Various cultures have comprehended the Universe - its space, time, form, primal elements and the incessant movement of chaos and order - through the 'Mind', a unique faculty that allows us to reflect and communicate innumerable world-views. An ancient hymn from India describes Man's first conscious reflection on creation as:".. the contemplative Mind conceives of everything from nothing...only Mind was there... neither existent nor nonexistent.-That the Truth is hidden in a golden jar... That which covers the Truth, the Mind and the Man, is the Mask".
This hymn illustrates from only one traditional culture among so many all over the world that have certain distinct paradigms which form their basic ground of existence. From this theoretical base several questions may be raised within the contemporary cultural Context when alternative ways of future scenarios are being considered: Who is Man? What is the Person/Self ? The answers maybe given in terms of Purusa (Cosmic Man) - in India; in Greece the word Prosopon and the Latin word Persona assumed the meaning of personage. Thus Mind. Man and Person are closely interlinked; and in this context there are diverse concepts, notions and paradigms to the query - "What is Mask"?
It is clear to all that the Mask has the power to reveal as also the power to conceal the 'self/Self. The papers in this edited volume were presented during an International Seminar, Rupa-Pratirupa: Mind, Man and Mask, held in February, 1998. It was part of the ongoing programme of the IGNCA which had earlier taken up such themes as Time (Kala), Space (Akasa), Form (Akara), Primal elements (Prakrti), Chaos and Order (Rta-Rtu) and Sound (Dhvani).
This Seminar reflects a Turning Point in the series since it now deals directly with the human being and how humankind has attempted to move into the inner realm of the self. Self and the Mind. of Man. Contributors have responded from the view-point of their own field of specialisation and reflect views of many diverse cultures and societies.