Vijay Madhavan and his students delved into Adi Sankara’s philosophy through ‘Bhagavatpada Pancharatna Malika.’
“Sruti Smrti Puraanaanaam Aalayam Karunaalayam,
Namaami Bhagavadpaada Sankaram Loka Sankaram”
Following the culmination of the Sankara Jayanti celebrations all over the country, the great philosopher Adi Sankara was extolled through a dance narrative set to Bharatanatyam by Vijay Madhavan, at Sri Krishna Gana Sabha.
“Bhagavatpada Pancharatna Malika,” choreographed and presented by Vijay Madhavan along with his students of Rechita Dance School, was a sincere homage to Adi Sankara, based on the Panchakams of the Adi Guru.
The dance composition for these was a simple but faithful representation of the meaning and the import as contained in the verses. With the limited possibility of interpreting the high philosophical ideas, Vijay put in his best to create a lively thematic show. He had a talented team of students who had sparkling stage presence and displayed maturity in understanding of the contents of the production.
Vijay Madhavan has trained for many years under Chitra Visweswaran and is a long-time participant of the Bhagavata Mela productions at Melattur. He revealed considerable grip over the delineations as a performer of merit. His choreography was coated with dignity and subtlety and was devoid of any bold dramatisation, adding the right touch to this dance visualisation of the verses. In fact, it is not easy to compose for such themes which have a purely meditative quality and are Vedantic.
The production had a well- recorded musical back-up consisting of S.R. Veeraraghavan (vocal), Nagai Sriram (mridangam), C.K. Patanjali (flute) and Saravanan (special effects). The rendition of the Sanskrit verses with clarity and diction by the vocalist and the brief recitations by Vijay added lustre to the presentation.
Beginning with Ganesa Pancharatnam, Vijay handled ‘Siva Panchaaksharam’ with ease. Perhaps, dwelling more on phrases such as ‘Sivaya Gauri Vadanaabja Bhrunga’ and focussing on the epithet “Sri Neelakanta” instead of focussing on the churning of the Ocean, would have made it more lively. Adding brief segments of pure nritta filled in suitably.
Vijay also presented Upadesa Panchakam, which gives invaluable advice to the individual soul’s life on earth, like the propitiation of the Vedas, the Satsanga of sadhus among others. Maineeeshaa Panchakam propounding the essence of non-duality, and Kasi Panchakam, described as the very embodiment of the Preacher and the abode of the Ultimate Bliss-Sat-Chit –Aananda, were the other pieces.
Lalitaa Pancharatnam presented by the students, was picturesque, though it lacked movement technique. Abhinaya has to be executed along with the rhythmical structure of the song, a trait which has almost vanished from the Bharatanatyam scene today. The Gati or Nadai has to be oriented by the dancer to the lyrical content to depict the essence of the song and the theme. Remaining in one stance or resorting to poses cannot lend the required impact.
Similarly, excerpts of the Guru’s words on Maya (illusion), and from Advaita Panchakam, which deals with the Guru dispelling the ignorance of the disciple to distinguish the ‘Real’ from the ‘Unreal,’ saw the youngsters confining themselves to the given territory.
The programme concluded with Hanumat Panchakam and Guru Paduka Panchakam.