Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

The Classification of Smells and the Order of the Senses in Indian Religious Traditions

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Numen

In the course of producing complex analyses of sensory experience, traditional Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist scholars in South Asia examined the nature of smell. These scholars were most often interested in the fundamental qualities of smells, i.e. how many types of odor there are. Faced with this difficult task, the three sectarian groups initially produced three different accounts, though in later works most scholars adopted very similar classifications of smell. In part, this may be because of the difficulties involved in classifying smells, but the article also suggests that it was mutually beneficial to abandon contentious material in less significant parts of a system in order to focus discussion on more central issues. Amongst all the sense-objects, odors were most consistently defined by terms implying an aesthetic value. The article also examines the place of the sense of smell within the three different orders of the senses that these three schools of thought used. These sense-orders reflect divergent classificatory principles, and the place of smell in relation to the other senses highlights different aspects of the sense of smell. Unlike their stance on the classification of odors, the three schools of thought always maintained distinct orders of the senses, which must have been a regular reminder of difference in philosophical priorities.

Affiliations: 1: Harvard University, Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies, 1 Bow Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA;, Email:


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Numen — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation