Jesus Kauthuvam, Jesus Shabdam, whats next?


Of late I have been seeing a lot of enquires on dance pieces relating to Jesus or Christianity. However I felt happy when there are loads of responses to help such queries and not a single one to condemn. Why should there be one? Bharata never said that Natya
Shastra belongs to a particular religion. When Bharata might have sit down to write the book, there might not have been one single religion in sight. Probably that’s what makes the Natyashastra so adaptable by Hinduism, because it developed, adjusted and adapted to various changes thru the life and civilizations over millions of years. All this happened in the very land where Bharata drafted the Natyashastra.
I am not a religious person, but, spiritual, – yes. One need not believe in Rama or Krishna to be a Hindu or perform a piece on them. It’s understood more in terms of the finite soul and the infinite Paramatma.
How can Christianity or Jesus fit this picture? While this is a religion that is not a part of this land and requires one to believe in Jesus/ his family members to be a true Christian. It is so required that a true Christian needs to go to church regularly, while one can be a Hindu without seeing a temple all your life.

Yes, religion is important in the context of dance, because of the emotions springing there-from. Let me elaborate. Hindusim or Sanathana dharma has never shunned sex, or love between a man and woman. From this and based on this one act there are thousands of emotions and compositions. Emotions are the quintessential aspect of any art- one cannot deny this fact. Take the different Tandavas. The rasas and bhavas are what adds color, is what gives the rasika a rasanubhava. The rasanubhava of the rasika and the artist is the aim of the art form.
Once we start talking of love, there is no end to it. Pangs of separation, happy unions, jealous of the lord’s other wife or be it the urge to meet the lord- all speak of love. How can Christianity cater to this?
Then there is love of mother. And we have thousands of compositions on Krishna right from the ‘gopika’ point of view to et al.
What instances and inferences can be taken to depict ‘hasya’, ‘bhayanaka’, ‘bhibhatsam’?
How can the navarasas be emoted with appropriate instances? So how can there be a Margam? When there is no path, where does the artist start, where to end and what it will lead to?
All these emotions give an insight into the human physical inconsistencies and what the soul craves for. As one needs to be born a baby and thru adolescence, teenage youth and old age that he accumulates the wealth of knowledge and experience and understands the ‘Maya’. An artist needs to travel thru the navarasas before reaching the pinnacle of truth, that of his Atma to become one with the Paramatma.

May be this is the reason that there is not many compositions to find for Lord Buddha.
While some great composers of A.D chose to compose in different languages, they never ventured out of Hinduism. This understanding of the inconsistencies of other religions with respect to the Indian classical dance, gave the status of Natya Veda.

6 Responses to Jesus Kauthuvam, Jesus Shabdam, whats next?

  1. venkat says:

    It is not just Bharatnatyam that Christians are into now. There are into various others aspects of Hinduism — there are christian ashrams, Christians donning the saffron clothes to look like Hindu swamis, many even the bible — our veda. Tirukkural is Christian book and so was Mahatma Gandhi. All these are are just attempts to impose Christianity in our country and facilitate the conversion to their religion and eventual removal of Hinduism. This is how they operated in various cultures be it Native America, African, Aborigines and eventually magaged to erase native cultures. I hope you realize this subterfuge.

    In kerala some even claim Christianity is older to Hinduism

    Christianity Older than Hinduism in Kerala

    Have a look below

    Here in pune i happen to visit a church’s opening
    ceremony. the programme started by bharat natyam. then there was a
    sanskrit prayer praising the christ. there were ‘diyas’ lighted
    instead of candles.
    we were asked to remove the shoes outside, they did
    the puja with > haldi-kumkum & more surprising is all the ‘sisters &
    fathers’ bowed > like we do in temples. the
    > church belongs to a
    > school hence 90% students were hindus…..this is to
    > make these kids
    > & other hindu people feel comfortable & a religion
    > similar to aurs,

  2. David Russel says:

    Christianity is tainted now. There are no more Pure Christians now. These are the converts who tarnish the faith of Chritianity and other relegions as well.

    • mallikajayanti says:

      dear david,
      this is not a religious discussion. its strictly about how apt is Christianity in context to bharatanatyam. i personally respect all religious sects across globe.

  3. Ashwini says:

    Whether it is in the context of Christianity or Hinduism, people conveniently ignore the Natya Shastra’s warning:

    “Offering worship to the gods of the stage is as meritorious as a Vedic sacrifice. No dramatic performance should be made without first worshipping the deities presiding over the stage. When worshipped, they will bring you worship, and honoured they will bring you honour. Hence one should by all efforts offer Puja to the gods of the stage… He who willfully transgresses the rules of consecration of the stage and practises the dramatic art, will sustain loss and will be reborn as an animal of lower order”.

    Therefore, the so-called “Hindu” Bharatanatyam dancers are actually atheists and will be re-born as worms somewhere Ireland. 🙂

    Now let me explain that the so-called Christian gods/angels/saints have nothing to do with Jesus: they are merely some re-branded local pagan gods (that’s what the Hinduism did in the tribal areas too). If you make an effort, you can find a more-or-less clear correspondence between a local pagan-Christian god and a Hindu deity.

    Can David help us identify any pagan-Christian gods/angels/saints who oversee the stage performances/ceremonies/rituals?

    I have to observe that there are hardly any Hindu’s left in India, just as hardly any Christians left in Europe or the USA. There only atheists clubbing together under one or another common banner: it’s just a political activity: “if you are not one of us then you are wrong”. Basically, it is an animal herding process. Wolves have to live in packs.

  4. Ardhanariswar says:

    I disagree. Bernini’s famous sculpture of the Ecstasy of Saint Theresa is a beautiful artistic rendition of the sensual tale:

    I don’t think it would translate easily to Bharatanatyam, but nevertheless its an example of these saint’s adoration for Jesus. The bhakthi is there. And we all know that sringaram is the basis of all the navarasas, therefore it doesn’t need to be sexual.

    The Bhakthi element is there. There are dozens of small ‘parable’ stories which have wonderful morals and would be perfect candidates for keerthanams or varnams. But who knows if Jesus’s life included sensual sringaram? Some speculate Mary Magdalene was his lover on the basis of other versions of the gospel. New testament aside, the old testament is full of weird and detailed stories which are more similar to Hindu legends.

  5. Thank you for an interesting thought/ read.
    I have to agree with you. Traditional art forms stem from culture which in turn is deeply intertwined in religion. Can a different culture adopt this art form wholesale. Obviously not unless they adopt the culture. However aspects of this art can be adopted to be incorporated into another cultural expression giving rise to a melange and new movements in *that culture’s art form.

    Hinduism is a celebratory religion. This approach to life and living, as a celebration, an enjoyment, an elaboration of fun rituals; is totally unique amongst most other world religions and cultures. A simple look at our Gods and Goddesses in our temples and the iconography of Christ reveals the stark difference.

    It is not about Bhakti. That is not the main element that makes our Natyams difficult to adopt. it is in the Hindu approach to life. For us, it is a complete enjoyement and indulgence of the senses during Grihastha. A concept that other religions, especially those emanating from the Indian West, baulk at.

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