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.