Warm greetings to everyone! Today, I have something interesting for all the readers. We are about to travel through time and teleport to the year 500 B.C., which is almost 2500 years before today. Fasten your seatbelts and zooooooop!!
We have now landed in India, home to the world’s oldest civilization in the world. India was called Bharatavarsham then, in the glorious and sonorous language of Sanskrit, the mother of all languages of the world. The land, east of the Hindu Kush Mountains, was lush green and abound with all kinds of rare flora and fauna. She was blessed with many massive rivers with copious amounts of pure water originating in the mammoth glaciers of the world’s highest mountain range, The Mighty Himalayas and ending into the Sindhu Sagar or the Arabian Sea in the west and the Mahadadhi or the Bay of Bengal in the east.
Welcome to the Vedic era of the Indian history!
At the very onset of this journey, we are going to experience the richness of this civilization by way of dance. Dance is not merely a physical exercise involving facial and bodily movements. It is the very basis of existence. It is the very soul of all things living. All subatomic particles perform a sort of dance to the sound of the cosmic creation. That dance keeps us alive as was written in the ancient texts of science, the Vedas. (There are Four Vedas, namely, the Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur veda and Atharva veda).
The great Sage, Bharata Muni is credited with the written expression of the Indian Classical Dances called the Natya Shastra or The Treatise of Dance. It was created with subtle nuances of words sourced from the Rig Veda, melody and rhythm from the Samaveda, mime and gestures from the Yajurveda and emotions or Bhavas from the Atharvaveda. Thus it is a beautiful amalgamation of bodily movements, emotions, expressions that intricately weave together a story and demonstrate it without any actual recitation of the same.
Each part of India evolved and practiced a unique form of dance based on the rules and scientific calculations mentioned elaborately in the Natya Shastra. Most popular Indian Classical Dances include Bharatanatyam (Tamil Nadu), Kathakali (Kerala), Kuchipudi (Andhra Pradesh), Kathak (Northern India), Odissi (Odisha), Sattriya (Assam), Manipuri (Manipur) and Mohiniyattam (Kerala). Each of these dance forms have their own rules and unique ways of performances. The similarity being, all these dances tell a story. Every dance performed has a predetermined storyline which the dancer relates to the audience by way of gestures, facial expressions and dramatics. The stories are usually in praise of or the story of the God.
Dance is a form of Yoga. Not only it is a science but also applied psychology. The beats of the dance and the rhythm of the songs of all Indian Classical Dances is itself soothing and relaxes all the frayed nerves of our body. Moreover, the practice of any of these dances in the prescribed format, while fulfilling all the specified conditions will fully cleanse the mind and the soul, improve our health drastically and bring peace to us in the highest degree possible!
So, dear readers, we will pause on this journey at this juncture. The journey will be resumed very soon, so stay tuned!
– Confused Earthling