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R.K. NarayanThe Novelist and His Art$
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Ranga Rao

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199470754

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199470754.001.0001

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Cosmic Comedy

Cosmic Comedy

R.K. Narayan’s Gunas Comedy

Chapter:
(p.241) 20 Cosmic Comedy
Source:
R.K. Narayan
Author(s):

Ranga Rao

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199470754.003.0020

From our reading of Narayan’s fifteen novels and novellas, it seems that Narayan’s imagination had struck early a new vein of comedy which he cultivated, not consciously, but consistently and progressively. Narayan’s interest in people, a wide range of characters, leads us to believe that we have a conceptual possibility here, of a different species of comedy, the gunas comedy. The three gunas or qualities bear the names of satva, rajas, and tamas. The terms denote three personality types: ‘sattvic’ means gentle, mild, kindly, amiable. Similarly, ‘rajasic’ denotes domineering spirit, haughty, arrogant; and ‘tamasic’ is angry and wicked. These terms have their origin in the Gita. However, there are no pure categories: there is only predominance, and, more significantly, whatever the karmic make-up evolution runs its course. There is hope for everyone, for success is inevitable. With the gunas comedy we are in an ambience of R.K. Narayan’s humanism.

Keywords:   satva, rajas, tamas, gunas comedy, the Gita, R.K. Narayan’s humanism, karma

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