Fact-value in Correlation with Bhāva-rasa: A Note


अनपेक्षितगुरुवचना सर्वान् ग्रन्थीन् विभेदयति सम्यक्।

प्रकटयति पररहस्यं विमर्शशक्तिर्निजा जयति॥


In the introductory essay of Indian Conception of Values,[1] Prof. M Hiriyanna elucidates the distinction between facts and values. In his own words, “facts are apprehended, values are realised.” Indian Philosophy avers that experiential validation transmutes a body of facts into a system of values. And this led Prof. Hiriyanna to conclude that investigation of values is the raison d’être of Indian Philosophy. This is but natural because experience, to him, was ‘first and final.’ In the words of Nāḍoja S R Ramaswamy:

 … Professor Hiriyanna raised philosophy to a level beyond dialectics and minute differentiae, to a level guided by contemplation and communion with ultimate verities. Far from being mere cerebration, philosophy for him was an immediacy encompassing all levels of being, ranging from dialectical investigation to direct perception. There was thus coherence between his view of life and his preoccupation. This accounts for the rare serenity which marked him out. He never penned a line unless he was totally convinced about its authenticity and unless it was confirmed by his own experiential response.[2]

Pursuing values, says the learned professor, is a ‘quest after perfection.’ Let us understand the undertones of this statement.

            A person so aligns his innate proclivity and cultivated competence to act as optimal supporting agents in the process of self-discovery. To this end, he seeks to actualise information at the levels of thought, speech, and action (tri-karaṇa), in all stations of life (catur-āśrama). Employing facts to analyse and values to synthesise, he marches forward on the path of self-perfection.

            In this brief note, I examine the correlation between the pairs of fact-value and bhāva-rasa. The latter pair requires some explanation. By bhāva I mean emotion and by rasa, aesthetic experience. Bhāva relates to reality (bhū–sattāyām) and rasa relates to enjoyment (ras–āsvādana-snehanayoḥ). An impersonal, dispassionate, and disinterested contemplation of enduring emotions (sthāyi-bhāvas) is termed aesthetic experience. In other words, aesthetic experience is the method of purging emotions of the opacity caused by personal likes and dislikes (rāga and dveṣa) and thereby relishing them in a transparent state.   

*                       *                       *

            Let us, for the sake of analysis, consider the fact-value pair as representing Vedānta, the quintessence of all systems of knowledge, and the bhāva-rasa pair as representing Kāvya, the cream of all arts.

            Fact and bhāva belong to the realm of the real—of how things are; value and rasa belong to the realm of the ideal—of how things ought to be. Facts are physical realities and bhāvas are emotional realities. Therefore, we apprehend them. On the other hand, values and rasa signify a state of sublimated reality. Therefore, we realise them.   

*                       *                       *

            The process of universalisation (sādhāraṇīkaraṇa) invests an emotion with the prerequisite necessary to elevate itself to the level of aesthetic experience. A work of art acts as a tool to bring about this process by fusing the causes and effects of enduring and transitory emotions (sthāyi-bhāvas and vyabhicāri-bhāvas).[3] Aesthetic experience is essentially a Summit Effect; typically, it does not last long (or long enough). Before fading, aesthetic experience reveals emotion, its chief constituent element.

            Aesthetic experience offers unadulterated happiness; naturally, we long for it. And since we realise that emotion is the ladder using which we climb up to the level of aesthetic experience, we grow accommodative of it, consciously or otherwise. In other words, we become increasingly sensitive to our emotions. Enduring emotions are universal, and therefore this process of sensitisation has limitless application.

            With time and effort, sensitisation hones our connoisseurship (sahṛdayatā) and helps achieve aesthetic experience quicker, whilst equipping us to involve in it for longer durations. Emotions lead to aesthetic experience and in turn aesthetic experience incentivises us to grow more accommodative of emotions. This is perhaps one of the plausible explanations of a rather cryptic statement in the Nāṭya-śāstra.[4]

            With increasing accommodation (bhāva-carvaṇā-vyavadhi), the clarity of our emotional perception increases correspondingly. Ideally, there will come a point where an emotion is no different from aesthetic experience. This is only possible theoretically and cannot be actualised, for aesthetic experience is invariably dependant on Kāvya, an external stimulus.

*                       *                       *

            Facts assist us in realising values. Values, in turn, induce in us a temperament conducive to grow respectful of facts. Having unalloyed respect for facts implies that we understand and accept them as they are. This means we realise values in a roundabout way, for value-consciousness is nothing but a contemplative understating of the essential nature of things (vastu-sthiti or yathārtha-svabhāva). Simply put, one must utilise all available resources to discover the ultimate reality. To phrase the same in the idiom of Advaita-vedānta, one should use avidyā to discover brahma. Optimal usage of the resources catalyses the process of value-realisation and makes it long-lasting. Practically, the idea is to transform karma into karma-yoga and subsequently, līlā. Persistent involvement in an activity of one’s liking is likely to nurture adroitness and, eventually, make the process thoroughly effortless and enjoyable. If one can do this by relinquishing the fruit of activity or being unattached to it, karma metamorphoses into līlā. The objective of the activity, then, will only be the pleasure derived from the process.    

*                       *                       *

            The concepts that incentivise us in Kāvya and induce in us a heightened state of accommodation in Philosophy—universalisation (sādhāraṇīkaraṇa) and Self-identification (ātmaupamya), respectively—help transcend the ego by offering a true insight into the fundamental nature of things. Intense, unflustered enjoyment polishes connoisseurship, which in turn bolsters universalisation. Similarly, dedicated, disinterested activity assists in Self-identification.

            Facts and emotions that are initially known lead to values and aesthetic enjoyment that were hitherto unknown. Upon having a glimpse of values and aesthetic enjoyment, one begins the process of achieving communion with these ‘ultimate verities,’ because every glimpse of the ideal satisfies the ego to a small extent. 

*                       *                       *

            Owing to personal propensities and other factors that condition personality, a person develops a liking for a specific subject, engaging with which satisfies his intellectual appetite and brings him unbounded happiness. If he understands that subject at the level of details and philosophy—i.e., if he is both a tala-sparśī and pāra-dṛśvā—its value reveals itself to him. The person, then, understands all other subjects in the light of this value-understanding, for one can never endeavour to know everything at the level of details. Bhagavān Patañjali probably had this in mind in defining a śiṣṭa as “one who gains mastery over any one subject.”[5] On the other hand, if the subject of a person’s interest is Philosophy—which, as we observed previously, is the study of values—he gains instant access to the heart of all other subjects, bypassing the overabundance of data-points that characterise them. 

*                       *                       *

            The distinction between facts and values is as seminal as the one between puruṣa-tantra and vastu-tantra identified by Bhagavat-pāda Śaṅkara.[6] Prof. M Hiriyanna deserves our unmixed gratitude and reverence for this extraordinary revelation.  

भूयिष्ठां ते नम उक्तिं विधेम।


[1] Ref: Hiriyanna, M. Indian Conception of Values. Bengaluru: Wise Words and Prekshaa Pratishtana, 2017

[2] Ref: Ibid, p. 7 (preface)

[3] Vibhāva-anubhāva-vyabhicāri-saṃyogād rasa-niṣpattiḥ (Nāṭya-śāstra, prose after 6.31)

[4] Na bhāvahīno’sti raso na bhāvo rasavarjitaḥ (6.36) 

[5] Kasyāścidvidyāyāḥ pāraṅgatāh (Mahā-bhāṣya for Aṣṭādhyāyī, 6.3.109)

[6] Ref: Brahma-sūtra-bhāṣya, 1.1.2




Shashi Kiran B N holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and a master's degree in Sanskrit. His interests include Indian aesthetics, Hindu scriptures, Sanskrit and Kannada literature and philosophy.

Prekshaa Publications

Indian Perspective of Truth and Beauty in Homer’s Epics is a unique work on the comparative study of the Greek Epics Iliad and Odyssey with the Indian Epics – Rāmāyaṇa and Mahābhārata. Homer, who laid the foundations for the classical tradition of the West, occupies a stature similar to that occupied by the seer-poets Vālmīki and Vyāsa, who are synonymous with the Indian culture. The author...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the sixth volume of reminiscences character sketches of prominent public figures, liberals, and social workers. These remarkable personages hailing from different corners of South India are from a period that spans from the late nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. Written in Kannada in the 1970s, these memoirs go...

An Introduction to Hinduism based on Primary Sources

Authors: Śatāvadhānī Dr. R Ganesh, Hari Ravikumar

What is the philosophical basis for Sanātana-dharma, the ancient Indian way of life? What makes it the most inclusive and natural of all religio-philosophical systems in the world?

The Essential Sanātana-dharma serves as a handbook for anyone who wishes to grasp the...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the fifth volume, episodes from the lives of traditional savants responsible for upholding the Vedic culture. These memorable characters lived a life of opulence amidst poverty— theirs  was the wealth of the soul, far beyond money and gold. These vidvāns hailed from different corners of the erstwhile Mysore Kingdom and lived in...

Padma Bhushan Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam represents the quintessence of Sage Bharata’s art and Bhārata, the country that gave birth to the peerless seer of the Nāṭya-veda. Padma’s erudition in various streams of Indic knowledge, mastery over many classical arts, deep understanding of the nuances of Indian culture, creative genius, and sublime vision bolstered by the vedāntic and nationalistic...

Bhārata has been a land of plenty in many ways. We have had a timeless tradition of the twofold principle of Brāhma (spirit of wisdom) and Kṣāttra (spirit of valour) nourishing and protecting this sacred land. The Hindu civilisation, rooted in Sanātana-dharma, has constantly been enriched by brāhma and safeguarded by kṣāttra.
The renowned Sanskrit poet and scholar, Śatāvadhānī Dr. R...

ಛಂದೋವಿವೇಕವು ವರ್ಣವೃತ್ತ, ಮಾತ್ರಾಜಾತಿ ಮತ್ತು ಕರ್ಷಣಜಾತಿ ಎಂದು ವಿಭಕ್ತವಾದ ಎಲ್ಲ ಬಗೆಯ ಛಂದಸ್ಸುಗಳನ್ನೂ ವಿವೇಚಿಸುವ ಪ್ರಬಂಧಗಳ ಸಂಕಲನ. ಲೇಖಕರ ದೀರ್ಘಕಾಲಿಕ ಆಲೋಚನೆಯ ಸಾರವನ್ನು ಒಳಗೊಂಡ ಈ ಹೊತ್ತಗೆ ಪ್ರಧಾನವಾಗಿ ಛಂದಸ್ಸಿನ ಸೌಂದರ್ಯವನ್ನು ಲಕ್ಷಿಸುತ್ತದೆ. ತೌಲನಿಕ ವಿಶ್ಲೇಷಣೆ ಮತ್ತು ಅಂತಃಶಾಸ್ತ್ರೀಯ ಅಧ್ಯಯನಗಳ ತೆಕ್ಕೆಗೆ ಬರುವ ಬರೆಹಗಳೂ ಇಲ್ಲಿವೆ. ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರಕಾರನಿಗಲ್ಲದೆ ಸಿದ್ಧಹಸ್ತನಾದ ಕವಿಗೆ ಮಾತ್ರ ಸ್ಫುರಿಸಬಲ್ಲ ಎಷ್ಟೋ ಹೊಳಹುಗಳು ಕೃತಿಯ ಮೌಲಿಕತೆಯನ್ನು ಹೆಚ್ಚಿಸಿವೆ. ಈ...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the fourth volume, some character sketches of the Dewans of Mysore preceded by an account of the political framework of the State before Independence and followed by a review of the political conditions of the State after 1940. These remarkable leaders of Mysore lived in a period that spans from the mid-nineteenth century to the...

Bharatiya Kavya-mimamseya Hinnele is a monograph on Indian Aesthetics by Mahamahopadhyaya N. Ranganatha Sharma. The book discusses the history and significance of concepts pivotal to Indian literary theory. It is equally useful to the learned and the laity.

Sahitya-samhite is a collection of literary essays in Kannada. The book discusses aestheticians such as Ananda-vardhana and Rajashekhara; Sanskrit scholars such as Mena Ramakrishna Bhat, Sridhar Bhaskar Varnekar and K S Arjunwadkar; and Kannada litterateurs such as DVG, S L Bhyrappa and S R Ramaswamy. It has a foreword by Shatavadhani Dr. R Ganesh.

The Mahābhārata is the greatest epic in the world both in magnitude and profundity. A veritable cultural compendium of Bhārata-varṣa, it is a product of the creative genius of Maharṣi Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsa. The epic captures the experiential wisdom of our civilization and all subsequent literary, artistic, and philosophical creations are indebted to it. To read the Mahābhārata is to...

Shiva Rama Krishna

சிவன். ராமன். கிருஷ்ணன்.
இந்திய பாரம்பரியத்தின் முப்பெரும் கதாநாயகர்கள்.
உயர் இந்தியாவில் தலைமுறைகள் பல கடந்தும் கடவுளர்களாக போற்றப்பட்டு வழிகாட்டிகளாக விளங்குபவர்கள்.
மனித ஒற்றுமை நூற்றாண்டுகால பரிணாம வளர்ச்சியின் பரிமாணம்.
தனிநபர்களாகவும், குடும்ப உறுப்பினர்களாகவும், சமுதாய பிரஜைகளாகவும் நாம் அனைவரும் பரிமளிக்கிறோம்.
சிவன் தனிமனித அடையாளமாக அமைகிறான்....

ऋतुभिः सह कवयः सदैव सम्बद्धाः। विशिष्य संस्कृतकवयः। यथा हि ऋतवः प्रतिसंवत्सरं प्रतिनवतामावहन्ति मानवेषु तथैव ऋतुवर्णनान्यपि काव्यरसिकेषु कामपि विच्छित्तिमातन्वते। ऋतुकल्याणं हि सत्यमिदमेव हृदि कृत्वा प्रवृत्तम्। नगरजीवनस्य यान्त्रिकतां मान्त्रिकतां च ध्वनदिदं चम्पूकाव्यं गद्यपद्यमिश्रितमिति सुव्यक्तमेव। ऐदम्पूर्वतया प्रायः पुरीपरिसरप्रसृतानाम् ऋतूनां विलासोऽत्र प्रपञ्चितः। बेङ्गलूरुनामके...

The Art and Science of Avadhānam in Sanskrit is a definitive work on Sāhityāvadhānam, a form of Indian classical art based on multitasking, lateral thinking, and extempore versification. Dotted throughout with tasteful examples, it expounds in great detail on the theory and practice of this unique performing art. It is as much a handbook of performance as it is an anthology of well-turned...

This anthology is a revised edition of the author's 1978 classic. This series of essays, containing his original research in various fields, throws light on the socio-cultural landscape of Tamil Nadu spanning several centuries. These compelling episodes will appeal to scholars and laymen alike.
“When superstitious mediaevalists mislead the country about its judicial past, we have to...

The cultural history of a nation, unlike the customary mainstream history, has a larger time-frame and encompasses the timeless ethos of a society undergirding the course of events and vicissitudes. A major key to the understanding of a society’s unique character is an appreciation of the far-reaching contributions by outstanding personalities of certain periods – especially in the realms of...

Prekṣaṇīyam is an anthology of essays on Indian classical dance and theatre authored by multifaceted scholar and creative genius, Śatāvadhānī Dr. R Ganesh. As a master of śāstra, a performing artiste (of the ancient art of Avadhānam), and a cultured rasika, he brings a unique, holistic perspective to every discussion. These essays deal with the philosophy, history, aesthetics, and practice of...


इदं किञ्चिद्यामलं काव्यं द्वयोः खण्डकाव्ययोः सङ्कलनरूपम्। रामानुरागानलं हि सीतापरित्यागाल्लक्ष्मणवियोगाच्च श्रीरामेणानुभूतं हृदयसङ्क्षोभं वर्णयति । वात्सल्यगोपालकं तु कदाचिद्भानूपरागसमये घटितं यशोदाश्रीकृष्णयोर्मेलनं वर्णयति । इदम्प्रथमतया संस्कृतसाहित्ये सम्पूर्णं काव्यं...


इदं खण्डकाव्यमान्तं मालिनीछन्दसोपनिबद्धं विलसति। मेनकाविश्वामित्रयोः समागमः, तत्फलतया शकुन्तलाया जननम्, मातापितृभ्यां त्यक्तस्य शिशोः कण्वमहर्षिणा परिपालनं चेति काव्यस्यास्येतिवृत्तसङ्क्षेपः।


इदं खण्डकाव्यमान्तं मालिनीछन्दसोपनिबद्धं विलसति। मेनकाविश्वामित्रयोः समागमः, तत्फलतया शकुन्तलाया जननम्, मातापितृभ्यां त्यक्तस्य शिशोः कण्वमहर्षिणा परिपालनं चेति काव्यस्यास्येतिवृत्तसङ्क्षेपः।


इयं रचना दशसु रूपकेष्वन्यतमस्य भाणस्य निदर्शनतामुपैति। एकाङ्करूपकेऽस्मिन् शेखरकनामा चित्रोद्यमलेखकः केनापि हेतुना वियोगम् अनुभवतोश्चित्रलेखामिलिन्दकयोः समागमं सिसाधयिषुः कथामाकाशभाषणरूपेण निर्वहति।


अस्मिन् स्तोत्रकाव्ये भगवन्तं शिवं कविरभिष्टौति। वसन्ततिलकयोपनिबद्धस्य काव्यस्यास्य कविकृतम् उल्लाघनाभिधं व्याख्यानं च वर्तते।

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the third volume, some character sketches of great literary savants responsible for Kannada renaissance during the first half of the twentieth century. These remarkable...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the second volume, episodes from the lives of remarkable exponents of classical music and dance, traditional storytellers, thespians, and connoisseurs; as well as his...

Karnataka’s celebrated polymath, D V Gundappa brings together in the first volume, episodes from the lives of great writers, poets, literary aficionados, exemplars of public life, literary scholars, noble-hearted common folk, advocates...

Evolution of Mahabharata and Other Writings on the Epic is the English translation of S R Ramaswamy's 1972 Kannada classic 'Mahabharatada Belavanige' along with seven of his essays on the great epic. It tells the riveting...

Shiva-Rama-Krishna is an English adaptation of Śatāvadhāni Dr. R Ganesh's popular lecture series on the three great...


ಮಹಾಮಾಹೇಶ್ವರ ಅಭಿನವಗುಪ್ತ ಜಗತ್ತಿನ ವಿದ್ಯಾವಲಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಮರೆಯಲಾಗದ ಹೆಸರು. ಮುಖ್ಯವಾಗಿ ಶೈವದರ್ಶನ ಮತ್ತು ಸೌಂದರ್ಯಮೀಮಾಂಸೆಗಳ ಪರಮಾಚಾರ್ಯನಾಗಿ  ಸಾವಿರ ವರ್ಷಗಳಿಂದ ಇವನು ಜ್ಞಾನಪ್ರಪಂಚವನ್ನು ಪ್ರಭಾವಿಸುತ್ತಲೇ ಇದ್ದಾನೆ. ಭರತಮುನಿಯ ನಾಟ್ಯಶಾಸ್ತ್ರವನ್ನು ಅರ್ಥಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಇವನೊಬ್ಬನೇ ನಮಗಿರುವ ಆಲಂಬನ. ಇದೇ ರೀತಿ ರಸಧ್ವನಿಸಿದ್ಧಾಂತವನ್ನು...


“वागर्थविस्मयास्वादः” प्रमुखतया साहित्यशास्त्रतत्त्वानि विमृशति । अत्र सौन्दर्यर्यशास्त्रीयमूलतत्त्वानि यथा रस-ध्वनि-वक्रता-औचित्यादीनि सुनिपुणं परामृष्टानि प्रतिनवे चिकित्सकप्रज्ञाप्रकाशे। तदन्तर एव संस्कृतवाङ्मयस्य सामर्थ्यसमाविष्कारोऽपि विहितः। क्वचिदिव च्छन्दोमीमांसा च...

The Best of Hiriyanna

The Best of Hiriyanna is a collection of forty-eight essays by Prof. M. Hiriyanna that sheds new light on Sanskrit Literature, Indian...

Stories Behind Verses

Stories Behind Verses is a remarkable collection of over a hundred anecdotes, each of which captures a story behind the composition of a Sanskrit verse. Collected over several years from...