O P¯artha, is the vilest human being. —13028 Dezso ˝ and Vasudeva helpfully suggest that this must be a parody of G¯ı t¯a 12.15: “Whom people do not fear and who does not fear people, who is free from lust, dread and agitation: that man is dear to me.”29 This bravado is met with an ambivalent response: Oh, this is exactly what is called cynicism. Nevertheless, well done, sir, I’m impressed by your cynicism. By all means, you deserve to have supreme sway over hedonists.30



Something similar happens when the narrator encounters a man scrawling graffiti on the banner of a temple (167). This man too is called a ḍiṇḍin; and where Makhavarman was compared to a “goblin” (pi´s¯aca), this one is compared to a monkey (v¯anara). It then turns out that the vandal has actually written his own name, “Nirapeksa,” ̣ the name of the profound classical panIndian spiritual attitude of indifference or disinterestedness, wittily translated as “Blasé” (169). He has crushed the narrator’s woman friend, R¯adhik¯a with his indifference, despite her being a woman of supreme beauty; for this poor creature, Whose line of abdominal hair is rippled by the three folds above her navel, holds at the same time three things in three ways: tears on her eyelashes with thick black curved tips, her face on her hands, their bracelets washed by tears, and deep sorrow in her heart.31 —170 The audience begins to suspect the implication of that bravura use of threeness.32 The religious identity of the “Venerable” (bhagav¯an) Blasé is soon revealed with an ironic invocation of his qualities of compassion (karuṇa) and loving-kindness (maitr¯ı). If he practices the manifestation of these qualities, then why does he ignore this woman “who feels altruistic joy” for him? When Blasé invokes the Buddha by shrugging, “that is the way things are” (¯ı dr´ṣ aḥ saṃ s¯aradharma), the narrator asks: wait, the teachings apply to her but not to you? Blasé protests that the Buddha’s teachings apply to him too. The narrator then picturesquely describes his besotted friend as an exhausted deer, its heart pierced by an arrow; and asks, don’t you recall that the Tath¯agata was once a deer in the same condition (175)? So, would it not be un-Buddhist of him to ignore R¯adhik¯a’s plight? Blasé replies enigmatically, “The Tath¯agata’s teachings must never be questioned. Theory is one thing, human nature is another thing. I am not without passion.”33 And when asked to rescue the lady from her ocean of grief (´sokas¯agara), he promises, again enigmatically, “As you command, my friend. I pay my respects, may I be released now?”34 To which the narrator replies equally ambiguously, “Release (moksạ ) is hardly attainable for you; still take this blessing.” In both these examples, h¯asa is generated within the world of the play by the way the narrator cues his attitude towards the character, which is a balance of wry respect and weary indignation; and outside, in the theatre, in



the real world, by the odd clash between the outsider status and anomalous behavior of the characters, and their insolent capacity to nonetheless possess qualities that S´y¯amilaka clearly expects will grudgingly be acknowledged as desirable. In a world of vivid diversity of cultures and doctrines, where powerful hegemonic paradigms have high social value without necessarily the institutional means to wipe out diversity, people would have had a welldeveloped sense of transgression but also profound ambivalence towards the values conveyed by such transgression. S´y¯amilaka’s audience would have located Makhavarman and Nirapeksạ as marked outsiders to a certain value system that they implicitly shared; they would have found it provocative that the characters behaved as they did, whether it was consistent with or flouted their own values; and yet they would have been attracted to the chaotic mischief and self-confidence the two (along with others met in the course of the mini-picaresque) showed in their behavior. This kind of a world, in which regimes of cultural control struggle with irreducible alterity and a plethora of desirable values, much more resembles our postmodern global condition than perhaps many historical-cultural contexts in which the comic was formulated as a specific literary mood. Consequently, the emotion from which it derives and to which it is directed, h¯asa, is well worth considering out of its own context even if, of course, not all its particular values may cohere with a certain contemporary liberal sensibility. (But perhaps less incoherently than what counted as comedic in Western television a generation ago, let alone early modern notions elsewhere in the world, including India.) What I suggest, then, is that h¯asa is an emotion that occurs where a sharp sense of otherness and a desire for some sort of identity with the other are held in dynamic tension during events that we find funny. (Recall that I am not here trying to delineate a theory of humor or even laughter.) The human being who is mirthful or amused is a being located within a dynamic and pluralistic set of affects, which cannot easily be declinable into private phenomenology or social construction.

THE OTHERNESS OF THE UPPER-CLASS MALE: THE ANTI-HERO AS FOCUS OF THE COMIC The ḍiṇḍin showed how the figure ostensibly presented as the exemplary figure of fun turned out to have desirable qualities, thereby indicating that the emotion of h¯asa is not simply about mockery of the Other but a simultaneous entertainment of alterity and attraction, the whole configured through the dynamic between feeling and normativity. But the Bharatan dictum on the otherness of the comic object can be complexified in the



opposite way as well. In “The Kick,” the person we are invited to laugh at, Taunḍ ̣ ikoki Visṇ un ̣ ¯aga is the son of a high official (mah¯amatraputra), “authorized to issue royal writs” (r¯ajñaḥ ´s¯asan¯adhikr ta ̣ ) (28). When we look at passages from the story, we find both within the story-world and in how we are invited to see the characters’ behavior toward Visṇ un ̣ ¯aga, some indication of how failure of the high-born male to behave knowledgeably structures amusement as an emotion. Here, we find that h¯asa also has to do with the wobbliness of power: the emotion occurs when the one who is supposed to be like “us” devolves into behavior that others him. The primary manifestation of the comic is said to be through imitation of the erotic (´sr ṇ ̇ g¯ar¯anukr ty ̣ ¯a tu sa h¯asya iti saṃ jñitaḥ; NS´ VI.40a),35 and that adherence to this dictum provides the framework for the story, as we glimpsed in the outline. The narrator and his friend Dadrunam ̣ ¯adhava, agree that Madanasenik¯a “blessed the head of honourable Taunḍ ̣ ikoki Visṇ un ̣ ¯aga with her lotus-foot” (bhav¯aṃ s tauṇdikokir ̣ visṇ̣ un¯aga´s caraṇakamalena ´sirasyanugr ḥ ¯ı ta; 21). He, however, angrily, ridiculously, asks how dare she put her foot on a head whose top-knot had been tied by his mother’s ritually pure hands, a head that his father had kissed, and so on (24). The framing of the kick by the narrator and his friend already sets up the comic idiocy of Vaisṇ un ̣ ¯aga, but we are immediately made aware that there is something more complicated about emotion within the world of the story. On seeing his anger, Madanasenik¯a does not laugh. Far from it, perspiring in fear, she abases herself and asks for forgiveness (25–7). When he carries on, the “poor wretch” (tapasvin¯ı) cowers and cries (29–30). (It is Dadrunam ̣ ¯adhava who consoles her, saying she was perfectly right to kick him in sex-play.) This is an important psychological detail: we should not let the mockery of Visṇ un ̣ ¯aga have us forget that he is a man of power and standing, capable of striking fear in the powerless. Madanasenik¯a is not amused, for quite the opposite reason to the Empress who made that phrase famous. By contrast, those in whom h¯asa is seen to be felt towards the high-born fool are other high-born men who are not fools. So, the otherness of foolishness occurs only as the oscillation from the presumed sense of identity they feel for a man similar to them. Repeatedly and intriguingly, their mockery of him not only goes with but indeed folds into itself sympathy for Madanasenik¯a. It scarcely needs saying she is that virtually immutable Other of the sexual political economy that is prostitution. But from out of that very acknowledgement, we may note a recognition of the courtesan as a particular human being with her own norms that is certainly not found in other genres in Sanskrit literature (not to mention in other cultures of thought). So, the



point is not that the high-status men question asymmetrical norms of gender, but the opposite: precisely because the courtesan is an Other (a peculiarly intimate one), it is striking that their mirth distances one of their own via a hyperbolic sympathy for the Other. Whereas the semblance of the erotic drives the comic, we have here also the comic having as a counter-mood a certain pathos and a certain sympathy (anukampana). When Visṇ un ̣ ¯aga makes his bombastic and utterly unreflexive plea to the council of brahmins, they tell each other, “this man is an ox,” “he is mad,” “he must be the goblin of sensuality” (k¯amapi´s¯aca) (38). But also, “Others pitied that woman, saying, ‘She must’ve committed a sin’ ” (dusḳ r tak ̣ ¯ariṇ), that is to say, for having had this man for her lover. The council of hedonists (“gentle-rogues” (dhu ¯rtami´sr¯aḥ), as the narrator addresses them (324)) are far more florid in their expression of this double-sided sentiment. One of them, for example, has this to say: The blame lies with that woman alone, not with this gentleman, since she failed to establish his capacity for love. . . She unwittingly planted her foot on the head of a brute— a foot which makes the a´soka tree blossom out of season by its touch and in which K¯ama himself dwells with his bow strung— surely it is the careless woman who must be penitent for a very long time. —34336 The fine irony in this judgment is balanced out with a brutal addition by the narrator: Well spoken, sir. For She has accompanied a donkey on the lute, sung paeans in praise of a monkey, she has adulterated mango-juice with boiled buffalo-milk. —334–537 A rogue named Bhavak¯ırti, no gentle soul (his reputation was sealed after having sex with an old mendicant woman (359)) gives full rein to the fantasy of inversion, which nevertheless has the function of mocking Visṇ un ̣ ¯aga through Madanasenik¯a:



Let her bind him with her girdle and drag him by his hair; then let him massage her feet while she sleeps. —36038 As the suggestions for expatiation become ever more cutting, the inversion of power roles in sex-play becomes evidently the inversion of the erotic into the comic. And with it, we see that class- and gender-identity with Visṇ un ̣ ¯aga oscillates out into a distanciation that expresses itself through lavish erotic compliments to Madanasenik¯a: “Let his head be cleansed with the water she washed her feet in” (373) says Gupta Roma´sa. Mahe´svaradatta, learned in the three Vedas, disagrees: “He is not worthy of even drinking her footwater” (375). And finally, we have the solution by the chair of the council, from the most eminent of the voluptuaries, Bhatṭ ị J¯ı muta, that we have already seen hilariously satisfy the idiot complainant: Visnun ̣ ¯aga must remain unshorn and celibate for a long time, and moreover, should look on J¯ı mu ¯ta being kicked on his head by the young woman in question, Madanasenik¯a (380–3).

¯ SA: UNDERSTANDING HA LESSONS FROM “THE KICK” The emotion of the hedonists of the council, and the narrator who convenes them, is the emotion that we are trying to understand in terms of ordinary human emotions, for the story-world says something essential about the world itself. It is notable that the theoreticians from the N¯atya S´¯astra onwards delineate the comic as vulgar, locate the occurrence of mirth in those of low social status, and stipulate the triggers of this aesthetic in various devices of Othering, even while actual literary creations like “The Kick” (coming under a genre explicitly acknowledged by the authoritative text) present the comic as an appropriate aesthetic of the learned, and mirth as directed towards high-born men. “The Kick” shows the range of the emotion of h¯asa to function by holding together Othering and identification. I would suggest that the range of h¯asa, which makes it difficult to be translated by a single word, is due to this emotion varying subtly according to how close or how far, how powerful or powerless, how drawn to or repulsed, how directly or indirectly, how subtly or crudely we meet its object. And since every one of these determinations is both something we feel and something that is configured by norms, we would be hard-pressed to delineate an emotion as private or social. But the theoretical defense of



this position must wait for a more sustained undertaking; this chapter has tried more to show than tell how in the case of the h¯asa emotion, the percolation between one’s apparently inner inclinations and the judgments of those around us must be understood as a whole, in their varying and specific contexts. H¯asa is both an uncontrollable feeling and a structuration of our subjectivity within social norms.

CONCLUDING THEORETICAL CONSIDERATIONS: ¯ VA AND RASA BETWEEN BHA The aesthetic essence of its display in drama and literature, the h¯asya rasa, is only analytically distinct from h¯asa; phenomenologically, the emotion that is represented in word and action is immediately felt by the reader or audience, making no further demands on their aesthetic qualifications. This is because the emotion in the story-world is directly recognizable, and felt, as the emotion in the “real” world of the audience. For this reason, it is a somewhat easier task to theorize about the nature of the emotion involved from looking at a work that is meant to evoke appreciation of the aesthetic essence with which that emotion is correlated. Abhinava argues that complex relationships exist between certain emotions that are meant to be conveyed in a work and the aesthetic essence that is to be enjoyed by the reader or audience. The depiction of sexual-romantic love (rati) in a work cannot possibly be directly evocative of the same emotion in the reader or audience, for what goes on between two characters is not what the audience feels for one of the characters. Instead, a much more sophisticated orientation is required on the part of an audience, a mediation between what they know of their own emotional capacity to and experience of love, and what they see of what the characters undergo, before they are able to savor the erotic aesthetic (´srṇ̣ g¯ara). If we follow Abhinava when constructing a philosophical anthropology of emotions, if we try to understand what love means by reading works that aim at the erotic aesthetic, we have to do a good deal more to figure out how the aesthetic teleology of the erotic relates to love than when we try to understand mirth or amusement by reading what aims at the comic aesthetic. When exploring the nature of emotions within the framework of the bh¯ava-rasa theoretical apparatus, we have to pay close attention to the correlation between any specific aesthetic and its correlated depictable emotion. That larger task remains for another day.

NOTES 1. In memory of my teacher, K. Krishnamoorthy: too little, too late. 2. Sinha 1986.



3. Pollock 2016: 1 begins exactly with the requisite cross-cultural question, “What was ‘aesthetics’ in Classical India?” We do not necessarily need to agree with every point of the historicization of a cluster of concepts that constitutes his answer in order to agree that there is an area of culture in classical India that cannot but be understood as the aesthetic. 4. This history is summarized, not without contentious points, in Pollock 2016: 5–45. 5. Frevert et al. 2014. 6. Krishnamoorthy 1979: 11. 7. Pollock 2016: 8. 8. Pollock 2016: 45. 9. For a complex, involuted but insightful theorization of “humor” in Abhinava see Visuvalingam n.d., his perhaps unjustly neglected 1982 thesis; I have found his thesis interesting, without necessarily drawing from its particular orientation and concerns. 10. Jadunath Sinha in fact has the translation as “mirth or amusement”; Sinha 1986: 298. 11. Page numbers from N¯atya ̣ ´s¯astra Ghosh 2010 and Ramaswami Shastri 2011 [1956]. Translation of Abhinava mine. My thanks to Sthaneshwar Timalsina for discussing this section with me. 12. ratir¯asv¯adan¯akhyam prat¯ıtiṃ vidadh¯an¯a na t¯aṃ ratiru ¯p¯ameva vidhatte | pramukhe vibh¯av¯adau as¯adh¯araṇy¯at | h¯ase tu ya ¯asv¯adaḥ so’pi vikr tave ̣ s¯ạ d¯ın¯am s¯am¯ajik¯anprati lokavr ttena ̣ h¯asahetuteti vibh¯avas¯adh¯araṇyadv¯areṇa tadekasvabh¯ava eveti h¯as¯atmakarasan¯akhyacarvaṇ¯acarvaṇ¯ıyatv¯acc¯asya | p. 321, p. 306. 13. The appreciation of the tragedy of the death of a character’s beloved is clearly not the same as the experience of grief at the death of someone the spectator has loved. So too, technically with attraction (rati) and the erotic (´sr ṇ ̇ g¯ara). I say “technically,” because one may conflate the two in that confusion which afflicts fans of movie stars, but this psychological reality is blocked in aesthetic theory by the fan’s aesthetic response to the star on the screen being only a “semblance” (¯abh¯asa) of the erotic. Again, we have no space here to explore the salience of the notion of semblance to the project of developing an account of emotions from rasa theory. 14. h¯as¯ad¯ı n¯aṃ tu s¯ati´sayaṃ sakalalokasulabhavibh¯avatayoparañjikatvamiti pr¯adh¯anyam. ata ev¯anuttamaprakr ti ̣ sụ b¯ahulyena h¯as¯adayo bhavanti. p. 297, p. 276. 15. A note on “kaurukuc¯ı ṃ”: the translators have it as “hypocrisy.” This is a telling way of capturing the term, which seems to mean, literally, “rice-and-frown,” i.e., someone who pretends to be displeased even while accepting food. The question of who laughs is an ancient one, loaded with social agonism. 16. Seizer 2005, which looks at stigma and sexual norms in modern Tamil street theater (“speshal n¯atakam” ̣ to use the hybrid Anglo-Tamil word; p. 29), shows how comedy always partakes of the nature of inversion, subversion, and ambivalence.



17. Hogan 2011. Hogan talks of the “sinister aspect of mirth,” involving “outgroups and comic scape goats”: 172. 18. Siegel 1987: 3–4. Seigel’s book, although he has only a little to say about rasa, is the most sustained and wide-ranging, if highly idiosyncratic exploration of the comic, which he bifurcates into humor and satire. 19. Shulman 1985 has become a classic study of this character. Visuvalingam 1983, also has many systematic things to say about the vidu ¯saka ̣ in light of Abhinava. 20. Deszo ˝ and Vasudeva 2009: xv. 21. A later text, the Da´saru ¯pa of Dhanaṃjaya, paraphrases the same passage: “The Bh¯aṇa (Monologue) [is a kind of drama] in which a single clever and shrewd parasite describes roguish exploits engaged in by himself or by someone else. He is to make remarks conveying information, as well as replies [to imaginary remarks], by means of Conversations with Imaginary Persons (¯ak¯a´sabh¯asita ̣ ); and he should indicate the Heroic and Erotic Sentiments by means of descriptions of prowess and of beauty. Generally the Eloquent Style [is employed]; the subject, which is invented [by the author] is treated in a single Act. [The Bh¯aṇa has two Junctures], the Opening (mukha) and the Conclusion (nirvahaṇa), with their subdivisions, and also the ten subdivisions of the Gentle Dance (l¯asya).” (3.53) bh¯aṇas tu dhu ¯rtacaritaṃ sv¯anubhu ¯taṃ pareṇa v¯a yatropavarṇayed eko nipuṇaḥ paṇdito ̣ vitạ ḥ sambodhanoktipratyukt¯ı kury¯ad¯ak¯a´sabh¯asitai ̣ ḥ su ¯cayed v¯ıra´sr ṇ ̇ g¯arau ´sauryasaubh¯agyasaṃstavaiḥ bhu ¯yas¯a bh¯arat¯ı vr ttirek ̣ ¯aṅ kaṃ vastu kalpitam mukhanirvahaṇe s¯aṅ ge l¯asy¯aṅ g¯ani da´s¯api ca: 98. 22. Deszo ˝ and Vasudeva 2009: xxiii–xxv. 23. Ingalls 1962. 24. Deszo ˝ and Vasudeva 2009: xxv. 25. Paragraph 5. Numbering is of the paragraph, according to the Sanskrit text in the translation. Text is from Somadeva Vasudeva on the Göttingen Register of Electronic Texts in Indian Languages (GRETIL). I have generally given the Deszo ˝ and Vasudeva translation; the places I have deviated are rare enough that I have not indicated them. 26. Endnote to 8: 418. 27.

nagnaḥ sn¯ati mah¯ajane ‘mbhasi sad¯a nenekti v¯asaḥ svayaṃ ke´s¯an ¯akulayaty adhautacaraṇaḥ ´sayy¯aṃ sam¯akr¯amati yat tad bhaksayati ̣ vrajann api path¯a dhatte patạ ṃ p¯atita ̣ ṃ chidre c¯api sakr ṭ prahr tya ̣ sahas¯a l¯atạ ´s ciraṃ katthate


yasy¯amitr¯a na bahavo yasm¯an nodvijate janaḥ yaṃ sametya na nindanti sa p¯artha purus¯ạ dhamaḥ iti

29. Note to 130: 425. 30. ho, etat khalu ḍiṇditva ̣ ṃ n¯ama tath¯api—s¯adhu bhoḥ, pr¯ıto ‘smi bhavato ‘nena dị ṇditvena ̣ sarvath¯a vitẹ sṿ ¯adhir¯ajyam arhasi ayam 31.

netr¯ambu paksmabhir ̣ ar¯alaghan¯asit¯agrair



netr¯ambudhautavalayena kareṇa vaktram ´sokaṃ guruṃ ca hr dayena ̣ samaṃ bibharti tr¯ı ṇi tridh¯a trivalijihmitaromar¯ajiḥ 32. The translators suggest that the verse mocks the four Buddhist brahmavih¯aras on account of the qualities then ascribed ironically to the monk; but more simply, it must be a play on the three Buddhist truths of impermanence, non-self and suffering (anitya, an¯atman, and duḥkha). 33. na khalu tath¯agata´s¯asanaṃ ´saṅ kitavyam. anyaddhi ´s¯astram, any¯a purusaprak ̣ r tir, ̣ na vayaṃ v¯ı tar¯ag¯a 34. yad ¯ajñ¯apayati vayasyo ‘yam añjaliḥ s¯adhu mucyeyam 35. Abhinava expands this to say the imitation of any rasa, including the comic itself, results in the comic; but this is a development too far to pursue in the space available here. 36. a´sokaṃ spar´sena drumam asamaye puspayati ̣ yaḥ / svayaṃ yasmin k¯amo vitata´sarac¯apo nivasati / sa p¯ado vinyastaḥ pa´su´sirasi moh¯ad iva yay¯a / nanu pr¯aya´scittaṃ caratu suciraṃ saiva capal¯a 37. samyag ¯aha bhav¯an tath¯a hi. upav¯ı ṇita esạ gardabhaḥ / samupa´slokita esạ v¯anaraḥ / payasi ´sr ta ̣ esạ m¯ahisẹ / sahak¯arasya raso nip¯atitaḥ 38. badhyat¯aṃ mekhal¯ad¯amn¯a / sam¯akr ṣ ya ̣ kacagrahaiḥ / atha tasy¯aḥ prasupt¯ay¯aḥ / p¯adau saṃv¯ahayatv ayam


Is there a Ca˙nkam Way of Feeling? Body, Landscape, Voice, and Affect in Old Tamil Poetry MARTHA ANN SELBY

How do Old Tamil poems express meaning? Aside from the more formal mechanics of poetic construction, what are their processes for conveying emotional content? How do we feel our way through a Tamil poem? These are questions that I have been asking myself for thirty-five years now, and in many ways, this chapter represents an archaeology of my own thinking. There are no simple answers to these questions. Old Tamil poems express meaning differently across all eight canonical anthologies, and authors rely on various techniques to participate in emotional world-building. The highly symbolic, mannered poems of Ai˙nkurunu ¯ ru, for instance, the anthology that I know best, are heavily reliant upon the mechanism of ulḷ ụ rai uvamam or “implied metaphor,” and the whole text reads like a kind of opera of meeting, parting, and meeting again. But then, there is Kuruntokai, a text that employs this same mechanism in many of its poems, but equally as many poems do not rely on ulḷ ụ rai uvamam at all in their techniques of meaning-making, and some even appear to ignore tiṇai conventions all together, probably the most famous “marker” of Old 213



Tamil poetry and what makes it distinct from other systems of South Asian poetic convention in the early classical period. Below, I will provide two meditations on how ca˙nkam poems “express meaning,” with particular attention paid to the ways in which we should feel our way through them, both from within the world of ca˙nkam convention (reading poems “from the ground up”), and from somewhat of a remove from that world from the standpoint of uri, or “emotional element,” as the only phenomenon driving our receptive feelings as readers (or reading poems “from the top down”). Many poems challenge us to build contexts for them, and in many ways, sensitive readers become just as important as authors in the creation of emotive worlds. We build poems along with authors as we read them. We must rely on our own imaginations as we begin with a “feeling” and end with the specifics of style and content. But first, I must include a few necessary words about Kuruntokai.

THE TEXT Kuruntokai, literally “A Collection of Short [Poems],” is an anthology— tokai—of akam or “love” poems from the early centuries of the Common Era. The text consists of 401 short poems, plus an invocatory stanza composed by Perunte¯van¯ar who, according to Kamil Zvelebil, belonged to the mid-eighth or ninth century.1 Unlike some of the other anthologies— Ai˙nkurunu ¯ru or Akana¯nu ¯ru, for instance—there is no apparent organizing principle at work within the collection. As John Ralston Marr has noted, “No particular sequence is followed. . .[and] no tendency to grouping the poems of any one poet together is noticeable. Poems appropriate to any one tiṇai (‘landscape’) are not grouped together.”2 Except for two nine-line poems (numbers 307 and 391), the individual poems range in length from four to eight lines. Many poems are set in one of the five landscapes of reciprocal love, a genre first described by the Tolka¯ppiyam, the earliest extant work on Tamil phonology, grammar, and poetics. According to Kuruntokai’s colophon, the text was compiled by Pu ¯ rikko¯—possibly a king, but most likely a chieftain—about whom nothing is known, but we do know that he had exquisite taste in poetry. There is no information about a patron who might have commissioned the anthology. Kuruntokai contains the work of 205 poets. Some of the poems are anonymous, but we know from Eva Wilden’s 2006 study of the text that eighteen poets were native to Madurai.3 According to tradition, the great medieval exegetes Pe¯r¯aciriyar and Naccin¯arkkiniyar wrote commentaries on the text, but neither is extant, to our great loss. Kuruntokai is traditionally counted as one among the eight anthologies of classical Tamil verse, usually designated as ca˙nkam poetry, poetry of the “academy.” The publishing history of this text is quite brief, as it is for all



ca˙nkam texts. Tamil savant U. Ve¯. C¯amin¯ataiyar (1855–1942) rescued the Tamil anthologies from obscurity when he found them, in palm-leaf manuscript form, bundled in a basket in a corner of a South Indian S´aiva monastery in the late nineteenth century. C¯amin¯ataiyar was not the first scholar to publish a printed edition of the text, however. That honor went to T.C. Arankac¯ami Ayyank¯ar, who published an edition in 1915. According to Wilden (2010), other editions were made by Ir¯amarattina Aiyar (1930) and Aruṇ¯acala Te¯cikar (1933).4 C¯amin¯ataiyar’s edition with his own full commentary appeared in 1937, was reprinted in 1947, and again in 1955. It continues to be the standard edition of the text to this day. Shanmugam Pillai published an edition of the text with his own commentary in 1985 (but it has been deemed “unreliable” by Wilden).5 Eva Wilden’s own three-volume critical edition of the text appeared in 2010, but she used C¯amin¯ataiyar’s edition as the “matrix text” for her own edition. As she herself admits, the C¯amin¯ataiyar edition is “careful and all in all remarkable.” Wilden has emended C¯amin¯ataiyar’s text in eighteen cases. Kuruntokai’s first verse, Perunte¯van¯ar’s invocation, dedicates the work to Murukan, the Tamil god of youth, beauty, and war. Many of the 401 poems that follow are like those that we encounter in Ai˙nkurunu ¯ru in that they are brief, image-driven vignettes that are tied closely to the technique known as ulḷ ụ rai uvamam or “implied metaphor,” well-illustrated by this example (# 234), set in the mullai context of patient waiting for the lover’s return. The author is Milaipperunkanta ̣ n, and the speaker is the heroine (the talaivi). All translations that follow below are my own. When the sun goes, the heavens flush red, grief sharpens, the light dies, and jasmine blooms, only the confused will say it’s evening. For even when the crested cock crows in the town’s long hallways and the great darkness fades, dawn is evening. Broad daylight’s evening to those who have no one.6



The heroine is addressing her girlfriend, the to¯li, and her remarks do much more work in the first five lines than may meet the eye at first. She is not merely describing the twilight, but also her own fading in separation: she herself is flushing and blooming with desire as she patiently waits for her husband to return to her, remarking to her friend that it is not just the twilight that is causing her despair. Her anguish turns the entire day—dawn, then noon—into times of sorrow and fading hopes. Some of the poems are quite plain-spoken but no less beautiful for it, as in this interesting example set in the pa¯lai landscape (# 44), in which a foster mother goes into the wasteland in search of an eloping couple. Pa¯lai is a place of abject separation, transition, danger, and discomfort where no one ever stays, in which heroes seek after wealth or go out in the service of their kings or chieftains, leaving their lovers behind with their girlfriends. It is also the landscape of elopement as in the example below, in which the separation is not between lovers, but between the heroine and her female coterie at home, consisting of her biological mother (narra¯y), her foster-mother (cevilit-ta¯y), and the heroine’s girlfriend (to¯li). The poet is Vellị ̣ V¯ıtiy¯ar, one of several of Kuruntokai’s female poets. While this poem is lexically very simple, it also carries emotional inflections supplied by non-lexical indicators of emotion and despair. In many instances, the “¯e s,” the o¯s,” and the “mann¯e s” are the elements that in fact bear the emotive force of any given poem, and they must be attended to in the same way one attends to rests, fermatas, and crescendos in a musical score. In his brief biographical note on Vellị ̣ V¯ıtiy¯ar, C¯amin¯ataiyar remarks on the deeply personal nature of her poetry, writing that it speaks directly to lived experience. I have included the Tamil original here in transliteration, with the emotive non-lexical elements indicated in bold font: My feet have stumbled; my eyes have looked and looked and lost their light. There are more couples in this world than there are stars in the black and widening sky. ka¯le¯ parita-p pinav¯e kaṇṇ¯e no¯kki no¯kki va¯lị lan tanav¯e akaliru vicumpin m¯ıninum palar¯e manraviv v-ulakattu-p pirar¯e



The poets drew their metaphors from the natural world, and many chose to work in a very short format as in the example directly above, a four-line poem in the original. The result is natural description that, in Zvelebil’s words, is terse and concentrated, “intensive, never extensive. . .acute, accurate, and sharp, never elaborate and full,”7 and, as A.K. Ramanujan wrote, the ca˙nkam poets always kept the real world in sight and included it in “the symbolic,” working well within an Old Tamil “language of signs.”8 Even though the ca˙nkam poets across the eight anthologies favored the pa¯lai landscape—that of the wasteland and expressions of hardship, elopement, and the separation of lovers in abjection—Kuruntokai favors kuriñci poems set in the mountains and hills, the proper setting for clandestine love-in-union prior to marriage. There are 147 poems in Kuruntokai set in the kuriñci landscape, while pa¯lai poems come in a distant second with a total of ninety. (Perhaps driven by the notion of tiṇai as “cultural habit,”9 these counts are based on Shanmugam Pillai’s attempt to assign each poem a tiṇai, when in fact, many poems seem to float free of any absolute category, as I will demonstrate below.) The voices of various female characters—those of heroines, their girlfriends, biological mothers, foster mothers, and rival women (parattai)—are heard in a full 335 of the 401 poems. But what we must explore is the way in which the text has come down to us, which is without any tiṇai designation whatsoever, leading C¯amin¯ataiyar to label the poems according to ku ¯rru, by “what was said,” rather than by tiṇai or typical “landscape” classifications.

THE LANDSCAPE “PROBLEM” What this leads us to is a consideration of the very word tiṇai, and what the layers of its meanings are. In his 1967 translation of selections from the Kuruntokai, the brilliant scholar, poet, and translator A.K. Ramanujan settled on the word “landscape” to translate the Tamil term tiṇai.10 When we turn to the Tamil Lexicon, tiṇai is defined as “earth, land, place, region. . .situation, site,”11 and Ramanujan’s choice to translate tiṇai as “landscape” seems perfectly reasonable, but it has led us all—English and Tamil readers alike— to engage in a sort of overdetermined reading of these old poems. In a series of conversations that I had with Tamil scholar E. Annamalai,12 the fact emerged that the medieval commentators on the Tolka¯ppiyam link the word tiṇai to the etymon til,̣ from which the noun tilai-t-tal ̣ is derived, the etymon meaning “to be close, crowded,”13 with extended meanings of congealing; of becoming dense. While in many ways, “landscape” likely remains the best word to use to translate tiṇai, “landscape” implies a static concept; nature confined to



canvas in the world of art, or a scene limited somehow by our sense of sight and the range of our vision. But the landscapes of the Tamil poets work against themselves as dynamic sets of opposites. The forests of mullai (the landscape of marital trust and patient waiting) stand in opposition to the wastes of pa¯lai (the landscape of separation and abject hardship), or, as Simon Schama puts it, we somehow intuit that a “rooted forest” is the opposite landscape to one of “exposed rock and red dirt blown by the winds.”14 A general operating principle of oppositions in landscape also juxtaposes the wild and uncultivated with human settlement and cultivation: the more “civilized” the space, the greater chance for artifice, and by extension, for romantic disappointment, infidelity, and failure. A landscape might well be “repose for the senses,” but before it can ever become that, it is also “the work of the mind.”15 What makes a landscape such, in Schama’s view, is our “shaping perception,” which is what differentiates “raw matter” from “landscape.”16 Social anthropologist Tim Ingold takes Schama’s idea of “shaping perception” to a more interactive notion of “perceptual engagement,” in which we are essentially “seeking the past” in a landscape, and in the case of Tamil poetry, what it seeks is a past that is at once emotional and emotive; a past that both harbors our emotions that are linked to memory, but this is simultaneously expressive of those emotions. “Landscape is not ‘land’, it is not ‘nature’, and it is not ‘space’ ”. . .but it is “qualitative” and “heterogeneous.”17 Ingold notes that the separation between the human perceiver and the world is in fact only imaginary, but so pervasive that “the perceiver has to reconstruct the world, in consciousness, prior to any meaningful engagement with it,” and forces an “insistent dualism.”18 Ingold teaches us that we mistakenly privilege form over process, and in effect, poetry, in its writing and reading both, is all about process. We mistake meter as form and time, when it is, in fact, active temporal expression, very much alive and pulsating: we always think of poems as finished objects, and they never are. Ingold argues that landscape is a “living process”; “a pattern of activities ‘collapsed’ into an array of features.”19 He does not agree with the late Keith Basso’s arguments that ecologies are “fully cultural” and “attend as much to the semiotic as to the material dimensions of people’s reactions with their surroundings by bringing into focus ‘the layers of significance with which human beings blanket the environment.’ ”20 I find myself agreeing with Basso as far as poetic convention is concerned. I would argue that signification— relayed by metaphors and related figures of speech—do not cloak or obscure, but deepen, enrich, and enliven the world. Whose metaphors are they? Don’t metaphors belong to “the people,” too? Ingold writes, “Meaning is



there to be discovered in the landscape, if we only know how to attend to it. Every feature, then, is a potential clue, a key to meaning rather than a vehicle for carrying it.”21 But how is this not semiotics? Ingold wants us to understand everything relationally and processually, but how is this not poetics? Ingold also draws our attention to weather as the medium through which people and landscape engage, because of “a common immersion in the fluxes of the medium. . .weather is what we perceive in. . .leading us not to perceive different things, but to perceive the same things differently. . .Weather is the very temperament of being.”22 The Tamil poets were acutely aware of this, and I offer this example to illustrate many of Ingold’s points here, but I would add that weather—in this case, a monsoon downpour—is something that we not only perceive in, but a medium that we also feel through. Here, a despairing heroine describes lovers who are literally separated by a deluge and, to emphasize her own desolation, compares her lover (and by extension, herself) to a solitary peacock stranded on a branch in a rising flood: Kuruntokai 391 It is raining sweetly. The showers blend with lightning as it splits the hoods of cobras while thunder swiftly roars through the forest where the rains had stopped, the bulls had grown lazy, disdaining their ploughs, and the deer languished. In the impoverished evening when separated lovers stand in a downpour, paralyzed, and, in a widening space flooding with water, a peacock perches alone on a blossoming branch, and keens with its eyes open wide, O friend, they’re all such fools. uvari yorutta lula¯tu matiyap ̣ pukari pula˙nkiya puyan¯ı˙nku puravir katiti ̣ tị yurumir pa¯mpupai yaviya itiyo ̣ tụ mayaṇki yinituv¯ıln tanr¯e v¯ılnta ma¯malai taliip pirinto¯r



kaiyara vanta paiyuṇ ma¯laip pu ¯ñcinai yirunta po¯lkaṇ maññai ta¯n¯ır nanantalai pulampak ku ¯un to¯li perump¯e taiyav¯e . In the first stanza, the heroine begins with a conventional description of the onset of the rains, contrasting the current scene with what the forest was like before the rains began: bulls and deer languishing in the heat, and all agricultural work coming to a full halt. We also know immediately from the elements in the first stanza that this is a mullai poem, set in the forest, the place of patient waiting and domestic life. The second stanza is a recollection of the forest as pa¯lai, a place of transience and abject separation, and what this indicates is that the heroine is likely married and that her husband has gone off in search of wealth or perhaps performing service for a king or chieftain. The poem is addressed to the girlfriend, who in mullai contexts stays with the heroine to assure her of the husband’s return and to console her in her loneliness. The heroine’s anxiety unfolds in the third stanza, in which she anticipates the rain becoming too heavy for her husband to return to her easily, and she feels his absence through a thickening veil of rain. She abstracts herself and her husband as foolish, separated lovers, unable to move towards each other in order to reunite, and as his delay continues, the “widening space flooding with water” becomes the primary metaphor for their active, continuing, lengthening period of separation. The ulḷ ụ rai, the implied metaphor, is contained in the description of the peacock as it keens alone while perched on a blossoming branch. The heroine may well be thinking of herself as the peacock, but she is more likely speaking of her husband and expressing worry about his own distress, a common theme in the mullai context. This poem serves as an excellent example of how poetry, composed with landscape conventions in mind, is consciously constructed from the ground up. The poem is the only anthologized composition of Ponmaṇiy¯ar, identified by U. Ve¯. C¯amin¯ataiyar as a female poet23—her name literally means “the one with the golden beads,” which may well indicate her position as a courtly woman rather than as an itinerant poet such as Auvaiy¯ar, whose work I will explore below. The shifting contexts are very carefully stacked to lead the reader into the proper prevailing emotion, beginning with a mundane description, followed by a recollection of summer’s discomforts, and ending in a sad lament tinged with the frustrations captured in the somewhat startling final line, “O friend, they’re all such fools,” in which the heroine very much includes herself and her husband in the third-person pronoun. I would like to turn now to a more general exploration of how landscape conventions work across the larger genres of akam and puram, those of



“inner” and “outer” worlds, in order to compare similar themes of loss, love, and grief, but in very different contexts: those of love and war. This will lay the ground for my exploration of the more conventional ways in which the classical Tamil poets developed their unique and ecologicallygrounded methods for conveying such intense emotions, and to look at ways in which love and grief, in particular, extend across akam and puram genres to coalesce in the character of the mother.

READING TAMIL POEMS FROM THE GROUND UP A Tamil reader’s response to a poem has been traditionally understood as empathetic and direct. One gets the sense that responding to a poem or to a dramatic work was a “given,” and that aesthetic response was something that did not require much reflection or intellectual articulation; no “supernormal relishing,” as the late Daniel H.H. Ingalls once described Sanskrit aesthetics based on rasa (“savoring,” “tasting”).24 The early Tamil poets and poeticians developed a system incorporating two genres and fourteen distinctive landscapes, or tiṇais. (Some count more.) It is this system that became the hallmark of Old Tamil literary convention, and ironically, it is the very system that has led to an over-reading of these poems in many instances. As in rasa theory, which one could argue essentializes love and agony, Tamil poetics also engages in a kind of psychic suspension, but in this particular world, this suspension is achieved via a process of externalization by transmuting love, anger, and grief into a topography within which the emotional poles of love and agony are remade through allegory in many cases. The body itself is seen as a terrain, and the geophysical world and everything that grows within it is infused with emotional meaning. The world is carved up into the two permeable, shifting genres of akam and puram—the supergenres of love and war, of the private and the public; of the interior and the exterior. Each of these genres is subdivided into seven tiṇais; each tiṇai is generated by an uri, an unchanging emotional mode, and as I will demonstrate below, it is the uri that becomes the single most important element of any ca˙nkam poem in our readings of them. But first, what I would like to explore is the permeability of love and war, for it is within this borderland that the strongest and most troubling of emotions find expression. We must remember that landscapes “will not always be ‘places of delight.’ ”25 Naccin¯arkkiniyar, a fourteenth-century commentator on the Tolka¯ppiyam, describes the relationship between love and war as being “like the inner palm of the hand and its back.”26 As Susan Cole would put it, the interdependency between love and war is a phenomenon of “spatial doubling”; a “superimposition of one world upon



another,”27 resulting in a poetics of love, violence, and loss that is spatially fluid and drifting and that underscores the profoundly disruptive natures of physical longing and death, blending them into one in a single, blurred gesture of poetic symbolization. These poems display what Cole describes as the ambivalence of an “absent presence,” and exemplify the “paradox of embodied absence.”28 Both of my examples below verbally construct their subjects as phantoms and ghosts, and this is what lends these poems their profound emotional acuity; their tragic power. Both poems are sung in a true tragic voice that is “located in a space where boundaries and identities are shifting, a liminal realm that does in fact constitute the world of tragedy.”29 These poems visit the realm of the ampersand that links akam with puram, longing and grief with lamentation, and a mother’s love with death; those sad and immensely moving little frontiers of loss and absence. Because of the ways in which Tamil convention forges correspondences between tiṇais across the generic boundaries of love and war, we are presented with a powerful tautology in trying to speak of emotion in these poems. The implicit reciprocities between the landscapes of love and war tend to elide all the actual pain and suffering. We do get hints of violence, bloodshed, and pain in passing, but in war poetry, it is almost offhand. War poems are like love poems; love poems are like war poems: the tears brought on by the agonies of love are transformed into bloodshed on the field of battle. It may come as no surprise that the Tamil words for love are formed from verbal roots that mean “to slay,” “to kill,” “to obliterate,” “to negate”; to “unbecome.” To illustrate these elisions and tautologies, I want to turn to the issue of voice; particularly the voice of the mother. Tamil literary convention dictates that the mother is the only female character in poetry who can legitimately cross the boundary between love and war. In the love contexts, the one tiṇai in which the mother’s voice is heard is that of pa¯lai, the landscape of the wasteland, full of thorny scrub, sand, dying animals, and white-hot sun. Pa¯lai’s twin tiṇai in war is va¯kai, the landscape of victory in battle. When the mother speaks in these two paired contexts, she laments and grieves over her absent children; her eloping daughter in love, and her fighting son in war. Here are examples of each; the first from Kuruntokai and the second from Purana¯nu ¯ru, a ca˙nkam war anthology, most likely a generation or so later than the Kuruntokai. The first, a pa¯lai poem by Kayaman, is a fine example of the popular theme of the heroine’s movement away from the comforts of home into the unknown wasteland, her movement from innocence into experience, and the foster mother’s simultaneous feelings of grief and wonder: A man with a hero’s anklet protects her as she hastens across scant, dry lands



as the shade shrinks and dies where she sips at the hot, steaming mud of an evaporating mountain spring.30 How did she become this strong, this sprout of a girl with her little rounded bracelets?31 She had refused to drink milk mixed with fine, puffed rice in a pot clad in blushing gold that I’d held out for her, saying that it was too much.32 nilala¯n ravinta n¯ıri la¯ritaik ̣ kalalo¯n ka¯ppak katukupu ̣ po¯ki arucunai maru˙nkin marukupu venta veve˙n kaluli tavvenak kutikkiya ̣ ya¯˙nkuval lunalḳ o¯ ra¯n¯e y¯e ntiya cempor punaikalat tamporik kalanta pa¯lum palavena vuṇṇa¯l ̣ ko¯lamai kuruntotiṭ talira ̣ n no¯l¯ẹ Let us see how the mother’s grief over her daughter is transformed into anxiety for her son in the twin tiṇai of va¯kai, victory: Purana¯nu ¯ru 312 (narra¯y ku ¯rru, what the biological mother said:) To bear him and bring him up is my duty. To make him honourable is his father’s duty. To provide him with well-honed spears is the blacksmith’s duty. To train him in good conduct is the king’s duty. To kill in a good fight with a glinting sword, to dismember bull elephants and to come home again: that is the duty of my son.33



There are also stunning parallels between neytal, the tiṇai of jilted women who lament when their lovers leave them (and contrary to the dictums of Sanskrit propriety, separation in Tamil poetry can sometimes be permanent— there is no such thing as implicit reunion) and the tiṇai called tumpai, that of “battle frenzy” in the war contexts. Neytal poems are based on seashore imagery. The salty pools of tears, the marshy, infirm land, and the female form emaciated and dying from love in the romantic contexts are all transformed into the pools of blood and the gore-soaked battlefields of war, littered with the bodies of fallen men. The following poem is again from Kuruntokai. Here, the heroine complains to her friend about people who tell her to bear her love—according to C¯aminataiy¯ar’s commentary, these people include anyone who “cannot understand the nature of desire,” probably townsfolk and her own family members. Her lover is absent for some reason. The heroine is anxious for his return, and is probably exhibiting the physical signs of separation: it is likely that she has turned pale and appears disheveled and emaciated. Her people are worried and tell her to just be strong and endure the unendurable. The heroine speaks of the grief that surges thick in her heart, comparing herself to a swell of water that diminishes as it crashes against rocks. She is so overwhelmed by her longing that she fears that it will consume her; that she will simply stop being. The last line of the poem, which in Tamil is mella mella-v-illa¯kutum-¯e (“slowly, slowly, I turn to nothing”) reflects the repetitive (and slowly erosive) motion of the neytal waves. The word illa¯kutum is a fascinating juncture of two verbs that mean “not to be” (verbal root il) and “to be” or “to become” (verbal root a¯ku). The elements of the neytal context figuratively swell up, consume, and nearly destroy the heroine as she grieves in her lover’s absence. Composed by Kalporu Ciru Nuraiy¯ar (the poet’s name is taken from the central image of the poem and means “He who sang of Streaks of Foam Dashing Against Stones”), this poem is perhaps the best example of the violence that love can wreak: Kuruntokai 290 (talaivi ku ¯rru, what the heroine said:) Those who tell me to bear my love: Don’t they know about love, or are they that strong? Since I can’t see my lover, my heart swells with hidden sorrow



and like a flood in spate turning to a streak of foam as it dashes against stones, slowly, slowly, I turn to nothing.34 Here is a contrasting poem from neytal’s twin tiṇai in the puram context, that of tumpai. The poem here is not spoken in the mother’s voice, but instead describes a mother’s behavior upon hearing that her son had behaved like a coward on the field of battle. It was composed by K¯akkaip¯atị niy¯ar Naccellaiy ̣ ̣ ¯ar: Purana¯nu ¯ru 278 The old woman had protruding veins, dry, thin shoulders; her waist a thorny twig. When some said, “Your son was afraid in battle and turned tail,” she said, “If he broke down in the throng, I’ll slash these breasts that fed him,” and, angered, sword in hand, she picked the red field over, turning over fallen bodies. Seeing the place where her slain son lay, scattered in pieces, he pleased her more than on the day he was born.35 I have provided here some Tamil contexts in which there are attempts to represent textual ranges of physical and emotional agony. To place all of this within Elaine Scarry’s framework as detailed in her extraordinary book, The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World, and to paraphrase her somewhat, these twinned poems represent the “forcing of pain itself into avenues of objectification”36 by inventing and imagining linguistic structures



that will accommodate its expression. I have offered thus far the phenomenon of suspension in contexts in which experience is externalized and made material. Pain and desire are grafted onto objects in the geophysical world in the Tamil world of convention tied to landscape. Pain lives in the world as metaphor and symbol—all of this language, after all, is a poetics. Agony, whether in love or war or in death, must be made spectacle—forced outwards for all to see—before a language can be made for it, and it will therefore always dwell in the lands of elision and distance. As should already be evident from the poems I have cited above, the poem is the place where environment and body meet. The “outside”—the tiṇai—is the picture of the “self,” and the poem represents the play between a poet’s “feelings and the world’s responding reflection of them.”37 Further, the Tamil poem is an expression of the poet’s recognition of the human body’s discontinuity with its environment (Ingold would remind us here that this is false thinking) and perhaps it is also an expression of desire for continuity with it. What makes the tiṇai system a “poetics” is, in fact, a sort of “overdetermination.” The composers of these poems realized that environmental elements were rich in expressive potential in approaching that continuity, and incorporated those elements into a multi-layered semiotics. In the poems, tiṇai becomes more than a “landscape” or poetic “gesture.” It becomes an actual language—the constant repetition of tiṇai symbology gives it a “congruity,” locking it into articulations of convention that are requisite for a formal rhetoric. Simon Schama quotes the Surrealist artist René Magritte on the subject of our relationship with the world: “We see it as being outside ourselves even though it is only a mental representation of what we experience on the inside.”38 In many of the ca˙nkam poems, there is a successful unification of imagery with the speaker’s (the hero’s or heroine’s) body, upon which there are overlappings, overlayings, and splicings of tiṇai elements. There are also explicit relationships between the physical surroundings of tiṇai and the emotional and personal traits of the characters. Each tiṇai has its own “psychology,” as it were, defined by uri, or the overriding and poetically generative emotional element discussed above. To continue with neytal imagery, the overriding uri of this tiṇai is iraṇkal, “lamenting the lover’s absence.” There is usually some sort of separation involved, joined with an overlay of impatience, restlessness, and suspicion. The “first elements” (the mutarporulṣ ) that we can think of as “settings” are in this case the seacoast (for place), sunrise (for time), and for season, the Tolka¯ppiyam tells us that this can happen at any time of year. So, lamentation is seasonless. It is very interesting that sunrise is prescribed for the time of day—the poems often depict a woman waking in the morning and finding that her lover had not



returned the previous night. The “germinal elements” (the karu-p-porulṣ ) are mostly things that shake and rustle—the branches of neytal trees are often described as “swaying” or “shaking.” The lands are watery, salty marshes, and the animals that populate this tiṇai are mostly dangerous and predatory: herons, sharks, and crocodiles dominate the scene. Therefore, the general evocation of this context is one of unease. Nothing seems to be on solid ground, and everything is threatening, brackish, and uncomfortable. The following poem, composed by Veṇpu ¯ ti, demonstrates one way in which a heroine has to bury her chastity and sorrow, depositing them together in a neytal marsh. (There is no consensus regarding the sex of this poet. Veṇpu ¯ ti is often identified in the commentaries as female, but no one seems to be certain.) As in poem 44 above, this poem is also very plainspoken, and I have adopted a strategy of spareness to emphasize its stark emotions. C¯amin¯ataiyar’s commentary makes it plain to us that the heroine’s “goodness” here is her peṇmai nalam, her “feminine goodness,” meaning her chastity, which came to an end in the seaside grove, and the rare and precious secret of her tryst has become the subject of rumor and cheap talk in the town commons. Again, I have provided the Tamil original with the non-lexical emotive elements emphasized in bold font: Kuruntokai 97 What she said (her lover not having returned for many days): As for me, I am here. My goodness lies with boundless grief in a grove by the sea. That man from the ghats is in his own town, and our secret is now gossip in common places. ya¯n¯e y¯ıṇtai ̣ y¯e n¯e yennalan¯e a¯na¯ no¯yotụ ka¯na lakt¯e turaivan rammu ¯ ra¯n¯e maraiyala ra¯ki manrat takt¯e



This poem serves as an excellent example of the ways in which a character is made to splice or graft his or her emotions onto the actual landscape. The heroine’s grief in separation and her chastity are left to rot secretly in a brackish grove, while her lover stays comfortably at home. She is bereft of him as well as her own chastity; she can grieve for neither publicly, and resigns her feelings to the land, while the secret of their love has become grist for the local gossip mill. It seems that readers of ca˙nkam poetry are required to have an ability to internalize a poetics that is based not wholly on emotion but on environment and the ability to attach significance to objects in the poems, decoding them, at times, in ways that suggest the unravelling of an extended allegory. Critic Georges Poulet has written that “the advantage of literature is that it frees one from the usual sense of incompatibility between consciousness and the objects of consciousness.” It is the very erasure of this incompatibility that is the chief concern and ideal ultimate goal of Tamil poetics based on landscape. Poulet writes of poetic language and the creation of an “interior universe”—akam, if you will—in which “external objects are replaced with a congeries of mental objects in close rapport with one’s own consciousness.”39 The Tamil ca˙nkam writers were obviously never quite free of that sense of incompatibility in their readings of reality: Tamil poetics developed from an acute and inescapable awareness of the incompatibility of the human body and its psychic trappings with the environment in which it moves, lives, and breathes. Much of the language of the ca˙nkam poets arose from a desire for an erasure of the split between self and tiṇai; this desire was directed outward onto the environment, which was then reshaped, literally “incorporated,” and made part of their language, the goal being “integration with, rather than domination over, nature.”40

READING TAMIL POEMS FROM THE TOP DOWN Now we must pause and ask ourselves about uri, and have a look at a few Kuruntokai poems that give us no environmental “cues,” or at poems in which such cues are unconventionally mixed. We have become habituated in our readings of these poems by searching for physical elements in them that will lend us interpretive toeholds—the “ground up” method of reading— and when we cannot find them, we are driven to concoct environmental contexts for them. We are in excellent company here: twentieth-century commentators have relied almost exclusively on the assignation of tiṇai to poems with no discernible tiṇai elements to interpret them according to the rules of ca˙nkam convention spelled out for us in the old grammars (most notably, the Tolka¯ppiyam).



This leads me to a more thorough exploration of the uri principle, and that all poems, and by their extension, their meanings, must generate from uri rather than from any gleaning of environmental elements, whether actually in the poem, or in our imaginations as we build our own contexts for them. This is where I feel particularly drawn to affect theory to think through how these poems are made. To think like a Tamil poet is to begin with uri, the emotional element responsible for generating tiṇai. Tiṇai in this regard becomes a kind of affective space, rather than a real “place.” Uri renders tiṇai as what Kathleen Stewart and other affect theorists would term a “bloom-space,” a place for “expectation” and “encounter.”41 The emotion linked to uri gathers and clusters objects around it that exist within a poet’s “palette,” as it were; within one’s own physical range of being, and releases the “potential stored in ordinary things.”42 Emotion, then, is what animates tiṇais, moving them from latent spaces to spaces teeming with kinetic meaning and multiple possibilities. Here is an example. This is a complicated poem by the iconoclastic ca˙nkam master Paraṇar, known for his innovative imagery. His long-form, narrative poems in the Akana¯nu ¯ru are famously complex and difficult to read, but the constrictions of the shorter verse form in Kuruntokai truly bring out his genius. Some commentators have classified this poem as a kuriñci verse, as one of clandestine love-in-union, but at first glance, an educated reader might detect a problem. A hero speaks: Kuruntokai 165 O heart, like a man lost in his happiness after a drink of toddy but longs for more, you long for her again: Like the salt in a cart swamped on a steep bank in a downpour, you’ve melted away, having seen the natural beauty of her thick, black hair. makilntatan ralaiyu naravuṇ ta¯̣ ˙nku vilaintatan ralaiyu n¯ıvey turranai aru˙nkarai ninra vuppoy cakatam ̣



perumpeya ralaiyv¯ı n ta¯˙nkival ̣ irumpal ku ¯nta liyalaṇi kaṇt¯ẹ If we read this poem through a “bottom-up” lens of tiṇai convention, we see instantly that things are out of place. In the indented stanza, the “salt” would be tallied as an element of neytal convention (lamentation, anxious waiting), the riverbank evokes marutam (love quarrels, infidelity), and the downpour makes us think of mullai (domesticity, family life, patient waiting). The speaker is male, and while the poem could be instantly interpreted via Sanskrit literary convention as one invoking vipralambha-s´ṛ˙nga¯ra-rasa, a savoring of love in separation, the Tamil elements do not add up if we choose to read it from the ground up; through the “first things”—those of time and place—or of the “germinal elements” of tiṇai convention. As it turns out, reading this poem as one driven by ulḷ urai-y-uvamam ̣ —implied metaphor— would not lead us to a “correct” or “coherent” interpretation. When we look at the poem through the top-down lens of emotional mode—uri—we can see how emotion gathers all of the compositional elements around it. While it is not necessary to categorize this poem as a kuriñci verse—one invoking the aftermath of clandestine union—that designation fits if we choose to read it only from the perspective of uri and not from the other poruls—the ̣ “elements,” the “things”—of ca˙nkam poetic composition. This unusual poem is based on two similes. Again, while the imagery suggests that this might be a neytal poem with the beautiful central image of melting salt and the tone of lament, the overall “mood” of the poem—its uri—sets this poem firmly within the kuriñci landscape, as does its assumed conceit of being denied a second meeting with his lover. The first simile is easy enough: the man addresses his own heart (and readers can rightly suspect that he is speaking within earshot of someone, likely the heroine’s girlfriend or even the heroine herself). He compares his longing for her to alcoholic longing. His first “taste” of her drowned him in happiness in the same way a drunk drowns in happiness at his first taste of toddy, but that first taste never quenches. It is never enough, and the hero sits stewing in his own longing. The second simile is more complex, and suggests that the cart is the hero’s body breaking down and swamped in longing, while his body’s contents— here, his heart, the container of his feelings—is melting away, even “vanishing,” as suggested by the adverbial particle v¯ıntu, which stretches across the second and third feet of the fourth line, giving the poem its aural feeling of keening in the anguish of unrequited desire. (The fourth line, taken out of sandhi and the exigencies of metrical feet, reads perum-peyal talaiya v¯ıntu a¯˙nku ival.)̣ The third foot of the poem’s last line, iyal aṇi, which I have translated as “natural beauty,” indicates not just the heroine’s



youth and lack of guile, but also the quality of her character. It is the unadorned quality of her hair (adorned hair indicates experience and guile) that has captured his eye, not just the hair itself. I now want to turn to two final poems—one clear in its meaning, one more enigmatic—to push readings of poems from a sheer emotional perspective. Both poems are Auvaiy¯ar’s compositions and both examples illustrate her plain-spokenness, but also her arch ways of turning a phrase. The first poem, Kuruntokai 102, is spoken in the heroine’s voice, and she is either addressing her girlfriend, or, as in Paraṇar’s poem above, she could be speaking to her own heart within earshot of any number of characters (the girlfriend, the foster mother, or the hero himself). There is a great deal of emotion packed into this very brief poem, all of four lines in the Tamil original. Again, I have emphasized the non-lexical elements with bold font. There are no significant figures of speech, save for consonantal alliteration in the first line with the repeated -lḷ -̣ series in three of the four feet. There is no ulḷ ụ rai in the poem, and no tiṇai elements that might give us an easy key for interpretation. We have only the sky to work with in this regard: Kuruntokai 102 ulḷ ị nulḷ am ̣ v¯e m¯e yulḷ a¯̣ tiruppinem malavait ̣ tanr¯e varutti va¯nro¯y varr¯e ka¯mam ca¯nro¯ rallarya¯ mar¯ıi yo¯r¯e If I think of him, my heart boils and not thinking of him is beyond my ken.

Love hurts me— it’s so big that it scrapes the sky itself. He isn’t such a great one, this man I lay down with. An educated reader would know instantly that this is a neytal poem, but how? It is a lament, for one thing. The heroine has been jilted. She is obviously hurt, and says so baldly: “Love hurts me.” And it is sentiment—



uri, emotion alone—that takes us to the seashore and lets us build the landscape elements around her: the sand, the crashing waves, and likely a cloudless dawn or twilight. It is the heroine’s sheer despair that lands us there, and which gathers landscape elements around it like a magnet. The biting sarcasm of the final line also leads us to a proper reading, for a heroine of other landscapes would never speak such words, here taken out of sandhi: canro¯r allar/he isn’t such a great one/ya¯m mar¯ıiyo¯r-¯e /the man I lay down with (more literally, “he is not a noble one, the man who laid us down”). Let us now turn to Kuruntokai 23. This is a fascinating poem of trance and revelation. The five-line poem itself has an incantatory feel: akavan makal¯ẹ yakavan makal¯ẹ manavukko¯p panna nannetụ ˙n ku ¯ntal akavan makal¯ẹ pa¯tuka ̣ pa¯tṭ ¯ẹ innum pa¯tuka ̣ pa¯tṭ ¯ẹ , avar nannetụ ˙n kunram pa¯tiya ̣ pa¯tṭ ¯ẹ . Oracle, O Oracle, with your good, long hair like strands of conch beads, Oracle, please sing a song, please sing that song again, that song that you sing about his good, long hill. C¯amin¯atayar’s headnote tells us that the poem is spoken by the to¯li, the heroine’s girlfriend, within earshot of her own mother, the cevili-t-ta¯y, who serves as foster-mother to the heroine. The foster-mother has noticed a change in the heroine, and has called in a katṭ uvicci ̣ , a female soothsayer, who has been invited to determine the cause of the heroine’s distress. The girlfriend addresses her three times within the course of the poem in the first line and in the two initial feet of line three as akaval makal¯ẹ (taken out of sandhi), “O daughter who sings in akaval meter” (the “calling out” meter in which most ca˙nkam poems are composed), and we know from C¯amin¯ataiyar’s commentary on the poem as well as the attributes of the woman that she is an oracle with nal netum ̣ ku ¯ntal, “good, long hair” that is manavu-k-ko¯ppu anna; that “looks like strands of conch beads,” meaning that she is likely an elderly woman with matted locks that have gone white. The girlfriend joins in the incantatory moment and weaves into it, without missing a beat, the request that the oracle sing a song, that she should sing it once more, that song that she sings about his good, long hill (avar nal netum ̣ kunram).



Through this request, the girlfriend artfully reveals to the foster mother that the only cause of the heroine’s suffering is that man from the good, long hill. Auvaiy¯ar does this skillfully in that the adjectives that modify the oracle’s hair also modify the hero’s hill, and within the noisy context of a divination ritual, kunram, “hill,” could very well be mistaken for ku ¯ntal, “hair.” The request fulfils two purposes: the girlfriend pokes fun at the oracle, but she also reveals to the foster mother the true cause of the change in the heroine, indicating to her that her marriage to the hero must be arranged quickly. The poem itself tells us very little about landscape, other than the fact that there is a hill, which would indicate a kuriñci setting, that of clandestine love before marriage, and also the convention of the foster mother summoning a priest or an oracle to divine the cause of the heroine’s “sickness,” and it is ultimately up to the girlfriend to reveal to the foster mother the true cause of her “change” is not madness, illness, or possession, but longing in separation.43 The emotional context provides a powerful set of contrasts: the quiet telling of the truth within the fraught and very public frenzy of divination; and it is up to the reader’s own skill to layer in the visuals: the backyard of a village house, a young girl prostrate in longing, the flora and fauna of the kuriñci landscape (green, lush hills, cascades and hillside pools, rice and millet fields, monkeys, elephants, sandal and jackfruit trees, and the glory lily and the kuriñci flower itself). All of this would be set in the cool of nightfall, and we can almost imagine the hero’s hill, looming and outlined in the dim light, and serving as the only physical element in the entire poem that triggers the correct interpretation.

CONCLUSION As I hope that I have proven here, landscape in ca˙nkam poetry can only be an emergent space, one that is generated from emotion: poetics, the poet’s own voice, and the voicing of characters all erupt from it. Any given poem becomes a container of possibilities and threats; of attachments and intimacies; where ordinary things take on “density and texture.”44 Those ordinary things of perception also assume a force. Even inanimate objects become alive, and possess the potential to either threaten or comfort. It is, in fact, emotion that animates the Tamil landscapes, which turns them from places of “undetermined potential”45 to kinetic, shimmering spaces— “bloom-spaces”—of “losses and proliferating possibilities.”46 Landscapes come to be places comprising “complex assemblages that come to compose bodies and worlds simultaneously”47 as places of promise that can get better or worse, of hopes fostered and dashed; where densities of meaning gather and surge.



Kathleen Stewart’s notion of “regionality” is quite useful here as a quality that “pulls hard matter into alignment with a composition”48 (in our case, the “composition” is of course the poem). To put it simply, ca˙nkam poetry is, in many ways, “a geography of what happens,”49 where “intensities pass from body to body,”50 and where matter of all sorts is pushed “into a state of emergent expressivity.”51 In a ca˙nkam poem, the animating point of contact is the poet’s mood—the uri—that draws things close to it, imbues things with meaning, and erupts into temporal expression, sung out in cleverness, at times, but also in passion and often out of the depths of tragic loss in love and war alike. While the commentarial tradition has led us to rely on environmental cues in Old Tamil poetry to help us arrive at a proper understanding, this method only really works about half of the time. A.K. Ramanujan’s 1967 publication of The Interior Landscape also reinforced this same “ground up” approach of reading the poems. In his culling of the Kuruntokai for poems to include in his selection (seventy-six out of the total of 401 poems), he chose ulḷ ụ rai-dependent poems to basically “stand for” the entire tradition, and while his translations provided an exquisite introduction to this poetic world, they have also reinforced an overdetermined method of experiencing it. This can lead us to rather wooden, schematic readings of the poems. I would maintain, however, that reading them from a remove—from the emotional wellspring of their origins—get us closer to a more nuanced method of understanding, and in turn, closer to understanding them the way their composers might have. Rather than the stacking of cues to create a core of meaning in the poems, their core is in fact uri, the emotional element that acts almost as a centrifuge, pulling meaning and metaphor around itself. The cues come last and settle into place as a poet’s choices and skill dictate. Many poets seem to have relied on the building-block approach—and this is not to say that their work is less beautiful for it—but some poets—the finer ones, in my opinion, such as Paraṇar and Auvaiy¯ar—found no need to rely on the environment to carry meaning for them. As I demonstrated above, the emotion in the poem draws the setting into place in the mind of a trained reader, and I would urge us all to engage in a practice of reading that does not begin with a reckoning up of encountered objects in a composition, but to go into a poem with its emotion as our only assumption: feeling brings everything into place.

NOTES 1. Zvelebil 1973: 25. 2. Marr 1985: 339.



3. Wilden 2006: 388–9. 4. Wilden 2010, Vol. 1: 5–6. 5. Wilden 2010, Vol. 1: 6, n.7. 6.

cutar ̣ cel va¯nañ ce¯ppap patark ̣ u ¯ rn tellaru polutin mullai malarum ma¯lai yenmana¯r mayan ˙ ki y¯ore¯ kutumik ̣ k¯oli netunaka ̣ riyampum perumpular vitiyalu ̣ ma¯lai pakalu ma¯lai tuṇaiyi l¯orkke¯.

7. Zvelebil 1973: 108. 8. Ramanujan 1999: 210–11. 9. Schama 1996: 18. 10. Ramanujan 1967. 11. Tamil Lexicon 1982, Vol. III: 1874. 12. E. Annamalai, personal communication, 2018. 13. Tamil Lexicon 1982, Vol. III: 1929. 14. Schama 1996: 6. 15. Schama 1996: 6–7. 16. Schama 1996: 10. 17. Ingold 2000: 189–90. 18. Ingold 2000: 191. 19. Ingold 2000: 198. 20. Ingold 2000: 208. 21. Ingold 2000. 22. Ingold 2011: 130. 23. U. Ve¯. C¯amin¯ataiyar 1983: 137. 24. Ingalls 1990: 36–7. 25. Schama 1996: 18. 26. Quoted in Zvelebil 1973: 103. 27. Cole 1985: 19. 28. Cole 1985: 1–9. 29. Cole 1985: 19. 30. “where she sips at the hot, steaming mud/of an evaporating mountain spring” renders the third and fourth lines, arucunai maruṇkin marukupu venta / ve-v-ve-˙n kaluli tav-v-ena-k kutikkiya ̣ . There are difficulties here: reading leftwards from kaluli, “muddy water which is hot-hot and which burns while whirling” is the literal sense, but as Eva Wilden points out, the doubled ve-v-vem is C¯amin¯ataiyar’s emendation, while other versions read evvam kaluli, “troubled muddy water,” which makes little sense to me, but all of this indicates a problem with transmission in this particular phrase. “Burns while whirling” could indicate the steam rising



from the muddy pool, or the pool might be so dried up that the sediment has formed in a whirling shape—it is very hard to say. tav-v-ena-k kutikkiya ̣ , again reading leftwards, “as she drinks while saying ‘tav,’” could indicate the discomfort of trying to sip mud, or it may be the sound made by the drops falling through her fingers as she raises her hand to her lips, since tavvenal indicates a pattering sound, of liquid hitting a surface, or here, of mud hitting mud. According to the Tamil Lexicon, it can also indicate “shrinking, withering, [or] fading.” 31. “with her little rounded bracelets” renders k¯ol-amai kurun-totị , literally, “her short bracelets formed in a round way.” This would indicate that her bracelets are very fine, and that the gold has been turned or burnished somehow, with the rough edges filed down and rounded. 32. “saying that it was too much” renders pala-v-ena, and this indicates two things: that the heroine is a spoiled, overfed girl, and that she is also suffering from lovesickness. 33.

¯ı nrupuran taruta lenralaik katạ ne¯ ca¯nre¯ra¯ na¯kkuta rantaikkut katạ ne¯ ve¯lvatittuk ̣ kotuttal ̣ kollarkuk katạ ne¯ nannatai ̣ nalkal ve¯ntarkuk katạ ne¯ olị ruva¯ laru ̣ ñcama murukkik kalị rerintu peyartal ka¯laikkuk ̣ katạ ne¯.


ka¯man ta¯n ˙ kumati yenp¯or tamak tariyalar koll¯o vanaimatu kaiyarkol ya¯men ˙ ka¯talark ka¯ṇe¯ ma¯yir cerituni perukiya neñcamotụ perun¯ı rk kalporu cirunurai p¯ola mella mella villa kutume¯.


narampelun tulariya nirampa¯ menr¯ol ̣ mulari ̣ marun ˙ kin mutiy¯ol ̣ ciruvan pataiya ̣ lintu marina nenrupalar ku ¯ ra maṇtamark ̣ kutainta ̣ na nayi nuṇtave ̣ n mulaiyarut tituve ̣ n ya¯nenac cinaiik koṇtạ va¯lọ tụ patupi ̣ ṇam peyara¯c cen ˙ kalan ̣ tulavuv¯ol ̣ citaintuve¯ ra¯kiya patumaka ̣ n kitakkai ̣ ka¯ṇu ¯u ¯ı nra ña¯nrinum perituvan tanale¯̣ .

36. Scarry 1985: 6. 37. Skura 1981: 79–80. 38. Schama 1996: 12 39. Poulet 1980: 43. 40. Schama 1996: 13. 41. Stewart 2007: 1. 42. Stewart 2007: 21. 43. For other examples of this context, see my translations of the can ˙ kam poet Kapilar’s superb decad on this theme, the veri-p-pattu (“Ten Poems on the Dance of Divination”), in Selby 2011: 100–4.


44. Stewart 2007: 3–12. 45. Stewart 2007: 23. 46. Stewart 2010: 340. 47. Gregg and Seigworth 2010: 6. 48. Stewart 2013: 275. 49. Stewart 2013: 283. 50. Stewart 2013: 278. 51. Stewart 2013.




Wretched and Blessed: Emotional Praise in a Sanskrit Hymn from Kashmir HAMSA STAINTON

This effort of mine, though laughable, is like a snot-nosed, ugly child— hardly dear to a stranger, but more than life itself to his own father.1 —Jagaddhara Bhatṭ a, ̣ Stutikusum¯añjali 38.4 One could argue that there is no genre of Sanskrit literature in which emotion is more central than the stotra, or hymn of praise.2 Such hymns can be personal and poetic appeals to a deity, and their poetic features can describe, express, evoke, and explore intense and complex emotions. Such Sanskrit hymns share many characteristics with devotional poetry in a variety of languages. Of course, not all Sanskrit hymns are personal, emotional, and poetic; many, in fact, are formulaic and impersonal, such as those that consist of long lists of names or praise a deity with a series of stock epithets.3 But some of the most celebrated and influential Sanskrit hymns are those that do combine poetic elegance with emotional force and personal touches. In the 239



epigraph above, for example, Jagaddhara Bhatṭ ạ couches his poetic ambition with self-abasing humility and a sense of intimacy. Stotras offer unique opportunities for studying the history of emotions in South Asia. As with devotional poetry in other languages, this is due in large part to their structure.4 Such hymns involve communication between the poet and multiple audiences. While the content of this communication can usually be described first and foremost as devotional, it can also explore a wide range of emotions that mix and overlap in such hymns. Stotras, like all such devotional poetry, are about relationships,5 and in many cases these relationships are constituted by the expression and exploration of powerful emotions. Such emotions, moreover, reflect points of tension, struggle, and complexity for poets and their audiences. Analyzing the emotional content of Sanskrit hymns also provides new perspectives on critical issues in the study of South Asian religions. Emotion, as a category, has long been used as a key term in the historiography and literary criticism of religious literature in South Asia. Some poetry has been extolled for its balance of artistry and emotional content, while other literature (often in Sanskrit) has been denigrated for being too artificial or “dry.”6 Perhaps most dramatically, emotion has been used as a tool in the historiography of what is commonly called “the bhakti movement” and in the related evaluations of Sanskrit sources. One of the main roles that Sanskrit plays in the narrative of “the bhakti movement” is as the foil to vernacular expression. Bhakti poets, so the story goes, rejected the dry scholasticism, elitism, ritualism, and conservatism of Sanskrit. Vernacular bhakti poetry, in other words, is vivified by its accessible and compelling emotion in a way that Sanskrit poetry is not.7 This is a particular view of history articulated by proponents of “the bhakti movement” idea. According to this perspective, bhakti is closely linked to social reform expressed in vernacular languages, and therefore it facilitated a shift away from Sanskrit.8 In other words, such narratives position its actors as reformers enacting their own Protestant Reformation, with Sanskrit paralleling the Latin of the Catholic church. A.K. Ramanujan articulates this idea in his influential Speaking of S´iva, comparing the V¯ı ra´saivas specifically to Protestant reformers: bhakti religions like V¯ı ra´saivism are Indian analogues to European protestant movements. Here we suggest a few parallels: protest against mediators like priest, ritual, temples, social hierarchy, in the name of direct, individual, original experience; a religious movement of and for the underdog, including saints of all castes and trades (like Bunyan, the tinker), speaking the sub-standard dialect of the region, producing often



the first authentic regional expressions and translations of inaccessible Sanskrit texts (like the translations of the Bible in Europe); a religion of arbitrary grace, with a doctrine of the mystically chosen elect, replacing a social hierarchy-by-birth with a mystical hierarchy-by-experience; doctrines of work as worship leading to a puritan ethic; monotheism and evangelism, a mixture of intolerance and humanism, harsh and tender.9 The history of Sanskrit, and the historiography of Sanskrit, is complex, and far more than I can go into here.10 But I want to highlight how passages like Ramanujan’s repeat the views of certain vernacular authors to position “inaccessible” Sanskrit as a foil to vernacular movements emphasizing “direct, individual, original experience.” A number of scholars have challenged assumptions in the idea of “the bhakti movement,” which opens up new ways to think about Sanskrit stotras and bhakti traditions. Most notably, John Stratton Hawley interrogates “the bhakti movement” not as history, but as an idea about history, a master narrative for India’s religious past, in A Storm of Songs: India and the Idea of the Bhakti Movement (2015). He charts how the idea of a movement in particular (¯andolan in Hindi) crystallized in the 1920s and 1930s and was closely tied to ideas about national integration. He reviews earlier motifs and rubrics used to organize what he describes as the bhakti archive of India that were instrumental in the development of “the bhakti movement” narrative in the twentieth century.11 As he points out, of course, none of this is to deny the long history of phenomena that these narratives try to organize. At the end of the book, Hawley suggests a number of ways of moving beyond the idea of “the bhakti movement.” He suggests we can often talk about movements in the plural, for example, and he argues that we can talk more accurately about a bhakti network, rather than movement. In doing so, he attempts to free the archives of material related to bhakti from the teleology implied in the idea of a movement. This allows for new kinds of sources, debates, and narratives to be studied and linked in complex ways. For instance, Hawley highlights how a wide variety of actors have contributed to the transmission of what we call bhakti, including Jains, Sufis, and s¯adhus.12 Building on Hawley’s analysis, I suggest that Sanskrit poetry also has been marginalized in the standard versions of “the bhakti movement” narrative. It is surprising that Sanskrit stotras, in particular, have been ignored or referred to only briefly in most narratives about bhakti in India. Stotras are the closest analogues in Sanskrit to vernacular devotional poems, and they too are part of what Hawley characterizes as “the bhakti archive of India.”13 Such hymns are recited and sung in personal and public worship. They are found on temple walls and library shelves, in booksellers’ stalls and as audio files on a



growing number of websites. They have been reinterpreted by generations of devotees and new stotras continue to be composed today. Yet there is often a critical disjuncture between this extant Sanskrit archive and the way Sanskrit is characterized in much literature about bhakti. Hawley’s work helps us to go beyond the rhetoric of “the bhakti movement” narrative itself and understand the complexity of these sources and traditions in South Asia.14 In this chapter, I take Jagaddhara Bhatṭ a’s ̣ Stutikusum¯añjali (“Floweroffering of Praise”; henceforth SKA) as a case study for considering how Sanskrit hymns can explore complex emotions through poetic praise. In this ambitious collection of literary hymns to S´iva from fourteenth-century Kashmir, Jagaddhara creates a rich emotional world through his poetic prayers.15 In what follows I focus on the longest and most emotionally intense hymn in the collection, the D¯ın¯akrandanastotra (“Cry of the ¯ ). Leveraging the conventions of the stotra genre Distressed”; henceforth DA and using sophisticated and ornate poetry, Jagaddhara explores a wide range of emotions in this lengthy hymn, including love, fear, grief, bitterness, jealousy, and pity. Moreover, he takes advantage of the stotra form and the resources of Sanskrit poetry to create emotional depth, such as by presenting contrasting emotions simultaneously. These emotions shape a complex relationship between the poet and S´iva marked by specific cultural and theological concerns, and their clever constitution is part of Jagaddhara’s attempt to offer beautiful, refined poetry efficacious at winning S´iva’s favor. As we will see, for example, Jagaddhara’s self-abasement and even striking sarcasm are part of his rhetorical strategy and literary self-promotion. Before turning to this analysis, however, let me provide more introduction and context to Jagaddhara’s text. The SKA is one of the only extant literary texts produced in Kashmir between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries. It consists of thirty-eight hymns (stotras) plus an additional poem describing and celebrating the poet’s lineage (vaṃ´savarṇana). The collection contains over 1,400 verses. The hymns cover a range of topics, from the details of S´iva’s forms and characteristics to the praise of S´aiva worship, devotion, and praise itself. Jagaddhara is an ambitious poet and he uses sophisticated literary devices throughout the collection. He is particularly fond of complex punning (´slesạ ) and the twinning or repetition of syllables with different meanings (yamaka). He demonstrates extensive knowledge of literary criticism and poetics (alaṅ k¯ara´s¯astra) and he is clearly concerned with the reception of his poetry. The SKA generally has been well received in South Asia. In Kashmir, Jagaddhara’s verses were collected and anthologized, and the whole text received a learned commentary in the seventeenth century by the poet and scholar R¯aj¯anaka Ratnakanṭ ha. ̣ 16 Despite the length of the SKA,



manuscripts of the text (many complete and with Ratnakanṭ ha’s ̣ commentary) can be found in multiple archives across South Asia. It was published in 1891 as the twenty-third volume in the K¯avyam¯al¯a series, and again in 1964 with a Hindi translation.17 Verses from the SKA were also incorporated in the liturgical hymnals used by the famous twentieth-century S´aiva guru, Swami Lakshman Joo, and his followers.18 Several Indian scholars have studied Jagaddhara’s poetry and written about it in Hindi, and international scholars have often referred to the SKA in histories of Indian poetry and in discussions about the vitality of Sanskrit in Kashmir.19 Jagaddhara’s creativity and skill as a poet have influenced a number of other poets and they continue to appeal to audiences today. Yet my own recent studies of this text are the first substantial work on the SKA in any European language.20 ¯ contains 143 verses—approximately a tenth of the whole SKA— The DA and it exemplifies many of the features of the collection as a whole. It prioritizes the use of ´slesạ , explores the power of poetry as the embodiment of Sarasvat¯ı, and invokes and celebrates S´iva’s iconography, exploits, and reputation. As we will see, however, this is not always so straightforward. ¯ is notable within the collection because of its emotional intensity While the DA and the striking tone adopted in certain verses, it is not totally anomalous. Many of Jagaddhara’s hymns share similar features, but they are just not as ¯ also stands out within the collection because clustered or as sustained. The DA 21 it harkens back to a poem by the Kashmirian poet named Losṭ haka. ̣ He composed a hymn in the twelfth century, also called the D¯ın¯akrandanastotra, in which he addresses S´iva and laments the vicissitudes of life, eventually expressing the peace that comes from taking refuge in S´iva.22 Jagaddhara’s hymn expands upon some of the themes of his predecessor’s poem but also explores new directions with greater poetic sophistication. With this brief background, let’s turn to the DA¯ itself. Surprisingly, Jagaddhara begins a hymn called the “Cry of the Wretched” by stating that he is dhanya – fortunate or blessed: Truly, I am blessed! The divine goddess of speech, discharging an incredible nectar, nourishes me like a mother with breasts flowing with affection in order to save my life, as I am beset by afflictions.23 Jagaddhara exclaims that he is fortunate because no matter how wretched his condition, he is blessed by the goddess Sarasvat¯ı, implying that at least he has the ability to offer poetic prayers to S´iva.24 The next two verses repeat his exclamation—“I am blessed!” (dhanyo ‘smi)—but they also reiterate his misfortune and miserable state. It is this d¯ınat¯a, his distressed and pitiable



¯ , in state, that leads him to call out to S´iva.25 In the opening verses of the DA other words, Jagaddhara juxtaposes two strong sentiments: he is both blessed and wretched. It is precisely his poetic ability, nourished by the goddess Sarasvat¯ı, that empowers him to articulate his miserable condition and appeal to S´iva for help. While the sense of being blessed or fortunate in this way ¯ , other types of emotional only lasts for the first few verses of the DA juxtapositions and complexity are found throughout the hymn. A variety of emotions, often overlapping, are key to the rhetoric and poetry of his prayers. ¯ , Jagaddhara speaks As one would expect from the title of the DA repeatedly of his own unfortunate condition. He describes his grief and suffering as a fire that rages inside. He says, for example, that his poetry has managed somehow to come forth from his heart, which is tormented by the fire of grief (´sokavahnitapta), and it seeks relief with S´iva (who is associated with the cooling rays of the moon and waters of the Gan ˙ g¯a), just as a cow leaves a hot place in search of cooling streams.26 He depicts himself as beset by anxiety: My mind is anxious at night; sleep is hard to come by. When will I spend my days free from (this inner) fire? Protect me, S´iva! I am dependent on you alone! Why are you who are beyond harshness cruel toward me?27 Such verses show the basic logic of this kind of hymn. The poet describes his sorrowful condition and seeks to obtain pity from the deity who is able to alleviate his suffering. In fact, Jagaddhara argues that the more he debases himself, the more pitiable he becomes: You can’t abandon me, (thinking) “This is a sinful, wicked person.” What is the use of protecting someone with resolve and without any fear at all? It is because I’m wicked, vile, and a sinner that I should be more pitiable to you.28 He also claims that the pathetic cry of a fool is better than fancy poetry at melting S´iva’s heart,29 but of course his rhetoric and his verses are replete with complex literary figures and poetic subtleties. ¯ is Jagaddhara’s Perhaps the most dramatic feeling depicted in the DA terror at the approach of death. He refers to this fear throughout the poem, but he emphasizes it with increasing intensity as it nears its conclusion. In one description, for example, he says:



What else can I say now? As if seeing Yama’s servant, angry with his snake-noose in hand, appearing before me, my fortitude flees, my movement stumbles, my body trembles, my bed burns, my happiness drains away, my memory fades.30 Jagaddhara’s descriptions of his fear, including its physical expressions, dramatize his pitiable state and add a level of urgency and immediacy to his prayers. As he says near the end of the hymn, his own affliction (¯arti) compels him to call out to S´iva, and he prays that S´iva’s compassion compels him in turn to comfort Jagaddhara.31 He suggests that his pleas to obtain S´iva’s favor may be like a person with broken feet trying to climb Mt. Meru, or someone trying to jump up to grab the moon, but still he is compelled to speak by his pain (¯arti).32 Jagaddhara grows increasingly desperate and contentious as the DA¯ progresses and he considers his own demise, embodied as Yama. Feeling death is close, he laments his own life and adopts a surprisingly critical tone. Sometimes this is self-directed. His self-criticism expresses regret and bitterness about his own mistakes and wasted time, as in this verse: If a person blind from birth, wandering on a dangerous path without a hand for support, falls in a ditch and obtains misfortune, what is his offence? (But) damn me! (Even though) I have the sight of the scriptures, the lamp of knowledge, and a loving lord, (even though) I can see the path, I’m still a fool who falls in a pit.33 But he also turns his bitterness toward S´iva, especially through sarcasm. In a series of verses he uses complex puns (´slesạ ) to sarcastically criticize his own foolishness, since he resorts to S´iva who does not seem to hear his prayer. Here is an example that puns on alternative names for S´iva, P¯arvat¯ı , and their son Skanda:



Oh, I’m really smart— to get the fruit I wanted I tried to enter the home in which the husband is sth¯aṇu (S´iva/a bare trunk), the bride is aparṇ¯a (P¯arvat¯ı /leafless), and their son is vi´s¯akha (Skanda/branchless).34 While the surface meaning of the verse simply names three of the members of S´iva’s family, the punned meaning criticizes S´iva for not making the poet’s plea fruitful. Within Sanskrit poetics (alaṅ k¯ara´s¯astra), such verses fall under the category of vy¯ajastuti, “feigned praise,” in that their sarcasm offers thinly veiled critiques.35 For Jagaddhara, such verses serve multiple functions: they praise S´iva by rehearsing his famous names and characteristics, they bemoan the apparent absence of divine favor, and in doing so they establish an intimacy in the relationship between poet and deity.36 They create emotional intensity through a kind of layering: on the surface, for example, the verse beginning “Oh, I’m really smart” describes the poet’s hopeful appeal to S´iva’s divine family; but its sarcasm, accomplished through puns, expresses his bitterness and perhaps even resentment at his unfortunate condition. And yet—even such veiled critiques and bitterness are ways of adorning such verses with poetic sophistication. They are clever. This cleverness, in turn, makes them more unique and beautiful offerings to S´iva. The verse above, in other words, presents praise that is also criticism that is ultimately more effective praise. As Jagaddhara frames it at the start of the hymn, he is blessed with the ability to effectively communicate his misery and thereby win divine favor. Perhaps such verses could even be described as containing emotional puns as well as semantic ones: bitterness veiled as hopeful adoration that is actually a skillful offering of devotion. Most of Jagaddhara’s verses refer to his own emotional struggle—from his anguish in saṃ s¯ara to his terror at his approaching death to his bitterness and regret at his current plight. But he also speculates about or appeals to S´iva’s own emotions. First and foremost, of course, he presents himself as seeking S´iva’s pity and compassion. Sometimes he adopts a tone of great humility, emphasizing the boldness of his own pleas and the gulf between his lowly state and S´iva’s greatness. Yet more often—and increasingly as the hymn progresses—Jagaddhara takes a sharper tone that intertwines a complex series of emotions. Consider SKA 11.67: O lord, you are merciful; I am afflicted by the burden of great suffering. You are Mrtyu ̣ ñjaya, the conqueror of death; I am overwhelmed by the fear of death.



You bear the Ganges river; I am scorched by the terrible heat of cyclical existence. (So) how, how am I not pitiable to you?37 On one hand, he again stresses the difference between himself and S´iva, and he extols S´iva’s greatness by invoking some of his famous names and characteristics. But on the other hand, he also rhetorically challenges S´iva by questioning his emotional response to his condition. This becomes more pronounced in the final sections of the hymn, especially as he discusses his own death. Let’s look at a section of verses in the latter part of the hymn. He says: Seeing cruel Yama, terminator of the wicked, approaching with his snake-noose from the east, from the west, from every direction, I fall to the ground, I prattle piteously, I roll around at your feet— why are you so cruel, like a cheat?38 Ah! This terminator (Yama) takes me away— why don’t you protect me? Is this a case of indifference because of some diversion, O great god? Sure, your heart shouldn’t suffer with pity, (but) don’t you have even (a little bit of) shame abandoning one who has come (to you) for refuge?39 Are you ignorant? Are you weak? Are you confused? Are you distracted? Are you uncompassionate? Are you incapable? Are you sleepy? Are you drunk? Why else would you ignore this plea full of distress because of the terror of Yama?40 Is this hatred toward (me, this) pitiable one? Or is this impatience? Is it cruelty— or is it really impotence? Yama’s pride could be defeated if you merely made the sound huṃ , O lord of all, (yet you have) such disregard.41



With such verses, Jagaddhara shifts from his own emotions, like grief and fear, to the corresponding emotions of S´iva’s response to his prayers. For Jagaddhara, emotions are key to the interactions and relationship between himself and the deity. In these verses, his prayers speculate about S´iva’s emotions, and they attribute to him cruel indifference, the opposite of pity and compassion—especially as he describes death’s approach and his increasing desperation. But in these verses Jagaddhara also appeals to S´iva’s pride: the deity has to save him or be shown a fraud. Numerous verses throughout the hymn imply that S´iva’s reputation is on the line. In other words, if he doesn’t save the pitiful poet, S´iva is the one who will be ridiculed and censured.42 With such verses, Jagaddhara invokes S´iva’s benevolent side and then argues he must be compassionate or prove the devotee’s praises false. He says, for instance: O lord, when someone like you, an ocean of compassion, disregards someone like me, who has no other refuge, for no reason, it is like lightning appearing from the orb of the moon, or darkness coming from the sun.43 In light of his fame as a compassionate, favorable deity when propitiated, S´iva’s failure to take pity on Jagaddhara would be like a bolt from the blue. The DA¯ systematically invokes S´iva’s famous exploits, iconography, and retinue, arguing in different ways for why the deity must take compassion on him or prove his own reputation false or laughable. For example, he asks: if that bull is worthy of your favor because he carries you on his back sometimes, why not me? I carry you in my heart day after day!44 According to the rhetoric in many of his verses, S´iva should feel embarrassment, shame, or even guilt about failing to save his devotee. Calling S´iva’s compassion and reputation into doubt also emphasizes the poet’s pitiable position; even S´iva, the so-called ocean of compassion and conqueror of death, isn’t helping him. Through such verses, Jagaddhara attempts to compel the deity through a combination of argumentation and emotional appeals. All of this, in other words, is part of Jagaddhara’s rhetoric; he is praising and praying to S´iva and attempting to win divine favor. In this discussion, I have focused on ways that Jagaddhara expresses and explores complex emotions in his DA¯ .45 These emotions are central to his relationship with S´iva, as constituted in his poetic prayers. Jagaddhara describes his own emotions, as the poet speaking to S´iva, and he also projects emotions onto the deity. Because of the basic structure of the hymn—namely, the direct or indirect address of the object of praise—Jagaddhara’s poetry functions as a one-sided conversation, a prayer in which he imagines the



thoughts and emotions of the deity. He questions or presumes what S´iva is feeling, or argues for what he should be feeling. Jagaddhara’s grief, pitiable state, and overwhelming anxiety and fear only make the potential for S´iva’s favor more dramatic. The greater the danger and the lower the poet’s position, the more amazing the lord’s grace. But the poet also uses strategies like sarcasm and rhetorical doubts (“Are you sleepy? Are you drunk?”. . .) to criticize S´iva and challenge his sense of pride. The audacity of the poet establishes intimacy with the deity. The biting tone and bitterness expressed in many verses in the DA¯ are hard to ignore, and they help make the emotional complexity of this hymn stand out. Most notably, the hymn layers emotions that often seem to contradict, such as the feeling of being both pathetic and fortunate. These emotions, in turn, are part of both the poet’s praise and his critique of the deity. They are sophisticated poetry, of course, but they are also profound emotional portraits, and the combination of poetic and emotional cleverness make the hymn even more effective as a prayer.46 Returning to the broader arguments I introduced at the start of this essay, I think Jagaddhara’s DA¯ offers a refreshing perspective on the study of emotions in Sanskrit sources. To begin with, it offers an ambitious, influential example of how poets capitalize on the features of the stotra genre to represent striking combinations of emotion. The act of praise and the appeal to a deity are key features of almost all stotras, and they create a structure, a relationship, in which a variety of emotions can be explored and intertwined. Jagaddhara’s praise, for example, becomes the vehicle for sarcasm that reinforces his miserable state, and appealing directly to S´iva with puns and other such literary devices allows him to express his frustration and grief. In other words, the central features of the stotra genre—addressing a deity and offering praise with various poetic qualities—facilitate the creation of complex constellations of emotions, including contradictions and what I described as emotional puns. Sanskrit stotras are of course not the only poetic texts that develop multifaceted emotional intensity, but I have shown here how some of the features of the stotra genre are particularly conducive to it. Such Sanskrit hymns, however, are rarely discussed in studies of devotional traditions or the history of emotions in South Asia.47 Studying stotras like the DA¯ helps to complicate narratives about the history of devotional traditions. Scholarship on bhakti traditions would benefit from seeing poetry like Jagaddhara’s as part of a larger “network” or “quilt” of religious literature and activity, to borrow some of the language from Hawley’s historiographical work on the idea of “the bhakti movement.”48 One might productively compare, for instance, Jagaddhara’s mix of self-deprecation and literary ambition with



Tuls¯ıd¯as’s similar combination in his Avadhi poetry.49 Like Jagaddhara, Tuls¯ıd¯as presents himself as both blessed and wretched as he offers some of the most famous vernacular poetry in North India roughly two and a half centuries after Jagaddhara. I hope that this discussion, while brief and focused on a single Sanskrit hymn, has demonstrated the need and potential for further work on stotra literature as a critical part of the study of emotions and their history in premodern South Asia. Such hymns, I argue, are especially important and illuminating pieces of evidence in this project because of the way this genre can combine poetic ambition with devotional prayers addressed to a deity, allowing poets like Jagaddhara to explore the depth of layered or even contrasting experiences. It is precisely in the context of such poetic, devotional prayers that Jagaddhara’s claims to be both blessed and wretched become meaningful and efficacious.

NOTES 1. na hr dyat ̣ ¯am eti parasya durmukhaḥ ´si´suḥ sravatp¯ınasadigdhan¯asikaḥ / pituḥ svak¯ı yasya tu j¯ıvit¯adhikas tathopah¯asyo ‘pi mam¯ayam udyamaḥ // SKA 38.4 // The “effort” Jagaddhara refers to in the verse is his own lengthy collection of poetic hymns, the Stutikusum¯añjali. The analogue for the “stranger” of the verse is the audience of critics who may judge his poetry harshly, seeing it as “ugly” or “ill-spoken” (durmukha). The “father” of the verse is Jagaddhara himself, who loves his poetic progeny, faults and all. But in the larger context of Jagaddhara’s hymns, the verse also suggests that S´iva himself may accept the poet’s creation because of his love and compassion for his devotee. 2. The first draft of this chapter was presented at the “Emotions in Classical Indian Thought” workshop at Amherst College in September 2018. I thank everyone involved in this wonderful event for the stimulating conversations and critical feedback that greatly improved this chapter. I offer special thanks to Maria Heim, Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad, and Roy Tzohar for their comments and for organizing the workshop and then this volume. Most of all, I am grateful to Anne Monius, not just for her detailed and helpful response to my initial presentation, but also for many years of generous support and encouragement. Her untimely passing as this volume was being prepared for publication was a shock, and she will be dearly missed. This chapter also develops ideas introduced in my book, Poetry as Prayer in the Sanskrit Hymns of Kashmir (Stainton 2019). I am grateful to Oxford University Press for permission to reproduce minor parts of that text. 3. In general, such hymns have not been studied in depth by scholars, a trend I address head-on in some of my current research. 4. See, for example, T. Ganesan’s study of emotions in Tamil bhakti poetry (2017). 5. Ramanujan 1981: 166 and Cutler 1987: 19.



6. On these tensions in the study of Sanskrit stotras, see Stainton 2019, especially pp. 164–9. 7. It is important to note that a few Sanskrit sources have received extensive attention for their emotional content, most notably the Bhagavadg¯ıt¯a, Bh¯agavatapur¯aṇa, and G¯ıt¯agovinda. But this is precisely because these texts are considered crucial forbearers or complements to the development of vernacular bhakti poetry. 8. This view has been critiqued most pointedly by Pollock 2006: 423–36. For a good discussion of this narrative and Pollock’s critique, see Hawley 2015: 7–9, 311–12. 9. Ramanujan 1973: 53–4; I am grateful to Elaine Fisher for reminding me of this reference. 10. See, for example, Pollock 2016 and Bronner and Shulman 2006: 1–30. There is, of course, tremendous variety in the history of interactions between Sanskrit and other languages in South Asia. As a small contribution to the historiography of Sanskrit in relation to bhakti traditions, Anand Venkatkrishnan and I organized a panel for the Hinduism Unit at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion in Denver, Colorado, entitled “Sanskrit and the Bhakti Movement.” 11. Hawley 2015: 13. He focuses on two things: a narrative about the embodiment of bhakti in the Bh¯agavata M¯ah¯atmya, and the paradigm of four teaching lineages (samprad¯ayas) that connect North and South India. He argues that in these two organizing motifs, the “born in Draviḍa” narrative and the four sampr¯adayas, we can see the predecessors to the idea of “the bhakti movement” that was articulated in the twentieth century. 12. Hawley 2015: 310. 13. Hawley 2015: 13. 14. I presented an expanded version of this argument in “Stotras and the Bhakti Movement” at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion in Denver, November 2018, and it forms part of my larger project on Sanskrit hymns currently in progress. 15. On the date of the SKA, see Stainton 2019: 86–7. 16. See Peterson and Durg¯apras¯ada 1886: 36–7, for a list of Jagaddhara’s verses included in this anthology. 17. References to the SKA in this chapter refer to this latter edition: Panta, Trip¯atḥ ¯ı, and Vaij¯apurakara, eds. 1964. 18. Between pages 27 and 34 in Sunday Puja 2002, for example, SKA 1.6, 1.7, and 1.9 are numbered vv. 1–3, SKA 11.38 is numbered v. 14, and SKA 11.32 is numbered v. 15. 19. For the most dramatic example, see Pollock 2001: 392–426, 396, and 418 n.7. 20. Hindi scholarship on the SKA includes: Dvived¯ı 1933; Agrav¯ala 1982; and ´Sarm¯a 2004. For scholarship in English by an Indian scholar, see Bhatt 1972. For extended analyses of the SKA, see Stainton 2019.



21. He is also known as Losṭ adeva, ̣ Losṭ ha, ̣ and Losṭ haka, ̣ son of Ramyadeva. His dates are approximately 1125–75, since he and his father are mentioned in the twenty-fifth chapter of Man ˙ kha’s S´r¯ı kaṇthacarita ̣ (see vv. 25.31–6). Apparently, he visited Varanasi and became a renunciant (D¯ı n¯akrandanastotra v. 51). 22. See K¯avyam¯al¯a 1930: 21–30; and ´Sarm¯a 2004. 23. dhanyo ‘smi samyagamr ta ̣ ṃ kim api sravant¯ı sañj¯ıvanaṃ bhagavat¯ı vidadh¯ati yasya / snehasnutastanayug¯a janan¯ıva j¯ıvaraks¯ạ rtham ¯artividhurasya mamoktidev¯ı // SKA 11.1 // 24. On the relationship between S´iva and Sarasvat¯ı, see Stainton 2019: 187–92, and also Stainton 2012. 25. E.g., SKA 11.9: krand¯amy ataḥ kim api n¯ama pin¯akap¯aṇe t¯ıvr¯artinistaraṇak¯araṇa k¯ataro ‘ham / moh¯atav ̣ ¯ıvikatasa ̣ ṅ katasa ̣ ṃsthitasya tan me ‘vadh¯araya ´siv¯aya ´siv¯aturasya // 26. j¯ane kathañcid udit¯a mama ´sokavahnitapt¯at skhalanmr dupad ̣ ¯a hr day ̣ ¯ad iyaṃ gauḥ / cetaḥ praveksyati ̣ ´sanaiḥ karuṇ¯amr taughani ̣ ḥsyanda ̣ ´s¯ıtam api ´s¯ı tamayu ¯khamauleḥ // SKA 11.5 // Elsewhere he says if he has done bad deeds in a past life, why does he have such attachment (anur¯aga) to ´Siva in this one; but if he did good deeds, why this fire of grief (´sok¯anala) burning up his heart? (pr¯ak cen may¯a vihitam ¯avilam eva karma sv¯amin kutas tvayi mamaisạ dr ḍ ̣ ho ‘nur¯agaḥ / ek¯anta´suklam atha ced atiduḥsaho ‘yaṃ ´sok¯analo hr dayad ̣ ¯ahakaraḥ kim antaḥ // SKA 11.30 //). 27. sv¯apaḥ sacintamanaso ni´si me dur¯apo nird¯aha eva gamay¯ami kad¯a sad¯ahaḥ / raksạ tvadekava´sagaṃ ´siva m¯am ava´syaṃ kasm¯ad bhavasy aparusọ mama karka´sas tvam // SKA 11.36 // 28. p¯apaḥ khalo ‘yam iti n¯arhasi m¯aṃ vih¯atuṃ kiṃ raksay ̣ ¯a kr tamater ̣ akutobhayasya / yasm¯ad as¯adhur adhamo ‘ham apuṇyakarm¯a tasm¯at tav¯asmi sutar¯am anukampan¯ıyaḥ // 11.37 // Em. ‘yam; ed. ‘ham. 29. d¯ınair vimugdhavacanair asamañjas¯arthair yadvad dravanti hr day ̣ ¯ani day¯anidh¯ın¯am / tadvan na dr ṣ ṭ asabhasapratibhapragalbhasandarbhagarbhạ racan¯añcitav¯akprapañcaiḥ // SKA 11.13 // 30. muhuḥ kim aparaṃ bruve bhujagap¯a´sap¯aṇiṃ puraḥ sphurantam iva rosạ ṇaṃ ravijakiṅ karaṃ pa´syataḥ / dhr ti ̣ ´s calati me gatiḥ skhalati mu ¯rtir udvellati sthitir jvalati nirvr tir ̣ vigalati smr tir ̣ m¯ılati // SKA 11.130 // 31. durgaṃ yat sugamatvam eti bhajate du ¯raṃ yad abhyarṇat¯aṃ yat kr¯ı dopavanatvam ̣ eti marubhu ¯r mitr¯ayate yad ripuḥ / yasy¯aḥ s¯a bhuvi ´saktir apratihat¯a s¯artis tvad¯akrandane sv¯amin m¯am anudat kr p̣ ¯api nudatu tv¯aṃ matsam¯a´sv¯asane // SKA 11.131 // 32. j¯anubhy¯am upasr tya ̣ rugṇacaraṇaḥ ko merum ¯arohati ´sy¯am¯ak¯amukabimbam ambaratal¯ad utplutya gr ḥ ṇ¯ati kaḥ / ko v¯a b¯ali´sabh¯asitai ̣ ḥ prabhavati pr¯aptuṃ pras¯adaṃ prabhor ity antarvimr´ṣ ann ap¯ı´svara bal¯ad ¯arty¯asmi v¯ac¯alitaḥ // SKA 11.141 // 33. j¯atyandhaḥ pathi saṅ katẹ pravicaran hast¯avalambaṃ vin¯a y¯ata´s ced avatẹ nipatya vipadaṃ tatr¯apar¯adho ‘sya kaḥ / dhig dhiṅ m¯aṃ sati ´s¯astracaksụ sị sati prajñ¯aprad¯ı pe sati snigdhe sv¯amini m¯argadar´sini ´satha ̣ ḥ ´svabhre pataty eva yaḥ // SKA 11.135 //



34. sth¯aṇuḥ sa yatra vibhur asya vadhu ¯r aparṇ¯a s¯a yatra yatra ca tayos tanayo vi´s¯akhaḥ / prajñ¯avat¯am aham aho pravaraḥ pravesṭ um ̣ icch¯ami dh¯ama tad abh¯ısṭ aphal ̣ ¯aptaye yat // SKA 11.117 // 35. On this poetic figure, see Bronner 2009. 36. For comparative reflections on religious poetry that criticizes God, see McDermott and Polish 2015: 376–80. On criticizing God as a sign of intimacy, see also Pechilis Prentiss 1999: 67. 37. sv¯amin mr ḍ as ̣ tvam uruduḥkhabhar¯ardito ‘haṃ mr tyu ̣ ñjayas tvam atha mr tyubhay ̣ ¯akulo ‘ham / gaṅ g¯adharas tvam aham ugrabhavopat¯apataptaḥ kathaṃ katham ahaṃ na tav¯anukampyaḥ // SKA 11.67 // 38. pa´sc¯at puraḥ pratidi´saṃ ca vimr´ṣ ya pa´syan kru ¯raṃ kr ṭ ¯antahatakaṃ phaṇip¯a´sas¯ạ ṇim / bhu ¯mau pat¯ami kr pa ̣ ṇaṃ pralap¯ami p¯adap¯ıthe ̣ lutḥ ¯ami ´sathavat ̣ kathino ̣ ‘si kasm¯at // SKA 11.101 // 39. ¯aḥ kiṃ na raksasi ̣ nayaty ayam antako m¯aṃ hel¯avalepasamayaḥ kim ayaṃ mahe´sa / m¯a n¯ama bhu ¯t karuṇay¯a hr dayasya ̣ p¯ı ḍ¯a vr¯ıḍ¯api n¯asti ´saraṇ¯agatam ujjhatas te // SKA 11.102 // 40. ajño ‘si kiṃ kim abalo ‘si kim ¯akulo ‘si vyagro ‘si kiṃ kim aghr ṇ ̣ o ‘si kim aksamo ̣ ‘si / nidr¯alasaḥ kim asi kiṃ madaghu ¯rṇito ‘si krandantam antakabhay¯artam upeksase ̣ yat // SKA 11.103 // 41. dvesạ ḥ kim esạ kr pa ̣ ṇe kim ut¯aksameya ̣ ṃ nistriṃ´sat¯a kim athav¯a kim a´saktir eva / huṅ k¯aram¯atrakanir¯akaraṇ¯ıyagarve sarve´sa k¯alahatake yad iyaty upeks¯ạ // SKA 11.104 // 42. E.g., SKA 11.136: tr¯at¯a yatra na ka´s cid asti visame ̣ tatra prahartuṃ pathi drogdh¯aro yadi j¯agrati pratividhiḥ kas tatra ´sakyakriyaḥ / yatra tvaṃ karuṇ¯arṇavas tribhuvanatr¯aṇaprav¯ıṇaḥ prabhus tatr¯api praharanti cet paribhavaḥ kasyaisạ garh¯avahaḥ // 43. abhyudgamo ‘yam a´saner amr ṭ ¯aṃ´subimb¯at sv¯aminn asau dinamaṇes timiraprarohaḥ / yusm ̣ ¯adr´ṣ asya karuṇ¯ambunidher akasm¯ad asm¯adr´ṣ esṿ a´saraṇesṿ avadh¯ıraṇaṃ yat // SKA 11.66 // 44. pr ṣ ṭ ẹ bhavantam ayam udvahate kad¯acid et¯avat¯a yadi tavaiti day¯aspadatvam / sv¯aminn ahaṃ tu hr daye ̣ ‘nvaham udvah¯ami tv¯am ity ataḥ katham aho na tav¯anukampyaḥ // SKA 11.54 // 45. It is important to note, however, that there are other approaches one could take to such sources. Many scholars have turned to aesthetics, and specifically rasa theory, to analyze emotions in Sanskrit literary contexts (see, for instance, the contributions in this volume by Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad and Sthaneshwar Timalsina). There are certainly good reasons for this. One could analyze Jagaddhara’s hymns in terms of rasa, and I have argued elsewhere that he intended his poetry to be evaluated by the highest standards of Sanskrit literary theory (Stainton 2019, chapters 6 and 7). One could argue, for example, that the DA¯ as a whole develops the stable emotion (sth¯ay¯ıbh¯ava) of grief (´soka), which leads to the arising of the corresponding aesthetic “taste” of pity or compassion (karuṇarasa). However, there are certain challenges introduced by analyzing the emotional content of hymns in this way, such as the marginal status of stotra literature within much of the discourse on aesthetics and the



difference between “emotion” as a general category and bh¯ava and rasa as technical terminology (in other words, “grief ” and “pity” mean something different when they are emotions in the world versus a bh¯ava and a rasa within an aesthetic context). Moreover, focusing on the variety and complexity of emotions woven throughout Jagaddhara’s poetic praise without defaulting to the language of rasa offers different perspectives on how emotions are important in such texts. It highlights, for example, how a variety of emotions can overlap and contradict in the context of a devotional relationship to a supreme deity. 46. In addition, perhaps the overlapping and complex emotions in such poetry can be seen as mirroring how some people experience emotions in their own lives. For example, hymns, as a form of prayer, allow for certain types of theological openness; thus Steven Hopkins explores how the stotra form, partially because it can be more emotional and personal than other genres, gives Ved¯antade´sika latitude to resolve debates about self-effort and grace (2002: 235–6). Stephanie Clark, in her study of petitionary prayer in Anglo-Saxon England, describes a different kind of openness. Taking her cue from her sources, she interprets prayer in terms of a gift economy that creates relationships between the parties involved, and this gift giving requires an openness—it isn’t a mechanical transaction—that allows for other types of values (2017: 189, 273–4). 47. There are exceptions, of course, and these generally focus on South India; see, for example, Hopkins 2002. 48. On the idea of a bhakti network, see Hawley 2015: 295–312; on the metaphor of a quilt, see Hawley 2015: 310. 49. Lutgendorf 2016: xv.


Savoring Rasa: Emotion, Judgment, and Phenomenal Content STHANESHWAR TIMALSINA

In recent decades, a surge of interest in emotion studies has led to meaningful engagement between contemporary theories of emotion and the integral philosophical and psychological models of emotion from the cultural milieu of medieval India. Owing to problems of translation and interpretation, the latter contributions have not kept pace with the burgeoning discourse of the west. Each field is laden with multiple, interdisciplinary theories and perspectives that viewed together generate an opportunity to rethink emotion outside the old paradigm of mind-body dualism. By foregrounding the Sanskrit philosophical texts of Abhinavagupta, this chapter on rasa theory deviates from traditional textual readings that have, to date, resisted dialogue with contemporary approaches and socio-anthropological readings. Aside from a few exceptions (e.g., Ali 2006; Benamou 2010), contemporary studies are mostly reluctant to engage classical theories. This chapter aims to demonstrate a case for future conversation between rasa theories and current trends in reading emotion. Just as emotion studies contain multiple theories, the domain of rasa combines diverse approaches that require nuanced reading. An integrated approach is fruitful, combining traditional philological methods to read the classical texts with a cross-cultural phenomenological outlook that grounds 255



salient issues in rasa-experience. Whilst I focus on Abhinavagupta’s (eleventh century) understanding of rasa, I read Vis´van¯a tha (fourteenth to fifteenth century) to elaborate on Abhinavaguptan concepts and look to R¯amacandra and Gunacandra ̣ (twelfth century) to demonstrate an alternative to the Abhinavaguptan paradigm. Although reading broadly across the literature in Sanskrit, I derive central arguments on the cognitive and phenomenological features of rasa experience.

INTRODUCING THE CATEGORIES The first challenge encountered in the attempt to initiate a global dialogue on rasa is translating the key terms, especially bha¯va, rasa, and camatka¯ra. Bha¯va refers to emotion, but the term also captures involuntary corporeal functions such as trembling, tears, or sweating. Rasa, along the same lines, is translated as emotion, aesthetic emotion, aesthetic essence, or a cocktail of emotions. Rasa also means the state of savoring emotions and a judgmental state of evaluating emotions.1 Equally complicated is the term camatka¯ra, generally translated as “wonder” or “rapture.” Philosophically, the term describes the reflexivity of consciousness. This includes the act of sensing as well as the content of experience. In an aesthetic context, camatka¯ra is the evaluation of rasa experience which simultaneously incorporates a sense of exuberance combined with wonder. One can interpret this as bedazzlement or the act of it, a feeling that flashes or shimmers. If the metaphor of light is used to describe consciousness, camatka¯ra is about its active surge. All three terms—bha¯va, rasa, and camatka¯ra—have deep cultural underpinnings. Even for the category bha¯va, some are enduring (stha¯yin), some transient (sañca¯rin), and some involuntary somatic responses (sa¯ttvika bha¯vas). Even the common emotions, the enduring ones, are not that universal when we engage certain contemporary studies (Cuneo 2007: 32– 5). The term bha¯va refers to a mode, or a specific manifestation, of basic or foundational consciousness. Grouped under bha¯va are somatic responses, emotional states and feelings, and emotional judgments. In this sense, bha¯va is the coming into being of an episode of consciousness (citta-vṛtti), a distinct form of consciousness, which is not merely judgmental but also emotional. Bharata and Abhinavagupta elucidate the matter etymologically: “bha¯vas are as such because they constitute rasas”;2 “by the term bha¯va what is meant is the specific modes of the mind.”3 Keeping in mind the aesthetic context, Bharata traces the etymology of bha¯va: As to whether bha¯vas are, because [they] come into being or because they constitute [something], we say, [they are] bha¯vas because they constitute



the true sense (artha) of the poetics that has [the proper arrangement of] speech, body, and the mind (sattva).4 Rasa is a cocktail of different emotions, given that they are appropriately combined. The most commonly cited “rasa-su ¯ tra” of Bharata states: Rasa emerges when [the enduring emotion] is combined with the determinant, consequent, and transient [bha¯vas].5 Bharata’s sentence outlining rasa remains obscure, as the words “emergence” (nispatti ̣ ), “mixture” (saṃ yoga), as well as the very term bha¯va—understood not only as “coming into being” but as “assuming a distinctive modality”— are deeply nuanced. Bharata uses bha¯va to mean stimulant factors, corporeal symptoms, feelings, emotions, moods, and even judgmental states. Bharata did aggregate different categories, although this merely reflects the enigma of defining emotion even today. A closer analysis of bha¯va might yield some insight into what he was attempting. When equated with an episode of the mind, bha¯va only refers to the enduring emotions. Abhinavagupta makes this point by distinguishing transient and consequent bha¯vas as merely of the character of predisposition from the enduring ones.6 The two different etymologies given for bha¯va as “that which occur,” and “that which constitute,” capture the domains of both the enduring emotions as well as the consequent and transient bha¯vas.7 Rasa is a distilled property that emerges with the commixture of different bha¯vas. Since not every single bha¯va is identified as a mode of consciousness, one can argue whether their product, rasa, can be identified as a cognitive category. Keeping this question in mind, Abhinava clarifies, “savouring (rasana¯) is of the character of understanding.”8 So that we do not conflate this savoring with common sense experience, Abhinava further explains, “however, this understanding [i.e., savoring] is distinct from other everyday experiences.”9 In their attempts to initiate a broader comparative approach and a dialogue between the classical Hindu and Greek aesthetics, some scholars have explored similarities between rasa and catharsis.10 I am not convinced this is the most appropriate approach. In any cultural or philosophical dialogue, misconceived similarity is far more hazardous than apparent difference. On the one hand, the concept of rasa evokes the sense of savoring, as is evident in Bharata’s application of “tasting” (a¯sva¯dayanti) (NS´ VI.33), comparing it with savoring a nicely prepared dish (NS´ VI.32). Examples abound relating this to juicing, rejoicing in a cocktail, or enjoying a refined dish. On the other hand, catharsis has the central component of the purgation



of “negative” emotions such as grief or fear. This interpretation proposes that a dramatized tragic situation mirrors the subject’s own adverse situation, stimulating the same emotion, eventually making it possible to diffuse or purge it. In contrast, there is no purging but savoring in the mechanism of rasa experience, particularly when we engage the position of Abhinava. If there is anything removed when experiencing rasa, it is not the phenomenal content but the gap or apparent distance between subject and object, the dichotomy between inside and outside. Although the evaluative state of emotional experience is epitomized in the concept of camatka¯ra, categories such as catharsis or wonder are not appropriate to compare with rasa and camatka¯ra in the aesthetic framework of Bharata and Abhinavagupta. Vis´van¯a tha’s definition reveals some of these nuances in the experiencing of rasa: Some [rare] subjects savor rasa non-distinctively, as if [experiencing] oneself. [This rasa] has as its essence (pra¯ṇa) the flash of experience (camatka¯ra) that transcends common sense. [This is] devoid of contact with any external object, and due to the surge of vitality (sattva), [it] is comprised of the non-dual self-manifest bliss and consciousness. [This experience resembles] the experience of Brahman [just as] a twin sharing the same womb.11 Engaging the above understanding of rasa, it becomes clear that the mechanisms at play in this experience and its intentional content appear distinct in several ways from the ways catharsis has been understood, whether explained as purgation or as the resolution of emotions. In particular there is no purgation of emotion in the rasa paradigm, as they are to be savored with a higher aesthetic gaze. In experiencing rasa, the basic emotional states are not expunged but evaluated. Therefore, there are both judgmental and emotional contents in this experience. What this implies is that emotions are a first-order interpretation of specific stimuli. There is a further order of interpretation where even experiences deemed negative in first-order processing are re-evaluated based on new components, blended within, and evaluated as positive, ultimately resulting in the surge of rasa experience. Bharata explains rasa experience: Just as aesthetically virtuous (sumanasa) people relish the taste and experience bliss when consuming the food that is seasoned with various spices, aesthetically virtuous people [while watching a drama] experience bliss the same way by savouring the enduring bha¯vas that are expressed by means of speech, physical gestures, or the corporeal symptoms expressed in the course of indicating various bha¯vas.12



He adds further: The presence of an entity that evokes (saṃ va¯din) the heart is the cause of the surge of rasa by means of which the body is covered, just like the fire covers an entire dry log.13 This metaphor of soaking the body with rasa-experience is crucial to rasaphenomenology. Besides somaticity, rasa experience has yet another domain, that of inter-subjectivity. Two different etymologies define rasa: “the mechanism by means of which [the enduring emotions] are savoured is called rasa” (rasyate = a¯sva¯dyate),14 and the very act of savoring is rasa” (rasyata iti rasaḥ).15 Accordingly, rasa is both sensing or savoring and is also something being savored. What is it that is being savored? The very emotions (bha¯vas) that are commixed and reprocessed. This exposition retains the emotional content even in the evaluating mode of consciousness, elucidated by the concept of camatka¯ra. If rasa integrates emotions (bha¯vas) into its very emergence, then observations applicable to emotions are also applicable to rasa and vice versa. Some have argued that rasa is a “heightened emotional state,” thereby dismantling the hierarchy between rasa and bha¯va. Most aestheticians reject this view, particularly those who accept Abhinavagupta’s interpretation. “Heightened emotional state” as in heightened anger or fear is evidently not joyful, and if those emotions are savored, it is not due to higher stimulation but because these emotions have been evaluated in aesthetic judgment. This is where the concept of camatka¯ra becomes relevant, as it is what demarcates bha¯va from rasa. It is in finding camatka¯ra that a new property emerges that makes savoring possible. And by “emergence” I only mean “manifestation” (abhivyakti) of the properties that were not visible in the causal categories; there is no implication that I am committed to any specific causal account comparable to those in contemporary physicalisms.16 Abhinavagupta’s model of rasa is not that of simple alteration of structure, as the transformation or pariṇa¯ma model would support. (Among various forms of causal relationships between bha¯va and rasa discussed in medieval literature, the transformation (pariṇa¯ma) model accepts no ontological difference in the emergent property, with merely a modification of form in the new category.17) This is also not emergence in the sense of novel production (utpatti), as this would violate the Abhinavaguptan interpretation. I am reading both the terms abhivyakti and vya˙n gya in the Abhinavaguptan, phenomenological sense of the manifestation of the properties that are dormant in the causal form, similar to the manifestation of the colors in the peacock feathers which are not absent in the yolk but are not manifest in it



either. To say “rasa emerges” is therefore neither equating rasa with bha¯va nor supporting a categorical difference. That is, there lies both identity and difference between cause and effect, i.e., bha¯va and rasa. This may not suffice to meet the demand for a full metaphysical account of causal properties but is an indication of how Abhinava treats the experiential relationship—i.e., the phenomenal features—between the occurrence of bha¯va and the arising of rasa; the details of Abhinava’s engagement with causal theory would take us too far from the concerns of this chapter. The key to the explication of Abhinava’s understanding of bha¯va and rasa is the concept of camatka¯ra, a culturally laden and contested term. For example, Hiriyanna, Coomaraswamy, and Larson read camatka¯ra in an esoteric sense that led them to equate rasa with mystical experience.18 My contention is that there is nothing mystical for Abhinava about experiencing unobstructed bliss without any hindrance from the contrary stimulants. It is true that classical aestheticians have often compared rasa experience with experiencing Brahman.19 However, one should not overlook that this experience is equally compared with enjoying good food. The very act of comparing underlies the assumption of difference. Consequently, there are some aspects in experiencing rasa that resemble self-experience while there are other domains that suggest the enjoyment of food. Presence and absence of the active subjective mode of savoring, for example, is what distinguishes these experiences. That is to say that the cognitive faculties of evaluation and synthesis are active in the savoring of rasa. Camatka¯ra is generally translated in contemporary readings as “wonder.” This rests on equating aesthetic experience as outlined in rasa literature with the Aristotelian conception of rhaumaston. This equation leads to two types of misconceptions: one, camatka¯ra describes aesthetic experience in general; it stands for the evaluative mode of experiencing rasa. “Wonder” is closer to experience—the emotion, the bha¯va—of adbhuta. Additionally, the application of “wonder” to synthesize rasa experience simplifies aesthetic experience while appropriating a Western category of “wonder” without acknowledging the conceptual difference.20 Camatka¯ra is the essence of aesthetic experience, bedazzlement, but at the same time, a judgmental state. Although conflating camatka¯ra with adbhuta and translating the first as “wonder” is not new,21 this equation has given rise to new problems. To make it clear, all the rasas elicit camatka¯ra, and when they do not, they fail to be recognized as such. It is therefore flawed to identify adbhuta as the essence of experiencing all rasas. Furthermore, the understanding of camatka¯ra as wonder fails to acknowledge the etymological meaning of the word, besides the way the term has been used by the classical aestheticians.



There is something shimmering (camat) or dazzling in the flash of experience where the parameters that separate different emotions and the subject and object are breached, and this reflexive mode is what the term intends to capture. Even the derivatives of the term, for example Pr¯a krta ̣ /camakkai/ refers to flashing or flash, dazzling or bedazzlement. Hindi, /camak/, /camakna¯/, /camk¯ı la¯/; Nepali /camkilo/, or /camkanu/, all relate to shimmering or flashing. In Abhinavagupta’s terminology: In the world, the consciousness devoid of all forms of distractions is identified as camatka¯ra or as entering, savoring, experiencing or enjoyment (bhoga), coming together (sama¯patti), absorption, or repose.22 In other applications, the term describes the experiential mode of bliss and also implicit expression of something which appears otherwise as if hidden.23 When read in the rasa context, the term describes synthesis where the self gazes upon itself, recognizing its modifications (bha¯va) in their premodified state. To sum up, the concept of camatka¯ra demands that what is being experienced, be it horror or laughter, is reprocessed within the aesthetic framework. And this experience presents itself as blissful, even when some of its contents would not be, if removed from the aesthetic context. What makes camatka¯ra peculiar, therefore, is that it describes the phenomenological state in which the subject is both undergoing emotion (bha¯va) while also aesthetically evaluating the episode, where the evaluation, being an intrinsic mode of consciousness, is itself blissful (in a non-worldly way that we will look at soon). There are two orders of experiencing: the raw emotions, with their own variable content, which may not be in themselves enjoyable, are presented, while a reflexive consciousness evaluates these experiences, and consists of joy (a¯nanda). This is what Abhinava implies when he says, “in my opinion, what is savoured is the very consciousness, consisting of pure joy.”24 That is, there is no distinction between the higher-order savoring of variable emotions expressed in the play or poetry, and the experience of bliss itself. Abhinava expands further: There is no concern regarding [the experience of] pain in this [savoring]. Only upon its variegation does inclination towards attraction or grief come into operation.25 Upon the question of whether savoring is pure delight or a mode of consciousness that is judging a state of emotional blending, Vis´van¯a tha says:



[One could ask:] How is it that rasa has [the property of] emergence? True. It is because the operation identified as savoring is distinct from acting or cognizing. This is why there are separate terms such as tasting, savoring, or having camatka¯ra. This is why there is a distinctive operation [at play in the manifestation of rasa] to primary significance (abhidha¯).26 Sanskrit aestheticians describe rasa experience as “sukha” or bliss and based on simple translation, readers assume that rasa-experience is “blissful.” Classical commentators provide examples like the emergence of sweetness in mature fruit, extending the “emergence” or the “abhivyakti” thesis, applied to rasa by the philosophers such as Abhinavagupta. However, we should not conflate this with everyday experience of joy. It is in this sense that Abhinavagupta applies the terminology of this experience being “outside of the sensory realm” (lokottara). The application of the term camatka¯ra needs to be read in this light, as this peculiar aspect of aesthetic savoring is lacking in the everyday experience of emotion. In the above paradigm, rasa explains both the sensory aspect as well as the emotional content of such an experience, as has been outlined above. In this regard, one could evoke Husserl’s distinction between noetic content and its noematic correlate. The difference is that although Abhinava analyzes rasa distinctively as an act of experience together with its emotional correlate, he does it through deriving two different meanings for the same term rasa.27 If we were to understand rasa as merely rasana¯ or savoring, it would be tautological to say “the savoring of rasa” (rasa¯sva¯da), or “savoring the savoring.” On the other hand, if rasa only explained the content, we would require a separate category for aesthetic evaluation. This also applies to how we understand camatka¯ra. The above description is not the only narrative of rasa found in classical Sanskrit literature. There were some early aestheticians working from within the S¯a˙nkhya framework who considered rasa as consisting either of painful or pleasant experiences. We find this position further extended in the Na¯tyadarpa ̣ ṇa of R¯a macandra and Gunacandra. ̣ I will discuss this contrast in the last section, “Is rasa always a positive experience?”

¯VA, RASA AND REFLEXIVITY: PROGRESSION BHA ¯VA TO RASA FROM BHA Bha¯va demonstrates continuity between the somatic and cognitive. This is evident even in the way the term captures a wide range of emotional occurents and corporeal states. The enduring emotions (stha¯y¯ı bha¯vas) are essential for the conversation on rasa, as these “endure” even before and



during the process of the emergence of rasa. The endurance of these emotions is not changeless permanence, as bha¯vas are constantly modified and they intermingle with each other. Their consistency is stream-like, which is not quite permanence. They surge and are diffused, contingent upon stimulating factors. When Abhinava says “what is meant by the term bha¯va is the specific modes of consciousness,”28 he makes no categorical distinction between emotion and cognition. Now we can turn to the issue of “manifestation” (abhivyakti). In the discourse on rasa, this abhivyakti is commonly described in terms of “emergence” (nispatti ̣ ), although this is not to be conflated with one particular interpretation, that of S´a˙nkuka, that viewed rasa as an epiphenomenon not directly derived from the enduring emotions. Bharata declared that there is an “emergence” (nispatti ̣ ) of rasa in the fusion of different bha¯vas.29 I understand nispatti ̣ as “distinct manifestation” (abhivyakti) in accordance with Abhinavagupta for whom, whilst there still exists similarity between bha¯vas and rasa, the latter stands as a separate category. If we apply here the pariṇa¯ma model of causation that we have touched upon briefly, bha¯va and rasa would be “chemically” the same, meaning that there would be nothing peculiar about rasa that is not in bha¯va, and the difference would be qualitative and not categorical. This is what we find in the position of R¯a macandra and Gunacandra. ̣ While treating rasa as an emergent property, something unique and not directly reducible to bha¯vas, R¯amacandra and Gunacandra ̣ simply take rasa to be pleasant and painful modes of experiences. This position is not radically different from the one that was maintained by Lollata, ̣ a theorist before the time of Abhinavagupta who maintained that rasa is merely a heightened form, an exalted state (upaciti) of what already exists in the enduring emotion. By contrast, Abhinava’s paradigm allows rasa experience to be desirable and blissful even when the basic emotions are “negative” for there is a categorical distinction between rasa and bha¯va. Abhinavagupta’s abhivyakti or “emergence” model mediates between rasa as immediately felt property that yet cannot be reduced to the properties of more basic causal factors. The immediacy of rasa experience is crucial to analyze how his term “lokottara,” best read as “beyond the sensory realm,” needs to be understood. Rasa in this model is analogous to (although obviously not literally or scientifically like) the honey that is derived from nectar, an exotic dish made of raw ingredients: note that the relevance of these analogies is most potent because of the phenomenology of the emergent, the taste of the honey or of the dish. Bharata has a wide range of metaphors to describe this emergence:



i. Just like the credit goes to the king for the valour, so also the credit of rasa goes to the enduring emotion (stha¯y¯ı bha¯va) (NS´ VII. 7. prose section). ii. Just as a gourmand savors the blend of flavors in an exotic dish, so also is the enduring emotion tasted in the mode of rasa (NS´ VII. 7. prose section). Here, rasa could be thought of as transcendental experience of emotion rather than an emotion. A “transcendental experience” conceptually expands from the “origination” (utpatti) model of causality and suggests that rasa is inferential. This model can be contrasted with that of Lollata, ̣ who argued that rasa is non-sensory, a form of propositional knowledge. If we were to reinterpret camatka¯ra on this basis, it would be a judgmental cognitive state that lacks emotionality. This is what Abhinava is confronting by adopting the emergence or “manifestation” (abhivyakti) thesis. The consequence is that if rasa is only to be inferred while bha¯vas are felt, we would not directly undergo it by sensory access to emotions (bha¯vas). On the other hand, if we equate bha¯va and rasa altogether and yet also maintain that rasa is inferentially known, then we would have to say that even bha¯vas are inferred and not experienced. By contrast, in the Abhinavaguptan model of causality, emergence (abhivyakti) avoids the denial of the experiential nature (even if radically different) of rasa and bha¯va. There are two different ways of understanding the category of lokottara. From the Abhinavaguptan perspective, while this is an experience that cannot be captured within the sensory faculties and translated in common language, it is nonetheless directly revealed in immediate consciousness; rasa is beyond the world of common experiential language but not beyond any type of experience. But from the perspective of Lollata, ̣ lokottara means “outside the sensory realm” in the sense of outside of experience as such. We would be misreading the intent of Abhinava, however, if we were to conflate the concept of lokottara as found in Abhinava with transcendentality in the way Lollatạ articulates. It would be equally problematic if we fail to recognize the distinction between rasa and bha¯va in Abhinavagupta’s aesthetics. Cuneo exemplifies the position where, if one misunderstands bha¯va as ordinary emotion, then an unbridgeable ontological divide opens between it and rasa. Consequently, we have the view that “rasas are alaukika and enjoyable precisely insofar as they lack reference to spatial and temporal coordinates as well as reference to any particular knowing subject,” as maintained by Cuneo (2013: 65). The most basic or somatic states of consciousness that appear to lack intentionality are therefore deemed “otherworldly.” Were lokottara to mean that rasa is outside of the sensory



faculties, it would be purely inferentially derived, and a form of propositional knowledge. This misconception emerges when we fail to recognize how Abhinava thinks of the inferentiality of rasa and its “transcendentality.” If we synthesize the phenomenological aspects of this experience as outlined by Abhinavagupta, rasa experience simply transcends dichotomies. Abhinavagupta says, “this [rasa experience] is of the essence of savoring alone and it lacks the character of having an intentional object (prameya) etc.”30 He adds further: This savoring is neither an operation in the form of cognition nor an operation in the form of causation. This, however, is not non-veridical, as it is established by means of self-awareness. Savoring is of the character of consciousness itself. This, however, is distinct from other everyday modes of consciousness.31 There is yet another aspect of experiencing rasa, an inter-subjective domain, that is embedded within the concept of “commonization” (sa¯dha¯raṇ¯ı karaṇa) that Bhatṭ ạ N¯a yaka (c. 900) introduced and that of “sharing the same heart” (sahṛdaya), central to Abhinavas’ aesthetics. In drama, the first explains the cognitive act of a viewer where he finds commonality with the character. The second explains an empathic state of sharing the same heart (sama¯naṃ hṛdayaṃ yasya). Abhinavagupta explains: [This rasa] is not actualized as indifferent to [whether it is] common inference or by someone who is sexually aroused. Rather, [this is felt] essentially by reprocessing [lit. chewing], which corresponds to becoming one [with what is being felt], without climbing the ladder of inference, memory, etc., but by the growth of the savoring of rasa that comes to completion by the strength of the “common heart” (sahṛdayatva) that is characterized by the matching of the hearts.32 This is also vivid in Jagann¯a tha’s explanation: By the phrase “entered into the heart of someone sharing the same heart,” [what is meant is] by the majesty (mahiman) of the particular mode of imagination accompanied by [the state of] being common-hearted with the intended subject (tad¯ı ya).33 Going back to the specific mode of experience identified as rasa, the Abhinavaguptan paradigm explains consciousness as either pre-conditioned or conditioned in terms of subject, object, and cognitive mechanism. When



Jagann¯atha explains that “rasa is the mode of consciousness in which the covering has been torn,”34 the same conceptual framework is found. Within these parameters, Jagann¯atha maintains that rasa stands for both the evaluative thinking of the enjoyment of [enduring emotions like] loving desire (rati), etc., as well as the consumption of [these enduring emotions like] rati, etc.35 Terms such as “beyond the world” (lokottara) and “other-worldly” (alaukika) have been repeatedly used in describing rasa experience and as a consequence, interpreted as outside of the realm of experience, or something that is only inferentially given and not directly experienced. This line of argument has also led some to equate rasa with mystical experience, where it is called lokottara or alaukika. As has been already said, these arguments overlook the passages where the immediacy of rasa experience is explained and when the application of lokottara is limited to its just being “uncommon.” The very term loka or its derivatives also have the connotation of sight or the visual faculty, implying a sensory mode, while also used to describe the entities that can be grasped by the sensory faculties. Abhinava clarifies this in the following lines: This rasa is not transcendental [not in the world (alaukika)]. [Question:] Are the determinants (vibha¯va) etc. indicative (jña¯paka) or causative? [Answer:] They are neither indicative nor causative. They are instrumental (upayoga) in the savoring. [Question:] Is this [type of cause] found elsewhere? [Answer:] Only because [this type of cause] is not seen elsewhere, it is called uncommon (alaukika).36 Simply put, the term alaukika does not describe rasa as outside of the scope of direct apprehension. And this makes it possible to address rasa as a form of emotional experience, albeit a unique kind, as the above citation suggests. In Abhinavagupta’s paradigm and for most of the aestheticians—except for R¯a macandra and Gunacandra— ̣ rasa is blissful. There may be painful and pleasant emotions but there is always savoring when it comes to rasa experience. If rasa is essentially blissful, one might argue that this is somewhat inferior to experiencing bha¯va, as bha¯va is full of life and sweet and sour experiences that come along, whereas rasa is merely a distilled sap eliciting only the experience of bliss. Cuneo (2013: 66) actually argues along these lines when he says: Abhinavagupta’s very innovative interpretation of the Rasa theory implies that rasas (aesthetic emotions) are, somehow, less than bha¯vas (common-



life emotions), insofar as the former lack some of the elements that pertain to the latter, i.e., all the elements that determine the inevitably pleasurablecum-painful nature of real-life emotional existence. If such were the case, a connoisseur who is capable of a higher-order processing of emotions from within the aesthetic framework would be rendered incapable of feeling sorrow, disgust or arousal. Emotional numbness is not what makes one a connoisseur. On the contrary, he is capable of reprocessing, or literally “chewing” (carvaṇa¯) the raw emotions. Not a single classical aesthetician has argued that rasa is an inferior experience to bha¯va. On the contrary, this experience is epitomized in terms of the return of consciousness to the core of itself, free of subjective and objective horizons, making rasa experience undivided (akhaṇḍa) by subject-object structures.37

RASA AND REFLEXIVITY The Abhinavaguptan model of “emergence” allows us to integrate the aspects of rasa embedded within bha¯va: just like there is latency in a plant to blossom, bha¯vas have potential to evolve into rasa. Just as a sour mango can transform into a sweet one when ripe, painful bha¯vas can be pleasant when mature in the form of rasa. In addition, this allows us to explain rasa as having new properties not observed in the elemental forms, without excluding the feelings inherent in emotional states. With it being an emergent state, rasa enjoys a higher form of reflexivity, as it is closer to the most pristine form of consciousness than other modes conditioned by conceptual structures. As Abhinava says, rasa experience “manifests itself as distinct from the modes of consciousness that are distinguished as common-sense [experience] that are conditioned by the factors of subjectivity and objectivity. This is also common to the consciousness derived from inference, testimony, yogic perception etc.”38 He adds further, “there is no relishing in grasping the common states of consciousness by means of inference. Relishing rasa, therefore, is of the character of an uncommon (alaukika) flash of consciousness that is distinct from the common (laukika) states of consciousness such as memory or inference.”39 Reflexivity of rasa experience requires further explanation. First, there are the emotions that are felt as painful or pleasant. While consciousness is free to grasp reflexively its own states within different emotions, some form of reflexivity is already there in the basic pain-pleasure evaluation; and this property is not erased as the structure of experience evolves aesthetically. The Abhinavaguptan “emergence” model allows us to analyze emergent properties without rejecting source properties. If emotions are determined



by evaluation of certain states or conditions, then rasas are second-order judgments upon emotions already processed in the form of bha¯va. Emotions, in this paradigm, are categorically the expressions of consciousness. For Abhinava, consciousness always has the character of bliss (a¯nanda); “the core of consciousness is bliss,”40 which explains both its built-in selfexpression, being expressed as manifold, and its inherent savoring character. It is not only in the evolved forms of rasa that emotions can be relished, but also in seminal form in the elementary bha¯va states; however, the nature of the reflexivity of consciousness is different, since only bliss is found in the savoring of rasa.

IS RASA ALWAYS A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE? The above conversation has primarily focused on the mainstream rasa discourse where the aesthetic appreciation of emotion is something to be relished even when the emotions that provide the basis for such evaluation are painful ones. I would like to offer a different paradigm, a marginal one, just to confirm that the rasa aesthetics of Abhinavagupta relies on an inherent distinction between the enduring emotions and the processed rasa. And for this, I would like to introduce the position of R¯amacandra and Guṇacandra, who maintain that there is no categorical difference between rasa and bha¯va. I am not proposing, however, that what R¯amacandra and Guṇacandra offer in the rasa discourse is unique, as Abhinava cites a position that “following the S¯a˙nkhya perspective, rasa is of the character of both pain and pleasure.”41 Abhinava neither accepts this S¯a˙nkhya paradigm nor rejects the presence of any enduring emotion (stha¯yin). He is only maintaining that “when infused with [lit. ensnared by] the determinant, consequent, and transient bha¯vas, the very enduring emotion attains the identity of rasa.”42 He says elsewhere, “there is the property of being savored in the rasa that is designated by the term ‘enduring.’”43 In contrast to Abhinava and somewhat closer to what Abhinava identifies as the S¯a˙nkhya position, R¯amacandra and Guṇacandra argue that: What has been said—that all rasas are comprised of pleasure—contradicts common sense. Even when accompanied by both the primary determinants (vibha¯va) and by the determinant that is brought forth by poetry or drama, [the rasa experience of] fear, disgust, and terror stimulate an indescribable state of suffering for those savoring rasa. Therefore, the world shuns [the experience of] fear, etc.44 Regarding the relishing of negative emotions, which is consistently explained in the Abhinavaguptan paradigm in terms of savoring, R¯a macandra and Gunacandra ̣ maintain:



The camatka¯ra that has been observed even with these [negative emotions] is when the savoring of rasa has ceased and is due to the skill of the poet or the actor who demonstrates things the way they are.45 On the one hand, these aestheticians maintain that rasa is not necessarily pleasant, as it is comprises both pleasure and pain (sukhaduḥkha¯tmako rasaḥ | Na¯tyadarpa ̣ ṇa III.7d), while on the other hand, they also maintain that rasa elicits camatka¯ra.46 But this camatka¯ra is not to be conflated with the aesthetic savoring of wonder, which is captured by the term adbhuta. In this shifted paradigm, emotional experience rests in the first order of bha¯va experience. When the same bha¯va is experienced as rasa, there exists another category of evaluation described in terms of camatka¯ra. Explicit in rasa as camatka¯ra is an appraisal that evaluates the aesthetic sense. Consequently, camatka¯ra here lacks exuberance and is expunged of savoring, as this only means a judgmental state. This leaves rasa as a potentially painful state, as any negative emotion can be: Even the savoring of pleasure when the grief of those suffering due to the loss of what they love is being described or acted on is also the savoring of suffering in reality. Only the one who is grieving experiences pleasure by the conversation about someone grieving and becomes disturbed by the conversation of joy. Therefore the [rasas] of karuṇa, etc. are of the character of pain.47 Embedded in the above description is the thesis that bha¯va and rasa are identical, as far as the content of experience is concerned, and camatka¯ra that underlies rasa in this paradigm is not savoring but evaluating. This is to say that although R¯amacandra and Gunacandra ̣ accept the category of camatka¯ra, they do not also maintain that rasa experience is pleasant on all occasions.48 Above all, this is not the “emergence” paradigm of Abhinavagupta when it comes to explaining the manifestation of rasa. What underscores this pivotal difference in the analysis of rasa is the philosophical background. The notion that emotions are eventually painful, or that there is nothing worth savoring in rasa, reflect attitudes toward worldly pleasure. Abhinava makes worldly pleasure a central piece of his aesthetics, whereas R¯a macandra and Gunacandra ̣ rest their aesthetic theory on Jain monasticism. Whether consciousness can or should be expunged of emotions is the issue that differentiates these schools. In R¯amacandra and Gunacandra’s ̣ aesthetics, the fabric of camatka¯ra is devoid of sensation, lacking pain or pleasure. Camatka¯ra, as noted in this paradigm, merely reveals the thing as it is (yatha¯vasthitavastu). This then would be a judgmental



state that is not commingled with emotions, leaving the structures of emotions, both in terms of bha¯va and rasa, in separate realms. Aesthetic experience would lack savoring (carvaṇa¯) in this paradigm, which enjoys center place in Abhinava’s philosophy. That is, rather than replaying the enduring emotions, having them evaluated on their capacity to stimulate bliss, the paradigm of camatka¯ra in this altered paradigm makes rasa an evaluative state. Here, perhaps, camatka¯ra is indeed more akin to catharsis. The contrast in Abhinava’s understanding with the above position lies not just in rasa being either pleasant or both pleasant and painful, but also in its containing a mode of judgment. For Abhinava, emotional content is integral to the evaluative state: the same emotion, whether it stimulates pain or pleasure in its ordinary condition is processed as pleasant—indeed, blissful— when the experience is transformed into rasa. Thus, Abhinavagupta stresses that “this savoring is not an operation of the tongue but that of the mind” (na rasana¯vya¯pa¯ra a¯sva¯nam, api tu ma¯nasa eva | Abhinavabh¯a rat¯ı upon NS´ VI.32). Chewing (carvaṇa¯), as applied by Abhinava, is therefore metaphorical, used to demonstrate that the same emotion is re-processed when evaluated as rasa. That is, the phenomenal state of having a specific emotion that is a commixture of different emotions is repeatedly processed at this higher order. And this processing, in my reading, is a form of synthesis which allows one to “act out” pain, to discharge its power to dominate experience. The emotions are not thrown out, as the self retains autonomy despite these feelings, and can evaluate according to his liking, with a possibility of making them blissful. This is why Abhinavagupta is explicit that although being a mode of consciousness, rasa experience is distinct from arousal or grief stimulated by an attractive woman, etc., as this does not generate further modes of consciousness but instead is grasped by the mode of consciousness that is returning back to the self.49 Abhinava is not saying, however, that rasa is merely savoring. This, for him, is the commixture of the basic emotions, and although the emergent occurrence in the form of rasa has its specific newness (navatva), the components that make rasa possible are nonetheless present in latent form in the bha¯vas themselves. If rasa meant merely rasana¯ or savoring for Abhinava, there would not be a categorical difference between savoring erotic or comic rasas, and so even enumerating rasas would be pointless. Abhinavagupta meticulously argues in defense of peacefulness (s´a¯nta) as the ninth rasa,50 which would be unnecessary if rasas did not have some inherent qualitative state to distinguish one from the other. It cannot be a mere sense of bliss equated with the experiential aspect to be identified as rasa, since there would be no categorical difference then between one rasa and another.



Debates over the number of rasas demonstrate that any emotion can be elevated to that state. Just as we find a meticulous analysis of peaceful rasa in Abhinavagupta, we find the same sophistication regarding bhakti or devotion in Bhakti literature.51 Some aesthetes have explicitly stated that there can be as many rasas as there are unrefined emotions. Pollock (2012: 195) cites a passage, “There is no mental state (cittavṛtti) that cannot achieve enhancement and become rasa.”52 What makes an emotional state the savoring of rasa, according to Abhinava, is the judgmental state, or the reflexive gaze that makes emotion its object: This savoring is of the character of consciousness. However, this is distinct from other, common consciousness.53 This savoring, in his opinion, is a non-directional bliss that is merely aware of being in the blissful state.54 For Abhinava, rasa experience retains a unique flavor within the fabric of the phenomenal content, while being itself phenomenologically distinct from those experiences mediated through concepts. Although rasa experience is not devoid of conceptualization— having both the emotional and judgmental contents intact—this, in Abhinava’s view, is as intimate as we can be to the being equated with consciousness that is savoring its own emotional modalities. Therefore, Abhinavagupta says, “there, all the rasas have the primacy of bliss because bliss is the essence of consciousness that is of the character of a singular mass of savoring one’s own consciousness.”55 The conversation on rasa and bha¯va, the evaluative processes involved in camatka¯ra, and the mechanisms explained in the cocktail of emotions manifesting in the form of rasa, all clarify issues that can be linked to the contemporary conversation on emotion, but that is a task for another day. The relationship between bha¯va and rasa, as articulated by classical aestheticians, demonstrates the challenge of addressing complex emotions and emotional refinement on one hand and evaluative and judgmental aspects of emotion on the other. This foregrounds camatka¯ra, an aesthetic relishing that is intermingled with cognitive states. While the boundary between aesthetic camatka¯ra and mystical states often appears to give way, classical aestheticians such as Abhinava do not allow for aesthetic relishing to become mystical states. An “emergence” model contributes a hierarchical order of feelings, unrefined emotions, and rasa. The category of camatka¯ra explains the evaluative mechanisms involved in savoring emotion. The intentionality in the emergent structures is in seminal form, in latency, in the origins. Just as the term bha¯va dismantles the difference between the external objective world and the emotional being, rasa demands that emotion be understood both somatically and cognitively.



NOTES 1. For the hermeneutics of rasa and bha¯va see Pollock (2016, 2012) and Cuneo (2013: 49–76). For analysis of camatka¯ra, see Gnoli (1985), and Pandey (1963). 2. . . . bha¯va¯ bha¯vayanti rasa¯n. . . NS´ VI.35cd. 3. bha¯va´sabdena ta¯vac cittavṛttivi´sesa¯̣ eva vivaksiṭ a¯ḥ | Abhinavabha¯rat¯ı , NS´ VII.1. (S´a¯str¯ı 1971: 784). 4. kiṃ bhavant¯ı ti bha¯va¯ḥ kiṃ va¯ bha¯vayant¯ı ti bha¯va¯ḥ | ucyate— va¯ga˙ngasattvopeta¯n ka¯vya¯rtha¯n bha¯vayant¯ı ti bha¯va¯ iti | (NS´ VII. S´a¯str¯ı 1971: 783. Bharata derives bha¯va not from the root √bhu ¯ satta¯ya¯ṃ , i.e., that which pertains to occurrence or coming into being, but from the root √bhu ¯ avakalkane, that pertains to combining or constituting. Abhinavagupta, on the other hand, derives the term from both the roots and endorses the etymology “that which occurs” (bhavant¯ı ti bha¯va¯ḥ), referring to the mental states that occur in the mind. For discussion on different etymologies, see Abhinavabha¯rat¯ı , NS´ VII. S´a¯str¯ı 1971: 785–6. Bharata also derives bha¯va from √bhu ¯ satta¯ya¯ṃ , with +nic, ̣ in the causative, with the meaning of bha¯vita or to cause something to be in a particular way. An example is something soaked with particular flavor or filled with specific smell. See, NS´ VII. S´a¯str¯ı 1971: 787. 5. vibha¯va¯nubha¯vavyabhica¯risaṃ yoga¯d rasanispatti ̣ ḥ | Na¯tya ̣ ´sa¯stra of Bharata, Chapter VI. Prose after verse 31. 6. “Even though the consequent and transient bha¯vas are not of the character of mental modification and therefore do not correlate with the enduring [bha¯va], their being of the character of predisposition is intended here.” (vibha¯va¯ anubha¯va¯´s ca cittavṛttyana¯tmakatva¯d yadyapi na sahabha¯vinaḥ stha¯yina¯ tatha¯pi va¯sana¯tmakateha tesa¯̣ ṃ vivaksiṭ a¯ | Abhinavabha¯rat¯ı upon NS´ VI. Upon the Rasasu ¯tra commentary (S´a¯str¯ı 1971: 622). 7. As Abhinavagupta explains, “the etymology there [for the term bha¯va] is both ‘that which occur’ and ‘that which constitute’ ” (tatra¯pi bhavant¯ı ti bha¯vayant¯ı ti vyutpattiḥ | Abhinavabha¯rat¯ı upon NS´ VI.3). 8. rasana¯ ca bodharu ¯paiva | Abhinavabha¯rat¯ı upon NS´, S´a¯str¯ı 1971: 671. 9. kintu bodha¯ntarebhyo laukikebhyo vilaksạ ṇaiva | Abhinavabha¯rat¯ı upon NS´, S´a¯str¯ı 1971: 671. 10. For such an analysis of rasa and catharsis, see Gerow 2002. 11. sattvodreka¯dakhaṇḍasvapraka¯´sa¯nandacinmayaḥ | vedya¯ntaraspar´sa´su ¯nyo brahma¯sva¯dasahodaraḥ ǁ lokottaracamatka¯rapra¯ṇaḥ kai´scit prama¯tṛbhiḥ | sva¯ka¯ravadabhinnatvena¯yam a¯sva¯dyate rasaḥ ǁ Sa¯hityadarpaṇa III.2–3. 12. yatha¯ hi na¯na¯vyañjanasaṃ skṛtam annaṃ bhuñja¯na¯ rasa¯n a¯sva¯dayanti sumanasaḥ purusa¯̣ harsa¯̣ d¯ı ṃ ´s ca¯dhigacchanti tatha¯ na¯na¯bha¯va¯bhinayavyañjita¯n va¯ga˙ngasattvopeta¯n stha¯yibha¯va¯n a¯sva¯dayanti sumanasaḥ preksak ̣ a¯ḥ harsa¯̣ d¯ı ṃ ´s ca¯dhigacchanti | Bharata, NS VI. The text after verse 31. S´a¯str¯ı 1971: 678–80. 13. yo ’rtho hṛdayasaṃ va¯d¯ı tasya bha¯vo rasodbhavaḥ | ´sar¯ı raṃ vya¯pyate tena ´suska ̣ ṃ ka¯sṭ ham ̣ iva¯gnina¯ ǁ NS´ VII.7. 14. This etymology rests on Bharata’s statement: “Why is this category called rasa? We say, because it is savored. How is the rasa savored?. . .the enduring emotions



are savored.” (rasa iti kaḥ pada¯rtha? ucyate—a¯sva¯dyatva¯t | katham a¯sva¯dyate rasaḥ?. . .stha¯y¯ı bha¯va¯n a¯sva¯dayanti) | NS´ VI. The prose after verse 32. 15. The etymology, rasyata iti is found in Abhinavabha¯rat¯ı , NS´ VI.12. This etymology grounds rasa as the experiential mode rather than the content, and is explicit in the text Abhinava cites: “rasa is the experience of the character of ¯ VI.31. S´a¯str¯ı 1971: 647. Also, savoring” a¯sva¯dana¯tma¯nubhavo rasa. . . | NA Madhusu ¯dana’s commentary confirms that “savoring is of the character of awareness” (carvaṇa¯tmako jña¯na¯tmaka a¯sva¯daḥ | ibid). 16. For a recent survey of positions relating physicalism and emergentism, see Wilson 2015. 17. Abhinavagupta himself addresses this position, identifying this with Sa¯n ˙khya philosophy. For discussion, see Abhinavabha¯rat¯ı , S´a¯str¯ı 1971: 640. 18. This approach is prevalent in the works of Hiriyanna 1954; Coomaraswamy 1956; and Larson 1976. 19. The reference, “parabrahma¯sva¯dasavidhena bhogena bhujyate . . .” in the Abhinavabha¯rat¯ı (S´a¯str¯ı 1971: 645) corresponds to the position of Bhat ṭ ạ Na¯yaka. Vis´vana¯tha seems to have glossed different positions in comparing the experience of rasa with that of Brahman (see Sa¯hityadarpaṇa III.2–3 (for text, see fn. 11). 20. See Bynum 1997 for wonder in Western philosophical contexts. 21. For discussion, see Raghavan (1967: 205–10). 22. tatha¯ hi loke sakalavighnavinirmukta¯ saṃ vittir eva camatka¯ranirve´sarasana¯sva¯d anabhogasama¯pattilayavi´sra¯ntya¯di´sabdair abhidh¯ı yate | Abhinavabha¯rat¯ı , (NS´, Chapter VI): 280. 23. Bha¯skarakanṭ ha, ̣ for example sees it as “experiencing bliss” (camatkurvanti a¯nandam anubhavanti | Moksop ̣ a¯ya, Utpatti V. 20), and even here, primary to camatka¯ra is “experience.” And Mammata says: Similar to the breasts of a sexually attractive woman, is that which is hidden, camatkaroti. However, that which is not hidden is already vivid and is therefore referred primarily and thus subordinate. (ka¯min¯ı kucakala´sav‘ad gu ¯ḍhaṃ camatkaroty agu ¯ḍhan tu sphutatay ̣ a¯ va¯cya¯yama¯nam iti guṇ¯ı bhu ¯tam eva |) The prose section after Ka¯vyapraka¯´sa¯ V.1. 24. asmanmate saṃ vedanam eva¯nandaghanam a¯sva¯dyate | Abhinavabha¯rat¯ı , NS´ VI. 33: 293. 25. tatra ka¯ duḥkha´sa˙nka¯ | kevalaṃ tasyaiva citrata¯karaṇe rati´soka¯diva¯sana¯vya¯pa¯raḥ | Abhinavabha¯rat¯ı (NS´ VI. 33: 293). 26. kathaṃ rasasya vya˙ngyateti cet satyam uktam | ata eva¯huḥ | vilaksạ ṇa eva¯yaṃ kṛtijñaptibhedebhyaḥ sva¯dana¯khyaḥ ka´scit vya¯pa¯raḥ ata eva hi rasana¯sva¯danaca matkaraṇa¯dayo vilaksạ ṇa¯ eva vyapade´sa¯ ity abhidha¯divilaksạ ṇavya¯pa¯rata¯ atra. . . | Vis´vana¯tha in SD, Ch. 3: 53. The term abhidha¯ is borrowed here from the Sanskrit philosophy of language where the semantic power is described in three categories of abhidha¯ or literary expression, laksạ ṇa¯ or secondary derivation that collectively refers to various forms of metaphoric expression, implication, and metonymy, and vyañjana¯ or suggestion. A common



denominator between the second and the third is that in the case of the second, laksạ ṇa¯ (literary meaning) is bracketed in the mode of semantic comprehension while in the case of the third, both the primary and secondary meanings function simultaneously, and it requires a connoisseur to comprehend the suggested meaning. 27. For further discussions on rasa experience, see Raghavan 1967; Kulkarni 1986; and Pollock 2016. 28. bha¯va´sabdena ta¯vac cittavṛttivi´sesa¯̣ eva vivaksiṭ a¯ḥ | Abhinavabha¯rat¯ı upon NS´ VII (Vol 1: 342). 29. This relates to the famous “rasa-su ¯tra” of Bharata: tatra vibha¯va¯nubha¯vavyabhi ca¯risaṃ yoga¯d rasanispatti ̣ ḥ | NS´ VI. The prose section after verse 31. 30. rasyataikapra¯ṇo hy asau na prameya¯disvabha¯vaḥ | NS, Abhinavabha¯rat¯ı , S´a¯str¯ı 1971: 671. 31. sa¯ ca rasana¯ na prama¯ṇavya¯pa¯ro na ka¯rakavya¯pa¯raḥ | svayaṃ tu na¯pra¯ma¯ṇikaḥ, svasaṃ vedanasiddhatva¯t | rasana¯ ca bodharu ¯paiva | kintu bodha¯ntarebhyo laukikebhyo vilaksạ ṇaiva | NS, Abhinavabha¯rat¯ı , S´a¯str¯ı 1971: 671. 32. laukikena¯numa¯nena saṃ skṛtaḥ pramada¯dina¯ na ta¯tasthyena ̣ pratipadyate | api tu hṛdayasaṃ va¯da¯tmakasahṛdayatvabala¯t pu ¯rṇ¯ı bhavisyad ̣ rasa¯sva¯da¯˙nkur¯ı bha¯ve na¯numa¯na-smṛtya¯disopa¯nama¯ruhyaiva tanmay¯ı bha¯vocitacarvaṇa¯pra¯ṇataya¯ | S´a¯str¯ı 1971: 669. 33. sahṛayahṛdayaṃ pravisṭ ais ̣ tad¯ı yasahṛdayata¯sahakṛtena bha¯vana¯vi´sesamahimn ̣ a¯. . . Rasaga˙nga¯dhara, Chapter I, Jha 2006: 87. 34. atya¯dyavacchinna¯ bhagna¯varaṇa¯ cid eva rasaḥ | Rasaga˙nga¯dhara, Chapter I, Jha 2006: 97. 35. tatra bhujyama¯no ratya¯diḥ, ratya¯dibhogo vety ubhayam eva rasaḥ | Rasaga˙nga¯dhara, Chapter I, Jha 2006: 108. 36. na tv ayam asa¯v alaukiko rasaḥ | nanu vibha¯va¯dir atra kiṃ jña¯pako hetur uta ka¯rakaḥ? na jña¯pako na ka¯rakaḥ | api tu carvaṇopayog¯ı | nanu kvaitad dṛsṭ am ̣ anyatra | yata eva na dṛsṭ ạ ṃ tata eva¯laukikam ity uktam | Locana commentary of Abhinavagupta, Dhvanya¯loka, Chapter I.18. S´a¯str¯ı , P. 1940: 158. 37. Here, I am primarily borrowing Vis´vana¯tha’s terminology. See translation and text above at fn. 12. 38. anuma¯na¯gamayogipratyaksa¯̣ dikaraṇakatatasthapram ̣ a¯tṛprameyaparak¯ı yalaukika cittavṛtti-vilaksạ ṇataya¯ nirbha¯sama¯na¯ parimitasva¯tma¯nya¯´srayata¯nirbha¯sanavira ha¯t. . . | Abhinavabha¯rat¯ı , NS´ VI. S´a¯str¯ı 1971: 609. 39. tada¯hi laukikacittavṛttyanuma¯ne ka¯ rasata¯ | tena¯laukikacamatka¯ra¯tma¯ rasa¯sva¯daḥ smṛtyanuma¯nalaukikasaṃ -vedanavilaksạ ṇa eva | Abhinavabha¯rat¯ı , NS´ VI. S´a¯str¯ı 1971: 669. 40. praka¯´sasya¯nandasa¯ratva¯t | Abhinavabha¯rat¯ı on Ch. VI: 282. 41. sa¯˙nkhyadṛ´sa¯ sukhaduḥkhasvabha¯vo rasaḥ | Abhinavabha¯rat¯ı , NS´ VI.31. S´a¯str¯ı 1971: 640. 42. . . . vibha¯va¯nubha¯vavyabhica¯riparivṛtaḥ stha¯y¯ı bha¯vo rasana¯ma labhate | Abhinavabha¯rat¯ı upon NS´ VII.7.



43. stha¯y¯ı ´sabdavyapade´sye rase a¯sva¯dyata¯ | Abhinavabha¯rat¯ı upon NS´, in S´a¯str¯ı 1971: 681. 44. yat punaḥ sarvarasa¯na¯ṃ sukha¯tmakatvam ucyate tat prat¯ı taba¯dhitam | a¯sta¯ṃ na¯ma mukhyavibha¯vopacitaḥ ka¯vya¯bhinayopan¯ı tavibha¯vopacito ’pi bhaya¯nako b¯ı bhatsaḥ karuṇo raudro va¯ rasa¯sva¯davata¯m ana¯khyeya¯ṃ ka¯m api kle´sada´sa¯m upanayati | ata eva bhaya¯naka¯dibhir udvijate sama¯jaḥ | Vivaraṇa, Na¯tyadarpa ̣ ṇa (Ch. 3, comm. upon verse 7): 159. 45. yat punar ebhir api camatka¯ro dṛ´syate sa rasa¯sva¯davira¯me sati yatha¯vasthitavast upradar´sakena kavi-natạ ´saktikau´salena | Vivaraṇa, Na¯tyadarpa ̣ ṇa (Ch. 3, comm. upon verse 7): 159. 46. For observations on painful rasas, see Sathaye 2010. 47. yo ’p¯ı sṭ a¯̣ divina¯´saduḥkhavata¯ṃ karuṇe varṇyama¯ne ’bhin¯ı yama¯ne va¯ sukha¯sva¯daḥ so ’pi parama¯rthato duḥkha¯sva¯da eva | duḥkh¯ı hi duḥkhitava¯rtaya¯ sukham abhimanyate, pramodava¯rtaya¯ tu ta¯myat¯ı ti karu ¯ṇa¯dayo duḥkha¯tma¯na eveti | Vivaraṇa, Na¯tyadarpa ̣ ṇa (Ch. 3, comm. upon verse 7): 159. 48. For the extent to which Ra¯macandra and Gunacandra ̣ have relied on Abhinavagupta in developing their aesthetic theory, see Trivedi 1963. 49. pramada¯dijanitanijarati´soka¯divat sạ ḍjaha¯na¯dicittavṛttyantarajanana¯ksam ̣ a¯ tata eva nirvighna-svasaṃ vedana¯tmakavi´sra¯ntilaksạ ṇena rasana¯paraparya¯yeṇa vya¯pa¯reṇa gṛhyama¯ṇatva¯d rasa´sabdena¯bhidh¯ı yate | Abhinavabha¯rat¯ı , NS´ VI. S´a¯str¯ı 1971: 610. 50. For discussion on ´sa¯nta rasa, see Masson and Patwardhan 1969. 51. The issue regarding the number of rasa is a contested one. For discussion of the number of rasas, see Raghavan (1967). 52. The position that there can be as many rasas as transitory emotions was raised by Rudrata, ̣ Ka¯vya¯la˙nka¯ra. See Pollock (2012: 195, fn. 24) 53. rasana¯ ca bodharu ¯paiva | kin tu bodha¯ntarebhyo laukikebhyo vilaksạ ṇaiva | Abhinavabha¯rat¯ı , the Na¯tya ̣ ´sa¯stra, VI: 285. Abhinavagupta says further down (p. 288) that this savoring of rasa is of the character that has as its object the pure object in itself: ´suddhatatsvaru ¯pajña¯nasvabha¯va¯ḥ bha¯va¯ḥ. . .Abhinavabha¯rat¯ı upon NS´ Ch. VI. 33: 290. tatra sarve’m¯ı sukhapradha¯na¯ḥ | svasaṃ viccarvaṇaru ¯pasyaikaghanasya praka¯´sasya¯nandasa¯ratva¯t | Abhinavabha¯rat¯ı on Ch. VI: 282. 54. saṃ vedanam eva¯nandaghanam a¯sva¯dyate | Abhinavabha¯rat¯ı , Na¯tya ̣ ´sa¯stra, Ch. VI: 299. 55. tatra sarve’m¯ı sukhapradha¯na¯ḥ | svasaṃ viccarvaṇaru ¯pasyaikaghanasya praka¯´sasya¯nandasa¯ratva¯t | Abhinavabha¯rat¯ı on Ch. VI: 282.



How Does it Feel to be on Your Own: Solitude (viveka) in A´s vaghosa’s ̣ Saundarananda ROY TZOHAR

1. INTRODUCTION1 At the heart of A´svaghosa’s ̣ k¯avya, the Saundarananda (Beautiful Nanda, SN), lies a story of religious conversion, albeit a forced conversion. Nanda, the half-brother of the Buddha, though expected like many of his kin to turn to a life of asceticism, chooses to remain in his palace and make endless love to his wife Sundar¯ı , for, as A´svaghosạ tells us, “Nanda was fitted for love, and so lived united with his beloved like a cakrav¯aka bird with its mate.” When—as an act of up¯aya—he is made by the Buddha to be ordained, he follows him reluctantly into the forest, his heart shattered. In one of the work’s more touching scenes, the newly ordained and lamenting Nanda sits alone in a secluded spot in the ascetic grove, and the physical isolation he experiences, being separated from his lover, is heightened by the dissonance between his ordained status and his actual state of mind. More than a mere conflict of emotions, what he experiences is what we might today describe as an existential crisis, an abysmal sense of Unheimlich, and thus Nanda is driven to contemplate routes of escape even in the face of public and personal disgrace: 277



So while my guru is away on his alms-round, I will put aside the ochre robe and go home, for a man bearing the honoured marks of a monk while his thoughts are wavering, his reasoning impaired and his mind infatuated has no purpose in the next world, nor does he even have this world of living creatures. —Covill 2007: 1472 But Nanda’s physical seclusion does not last long. A passing monk sees his dejection and embarks on a lengthy address, over two sargas long, part ¯ nanda and the Buddha. counsel part reproach, which is later taken up by A Indeed, from this point on, the only time Nanda is left to his own devices is in the final meditation leading up to his enlightenment toward the end of the work. Until that moment, his solitude is viewed as something of a personal risk. Like a troubled college drop-out whose parents keep knocking on the locked door of his bedroom, the forest-dwelling Nanda is hardly ever left alone. While solitude and seclusion (viveka) are understood normatively as constitutive of the ascetic condition, insofar as the latter involves an itinerant life often in the wilderness,3 the representation of asceticism in Buddhist doctrinal, narrative, and poetical literature suggests that it was always conceived in the context of a collective or a community. As Steven Collins has ironically noted, “The ubiquitous ascetic rhetorical images of ‘leaving society,’ or ‘fleeing the world,’ are only in very rare instances anything like literally true. Ascetics, like cowboys, may ride off into the sunset, but there is always another day—and they need to eat.” Furthermore, noting that the monastics’ “aloneness” was an indication more of the social fact of their “singleness,” i.e., their celibacy, than of their physical isolation, Collins draws our attention to the way in which such isolation, apart from its concrete expressions, functioned primarily as an important ideal in the cultural logic of Buddhist asceticism.4 And there is an even more fundamental sense in which ascetic solitude can be seen to be socially informed, if not altogether socially constructed. Dealing with the notion of the ascetic self in Indian classical thought, Gavin Flood has argued that it is best understood in terms of a dynamic internalization and a performance of the tradition, in which “the ascetic body, as it were, becomes the text.”5 While Flood’s view is still far from a Foucauldian-inspired post-humanist understanding of subjectivity in its entirety as a discursive social construct, it does nonetheless point out the way in which ascetic subjectivity, and in our case, solitude, in its most intimate sense, is never outside of the works of language, society and culture.6 This logic seems to undermine the very notion—which now appears more like a



folk-understanding—of solitude as an utter withdrawal from the world and the social order into an interior and private domain, and it requires us to give serious consideration to the question of what aloneness remains in solitude, if at all. We may ask, for instance, what remains of the Christian confessional notion of solitude as a private inner sanctum once we consider it as a product of a communal language of experience (and given the impossibility of a private language of experience); or of the romanticist understanding of seclusion as the forging of solitary genius, once it has been understood by us to be a matter of a cultural vogue? And in our case study— given that solitude is never outside the works of culture and society—what defines and characterizes it in Buddhist lore and specifically in A´svaghosa’s ̣ SN; or in other words, in what sense—both conceptually and experientially— was Nanda alone? The answer to this question, as we will see below, will allow us to draw the contours not just of the Buddhist understanding of solitude but also of a unique Buddhist conception of emotions, which sees them not as something that pertains to a subjective interior space but rather already as ways of experientially and perceptually inhabiting the world. To this end, in what follows I will look first at explicit references to the ascetic’s solitude or seclusion, denoted in the SN predominantly by the Sanskrit term viveka, and explore their relation to the Buddhist doctrinal normative conception of this term. Next, by way of broadening the conceptual and terminological range of this term and unpacking it phenomenologically7 and experientially, I will examine the way in which the notion of the forest, as both the cultural epitome and the concrete loci of the solitary life, was presented and understood in the poetry of A´svaghosa’s ̣ SN. Based on this analysis, below I argue that the work’s conception of solitude is as a dynamic and transformative experiential process, one that involves a radical shift in how one sees the world, and is accounted for primarily in perceptual terms. As such, far from being a withdrawal from the world (into an interior subjective space, as it is often conceived in some Western religious and philosophical traditions) solitude is seen as a mode of engagement with the world and reflects an emergent understanding of both emotion and subjectivity primarily in terms of a shifting evaluative perceptual content. In this respect, the Buddhist understanding of solitude, as a case study, allows us to draw the contours of a rather unique conception of emotions. Constitutive of the very act of perceiving, conceived primarily as “ways of seeing as,” emotions, the SN seems to tell us, are a matter of perceptual modes and patterns of salience and what they experientially pick and leave out. As such, emotions are not something that pertains to a subjective interior



space, constituting mere “inner” activations by an “outside” stimuli, but rather already ways of experientially inhabiting the world, in which the subject and the world are, phenomenologically speaking inextricably tangled. This understanding of emotions, we will see, goes hand in glove with an attendant Buddhist account of experience that is empiricist and impersonal in emphasis, and underscores the constructed and therefore perspectival nature of ordinary experience. Furthermore, as we will see, it constitutes a conscious poetic attempt by A´svaghosạ to use the qualities of k¯avya to exemplify this point. Finally, this conception of emotion is also an invitation to rethink our understanding of the category of emotion. By this I am not referring to questions regarding the adequacy of using the term “emotion” in this context (for a discussion of this issue see the introduction to this volume), but more fundamentally to a questioning of a particular approach to the categorization of emotions, which conceives of them as discrete experiences that are fixed in terms of their core content (thus casting emotions as natural kinds and implying an ontology of corresponding affective particulars, etc.). As we will see below, nothing is further than this from the Buddhist view of what emotion entails, as the various types and categories of emotions on the Buddhist view embody a rather dynamic and open-ended phenomena in terms of its content, thereby rendering solitude no less an emotion than, for instance, grief or despair, and just as real.

2. EXPLICIT REFERENCES TO SOLITUDE (VIVEKA) IN THE SN Before we turn to the explicit references to solitude in the SN, a brief and inevitably somewhat flat summary of its plot will provide necessary context for these passages (those who are familiar with the work may skip ahead). The first and second sargas of the work are dedicated to a retelling of the founding of the city of Kapilavastu by princes from the Iksṿ ¯aku line, a lengthy description of the righteous rule of king S´udhoddhana and the birth of his two sons from different wives, the elder Sarv¯arthasiddha, and the younger Nanda, and a description of the two sons’ different trajectories (the chapter ends with the Buddha’s departure for the forest). Sarga three is an abbreviated retelling of the life of the Buddha along the lines of the Buddhacaritaṃ , up to the point when the Buddha returns to Kapilavastu and visits the house of Nanda on his rounds for alms. Nanda, however, is busy making love to his wife (their courtship, described in one of the most beautiful love scenes depicted in k¯avya and frequently reproduced in iconography, is the topic of the fourth sarga). Though he is like the love god



come alive both in his looks and in his tastes, Nanda is nonetheless forced by the Buddha8 to part from his wife and take on the wandering life, and after some attempts to bail out, he follows the Buddha and is ordained as tears stream down his face. The sixth chapter, perhaps the most touching part of the work, is dedicated to Sundar¯ı ’s lament following the ordination of her husband and ends with her unbroken anticipation of his return. From that point on we hear no more of Sundar¯ı 9 and the plot turns to the forest where Nanda is now a newly ordained monk. Although he is aware of his moral and social duty (as the Buddha’s kin), Nanda is deeply unsettled in his life as a monk and unable to overcome the pangs of separation from his wife. Unpersuaded by his fellow monks’ counsel and reproach, he decides to return home. Once the Buddha hears of this, however, he takes him up in the air over the Himalaya and higher up to Indra’s heavens; upon seeing the ravishing heavenly apsaras, Nanda forgets all about Sundar¯ı , who now, compared to the apsaras, appears to him like a tattered old monkey he noticed in the Himalaya groves below (this misogynistic description is a key passage in the work and I will return to it below). Nanda cannot contain his desire for the apsaras, and the Buddha promises him that if he stays a monk he will finally be united with the heavenly maidens as the earned fruits of his asceticism. Nanda then takes on the vows with renewed energy, but later on ¯ nanda for practicing dharma like a “hired laborer for the is reproached by A apsaras” and realizes the temporal nature of this reward, as of everything else in the realm of saṃ s¯ara. He is ashamed of the ease with which he forsook Sundar¯ı, and his mind now recoils even from the apsaras. Still unable to find peace, Nanda approaches the Buddha for the teaching of dharma, and the Buddha embarks on a lengthy exposition including also specific instructions for meditation. Nanda finds a secluded spot in the forest, where he meditates alone (the description of his exertions echoing the canonical description of the Buddha’s night of enlightenment) and soon reaches full enlightenment. After he pays his homage to the Buddha, the work tells us, Nanda becomes part of the community of monks and in due time returns to the city as part of his round for alms and preaches the dharma. The following section in sarga 14, presenting two types of solitude or seclusion (viveka), appears as part of the Buddha’s final instructions to Nanda. It is preceded by general instructions for the right kind of practice, in which Nanda is told how to guard himself against the assaults of the senses and to see things as they truly are, with specific instructions on how to take his food, conduct himself to sleep, and remain mindful at all times: My friend, find a private, quiet place to lie or sit, suitable for the practice of yogic discipline; for once physical solitude [k¯ayasya. . .vivekam]10 is



adopted, mental discrimination [manaso vivekaḥ] is easy to reach. The passionate man who cannot find emotional peace and who does not take to solitary [vivektam] ways gets injured, as though walking over thorny ground when he can’t locate the path. An enquirer who has not seen reality cannot easily restrain his thoughts when he is placed among the glittering show of sense objects, just as it is hard to drive a bull from corn when he is grazing on farmland. But in solitude, the mind is not stimulated and subsides with little effort, just as a radiant fire subsides when unstirred by the wind. A man who eats anything at any place, wears any clothes, lives in selfsufficiency [¯atm¯ar¯amaḥ], who is happy to be anywhere without people and avoids the company of others like a thorn—he is recognized as a determined man of achievement, and knows the taste of bliss of peace. The world likes alternatives and is distracted to the core by sensual experience. If a man lives in it in seclusion, indifferent to choice, virtuous and with his heart at peace, then he has sipped the taste of wisdom as if it were the cup of deathlessness and is content at heart. A man of discernment [viviktaḥ] he grieves for the clinging of the world as it hoards sensual experience. If he is glad to always live alone in a deserted spot, if he has as little liking for the sources of defilements as for an enemy, if he lives in selfsufficiency and drinks the water of bliss then he enjoys a greater happiness than that afforded by Indra’s kingdom. —Covill 2007: 262, 26311 This section presents a distinction between two types of solitude. The first is a keeping apart “of the body,” i.e., the physical seclusion exemplified by the self-sufficiency of the forest-dwelling monk. This solitude is instrumental for reaching a type of mental solitude, or solitude of the mind, which is manifest foremost by a discerning approach (the text’s play on the range of meanings of viveka seems intentional, as noted by Covill’s translation) toward the world of sense objects and by the mind’s turning away from its allure. While at this point Nanda obviously experiences the first type of solitude, he has ¯ nanda observes somewhat harshly thus far not tasted the second kind, as A earlier on in the text: “What is this celibacy of yours? While your heart is ablaze with the fire of lust, you carry out your observances with your body only, and are not celibate in your mind” (SN 11.30, Covill 2007: 209). The SN’s way of characterizing solitude shows strong affinities with the Therav¯ada doctrinal scheme of the three kinds of seclusion/solitude (viveka), a scheme that, as Steven Collins has shown, can aptly serve to describe the advancement of the monastic’s “going forth” from home into homelessness.12



As in the SN passage above, the first stage is the “seclusion of the body” (k¯aya-viveka), physical seclusion which in a technical sense refers to the forest life as the ideal type of renunciation. This solitude, however, is considered a solitude in name only so long as one is still held by desire and attachment to sense objects and in this respect is still “with a companion.”13 As a remedy, the following stage therefore involves a “seclusion of mind” (citta-viveka), which is tightly connected, as Collins points out, to Buddhist meditative practices: The second stage, seclusion of mind, is given in the later literature a technical sense, referring to successive purifications of the mind through increased meditative absorption, or through the progressive abandoning of the fetters on the gradual path to enlightenment. In a larger perspective, this seclusion of mind can be seen as a metaphor for the entire orientation of Buddhist religious practice.14 Within this framework, seclusion of mind—as a purification of the mind from the “fetters,” along with their negative emotional baggage is specifically linked to the practice of insight meditation (vipassana) as an analysis of experience in terms of the various impersonal Buddhist psychological categories, efficacious in avoiding the objectification of such experiences and the arising of desire.15 Referring to Collins’ account of this scheme, David Eckel has suggested that here the meanings of viveka as both seclusion and discernment (the latter quite common in Buddhist lore as well) coincide, insofar as the seclusion of the mind is seen not merely as a drawing away from the world but as an active cognitive process, in which the meditator’s mind is “‘secluding’ every element of experience and identifying it so that its clutter can be brought under control.”16 In the SN, this phase is exemplified by the Buddha’s instructions to Nanda regarding meditative technique (mostly in sarga 15). The final type of seclusion—reached when a person comes to fully understand and realize the anatt¯a doctrine—is “seclusion from substrate” (upadhi-viveka), the term “substrate” standing for “any and all of the things which form the basis of rebirth—desire, attachment, karma, the five khandh¯a; and the ‘rejection’ or ‘absence’ of substrate is a synonym for nibb¯ana.”17 Seclusion in this sense (but not using this term) is referred to in the SN in Nanda’s homage to the Buddha, after the former has reached enlightenment: Solitude is delightful for a man who is calm and contented, who has an understanding of reality and who makes careful investigations; and the absence of amorous love is delightful for a man who has put pride aside, who is without lust, and whose mind does not cling.



So I have perfectly understood reality, I have expelled my faults and I have found Peace! Now I do not think of my own home, my wife, the apsaras or the gods. —Covill 2007: 35718 The understanding of solitude that arises out of these paragraphs is above all that of a process of disengagement from sense objects and the eradication of the kle´sas, for which physical seclusion is a necessary but not a sufficient condition. As a process that involves a type of discernment that is tightly connected to and arises out of meditative practices, it brings about an experiential state in which one is not attached to and indeed does not need or care for company. Understood in this way, the notion of solitude has important social ramifications insofar as it explains how the mendicant may still be in some contact with the community and at the same time remain far from the madding crowd. Furthermore, insofar as it is only solitude of mind that truly manifests the self-sufficiency of the mendicant—since it represents a greater degree of independence from external circumstances than physical seclusion, which after all is something of a contingency, circumscribed by the monastic’s dependence on the community for his survival—this kind of solitude appears indeed to render physical seclusion unnecessary for the person of true spiritual achievement.19 The notion of solitude presented here is therefore a progressional one, and insofar as this notion marks a shift from understanding solitude as dependent on external circumstances to viewing it as pertaining to a subjective and private domain, it may be tempting to view it as implying also a process of internalization. But this reading should be resisted, primarily because it would appear to be incoherent in the Buddhist context, as it assumes the purging of “inner” feelings for the purpose of re-establishing an altered, yet still “inner” subjectivity, in its stead. Furthermore, the understanding of solitude through the metaphor of an inner subjective space is culturally and historically specific, a view not consistently held even within the tradition of Western thought, let alone in Indian thought. Though the SN is permeated by descriptions of the emotional life of its protagonists and of their moods, which are often delivered in the first person and in a somewhat confessional style, nothing particular in these accounts supports an understanding of subjectivity in terms of inwardness. What we find in them, I will argue below, is an understanding of emotions (solitude being our present case study) and an emergent notion of subjectivity primarily in perceptual terms, with an attendant phenomenology of experience that is empiricist and impersonal in emphasis. By implication, I argue, this should lead us to revise our general tendency to refer to emotions in terms of the metaphor of inwardness, as if this were a given.



To illustrate this perspective, and what it actually means to conceive of emotions in perceptual terms, I turn next to examine Nanda’s developing sense of solitude as a function of the SN’s conception of the forest, both as the cultural epitome (and an often-used metonym) of the ascetic solitary life and as the concrete locus of the mendicant’s physical seclusion. We will see that Nanda’s emotional landscape is understood in the work primarily as an experiential-perceptual occurrence whose particular subjective meaning is given by its changed evaluative character.

3. THE CONCEPTION OF THE FOREST IN THE SN A description of the forest appears right in the opening section of the work, which depicts the compound of the forest ashram of Kapila Gautama, the very place where later on (as the first chapter recounts) the Buddha’s ancestors, the S´¯akya princes of the Iksav ̣ ¯aku line, will build the wholesome city of Kapilavastu, in accordance with the sage’s instructions.20 The description is an idyllic one, and echoes similar passages in other k¯avya works in which the ascetics’ grove, far from being a place of strife and desolation, is portrayed in rather sensuous terms as lush, beautiful, and serene, calling to mind a modern-day vegan yoga retreat more than an ascetic boot camp: On the bright slopes of the Himalayas this sage of extensive austerities had his ashram, the domain and abode of asceticism. It was a place of lush and springy grass, sweetly wooded with creepers and trees, seeming cloud-like in its permanent veil of sacrificial smoke. With portions of its grounds soft, sandy, smooth or carpeted with yellow kesara flowers, it was like a body anointed with unguents. The ashram stood, as though with kinsfolk, amid lotus lakes famed as sacred bathing places, clear, pure and wholesome. With forest avenues all about, bursting with fruit and flowers, the ashram glowed and flourished like a prosperous man. The ashram seemed deserted, yet was crowded with ascetics, selfcontained, calm and quiet without avidity, content to live on wild rice and fruit. Here one heard only the sound of fires receiving offerings, peacocks crying, and water splashing in the sacred bathing pools. Here the deer slept in the sacrificial compounds, seemingly made into offerings along with dried rice and m¯adhavi flowers. Here even the smaller animals roamed peaceably alongside the deer, as though they had learned discipline from the ascetics who gave them shelter. —Covill 2007: 3521



This place—the ashram later turned into the city of Kapilavastu and its surrounding parks—becomes the main setting in which the plot of the SN proceeds to unfold. Here we already find a kind of juxtaposition between what are typically regarded as opposite poles—the city and the forest. This juxtaposition, with its play on the tension between contrastive terms, is a recurring theme in the SN, and is most explicit in the description of the Buddha’s return to the city: Then he saw Kapilavastu all around him, with its gracious gardens, famed for its beautiful architecture and pure in its financial and intellectual life, but he looked without longing, as though in a forest. For restrained in his thoughts and master of himself, he was without appurtenances, even of family, countrymen, friends or property, which engender all sorts of anxieties. He felt no pleasure when revered, nor was he hurt by slights. Unperturbed by violent sword or luxurious sandalwood, he remained unaltered in sorrow or happiness. —Covill 2007: 6922 (my emphasis). Here, in a nutshell, we find what ultimate solitude is about for a Buddha—it is that state that allows him to be in the midst of a city and yet remain unperturbed as if he were in a forest. Note also that the Buddha’s experience is predominantly described as an act of seeing—used here, I will argue, not in a metaphorical but in a concrete literal sense. This is an important point and I will return to it below. But the Buddha’s similar attitude toward the city and the forest is not at all possible for Nanda, at least at the beginning of our story. For him there is a deep divide between city life (which stands for his amorous relation to Sundar¯ı ) and the forest life he is forced to take up by the Buddha. But this polarized view undergoes change as Nanda’s story progresses, and in what follows I wish to pay closer attention to the way in which—in A´svaghosa’s ̣ crafty hands—Nanda sees the forest, and also to that which he fails to see. The work’s first major description of Nanda’s conception of the forest appears when, following his ordination, he is left on his own in the grove in which the community of monks dwell: Nanda knew no gladness; he bore the signs ordained by the teacher on his body, but not in his heart, and was discomfited by conjectures about his wife. With the flowery riches of the month of flowers, with all the assaults of the flower-bannered god, and with the emotions [bh¯ava] habitual in the young, he lived in a monastery [vih¯ara], but found no peace. Wretched, he stood under a row of mango-trees that were thick with settling bees.



Long-armed as a chariot yoke, he contemplated his lover and stretched vigorously, as though drawing a bow. Receiving from the mango trees rain of tiny flowers like saffron powder, he thought of his wife and gave a heavy sigh, like a newly-caught elephant in confinement. He had removed grief from those who sought his protection, he had inflicted grief on the proud; now, leaning against an a´soka tree, grief rose up in him, and he grieved for his wife, who was so fond of an a´soka grove. When he noticed a delicate priyaṅ gu creeper bashfully shying away, another plant beloved by his beloved, he recalled her tearful face pale as the priyaṅ gu blossom, and wept. Seeing a cuckoo alighting on the flower-decked top of a tilaka tree, he imagined it as a lock of his darling’s hair against her white tunic as she leant from the palace. Next he noticed a cheerful atimuktaka creeper which had grown up entwined around the mango-tree at its side, and he thought “When will Sundar¯ı hold me like that?” Though the orange trees bristled with buds that seemed like gold-filled ivory caskets, they did not draw Nanda’s despairing eye, any more than if they had been trees in a wasteland. The gandhaparṇa trees, though scented and fragrant like a gandharvas’ geisha, failed to win his sense of smell but made his heart burn, for his mind was elsewhere and his entire being grieved. His mind was repelled by the forest as it resounded with the passionate calls of the peacocks, the thrilling cheer of the cuckoo, and the bees sipping at honey. Burning in his heart with the fire of passion which arose from his wife as the firestick, which had his fancies as smoke and his mental darkness as flames, he put composure aside and lamented in various ways:. . . —Covill 2007: 133; 13523 This is k¯avya in its element, and the forest under the assault of spring (its description rife with paronomastic plays on such words as a´soka/´soka, priya/ priyaṅ gu) is seen through Nanda’s eyes as an utterly eroticized landscape in which nature is but an allusion to his beloved and his desire for her, but in which he can find no joy.24 Note here again the dominance of perception and especially of sight, which is, however, phenomenologically, already laden with meaning. Nanda can only see the forest in terms of the presence of the absence of Sundar¯ı, and in this sense his seeing is necessarily a “seeing as” (here the conventions of poetry align neatly with the obsessed gaze of a lover in separation. I will return to this below). Following this description, Nanda embarks on a long lament, at the end of which he decides to take advantage of the Buddha’s absence and return home. But as we know, one cannot really stay alone for long among the



saṅ gha. A passing monk notices his distress, leads him to another spot in the forest—described still in terms that recall the passage above—and gives him a learned lecture, spanning two sargas and including a rather wild attack on women, youth, and sense objects in general. Nanda, not surprisingly, is not in the least persuaded, declaring openly that “I am averse to the pleasures of living in the forest, since I just want to go home: for without her I can find no joy, like a king without his sovereignty” (Covill 2007).25 But Nanda’s understanding of the pleasures of the forest is completely different from the monk’s understanding of these pleasures, which is in line with the normative doctrinal perception of the forest as a place of refuge. Perhaps referring directly to Nanda’s misconception, the monk responds with a simile that plays on the city/forest distinction and reverses its meaning: “Here is a bird flown away from a forest tree ablaze with a raging fire, that wishes to fly back there, its qualms forgotten in its longing for its nest!” (Covill 2007: 157, 8.19).26 Note that the monk, unlike the Buddha, still perceives the forest and the city as two incompatible realms, representing two contrasting conceptions of “pleasure,” respectively (I return to this below, in fn. 35). Nanda, as I said, is untouched by this counsel and remains resolved to leave the forest. The alarmed monk informs the Buddha about this grave state of affairs, and in a scene made famous, the Buddha literally takes the matter into his hands as he lifts Nanda into the air and carries him first over the Himalayas and then higher up into Indra’s abode. The next major reference to the forest appears in the description of how Nanda beholds Indra’s glorious pleasure groves (kr¯ıḍ¯avanaṃ , which are the rewards of asceticism, as we will see shortly) from which the apsaras emerge: Some of the trees there manifest one or other season from moment to moment, while others wear the combined and various glory of all six seasons at once. Some trees produce exquisite fragrant garlands and wreaths variously interwoven, and flower ornaments so suited to the ear that they seem to rival earrings. There are trees there that blossom with red lotuses and shine like lanterns, while others, as though open-eyed, grow blue, full-blown lotuses. Multi-hued or white, shimmering with gold thread, unwoven and seamless are the delicate garments that trees there bear as fruit. Pearl necklaces, gems, superb earrings, wonderful armlets, anklets—these are the kind of heaven-suited jewels that trees there bear as fruit. . . —Covill 2007: 19927 Nanda gazed at Indra’s forest all around him, his eyes wide in amazement; and the apsaras drew around him, full of joy and eyeing each other disdainfully. Eternally youthful and occupied solely with lovemaking,



they were a communal enjoyment for heaven-dwellers who had earned merit. Taking these heavenly women as lovers was no fault, just an acceptance of the rewards of asceticism . . . —Covill 2007: 20328 Watching them emerge from the forest interiors like lightning unfurled from clouds, Nanda’s body shivered with passion like moonlight reflected in rippling water. His eyes intense with interest, he mentally seized on their divine bodies and teasing gestures as though his passion was aroused through thirsting for union with them. He grew thirsty and tormented by the agitation which governed him, he desired to drink up the apsaras to alleviate his thirst. Put to shame by desire, that chariot of the mind pulled by the galloping senses-horses, his resolution failed. —Covill 2007: 203, 20529 Now here are the pleasures of the forest to which Nanda is not averse, to say the least; and he confesses to the Buddha that he has entirely forgotten about his lover and his home (which is revealing of the rather hollow nature of his love for Sundar¯ı and the fickleness of his desire; a point to which I will return below). Promised by the Buddha that Indra’s heaven and the apsaras will be his reward if he acquires the merit earned by the ascetic life, Nanda resolves to pursue asceticism seriously. When he descends from the heavens, ¯ nanda standing once again on firm ground, and after the reproach from A about the folly of practicing dharma for the sake of the apsaras, Nanda become ashamed of his instrumental attitude and reaches an initial understanding of the path, which sends him to the Buddha to seek guidance. Following a lengthy instruction by the Buddha on the proper way of practice, he turns to a deserted spot in the forest and settles into meditation, from which he will emerge enlightened. Note how this forest meditation abode is depicted, as viewed through Nanda’s eyes: Having had the path to reality pointed out to him, Nanda arrived at liberation’s path; with his whole heart he paid homage to the guru and set out for the forest in order to abandon the defilements. There within a grove of trees he saw a peaceful clearing of soft dark grass, enfolded by a silent stream whose waters bowed beryl-blue. He washed his feet there, and at a tree root, pure, auspicious and glorious, he girded himself with the resolve to win liberation and sat with his legs crossed and his hands in his lap. Holding his body completely straight, directing his attention toward his body, and centering all his senses on himself, he began yogic practice in earnest. —SN 17.1–4, Covill 2007: 31930



The remainder of the work depicts Nanda’s progress through the various levels of absorption up to a full and complete enlightenment. The work concludes with his final homage to the Buddha, in which he states, as quoted earlier, that “Solitude is delightful for a man who is calm and contented, who has an understanding of reality and who makes careful investigations. . .” This solitude, final and inviolable, is not dependent on his physical surroundings or circumstances, and indeed, as the work tells us, it later allows Nanda to return to the city but to experience it, like the Buddha before him, as no different in essence from the forest (in a re-instantiation of the somewhat utopic identity mentioned in the beginning of the work between the forest-ashram and the city, and as befitting a member of the Iksṿ ¯aku line): At the appropriate time he entered the city for alms, catching the eye of the people. Staying the same in gain or loss and in happiness and sadness alike, he was free of longings, with his senses in sound health. There in due course he spoke of deliverance to people in need of it, not disparaging those on the wrong path nor vaunting himself. —Covill 2007: 36331 For Nanda, then, the conception of the forest, as both the epitome and the concrete locus of the ascetic’s solitary life, is a dynamic one, and the changes it undergoes parallel the evolving ways in which his solitude is experienced and understood. While his mind is blurred by desire, the forest—standing for Nanda’s physical seclusion and his separation from his lover—is perceived primarily as an eroticized landscape, in which, however, he finds no joy but only pain. This perception of the forest primarily in aesthetic terms (in contrast to its normative ethical meaning) reaches its apex in Nanda’s perception of the divine version of the forest—Indra’s pleasure groves, of which the earthly ascetic grove is a mere shadow—experienced as a hypersensual realm that he finds irresistible. The intensity of this experience, however, also marks the dawning of a new understanding. Once Nanda realizes the fickleness of his desire and its independence from the object of desire, his mind is somewhat calmed, and the same ascetic grove—no less lavish or beautiful than before—is newly perceived as providing a respite rather than an assault on the senses. It should be noted that this realization involves both a re-valencing and the displacement of Nanda’s previous emotional experiences in that locus. From a place of exile the forest has turned into a place of refuge, and the physical seclusion it provides can therefore only be truly appreciated once Nanda attains a firm grounding in the solitude of the mind. Finally, this kind of solitude allows him to venture



out of the forest and visit the city while remaining unperturbed, as if the city were a forest.32 This dynamic conception of the forest and its masterful presentation by A´svaghosạ is far from accidental. It is deeply grounded in the Buddhist understanding of the constructed and hence perspectival nature of ordinary experience, and furthermore, constitutes a conscious poetic attempt to use the qualities of k¯avya to exemplify this understanding of experience. First, on several occasions in the work, the understanding of the constructed nature of experience is explicitly stated—for instance, in the following instructions to Nanda, which A´svaghosạ places in the mouth of the Buddha: Upon seeing one and the same form, one person desires it, another repulses it, yet another remains indifferent, while someone else will feel compassion. It follows that sense objects are not the cause of bondage or liberation; whether attachment arises or not is due to specific imaginings [parikalpa]. For this reason you should control your senses with the maximum of effort, for ungoverned senses make for sorrow and rebirth. —Covill 2007: 251, 25333 This passage, the gist of which is repeated in many later Buddhist philosophical arguments for the compounded and mind-dependent status of external objects,34 seems to encapsulate the entire philosophy behind Nanda’s process of edification and conversion. A recurring theme in all the discourses conveyed to Nanda—and the purpose also of his sojourn in heaven when these discourses failed to persuade him—was to demonstrate to him the interchangeability and ephemerality of the object of his desire, and hence its constructed and mind-dependent nature. The outrageous speed with which he is willing to abandon Sundar¯ı —whose absence he had considered to be a form of death in life only a moment earlier—for the sake of apsaras, reveals to him eventually the fickleness of his love and the fact that it was always merely self-love.35 This exposure of the perspectival and subjectively constructed nature of experience (and the lesson this holds), however, is achieved not merely by direct argument and by A´svaghosa’s ̣ use of the narrative form, but also, on a more fundamental level, by his virtuoso use of the medium of k¯avya to give life to different experiential points of view. Exploiting the remarkable flexibility of this literary style, he brings before us, in the richness of description, the variegated and discrepant ways in which experiences of the same object may appear to different people (or to the same person at different times)—as exemplified in the dynamic conception of the forest. This picture underscores the constructed nature of such experiences and makes an



argument for a liberated point of view that cuts through appearances. Such an experiential point of view, the view that sees things for what they truly are, is indeed what Nanda is supposed to achieve, and in the SN it is explicitly prescribed to him by the Buddha as part of his instructions for meditations: Here in the world the senses must necessarily operate, each in its particular sphere, but there should be no grasping at either the major attributes or the minor details of an object. When seeing a shape with your eyes, pay attention only to its primary elements; do not conceptualize it as “woman” or “man.” If any perception of a women or a man does occur, don’t linger over their hair, teeth and so on as beautiful. Nothing should be taken away, nothing should be added; whatever the kind of object, it should be seen as it really is. If, in the realm of the senses, you continuously observe what is real, then neither attraction nor aversion will leave a footprint in your mind. Like an enemy with a friendly face, fair of speech but foul at heart, attraction with its pleasing form destroys people of passionate nature. What is termed aversion is the repulsion of a sensory object, to which acquiescence, out of delusion, brings ruin in both this life and the next . . . —Covill 2007: 249, 25136 Here we find the basic Buddhist assumption that objects as they appear in ordinary experience are never simple but already pervaded by conceptual categories, judgments, and aesthetic values, which however can be stripped away to allow us to view only the objects’ bare “primary elements.” In A´svaghosa’s ̣ poetry, however, this rather ubiquitous doctrinal formula is unpacked, throughout the SN, to form an intricate and rich description of what such compounded experiences entail phenomenologically. As I have emphasized, Nanda’s changing conception of the forest is presented to us overwhelmingly in perceptual terms (predominantly but not exclusively through the sense of sight). “Seeing” in this context, however, does not stand for a mere sensory perceptual experience, but is already laden—both phenomenologically and conceptually—with meaning. Nanda never sees just a tree and a creeper; he sees a tree embraced by a creeper and this sight is pervaded by a deep sense of longing and loss. These emotions are not something that occur in the wake of perception, rather they are constitutive of the very act of perceiving. For Nanda, in other words, seeing is always seeing as; his perceptual realm is already pervaded by concept formation, emotions and moods. In terms of contemporary theory of emotions, these moods and emotions are not “second-order” self-contained mental events but rather are given-to perception and at the same time actively involved in



determining its intentionality and shaping its content.37 Making this evident, not just in doctrinal terms, but in experiential—phenomenological ones, attests to the deeply constructed nature of experience and its lack of objectivity, and by extension to the possibility of its transcendence. This would not mean the eradication of experience but the removal of distorting factors from perception, so that we can see without seeing as. In light of this understanding, A´svaghosa’s ̣ early statement that during his visit to Kapilavastu the Buddha “looked without longing” can perhaps be read not metaphorically but quite literally as describing an act of bare perception (which is emotionsfree insofar as these are motivated by craving). Finally, A´svaghosa’s ̣ emphasis on ordinary experience as an act of “experiencing as” goes hand in glove with the poetic universe of the k¯avya in which things are never merely what they appear to be, a lotus is never just a flower, and a woman’s face is never just that alone; in this sense the Buddhist view of experience fits nicely with k¯avya’s own poetic hall of mirrors. Elsewhere I have argued that we should take seriously, and not as mere lip service, A´svaghosa’s ̣ statements in the colophons of the SN and BC that he uses k¯avya with the sole aim of being conducive to liberation.38 Without reiterating those arguments here I will just point out that seen in this light, A´svaghosa’s ̣ account of the Buddhist view of experience seems to be inherently connected to his understanding of the potential and role of poetry in the Buddhist context. Let me recapitulate. In this chapter, I explored the ways in which ascetic solitude (viveka) is accounted for in A´svaghosa’s ̣ SN, looking both at explicit references to the concept along with its doctrinal overtones and at its poeticexperiential representation, primarily through the text’s treatment of the notion of the forest as the epitome and concrete loci of the solitary life. Solitude, the SN seem to tell us, is primarily a dynamic and transformative experiential process. Insofar as it presupposes progression and requires cultivation, it can be seen as an active technique of the self, or rather of a no-self, which becomes somewhat of a static state of affairs only at the end, once liberation is attained. It begins with, but ultimately transcends physical seclusion, and as such allows the ascetic to remain active within a communal setting—both the more immediate ascetic community and the social world beyond. All this, by the way, though present in the SN, is already presented to us by the doctrinal scheme of the three types of solitude mentioned above. However, the SN’s main and in my opinion novel contribution lies in the fact that it goes further in showing what this order means experientially—and providing as it does an emergent Buddhist notion of subjectivity (ascetic mostly but not just) conceived in perceptual rather than in essentialist terms. Unpacked phenomenologically via the work’s conception and representation



of the forest, solitude is hence understood as involving primarily an experiential shift that is accounted for in perceptual terms. For the SN, as I have said, solitude and the process of its cultivation is all about ways of experiencing the world, a matter of perceptual modes and what they pick and leave out. Within this framework, for whose description poetry becomes the ideal vehicle, solitude, far from standing for a withdrawal from the world (into an interior space, etc.) is primarily a mode of engagement with the world, though radically different from the ordinary one. Finally, given all of this, may we then consider solitude an emotion, just like sorrow or grief? I have tried to show that at least in the present Buddhist context it may indeed be so considered, but that this requires us to revise our understanding of the category of emotion. While the account of solitude presented above is permeated by descriptions of various emotional phenomena, solitude is not merely an umbrella term for all these discrete phenomena. It is more than the sum of its parts. As a dynamic and evolving experience, though complex and compounded, it is resistant to any final reductive analysis into discrete emotional sub-categories (or affective primitives/particulars); and as a “way of seeing” which colors one’s entire experience, it renders the debate regarding the primacy of the affective/somatic vs. the cognitive/evaluative—which underlies most current discussions of the nature of emotion—less central to the understanding of this phenomena. Or more accurately, it redirects this debate back to the more fundamental question regarding the conceptual or non-conceptual nature of experience, and of perception in particular. Under this framework, then, solitude is neither a higher order evaluative judgment about a cluster of more discrete emotions, such as sorrow and despair, nor a new and altogether different kind of affective phenomenon. Resisting both of these reductive descriptions, it is, to find a parallel in contemporary theory, most akin to a form of practice,39 and in any case is no less an emotion than sorrow and despair and just as real. The ramifications of this framework go beyond merely contending that— at least in this specific Buddhist context—we should add solitude to the basic palette of emotions. More importantly, it stands to point out the dynamic and open-ended character of emotional phenomena, and the analytic disadvantages of approaching this subject with a pre-conceived idea of emotions as natural kinds and through a strong binary opposition between the affective and the cognitive—assumptions that unnecessarily and unjustifiably limit the scope of inquiry and the contextual elements that may be taken into account. Finally, it is important to note the way in which this Buddhist understanding of emotion, and of solitude in particular, is subservient to a



broader philosophical and practical agenda. The Buddhist understanding of solitude (and by extension, emotions in general) as a vehicle for selftransformation is here enabled primarily because of its conception as constitutive and involved in determining the intentionality, salience, and content of perception, and hence allowing for the possibility of a perspectival shift. As such, this account presents some interesting affinities with recent constructionist approaches to emotions, all of which emphasize the prominent role of habituation (both bodily and cognitive, and, needless to say, social and cultural) in the emergence and categorization of emotions, and hence their plasticity.40 In many of these accounts, however, these features are taken to be either implicit or subliminal and in any case nonevident in ordinary experience, allowing these views to account for the seeming experiential givenness of the emotion. It is exactly this givenness of emotions, however, that the Buddhist account presented above seeks to undermine. This is achieved by making known the role of habituation in their emergence and in shaping their content, and by foregrounding their plasticity (what I have termed their open-ended and dynamic nature). From seemingly instinctive reactions, emotions thus turn into highly controlled techniques of the self—vehicles for change, under the Buddhist view of subjectivity as capable of radical transformation.

NOTES 1. My thanks go to Maria Heim and Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad for their careful reading of this chapter and their valuable insights and comments. 2. tasm¯ad bhiks¯ạ rthaṃ mama gurur ito y¯avad eva pray¯atas tyaktv¯a k¯as¯ạ yaṃ gr ham ̣ aham itas t¯avad eva pray¯asye / pu ¯jyaṃ liṅ gaṃ hi skhalitamanaso bibhrataḥ klisṭ abuddher ̣ n¯amutr¯arthaḥ sy¯ad upahatamater n¯apyayaṃ j¯ıvalokaḥ // SN 7.52 // If not otherwise stated, all translations are from Covill (2007), which she based on Johnston’s Sanskrit edition (1928). The Sanskrit text is replicated from Johnston’s edition, while indicating the few discrepancies between Johnston and Covill’s renditions. 3. See, for instance, Olivelle 1992: 43–6. 4. Collins 1998: 34–5. 5. Flood 2004: 34. 6. This, in turn, accentuates the way in which any understanding of solitude, as well as its conceptual and terminological range, is highly historically and culturally dependent. So, for instance, Barbara Taylor (2018) has pointed out that the use of the term solitude or solitariness in pre-modern Europe (loosely around the eighteenth century) would be more in line with what we now conceive of as the private life. Rather than indicating an absence or a loss, solitude stood primarily for a higher relational and communicative order in



which the solitary person, by virtue of being outside the public arena, was able to connect in a more intimate way with friends, with memories, as well as with the divine. Furthermore, writing about the eighteenth-century English pioneering feminist and author Mary Wollstonecraft’s accounts of solitude, Taylor emphasized that solitude was hardly ever used to denote the mere physical fact of being alone and was always “teeming with imaginary presences”: “In solitude poets communed with their muses; scholars with their lovers; readers with fictional characters. Like Montaigne, Rousseau kept company with a second self, an alter-self with whom he maintained a solitary dialogue. The capacity to divide oneself in this fashion, Lord Shaftesbury claimed, was the mark of the true sage, the wise man who, like Scipio, was ‘never less alone than when alone’, or—as Hannah Arendt later described the reflective mind—‘never altogether without a partner and without company’.” —Taylor 2009: 645 7. Here I am using this term in its rather lean and technical sense as standing for an analytical approach to the description of experience with an emphasis on its intentional structures and noematic meanings; but without the assumption of a transcendental subjectivity as the enabling conditions of such experience (as we will see, nothing of this quest for subjectivity appears in the SN account of experience, and in this sense the account cannot be considered an instance of “phenomenology” as the term is understood in twentieth century continental philosophical tradition). 8. The work does not shy away from stating explicitly, on several occasions, that Nanda is coerced by the Buddha to be ordained (this is later explained as an act of up¯aya, saved as a last measure for the weak of mind and heart), using both his spiritual authority and his authority as the first born, and at times by simply physically blocking Nanda’s escape route. In one almost comic scene, Nanda, who has not tried too hard to locate the Buddha in the city, decides to slip away through a back alley and return to his wife, only to find the Buddha standing right in front of him, handing him his own begging bowl, making him an offer he can’t refuse. SN 5.10. 9. See Salomon (2009) for a treatment of the way in which A´svaghosạ strategically uses certain repeated images and phrases in his depiction of Sundar¯ı to illustrate the Buddhist principles of suffering and impermanence and Kachru (2019a), dealing with Sundar¯ı’s absence from the latter part of the work and its ramifications for the understanding of relationship between the aesthetic experience derived from poetry and moral attention. 10. The square brackets throughout the quotes are my own. 11. yog¯anulomaṃ vijanaṃ vi´sabdaṃ ´sayy¯asanaṃ saumya tath¯a bhajasva / k¯ayasya kr tv ̣ ¯a hi vivekam ¯adau sukho ‘dhigantuṃ manaso vivekaḥ // alabdhacetaḥpra´samaḥ sar¯ago yo na prac¯araṃ bhajate viviktam / sa ksạ ṇyate hyapratilabdham¯arga´s carann ivorvy¯aṃ bahukaṇtak ̣ ¯ay¯am // adr ṣ ṭ atattvena ̣ par¯ıksake ̣ ṇa sthitena citre [Covill: citte] visayaprac ̣ ¯are / cittaṃ niseddhu ̣ ṃ na sukhena ´sakyaṃ kr ṣ ṭ ¯ạ dako gaur iva sasyamadhy¯at // an¯ı ryam¯aṇas tu yath¯anilena



pra´s¯antim ¯agacchati citrabh¯anuḥ / alpena yatnena tath¯a viviktesṿ aghatṭ ita ̣ ṃ ´s¯antim upaiti cetaḥ // kvacid bhuktv¯a yat tad vasanam api yat tat parihito vasann ¯atm¯ar¯amaḥ kvacana vijane yo ‘bhiramate / kr ṭ ¯arthaḥ sa jñeyaḥ ´samasukharasajñaḥ kr tamati ̣ ḥ pares¯ạ ṃ saṃsargaṃ pariharati yaḥ kaṇtakam ̣ iva // yadi dvandv¯ar¯ame jagati visayavyagrah ̣ r daye ̣ vivikte nirdvandvo viharati kr ṭ ¯ı ´s¯an tahr daya ̣ ḥ / tataḥ p¯ıtv¯a prajñ¯arasam amr tavat ̣ tr ptah ̣ r dayo ̣ viviktaḥ saṃsaktaṃ vi sayak ̣ r pa ̣ ṇaṃ ´socati jagat // vasañ´su ¯ny¯ag¯are yadi satatam eko ‘bhiramate yadi kle´sotp¯adaiḥ saha na ramate ´satrubhir iva / carann ¯atm¯ar¯amo yadi ca pibati pr¯ıtisalilaṃ tato bhuṅ kte ´sresṭ ha ̣ ṃ trida´sapatir¯ajy¯ad api sukham // SN 14.46–52 12. Collins 1982: 171. 13. Collins 1982: 172. 14. Collins 1982: 172. 15. Collins 1982: 173. 16. Eckel 1998: 285–6. 17. Collins 1982: 175. 18. ´s¯antasya tusṭ asya ̣ sukho viveko vijñ¯atatattvasya par¯ıksakasya ̣ / prah¯ıṇam¯anasya ca nirmadasya sukhaṃ vir¯agatvam asaktabuddheḥ // ato hi tattvaṃ parigamya samyaṅ nirdhu ¯ya dos¯ạ n adhigamya ´s¯antim / svaṃ n¯a´srayaṃ samprati cintay¯ami na taṃ janaṃ n¯apsaraso na dev¯an // SN 18.42–3 19. Although even the Buddha is said to have the need occasionally to spend some time in solitude. Collins (1998: 156) mentions a story from the P¯ali vinaya about the Buddha who seeks some respite from the noisy and troublesome monks of Kosambi. It should be noted, however, that these instances also presented something of a doctrinal difficulty and were often accompanied by commentarial apologetics. So, for instance, seeking to justify the Buddha’s periods of solitude after he has already attained enlightenment and begun to teach the Dharma, Vasubandhu’s Vy¯akhy¯ayukti clarifies that such occasions should not be interpreted as indicating an imperfection either in the teaching or in the teacher but rather are taken up by the Buddha primarily as an act of up¯aya, designed to make the disrespectful monks gain a renewed appreciation for his presence. See Prapod and Skilling 1999: 18. 20. In this sarga, A´svaghosạ takes care to emphasize that the flourishing of the ascetic domain and that of the political domain are inter-linked. The ashram is where the princes find refuge following the crowning of an unworthy heir (in circumstances very similar to those recounted in the R¯am¯ayaṇa), and then “At one and the same time the forest emanated tranquillity and security, the respective glories of the brahmin and the ksatriya ̣ , because of the sage and those warrior heroes” (SN 1.26, Covill 2007: 39). The consecration rite of the compound by the sage establishes the legitimacy of the princes’ future rule and the locus of their capital city; however, once the sage has expired and the princes become—for a short while—wild in their ways, all the ascetics withdraw from the ashram further into the Himalayas. SN 1.15–39. 21. tasya vist¯ırṇatapasaḥ p¯ar´sve himavataḥ ´subhe / ksetra ̣ ṃ c¯ayatanaṃ caiva tapas¯am ¯a´sramo ‘bhavat // c¯aruv¯ıruttaruvanaḥ prasnigdhamr du ̣ ´s¯advalaḥ / havirdhu ¯mavit¯anena yaḥ sad¯abhra iv¯ababhau // mr dubhi ̣ ḥ saikataiḥ snigdhaiḥ



kesar¯astarap¯aṇdubhi ̣ ḥ / bhu ¯mibh¯agair asaṃk¯ırṇaiḥ s¯aṅ gar¯aga iv¯abhavat // ´sucibhis t¯ırthasaṃkhy¯ataiḥ p¯avanair bh¯avanair api / bandhum¯an iva yas tasthau sarobhiḥ sasaroruhaiḥ // pary¯aptaphalapusp̣ ¯abhiḥ sarvato vanar¯ajibhiḥ / ´su´subhe vavr dhe ̣ caiva naraḥ s¯adhanav¯an iva // n¯ıv¯araphalasantusṭ ai ̣ ḥ svasthaiḥ ´s¯antair anutsukaiḥ / ¯ak¯ırṇo ‘pi tapobhr dbhi ̣ ḥ ´su ¯nya´su ¯nya iv¯abhavat // agn¯ın¯aṃ hu ¯yam¯an¯an¯aṃ ´sikhin¯aṃ ku ¯jat¯am api / t¯ı rth¯an¯aṃ c¯abhiseke ̣ sụ ´su´sruve yatra nisvanaḥ // virejur hariṇ¯a yatra supt¯a medhy¯asu vedisụ / sal¯ajair m¯adhav¯ıpuspair ̣ upah¯ar¯aḥ kr ṭ ¯a iva // api ksudram ̣ r g̣ ¯a yatra ´s¯ant¯a´s ceruḥ samaṃ mr gai ̣ ḥ / ´saraṇyebhyas tapasvibhyo vinayaṃ ´siksiṭ ¯a iva // SN 1.5–13 22. abhitas tataḥ kapilav¯astu parama´subhav¯astusaṃstutam / vastumati´suci ´sivopavanaṃ sa dadar´sa niḥspr hatay ̣ ¯a yath¯a vanam // aparigrahaḥ sa hi babhu ¯va niyatamatir ¯atman¯ı´svaraḥ / naikavidhabhayakaresụ kimu svajanasvade´sajanamit ravastusụ // pratipu ¯jay¯a na sa jaharsạ na ca ´sucam avajñay¯agamat / ni´scitamatir asicandanayor na jag¯ama duḥkhasukhayo´s ca vikriy¯am // SN 3.17–19 23. liṅ gaṃ tataḥ ´s¯astr vidhipradi ̣ sṭ ạ ṃ g¯atreṇa bibhran na tu cetas¯a tat / bh¯ary¯agatair eva manovitarkair jehr¯ı yam¯aṇo na nananda nandaḥ // sa puspam ̣ ¯asasya ca puspalak ̣ smy ̣ ¯a sarv¯abhis¯areṇa ca puspaketo ̣ ḥ / y¯an¯ıyabh¯avena ca yauvanasya vih¯arasaṃstho na ´samaṃ jag¯ama // sthitaḥ sa d¯ınaḥ sahak¯arav¯ıthy¯am ¯al¯ınasaṃmu ¯rcchitasạ tpad ̣ ¯ay¯am / bhr´ṣ aṃ jajr mbhe ̣ yugad¯ı rghab¯ahur dhy¯atv¯a priy¯aṃ c¯apam iv¯acakarsạ // sa p¯ıtakaksodam ̣ iva prat¯ıcchan cu ¯tadrumebhyas tanupuspavar ̣ sam ̣ / d¯ırghaṃ ni´sa´sv¯asa vicintya bh¯ary¯aṃ navagraho n¯aga iv¯avaruddhaḥ // ´sokasya hart¯a ´saraṇ¯agat¯an¯aṃ ´sokasya kart¯a pratigarvit¯an¯am / a´sokam ¯alambya sa j¯ata´sokaḥ priy¯aṃ priy¯a´sokavan¯aṃ ´su´soca // priy¯aṃ priy¯ay¯aḥ pratanuṃ priyaṅ guṃ ni´s¯amya bh¯ı t¯am iva nispatant ̣ ¯ım / sasm¯ara t¯am a´srumukh¯ı ṃ sab¯aspa ̣ ḥ priy¯aṃ priyaṅ guprasav¯avad¯at¯am // pusp̣ ¯avanaddhe tilakadrumasya dr ṣ ṭ ṿ ¯anyapusṭ ¯ạ ṃ ´sikhare nivisṭ ¯ạ m / saṃkalpay¯am ¯asa ´sikh¯aṃ priy¯ay¯aḥ ´sukl¯aṃ´suke ‘tṭ ¯ạ lam ap¯a´srit¯ay¯aḥ // lat¯aṃ praphull¯am atimuktakasya cu ¯tasya p¯ar´sve parirabhya j¯at¯am / ni´s¯amya cint¯am agamat tadaivaṃ [Covill: kadaivaṃ, perhaps following Johnston’s 1928: p. 44, n.8c] ´slisṭ ¯ạ bhaven m¯am api sundar¯ıti // puspotkar ̣ ¯al¯a [Covill: puspai ̣ ḥ kar¯al¯a, perhaps following Johnston’s 1928: 169 n.9] api n¯agavr ḳ s¯ạ d¯antaiḥ samudgair iva hemagarbhaiḥ / k¯ant¯aravr ḳ s¯ạ iva duḥkhitasya na caksur ̣ ¯aciksipur ̣ asya tatra // gandhaṃ vasanto ‘pi ca gandhaparṇ¯a gandharvave´sy¯a iva gandhapu ¯rṇ¯aḥ / tasy¯anyacittasya ´sug¯atmakasya ghr¯aṇaṃ na jahrur hr daya ̣ ṃ pratepuḥ // saṃraktakaṇthai ̣ ´s ca vin¯ılakaṇthais ̣ tusṭ ai ̣ ḥ prahr ṣ ṭ air ̣ api c¯anyapusṭ ai ̣ ḥ / lelihyam¯anai´s ca madhu dvirephaiḥ svanad vanaṃ tasya mano nunoda // sa tatra bh¯ary¯araṇisaṃbhavena vitarkadhu ¯mena tamaḥ´sikhena / k¯am¯agnin¯antarhr di ̣ dahyam¯ano vih¯aya dhairyaṃ vilal¯apa tattat // SN 7.1–12 24. In its similes and wording, this account of the forest is reminiscent of another famous depiction of the forest (perhaps even of the very same place), by A´svaghosạ in the BC, as the courtesans attempt to seduce the Buddha in sarga 4 of the work. Both the Buddha and Nanda find no joy in this fest of spring, but for different reasons entirely. The Buddha’s mind is shut to nature’s call (and by extension to the k¯avya’s aesthetic call, A´svaghosạ thus driving a wedge between the experience of the recipient of the poetry, and the Buddha) and all he can see is nature’s crude insentient lust and the decay that follows. See Tzohar 2019.



25. vanav¯asasukh¯at par¯aṅ mukhaḥ prayiy¯as¯a gr ham ̣ eva yena me / na hi ´sarma labhe tay¯a vin¯a nr patir ̣ h¯ına ivottama´sriy¯a // SN 8.13 26. mahat¯a khalu j¯atavedas¯a jvalit¯ad utpatito vanadrum¯at / punar icchati n¯ıḍatrṣ ṇ̣ ay¯a patituṃ tatra gatavyatho dvijaḥ // SN 8.19; and in the same vain: “Were a man to again chase the bondage known as, ‘home’, after he has come to the forest, it would be as if a released prisoner were to return to prison when misfortune strikes” (Covill 2007: 159). vyasan¯abhihato yath¯a vi´set parimuktaḥ punar eva bandhanam / samupetya vanaṃ tath¯a punar grhasa ̣ ṃjñaṃ mrgayeta ̣ bandhanam // SN 8.29. 27. r ṭ ¯av r ṭ ¯av ¯akr tim ̣ eka eke ksạ ṇe ksạ ṇe bibhrati yatra vr ḳ s¯ạ ḥ / citr¯aṃ samast¯am api kecid anye sạ ṇṇ¯am r ṭ u ¯n¯aṃ ´sriyam udvahanti // pusyanti ̣ kecit surabh¯ı r ud¯ar¯a m¯al¯aḥ sraja´s ca granthit¯a vicitr¯aḥ / karṇ¯anuku ¯l¯an avataṃsak¯aṃ´s ca pratyarthibhu ¯t¯an iva kuṇdal ̣ ¯an¯am // rakt¯ani phull¯aḥ kamal¯ani yatra prad¯ı pavr ḳ s¯ạ iva bh¯anti vr ḳ s¯ạ ḥ / praphullan¯ılotpalarohiṇo ‘nye sonm¯ılit¯aks¯ạ iva bh¯anti vr ḳ s¯ạ ḥ // n¯an¯avir¯ag¯aṇy atha p¯aṇdar ̣ ¯aṇi suvarṇabhaktivyavabh¯asit¯ani / at¯antav¯any ekaghan¯ani yatra su ¯ksm ̣ ¯aṇi v¯as¯aṃsi phalanti vr ḳ s¯ạ ḥ . . .// SN 10.19–22 28. aindraṃ vanaṃ tac ca dadar´sa nandaḥ samantato vismayaphulladr ṣ ṭ ị ḥ / hars¯ạ nvit¯a´s c¯apsarasaḥ par¯ıyuḥ sagarvam anyonyam aveksam ̣ ¯aṇ¯aḥ // sad¯a yuvatyo madanaikak¯ary¯aḥ s¯adh¯araṇ¯aḥ puṇyakr ṭ ¯aṃ vih¯ar¯aḥ / divy¯a´s ca nirdosapa ̣ rigrah¯a´s ca tapaḥphalasy¯a´srayaṇaṃ sur¯aṇ¯am // SN 10.35–6 29. t¯aḥ niḥsr ṭ ¯aḥ preksya ̣ van¯antarebhyas taditpat ̣ ¯ak¯a iva toyadebhyaḥ / nandasya r¯ageṇa tanur vivepe jale cale candramasaḥ prabheva // vapu´s ca divyaṃ lalit¯a´s ca cesṭ ¯ạ s tataḥ sa t¯as¯aṃ manas¯a jah¯ara / kautu ¯hal¯avarjitay¯a ca dr ṣ ṭ ỵ ¯a saṃ´slesatar ̣ s¯ạ d iva j¯atar¯agaḥ // sa j¯atatarsọ ‘psarasaḥ pip¯asus tatpr¯aptaye ‘dhisṭ hitaviklav ̣ ¯artaḥ / lolendriy¯a´svena manorathena jehr¯ıyam¯aṇo na dhr ti ̣ ṃ cak¯ara // SN 10.39–41 This passage beautifully plays on the assumed etymology connecting the apsaras to ap, “water,” and the Buddhist specialized meaning of “thirst.” 30. athaivam ¯ade´sitatattvam¯argo nandas tad¯a pr¯aptavimoksam ̣ ¯argaḥ / sarveṇa bh¯avena gurau praṇamya kle´saprah¯aṇ¯aya vanaṃ jag¯ama // tatr¯avak¯a´saṃ mr dun ̣ ¯ıla´saspa ̣ ṃ dadar´sa ´s¯antaṃ tarusạ ṇḍavantam / niḥ´sabday¯a nimnagayopagu ¯ ḍhaṃ vaidu ¯̣ ryan¯ılodakay¯a vahanty¯a // sa p¯adayos tatra vidh¯aya ´saucaṃ ´sucau ´sive ´sr¯ımati vr ḳ sam ̣ u ¯le / moks¯ạ ya baddhv¯a vyavas¯ayakaks¯ạ ṃ paryaṅ kam aṅ k¯avahitaṃ babandha // r ju ̣ ṃ samagraṃ praṇidh¯aya k¯ayaṃ k¯aye smr ti ̣ ṃ c¯abhimukh¯ı ṃ vidh¯aya / sarvendriy¯aṇy ¯atmani saṃnidh¯aya sa tatra yogaṃ prayataḥ prapede // SN 17.1–4 31. bhiks¯ạ rthaṃ samaye vive´sa sa puraṃ dr ṣ ṭ ¯ı̣ r janasy¯aksipan ̣ l¯abh¯al¯abhasukh¯asukh¯adisụ samaḥ svasthendriyo niḥspr ha ̣ ḥ / nirmoks¯ạ ya cak¯ara tatra ca kath¯aṃ k¯ale jan¯ay¯arthine naivonm¯argagat¯an par¯an paribhavann ¯atm¯anam utkarsayan ̣ // SN 18.62 32. It should be noted that this dynamic state of affairs, as I demonstrated above, is accompanied by a revision of the understanding of the forest/city distinction and of what these terms stand for emotionally. First conceived as opposing terms, with the city standing for emotional entanglement and the forest seen as necessary for emotional disentanglement (through the re-evaluation, revalancing and displacement of specific emotions), this dichotomy is then transcended as the forest and city are seen as undifferentiated (for the Buddha



as well as for Nanda following his enlightenment), a change that is marked by a freedom from rather than the displacement or re-evaluation of emotions. 33. dr ṣ ṭ vaika ̣ ṃ ru ¯pam anyo hi rajyate ‘nyaḥ pradusyati ̣ / ka´scid bhavati madhyasthas tatraiv¯anyo ghr ṇ ̣ ¯ayate // ato na visayo ̣ hetur bandh¯aya na vimuktaye / parikalpavi´sesẹ ṇa saṃgo bhavati v¯a na v¯a // k¯aryaḥ paramayatnena tasm¯ad indriyasaṃvaraḥ / indriy¯aṇi hy agupt¯ani duḥkh¯aya ca bhav¯aya ca // SN 13.52–4 34. For instance, in Yog¯ac¯ara, the very possibility of discrepant experiences of the same object by different beings (as in the case of humans seeing clear waters where pretas see rivers of pus) is offered as proof of the ultimate non-existence of such objects. See, for instance, the Madhy¯antavibh¯agat¯ı̣ k¯a I.3 (Yamaguchi and Lévi 1934: 18: 25, 19, 14), and Mah¯ay¯anasaṃgraha II 14, 14b. (Lamotte 1973: 30–1, 104–6 n.14). 35. On this point, see Kapstein (2001) and Kachru (2012). 36. ava´syaṃ gocare sve sve vartitavyam ihendriyaiḥ / nimittaṃ tatra na gr¯ahyam anuvyañjanam eva ca //¯alokya caksụ s¯ạ ru ¯paṃ dh¯atum¯atre vyavasthitaḥ / str¯ı veti purusọ veti na kalpayitum arhasi // sacet str¯ıpurusagr ̣ ¯ahaḥ kvacid vidyeta ka´scana / ´subhataḥ ke´sadant¯ad¯ın n¯anuprasth¯atum arhasi // n¯apaneyaṃ [Covill: n¯apanetum] tataḥ kiṃcit praksepya ̣ ṃ n¯api kiñcana / drasṭ avya ̣ ṃ bhu ¯tato bhu ¯taṃ y¯adr´ṣ aṃ ca yath¯a ca yat //evaṃ te pa´syatas tattvaṃ ´sa´svad indriyagocare / bhavisyati ̣ padasth¯anaṃ n¯abhidhy¯adaurmanasyayoḥ //abhidhy¯a priyaru ¯peṇa hanti k¯am¯atmakaṃ jagat / arir mitramukheneva priyav¯ak kalus¯ạ ´sayaḥ // daurmanasy¯abhidh¯anas tu pratigho visay ̣ ¯a´sritaḥ / moh¯ad yen¯anuvr ttena ̣ paratreha ca hanyate // SN 13.41–7. 37. See, for instance, de Sousa (1987: xv. ff.) on emotions as mechanisms for controlling salience, and Roberts (2003: 67–9, 87) on emotions as a kind of perception and the analogy to “seeing as.” 38. See Tzohar 2019. There I argue that this is achieved by A´svaghosạ in his Life of the Buddha, mostly by utilizing his poetic narrative voice to present two discrepant perspectives in respect to experience (and poetry): the perspective of the sensual world as ideally mediated to us by k¯avya, and the way in which the Buddha turns away from this very perspective. His poem is hence k¯avya that goes both with and against its own grain. It is language made beautiful by “ornaments” for, on the one hand, the purpose of furthering pleasure (manifest for instance in the fourth chapter of the SN, enchantingly depicting the love play of Nanda and Sundar¯ı). But ultimately, it serves as means, on the other hand, to point out the boundaries of such an expressive mode and of the aesthetic realm that it defines—and the possibility of the latter’s transcendence (as the description of Nanda’s solitude moves further away from the perception of the world in terms of pleasure and pain). 39. Monique Scheer (2012), drawing primarily on Bourdieu’s concept of habitus as well as to some extent on the Extend Mind Theory (EMT), has presented a constructionist account of emotions that proposes to understand them in terms of a practical engagement with the world. Under this framework, taking emotions as practices means not only considering their social dependence and cultural and historical specificity, but also their material and embodied aspects, the body, however, not taken to be a “static, timeless, universal foundation that



produces ahistorical emotional arousal, but is itself socially situated, adaptive, trained, plastic, and thus historical.” In the same vain, the cognitive aspects of emotional phenomena are understood as constituted by and standing in relation to skills, situational and environmental circumstances that are also subject to historical change and cultural specificity. See in Scheer (2012), in particular, pp. 193–9. 40. See for instance the notion of emotion as a form of practice presented by Scheer (2012) and noted above; and in psychology and neurobiology, the “conceptual act theory of emotion,” or as it is most known, the “theory of constructed emotion” (TCE) developed by Lisa Feldman Barrett (2006, 2017a, 2017b) and others, which emphasizes the overwhelming role of the availability of emotion concepts in language-possessing humans in the emergence and categorization of emotions.



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Abhidhamma tradition 88–9, 91, 94–6, 98–100 Abhidharmakos´abh¯asya ̣ (Vasubandhu, AKB) 133–6, 140–1, 145, 147, 149–50, 152 Abhinavagupta 10, 197–200, 209, 255–8, 261 see also abhivyakti (emergence) abhisneha (attachment) 157, 162, 165 abhivyakti (emergence) 20, 259, 262–4, 263, 267 access consciousness 138 adbhuta (wonder) 26, 260, 269 addictions (vyasanas) 157–8, 168 n.25 Advaita Ved¯anta 3, 13, 53–5, 158 as opposed to Vis´isṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯anta 50–3 aesthetics 2, 19–20, 196–7, 210 n.3, 221, 253 n.45, 290 see also bhakti movement; bh¯avas; camatk¯ara; h¯asya rasa; rasa theory; s´¯anta rasa affect see vedan¯a affect theory 229 agency, sense of 160–2 see also j¯ı vanmukta aggregates, the five (the five khandhas) 97 akam (love genre) 214, 220–2, 228 alaukika (other-worldly) 264, 266–7

Alexiou, Margaret 108–9 Amusement see h¯asa rasa; h¯asya rasa ¯ananda (bliss or joy) 71–2, 74, 77, 80–1, 164, 261, 268 ¯ nandavardhana 27–8, 42 n.20 A Andromache’s lament 109–13 anger (krodha) 75, 158–9, 161 anˍpu (love) 174–5, 181–2, 187 anubhava (experience) 100, 136–9, 151 n.23 see also experience Appar (Tirun¯avukkaracar) 2, 15 emotions and gestures 182–5, 187 emotions and place 184–5 emotions in life devoted to s´iva 180, 186 emotions in quotidian life 175–9, 181 life-story of 175–6 melting as a motif 185–6 sense-perception 177–8 use of “emotion” terms 174–5, 181–2, 187 see also v¯e ṭkai apsaras (nymphs) 121, 281, 284, 288–9, 291 Arjuna 56–8, 60, 62 asceticism Buddhist 118, 121, 277–9, 285, 289–90, 293, 297 n.20 325


Jain 24, 31–3, 35–6, 44 n.30 As´vaghosạ 144, 158 use of k¯avya 291, 300 n.38 see also Buddhacarita; Life of the Buddha; Nanda; Saundarananda attachment (abhisneha) 157, 162, 165 Auvaiy¯ar (“Kurˍuntokai 23,” “Kurˍuntokai 102”) 220, 231–4 aversion (dvesạ ) 52–3 ¯ yurvedic medical system 71, 76, 84 n.21 A Bhagavadg¯ı ta¯ (BhG) 52, 56, 58–60, 63, 251 n.7 bhakti (devotion) 53 and despair 58–9 overview 14–15, 173 bhakti movement 240–2, 249 Bharata (Na¯ṭyas´a¯stra) 54, 195, 199–200 on bh¯avas 256–7 inauguration of rasa theory 9–10 on rasa experience 258–9, 263–4 Bhatṭ ị Makhavarman 202–5 bh¯avas (raw emotions) overview of 9–10, 195–6 and rasa 195–6, 262–4, 266–70 translation of 256–8, 272 n.4, 272 nn.6–7 bliss 50–1, 164, 258, 260–3, 266, 271, 282 see also ¯ananda; joy Block, Ned 137–8 body 55, 65 n.16, 92–4, 278, 282–3 cohesion of 179–80 five senses of 177 infused with emotional meaning 221, 226, 228, 259 of Laksma ̣ nạ 29–32 madness 142 of Yas´odhar¯a 120, 123 ¯ yurvedic medical system; see also A Cartesian medical theory; gestures; mind-body complex; Vasisṭ ha, ̣ medical theory of Brahm¯a 60 brahman, knower of 155, 158–60, 164–5, 166 n.8 Bṛhad¯araṇyaka Upanisad ̣ 11, 159, 165 n.4


Buddha 298 n.24, 300 n.38 contemplation of feeling 96 modes of teaching of 90–1, 95 Nanda (brother) 280–1, 283, 288–90 solitude 286 see also Buddhism; Siddhartha Gautama Buddhacarita (As´vaghosa) ̣ 120 Buddhaghosa 88–9, 91, 94, 96, 99–101 Buddhism 10–11, 133–4 affect and experience 136–9 construction of experience 291–3 emotion and experience 279–80 experiential awareness of pain 139–41 see also asceticism; Buddha; Nanda; Siddhartha Gautama; solitude (viveka); Vasubandhu camatk¯ara 256, 258–62, 264, 269–71 C¯amin¯ataiyar, U. Ve¯. 215, 220, 227, 232 can˙kam poetry 14, 20, 182 see also Kurˍuntokai; ulḷ ụ rˍai uvamam Cartesian dualism see mind/body dualism Cartesian medical theory 69–74, 77–8, 80–1, 82 n.3 carvaṇ¯a (savoring) 267, 270 cities see Kapilavastu, city of cities/forests distinction 286, 288, 290–1, 299 n.32 citta (mind) 75, 95, 136–8, 151 n.22 cognition 50, 53–5, 60–2 Cole, Susan 221–2 Collins, Steven 278, 282–3 compassion (karuṇa) 154, 204, 248, 253 consciousness 155, 270–1 see also access consciousness; citta; phenomenal consciousness dangers desire 37–8 emotions 62 female threat of lament 116 grief 114 misconception of self agency 61 neytal landscape 216 p¯alai landscape 227 S¯ıt¯a’s luminous braid 125 see also obstacles to spiritual paths delusions 31–4, 44 n.30


see also moha dependent origination (paṭiccasamupp¯ada) 97, 104 n.16 depression 13, 71, 78, 161 see also despair (nirveda); sadness Descartes, René 69–82 see also Cartesian medical theory; jouissance; mind/body dualism; Passions of the Soul desire 168 n.31 attainment of 164 Nanda’s 289–91 problematic nature of 10–11 R¯ama’s control of 32–3 R¯avana’s ̣ 36–8 v¯asan¯as (latent tendencies) as 158 see also r¯aga; v¯e ṭkai despair (nirveda) 24, 28, 39–40, 176, 216 according to R¯am¯anuja 56–8 according to Ven ˙katan ̣ ¯atha 58–62 and bhakti 58–9 see also sadness detachment (vairagya) 51, 74, 154 devotion see bhakti; bhakti movement dhammas (basic phenomena) 94, 99 dharmas 56–9, 94 D¯ın¯akrandanastotra (Cry of the ¯ ) 242 Distressed, DA appeals to s´iva 243–7 bitterness towards S´iva 248–9 emotions in 244–6 overview of 243–4 S´iva’s response 248–9 ḍiṇdin (figure of chaos) 202–5 disease, theories of 70, 81–2 causal determination of 70–1, 82 n.2 and experience 77–9, 82, 85 n.31 and ignorance 80 psychosomatic 71–2, 77 and the self 79 see also Cartesian medical theory; psychosomatic model of disease; Vasisṭ ha ̣ disruption physical 70, 73 psychological 133–6, 141, 145–8, 150 n.12;see also Vasubandhu Divine Stories (Vasubandhu) 143–4 dramaturgical theory see Bharata


dukkha/duḥkha (pain) 133, 149 n.9, 164 ecological phenomenology 6–8, 89 egoism, thick 156–7 Elisabeth of Bohemia, Princess 69–70, 72, 77–8, 81–2 emotions animation of landscapes 229–30, 233 as bodily acts 55, 65 n.16, 295 as cognitive acts 54–5, 61–2, 295 in devotional poetry 14–15, 173–4 as a form of practice 295, 300 nn.39–40 generation by gestures 175, 182–4, 186–7 generation by place 184 generation by sense-perceptions 176–9 methodological implications 6–8 rasa theory 9–10 role in disease 69–70 see also bh¯avas; h¯asa rasa; rasa; solitude; uri emotions as an English metacategory 87, 92, 102, 195 problems mapping onto Indian sources 2–4 utility of mapping onto Indian sources 4–5, 49–50, 240 erotic (s´ṛn ˙g¯ara) 206–9, 210 n.13 excitement (harsạ ) 160–1, 163 experience 88, 167 n.11 and affect (vedan¯a) 136–40 the ahaṃk¯aric space of 155–6, 162, 165 cognitive 140–1, 158 of disease 77–9, 82, 85 n.31 and memory 135–6 Pali modal approach to 88–90, 97–102 perspectival nature of 291–4 sensory 96, 140 study of 6–8 see also anubhava; rasa faculties, the five 91–4 feelings (vedan¯as) conditions of 94–6 defining 98–101 within schemas 97–8 types of 91–4


see also emotions; vedan¯a (affect) forests in the Saundarananda and cities distinction 286, 299 n.32 forest ashram of Kapila Gautama 285 Indra’s pleasure grove 288–9 Nanda’s enlightenment within 289–90 perception of 287, 290 Foucault, Michel 147 gestures (bodily and verbal) 2, 176–9, 181–7 G¯ı t¯arthasan ˙graha (Y¯amun¯ac¯arya) 62 God see bhakti (devotion) Greek antiquity 146 see also Andromache’s lament grief (s´oka) 56–8, 145, 222–4, 244 reader’s 24, 34 see also laments Gunacandra ̣ (N¯aṭyadarpanạ ) 256, 262–3, 266, 268–9 Hanum¯an 25, 32, 136 harsạ (excitement) 160–1, 163 h¯asa rasa (emotion of the comic) 193–4, 197–9, 200, 202, 208–9 h¯asya rasa (aesthetic of the comic) 193–4, 197–8, 202, 209 of a character 200 and Otherness 199, 204–8 prompted by inversion (vipar¯ı ta) 199 Hawley, John Stratton (Storm of Songs: India and the Idea of the Bhakti Movement, A) 173, 241–2, 249 healing 72, 76–82, 132 Heart of Medicine, The (Vasubandhu) 142 Hector 110–13 Hedva, Johanna see Sick Woman Theory holistic medicine see ¯ayurvedic medical system Holst-Warhaft, Gail 108–9 Homer (Iliad) 110 hymns, Sanskrit see stotras ignorance (maurkhyamu ¯la) 80, 97–8, 156 Iliad (Homer) 110–13, 125 imagination 134–5, 141 Indra 35, 281–2, 288–90 Ingold, Tim 218–19, 226 inˍpam (joy) 174–5, 181–2, 187


insight, non-dual 159, 161–2, 165 Interior Landscape, The (Ramanujan) 234 inversion (vipar¯ı ta) 199, 207–8 Jagaddhara Bhatṭ ạ 253 n.45 his poetry as prayer 248–50 overview as a poet 242–3 see also D¯ı n¯akrandanastotra; Stutikusum¯añjali Jainism 10–11, 23–5, 34–6 anti-emotion stance of 23 s´ama 28–34, 39 s´¯anta rasa 27–8, 39 see also grief (s´oka) j¯ı va (egoic self) 155–7 j¯ı vanmukta (liberated-while-living) 18, 158–65 j¯ı vanmukti (liberation-while-living) 156, 159–62, 164 J¯ı vanmuktiviveka (Vidy¯aranya) ̣ 153–6, 165 jñ¯ana−icch¯a−prayatna−kriy¯a (cognitiondesire-effort-action) 54–5 jñ¯ana (knowledge) 51, 59–61, 85 n.33 jouissance (Descartes’ healing joy) 71, 77 joy see ¯ananda (bliss or joy); anˍpu (love); bliss; inˍpam (joy); jouissance (Descartes’ healing joy); sukha (embodied joy) Kalporu Ciˍru Nuraiy¯ar (“Kurˍuntokai 290”) 224 Kapilavastu, city of 280, 285–6, 293 karma 39, 47 n.48, 158 karuṇa (compassion) 154, 204, 248, 253 k¯avya literature 277, 285, 287, 291, 293, 298 Kayamanˍ (poet in Kurˍuntokai) 222 khandhas, the five (the five aggregates) 97 “Kick, The” (“P¯adat¯aḍitaka”) by s´y¯amilaka 193, 199–202, 206, 208 knowledge (jñ¯ana) 51, 59–61, 85 n.33 krodha (anger) 75, 158–9, 161 Krṣ ṇ ạ 56, 58, 62 kurˍiñci landscape (mountains and hills) 217, 229–30, 233 Kurˍuntokai (A Collection of Short [Poems]) overview of 213–17


see also Auvaiy¯ar; Kalporu Ciˍru Nuraiy¯ar; Kayamanˍ; Paranar; ̣ Venp̣ u ¯ti kusala (good) 100–1, 105 n.32 Laghuyogav¯aisṭ̣ ha 154, 159–62, 165 n.2 Laksma ̣ nạ 26, 36 death of 29–31, 39 reaction to death of R¯avanạ by 38–9 laments literary form of affect 125–6 of men 125 neytal (seashore) landscape poetry 224–7, 230–1 as witness 122 of women 14, 18, 108–10, 113–14, 116 see also Andromache’s lament; Nanda, lament of; Rama, lament of; S¯ıt¯a’s lament; Sundar¯ı, lament of; vil¯apaya of the Yasodhar¯avata; Yas´odhar¯a’s lament landscapes see semiotics of landscape; tiṇai liberation see j¯ı vanmukta; j¯ı vanmukti; moksạ Life of the Buddha (As´vaghosa) ̣ 144, 300 n.38 literature see narratives; poetry; stotras loka (real world, society) 157, 196–7, 266 lokottara (beyond the world) 262–6 Lollatạ 263–4 Losṭ haka ̣ 243 love see akam; anˍpu madness (unm¯ada) 136, 142, 150 n.12 mantras 63, 76 ¯ yurvedic medical system; medicine see A Cartesian medical theory; Vasisṭ ha, ̣ medical theory of memory, experiential 135–6 mental event (an instance of citta) 136–7 mental illness see depression; disruption, psychological; madness mental pain see pain, psychological metaphors 7, 149 n.5 ecological 89, 217–20 implied (ulḷ ụ rˍai uvamam) 213–15, 220, 230


Milaipperunkanta ̣ nˍ (“Kurˍuntokai 234”) 215–16 M¯ım¯aṃs¯a 52, 55 mind see disruption, psychological; mind-body complex; pain, psychological mind-body complex 73–7, 80, 142, 156, 167 n.11 mind/body dualism 2, 93, 167 n.11, 255 mindfulness (smṛtir) 97–8, 134, 143 moha (delusion) 80, 136 see also delusion moksạ (liberation) 81 “Money Ears” (Vasubandhu) 143–4 motherhood 25, 120–3, 183, 216–7 foster-mother 232–3 voice of 221–5 mullai (forest landscape) 215, 218, 220, 230 Naccelḷ aiy ̣ ¯ar, K¯akkaip¯atị nˍiy¯ar (“Purˍan¯anˍu ¯rˍu 278”) 225 Nanda (Buddha’s brother) 132, 280–1 conversion of 277, 291 enlightenment of 289–90 forests 286–7, 290–2 lament of 277, 287–8 solitude of 278–9 narratives bhakti movement 240–2 Buddhist 143–6 Jain poetic 10, 24–7 see also laments N¯aṭyas´¯astra (Treatise on Drama) 9–10, 26, 53–5 see also Bharata neytal (seashore landscape) 224–7, 230–1 nirm¯aṇas (phantom beings) 138–9, 152 n.25, 222 nirveda see despair nymphs (apsaras) 121, 281, 284, 288–9, 291 obstacles to spiritual paths 13, 51, 57–62, 158 see also dangers; soteriology Otherness 199–200, 205–8


“P¯adat¯aḍitaka” (“The Kick”) by S´y¯amilaka 193, 199–202 “Padmapur¯aṇa” (“The Story of Padma” ) 23–5, 28 grief of R¯avana’s ̣ wives 34–5 plot of 25–6 see also Ravisẹ nạ pain physical 132–3 psycholgoical 132–4, 136, 140–3; see also disruption, psychological in Europe, 18th century 147 as grafted onto landscapes 226 and narratives 145 and pleasure 267–70 p¯alai (wasteland) 216–18, 220, 222–3 Pali Buddhist tradition 12–13, 87–90, 92, 102 Paranar ̣ (“Kurˍuntokai 165”) 229, 234 pariṇ¯ama (transformation) model of causation 259, 263 passions 10, 23, 82 n.3, 162 Descartes on 70–4, 82 n.3 R¯avana’s ̣ 36 see also r¯aga Passions of the Soul (Descartes) 70–4 paṭiccasamupp¯ada (dependent origination) 97, 104 n.16 phantom beings (nirm¯aṇas) 138–9, 152 n.25, 222 phenomenal consciousness 137–9, 151 n.22 phenomenology feelings 87–8, 98 mental pain 140–1 methodology 6–8 rasa 255–6, 259 solitude 292–4 see also ecological phenomenology Pilḷ ai ̣ Lok¯ac¯arya 62 pleasure 32, 99–101, 160–1 of forests and cities 288–90 and pain 267–70 see also s´ama; sukha poetry 63, 213 and landscape conventions 218–20 see also bhakti movement; can˙kam poetry; Sanskrit literature; stotra; Tamil literature


Poulet, Georges 228 pratik¯ara (contemplative remedies) 71–2, 75–7, 154, 283 pride (garva) 51, 60–2, 157 psychological disruption see disruption, psychological psychosomatic model of disease 2, 13, 71–3, 75, 77, 84 n.16 purˍam (war supergenre) 221–2, 225 Purˍan¯anˍu ¯rˍu 222–3, 225 purification 72, 76–8, 80, 98, 154, 283 r¯aga (desire) 52–3, 162 Rahasyatrayas¯ara (Ven ˙katan ̣ ¯atha, RTS) 51, 55, 59, 63 R¯ama 23–5, 28–9, 71, 74–5, 78, 117–19, 159 as an ascetic 32–3 and emergence of s´ama 32, 40 lament of 29–32, 38–40 and saṃ s¯ara 34 savoring of 270–1 R¯amacandra (N¯aṭyadarpanạ ) 256, 262–3, 266, 268–9 R¯am¯anuja 50–3, 56–8, 60, 63 Ramanujan, A.K.see Interior Landscape, The; Speaking of s´iva R¯am¯ayaṇa 113, 136 rasa comprising of pleasure and pain 267–70 etymology of 259, 272 n.14, 273 n.15 experience of 258–60, 262–7, 271, 280, 290 manifestation (abhivyakti) 263 reflexivity 267 translation of 256–7 types of 26 see also bh¯avas; h¯asa rasa; h¯asya rasa; rasa theory; s´¯anta rasa rasa theory 8–10, 26–8, 253 n.45, 255–6, 266–7 bh¯avas 194–8 see also Abhinavagupta; aesthetics; Bharata; rasa rati (sexual-romantic love) 209 R¯avanạ in Appar’s poetry 184 death of 34–5, 38–9


self control of 36 transformation of 37–8 Ravisẹ nạ 23–4, 32–3 life of 25 see also Padmapur¯anạ readers grief of 35, 38–40 inducing response in 63, 154 response of 39–40, 209, 221, 234 real world (loka) 196–7 see also loka reflexivity 11, 267 regionality 234 remedies, contemplative (pratik¯ara) 71–2, 75–7, 154, 283 sadness 69–70, 73–4, 77 see also despair S´aivas 175–6 sam¯adhi 153, 158, 160–4 s´ama (tranquility) 10, 24, 40 definition of 28 R¯ama’s 31–4 saṃ s¯ara 34, 47, 53, 154, 165, 246 S´an ˙kara 52 S¯an ˙khya model 50, 52, 55 Sanskrit literature 10, 24–6, 28, 40, 136, 206, 241 see also stotras s´¯anta rasa (the peaceful sentiment) 27–8, 39–40 Saundarananda (Beautiful Nanda, SN) 277 overview of 280–1 see also forests in the Saundarananda; Nanda; Sundar¯ı savoring see carvaṇ¯a Scarry, Elaine 225 Schama, Simon 218, 226 Scheer, Monique 7, 300 nn.39–40 self 52–3, 155–8, 270 semiotics of landscape 218–19, 226 sensations 92–4, 95 sense-perceptions 176–80 Sick Woman Theory 72, 80–2 Siddhartha Gautama 110, 120–1, 123, 125, 144 see also Buddha


S¯ıt¯a 136 see also S¯ıt¯a’s lament S¯ıt¯a’s lament bodily distortion of 115–16 setting of 114 threat of suicide 118–19 wrath of 116–18 S´iva 175–85, 202, 243–9 in Stutikusum¯añjali 242 see also Appar; D¯ı n¯akrandanastotra smṛtir (mindfulness) 97–8, 134, 143 s´oka see grief solitude (viveka) 278–9, 295 n.6 emotion of 280, 294 experiential process of 293 mental 290–1 perception 279 see also forests in the Saundarananda soteriology 12–13, 97, 154, 165 emotions’ role 50–4 see also dangers; j¯ı vanmukti; obstacles to spiritual paths Speaking of S´iva (Ramanujan) 240 Stewart, Kathleen 229, 234 stotras (Sanskrit hymns of praise) 239, 240–2, 249, 254 n.46 see also D¯ı n¯akrandanastotra Stutikusum¯añjali (Flower-offering of Praise, SKA) overview of 242–3 see also D¯ı n¯akrandanastotra; Jagaddhara Bhatṭ ạ suffering see dukkha/duḥkha sukha (embodied joy) 77, 157–8, 262 see also pleasure Sundar¯ı 277, 287, 291, 296 n.9 lament of 281 suttas, the 88, 90–1, 94–5, 98–9 S´y¯amilaka (“The Kick”) 193, 200, 202, 205 Tamil literature 14, 174 Old Tamil Poems 213, 217, 221, 233–4 see also Appar; can˙kam poetry therapeutic thematic schemes 11–12, 132–3 Ther¯ı g¯ath¯a (V¯asisṭ ḥ ¯ı) 145–6


tiṇai (landscape) 217–21 generated by uri 229–30 language of 226 poetics based on 228 see also kurˍiñci (mountains and hills); mullai (forest); neytal (seashore); p¯alai (wasteland); tumpai (seashore in war context) Tirun¯avukkaracar see Appar Tolk¯appiyam 214, 217, 221, 226, 228 tranquility see s´ama transformation 63, 154, 185, 295 see also pariṇ¯ama Treatise on Drama (N¯aṭyas´¯astra) 9–10, 26, 53–5 see also Bharata tumpai (seashore in war context) 225 ulḷ ụ rˍai uvamam (implied metaphor) 213–15, 220, 230 unm¯ada (madness) 136, 142, 150 n.12 Upanisad ̣ s 11, 51, 53, 159 uri (an unchanging emotional mode) 221, 226, 228–30, 232, 234 V¯agbhatạ 142 v¯asan¯a (latent tendency) 154–5, 161 and the knower of Brahman 158–9 thick egoism 156–7 Vasisṭ ha ̣ (Yogav¯asisṭ̣ ha) delusion 80 healing of R¯ama 78–9 ignorance 80 medical theory of 71–2, 75–7, 82 snake-rope-disease analogy 79–81 V¯asisṭ ḥ ¯ı (Ther¯ı g¯ath¯a) 145–6 Vasubandhu 133–4 affect (vedan¯a) 136–9 experience (anubhava) 137–8 imagination 135


types of pain 140, 144 use of narratives 144–5 vulnerability of minds 147 see also disruption, pyschological vedan¯a (affect) 137–9, 151 n.22, 151 n.23 see also feelings Velḷ ị V¯ıtiy¯ar 216 Ven ˙katan ̣ ¯atha (Rahasyatrayas¯ara) 51, 53, 56, 58–61, 63 Venp̣ u ¯ti (“Kurˍuntokai 97”) 227 v¯e ṭkai (desire) 177, 180–1 Vidy¯aranya ̣ ( J¯ıvanmuktiviveka) 153–4 non-dual insight 161–2 prohibition of worldly activities 165 n.5 thick egoism 156–7 v¯asan¯as 158–9 vyasanas (addictions) 157–8 see also j¯ı va (egoic self); j¯ı vanmukti (liberation-while-living) vil¯apaya of the Yasodhar¯avata 122–5 vipar¯ı ta (inversion) 199, 207–8 Vis´isṭ ¯ạ dvaita Ved¯anta 12, 53–6, 63 emotions 50–2 ontology of emotions 54–5 as opposed to Advaita Ved¯anta 50 Vis´van¯atha 261–2 viveka see solitude vyasanas (addictions) 157–8, 168 n.25 Y¯amun¯ac¯arya (G¯ı t¯arthasan ˙graha) 62 Yas´odhar¯a’s lament bodily distortion 120 labor 121–2 voice 122 wrath 121 Yasodhar¯avata 122–5 Yogav¯asisṭ̣ ha (Vasisṭ ha) ̣ 71, 76–7, 81, 82 n.4