Rasa Theory Workshop, Manipal, India

February 13-17, 2017

Organized by
Centre for Religious Studies
Manipal Centre for Philosophy and Humanities
Manipal University, Manipal, India

Centre for Religious Studies is organising a week-long Workshop on the Rasa Theory from February 13-17, 2017 in Manipal.


The Nāṭyaśāstra is an encyclopaedic treatise on art and aesthetics in pre-modern India and Abhinavabhāratī, the most widely studied commentary on it by Abhinavagupta (c. 950-1020 CE). They are important for they are the significant sources for understanding theatrics and dramaturgy, philosophy of arts and aesthetics, and performing arts. They interest scholars of Indian music, theatre, and literature, as well as intellectual historians and philologists. Their proper understanding is an extraordinary attempt towards the development of Indian intellectual history.

About the Workshop

There have been a number of attempts at editing and translating the text of the Nāṭyaśāstra and Abhinavabhāratī, including most recently Professor K.D. Tripathi’s first volume of the Nāṭyaśāstra (2015) and a selection of translations included in Professor S. Pollock’s Rasa Reader (2016). Despite a relatively long history of scholarly engagement, however, much about this tradition remains poorly understood, and the texts themselves remain very difficult to establish conclusively: both texts are technical, and to add to this, the Nāṭyaśāstra is available in widely-divergent forms in several families of manuscripts, while the Abhinavabhāratī is available only in a highly corrupt form in a single family of manuscripts.

This workshop will principally include a close textual reading of selections from the Rasādhyāya (chapter 6) of the Nāṭyaśāstra of Bharatamuni—the celebrated work on Indian aesthetics—together with the Abhinavabhāratī commentary of Abhinavagupta. The discussion in the Abhinavabhāratī includes a critical overview of the history of Indian aesthetics up to Abhinavagupta himself in the tenth century, including such thinkers as Śrī Śaṅkuka, Bhaṭṭa Lollaṭa, Bhaṭṭa Nāyaka, etc. The aim of the workshop is not only to familiarize the participants with the principal questions and debates in Indian aesthetics, but also to discuss the philological challenges posed by these texts with experts in the field. We will therefore work with parallel texts and manuscripts in our readings of the Abhinavabhāratī.

Program and Faculty

Professor C. Rajendran, University of Calicut, Calicut will be the principal instructor. We are also expecting a few other experts of Indian aesthetics to join us. The morning and afternoon sessions will include the readings of the text in Sanskrit followed by special lectures in the afternoon. The seminar will be held in English and readings will be circulated in advance. Special events like Yakṣagāna performance which is a native folk theatre form of Malenāḍu region in Karnataka, will be organized besides an afternoon excursion to the local Jaina temples in Karkala. There also will be opportunities for exploring the incredible richness and diversity of the Udupi region.

Registered Participants:

Abhijeet Manorma Madhav (Manipal University)
Abhimanyu Acharya (Manipal University)
Akhil Veetil (Manipal University)
Amarnath Matthews (California College of Ayurveda, California)
Andrew Ollett (Harvard University)
Daniele Cuneo (Leiden University)
David Martin (Manipal University)
Drubajyoti Sarkar (University of Kalyani, Kolkata)
Giridhar Raghunathan (Freelance dance performer, Canada)
Indrani Bhattacharjee (Azim Premji University, Bangalore)
Jessica Cariappa (Manipal University)
Malcolm Colin Keating (Yale-NUS College in Singapore)
Lisa Widdison (University of Hawaii, USA)
Manasa Gopakumar (Manipal University)
Meera Baindur (Manipal University)
Nandita Krishna (Manipal University)
Padmaja Venkatesh (Aatmalaya Academy of Art and Culture Trust, Bangalore)
Sandra Jasmine Schlage (University of Bonn, Germany)
Sanjukta Banerjee (Bidhan Chandra College, Asansol)
Shruti Bhat (Manipal University)
Sri Mahalakshmi (Degree College, Kurnool)
Vinit Vyas (The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Baroda)

Selection Criteria

Advanced comprehension of Sanskrit language and the reading ability in Devanāgarī script is required. We seek interested research students and scholars from across India and abroad. The selection will be made based on the strength of the application. We cannot accept more than 25 participants and the priority will be given to the applications from research scholars in disciplines or with experience in Sanskrit, Philosophy, Aesthetics, Religion and Literature. There will be a participation fee for all participants. Applicants will be informed about the decision of selection after the deadline of application.

Location and Accommodations

The event will be hosted by Manipal University and its Centre for Religious Studies in the picturesque ocean-side state of Karnataka in south-western India. Scholars will be housed in international student residences. The space is wheelchair accessible. A registration fee will be charged that includes working lunch, tea/coffee with snacks and accommodation for five nights. Travel cost will not be reimbursed.

To learn more about Manipal / Udupi and how to reach here, please click New to Manipal. For more details click here. To visit places near Manipal see here.


Download a leaflet here.

International Participants:

Foreign participants are responsible for making their own arrangements regarding applying for Indian VISA in the local Indian Consulate in the county of their origin. Indian universities are responsible for forwarding all the passport details of all foreign participants in an international event organised by any university to the Ministries of Home and External Affairs (Government of India). Once the university gets clearance from the Government of India to organise the international event, the government sends information about the event to all the Indian consulates in countries involved thus facilitating the VISA process for the international participants. In case you already hold a valid Indian VISA (Tourist), you may not be required to apply for a separate VISA for attending the workshop (http://mha.nic.in/guide). In case of doubts regarding this, you may consult the local Indian Consulate in the country of your citizenship.


Mr Tapaswi H.M. (Ph.D. Scholar)
Co-convenor-Workshop on the Rasa Theory
e-mail: <tapaswi.hm@gmail.com>


Dr Mrinal Kaul
Centre for Religious Studies
Manipal Centre for Philosophy and Humanities
Manipal University

email: <mrinalkaul81@gmail.com>
Tel +91-820-29-23567 (Office)

For more information, please contact:

Manipal Centre for Philosophy and Humanities
Dr TMA Pai Planetarium Complex, Alevoor Road
Manipal – 576104
Tel +91-820-2923561