Sadharanikaran as Media Analysis Technique (SMAT)
– Nirmala Mani Adhikary
Department of Languages and Mass Communication
This paper presents an outline of Sadharanikaran-as-media-analysis-technique (SMAT). In addition to revisiting sadharanikaran and sahridayata as the concepts and the constructs, the paper redraws the boundary for SMAT and also delineates the SMAT procedure. It also provides various measures for the assessment of ‘sahridayata’ between the text and the audience. Moreover, it considers possible variations of the assessment (sahridayata parikshan).
Sadharanikaran and Sahridayata
The term sadharanikaran (साधारणीकरण) is derived from the Sanskrit word sadharan (;fwf/0f – general, simple or universal), and may be translated into English as ‘generalized presentation’, ‘simplification’, or ‘universalization’ (Adhikary, 2009). It is an extensively used concept in Sanskrit and allied literary circles for explaining poetics, aesthetics and drama. As a concept/theory, sadharanikaran is rooted in Bharata’s Natyashastra, and scholars widely appreciate Bhattanayaka for theorizing sadharanikaran.
Sahridayata (सहृदयता – state of common orientation, commonality or oneness) is the core concept upon which the meaning of sadharanikaran resides (Adhikary, 2010e). The concept sahridayata comes from the word sahridaya, which has two components: saman (same, equal, harmony, being) and hridaya (heart, becoming). Whereas the former refers to a quality, characteristic, or state of being or becoming, the latter names a person of that faculty. Thus, a sahridaya is one who has attained sahridayata.
In the light of Natyashastra tradition, sadharanikaran is the attainment of sahridayata by communicating parties. Sadharanikaran is that point in the climax of a drama when the audience’s experience becomes one with the actor who lives an experience through his/her acting on stage and starts simultaneously reliving the same experience. The process has been described as rasaswadana (रसास्वादन). When sadharanikaran happens, sharing or commonness of experience takes place in full form.
Sadharanikaran and Sahridayata as the Constructs
Sadharanikaran has been introduced into the modern communication discipline. In 2003, the sadharanikaran model of communication (SMC) was constructed (Adhikary, 2003, p. 84) taking insights from Bharata’s Natyashastra and Bhartrihari’s Vakyapadiya. There have been successive studies on the SMC (including Adhikary, 2004, 2007a, 2007c, 2008, 2009, 2010a, 2010b, 2010c, 2010d, 2011e, 2011a, 2011b, 2011c, 2011d, 2011e, 2012).
The SMC is a representation of communication process as envisioned in Vedic Hinduism. It illustrates how the communicating parties interact in a system (i.e., the process of sadharanikaran) for the attainment of saharidayata (commonness or oneness). The 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.
Since the entitlement of the terms sadharanikaran and sahridayata in SMC is as the construct, their exact meanings relate to the context in which they are defined. As discussed in an earlier article (Adhikary, 2010e), sahridayata, as a ‘technical term’ or the ‘construct’, represents and wide range of relationship between communication parties. In the broadest sense, sahridayas are any such people who have capacity to send and receive messages. Ideally (as concept), sahridaya is a person not only engaged in communication but also having attained a special state (sahridayata). The SMC incorporates both the ideal (former) and general (latter) meanings of sahridayata.
In brief, sahridayata, as a ‘technical term’ or the ‘construct’, represents wide range of relationship between communication parties. In the broadest sense, sahridayas are any such people who have capacity to send and receive messages. However, ideally, sahridayata is the state of common orientation, commonality or oneness, and sahridayas are those who have attained this state.
In the SMC, sahridayata provides explanation on how different communicating parties become able to pervade the unequal relationship prevailed in the society and the process of communication is facilitated. In other words, the term is meant to embody the sum of all those factors due to which the asymmetrical relationship between communicating parties does not hinder the two-way communication and hence mutual understanding. Thus, the SMC envisions communication for communion.
Redrawing the Boundary
The development of the SMC and discourses on sadharanikaran and sahridayata as the constructs exemplify that the classical concept/theory can be generalized beyond drama, poetics, and aesthetics. Constructing sadharanikaran-as-media-analysis-technique (SMAT) marks further development in this regard.
It is important to understand the common grounds of the SMC and SMAT. It is also equally important to understand the individuality of their scope and goals. Both the SMC and SMAT draw on the same concepts rooted to the Sanskrit tradition. They largely share same constructs. However, the differences due to different contexts should be considered. For instance, the term ‘sahridayata’ in case of SMAT certainly has limited meaning than in case of the SMC. Here, ‘sahridayata’ between the text and the audience would mean the success of audience in ‘reading’ and ‘relishing’ the text in terms of various assessment measures [smarana and punarkathana (स्मरण र पुनर्कथन – recall and retelling), bodha (बोध – comprehension), mulyankana (मूल्याङ्कन – appraisal), samvada (संवाद – sounding together, assimilation/involvement), and rasa-bhavana (रस-भावना – rasa-experience)].
The SMC and SMAT have been constructed to envisage their scope and goals independently. For instance, whereas the SMC conceives all of the three dimensions – adhibhautika, adhidaivika and adhyatmika – and four goals (purushartha chatustayas) – artha, kama, dharma and moksha – of life, it is not the case with SMAT. Here, in case of SMAT, since the issue is ‘reading’ and ‘relishing’ a text by an audience, I am concerned only with adhibhautika (physical or mundane) and adhidaivika (mental) aspects. As clarified in an earlier work (Adhikary, 2009), it is sufficient to be concerned with vaikhari–shravana (j}v/L—>j0f) and madhyama–manana (dWodf—dgg) continuum while sadharanikaran is being considered only in social and mental domains. Thus, moksha – which was the main theme in some earlier works (Adhikary, 2007c, 2010c, 2010d) – is not included in the study domain of SMAT.
Here, the terms ‘text’ and ‘audience’ are being used in their broader sense. The text may be any ordinary media content such as a story in a book, a news piece in a newspaper, a feature in a magazine, a movie, a radio program, a TV program, a video game, and so on. The audience may be an ordinary media user – a reader, a listener, a viewer, a video game player, or a net surfer.
The process of sadharanikaran-as-research-technique
Assessment of ‘sahridayata’ between the media content and the audience (End)
Sahridayata parikshan etc. (Means)
Rasa-bhavana etc. (Measures)
The SMAT Procedure
Sadharanikaran-as-media-analysis-technique (SMAT) employs a multi-stage research procedure to assess the ‘sahridayata’ between media content and the audience(s) by studying the audience’s ‘reading’ and ‘relishing’ of the media content. In other words, SMAT is a multi-stage research procedure to assess the ‘sahridayata’ between the text and the audience. As mentioned above, ‘sahridayata’ between the text and the audience means the success of audience in ‘reading’ and ‘relishing’ the text in terms of various assessment measures: smarana and punarkathana (recall and retelling), bodha (comprehension), mulyankana (appraisal), samvada (sounding together, assimilation/involvement), and rasa-bhavana (rasa-experience).
The SMAT procedure consists of following stages:
• Patrata parikshan (पात्रता परीक्षण)
Selection of the text, audience(s), and the researcher on the basis of preparedness.
• Sahridayata parikshan (सहृदयता परीक्षण)
The assessment [on the basis of smarana and punarkathana (स्मरण र पुनर्कथन – recall and retelling), bodha (बोध – comprehension), mulyankana (मूल्याङ्कन – appraisal), samvada (संवाद – sounding together, assimilation/involvement), and rasa-bhavana (रस-भावना – rasa-experience)]
• Vishleshan and arthapan (विश्लेषण र अर्थापन)
Analysis and interpretation of the assessment
• Samikarana (समीकरण)
Sharing researcher’s analysis and interpretation with the respondent(s) and finding the common ground in drawing conclusion
• Punaravritti (पुनरावृत्ति)
To see whether the respondent relives the same experience time and again
• Samiksha (समीक्षा)
A Note on Patrata (पात्रता – Preparedness)
The patrata (preparedness) has significant and multi-dimensional implication here. The researcher and the respondent as well as their relationship are subject to patrata parikshan (kfqtf k/LIf0f), that is, the test of preparedness.
First of all, let us take the case of the relationship between the researcher and the respondent. Sahridayata, and hence the SMC too, incorporate the notion of two-way communication resulting in mutual understanding of the communicating parties. The SMC illustrates how successful communication is possible in such society where complex hierarchies of castes, languages, cultures and religious practices are prevalent. Sahridayata helps those communicating to pervade the unequal relationship prevailed in the society and the very process of communication is facilitated. In such communication, not the cause of the relationship but the relationship itself is significant. For instance, the guru-shishya relationship is always considered sacred in itself. And, unlike in case of most communication theories and models from the West, this does not emphasize on dominance by the sender. Rather, the model gives equal importance to both the communicating parties. Such outlook has significant implications for SMAT.
To be in line with Vedic Hindu worldview, which is also shared by the SMC, the researcher and the respondent in case of SMAT require having a relationship of participatory communion (as envisioned in the concept of sahridayata, and also in another concept of sakhya in Sanskrit). This is unlike to conventional communication research projects, where ‘experts’ study the ‘subjects’ as designed by the formers (dominance of researchers over respondents).
The preparedness (patrata) of the researcher is certainly crucial in order to qualify him/her in engaging in such a study that involves sahridayata parikshan (;x[botf k/LIf0f), that is, assessment to the extent of rasa-bhavana (rasa-experience) of the respondent.
The preparedness (patrata) of the respondent involves different situations. For instance, the respondent may be a voluntary audience of the media content (who has already read the text on his/her own). In such case, patrata parikshan (kfqtf k/LIf0f) is likely to begin with simple questioning: “Have you read the text?” Even, ‘aided recall’ may be employed in order to assist the prospective respondent. Nevertheless, the respondent may be an invitee in a researcher-initiated environment. In any case, the willingness of the audience to ‘read’ and ‘relish’ the text is a must, in addition to the orientation toward communication (ideally, interaction in a participatory communication) with the researcher.
However, it is not necessary that the language in which the text is written should be the mother-tongue of the respondent or the culture in which the text is contextualized should be his/her own culture. The SMC shows that successful communication is possible in the society where complex hierarchies of castes, languages, cultures and religious practices are prevalent. It should be so in case of SMAT too. But, it is also to equally emphasize that there must be minimum common communication environment in order to let the audience ‘reading’ and ‘relishing’ the text.
Various Measures of Sahridayata Parikshan
In SMAT procedure, the assessment (‘data collection’) involves assessing ‘sahridayata’ between the text and the audience in terms of following measures:
• Smarana and Punarkathana (recall and retelling):
What details can the respondent remember about the text?
How does the respondent retell the message?
• Bodha (comprehension):
Are the ‘facts’ recalled and retold by the respondent correct?
Is the ‘message’ in the text understood by the respondent in terms of literal comprehension and interpretation?
(Researcher–Respondent Comparison and Readability Test may provide more insight in this regard.)
• Mulyankana (appraisal):
The audience’s evaluation of and attitude toward the text
Not just an answer of “Do you like/dislike the text?”
(Various qualitative techniques provide more insight in this regard. For e.g., the respondent may be asked to draw a picture, to write a poem, and so on, after ‘reading’ the text)
• Samvada (sounding together, assimilation/involvement):
How does the text ‘touch’ the audience?
How is the text observed by the audience in terms of his/her real life situations?
• Rasa-bhavana (rasa-experience):
Does the respondent feel ‘reading’ and ‘relishing’ the text?
Does the audience intend to “re-read” and “re-relish” the text time and again?
Are there psycho-physiological evidences of rasa-experience?
What are the psychological rewards that result from ‘reading’ and ‘relishing’ the text?
At this juncture of time, I think following three ways are possible to employ in order to assess rasa-experience of the respondent:
(i) Self report of the respondent
(ii) Researcher-Respondent Co-assessment in the light of the Rasa theory
(iii) Psycho-physiological evidences
Natyashastra of Bharata provides extensive insight in this regard (Adhikary, 2007b). For e.g., Bharata discusses following eight satvika or sattvaja bhavas: Stambha (Paralysis), Sweda (Sweat), Romancha (Horripilation), Swarasada (Feebleness in the voice), Vepathu (Trembling), Vaivarnya (Change of color), Asru (Shedding tears) and Pralaya (Loss of sense), which originate from the mind, temperamental. In fact, Bharata (in Natyashastra) has discussed what could be termed as kinesics in modern context in such a great detail that no other scholarly work can compete with this. Dealing Angika Abhinaya, he has directed as many as 122 types of karmas (performing arts or abhinayas) by using six Angas (limb) and six Upangas (ancillary limb) of human body. Among them, communication by means of eye movements has most detailed account. In sum, Natyashastra is immensely insightful for developing a test mechanism of ‘sahridayata’ between the text and the audience.
Sahridayata Parikshan: Possible Variations
Five measures have been presented above in order to assess the ‘sahridayata’ between the text and the audience. However, sahridayata parikshan can be conducted in various ways. For instance, a researcher may be interested only up to the level of Samvada (sounding together, assimilation/involvement), or even up to the level of Mulyankana (appraisal). I think, the assessment still becomes fruitful within its predetermined domain, and hence such variations of sahridayata parikshan are pertinent within the limitation of that research.
Sahridayata parikshan (with 5 measures): Smarana and punarkathana (recall and retelling), Bodha (comprehension), Mulyankana (appraisal), Samvada (sounding together, assimilation/involvement), Rasa-bhavana (rasa-experience).
Sahridayata parikshan (with 4 measures): Smarana and punarkathana (recall and retelling), Bodha (comprehension), Mulyankana (appraisal), Samvada (sounding together, assimilation/involvement)
Sahridayata parikshan (with 3 measures): Smarana and punarkathana (recall and retelling), Bodha (comprehension), Mulyankana (appraisal)
In such cases, when the researcher has not assessed the Rasa-bhavana, and has conducted sahridayata parikshan of 4 measures or 3 measures only, he/she may employ a simple rating scale after the completion of the fifth stage in the SMAT procedure. For instance, the respondent can be asked to rate the text by using 1–10 scale. Here, the higher the number, the more ‘sahridayata’ is considered.
Though the research approach of SMAT is largely qualitative, there is scope for using quantitative research methods in certain areas. For instance, the possibility of Researcher–Respondent Comparison and Readability Test under the assessment of bodha (comprehension) implies prospect of quantitative research methods within SMAT. Hence, there is scope for employing a triangulation approach.
It is also to note that various technological measures may be useful in collecting ‘psycho-physiological data’. For e.g., advertising researchers have been using different physiological tests, such as Pupilometer test, Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) study, and Brainwave analysis. Including insights both from Natyashastra tradition and modern science will certainly make the assessment more useful even in the domain of empirical/experimental research.
On Reliability and Validity
The reliability in case of SMAT may be ensured through the process of ‘member checks’ and the use of support networks. In addition, the stage of punaravritti (replication) in SMAT procedure also serves in this regard.
The issue of validity is addressed by participatory communion between the researcher and the respondent, and the stage of samikarana in SMAT procedure also provides an opportunity to check whether findings can be validly generalized.
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