chapter  II
The Aesthetic Hypothesis
WithMulk Raj Anand
Pages 23

The Hindu view of art proper may be said to lie in the aesthetic conception of rasa. A work of art may be said to be rasavant; the critic, connoisseur, or spectator who enjoys rasa may be called rasika; the act in and through which the aesthetic emotion is enjoyed or contemplated may be technically styled rasavadana. During the Upanishadic times the meaning of rasa developed, like that of most other Vedic conceptions, from the particular to the universal. From its signification as the essential element in concrete plants, grain, water, and milk, it has come to be an abstract idea of “essential element,” or “essence.” In the Taittiriya and the Maiterya Upanishads a great step forward was taken by the fusion of rasa as essence with a new meaning—the highest state of joy, an expression of the nature of the Supreme Being as reflected in the “self-luminous consciousness” of the Upanishadic seer.