From aesthetic rapture to servile love: the myth of the rasika in kālidāsa’s kumārasaŃbhava

Amer, Ayal (2013) From aesthetic rapture to servile love: the myth of the rasika in kālidāsa’s kumārasaŃbhava. Acta Orientalia, 66 (2). pp. 205-236. ISSN 0001-6446

[img] Text
Restricted to Repository staff only until 30 June 2033.

Download (353kB)


This paper explores the aesthetic world of the KumārasaŃbhava (The Birth of the Son) and probes its central theme of erotic love, perhaps one of the most important concerns of most kavya poets. Using Robert Goodwin’s theoretical framework of the identification of the hero inside the Sanskrit Love Plays and the rasika connoisseur outside the play — or simply, the rasika myth — this paper sets out to explore the text as a psychological process rather than an aesthetic product. The central psychological element of the rasika myth is ‘love’, in its most sophisticated and naive manner: aesthetic- erotic love (śṛṅgārarasa) vis-a-vis love as an ordinary feeling (rati). The mythic paradigm thus emphasises the psychological tensions that surround kavya’s aestheticism and its various representation of the notion of love. Clearly, the KumārasaŃbhava depicts Śiva’s psychological reaction to the shifting status of a beautiful woman around him — from being the female Śri of sexual allure of the first half of the poem to becoming the domesticated and devoted wife in the second half. Thus, by examining the central episode of the love story of Śiva and Parvati (cantos 3–5) from the rasika’s vantage point I argue that the KumārasaŃbhava encodes a tension between the rasika’s keen obligation towards his subjective aesthetic emotions and his mandatory, emotional obligation toward socio-religious norms.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: D History General and Old World / történelem > D0 History (General) / történelem általában
P Language and Literature / nyelvészet és irodalom > PI Oriental languages and literatures / keleti nyelvek és irodalmak
Depositing User: xKatalin xBarta
Date Deposited: 14 Dec 2016 12:30
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2016 12:30

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item