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Monday, March 15, 2010

Philosophy of Indian Classical Dance

Philosophy of Indian Classical Dance

The Indian classical dance has its Adi Guru as Shiva in his nataraja form. So why Shiva was the adi guru? Why not vishnu or brahma the creator himself? 
To get the answer for that question we need to understand the philosophy of dance. Shiv is the adiguru in agamas which are also known as tantras. There are 64 tantras for which he is the author. These are in the form of a dialog between parvathi and shiva. Tantra have been the base philosophy from where indian dance got its 
first form. Dance is a way of communication to this universe. It is proved by the mudras it uses. Mudra in tantra as well as dance is used to communicate a particular idea to the audience. In the sadhanas in tantra it is used to communicate to the devata whereas in dance it can be used to communicate to the audience or to the whole universe as well. Mudra is a contribution of tantra to the world. One of the famous commentaries for natyasastra was written by famous Kashmir shaivist tantrist
Shri Abhinava gupta which is known as Abhinavabhāratī. 

What we see outside and perceived by our 5 senses is called as matter. We also see that we use different forms of matter like flowers or food as offerings to a particular deity. Now this is an external process but the same can be done using mudras. In the scriptures it is held more powerful and beneficial than external forms of offerings. Mudra uses certain postures of hands to communicate to the deity.Shiva was the first to expound this in his tantras and that is one of the reasons why he is regarded as the guru in dance. This whole universe is filled with dance. Dance exist in the form of vibration even in atoms. If we go in depth as per the particle physics, each atom is divided into protons, neutrons, and electrons. These elements are again made from a particle called as Quarks. Again as per the latest development in physics, String Theory, the basic element of the matter is in the shape of a string. It is nothing but energy which is vibrating and this actually the form of dance at the sub atomic levels. Now from where did matter originate? As per physics it originated from energy. So where does energy originated from? 
This was a question that haunted the scientists for a while and in a recent interview Stephen Hawkings, regarded as the greatest scientist of the present time, said may be energy originated form consciousness. We in India call that consciousness as Shiva. This whole universe is a manifestation of Shiva. Shiva exists in this universe in the form of dance and that is why when he does the thandava the whole universe proceeds towards its essential and final destruction which is nothing but a preparatory phase for the next creation.


The basic philosophy of dance was captured from the universe's existence by our rishis and they developed the Indian classical dance. Today it has degenerated itself to an external art form 
in which the basic participants forget the whole philosophy of it. It is in this period that understanding the basic philosophy and evolution of Indian classical dance becomes a basic necessity. 
In my little experience and interaction with even a person who is doing a doctorate in the famous Oxford University I could see a clear misunderstanding that dance is nothing but a form of entertainment. This is detrimental to the whole development of Indian classical dance. If we understand the basic philosophies of dance and put that into practice we will become like Shiva. When we dance we can see the whole universe in the thandava state. Reaching that level should be the goal of a person who is venturing to learn Indian classical dance, anything else is futile. 
You can reach fame, money, and every other material things but the same is reached by a business man also just that he is called as a business man and you are called as a dancer. So whats the difference between the two? This would be the result of learning any art form without understanding the basic philosophy behind it. Dance and all art forms were developed in India not just for some petty entertainment. They were developed to enable each individual soul to reach the supreme consciousness. 

Let that supreme sada shiva help you in reaching the pure form of dance which is the basic existence of this whole universe.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Superiority and Inferiority Complex an Analysis

 

The lack of recognition and a greater inferiority complex leads to a greater depressive time which was not noticeable as it was an early stage of personality development. It is true that love is a deciding factor in life which is the secret of all success.

Due to the inferiority complex developed in the mind there is a development of superiority complex. This is a clever play by the mind to ensure the survival of the organism. The inferiority complex develops due to the lack of recognition and love during the early stages of life where the actual development of the personality takes place. The lack of love and recognition creates a vacuum in the personality which is recognized by the subconscious mind. This leads to the subsequent development of a superiority complex as a total inferior feeling in the mind will lead to the total death of the mind. This leads to a complex situation of mental agony and suppression of feelings and finally finds a way out as a superiority complex.

What is the reason for the development of the superiority complex?

Superiority complex is a game developed by the subconscious mind to hide its own inferior feelings. Without this superiority complex the mind would crumble under its own inertia. For the survival the mind develops a superiority complex so that the mind can cling on to something for its survival. At some point survival alone does not help a mind and it needs a triumph in life as well and that is when it becomes aware of this superiority complex in itself.

How do we remove this superiority complex?

The superiority complex has developed due to the rise of an inferiority complex. The complete removal of the superiority complex is possible only by the removal of inferiority complex as well. Because the natural personality is devoid of these complexes.

What is the role of ego in the superior and inferior complexes of mind?

Ego is the origin of mind. Mind exists because there is an intellect and body. Without a body or the feeling of I there is no mind. Mind is the collective substratum of feelings, emotions, and inference drawn by the intellect towards these. Today we observe that humans collectively have a superior or inferior ego in the mind. The natural personality is something which is hidden in this complex mind. The self-realization process is nothing but the methodology of evolving the human from the inferior or superior mind and getting him towards the natural personality. To give an e.g., there was a cupid who loved his girl very much. He went to his girl and said he wants to marry her. He was standing outside the front door of the house and said “I love you and hence you should marry me”. The girl asked him to come back after finding the real love. After one year the cupid returns to the girl and said “You only exist and there is nothing else beyond that”, girl still asked the man to find the real love and come back. The man next time never went back. The gist of the story is that, “you”, exist because the existence of “I”. If we lose our “I” there is no existence of “you”. During the second time the cupid finds that he lost his “I”, and there is no you and therefore he does not returns. The story does not end with a positive note as expected by the general public and the truth is in actual love there is no “I” or “you”, because love is the marking of the surrender of ego. This is the same state as enshrined in the Indian Philosophy of Vedanta also known as “adwaita”; which means non duality and opposite is “dwaita” or duality. Duality is because of the existence of ego and when ego ends duality ends and what is left is non-duality. This is not experienced by a mere intellectual exercise. This is more like an art not a science. An art of realization and this is exactly what is called as self-realization. Ego if it needs to exist it needs associate a superior or inferior feeling with it. One can dream only of a perfect ego where there is no superior or inferior feeling attached to it. The very own fact that “I” exist is due to this superior or inferior feeling. No one can deny and the one who denies it knows very well in his subconscious mind that he has the same feeling.

Only exception to this rule would be a self-realized man. He is the only person who is devoid of an inferior or superior feeling. If someone truly classifies as one who is devoid of a superior or inferior feeling we can tell that he is a self-realized soul. The reason is that, only by knowing our true nature we can be devoid of an inferior or superior feeling. Much of the said theories are to be experienced and are useless if someone just takes this as an intellectual exercise. It is like talking about honey the qualities of it and how it is processed and everything else in the world except putting it in the mouth and tasting and everything else rather than tasting the honey is not a direct experience of honey. What really makes value are direct experiences. The problem is we are either under the subjugation of our past experiences which induces a prejudice towards future events or we have anxiety, both of them hamper our direct experiences. Our process of experience is a reflection of the external stimuli in our prejudiced mind or with our anxiety. Only a self-realized soul has the ability to have direct experience which devoid of prejudiced mind as well as anxiety.

Tantra Some Questions.

Is there a need for nyasa and other rituals according to the sastras or the guru’s advice is what needs to be followed?

There are two categories of people. One who says that guru’s advice is of prime importance and sastras or scriptures are not the absolute authority. These are people I would say are more driven by their heart or emotions. The other category are people who strictly abide by the sastras and say that guru’s advice is of a secondary opinion and sastras opinion is of prime importance. These are people driven by their intellect or they have more inclination towards the intellect. Now which one is the correct one? This is a difficult question to answer. A man of intellect will follow the inclination towards intellect and with his prejudiced approach he will be assuming or approaching this issue. A man of heart or emotions will follow the same approach as an intellect but just that the view points are different. I am putting this question in my mind and trying to find answer without prejudice.