Sunday, June 14, 2015

The sadharanikaran model and ritual model of communication: A comparative study (By: Amol Acharya)

Taken from: Acharya, A. (2012). The sadharanikaran model and the ritual model of communication: A comparative study. A paper presented at the Young Researchers’ Conference organized by Martin Chautari, 2012 January 2-3, Kathmandu.

The sadharanikaran model and ritual model of communication: A comparative study
– Amol Acharya

Proposed by Adhikary (2003), Sadharanikaran Model of Communication (SMC) is a systematic representation of communication process from Hindu Perspective. It illustrates how the communication parties interact in a system for the attainment of commonness or oneness. Sahridayata and sahridayas are the core concepts upon which the meaning of sadharanikaran resides. When sender and receivers accomplish the process of sadharanikaran, they attain sahridayata and become sahridayas. Thus, sadharanikaran is the attainment of sahridayata by communication parties.
In case of ritual model, Carey’s work, A Cultural Approach to Communication is considered the main text which was first published in 1975.

In his article, Carey argues that the term communication, since it entered common discourse in the 19th century, has two alternative conceptions in American culture. Transmission view of communication and ritual view of communication (pp.37-38). Moving further, he critically exposes the limitations of transmission/ engineering model of communication and put forward ritual model of communication as something that can address the process of communication from cultural ground.
Carey criticizes the transmission model as something “formed off a metaphor of geography or transportation”(p.38). Transmission model of communication, according to Carey, can be defined as imparting, sending, transmitting, or giving information to others in space for the control of distance and people (p. 38). Carey in the limited-effects theories, according to S.J. Baran and D.K. Davis (2009), found that their focus is on the transmission of accurate information from a dominant source to passive receivers (p.243).
Before Carey’s work, communication was highly regarded of transmissional nature. Laying platform for ritual model of communication, in the article, he redefines communication as the basis of human fellowship which produces the social bonds that tie men together and make associated life possible. Furthermore, Carey suggests that due to the binding forces of shared information circulating in an organic system the society is possible (p.41). Carey has quoted John Dewey’s following statements while describing communication:
Men live in a community in virtue of the things which they have in common; and communication is the way in which they come to posses things in common. What they must have in common…are aims, beliefs, aspiration , knowledge- a common understanding- likemindedness as sociologists say. Such things cannot be passed physically from one to another like bricks; they cannot be shared as persons would share a pie by dividing it into physical pieces. ….Consensus demands communication (p.42).
Finally, Carey proposes the ritual definition of communication which, “is linked to terms such as sharing, participation, association, fellowship, and the possession of a common faith” (p.39). According to Carey this definition also includes the ancient identity and common roots of the term commonness, communion, community, and communication (ibid.).
SMC and Ritual model of communication, cursorily, can be said to have two similarities. Similarity of origin and similarity of concept. Both SMC and Ritual Model have their origin in Hindu and Christian religion respectively. SMC, furthermore, has philosophical root as well. In case of concept, the similarity is found in the goal of communication. SMC calls it sahridayata while it is commonness or communion in case of Ritual Model.
More rigorous comparison between these two models of communication has been presented under following four variables.


I. Structure of the Model
Both sadharanikaran and Ritual model of communication are non-linear model.
While sadharanikaran model has also been presented in diagrammatic form ritual model has no, till date, any drawings, charts, diagrams, pictograms, schematics used to represent its complex ideas (theory) to a graphic form.
The terms such as sharing, participation, association, fellowships, and the possession of a common faith used to describe ritual model of communication, by Carey, confirms ritual model as a non-liner model because such things cannot be done without two-way communication between sender and receiver.
Moreover, the highlighted role of the prayer, the chant and the ceremony downplaying the role of the sermon, the instruction and admonishment describes the non-linear nature of ritual model.
On the other hand, according to Adhikary, SMC incorporates the notion of two-way communication process which results in mutual understanding of the sahridayas (2008b, p. 280).
Explaining the non-linearity of SMC Adhikary (2011b) explains space and time are considered cyclical in Vedic philosophy. Thus, communication which is also done in space and time obviously becomes two-way process (p. 9). This is a theoretical reason.
Practically, the non-linearity in case of sadharanikaran model is because of the successful communication that been possible, since time immemorial, even between asymmetrical relations of hindu society.
Finally, since no theoretical reasons has been discussed to describe non-linearity of ritual model, it can be said that the non-linearity of ritual has just been endorsed. But, in case of SMC non-linearity has just been theoretically and practically established.


II. Scope of the Model
The ritual definition of communication, according to Carey, “is linked to terms such as sharing, participation, association, fellowship, and the possession of a common faith” (p.39). According to Carey this definition also includes the ancient identity and common roots of the term commonness, communion, community, and communication (ibid.).
On the other hand, explaining the process of sadharanikaran and its relation with sahridayata and sahridayas Adhikary (2009, p.70) explains:
When sender and receivers accomplish the process of sadharanikaran, they attain sahridayata and become sahridayas. In other words, communicating parties, for e.g., actor and audience, become sahridayas when they are engaged in a communicative relation leading to the attainment of sahridayata; and it is in this stage sadharanikaran is accomplished. Thus the essence of sadharanikaran is to achieve commonness or oneness among the people.
Starting from the definition itself both the models seem to stress on commonness between sender and receiver. However, ritual model, demands commonality in the beginning of communication itself but incase of SMC commonality, oneness is the achievement.
Also, ritual model, though has emphasized cultural communication, has not clearly explained the communication between different classes and hierarchies in the society.
The case is different for sadharanikaran model of communication. According to Adhikary (2009) sadharanikaran model, “offers an explanation of how successful communication is possible in Hindu society where complex hierarchies of castes, languages, cultures and religious practices are prevalent” (pp.72).
Thus the scope of sadharanikaran is broad. According to IGNOU (2005), sadharanikaran “is total communication and communication at its best. It is more integrated approach to communication”(p. 30).
Hindu culture though called combination of three dimensions of life: adhibhautika (physical or mundane), adhidaivika (mental), and adhyatmika (spiritual); spiritualism is at core and thus sadharanikaran model is also abide by all these three aspects along with four purushartha that is, four goals of life: Artha, Kama, Dharma and Moksha.
On sadharanikaran theory/model Adhikary(2008b) states, “it can extend from intrapersonal to interpersonal to mass communication. Its scope is not confined to human communication only, rather its scope has been considered even in case of spiritual concerns including the attainment of moksha” (pp.280).
But, ritual model of communication has dealt only the physical aspect of communication. More precisely, no spiritual concern is found in ritual model of communication.


III. Human Relationships Envisioned in the Process
Ritual and the sadharanikaran models consist differing view on the human relationships in the communication process.
On the one hand, communication in ritual model demands commonness between sender and receiver for even starting the process of communication. McQuail’s description, “The ritual or expressive communication depends on shared understandings and emotions”(2005, p.71) can be taken as a proof. Thus ritual model has failed to address communication between sender and receiver of different age, languages, cultures and religious practices.
On the other hand, the communicating members are sahridayas in case of sadharanikaran model. Ideally, the term refers such persons who are not only engaged in communication but also have attained a special state: sahridayata. As such, a sahridaya is one who has attained sahridayata. But as technical term, the word refers to people with a capacity to send and receive messages. They are the parties engaged in communication, and capable of identifying each other as sender and receiver of the process. A sahridaya is a person in such state of emotional intensity which is coequal or parallel to that of other(s) engaged in communication (Adhikary, 2009, pp.74).
Thus, in case of sadharanikaran model, parties able to identify themselves as sender and receiver and having an orientation to listen each other are the only prerequisites of communication. It is only after communication commonness or oneness or even moksha is achieved, incase of sadharanikaran.
Though the sadharanikaran model is inherent of sahridayata it is an asymmetrical process. According to Yadava(1998), “The source is viewed as ‘higher’ and the receiver as ‘lower’. The relationship is hierarchical and that of ‘dominance’ and ‘subordination’. However, the source is held in high esteem by the receiver of communication, a relationship, idealized and romanticized in guru-chela relationship” (p.189).
Explaining Yadava’s view further Adhikary (2008b) stresses that, “The asymmetrical relationship does not hinder the two-way communication and hence mutual understanding. Rather, it coincides with the asymmetrical structure of the society, for instance, due to caste system, and thereby represents the real communication environment. As such it helps those communicating to pervade the unequal relationship prevailed in the society and the very process of communication is facilitated” (p.281).
Thus, due to common faith the relationship between parties engaged in communication is harmonious in case of ritual model but in case of SMC sahridayata prevails even in complex hierarchies of castes, languages, cultures and religious practices.

IV. Goal of Communication
These two models differ vastly for the goal of communication.
The primary goal of communication in ritual view is sharing, participation, association, fellowship, and the possession of a common faith. According to Carey, ritual model, “not see the original or highest manifestation of communication in the transmission of intelligent information but in the construction and maintenance of an ordered, meaningful cultural world which can serve as a control and container for human action” (p.39).
Thus, the main goals of ritual model of communication seems to maintain society in time, sustain equilibrium and continue fellow-feeling among common believers.
In case of SMC, there are three categories of goal viz. worldly, mental and spiritual. In worldly setting, SMC aims of harmony even in asymmetrical relationship. In case of mental affair, the goal of SMC is common sympathetic heart i.e., oneness of bhava. Physically and mentally, attaining commonness between sender and receiver seems the major concern. Spiritually, moksha is the ultimate goal of SMC.
Explaining sadharanikaran to be innate with Hinduism, Adhikary claims the goal of sadharanikaran model of communication must be to achieve purushartha chatustayas, that is, four goals of life: Artha, Kama, Dharma and Moksha.



Concluding Remarks

The two models, although, may not differ in all of the four aspects discussed above but have their own peculiar characteristics which justifies their separate individual identity.
Sadharanikaran model and ritual model both are of non-liner nature. But, sadharanikaran model has also been presented in diagrammatic form while ritual model has no, till date, any drawings, charts, diagrams, pictograms, schematics used to represent its complex ideas (theory) to a graphic form.
The scope of the sadharanikaran model is broader as compared to ritual model. Starting from the definition itself both the models seem to stress on commonness between sender and receiver. However, ritual model, though has emphasized cultural communication, has not clearly explained the communication between different classes and hierarchies in the society. But, sadharanikaran model offers an explanation of how successful communication is possible in hindu society where complex hierarchies of castes, languages, cultures and religious practices are prevalent. Sadharanikaran model can extend from intrapersonal to interpersonal to mass communication. Its scope is not confined to human communication only, rather its scope has been considered even in case of spiritual concerns including the attainment of moksha. But, ritual model of communication has dealt only the physical aspect of communication. More precisely, no spiritual concern is found in ritual model of communication.
Regarding human relationship envisioned, communication in ritual model demands commonness between sender and receiver for even starting the process of communication. But, in case of Sadharanikaran model, parties able to identify themselves as sender and receiver and having an orientation to listen each other are the only prerequisites of communication. It is only after communication commonness or oneness or even moksha is achieved.
Finally, these two model differ vastly while setting the goal of communication. Thus, the main goals of ritual model of communication seems to maintain society in time, sustain equilibrium and continue fellow-feeling among common believers. In case of SMC, there are three categories of goal viz. worldly, mental and spiritual. In worldly setting, SMC aims of harmony even in asymmetrical relationship. In case of mental affair, the goal of SMC is common sympathetic heart i.e., oneness of bhava. Physically and mentally, attaining commonness between sender and receiver seems the major concern. Spiritually, moksha is the ultimate goal of SMC.
Finally, similarities and differences between the two models can be condensed and presented as follows.


Similarities
1) Perceived similarity of concepts: In case of concept, the similarity is found in the goal of communication. SMC calls it sahridayata while it is commonness or communion in case of Ritual Model.
Still the word ‘perceived’ has been used in front of ‘similarity of concepts’ because ritual model demands commonality in the beginning of communication itself but incase of SMC commonality, oneness is the achievement.
2) Similarity of origin: Both SMC and Ritual Model have their origin in religion, Hindu and Christian respectively. But, SMC has philosophical root as well.


Differences
1) Structure: Non-linearity of SMC has been theoretically established but in case of ritual model the non-linearity has just been endorsed.

2) Scope: Ritual model of communication is useful only in case of world affair but SMC also abide by all three [adhibhautika (physical or mundane), adhidaivika (mental), and adhyatmika (spiritual)] aspects along with four purushartha that is, four goals of life: Artha, Kama, Dharma and Moksha.

3) Human Relationship: Ritual model can address communication between people of common faith but SMC can address communication between one and all.

4) Goal: The main goals of ritual model of communication seems to maintain society in time, sustain equilibrium and continue fellow-feeling among common believers. In case of SMC, there are three categories of goal viz. worldly, mental and spiritual. In worldly setting, SMC aims of harmony even in asymmetrical relationship. In case of mental affair, the goal of SMC is common sympathetic heart i.e., oneness of bhava. Physically and mentally, attaining commonness between sender and receiver seems the major concern. Spiritually, moksha is the ultimate goal of SMC.
In sum, ritual model presents religious outlook of communication and its process because it can only deal communication between people of common faith.
But SMC, though having root in a religion, is an universal outlook to the communication and its process because it can deal communication between one and all.
By this comparative understanding, first, we come to the conclusion that communication varies according to culture or religion. The other variables that can also affect communication are there too. Thus, there can be no meta-model/theory of communication.
Secondly, we know that goal of communication in East and West differs. In worldly setting, both SMC and ritual model advocates harmony, oneness etc. between the sender and the receiver but the goal of SMC stretch beyond the physical world to spiritual as well and thus up to moksha which is not envisioned in case of ritual model representing the Western Christian foundation.


References
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Monday, February 9, 2015

On the Audience from Natyashastra perspective (an excerpt from the book Theory and Practice of Communication - Bharata Muni by Dr. Nirmala Mani Adhikary)

Prekshaka, Samajika and Sahridaya
[taken from pp. 277-281 of: 
Adhikary, N. M. (2014). Theory and practice of communication - Bharata Muni. Bhopal: Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication.]
In Bharatavarsha, as Ghosh (2007, p. xxxiii) observes, a play was considered "to be specially 'a spectacle' (preksa) or things to be visualized; hence persons attending the performance of a play were always referred to (NS. XXVII. 48-57) as 'spectators' or 'observers' (preksaka) and never as audience (srotr), although in it there was always the speech-element."
Chaturvedi (2005) takes the Sanskrit word Samajika and the English word audience as equivalents. She discusses that 'audience' represents both viewer and listener, whereas in Natyashastra tradition the word Samajika represents the same (p. 15).
The varying tastes of individuals have been taken into consideration by Bharata in Natyashastra (XXV. 59-61):
Young people are pleased to see (the presentation of) love, the learned a reference to some (religious or philosophical) doctrine, the seekers after money to the topics of wealth, and the passionless the topics of liberation. Heroic persons are always pleased in the Odious and the Terrible Sentiments, personal combats and battles, and the old people in Puranic legends, and tales of virtue. And common women, children and uncultured persons are always delighted with the Comic Sentiment and remarkable costumes and make-up. (Trans. Ghosh, 2007, p. xxxv)
The same view is expressed in Trilochanaditya's Natyalochanam in this regard: "This is the pastime of the rich, sustenance of the content persons, it is educative for the blundering persons, (it brings) realization that 'such are the ways of life in this world' in the minds of various ascetics, (it leads to) appreciation of delineation of sentiments in the literary works, it brings out the new talents and achievements of poets, (infact) this embodiment of wisdom & knowledge called Nataka is the goddess whose munificence can benefit the whole world" (NL– I.22).
Bharata has given importance to individual spectators by considering that they are the decisive ones in the success of any dramatic performance. It is to note that, for Bharata, success is of two kinds: divine (daiviki) and human (manusi). He describes them elaborately in the 27th Adhyaya of NS.
Of these two, the divine Success seems to be related to the deeper aspects of a play and came from spectators of a superior order i.e. persons possessed of culture and education (NS. XXVII. 16-17), and the human Success related to its superficial aspects and came from the average spectators who were ordinary human beings. It is from these latter, who are liable to give expression to their enjoyment or disapproval in the clearest and most energetic manner, that tumultuous applause and similar other acts proceeded (NS. XXVII. 3, 8-18, 13-14), while spectators of superior order order expressed rather calmly their appreciation of the deeper and more subtle aspects of a play. (Ghosh, 2007, p. xxxv)
Ghosh also notes that, in the Natyashastra tradition,
The specialists in dramatic production never forgot that this was basically a social amusement and as such depended a great deal for its success on the average spectators. In the NS. it has been said clearly more than once that the ultimate court of appeal concerning the dramatic practice was the public (XX. 125-126). (p. xxxix)
Thus, in Natyashastra tradition, "Judgement of the worth of dramatic pieces should be the prerogatives of the laymen attending the presentation" (A Board of Scholars, 2003, p. xviii).
Bharata instructs that one should compose the Nataka with pleasant and easily intelligible words (NS– XXI.127). It is also written that the plays (lit. poems) containing harsh words is repulsive (NS– XXI.128).
The importance given to common people can be seen in the following instruction in Natyashastra (XXII. 119-122):
The playwright should make efforts to use in his composition sweet and agreeable words which can be recited by women. A play abounding in agreeable sound and sense, and containing no obscure or difficult words unintelligible to the country people, having a good construction, fit to be interpreted with dances, developing Sentiments ……… becomes fit for representation to spectators. (Trans. Ghosh, 2007, p. xlviii)
In the 26th Adhyaya of NS, Bharata consideres the people, the Vedas and the spiritual faculty (Adhyatma) as the three authorities on the matters of Natya. "The drama which has its origin in the Vedas, and the spiritual faculty (adhyatma) and includes [proper] words and metre, succeeds when it is approved of by the people. Hence the people are considered to be the [ultimate] authority on drama" (NS- XXVI.120-121). Again, Bharata writes (NS- XXVI.125-127): Rules regarding the feelings and activities of the world, movable as well as immovable, cannot be formulated (lit. ascertained) exhaustively by the Shastra. The people have different dispositions, and on their dispositions drama rests. Hence, playwrights and producers should take the people as their ultimate authority as regards the rule of the art. Thus attention should be paid to the feelings, gestures and the Sattvas in representing the Bhavas (Psychological States) through various characters [that may appear in the drama]. Bharata's viewpoint on success also implies the ultimate authority of people (commoners).
The author of Natyashastra seems aware of what the concept of media literacy envisions. For instance, in the 27th chapter, "there is enough matter educating the Preksaka also in the manner and substance of the appreciation of the remarkable points on the part of the actors and the actresses" (A Board of Scholars, 2003, p. xviii).
In the 27th Adhyaya of Natyashastra, Bharata outlines the characteristics of an ideal spectator (Prekshaka) of a performance. According to him,
"Those who are possessed of [good] character, high birth, quiet behaviour and learning, are desirous of fame, virtue, are impartial, advanced in age, proficient in drama in all its six limbs, alert, honest, unaffected by passion, expert in playing the four kinds of musical instrument, very virtuous, acquainted with the costumes and Make-up, the rules of dialects, the four kinds of Histrionic Representation, grammar, prosody, and various [other] Sastras, are experts in different arts and crafts, and have fine sense of the Sentiments and the Psychological States, should be made spectators in witnessing a drama" (NS- XXVII.50-53).
"Anyone who has (lit. is characterized by unruffled senses, is honest, expert in the discussion of pros and cons, detector of faults and appreciator [of merits], is considered fit to be a spectator in a drama" (NS- XXVII.54). "He who attains gladness on seeing a person glad, and sorrow on seeing him sorry, and feels miserable on seeing him miserable, is considered fit to be a spectator in a drama" (NS- XXVII.55).
However, "All these various qualities are not known to exist in one single spectator. Hence, because objects of knowledge are so numerous, and the span of life is so brief, the inferior common persons in an assembly which consists of the superior, the middling and the inferior members, cannot be expected to appreciate the performace of the superior ones" (NS- XXVII.56-57). "And hence an individual to whom a particular dress, profession, speech and an act belong as his own, should be considered fit for appreciating the same" (NS- XXVII.58).
Then, Bharata makes distinction between various classes of spectators and their dispositions.And, the provision of assessors in performance resembles to the practices of media critics these days.
It was the importance given to the spectators that led Bharata and other theorists to the theory of Rasa. It is to note here that Rasa is not present in the actor; rather, he/she "simply is the means to convey the sentiments in the drama to the spectators. Hence the actor is called the 'patra' (i.e. pot). The pot does not relish the taste of the wine but is the means to serve it to the drinker" (Tarlekar, 1999, p. 56). Thus, it becomes essential to understand the experience of Prekshaka/Samajika in order to understand the process of Rasa experience.
As Ghosh (2007, p. xxxvi) describes, "It was not enough for them that the spectators enjoyed witnessing a successful dramatic performance. They were also curious to find out the process through which it provided enjoyment to them, and discovered what may be called the psychological basis of this enjoyment." The theory of Rasa is crucial to understand the theory of communication as envisioned in Natyashastra.
It is to note that a Prekshaka/Samajika has been ideally named as Sahridaya in Sanskrit poetics. A Sahridaya is one who has attained Sahridayata. Further discussion on Sahridayata will be done later on in this book. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Natyashastra, the Sadharanikaran Model of Communication (SMC) and Methodology of Theory Building

This entry is taken from the dissertation "Theory and Practice of Communication: Explorations from Natyashastra of Bharata" (A study conducted under the Bharata Muni Chair Research Fellowship of Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India) by Dr. Nirmala Mani Adhikary.

Natyashastra, the Sadharanikaran Model of Communication (SMC) and Methodology of Theory Building
By: Dr. Nirmala Mani Adhikary
Kathmandu University, Nepal


The exploration of Natyashastra from communication perspective has been done due to its enduring cultural importance in Bharatavarshiya society as well as its intrinsic qualification to contribute to contemporary and future communication scholarship. Bharata's Natyashastra has been approached by various scholars from different viewpoints thereby giving rise to different theories and concepts, which are pertinent to different disciplines of knowledge. The modern discipline of communication also has got many insights from the great treatise.
Bharata delineates the fundamentals of communication practices, both verbal and non-verbal. His description of non-verbal communication is perhaps the most insightful account in the subject matter even for today. His perception seems "broad as well as minute and analytical" (Jain & Daljeet, 2005). Bharata theorizes communication uniquely. His Rasa-sutra is the foundation for the theory of Rasa. His theory of Rasa is the foundation of Bhattanayaka's theory of Sadharanikaran. The much discoursed concept of Sahridayata also owes to Natyashastra itself.
For the Sadharanikaran model of communication (SMC), Bharata's Natyashastra and Bhartrihari's Vakyapadiya are the principal sources. By presenting the SMC to larger audience, I have sought for mainstreaming indigenous Bharatavarshiya/Hindu scholarship in the communication discipline.
The field of communication theory has been witnessing a paradigm shift thereby promoting multicultural and multidisciplinary theorization of communication. Seeking indigenous theories of communication does not mean mere rejection of something Western, but it must be an independent and creative addition in the discipline. By virtue of Sahridayata envisioned, the sadharanikaran theory and the Sadharanikaran Model of Communication (SMC) have scope to be generalized as a "grand theory" (see: Chen & Miike, 2006, p. 5). From a panhuman vantage point, the utility of such a model of communication is enormous.
The SMC's root being in Hindu culture does not limit its scope for universalization of the model. "Communication theorizing in the local community and the global society ought to move beyond the dualistic thinking of provincial specificity versus universal applicability. Any theory has local resonance and may have global significance" (Miike, 2007b, p. 277). "Cultural particularity leads to human universality. We do not need to walk away from cultural particularity to reach human universality" (Chen & Miike, 2006, p. 4). What is to be avoided is the ethnocentricity and supremacist fundamentalism.  Ranganathananda (1971) rightly says, "Without proper understanding of our own culture, we shall never be able to enter the soul of another culture, nor profit from it" (p. 56).
There is scope for generalizing the concept and the construct of sahridayata in the broader study of Hindu philosophy. Furthermore, by virtue of sahridayata envisioned, the sadharanikaran theory and the SMC have scope to be generalized in global context. The SMC's root being in Hindu culture does not limit its scope for universalization of the model. In fact, the scope of a Hindu model of communication, such as the SMC, in promoting peace and conflict resolution should be appropriately understood and employed (Adhikary, 2012b).
It to note that the communication discipline is also witnessing “the Race for Theory,” what was observed as a trend in the field of literary theory and criticism (Christian, 2001). Even there have been claims of emergence and growth of an Asiacentric School of Communication Theories. Since theory is "the currency of scholarly research" (Corely & Gioia, 2011, p. 12) more "theories" such race is natural with the growth of academia.
However, unless and until well developed indigenous research procedures and methodologies are explored/rediscovered/developed, any race for theorizing communication would not be free from exogenous paradigms. Theory building is dependent on methodological considerations. Since theory is "a multiple-level component of research process" (Glazier & Grover, 2002, p. 319) and "theory and research share a symbiotic relationship; each is part of the process as also the result of the other" (Reddi, 1996, p. 248) there is need for the indigenous study of both theory and methodology of theory building.
Theory building "consists of two broad components, namely, theorizing to practice and practice to theorizing" (Lynham, 2002, p. 229). By virtue of the practice of theorizing practices and seeking unity of theory and practice in day-to-day life, theory building seems something natural to the Bharatavarshiya/Hindu scholarship. The recent exposition also shows that there is well developed indigenous tradition of theory and theorization in Bharatavarshiya tradition (Adhikary, 2013b). This indicates toward the vast scope of classical Sanskrit texts for developing methodology of theory building.
Now, various fundamental research and studies on various aspects of research methodology itself should be conducted. Emphasis should be not only on application of Western research paradigm but also to enrich the discourse on indigenous research methodologies. Communication/media scholars from Bharatavarsha should move further, and explore and employ indigenous research methodology in order to theorize the practice and to practice the theories.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Discoursing Communication from the Perspective of Mainstream Hindu Philosophy

Discoursing Communication from the Perspective of Mainstream Hindu Philosophy

By: Dr. Nirmala Mani Adhikary & Aditya Kumar Shukla

(Originally published as: Adhikari, N.M., & Shukla, A.K. (2013). Discoursing communication from the perspective of mainstream hindu philosophy. Dev Sanskriti: Interdisciplinary International Journal, 2, 51-56.)

Abstract

This article presents an appraisal of the discourses on communication from the perspective of maninstream Hindu philosophy. Communication theory has been witnessing a paradigm shift thereby promoting theorization of communication from multicultural and multidisciplinary perspectives. Such endeavors have forwarded the discourse of communication from Asian and Hindu perspective too. However, most of the mainstream Hindu philosophies are still unexplored by the communication scholars. Recently, a doctoral research has been accomplished on the Bhatta-Mimamsa philosophical study of communication.

Keywords: Asian Perspective, Communication, Communication Theory, Hindu Philosophy,  


Background

The word communication is translated into languages of Sanskrit origin (including Nepali and Hindi) as sanchar. The word sanchar has a number of meanings in Sanskrit, and one of them is equivalent to what is understood as communication in the modern sense. It is not that sanchar is the only word in Sanskrit which could be used as an equivalent word while translating the English word ‘communication’. However, interestingly, in all languages of Sanskrit origin, the word has been chosen to denote ‘communication’. Perhaps, it signifies the mutual understanding, for which communication (sanchar) itself is aimed, prevailing among the people sharing common religious and philosophical tradition and consciousness of cultural identity. Meanwhile, the study of communication/sanchar in the universities of Nepal and India had not been the study of sanchar in the indigenous sense despite the fact that communication tradition (s), rich and refined both in theory and practice, has been an inseparable part of Bharatavarshiya (including Nepali and Indian) culture(s).
Studying communication as a modern discipline has been problematic in the context of non-Western countries like Nepal and India. Whereas communication is familiar to them as a process which is inherent to every human being, it is a new thing for them as a modern discipline of knowledge. They find reasons to own it, but the discipline’s Western standpoint prevents them to consider it as an indigenous discipline of knowledge (Adhikary, 2011a, 2011b, 2011c, 2012a).
The Western models and theories of communication have been criticized as “reflective of the biases of Western thought and culture” (Kumar, 2005, p. 25). The problem with Western communication theory, according to Dissanayake (1988b), is that it is functionalist, mechanistic, positivist and it regards communication as an external event, individuals as discreet and separate, and each part of the sender-message-receiver process as different. Reddi (1988) also criticizes Western models for neglecting “the structural and sociological factors present in countries such as India” (p. 73).
A comparative study of two communication models, one each from the East and the West, shows that communication theories and models developed in the context of the West cannot represent and describe the communication theory and practice of countries like Nepal and India (Adhikary, 2008). Thus, there is need of developing theories and models from different cultural locations and philosophical traditions followed by comparative understanding of them. A comparative study of different concepts of communication is a must for the improved understanding of the process and the advancement of the discipline.
The discipline is certainly enriched if different philosophical traditions open themselves to each other’s differences and if each examines itself in the light of that recognition. “If we are to widen our field of inquiry productively and to secure greater insights, we need to pay more attention to concepts of communication formulated by non-Western societies as well” (Dissanayake, 1988b, p. 1). Dissanayake emphasizes that
at this stage in the development of the scholarly study of communication, it is indeed important for everybody concerned to seek to broaden the domain of inquiry by exploring the concepts of communication that have been formulated in non-Western societies as a means of promoting a greater degree of understanding of the nature of human interaction. (p. 2)
The project of exploring indigenous communication theories seems rational when one of the basic characteristics of communication (that is, inseparability of communication with culture) is kept in view. Though communication as modern discipline knowledge has its root in the West, different societies have understood and defined communication in their own ways. Studying the communication is not an exception rather is always within the cultural milieu. Thus, instead of adhering to any single concept of communication, multiple concepts of communication are imperative because the concept of communication differs from one culture to another. In fact, philosophical, religious as well as cultural background of the society should be considered while studying communication.


Communication from Hindu Perspective: Early Contributions

Attempts have been made to study communication from Hindu perspective even though such works seem very few in numbers. In the context of evolution of studying communication from Hindu (or ‘Indian’) perspective, the timeline goes at least to five decades back (Majumdar, 1958). The three earlier studies (Majumdar, 1958; Gumperz, 1964; Yadava, 1979) had commonality in terms of research approach as well as the research problem. They were field research in Indian villages, and they sought to study the impact of religion/caste on communication practices.
Oliver (1971) analyzed distinctive features of ‘Indian’ and ‘Chinese’ rhetoric, and identified unity and harmony as the bases of rhetoric and communication in Asia. He argued that the manner in which Asians communicate is different from that of the Westerners. Hence, there is need to understand communication in the context of culture, Oliver emphasized. He further argued that by understanding the Eastern rhetoric the Westerners can better understand their own ideas of rhetoric and communication.
In 1980, the East-West Communication Institute in Hawaii hosted the first International Symposium on ‘Communication Theory: Eastern and Western Perspectives’. The symposium bears significance for it marked first institutional initiatives regarding theorization of communication in different perspectives. Yadava presented a paper in the seminar (later published as Yadava, 1987) and argued that Sadharanikaran is that concept which, in Hindu perspective, refers to what is meant by communication today. In the same year, Tewari (1980) claimed Sadharanikaran as the “Indian theory of communication.” Both Yadava and Tewari consider Natyashastra as the source-book for theorizing communication in Hindu (or “Indian”) perspective.
Bhartrihari’s Vakyapadiya is also a preference in this regard. Bhartrihari is much accredited for philosophical dealing on communication, especially the word (Vak). Dissanayake (1988b) sees “a refreshing relevance” of Vakyapadiya “to modern communication studies” (p. 8). He claims, “Indeed, the basic thinking reflected in the Vakyapadiya is in perfect consonance with some of the modern conceptualizations in the field of communication” (ibid.). And, the essential communication message of Bhartrihari “has almost a contemporary ring to it and a refreshing relevance to modern communication studies” (ibid.). He further claims, “Indeed, the basic thinking reflected in the Vakyapadiya is in perfect consonance with some of the modern conceptualizations in the field of communication” (ibid.).
Davis (1988) draws on Panini’s Astadhyayi for studying the nature of intentional communication from Nyaya-Vaisheshika perspectives. “On the basis of Panini’s description of the categories of words in Sanskrit and the way they combined to make up sentences, various theories of the nature of meaning arose” (p. 22). He discusses that the members of Nyaya-Vaisheshika school of Hindu philosophy worked on the theory “which puts meaning closest to the syntactic form of words” (ibid.). Further, he also discusses the nature of intentional communication from the point of view of Bhartrihari.
A body of works (Jain and Matukumalli, 1996; Kirkwood, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1997) has dealt with the Hindu perspective on silence in communication. Such works draw on classical Sanskrit texts in order to understand the unique nature of silence as envisioned in Hinduism. Unlike to Western consideration, speech and silence are not contradictory in Hindu milieu. Rather, the mastery over speech (Vak) and silence (maunata) is the highest attainment of the learned one, who is revered as Muni.
The concept of Dharma has also been drawn on for exploring Hindu concept of communication (Saral, 1983). Here, it is analyzed that communication in Hindu philosophical perspective is governed by natural law of Dharma. The basic argument behind this is made by the extension of the Hindu concept of the universe to the systems approach wherein Dharma is the basic principle of the whole universe and is existing eternally. It is argued that since this natural law of Dharma regulates human existence and governs relations of individual beings, communication too is governed by the same law.
The above mentioned works have certainly incorporated insights from Hinduism. But, they do not primarily draw on any of the mainstream Vedic Hindu philosophical schools (i.e., Samkhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa and Vedanta). Some of them do refer to some Hindu philosophical school in the text. Whereas Davis (1988) mentions the relevance of Nyaya-Vaisheshika philosophy for studying communication, Jayaweera (1988) emphasizes on the need to apply principles derived from Vedanta philosophy to communication theory. And, Sitaram (2004) has claimed that all the six schools of Hindu philosophy outline unique communication theories. However, substantiating the discussion/claim with evidences from and analysis of classical philosophical texts (such as Sutras, Bhasyas, ect.) has not been done there.



Mainstream Hindu Philosophy and Theorizing Communication

Insights from mainstream Hindu philosophical schools, particualarly that of Vedanta, has been the base of the construction of and further discourses on the Sadharanikaran model of communication (Adhikary, 2003, 2004, 2007a, 2007b, 2008, 2009, 2010a, 2010b, 2010c, 2011a, 2011b, 2011c, 2012a, 2012c). For instance, it has been studied how the process of communication, as envisioned in Hindu perspective, inherits notion of attaining ‘Mokhsa-in-life’ by means of verbal communication (Adhikary, 2007b, 2009, 2010a, 2010b, 2011b). Furthermore, the theory of Sancharyoga has been propunded (Adhikary, 2007b, 2010a, 2010b, 2011b). Also, it has been discoursed how the discipline of communication can be approached as a vidya (true knowledge) in Hindu orthodoxy (Adhikary, 2007b, 2010b, 2011b).
Recently, a doctoral research has been accomplished on the Bhatta-Mimamsa philosophical study of communication (Adhikary, 2012b). This interdisciplinary research theorizes communication according to the Bhatta School of Mimamsa Philosophy, and presents a unique communication model – named the Bhatta-Mimamsa Model of Communication. In this course, it first explores the Bhatta School of Mimamsa Philosophy from the perspective of communication and examines its relevance for the communication discipline. Then, it draws on the Pramana and Prameya, Abhihitanvayavad and Bhavana Theory as well as the Theory of Knowledge of the Bhatta-Mimamsa Philosophy in order to theorize communication thereby constructing 11 elements of communication as envisioned in the philosophy. Finally, it presents the Bhatta-Mimamsa Model of Communication, in which the 11 elements of communication can be classified under four key-themes (namely, Karta, Sadhan, Itikartavyata, and Sadhya). The model shows how the Bhavakas (communicating parties) accomplish communication and the persuasion for Karma is attained.

Concluding Remarks

Though still not large in number the literature relevant for studying communication from Hindu perspective is increasing. Most of these works identify themselves as a part of searching the ‘Asian’ communication perspective (for further discussion on the ‘Asian’ perspective on communication, see: Adhikary, 2011a; Chen & Miike, 2006; Dissanayake, 1988a, 1988b; Gordon, 2007; Kincaid, 1987; Miike, 2007). There is scope for vast discursive universe the discourse on communication from Hindu perspective, yet the discourse has been confined to a limited domain. For instance, such works have drawn on very few Sanskrit texts such as Bharata’s Natyashastra, Bhartrihari’s Vakyapadiya and Panini’s Astadhyayi. Few genres like rhetoric and poetics have been explored in this regard. Some have drawn on religion (‘Dharma’) for understanding communication in Hindu concept. Among the orthodox Hindu philosophical schools, Vedanta seems the preferred one. Whereas, only a doctoral research has been conducted on any of the mainstream Vedic/Hindu School of philosophies, which is on on the Bhatta-Mimamsa philosophical study of communication.
By virtue of its rich discursive tradition, Hinduism has far broader scope of study corpus than explored by now. Thus studying Hindu perspectives on communication at the onset needs a broader outlook because diverse and enormous sources are available in this regard. However, most of them are to be explored yet. Particularly, most of the mainstream Hindu philosophies are also still unexplored by the communication scholars.
If the project of theorizing communication is to be undertaken in the domain of Vedic Hindu tradition of thought, there are so many texts which have relevance to communication discipline. Vedic Hindu tradition of thought inherits many schools of philosophy, and hence it incorporates vast resources that can be studied in relation to communication discipline. The need is to explore, reinterpret and recontextualize the texts in the new light.


References:
Adhikary, N. M. (2003). Hindu awadharanama sanchar prakriya [Communication in Hindu concept]. A dissertation presented to Purvanchal University, Nepal in the partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Mass Communication and Journalism.
Adhikary, N. M. (2004). Hindu-Sanchar Siddhanta: Ek Adhyayan. Baha Journal, 1, 25-43.
Adhikary, N. M. (2007a). Sancharko Hindu Awadharanatmak Adhyayan. In N. M. Adhikary, Sanchar Shodha Ra Media Paryavekshan (pp. 93-138). Kathmandu: Prashanti Pustak Bhandar.
Adhikary, N. M. (2007b). Sancharyoga: Verbal communication as a means for attaining moksha. A dissertation presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Pokhara University, Nepal in the partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Philosophy.
Adhikary, N. M. (2008). The Sadharanikaran Model and Aristotle’s Model of Communication: A Comparative Study. Bodhi: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 2, 268-289.
Adhikary, N. M. (2009). An introduction to sadharanikaran model of communication. Bodhi: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 3(1), 69-91.
Adhikary, N. M. (2010a). Communication and moksha-in-life. Ritambhara: Journal of Nepal Sanskrit University Research Center, 14, 183-195.
Adhikary, N. M. (2010b). Sancharyoga: Approaching communication as a vidya in Hindu orthodoxy. China Media Research, 6(3), 76-84.
Adhikary, N. M. (2010c). Sahridayata in communication. Bodhi: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 4(1), 150-160.
Adhikary, N.M. (2011a). Theorizing communication: A model from Hinduism. In Y.B. Dura (Ed.), MBM anthology of communication studies (pp. 1-22). Kathmandu: Madan Bhandari Memorial College.
Adhikary, N. M. (2011b). Sanchar mimamsa. Kathmandu: Media Educators’ Association of Nepal.
Adhikary, N. M. (2011c). Athato sanchar-jijnasa: The sadharanikaran model of communication. A paper presented at the International Conference on “Diversity and Plurality in Media: Reflections of Society” on 27-28 December, 2011 at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India.
Adhikary, N. M. (2012a). Indigenous theorization of communication. Rural Aurora, 1, 172-181.
Adhikary, N. M. (2012b). Sanchar prakriyako Bhatta-Mimamsa-darshanik adhyayan [The Bhatta-Mimamsa philosophical study of communication]. Ph. D. Dissertation. Kathmandu: Nepal Sanskrit University Research Center.
Adhikary, N. M. (2012c). Hindu teaching on conflict and peacemaking. In L. Marsden (Ed.), Ashgate research companion on religion and conflict resolution (pp. 85-104). Farnham, Surrey (UK): Ashgate Publishing.
Chen, G.-M., & Miike, Y. (2006). The Ferment and Future of Communication Studies in Asia: Chinese and Japanese Perspectives. China Media Research, 2(1), 1-12.
Davis, L. (1988). Deep Structure and Communication. In W. Dissanayake (Ed.), Communication Theory: The Asian Perspective (pp. 20-38). Singapore: AMIC.
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Dissanayake, W. (2009). The desire to excavate Asian theories of communication: One strand of the history. Journal of Multicultural Discourse, 4(1), 7-27.
Gordon, R. D. (2007). The Asian Communication Scholar for the 21st Century. China Media Research, 3(4), 50-59.
Gumperz, J. J. (1964). Religion and Social Communication in Village North India. Journal of Asian Studies, 23, 89-97.
Jain, N. C., & Matukumalli, A. (1996). The Role of Silence in India: Implications for Intercultural Communication Research. Education in Asia, 16(2-4), 152-158.
Jayaweera, N. (1988). Some Tentative Thoughts on Communication Theory and Adwaita Vedanta. In W. Dissanayake (Ed.), Communication Theory: The Asian Perspective (pp. 56-68). Singapore: AMIC.
Kincaid, D. L. (Ed.). (1987). Communication Theory: Eastern and Western Perspectives. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Kirkwood, W. G. (1987). The Turtle Spoke, The Donkey Brayed: Fables about Speech and Silence in the Panchatantra. Journal of Communication and Religion, 10(2), 1-11.
Kirkwood, W. G. (1989). Truthfulness as a Standard for Speech in Ancient India. Southern Communication Journal, 54(3), 213-234.
Kirkwood, W. G. (1990). Shiva’s Dance at Sundown: Implications of Indian Aesthetics for Poetics and Rhetoric. Text and Performance Quarterly, 10(2), 93-110.
Kirkwood, W. G. (1997). Indian Thought and The Intrapersonal Consequences of Speaking: Implications for Ethics in Communication. In J. E. Aitken & L. J. Shedletsky (Eds.), Intrapersonal communication processes (pp. 220-226). Annandale, VA: Speech Communication Association.
Kumar, K. J. (2005). Mass Communication in India. Bombay: Jaico.
Majumdar, D. N. (1958). Caste and communication in an Indian village. Bombay: Asia Publishing House.
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Oliver, R. T. (1971). Communication and culture in ancient India and China. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.
Reddi, U. V. (1988). Communication theory: An Indian perspective. In W. Dissanayake, Communication theory: The Asian perspective (pp. 69-78). Singapore: AMIC.
Saral, T. B. (1983). Hindu Philosophy of Communication. Communication 8(3), 47-58.
Sitaram, K. S. (2004). South Asian Theories of Speech Communication: Origins and Applications in Ancient, Modern, and Postmodern Times. Human Communication: A Journal of the Pacific and Asian Communication Association, 7(1), 83-101.
Tewari, I. P. (1980, June 1). Sadharanikaran: Indian Theory of Communication. Indian and Foreign Review, pp. 13-14.
Yadava, J. S. (1979). Communication in an Indian Village. In W. C. McCormack & S. A. Wurm (Eds.), Language and Society: Anthropological issues (pp. 627-636). The Hague: Mouton.
Yadava, J. S. (1987). Communication in India: The tenets of Sadharanikaran. In D. L. Kincaid (Ed.), Communication theory: Eastern and Western perspectives (pp. 161-171). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Evolution of the Sadharanikaran Model of Communication (SMC)

(1) Bharata Muni authored Natyashasra.

(2) Bhattanayaka developed the theory of Sadharanikaran. He did so while explaining the Rasa Sutra of Bharata's Natyashastra.

(3) J.S. Yadava and I.P. Tewari should be given credit for drawing attention of communication scholars that there was a theory named Sadharanikaran, which was a theory of communication. Note here that Yadava and Tewari are not the original theorists, they just wrote about what was already there. It was Bhattanayaka, who developed the theory of Sadharanikaran. He did so while explaining the Rasa Sutra of Bharata's Natyashastra. Many other scholars in Sanskrit contributed in the discourse of Sadharanikarana.

(4) The Sadharanikaran Model of Communication (SMC) was first developed in 2003 through my Dissertation for Master of Arts in Mass Communication and Journalism (MAMCJ). I have incorporated insights from Bharata's Natyashastra as well as Bhartrihari's Vakyapadiya in the SMC. The model was revised in 2010. It has been published from various countries and in various languages.

Hence, please note:

Theory of Sadharanikaran (by Bhattanayaka) and The Sadharanikaran Model of Communication (by Dr. Nirmala Mani Adhikary) are not to be taken as the same. Certainly, the SMC is based on Bhattanayaka's theory of Sadharanikaran, but it is a construction (in theoretical context) for theorizing communication process. In this course, the Sadharanikaran Model of Communication (SMC) incorporates insights from both Bharata's Natyashastra as well as Bhartrihari's Vakyapadiya.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Video recording of a short lecture on the Sadharanikaran Model of Communication

video
Sadharanikaran Model of Communication
by Nirmala Mani Adhikary, Ph.D.
vedicbrahman@gmail.com

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Doctoral Dissertation: "The Bhatta-Mimamsa Philosophical Study of Communication"

"The Bhatta-Mimamsa Philosophical Study of Communication"


What I have done in my doctoral dissertation (Ph.D. Thesis)?
Following are the things I have accomplished through my doctoral dissertation (Ph.D. Thesis):
(1) Envisaged and initiated interdisciplinary research of Mimamsa philosophy and communication discipline;
(2) Explored and interpreted the insights contained in Mimamsa philosophy which are relevant to modern discipline of knowledge;
(3) Theorized communication from the perspective of the Bhatta School of Mimamsa philosophy; and
(4) Constructed the Bhatta-Mimamsa Model of Communication.
My doctoral dissertation "The Bhatta-Mimamsa Philosophical Study of Communication" theorizes communication according to the Bhatta School of Mimamsa Philosophy, and presents a unique communication model – named the Bhatta-Mimamsa Model of Communication. In this course, it first explores the Bhatta School of Mimamsa Philosophy from the perspective of communication and examines its relevance for the communication discipline. Then, it draws on the Pramana and Prameya, Abhihitanvayavada and Bhavana Theory as well as the Theory of Knowledge of the Bhatta-Mimamsa Philosophy in order to theorize communication thereby constructing 11 elements of communication as envisioned in the philosophy. Finally, it presents the Bhatta-Mimamsa Model of Communication, in which the 11 elements of communication can be classified under four key-themes (namely, Karta, Sadhan, Itikartavyata, and Sadhya). The model shows how the Bhavakas (communicating parties) accomplish communication and the persuasion for Karma is attained.