RASA AND ANANDA - A VISUAL DISCOVERY
The thesis seeks to convey and explain the Multi-Facetedness of the term Rasa. It examines the term from three aspects aided by the use of appropriate symbols:

1 The Aesthetic, where Rasa is both the content of art in the form of mood, sentiment and emotion, as well as the experience of Beauty and Joy derived from Art-Experience. 
   
2 The Devotional / Religious / Mystical, all inter-changeable terms, where Rasa is seen as the Beauty of God, as well as love towards that personal godhead, leading to a mood and experience of distilled Adoration - Bhakti. 
   
3 The Metaphysical / Philosophical, where Rasa is the essence of truth and reality. Rasa is experiential leading to Ananda - infinite bliss.

The symbols used have been chosen very carefully as each symbol is best suited to understand a particular facet of Rasa and is based on the works of an 'Aesthetician' whose contribution to the field of Indian aesthetics is of prime importance and cannot be substituted.

Scholars of Indian Aesthetics have been basically concerned only with theories of poetics and not with the application of the same to other art forms. To see one Art form, e.g. sculpture, in isolation without understanding its relationship with dance, music, poetry and so on is incomplete and therefore unfulfilling. Similarly, art historians worldwide tend to look at Indian art mainly from the standpoints of style and history. They seem to expound the body without understanding the soul of art.

But this soul can be experienced only if the scholar shares the worldview of the artist. Understanding a work of art is not to see only its explicit and implicit meanings, but to go beyond them to the suggested meaning of the art work. Meaningful interactions and discussions with renowned art historians and research scholars world wide in the field of Indology have enriched the author's understanding and also helped convey the importance of a multi-disciplinary approach to Indian art.

The author has studied unlimited paintings and sculpture in order to unravel their inner significance. In this thesis the author propounds the view that Indian art is inter-disciplinary and hence a new methodology is required for a fuller understanding of the art form. Based on this original worldview, the author has developed the tools to place a work of art in its proper context and setting and thus experience the Rasa of art. The intent of the thesis is to examine the application of aesthetic canons to visual art in India. For this purpose, no new terms have been coined but existing terminology of Indian Poetics, Dramaturgy etc., have been viewed in a larger context. 

The purpose of the thesis therefore is:

a Understanding Rasa from the three aspects.
   
b Examining the application of the Rasa theory to Indian Visual Art.
   
c Seeing the Inter-Relationship of Indian art forms.
   
d Viewing visual art from three standpoints - explicit, implicit and suggested.
   
e Equating Rasa and Ananda, both being a state of unity and beatitude.

The thesis is divided into five chapters: 

a The first chapter, Rasa - An Introduction: A Unifying Thread, deals with the general Aesthetic Idea of Rasa - its nature, definition and traditions. 
   
b The second chapter examines the Aesthetic concept of Rasa in detail, using the symbol of Shringara Rasa, the Rasaraja. It discusses the three levels of meaning, the three categories of art based on subject matter, and the relationship between the two.
   
c Shringara Rasa becomes a point of departure for Bhakti, adoration of a personal godhead. The devotional element of Rasa is thus seen in the third chapter, The Paradigm of Bhakti
   
d The fourth chapter, Shanta: The Three - coloured Brocade, builds on the third - the Mystical / Devotional leading to the Metaphysical / Philosophical facet of Rasa. Shanta is the symbol by which Rasa as truth and reality is examined. 
   
e The fifth and final chapter, Ananda : A State of Unity, equates Rasa and Ananda thus explaining the bliss of all Rasa - Aesthetic, Mystical, Philosophical.