India has always embodied this eternal principle in its culture and has spread it across the seas. Dancing was considered the religious ceremony most pleasing to the Gods and dedication of all activity to the Divine was the highest form of worship. Brahma, created the fifth Scripture, Natya Veda, the scripture of the Dance, presenting moral and spiritual truths in a form, which is easy to understand, even for the masses. Brahma then said to the people, “This art is not merely for your pleasure, but exhibits Bhava (emotion) for all the three worlds. I made this art to reflect this world, whether in work or play, profit, peace, laughter, battle or slaughter. This art shall teach men that the fruit of righteousness will be given to those who follow Dharma, the Moral Law. The spirituality of this art shall be a restraint for the unruly, a discipline for the followers of rule. It will create wisdom in the ignorant, learning in scholars; afford sport to kings and endurance to the sorrow-stricken. Replete with the diverse moods, informed with varying passions of the soul, linked to the deeds of all mankind, the best, the middling and the low, affording excellent counsel, and all else, this great art shall console and elevate the world”. A distinctive feature of the Bharatanatyam is the fact that it conceives of movement is space mostly along either straight lines or in triangles or in circles, by which we gain a lot of energy. These movements are in actual act, moving lines, which come together in discernible patterns. These patterns reflect or mirror the Mandalas (mystic shapes or forms), which are associated with the six Chakras of the human psychic energy body.
Are you a health freak, who wants to give a miss to the mundane physical exercises and indulge in something more exhilarating? Try grooving to some amazing steps of Indian dance forms to perk up your mood and rejuvenate your mind, body and soul. Whether it’s grooving to the classical Indian dance forms like Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Kuchipudi or shaking a leg to Bollywood numbers, dance is fast gaining ground as a health therapy in India. Erratic working hours, hectic work schedules, and the pressure to perform cause a lot of stress and our lifestyle goes for a toss. Our biological clock too plays the villain. It is no wonder that urban India is increasingly taking to Indian dance forms to keep stress at bay and lead a healthy lifestyle. Many believe that matching steps to the rhythmic numbers helps one to drive away the negative energy and infuse a feel-good factor. Many dance enthusiasts swear by the advantages of Bharatnatyam, a classical dance form originating in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. The graceful movements of Bharatnatyam help the dancer to communicate and express emotions in a more refined manner as they are not monotonous like other forms of physical exercises. Mudras or symbolic hand gestures in Bharatnatyam, enhances inter-personnel skills, releases physical and mental stress and strengthens mind and body connection.Bharatanatyam is no less a spiritual search than the Sanyasi’s way of renunciation. Yoga and Bharatanatyam are both a means by which “with body, mind and soul we may pray to the Divine.” These great arts help us to divinize ourselves, to develop spiritual qualities of loyalty, fidelity, a sense of Dharma, discipline, awareness, sensitivity, strength, courage, skill, cooperation, diligence, health, happiness and well being, serenity and peacefulness of mind. May the artistic community of this great nation of Bharat strive to keep the purity of its great cultural heritage intact, inspiring people in all times to follow the advice of the great Rishi Veda Vyasa, who exclaimed at the end of his great epic, the Mahabharata: “Oh man knows this! Do your Dharma. ‘Then Artha (wealth) and Kama (fulfillment of desire) shall automatically come to you. Having fulfilled yourself in Artha and Kama, you will then seek and obtain Moksha! Hence I say, “Do your Dharma and all else shall come automatically to you.”The great art of Bharat Natyam surely shows us how we may fulfill our Dharma in a most refined, pleasing, enjoyable, dignified, beautiful and joyful manner and attain that final union with the Supreme Self.