The Ritual Boundaries of Ancient Indian Theatre
Keywords:Sanskrit drama, Nāṭyaśāstra, Nāṭyaveda, Fifth Veda, naṭasūtras, pūjā, ritual
Ritual Boundaries of Ancient Indian Theatre
The paper focuses on the question of the genesis of ancient Indian theatre and argues that it was introduced in the early post-Vedic period as an inalienable part of the pūjā cult. The definition of theatre as Nāṭyaveda and Pañcama Veda (the ‘Fifth Veda’), presented in the Nāṭyaśāstra, should not be taken merely as a kind of eulogy but as a reflection of the ancient tradition, which treated the early ceremonial theatre not so much as an art form and entertainment but as a ritual and a visual sermon intended to elevate and educate the public.
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