Bharatanatyam And Yoga Part -10

17/06/2008

CONCLUSION

The Upanishads say, “Devo Bhutva Devam Yajet” meaning – “Become a God in order to worship God.” India has always embodied this eternal principle in its culture and has spread it across the seas. Dancing was considered the religious ceremony most pleasing to the Gods and dedication of all activity to the Divine was the highest form of worship.

According to the Natya Shastra, “There is no wisdom, nor knowledge; no art nor craft; no device, nor action that is not to be found in Natya”.

Brahma, created the fifth Scripture, Natya Veda, the scripture of the Dance, presenting moral and spiritual truths in a form, which is easy to understand, even for the masses. Brahma then said to the people, “This art is not merely for your pleasure, but exhibits Bhava (emotion) for all the three worlds. I made this art to reflect this world, whether in work or play, profit, peace, laughter, battle or slaughter. This art shall teach men that the fruit of righteousness will be given to those who follow Dharma, the Moral Law. The spirituality of this art shall be a restraint for the unruly, a discipline for the followers of rule. It will create wisdom in the ignorant, learning in scholars, afford sport to kings and endurance to the sorrow-stricken. Replete with the diverse moods, informed with varying passions of the soul, linked to the deeds of all mankind, the best, the middling and the low, affording excellent counsel, and all else, this great art shall console and elevate the world”.

A distinctive feature of the Bharatanatyam  is the fact that it conceives of movement is space mostly along either straight lines or in triangles or in circles, by which we gain a lot of energy. These movements are in actual act, moving lines, which come together in discernible patterns. These patterns reflect or mirror the Mandalas (mystic shapes or forms), which are associated with the six Chakras of the human psychic energy body (Sukshma Sharira, as it is termed in Yoga).

Bharatanatyam  is no less a spiritual search than the Sanyasi’s way of renunciation. Yoga and Bharatanatyam  are both a means by which “with body, mind and soul we may pray to the Divine.” These great arts help us to divinize ourselves, to develop spiritual qualities of loyalty, fidelity, a sense of Dharma, discipline, awareness, sensitivity, strength, courage, skill, cooperation, diligence, health, happiness and well being, serenity and peacefulness of mind.

May the artistic community of this great nation of Bharat strive to keep the purity of its great cultural heritage intact, inspiring people in all times to follow the advice of the great Rishi Veda Vyasa, who exclaimed at the end of his great epic, the Mahabharatha:

“Oh man know this! Do your Dharma (Ordained virtuous duty)! Then Artha (wealth) and Kama (fulfillment of desire) shall automatically come to you. Having fulfilled yourself in Artha and Kama, you will then seek and obtain Moksha! Hence I say, “Do your Dharma and all else shall come automatically to you.”

The great art of Bharat Natyam surely shows us how we may fulfill our Dharma in a most refined, pleasing, enjoyable, dignified, beautiful and joyful manner and attain that final union with the Supreme Self.

REFERENCES

1.         Bhavanani Ananda Balayogi .A Yogic approach to stress. Satya Press, Ananda Ashram Pondicherry, 2000

2.         Bhavanani Ananda Balayogi. A primer of Yoga theory. Satya Press, Ananda Ashram Pondicherry, 2004

3.         Bhavanani Meenakshi Devi. Yoga: One woman’s view. Satya Press, Ananda Ashram, Pondicherry. 1985

4.         Coomaraswamy Ananda. The Mirror of Gesture: Being the Abhinaya Darpana of Nandikeswara. Munshiram Manoharlal. New Delhi.1997.

5.         Gitananda Giri Swami and Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani, Yoga and Sports, Satya Press, Ananda Ashram, Pondicherry

6.         Gitananda Giri Swami, Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali, Satya Press, Ananda Ashram, Pondicherry

7.         Gitananda Giri Swami. Mudras. Satya Press, Ananda Ashram, Pondichery.1975

8.         Gitananda Giri Swami. Yoga: Step By Step, Satya Press, Ananda Ashram, Pondicherry. 1970

9.         Hinduism Today July 1992.Yogi Playwright Infusing Indian Theatre With More Atma and Altruism

10.       Kothari Sunil. Bharata Natyam: Indian classical dance art. Marg Publications. 1979.

11.       Ramanathan Leela. Moving sculpture, frozen dance. Sunday Herald, Deccan Herald, Sundays, January 18 and 25, 2004

12.       Sudhakar Kanaka. Indian classical dancing: The therapeutic advantages. Sterling Publishers,  New Delhi.1994

13.       Vivekananda Kendra Patrika, Yoga – The Science Of Holistic Living, Bangalore

14.       http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Shrine/3155/hasta

15.       http://www.ignca.nic.in/ks_14_cn.htm#KARANA

16.       http://www.kanakasabha.com/hastas/index

17.       http://www.nadanam.com/bharatnatyam

18.       http://www.pir.net/~beth/main

19.       www.shilpkalamart.com/classicaldances

Please note that the whole series is just a reproduction of the material at http://www.dhdi.free.fr/recherches/horizonsinterculturels/articles/bharatanatyamyoga.htm

 

 

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On Dance,Bharatanatyam,Tanjore Quartet,Disco, Of Glorious past and not so glorious present

17/06/2008

The inspiration behind this writeup is the the previous three articles on www.bharatanatyam2dance.wordpress.com.

Let me start by first exploring this- what is dance? Dance is the physical interpretation of music. What is good dancing and what is bad dancing? Like beauty is it not a very personal thing, is it not something only the viewer of the dance can and should judge? If not then why do different people have different opinions and favorites?

What is divine dancing? Is Bharatanatyam only divine and no other dance form? Ok. I will give the author of the abovesaid blog some lieniency. Are only the Indian classical dances divine? This author seems to make a lot of fun for other dance forms. Any dance, where one is enjoying the dance, without the knowledge of self- is divine( limiting this only to dance- i believe anything done without the knowledge of being or self is divine) be it hip- hop, ballet or jazz etc. I feel the author of the above said blog should see a few programs to realize that there are dances which would physically challenge all the aspects of even the author’s best Bharatanatyam dancer.

I am a Bharatanatyam dancer myself. But to say that only this form is good and divine and everything else is inferior, is not an idea I agree to. This author has even criticised dances in discos. Well I doubt the author has ever been into a disco. I feel one of the best places to observe what it means to dance- just dance, is a disco.  Is enjoying dancing not one of the purposes of dance itself? Is it not better than dancing infront of a audiance who are munching chips while the dancer is trying hard to catch their attention?

Have you ever heard a dancer saying, “This item was revealed to me by such-and-such Apsara in my meditation?”  is what the author comments in article . Well, since when did Apsaras and Gods started appearing in meditation? One should meditate to understand what it is and what are revealed thru it. Or is there any other meaning than what I understand that the author was trying to put across?

I still await the answer from the author for the question on what is glorious past? What is the current shit? What is art and what is not?  Hpw was an Alaripu was performed say 500 yrs ago, when Bharatanatyam was known as Sadir attam? This dear author was not even born, and because the author can’t find answers on the internet, so the author cannot say anything.

Although some idiots corrupted by the western pseudo-culture dare to expose their lack of brain by stating that “The body of a dancer of today considerably differs from that of an 11th or 14th century dancer, especially one known only from temple sculptures.” , it is an archaeological fact that the human bodies in South India were no different 50000 years ago from what these bodies look now. It is the styles of sculpture that came and vanished. The bodies remain the same “  The author seems not to be  aware of the evloution process.

“there are no contemporary Bharatanatyam dancers whose death would result in the immediate death of 1000 of their fans” there is nothing on this earth that can produce such results, God didnot design human such a way. Else all the people who lost their beloved would die immediately.

the real dancing happens in the invisible worlds, where it is much more fun Please explain in detail…

Have you ever met a contemporary Bharatanatyam dancer who has at least 1 spiritual experience??? Since when people started talking loudly about their spiritual experiances to all
Tom Dick and Harry? The author can please enlighten whether the author had herself/himself had one such experiance? Iam sure he/she would know if her /his favorite dancers had one- we all would like to know, don’t we?

Tuition was… free of cost. What was Guru Dakshina?

The author speaks endlessly regarding that perfect physical posture, that perfect expression – a dancer not having them  for which the below is the conversation that happened between us.

the way you rip apart each one above, you sound as a considerable authority on the art form. considering this you might as well.

Dear, reading the above, has indeed stirred what has been on my mind since quite some time. Is a perfect araimandi more important that giving oneself into dance itself? i fall into this catagory.
Is dancing in itself more important than looking for people to clap for you? Very recently, due to some misunderstanding, i have been denied a slot for performance in a show in Sydney. I was dissappointed, I practice every day in my kitchen-dining space. Thats when my husband asked me this- Are you not happy that you have enough space and time to dance every day? is it not enough?

rgds
mallika

Oyoyoyoyo! You are making such irresistible compliments! ) Wow! )

Is a perfect araimandi more important than giving oneself into dance itself?

The concentration and laya are important factors to touch the rasas, and to create a powerful spiritual atmosphere. Many good musicians (the violinist Sikhamani is a good example) “dance” (even their bodies move) while playing music. Are they dancers? No, they are musicians.

However, Bharatanatyam is not just about the inner, invisible things: it is about expressing (perfectly or not so) the inner experiences in the physical form. Without a perfect instrument and a perfect expression, the higher, spiritual truths, cannot be embodied.

We can also ask, what if the dancer cannot put her fingers into a perfect mudra? If you find a perfect body position, automatically your mind will move into a certain state.

If millions of people feel ecstatic at a disco when they give themselves into dance itself, is it important that they don’t dance Bharatanatyam? ;)

If you are “looking for people to clap for you”, you need either to become a pop star or to consult a psychiatrist. ) Seriously, if you feel such a need, your pranas are not circulating properly (some channels are open, and you lose energy). Go, sit in padmasana )

  • mallika Says:
    July 29, 2008 at 9:46 am Bharatanatyam,
    Now we are discussing something important here. While you are talking of araimandis, mudras etc, how much do you delve into the dancer really enjoying the dance herself. Iam a firm believer that one can give what one has, be it money or love or any feelings. While I was in theatre, doing skits and plays, one of my seniors told me, if you are not feeling it within, it shows to audiance mallika. And same goes for dance.
    While there is such rush to become celebrities ASAP and remain so as long, be it in any field. I feel this is a question that one should ask oneself, ‘am i feeling bhakti, when iam potryaing it?’
    Can you really deny the fact that most of the dancers are up there looking for people to clap for them?For all of them, its time to take a closer look and deeper meaning at what krishna said ‘ karmanye vadhi kaaraste, maa phaleshu kadachana…..’
    FYI, if a perfect body pose is what leads to rasanubhava, then iam still to watch it. but i expreianced a stir in me when i did watch priya murle do a varnam, without a araimandi.
  • mallika Says:
    July 29, 2008 at 9:51 am one more thing, its not only ectasy that we are talking about. if we are so insistant on being physically perfect poses, it doesnot need bharatanatyam. Even PrabhuDeva is physically perfect when he does his moves. or any bhangra dancer from punjab.
    what takes bharatanatyam is that inner spiritual feeling, felt and transmitted. Unless one feels, no transmission can happen.
  • Bharatanatyam Says:
    July 29, 2008 at 11:28 am I agree with you that there is no such a thing as an absolute physical perfection (in the types of bodies that humans have today). Moreover, people always see not the reality but what they expect and what they want to see.
    You can captivate their minds even without a perfect araimandi, no questions about that. You are absolutely right that a perfect araimandi is not as important as the dancer’s enjoying the dance.The dancer’s body’s perfect physical position is as unachievable as a violinist’s absolute precision in taking notes. If a musician is sometimes off-key, is it important? Or rather, can YOU hear it? Even among the most professional violinists, there are no perfect ones: the notes cannot be taken with an absolute precision. The average (untrained) human ear can distinguish 22 microtones in an octave. My neighbour can hear only 6, I guess! (So if some short-sighted people believe that PrabhuDeva (or Jothika) is physically perfect when he does his moves, it is because these spectators do not have a sharp (well-trained) eye, and do not understand what is Bharatanatyam.

    Rasanubhava is not just a “stir”, my dear.

    Can I really deny the fact that most of the dancers are up there looking for people to clap for them? No, I can’t. But these dancers will not be able to bring Tejas through them.
    In fact, it is quite obvious (and boring) when the dancer is aware of the audience and tries to please them.

  • The author seems to have not much information on the Dance itself and its history. Much to my shock the author and me had the below conversation for the article http://bharatanatyam2dance.wordpress.com/2008/01/03/the-hereditary-ones-and-back-to-karanas/#comment-141

    mallika Says:
    August 2, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    whats wrong with the TQ compositions? u seem not to like them. iam still thinking about the margam format though.
    may be ’cause i am trained in tanjore style?

    Bharatanatyam Says:
    August 2, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    think the TQ compositions are nice. u seem not to like them.

    They are ok, if the dancer is good I enjoy watching them, no problem. I have seen, for example, Sakiye performed at least 100 times by all kinds of dancers of all kinds of styles, in solos, duos, trios and groups! )

    However, the kings that the TQ compositions extol are no longer alive. The kings are dead.

    Imagine a contemporary composer composing an item dedicated to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Ms.Jayalalitha and containing lines praising her. As soon as Mr.Karunanidhi takes over again, this item will lose its relevance. Maybe the composer would end up in jail! ) The composer whose mind is tarnished by the desire/need to please a VIP will never produce a real masterpiece. For Rs.20000, some (second-rate) composers in Chennai will write you the lyrics and the music.
    There are short-term (politically correct) items, and there are long-term items not marred by politics/business.



    Think about what was BEFORE the present margam was introduced 200 years ago.


    Oy-yo-yo! ) Maybe ) Which Tanjore style, may I ask you? )

    mallika Says:
    August 3, 2008 at 9:09 am

    how many tanjore styles do u know anyway? how can you comment on anything that you have not seen or felt, for eg sundari? Dance is the physical interpretation of music and in that music lies the feeling and etc. thats y bharata never told how to dance. he laid guidelines, he left the interpretation part. he wanted each human being/dancer to feel, interpret and reach that point of understanding/realization. gods dont show their teeth? r u sure? what abt ur fav kali?
    while everything in the nature has undergone a change, including all kinds of art, y not dance or say bhartanatyam? y r u against it? no change or innovation or even bettermetnt can happen without such out of hte box thinking. yes i agree to the point that it might now be called, present day bharatanatyam of present day tanjore style of guru so and so…. but can u take an example , say a simple compsition and choreograph it exactly according to what sage bharata had written and meant in natyashastra? once u do that we will talk further.
    darling, not everything that is old is great, and not everything that is new is shit

  • Bharatanatyam Says:
    August 3, 2008 at 9:37 am How easy is it to infuriate you! )

    how many tanjore styles do u know anyway?

    Many. More than 50, I guess.

    how can you comment on anything that you have not seen or felt, for eg sundari?

    I did watch Sundari in that DVD. I tried not to laugh! ) Did you see how she drops her jaw? ) Comic! )
    What I meant to say that I did not see her in person, when she was younger. I guess she danced much better

    gods dont show their teeth?

    I said, “devas” (the Sattva-loving powers of Mind). Not even the Mahadevas or the powers of Svar, who are above the 3 guna’s.

    r u sure? what abt ur fav kali?

    She is the exception, since she has to clean up the world’s garbage. Dirty job. ) Unlike devas, She is not attached to any guna.

    while everything in the nature has undergone a change, including all kinds of art, y not dance or say bhartanatyam? y r u against it?

    No. I believe even Urvasi has been evolving in her style ) The apsaras (or devas) cannot evolve unless they take birth on earth. All evolution is happening here.

    can u take an example , say a simple compsition and choreograph it exactly according to what sage bharata had written and meant in natyashastra? once u do that we will talk further.

    OK. I’ll talk to you in 40-60 years’ time. Sure ( My creative talent is (at the moment) zero. I would have to do a lot of pujas for Brahma )

    darling, not everything that is old is great, and not everything that is new is shit

    Fine. I will be happy if you show (or tell) us what is there new that is not shit. )

  • mallika Says:
    August 3, 2008 at 10:37 am dear bharatanatyam,
    you mistake my thoughts as fury. you have not infuriated me. just like cleaning the garbage that u do is mistook by many.
    you not only have to open your eyes wide enough, but also your mind to let in some freshness and see things in a new and better perspective, then you will realise what is new and what is not shit.
    while i really like and respect your honesty, pls dont hide under any pretext…. did u really think that way when i askedu abt sundari? welll….. there is something that is above everything- that is truth. and only our inner self knows whether we are true or not, right or not.
    not only the devas, but also such human who is self realized and has reached the ultimate bliss thru meditation will have that kind of smile u have mentioned above.
    to think that one knows everything and what one sees exists and what one knows only is right – is not a very good idea.
    pls list down the 50 kinds of tanjore style of dancing in detail and i will tell u which one is mine.
    how do u know that devas have that smile, and do u know the reason behind it, all the reasons that are there all the time?
    why such frustration?
  • The author is obiviously unaware of the various kauthuvams and varnams like ‘manavi chekona raada’ by the Tanjore quartet.
     

    Coming to the latest post by this author where the author poses certain questions on the commercialisation of Bharatanatyam.
    The author starts by talking how mean it is to claim a copyright on one’s work and how glorius were the people of the past that they did not do any such thing. Indeed, Ramayana was always, Valmiki Ramayana, then came Tuslidas’s Ramanayana, then came our Ramanand Sagar… same goes for Mahabharatam and Bhagavatam… Iam tempted to name Pothana here….. Whilst it would have been beneficial to tell the readers that it was Vighneshwara who actually wrote Mahabharatam while Vyasa was narrating it and while is pen/thing with which he was writing broke, he broke off  one of his tusk and wrote the rest of Mahabharatam with it. Iam looking for a composition where I can choreograph this piece.

    The author then quotes the following:

    Read what Minakshi tells us:

    The most popular legend is that of the amazing young tribal boy Ekalavya on being rejected by the ace trainer Dronacharya, raised his statue and with great dedication practised the art of archery and left behind Arjuna, the master archer, who actually learnt the art under the living guru. And the heartless guru asked for his thumb as gurudakshina or fees, and made him inferior before his royal disciple.

    This is the most funny conclusion I have ever read, except Rama doubting Sita and subjecting her to the fire test. The author misses the basic comparision of Ekalavya’s act to what is happening in the present day Bharatanatyam world. Can we not see the similarities between what Ekalavya’s learning and present day online bharatanatyam courses, DVD teaching and distance certification courses? If this is right, then Drona was wrong indeed. 

    I posted a comment for the above article for which I am still waiting for an answer.

    mallika Says:
    August 8, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    what is sadir attam? to be precise, how did it look when one danced in that style,an alaripu or a padam,and may be not the present day bharatanatyam style? who dances that way now? how can one know? how can one say that that is only nice and not wat we do today? if one teacher charges some amount as a fee, but teaches more than for the said hours, is it wrong? is a bharatanatyam teacher supposed to teach free, when the student is someone who can afford the fee? what is the avg fee for bharatanatyam, rs.300-500 monthly for thrice a week hourly classes? how many students cannot afford it? how many children who cannot afford such money really find bharatanatyam interesting? should one just pull everyone into dancing, whether or not its his interest? like one is pulled into academics?
    who is a ‘true bharatanatyam guru’? if we have ’sa, ri, ga,ma,pa,dha,ni’ ,we create ragas based on these seven swaras. now all the ragas will contain only these swaras, then what is original- this is without going into the details of the origin of the swaras themselves?

     

     

     

    iam still thinking about the margam format though. 

     

    may be ’cause i am trained in tanjore style? 


    Bhartanatyam And Yoga Part-9

    17/06/2008

    BENEFITS OF DANCE FOR YOGA SADHAKAS

    A true Yogi is neither an introvert nor an extrovert. He or she is an ambivert, a person who is equally at home irrespective of whether he is introspecting within himself or whether he is interacting vibrantly with the external environment. Therefore to make sure that the natural introversion of Yoga is balanced with healthy extroversion, some form of extroverted activity such as sports, music or art and craft skill need to be deliberately cultivated.

    Dance provides a dynamic activity to offset the static activity of Yoga and many modern Yoga practitioners can benefit from such an associations.

    Dance also provides a great source for emotional catharsis and this can help the Yoga Sadhaka to get over many of the emotional hang-ups that continue to bother them in his or her Sadhana.

    MUDRA ACCORDING TO YOGAMAHARISHI

    DR SWAMI GITANANDA GIRI GURU MAHARAJ

    Pujya Swamiji, Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj, the codifier of the Rishiculture Ashtanga Yoga Paramparai was a world-renowned expert on Classical Yoga and his knowledge of the Yogic science of Mudra was unsurpassed. Here we present an extract from his book MUDRAS published by Satya Press, Ananda Ashram, Pondicherry.

     

    THE NEURO – MECHANICS OF MUDRA:

    The casual observer or the neophyte to Yoga may be easily led to believe that the beauty of the gesture, or the power of the esthete is that which evokes the Devatta, the Deva and the Devis, or that the entire procedure is entirely symbolical. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

    There is a good basis for acceptance that the Mudra does control the mind-brain processes and the functions within the nervous system by uniting various nerve terminals of the sympathetic and para-sympathetic function. It is acceptable in neurology that the human nervous system is divided into aflex and reflex systems. The aflex carries afferent or sensory responses as well as efferent or motor responses. The reflex system is much like the grounding wire of any high voltage electrical system. A second function of the reflex system is that if feeds back to appropriate brain centres reflexogenic impulses that are associated with the modern concept of biofeedback. There are some 729 reflexes in the Yoga system. Modern Science has accepted some 222 of these reflexes. Mudra Yoga is a most exact science, emanating from our ancient Rishi Yoga culture.

    In Yoga, the human body can be divided equally into ten distinct parts, five on each side of a median drawn directly through the centre of the body from the top of the head to the base of the spine and terminating in each of the digits of the toes and the fingers. The body can be further sub-divided into ten Pranic areas, where one of the five major Pranic flows governs the head and others the chest, the abdomen, the pelvis and the extremities. Five minor Pranas are more subtly at the work within specific nerve areas.

    The true use of Pranayama is to control these ten flows of Prana Vayu and the Prana Vahaka or nerve impulses, which move in the Nadis or nerves of the Pancha Kosha, the Five Bodies of Man.

    When the fingers of the hands are united together in the Hastha Mudra, the specific nerves (as in Jnana Mudra) are united together in a closed nerve circuit. The fingers not in use represent an open nerve circuit. If the hands are united together (as in Namaskara Mudra), then the cranial nerve circuits of the head and the upper part of the body in the Pneumo-gastric or Vagus system are united together. If the hands are brought into alignment on the face (as in Yoni Mudra) then the Vagus nerves and the facial nerves are brought together in a closed circuit.

    If the hands are united with the feet (as in Yoga Mudra) then the Vagus system is close-circuited with the cerebrospinal nerves.

    When a posture like Parva Asana, the Past Posture, is used, all of the nerve systems of the body are thrown into turbulent action. Parva Asana is used by the Yogi to see into his past existences, to remember past lives. It is also sometimes called Purva Janma Mudra or Parva Mudra.

    The purpose of the Hatha Yoga Asanas is to bring together these same nerve terminals, uniting them uniquely in the various postures to produce the specific effect of that posture. This is one good reason that Asanas, Kriyas and Mudras must be done correctly, otherwise the posture is a meaningless gesture, rather than that as understood in the inner teachings of Yoga, a concrete method to achieve Union.       

     

    MAJOR POINTS TO BE CONSIDERED IN MUDRAS ACCORDING TO YOGAMAHARISHI DR SWAMI GITANANDA GIRI GURU MAHARAJ

    1. The Mudra is made complete by bringing together acupressure points at various sites on the human body. These Bindus are concerned with the pristine practice of Mudra. Yet, every Asana or Kriya is in some way a partial Mudra if these acupressure Bindus are brought into play. Particularly, this is to be noted in the practice of Hathaats, Hathenas, and the Hastikams in the Hatha Yoga system. This group of Asanas comes very close to being: Mudras.

    2. The Mudra or gesture can act like a Kriya increasing or impeding circulation of the blood or lymph into various vital organs. Mudra can control every organ and function of the body and mind.

    3. The Mudra moves energy through the physical nervous system of a bi-polar nature. This bi-polar nature is also inherent in the energy moving in the Pranamaya Kosha, the Vital Body. The Mudra helps to produce an electrical field around the Yogi, abundant in negative ions, producing a sense of well-being.

      4. The Mudra extracts energy and substances from the nerves and vital bodies producing the various enzymes and hormones needed for vibrant health.

    5. The Mudra creates a uni-polar base of energy in the Kanda, the Conus Medullaris at the base of the spinal cord. This uni-polar energy is popularly called “Kundalini Shakti”.

    6. The Mudra converts enzymes and hormones into Ojas, purified autocoids, and Tejas, super-enzymes. The Mudra accomplishes Urdhwa Retas or a transmutation of lower substances and drives producing a Satchidananada Deha, an indestructible Yogic body.

    7. The Mudra arouses and controls the Kundalini Shakti. Kundalini arousal without Mudra is madness.

    8. The Mudra is itself a vehicle of total Union or Yoga. To a pious Hindu Yogi, the Mudra is no longer a gesture of Union, but is Union itself. The devotee becomes Shiva, or Shakti. “Verily, the Mudra is the Devi, even the Supreme Adept Himself … Devi is Shakti, but the Mudra controls Her … so Mudra is also the Supreme Shakta”.

    ART OF MUDRAS ACCORDING TO KALAIMAMANI

    YOGACHARINI MEENAKSHI DEVI BHAVANANI

    Yogacharini Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani is one of the few experts in the world who has the unique combination of more than 35 years of study, research and teaching experience in the fields of Yoga and Bharatanatyam . She is a member of numerous Central and State Government councils of Yoga and has trained thousands of dancers in the art of Natya Karanas. Here we reproduce an essay by her that is excerpted from her book, YOGA: ONE WOMAN’S VIEW, published by Satya Press, Pondicherry.

     

    What are the means of communication, which are subtle, refined, and delicate beyond words? What means of communication exist which will not destroy the fragile relationship, the delicate emotion, the subtle thought? Even more important, how can the individual mind communicate with its own emotions, with its own body? Is there an intimate form of communication within the human structure itself? In India, a whole language grew up which was capable of expressing the subtlest spiritual truths, the most refined human emotions and thoughts without resorting to the gross vehicle of verbal communication, which alters any situation it expresses. That form of communication was called the Science of Mudra.

    Broadly speaking, Mudra means a “gesture”. I can be a gesture of mind, (Manas Mudra); a gesture of the body (Kaya Mudra); a gesture of the hands (Hastha Mudra); a gesture of the feet (Pada Mudra); a gesture of the face (Mukha Mudra) or a gesture of the eyes (Chakshu Mudra).

    Most humans unconsciously use “Mudras” constantly in their daily lives. They simply are unaware of it. Let us examine a few Mudras common to humanity throughout the world, “Mudras of the daily life”, so to speak.

    “Body Talk” has become a popular cliché in “pop psychology” circles in the West. We unconsciously tell the world many things about ourselves, unconsciously communicate much of our real self to those around us; simply by the way we hold our body, our hands, our face, and our feet. The English expression “It was a gesture of good will,” indicates that we recognize that emotions can be “gestured”. Mentally we can “gesture” or “reach out” towards others with good thoughts or even bad ones, and this “gesture” has its power, depending upon the concentrative power of our mind at the time. This would be a Manas Mudra. We all know when we see someone with shoulders caved in that the person is dejected, or lacking confidence, just as we know that someone who walks with shoulders thrown back and straight and tall is filled with confidence. We know that someone who is constantly “fidgeting” or moving a body part unnecessarily is nervous and worried. These are all examples of unconscious “gestures” of the body, of Kaya Mudras.

    Some common unconscious gestures of the hands (Hastha Mudras) include wringing of the hands when in great difficulty or trouble; showing the palm of the hand to another, a gesture asking the person to stop what he is doing; (this Mudra is used by traffic policemen all over the world); putting the hand into a first to show defiance and anger; gesturing the thumb up, with the remaining fingers closed into a list to show approval. (In the ancient days, the gladiators in the Roman Coliseums depended upon this signal from the emperor to spare their lives).

    Gestures of the feet are not so common in the shoe-clad West, but everyone knows what it means if someone “kicks” their foot at them. In the East it is considered a gesture of great disrespect to sit with the legs crossed at the knees when in the presence of someone who should be shown respect. It is also considered disrespectful to sit with the feet outstretched toward anyone. In the East, because it is customary to sit on the floor, the people are accustomed to many different positions of the feet, which have many meanings. This is the Pada Mudra. We are all also aware of gestures of the face (Mukha Mudras). We all know what a smile is and what a frown is, and what a grimace of disgust looks like or a hateful look. These are all common facial Mudras. The Chakshu Mudras, those gestures of the eyes, are much more subtle. Certainly most lovers are experts in the Chakshu Mudra, sending glances of love, of disappointment, of anger, of sorrow etc. The unconscious use of the various Mudras to communicate basic emotions, feelings and ideas is common throughout the human family. It is only in India, however, that this human phenomenon has been observed, codified, structured and refined into both a science and an art.

    Mudra was elevated to the position of a carefully thought out science of cause and effect in the ancient discipline of Yoga, and refined to an exquisite form of communication in the ancient art of Bharat Natyam. The Hatha Yoga and Raja Yoga Systems of the ancient Hindus contain a wide repertoire of Pada Mudras, Hastha Mudras and Kaya Mudras. Although there are Chakshu Mudras and Mukha Mudras, their use is not so widespread as in, for example, the Bharat Natyam.

    The Yogis in times past were fully aware of the flows of Prana or Vital Energy in the body, the effect of this Prana upon the human organism and its importance in al forms of life. The existence of Prana is a fact that even the greatest of modern scientists have yet to discover. Carl Sagan, well-known popularizer of scientific theories in the United States, recently stated that it appeared as though it was simply by chance adaptation to environmental conditions that the human body developed five fingers and five toes. The Yogi, who knows is own body inside out and its connection with the Universe, knows differently, and this is one of the basic principles as to why Mudras work as they do. The human has five fingers and five toes on each side of his body because he has five flows of Pranic energy, which terminate in each of the digits. There are five flows from head to foot on the right side, and five flows from head to foot on the left side. As well, there is a definite form of Prana circulating in the head, in the torso, in the stomach, in the pelvic area and in the extremities. These Pranic energies even have a name in Yogic terminology. Udana Prana circulates in the head; Prana Reflex in the chest; Samana in the digestive organs; Apana in the organs of elimination and Vyama in the organs of mobility (arms and legs). Bringing these various diverse flows of Pranic energy into closed circuits (“sealing” the energy flow) is one of the methods by which Mudra achieves its purpose.

    Even the less sensitive human is fairly aware of the flow of energy off the hands and feet. This is why for ages immemorial holy men (men who had achieved some high level of energy within their human frame) have been able to “heal” by the “laying on of hands”. This also explains why we like to be touched by “high-energy”, positive people. They are transferring their surplus energy to us. It also explains why we shudder to be touched by negative, low energy people – they literally drain us of our energy. Normally we are losing energy through our hands and feet. It was discovered by the Yogis that joining hand to hand or hands to feet in various ways not only prevented that energy loss, but also helped build up the power of the nervous system, making it capable of handling the greater energy flows needed for (and produce by) “real” meditation. In Namaskar Mudra, for example (which, interestingly enough, is the hand position also used by Christians for prayer), the palm is placed against palm, and held against the region of the heart. In Yoga Mudra, the feet are crossed into Padma Asana, with right foot on left thigh, and left foot on right thigh, are palms of the hands placed on the soles of the feet. In many Yoga Asanas, the palms of the hands are placed into contact with the soles of the feet deliberately to create closed circuits.

    Sometimes, various fingers are held together in particular positions, uniting one specific flow of Prana in a unique way with another, to produce a certain effect in the body. For example, a whole system of Mudras has been evolved which, when the fingers are held in a particular position, such as Chin Mudra, Chinmaya Mudra, Adhi Mudra and Brahma Mudra, the flow of air into specific areas of the low, mid, high and complete areas of the lungs respectively can be controlled. A Mudra used commonly for meditative and concentrative activities is the Jnana Mudra in which the tip of the thumb is united in a circle with the tip of the forefinger, and the other three fingers held rigidly straight the thumb represents the energy of the Atman (Universal Self; in physiological terms, the energy of the Central Nervous System or Sushumna Nadi) and the forefinger represents the energy of Jiva (individual self; in physiological terms, the right and left peripheral nerves or the Ida and Pingala Nadi). In Yogic parlance, the energies of the individual self are united to the energies of the Universal Self and the high meditative state is achieved. The Hastha Mudra is both a symbolic, as well as a causative factor in producing that which it symbolizes. It sets the stage, so to speak, and points the way. It is the conscious, evolving aspect of mind speaking indirectly through the Mudras to the physiological function of the body, gesturing to the body the direction along which body energies should flow.

    There are many such Hastha Mudras, each having its own particular effect upon the body, emotions, mind, nervous system and Pranic flow within the human organism, each Mudra carrying its own subtle message of evolution. Also in the Hatha Yoga repertoire are numerous Pada together in various positions in order to affect energy flows. Sometimes the feet are used as the vehicle of pressure to apply this pressure at a certain sensitive point in the body, producing the desired effect on the energy system.

    Some Kaya Mudra (Body Mudras) include Yoga Mudra and Maha Mudra, but the most important of the Kaya Mudras in the Hatha Yoga system are the six Mudras known also as the Shat Mudras or the Oli Mudras. By placing the body into six distinct positions, using breath control and Bandhas as well, endocrine glands of the body are stimulated indirectly. Through this complicated series of body Mudras, the Tejas or firepower of the body (sexual energy) is transmuted into Ojas, or mental energy. This is a good example of how the higher mind speaks to the body through the medium of the Mudra. If the mind tried to verbally instruct the body to transmit Tejas into Ojas, the feat would be impossible. By placing the body into particular positions, controlling the breath in a particular way and using Bandhas, the Mudras acts as the communicative link between the higher mind’s desire to create Ojas, and the body’s ability to follow its direction. Thus, the Mudra becomes a subtle means of true communication between mind and body, a concrete way in which in which the body can implement the evolutionary commands of the mind. It is the special language uniting mind and body.

    Whereas Mudras in Yoga is used mainly by the Yogi to communicate spiritually within himself and with the Universal Self, the Mudra in Bharat Natyam is used by the artist to subtle communicate with her audience, creating a Rasa – a particular emotional state – or stimulating the perception of a spiritual truth or feeling directly, from soul to soul, without the cloying, degrading effect of verbal contact. The Mudra in Yoga is an intra-personal communication, where via hand, foot and body positions, the mind can communicate to the body via energy or Pranic flows, its evolutionary commands. The Mudra in Bharat Natyam, however, is much more an inter-personal communications, a direct communion between artist and audience. Subtle emotions, spiritual truths that cannot be conveyed verbally, can be expressed via the trained glance of the eye, face, the position of the hands, the feet or the body.

    Many of the Bharat Natyam, Mudras are also to be found in Yoga, as they are deeply rooted in the natural physical reaction of the nervous system to certain emotions and states of mind. For example, in Bharat Natyam a closed fist with the thumb up is called Shikara Mudra and is used to symbolize manifestations of the Divine Power – Lord Shiva Lord Vishnu etc. We have seen how in common usage the erect thumb position symbolizes triumph, success, “lordship” (compare the popular expression “thumb up”). This corresponds well to Yogic thinking where the thumb symbolizes the energies of the Higher Self, in physiological terms, the Sushumna Nadi. The Namaskara Mudra which literally gestures the meaning, “I witness that Supreme Force as manifesting in you” is common to both Yoga and Bharat Natyam, as is the Anjali Mudra, in which the Namaskara Mudra is lifted high over the head in a gesture of great respect to the higher authority, which could be God, Guru or King. The Jnana Mudra, the Gesture of Meditation in Yoga, is used also in Bharat Natyam to show the meditative state.

    An interesting example of a Mudra for the dance, which is deeply rooted in neurological truths, is the Mudra used to depict the Rakshasha or the demon. We noted in the case of the Jnana Mudra, the Mudras of Meditation or Wisdom, that the thumb, which represents the Higher Consciousness, is joined to the forefinger, which represents the individual self, and the three remaining fingers which represent the Tanmatras (the eighteen senses of man) are held tightly straight and together in a controlled position. This represents a man in a meditative state. In the Mudra representing a Rakshasha, the forefinger is held against the base of the thumb, with the thumb stretched out, indicating that the individual self willfully refuses to join itself to the Supreme Consciousness. The other three fingers representing all the senses are played apart widely, indicating that the senses of the Rakshasha are out of control. Neurologically, the hand position well represents a devil, a Rakshasha, a man who stubbornly refuses to submit his individual will to the Divine Will and whose senses are uncontrolled. This same kind of analysis could be applied to many other Mudras of the Bharat Natyam.

    Another class of hand positions is more graphic and descriptive, and recreates salient features of the action / emotion / thought expressed by simulating the outstanding characteristics of the action. These Mudras are more obvious, such as those used to suggest carrying a pot of water, stringing flowers into a garland, closing and opening a door, eating butter and so on. The Kaya Mudras, holding the body in a defiant stance, an amorous stance, etc., play their part in communicating ideas and emotions as well.

    The Pada Mudras reinforce the work of the Kaya Mudras. Chakshu and Mukha Mudras are the vital link between Hastha, Pada and Kaya Mudras and the Rasa to be created in the audience. The skilled, trained dancer learns to communicate with her eyes and subtle gestures of face, using facial muscles, eyebrows, eyelids and mouth to convey her point. The most exquisite communication is achieved without uttering a single word. Of course, elaborate instrumental and vocal music and the collective cultural consciousness of the audience is also drawn upon to achieve the total effect. When that magic of shared spiritual insight and awareness occurs, as it often does in a Bharat Natyam recital, it is amazing to think that so much has been shared, so many emotions, so many thoughts, so many experiences with nary a word uttered by the artist or audience. The purifying and uplifting process of that type of artistic communion must be experienced to be understood.

    Through the science of Mudra, that rare moment of perfect and pure communion and oneness can achieved, whether uniting man with man in a high spiritual level of consciousness or uniting man with the Supreme Force in that fleeting moment of spiritual insight. The Mudra “gestures” the energy necessary and “seals” that otherwise intangible and illusive moment, fixing it for all time in our heart and nerves, bones and blood, mind and body, soul and thought – creating a solid foundation stones upon which to build a spectacular spiritual life.

    The Mudra , that Divine gesture, “seals” into our very cells that , ‘Call to a Higher Life”, which can never again be denied!

     

     


    Talam structure

    17/06/2008

    Talam in Sanskrit means ‘clap.’ Whilst you can get various meanings of ‘talam’ and definitions by doing a google on it, I will try to put across the simplest way to understand and remember the structure of talam. Please note that this is not exhaustive. To start with, one needs to be familiar with a few jargons related to talam. 

    Talam has six angas or parts. These are namely: 
    1) Anudhrutam 
    2) Dhrutam 
    3) Laghu 
    4) Guru 
    5) Plitham 
    6) Kakapaadam 

    We will now take the first three aspects or angas and try to understand them. 
    1) Anudhrutam: It is represented by the symbol ‘U.’ It is a beat, and is physically counted as 1 unit/akshara. 

    2) Dhrutam: It is represented by the symbol ‘O.’ It is a beat and a wave of the hand. This is counted as 2 units/akshara. 

    3) Laghu: It is represented by the symbol ‘l.’ It is – one beat+ followed by counts of the fingers starting from the little finger.  

    The counts of fingers are units called ‘aksharas.’ Laghu can be of five types. These are Jathis. 

    Let us now understand the Jathi pattern. 
    1) Tisra Jathi: In this, Laghu has one beat of the palm facing downwards + 2 finger counts (in detain, the finger counts will be- little finger, ring finger). This equals three units or three aksharas. 

    2) Chatushra Jathi: In this, Laghu has one beat of the palm facing downwards + 3 finger counts (in detain, the finger counts will be- little finger, ring finger and middle finger). This equals four units or four aksharas. 

    3) Khanda Jathi: In this, Laghu has one beat of the palm facing downwards + 4 finger counts (in detain, the finger counts will be- little finger, ring finger, middle finger and again little finger). This equals five units or five aksharas. 

    4) Misra Jathi: In this, Laghu has one beat of the palm facing downwards + 6 finger counts (in detain, the finger counts will be- little finger, ring finger, middle finger again little finger, ring finger and middle finger). This equals seven units or seven aksharas. 

    5) Sankeerna Jathi: In this, Laghu has one beat of the palm facing downwards + 8 finger counts (in detain, the finger counts will be- little finger, ring finger, middle finger again little finger, ring finger middle finger, and again little finger and ring finger). This equals nine units or nine aksharas. 

    Let us now see how a talam is structured. For this, we will study the seven basic talams, called the “Suladi Sapta Talams.”  

    In Carnatic music, there are seven basic talams that are often used. They are called “Suladi Sapta Talams.” These are as follows: 
     

    Tala  Description of Aavartanam  Default length of laghu / Jathi  Total Aksharas /Units 
    Dhruva  1O11 (1 laghu of 4 beats + 1dhrutam (2units) +1laghu of 4 beats + 1 laghu of 4 beats)  4 (Chatushra)  14 
    Matya  1O1 (1 laghu of 4 beats + 1 dhrutam (2units) + 1 laghu of 4 beats)  4 (Chatushra)  10 
    Rupaka  O1 (1dhrutam (2units) + 1 laghu of 4 beats)  4 (Chatushra)  6 
    Jhampa  1UO (1 laghu of 4 beats + 1 anudhrutam (1unit) + 1 dhrutam (2units)  4 (Chatushra)  7 
    Triputa  1OO (1 laghu of 4 beats + 1 dhrutam (2units) + 1 dhrutam (2units)  4 (Chatushra)  8 
    Ata  11OO (1 laghu of 4 beats + 1 laghu of 4 beats +1 dhrutam (2units) + 1 dhrutam (2units)  4 (Chatushra)  12 
    Eka  1 (1 laghu of 4 beats)  4 (Chatushra)  4 

      
    One complete talam cycle is called an “Aavartanam.” For eg. One aavartanam in Chatushra jathi Ata talam is 12 aksharams long. Likewise, one can calculate the number of aksharams in each aavartanam according to the talam and jathi. For instance, one aavaratanam in Misra jathi Jhampa talam will be 10 aksharams long. 

    There are few places where you will see that the word ‘chaapu’ is used in place of ‘jathi.’  

    Most popular Talams that are used in Bharatanatyam are: 
    1) Adi Talam: It is nothing but Chatushra jathi Triputa Talam. It has 8 aksharams per aavartanam.  

    2) Rupaka Talam: Though there are six aksharas, only three are rendered externally. One anudhrutam and one dhrutam. In Bharatanatyam the sollus are: thaka ta kita, where thaka is one beat and ta kita are two beats giving us 3 aksharas for Rupaka talam. 

    3) Misrachapu Talam: Has 7 aksharas per avartanam. (Tisra jathi Triputa talam) In Bharatanatyam, the sollus are: tha ki ta tha ka dhi mi, found in most Shabdams. 

    4) Khandachapu Talam: Five aksharas per aavartanam.  

    Before we move to the other three parts or angas of a Talam, we need to understand the following:  
    1) 1 krshyai – Has 4 aksharams and is represented by waving the hand towards left. 
    2) 1 sarpini – Has 4 aksharams and is represented by waving the hand towards right. 
    3) 1 pathakam – Has 4 aksharams and is represented by raising the hand vertically. 
    4) Viramam – A single akshara part. 

    Now, let us understand the other three angas/parts of Talam.  
    1) 1 Guru – 1 beat and counting 7 fingers equaling to 8 aksharams 
    2) 1 Plutham – 1 guru + 1 krshyai + 1 sarpini equaling to 12 aksharams 
    3) 1 Kakapadam – 1 guru+ 1 krshyai + 1 sarpini + 1 pathakam equalling to 16 aksharams.  

    (The symbols for all the above 3 angas are in the table discussed below.) 

    We now know all the six parts/ angas of the Talams. These six angas are called the Shadangams of Talam. When we add the viramam to all the six angas, we get sixteen parts of Talam called Shodasangams. 

    Below is a tabular representation.* 
     

    Anga name  Symbol  Aksharakaalas  Movement 
    Anudhrutam  U  1  beat with palm 
    Dhrutam  0  2  beat with palm + turn (wave) 
    Dhruta viramam  U0  3 (2 + 1)  dhrutam + anudhrutam 
    Laghu  |  4 (or 3, 5, 7, 9)  beat + finger counts 
    Laghu viramam  U|  5 (4 + 1)  laghu + anudhrutam 
    Laghu dhrutam  0|  6 (4 + 2)  laghu + dhrutam 
    Laghudhruta viramam  U0|  7 (4 + 2 + 1)  laghu + dhrutam + anudhrutam 
    Guru  8  8  wave to left and right or circle with thumb-up 
    Guru viramam  U8  8 (8 + 1)  guru + anudhrutam 
    Guru dhrutam  08  10 (8 + 2)  guru + dhrutam 
    Gurudhruta viramam  U08  11 (8 + 2 + 1)  guru + dhrutam + anudhrutam 
    Plutham  |8  12 (8 + 4)  1 guru +1 kryshya + 1 sarpini – each of 4 aksharakalas  
    Plutha viramam  U|8  13 (12 + 1)  plutam + anudhrutam 
    Plutha dhrutam  0|8  14 (12 + 2)  plutam + dhrutam 
    Plutha dhruta viramam  U0|8  15 (12 + 2 + 1)  plutam + dhrutam + anudhrutam 
    Kaakapaadam  +  16  1 guru +1 patakam + 1 kryshya + 1 sarpini – each of 4 aksharakalas 

    (*Table from www.ajsriram.blogspot.com, with a few changes)  

    One more important thing that affects the Talam is Nadai or gati. It means speed or pace at which a composition in rendered. It is the count which determines the duration of the aksharam, which is usually fixed but for a few exceptions. This count is called “maatraa.”  The default nadai is Chatusram. But the nadai can be one of 3, 4, 5, 7 or 9, and these are respectively called Tisra, Chatushra, Khanda, Misra and Sankeerna. This provides further variation to the talam. (www.tutorgig.com with a few changes).  

    For eg. If we need to know the number of maatraas in a chatushra gati tisra jathi eka talam, it will be: 4*1 beat + 4*1 little finger count + 4*1 ring finger count equals 12 maatraas. 

    Now take a look at the table below.* 
     

    Tala  Jathi  Nadai  Aksharaas  Maatraas 
    Dhruva   1O11  Tisra  1 beat +2 finger counts  Tisra  Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

    11  3+2+3+3  33  44  

    55  

    77  

    99 

      Chatushra  1 beat + 3 finger counts  Tisra    

    Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

    14  4+2+4+4  42    

    56  

    70  

    98  

    126 

      Khanda  1 beat +4 finger counts    Tisra  

    Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

    17  5+2+5+5    51  

    68  

    85  

    119  

    153 

      Misra  1 beat +6 finger counts    Tisra  

    Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

    23  7+2+7+7    69  

    92  

    115  

    161  

    207 

      Sankeerna  1 beat + 8 finger counts    Tisra  

    Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

    29  9+2+9+9    87  

    116  

    145  

    203  

    261 

    Matya   1O1  Tisra  1beat +2 finger counts  Tisra  Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

     3+2+3  24  32  

    40  

    56  

    72  

     

      Chatushra  1 beat + 3 finger counts  Tisra  Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

    10  4+2+4  30  40  

    50  

    70  

    90 

      Khanda  1 beat +4 finger counts    Tisra  

    Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

    12  5+2+5    36  

    48  

    60  

    84  

    108 

      Misra  1 beat +6 finger counts    Tisra  

    Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

    16  7+2+7    48  

    64  

    80  

    112  

    144 

      Sankeerna  1 beat + 8 finger counts    Tisra  

    Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

    20  9+2+9    60  

    80  

    100  

    140  

    180 

      Rupaka  

    O1 

      Tisra  

    1beat +2 finger counts 

      Tisra  

    Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

       

    2+3 

      15  

    20  

    25  

    35  

    45 

      Chatushra  1 beat + 3 finger counts  Tisra  Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

     2+4  18  24  

    30  

    42  

    54 

      Khanda  1 beat +4 finger counts    Tisra  

    Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

     2+5    21  

    28  

    35  

    49  

    63 

      Misra  1 beat +6 finger counts    Tisra  

    Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

     2+7    27  

    36  

    45  

    63  

    81 

      Sankeerna  1 beat + 8 finger counts    Tisra  

    Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

    11  2+9    33  

    44  

    55  

    77  

    99 

    Jhampa  1UO  Tisra  1beat +2 finger counts  Tisra  Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

     3+1+2  18  24  

    30  

    42  

    54 

      Chatushra  1 beat + 3 finger counts  Tisra  Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

     4+1+2  21  28  

    35  

    49  

    54 

      Khanda  1 beat +4 finger counts    Tisra  

    Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

     5+1+2    24  

    32  

    40  

    56  

    72 

      Misra  1 beat +6 finger counts    Tisra  

    Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

    10  7+1+2    30  

    40  

    50  

    70  

    90 

      Sankeerna  1 beat + 8 finger counts    Tisra  

    Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

    12  9+1+2    36  

    48  

    60  

    84  

    108 

    Triputa  1OO  Tisra  1beat +2 finger counts  Tisra  Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

     3+2+2  21  28  

    35  

    49  

    54 

      Chatushra  1 beat + 3 finger counts  Tisra  Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

     4+2+2  24  32  

    40  

    56  

    72 

      Khanda  1 beat +4 finger counts    Tisra  

    Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

     5+2+2    27  

    36  

    45  

    63  

    81 

      Misra  1 beat +6 finger counts    Tisra  

    Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

    11  7+2+2    33  

    44  

    55  

    77  

    99 

      Sankeerna  1 beat + 8 finger counts    Tisra  

    Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

    13  9+2+2    39  

    52  

    65  

    91  

    117 

    Ata  11OO  Tisra  1beat +2 finger counts  Tisra  Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

    10  3+3+2+2  30  40  

    50  

    70  

    90 

      Chatushra  1 beat + 3 finger counts    Tisra  

    Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

    12  4+4+2+2    36  

    48  

    60  

    84  

    108 

      Khanda  1 beat +4 finger counts    Tisra  

    Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

    14  5+5+2+2    42  

    56  

    70  

    98  

    126 

      Misra  1 beat +6 finger counts    Tisra  

    Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

    18  7+7+2+2    54  

    72  

    90  

    126  

    162 

      Sankeerna  1 beat + 8 finger counts    Tisra  

    Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

    22  9+9+2+2    66  

    88  

    110  

    154  

    198 

    Eka   Tisra  1beat +2 finger counts  Tisra  Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

       12  

    15  

    21  

    27 

      Chatushra  1 beat + 3 finger counts    Tisra  

    Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

        12  

    16  

    20  

    28  

    36 

      Khanda  1 beat +4 finger counts    Tisra  

    Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

        15  

    20  

    25  

    35  

    45 

      Misra  1 beat +6 finger counts    Tisra  

    Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

        21  

    28  

    35  

    49  

    63 

      Sankeerna  1 beat + 8 finger counts    Tisra  

    Chatushra  

    Khanda  

    Misra  

    Sankeerna 

        27  

    36  

    45  

    63  

    81 

    (* The above table format is similar to that in www.carnatica.com with few changes) 

    *this article already appears on www.narthaki.com


    Musings of an Idle mind

    17/06/2008
    I used to attend weekend bhartanatyam classes with my sister, who is very talented.
    i was very happy to bunk those classes too. So i went on with a lot of breaks. but i was always associated with theatre and acting. i  thought that is what it is all about in my life. i am a person for stage and theatre it is for me.
    when i got married, it took a while for me to get transferred to the branch in bangalore. so active iam, i was bored sitting all day at home and was panicking that i am bloating each day. then just a thought crossed my mind, why not start bharatanatyam? it was not so surprising then, but a wonderful guru used to stay right up my place.
    after a few classes, i overheard whispering to one of her senior students that i look good while dancing. as old habits die hard, i still used to make excuses not to go to the class. meanwhile my transfer happend and i started working. so classes pushed to weekend This lady, my guru, used to wake me up every saturday and sunday at 7.30 am and took me to the class  with her, so i dont bunk making excuses. she waited outside all the while i brushed my teeth, occasionally shouting that i can have my bath after iam back from the class.
    then i had my daughter. one night i just wokeup, from my sleep. it was like a spiritual awakening. i cried and aplogised to my guru for being so blind, for being so ignorant, for being so foolish. and i kept on doing it the whole night. may be even now, as i write this. that moment i realised. there was no job, only dance. why bharatanatyam, i dont know, may be gods will.
    i never knew its importance and value then. now when i look back, i know what i miss. by the grace of the god, its not too late. now when i look back , i know everything was/is predestined. today i dance for 2hrs a day, but my heart yearns for my guru’s presence.
    who ever praises my dance, i still look forward for her comments. my guru. something makes me think, feel she knew it. she knew it right from the beginning, the moment she saw me. she knew my destiny and she showed me the path. only later i realise.
     

    Bharatanatyam And Yoga Part-8

    17/06/2008

    FLEXIBILITY:

    One of the important physical attributes required by a dancer is flexibility of the body.  Jattis and other practices of the Shetali Karana Vyayama, spinal twists such as Ardha Matsyendrasana and Vakrasana, back bending Asanas like Laghu Vajrasana, Rajakapotasana, Chakrasana and Dhanurasana and forward bending Asanas such as Padahasthasana, Paschimottanasana, and Halasana ensure flexibility of the body.  The body can then be a supple and well-tuned instrument that allows her to perform any movement that she wishes effortlessly and gracefully while dancing.  This effortlessness is essential for a dancer because, when she makes any movement with strain, not only does she suffer but the sensitive Rasikas are also jarred out of the smooth harmony that had been earlier effected in them by her easy and flowing movements.

    COORDINATION:

    Practice of Suryanamaskar, alternate nostril breathing Pranayamas such as Nadi Shuddhi and Loma Viloma as well as various Jattis help to develop right–left coordination and balance in the dancer. Asanas wherein the hands are joined to the feet like Padahasthasana, Janasirasasana, Paschimottanasana and Akarna Dhanurasana are very useful to develop hand-foot as well as right-left coordination, very essential for a smooth performance. Yoga is isometric and internal. It is a contest between our inherent inertia and the power of the will. Parts of the body are pitted against one another and a unique harmony of body, mind and breath is developed. This internal struggle when handled successfully deepens the consciousness of not only the working of the body but also of the mind and emotions.

    Right-left brain function is improved by Pranayamas as right nostril breathing stimulates the left-brain and vice versa. This helps improve coordination between the two halves of the body and thus produce an artistic and perfect symmetry, essential for a good dancer.

    MUSCULOSKELETAL BENEFITS:

    A regular practice of Yoga helps the dancer avoid hip, back, shoulder, neck and knee related problems that are rampant in the modern dance world. Practices such as Baddha Konasana, Jatara Parivrittaanasana, Hanumanasana, Trikonasana, Padotannasana, Upavishta Konasana, and Mandukasana are good for the hips and legs. Vajrasana and its variations as well as the Garudasana are good for the feet while Chatus Padasana, Bhujangasana, Kaya Kriya, Shalabhasana and Ushtrasana are excellent for the back. Even in dancers suffering from these musculoskeletal disorders, Yoga can help them recover faster and better as well as limit the morbidity and disability that may otherwise result from over use and misuse of these parts of the body. Brahma Mudra, Kaya Kriya, Tala Kriya and Dridha Kriya are extremely beneficial for health of the entire musculoskeletal system.

    PHYSIOLOGICAL FUNCTION:

    Yoga helps develop all systems of the human body (cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, eliminative, endocrine, nervous and musculoskeletal) thus strengthening, cleansing and purifying the human body so that it is brought under our conscious will. This is vital for the dancers.

    Yoga stimulates and strengthens the neuro-endocrine system and it counteracts the body stiffness, changes in skin tone and hair loss, which are common problems due to glandular imbalance. Youthfulness that is essential for a dancer is the byproduct of neuro-endocrine health and this can be attained by a regular Yoga practice.

    All round health is developed which will stand the dancer in good stead even after retirement, saving them the ‘post retirement blues and breakdowns’.

    ENERGY:

    In the science of Yoga, body movement and breath must be synchronized. The body is lifted on the incoming breath and lowered on the outgoing breath. Bhastrika or the ‘bellows breath’ activate the solar plexus, which is an energy reservoir, as well as strengthens the diaphragm thus producing strength, vitality and endurance. Pranayamas such as Mukha Bhastrika stimulate the internal cleansing of toxins. Breath is directly related to energy levels, life span, quality of emotions, state of mind and the clarity and subtlety of thoughts. This use of breath power with the body movements brings about revolutionary effects on the performance of the dancers. This synchronicity of breath and movement also improves their state of mind, control of emotions and all round physical and psychological health. Laya Yoga practices such as the Mantralaya as well as Pranayamas like the Kapalabhati, Surya Pranayama and Surya Bhedana and other practices such as Surya Namaskar, Paschimottanasana, Nauli and Agnisara help to create an energy reservoir that can be tapped into at will.

    AWARENESS:

    According to Yogamaharishi Swami Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj, Yoga is four fold awareness. We become aware of the body through Asanas. We become aware of the emotions through Pranayama and thorough the meditative practices we can become aware of the mind. When we transcend the individualistic ego, we become aware of awareness itself. A Yogi sits in a cave, but feels himself all pervading and eternal. Similarly in drama and dance, the limitation of time is dissolved. The experience of a dancer and a Yogi is the same – to go beyond worldliness and to transcend one’s individual self.

    STRESS AND RELAXATION:

    Yoga has a lot to offer in terms of stress reduction. Dancers face a lot of stress in terms of preparation for performances and high expectations of the teachers, friends, relatives and the audience. Critics and other writers also tend to increase the pressures on the dancer.

    Yogic Asanas, Pranayamas and Jnana Yoga Kriyas, work on the various Koshas of our body and clear up all the subconscious ‘quirks’ in our brain from the billions of years of evolution from animal to the human state. An understanding of these ‘quirks’ helps us to understand our reaction to various situations and helps to prevent our ‘stress response’ to them. ‘Stress Relievers’ from Hatha Yoga and Jnana Yoga are of immense benefit in relieving pent up emotions and tempering our reactions to stressful situations.

    Yoga has a lot to offer to dancers through the field of relaxation. In the dance world, all is PUSH, PUSH and PUSH. There is little room for relaxation in the arena. Yoga teaches us that there has to be balance.

    The Yogic concept of ‘Spandha-Nishpandha’ or ‘exertion-relaxation-exertion-relaxation’ in an alternating rhythm is unique to the Yogic art of relaxation and provides a counterfoil to the extreme stress of competitive and performance related pressures, thus fostering mental, emotional and physical health.

    Pranayamas such as Brahmari, Pranava, Shetali and Sitkari are excellent stress relievers. Shavasana with a great variety of relaxation practices as well as the Bhujangini Mudra and Pavana Mukta Kriyas are an excellent foil against stress. Yoga Nidra and the performance of Savitri Pranayama in Shavasana can help produce total relaxation at all levels.

    PROVIDING ANSWERS TO DEEPER YEARNINGS:

    The philosophy of Yoga helps the dancer to come to grips with many questions that pop up in their life. Classical dance in ancient times was associated with high levels of moral and ethical codes of behavior. The modern day dance world has gone a long way astray from such ideals and the inculcation of Yogic values such as Yama and Niyama can go a long way in bringing back such ideals in to the world of dance. This will stimulate modern dancers to have a second look at their decadent life styles and try to change for the better. The Yamas when practiced provide much mental solace and ethical strength to the dancers while the Niyamas produce the stoic qualities necessary for high-tension situations. The whole philosophy of Yoga can constitute a ‘touch stone’ for those who find themselves lost when the spotlight dims or shifts its focus to another performer. A more conscious and aware outlook of the whole phenomenon of human life on earth will make the dancer a more valuable member of the human social unit.

    RIGHT ATTITUDE:

    The regular practice of Yoga as a ‘Way of Life’ helps reduce the levels of physical, mental and emotional stress. This Yogic ‘way of life’ lays emphasis on right thought, right action, right reaction and right attitude. “To have the will to change that which can be changed, the strength to accept that which can not be changed, and the wisdom to know the difference” is the attitude that needs to the cultivated. An attitude of letting go of the worries, the problems and a greater understanding of our mental process helps to create a harmony in our body, mind whose disharmony is the main cause of  ‘Aadi – Vyadhi’ or the psychosomatic disorders.

    The practice of Pranayama helps to regulate our emotions and stabilize the mind, which is said to be as restless as a ‘drunken monkey bitten by a scorpion’. Animals that breathe slowly are of less excitable nature than those that breathe rapidly and a similar observation holds true for humans. Even when we get angry, we can experience that our breathing becomes rapid and it is slower when we are cool and relaxed. Thus the slow, rhythmic and controlled breathing in Pranayamas leads to the emotional control seen in many Yoga Sadhaks.