Synesthetics: Rasa as metaphors in performance

Nair, Sreenath (2015) Synesthetics: Rasa as metaphors in performance. In: The Natyasastra and the body in performance: essays on Indian theories of dance and drama. McFarland, Jefferson, North Carolina, USA, pp. 135-156. ISBN 9780786471782

Full text not available from this repository.

Item Type:Book Section
Item Status:Live Archive


The book chapter is a pioneering attempt to bring neuroscience and Indian aesthetics creating a new term, Synethetics, explaining the neural mechanism embedded in the rasa theory. Synesthetics is a theory explaining the neural mechanism of aesthetic experience. It explains a set of neurobiological principles forming the very nature of human perception and its multiple modes of emotional experiences relating to external stimuli that evoke a specific functional reaction. Perception and its subsequent psychophysical reactions are neural functions of sensory phenomenon caused by genetically mediated persistent neural connections causing cross-wiring between brain maps. Aesthetic and emotional responses to sensory inputs depend on hyperconnectivity between the cortices and limbic system, selectively, fusiform gyrus and angular gyrus. The hyperconnectivity between these brain regions involves the neural mechanism of metaphor, the same principle that explains synesthetia and artistic creativity. It is also consistent with data suggesting that the right hemisphere of the brain, which processes spatial and non-linguistic aspects of language, is more involved in the neural mechanism of metaphor. Taking an example from V.S. Ramachandran that when we read Shakespeare’s “It is the East, and Juliet is the Sun”, our brain instantly understands the meaning without mistaken the metaphor literally. This metaphoric structuring of thoughts and emotions is a creative expression reinforced by neural mechanism. Based on these results the chapter demonstrates a range of possibilities explaining the biological bases of aesthetic experience in performance practice consists of mimetic expressions, perception and meaning, the discourse that had long been dominated by phenomenological theories of perception.

Keywords:Neural mechanism, rasa, Natyasastra, Indian aesthetics, Visual perception
Subjects:T Eastern, Asiatic, African, American and Australasian Languages, Literature and related subjects > T300 South Asian studies
W Creative Arts and Design > W410 Acting
W Creative Arts and Design > W400 Drama
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts (Performing Arts)
Relation typeTarget identifier
ID Code:6217
Deposited On:21 Sep 2012 11:22

Repository Staff Only: item control page