Friday, December 17, 2021

Ananda Tandava Of Nataraja - 36

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Siṁhāvalokana: Naṭarāja as the Embodiment of Yoga

We have glossed over many items and have largely been brief; nevertheless, it is possible, we hope, to conclude with Abhinavagupta, that 'little ought to stir in a dance recital that conduces not to the representation and experience of rasa ["the Essential Emotion"]'. Says so Abhinavabhāratī on Nāṭyaśāstra 20.26:

na ca rasopayogi-lālityabhāga-śūnyaḥ ko'pi nāṭye parispandaḥ.

रसोपयोगि-लालित्यभाग-शून्यः कोऽपि नाट्ये परिस्पन्दः।

The dance of Naṭarāja is an embodiment, thus, of all the quintessential concepts of yoga, all decipherable only by a master yogin, which Sriranga-mahaguru indubitably was.

Beyond a shadow of doubt is the stamp of originality and brilliance of analysis in the exposition of Sriranga-mahaguru. Our task has been one of elaboration of the same, garnering in an organised fashion, the not so apparent and rather disparate expositions and citations bearing on this theme - all scattered in various texts on Yoga, Tantra, Āgama, Āyurveda, Nāṭya etc., but basically working on the cues provided by this Master who saw through the image as none else did. As the essential ideas are all his, we dedicate the work to the Master Yogin Sriranga.

"jñānena cāpavargo,

viparyayād iṣyate bandhaḥ"

"ज्ञानेन चापवर्गो,

विपर्ययाद् इष्यते बन्धः"

"Liberation ensues from Knowledge;

and bondage from its opposite."

An abridged version of this article appeared in Eye of the Heart- A Journal of Traditional Wisdom (2009, Issue 4; pp 184); Published from La Trobe University, Australia.