Friday, 3 September 2021

Ananda Tandava Of Nataraja - 21

Respond to (lekhana@ayvm.in)

  

Yogic Interpretation: Śrīraṅga Mahāguru 

That Indian art and yoga are intimately connected is a well-acknowledged fact. Coomaraswamy devoted a whole chapter, 'Art and Yoga in India,' to this very notion in one of his key works (viz. Essays in National Idealism (1909 Colombo: Colombo Apothecaries)

 Zvelebil cites a paper entitled, 'The Yogic Significance of the Dances of Śiva' by Dr. S. C. Kersenboom-Story, which equates the seven dances as the happenings in seven cakra. In her role as editor of Stella Kramrisch's writing on India's sacred art, Barbara Miller remarks,

"Yoga discipline is as much a prerequisite for the Indian artist as was physical discipline for the Greek. It is as though in Indian art the image is embossed from within by the movement of breath, or circulation, through the vital centres of the living being, unimpeded by the gross matter of the actual physical body." (B. S. Miller ed., Exploring India's Sacred Art (Selected Writings of Stella Kramrisch),Philadephia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983, p.4.)

The yogic interpretation of Naṭarāja's dance, such as we obtain from Śrīraṅga Mahāguru, is simply unique, but it does not essentially contradict interpretations offered by Coomaraswamy and his successors, nor those offered in the Tamil sources, such as Cidambara Mummanikkovai or Tirumantiram, or the Sanskrit sources such as Cidambara-māhātmya. Śrīraṅga-mahaguru agrees with the traditional meaning of the dance as a depiction of the Five Acts (Pañca-kṛtya); he also sees in the image, yet, as none of these could see, the embodiment of some of the deepest Yogic principles as well as their attainments (tattva and anubhava) in an unparalleled manner.




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