By means of the catchy slogan “It’s old, yet new, it’s meant for you,” the Chinmaya Mission launched the serial Upanishad Ganga in India’s national television network. The award-winning serial aimed at a “mass outreach” of “the message of the Upanishads to the family living room” by “using imagination and appeal,” drawing from the vast lore of Hindu sacred literature (Veda, Upanishads, Bhagavadgita, epics, Puranas, dharma literature, hagiographies, devotional song, philosophic treatises, early sciences). This contribution explores how traditional narrative structures and tropes, and the modes of storytelling, recital, and theater are absorbed in the new media film. Applying Fludernik’s notion of experientiality and Iser’s theory of aesthetic response, it is shown how—by means of the aesthetics and complexity of transmedial storytelling along with selective decisions, creation of repertoire, and the media’s own aesthetics and strategies—a gestalt-forming of new meanings and a reinvention of tradition takes place. Experientiality is augmented by the highly sensory and emotionalizing Bollywood aesthetics.
In using the critical term museality in aesthetics of religion, it is our aim in this article to reveal the socio-cultural embeddedness of museums in Western societies and beyond. To do this we draw on two distinct cultural and sociological models of society, dispositive theory and Luhmann's communicational systems theory. Dispositive theory allows us to include non-discursive practices and materialisations in the aesthetic analysis of religious identification strategies mediated through museums and exhibitions. The boundaries, environment and self-referentiality of the system museum are discussed with a view to the shifting place and visibility of religious and secular messages in museum contexts. The focus on museality leads beyond museums to discover object wanderings, religious re-interpretations and museum displays in a number of other socio-cultural fields.