Global Indian View
The Art of Indian Dance and its role in Hindu Temple
A report by Dr. Uma Nagaswamy
(L)Malvika Raj performing Ganesha Kavutvam (C) Images of Jagannath, Balabadra, and Subhadra (R) Medha Raj performing Tillana
Dr. R. Nagaswamy on a visit to the city of
Bharata’s treatise is not confined to Dance alone, but it is a treatise on the art of Classical music, and Instrumental music and the technician of making musical instruments called Nritta, Gita and Vadya, the art was designated as “Sangita” in ancient times as for example the great medieval text by Someswara called “Sangita Ratnakara” included Chapters on Dance, vocal music, and instrumental music. Bharata also has classified drama – Nataka, into ten categories. As it deals with speech, Bharata denotes several chapters to the phonetics, syntax, embellishments (alankara) etc., virtually as a lucid grammar of Sanskrit language. A chapter on the construction of stage and audience hall with proper acoustics shows Bharata’s treatment of architecture. It is a multi disciplinary scientific treatise that has overwhelmed all earlier texts that existed earlier. Bharata composed the text as said to have been given by Lord Brahma, the creator who created this as the very essence of all four Vedas, and had the same authority as the Vedas and at the same time as having the advantage of reading for all sections of the people and also serving as a source of entertainment.
Having given this account of Dance, RN gave a background of the Hindu Temples and the rituals just as the priests creates the imagery for worship, RN observed the Dancer creates the image of gods through her Dance gestures as a part of the Temple rituals, just as the priest is initiated to perform worship, the Temple Dancer also undergoes ritual initiation to Dance in the presence of God. The presence of dancing girl is as much important as the worshipping priest, which is the functional requirements of Devadasis in Hindu Temples, a function that was twisted and presented in bad light by the colonial rulers.
Dr. RN also showed sculptures from early Temples of India that show how the art of Dance has influenced the art of sculptures and paintings until the alien culture destroyed one of the finest art of
The Hindu Temple of Austin is situated on a high mound serving as a virtual hill
(Below) Dr. R. Nagaswamy delivering his lecture on The Art of Indian Dance in Hindu Temples
(Below) Vedic Priest honoring Dr. R. Nagaswamy
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