Peace — root of all emotions

Like pristine white, in which all colours merge

A mere arrangement of words does not become poetry, although it may look beautiful or masterly at a superficial level. It is the intention to evoke an existing emotion, that carries the aesthetic seed. ‘Bhava’ with a gamut of emotions, adds the qualification to being a poetry. Both the grammar and soulfulness, attain the desired effect of a perfect Rasa experience. When presented as an audio visual, poetry becomes drama.

The people who belonged to the family (biological sons and disciples), called Bharataputras, had the exclusive profession to act in dramas. A responsible dramatist and the one who staged the drama would, those days, strive to elevate the people’s mind, along with entertainment. Moral values were the messages that were conveyed through the vehicle of drama. There were also rules about what can be depicted on the stage — Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha were the four-fold aims. In the olden times, even acharyas of different religions wrote dramas to convey the philosophical content of their theology. Philosophers like Kumarila Bhatta while referring to authorities for their siddhantas, have quoted from dramas like Shakuntalam.

The traditional art of drama with its music, dance and acting is aimed to create joy and add to peace. The intense devotion to the supreme entity, enriches the inspiration. There is a kind of tranquillity, even in grief. It ushers in a kind of ‘glow,’ making life meaningful. A great poet, through the dramatic enterprise, would aim to give the highest Dharma mingled with the best of ‘Navarasas.’ There are only eight in Bharata’s treatise to which the ninth, Shantam has been added. Saint poets like Tyagaraja have sung in praise of Shantam, the well-being of the world.

This spiritual truth of Shantam comes face to face with the dancing space and medium. A discerning view places dance of the worldly realm as the expressive mode. Both Abhinaya and Nritta, the vibrant mode, which belongs to the other-worldly realm are related to Shantam. Delving deep to wonder what pure dance or Nritta can cause in the dancer and the spectator is a journey by itself.

Nritt – aa/to cause to dance, blends male and female principles in a spirit of non-difference, complete identity, called Taadatmya. Keeping perfect equilibrium as the base, the graceful feminine and forceful masculine, are equally important to make Nritta, delectable to witness. Utsaha or energetic is the characteristic point, underlying which is joyful calmness, Shantam. Nritta, bereft of worldly emotions, remains sweetness when performed in total self-surrender to the enchanting music.

As rhythm is inherent in everyone, Nritta being essentially blissful, is enjoyable beyond language, religion or regional barriers. ‘The body and breath appropriately trained, reach the Turiyatita; there they witness the felicitous dance of the Lord, drinking the fill of bliss, They Siva become…’(Tirumoolar’s Tirumandiram/Tantra Eight). Peace is both the beginning (expressed as love and other feelings) and then the end (bliss). Abhinaya in the one or many roles, likewise, arises and dissolves in the blissful peace, Shantam. It is then that it actually becomes effective. The recipient Prekshaka has to be in Shantam too to derive Rasa. Thus, Shantam is an indispensable foundation. Serenity is the most fertile ground for imagination and a flurry of emotions. Much of drama is about the chaotic calm.

Our palate is made up in nature, of all the six tastes, but is in essence, placid. Take an example of plain water, which by definition has no specific taste. All the same, it tastes immensely sweet and nourishing, feeding us with Shantam. Lord Shiva holds the purest Ganges water. He is Shantam, peaceful with the colour of Shantam, white. Another Indian fare is butter. Lord Krishna loves white butter, churned out but peaceful and often steals this Shantam, amidst a lot of commotion. Butter is also eternally sweet, ‘madhuram.’

Lamps lit with clarified butter, burn like white sunlight. Shantam prevails all over like the sunlight. Just as all colours have their origin in the white sunlight, all the eight Bhavas or predominant feelings originate from the one ‘Shantam.’ Shantam is white, lying as the canvas for all the eight colours, with tints and shades. The space in between the variegation and beneath is white. Only with self-awareness can we experience the full luminosity of this light.

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 8:58:30 AM |

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