I. M. D

India Music and Dance … iGravity’s Mind Destroyed

Dances in the Hindu tradition is no joke. Historically, they were only offered in courts and temples. The art of dance has been passed on for close to two millennia in texts and other written forms of communications. Court dances were offered in praises of the court patron; and are mainly associated with the Hundistani parts of the subcontinent, its northern parts. Temple dances are offered in praise of various gods – fostered mainly in the southern part of India. Most of these southern dances tell a story of the gods or “invoke the spirits to possess them”. For ardent Christians, it’s the same thing as being “filled with the spirit”; not necessarily being ensorcelled by some unseen and uncontrollable evil, no.

Despite my views as a strict monotheist – for this dissertation (per se) – I choose to entertain the Hindu polytheist views. Frankly, one God is good enough. Entertain more than one and they become a reality show of gods who have petty quarrels amongst themselves when bored with humanity. You can verify this from the folktales of any culture which entertains polytheism. Nevertheless, we shall look through the “polytheic” kaleidoscope to aid our paradigms in entertaining (at the very least) what comes next.

The particular dance form India I want to focus on is called Bharatanatyam (“Bharata Natyam”, literally meaning “Indian Dance”; although it is not the only dance form in India). Originally, this is a dance offered in reverence of Lord Krishna. Usually Bharatanatyam is used to show off Krishna’s flirtatious ways. It is rumoured that Lord Krishna will come down to earth in human form and flirt with the women who took care of the cows. Now I know you must be thinking what I first thought when I first heard this: “Cows?”. Yes, cows. Cows (as well as elephants) are dignified animals in the Hindi tradition. Elephants depict majesty and grace while cows — which up until tomorrow, I agree should only be good for eating — are one of the holiest of animals. So we see, these women are not mere milk maids. Nowadays, Bharatanatyam is a dance performed in concerts, and sometimes on the streets. Also, this dance is not restricted to the inner sect glorified to take care of the cows.

The dance I watched can be summarized thus: The woman dances to the awe of – in this case study – Krishna, who appears majestic as an elephant playing a tune on his flute. The soothing tunes from flute pleases her and she invites him to her house.

When asked to explain this the dancer threw even more light than my culturally broken lantern of a paradigm could throw on the issue. She tells how her movements translate into the ascension of physical love into the realm of the transcendental. “The love between a woman and a man becomes a metaphor describing the love between man and god”, she ascertains strongly. The shocking aspect is that of inviting Krishna into her house. She explains this as the acceptance of god into your heart.

Mind = Blown.

It makes perfect sense. It lead me to think, “no wonder Indian women are perceived as the most sensual” …hint hint. The notion of love is not only culturally embedded deep in within the hearts of Indians but is heavily practiced and kept alive in different art forms: dance, music, and poetry of different rhythms. More seriousness is given to the act when it is practiced as a devotional act. There is a rigid systematic way of evoking emotion — as documented in the Natyashastra (literally meaning “the way to natya“; remember natya?). “No wonder Indians are the best in the art of love”, my shattered mind vociferates in an aftermath of the explosion which left it in its current state. Their realization of the concept — love, that is — is primarily divine. They use the corporeal aspect only as a medium to reach the realm of the divine and bask in its awesomeness. Seeking perfection on a divine level will only leave the human a perfect vessel. If your frame of reference (a quantum mechanics jargon for “view point from which you observe”) is outside the Indian culture, obviously the only thing you will see in such representations of worship is Eros. The love that bleeds within the soul cannot be properly reproduced in the body; the body can not contain it. The body has to push itself to its EXTREME to free up the mind allowing it to transcend into a pseudo-ethereal consciousness merely capable of catching a glimpse of the divine.

Take a break, breathe.

Think about humans …and the final point of transcendence. What happens to the body? Death! This is the point where the body totally gives up its control to the consciousness; becoming void of any feeling, pain, choice…just pure consciousness. This is the bodily extreme in life. However, in love, this extreme is seen as eros; repulsive, repugnant eros, oozing of sexual content. This is because the climax of earthly love — “sensation” will be a better term here since this “earthly love” I speak of is purely corporeal: void of the mind and the soul — this extreme, is only momentarily enjoyed during an orgasm.

In some dances, especially the one showing love for the gods, the Indians ooze such sexual content. Their mates not being mere mortals but transcendental beings who give satisfaction beyond nature’s limits; thereby overwhelming natural comprehension…

This post does not have an end. An exploded mind only fragments.

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