Friday, September 10, 2021

Ananda Tandava Of Nataraja - 22

Yogic Interpretation: Śrīraṅga Mahāguru (continued)

                 Śrīraṅga Mahāguru quotes from a few Śāstric texts; but we have added many corroborating and substantiating citations where apposite. We have also drawn upon the work of one of Śrīraṅga Mahāguru's earliest disciples, S. V. Chamu. Together with Chamu's, The Divine Dancer, (S. V. Chamu, The Divine Dancer, Mysore: Astanga Yoga Vijnana Mandiram 1982) we have drawn upon certain other sources, such as the several volumes of Amaravāṇī (transcriptions/jottings of certain formal/informal private talks of Śrīraṅga Mahāguru), and some oral information gleaned from the  disciples of the Yogin.

The Ānanda-tāṇḍava of Naṭarāja

The Naṭarāja (of Tiruvālaṅgāḍu) is depicted—true to name—in a dancing pose, he says, trampling on the pigmy figure (Apasmāra) on a pedestal. The original prabhāvali encircling the figure is now broken and missing. The matted hair, tied at the top but spread far and wide at the bottom, is also missing. The pose depicts the culmination of various dancing movements and, simultaneously, the static position reached in conclusion. The waist has been sculpted as befits a dancer, in terms of its shape and slenderness. Also typical of a dancer is a flowing waist-band wrapped around the diaphragm, with a loop that is suggestive of the movement of the body. There are three bends: one at the knee, another at the hip, and the third at the neck, thus constituting the famed tribhaṅgi ("Triple-bend") posture. The outstretched hands are collinear.

              The knee of Naṭarāja's right foot is bent, obviously conducing to balance in standing, but adding eminently to the grace of the posture. The bent left foot (hence called kuñcita-pāda, "bent foot") has pointed toes. In the parlance of devotion, it is anugraha-pāda ("The Foot of Favour"). The digits of the kuñcita-pāda are stretched. These are among  the numerous minute observations made by Śrīraṅga Mahāguru.