Importance of Aesthetics
Rasa and dhvani are two key concepts of Indian aesthetics (rasashastra). The former addresses the nature of aesthetic experience, the latter the meaning of poetic words.
Aesthetics, the study of beauty and form, owes its name to the German philosopher, Alexander Baumgarten, who claims that humans experience the world in two fundamental ways—logically and aesthetically. Logical experience contrasts with the aesthetic as follows: If one steps on a thorn, it will prick him/her (logical). If one looks at a sunset, one will experience an ecstatic sense of beauty (aesthetic).
Indian art evolved with an emphasis on inducing special spiritual or philosophical states in the audience, or with representing them symbolically. According to Kapila Vatsyayan, "Classical Indian architecture, sculpture, painting, literature (kāvya), music, and dancing evolved their own rules conditioned by their respective media, but they shared with one another not only the underlying spiritual beliefs of the Indian religio-philosophic mind, but also the procedures by which the relationships of the symbol and the spiritual states were worked out in detail."
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