Jesus Kauthuvam, Jesus Shabdam, whats next?

17/06/2008

AT THE OUTSET I WANT TO DECLARE THAT THIS IS NOT A COMPARITIVE STUDY OF RELIGIONS OR PRACTICES, BUT A PROBE ABOUT HOW FIT ONE IS AND CAN BE IN CONTEXT OF INDIAN CLASSICAL DANCE.I WELCOME OPINIONS IN THE MANNER THEY SHOULD BE GIVEN.

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.

Advertisements

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