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Indian Poetics (Kāvya Śāstra) and Narratology Towards the Appreciation of Biblical Narrative

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G. Ayyaneth

Though the biblical and the Indian literary traditions had independent origin and growth in terms of spatial and cultural milieux, there are literary landscapes of confluence where the literary fabrics of their collective wisdom are interwoven. Both narrative traditions have rich oral and folk prehistoric traditions in their records and this attribute provides a substratum where their narrative patterns and paradigms can find a common ground. A Hebraic reading of the Bible does not exhaust the meaning of the biblical texts; on the other hand, an Indian reading of the Bible could bring more flesh and blood to the living text. Ancient Indian Kāvya Śāstra (Poetics) and its modern rendering narratology being multifarious and mutually integrative will be able to supply a variety of poetical tools and devices with which the great and vast miscellany of biblical narrative can be approached and appreciated. Indian religious tradition is more narrative/story rather than doctrinal or dogmatic. This demands an Indian reading of the Bible endowed with a narratological and synchronic approach to disentangle the biblical narrative from the burden of dogmas and doctrines and to re-launch its primordial narrative/story culture. The application of the canons of Indian Kāvya Śāstra with its narratological elucidations to the biblical narrative has categorically proved that it can open up a new horizon to an Indian reading of the Bible. Various such narrative approaches, heuristic devices and models thus evolved have been applied to selected narratives in the Davidic Episode of the Books of Samuel.

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Chapter Three. The Proposed Models Proper to an Indian Literary Appreciation

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CHAPTER THREE

The Proposed Models Proper to an Indian Literary Appreciation



The discussion on literary appreciation in the Indian context, as we have so far seen, opens up a plethora of meanings, concepts, models, devices, paradigms, etc. This study treated them not merely in the confines of classical Sanskrit poetics (Kāvya Śāstra), but more in the general framework of Kāvya Śāstra. Kāvya Śāstra in the strict sense deals with several topics relating to grammar, phonetics, aesthetics, semantics, semiotics, rhetoric and prosody on the one hand and, on the other, philosophical analysis of language. This could be seen as more of a synchronic approach. A diachronic approach as well, according to the finding of this study, adorns an important place in the general framework of Indian Kāvya Śāstra. Based on such an insight it proposes four different ways of approaching the process of literary appreciation. They are: (1) The Four-S Model towards Narrative Formation: Śruti, Sūtra, Smṛti and Śāstra; (2) The Basic Models of the Indian Narrative Paradigm: Vedic (cryptic), Purāṇic (Mythic) and Itihāsic (Epic); (3) The Main Distinctive Features of Indian Narratology: Interiorisation, Serialisation, Fantasisation, Cyclicalisation, Allegorisation, Anonymisation, Elasticisation of time, Spatialisation, Stylisation and Improvisation; (4) The Classical Constructs of Ancient Kāvya Śāstra: Rasa (Aesthetic Relish), Dhvani (Suggestion) and Alaṅkāra (Embellishment).

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