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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Dance is the fifth veda

('Naatyaakhyam panchamam vedam' - Dance is the fifth veda)
Welcome Artists and Art lovers!

Enter into the very vast world of Bharathanatyam.

Let us understand the constituents of this dance form, the training, the practice, the textual content, the repertoire, the performance, the accompanists, the costumes, the philosophy, the artists, the rasikas et al. It is a process. The list flows.

'Naatyaakhyam panchamam vedam' - Dance is the fifth veda

So says Sage Bharatha in his 'Natyashastra'

Bharathanatyam, an acronym of bhava, raga and thala, is one of the main classical dance forms of India. The others being Kathak, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Kathakali, Mohiniattam and the gentle Manipuri.


The main constituents of bharathanatyam are

The Nritta (the rhythmical base) and

The Abhinaya (the expressional base).


The training begins in the realm of Nritta..The child starts learning the 'adavus' i.e the basic steps of dance. There are series of adavus, where the movements blossom from the simple to the complicated.

Before starting with the adavu training, the child learns

THE SALUTATION movement in dance, which every dancer does before starting the dance and after ending the dance, be it practice or performance.
THE STANCE The initial stance or posture in Bharathanatyam is the 'araimandi' or the half sit position. This is the basic dance posture in which most of the adavus are executed. The hands are extended in the natyaarambham position.

THE ADAVU SERIES (Broad classifications)
Some adavus are named after the position of the feet, whereas, some adavus

are known by the drum syllables recited for practice.

5.Kudhitthamettu adavu
6.Mandi adavu
7.Sarukkal adavu
8.Paaidhal adavu
9.Karthari adavu
10.Mei adavu
11.Thattu Mettu
13.Thaa thai thai thaa
14.Thath thai thaam
15.Thaangidu thath thath dhinna
16.Thaiya thaiyi

The adavus are practiced in three speeds. The adavus are not just movements of the feet but are the coordinated movements of the feet, the hands and the body.

Talking of the hands one would notice the various hand gestures, HASTHAS, used while dancing.


Click here to read more about Hasthas


Abhinaya or the facial expression is the mode to convey a sentiment, mood, story or the theme of the song. It is a vast subject with classifications and more classifications explained in the texts.

The initial classification in Abhinaya are:

1. Aangika Abhinaya - the body language (the dance movements)

2. Vaachika Abhinaya - the lyrical content

3. Aahaarya Abhinaya - the costume and jewellery

4. Sathvika Abhinaya - the emotional content

One also finds the Ashtanaayikaa , the heroines/nayikas broadly classified into 8 according to their behaviour and temperaments.

The same holds good for the heroes/nayakas, broadly classified into 4, according to their behaviour and qualities (with divisions and subdivisions)

While speaking of Abhinaya, how can one forget the NAVARASA!!!

NAVARASA - The nine sentiments










The initial rigorous training is the Nritta - the adavus.

After the child gets proficient, she starts learning the items that constitutes a MARGAM.

The dancer, ofcourse, then increases his/her repertoire.

You will find below, a list of items with the ragam, thalam, composer, deity, language, the mood or the sentiment of these items.




I am not a big political analyst nor someone indoctrinated in some ideology either left or right or left of the centre etc but I can perceive this problem of civil rights activists not being able to achieve whatever they set to or claimed to achieve are because
1] The civil rights activists cannot presume to represent a whole population especially something as big as India wherein the majority are willing to believe everything that anybody says.
2] That’s why India can never see a revolution in the form of collective action against something it is not only due to its too unwieldy and vast geological spread in terms of its real estate but also because of its many other varieties like totally different languages, multiple cultural back grounds and extreme disparities in education and wealth, many religions which very often co –exist with unease and simmering discontent and misunderstanding along with hidden agendas promoted by the vested interest groups who manipulate their religious fervor through their respective institutions.
3] Besides majority of the population that includes almost 80% who do not have any time or energy left to think of anything else besides their physical survival as that takes their entire time and energy, 15% who have time and energy and who therefore can afford to think beyond their survival, the educated and better off modern youth and elderly are mostly indifferent, of these 2% at least voice and spread their opinions and their displeasure in the way things are being done in this nation from the convenience of their lap tops in air conditioned rooms through e-mails and social networks, but the contribution of this 2%[two percent] reflects reality ,it is vital ,for it voices sanity and is the only antidote to the least trust worthy and the monetarily manipulated the sick mass opinion molders called the media both the print and audio visual , barring a few exceptions.
4] The remaining 5% are the beneficiaries and parasites of corruption either directly or indirectly.
5] So, we must thank our stars that this 2% of sane youth creating such impact, thanks to the modern technology.
6] That’s why just before the election, the last minute campaigns, freebees, concessions, promises etc made by political parties and much publicized by the media gets them the votes and ensures 5 years safe sojourn and promotes only next election minding politicians than socially conscious statesmen.
7] It is so unfortunate that these politicians not only control but manipulate to their convenience almost all other so called pillars of democracy.
8] The Indian politician is master manipulator he will manipulate according to the situation or issue with either one of these or all of these or multiple combinations of these pelf, power, position, passion, poverty etc.
9] If anyone wants to teach students about manipulation tactics through logical fallacies, diversionary tactics and damn lies all that they need to do is to listen to the speeches of all the ministers and spokes persons of UPA in the past seven years.
10] The media especially the popular print and audio visual media plays havoc through labeling, which is run in methodical Goebbelian way, a gift of the Western psyche, which is then used as a propaganda material for indoctrination to carry ideological crusades as is happening with our media painting some politicians, parties, groups as communal and the rest as secular why in the whole of Indian media no one seems to know the meaning of the word secular, I mean the denotation of the word not the carapace of connotations that we have accumulated over it . Some blunder boy of Indian politics has come up with saffron terror even when one particular religion is scrupulously promoted through sponsoring NGOS, appointing the now defunct ex CVCs, Chief Justices etc purely on religious grounds, no media has the gall to call this communal nor label the white terror unleashed by this masters of crusades against both Hindus and Muslims many ways both subtle and straight stabbing.
11] The civil rights activists have also fallen a prey to the media labeling and object to the very presence of or interacting with and including some individuals purely based on media labels whereas they were happily having dialogues with tainted ministers.
12] I only wish the civil rights activists raise above giving into media sponsored and politicians sponsored manipulations, avoid parroting labels and instead face facts and pace their strategies otherwise the politicians are too clever to not just suppress you, because that would show them in poor light, but resort to all means to sabotage your movement.
Let us remember and make it very clear that
13] The Civil Rights Movement is not intended to sabotage, substitute, suppress or even supervise the existing top constitutional institutes as a supra constitutional authority despite the extreme ferventness almost bordering on fanaticism exhibited by Civil Rights Movement activists.
14] It is just a forceful expression of the anger of the people against the total lack of creditability in some of the top institutions because of the misuse and manipulation of these institutions by those in power
15] Everyone starting from the looters, law makers, bureaucrats, the weak RIGHT WING major opposition party and the Left over party from Bengal must understand all that the common man wants is to ensure the honesty and integrity of the top officials and ministers and enhance the credibility of the top institutions. Let both sides need not take extreme positions.
16] To effect this change, neither the government nor the civil right activists must look at each other as competitors or confrontationists but must instead co ordinate and co operate to recreate the credibility in these institutions.
17] Rather than implementing the genuine demands which warrant transparency and integrity from the top bureaucrats, ministers, judges etc to resort to legal jargons and logical fallacies and divert the issue as if the civil rights group is trying to undermine all the top institutions of the constitution is devious and dubious avoidance to implement transparency.
18] If the opposition fails to clamor for bringing black money and declaring it as a national asset it only means that they have many of their flocks in that category and therefore unwilling. Let there be at least a transparent voting inside parliament on the issues raised by the Civil Rights Groups like time frame for bringing black money which can be telecast to the whole nation.
19] Civil rights group of self appointed individuals also cannot expect to act as umpires giving their ruling on all issues in all institutions of the constitutions with unbridled power.
20] If at any time these self appointed members go wrong then who is to referee the umpires.
21] Any parliamentary committee must have equal number of members from all major national parties so that there will be some faint hope of justice emerging at least due to political rivalry as otherwise all the politicians seem to be of the same ilk.
22] Let all the sincere, serious politicians with honesty and integrity with national interests in their minds raise the issue of injecting provisions in the Lok pal bill which will only ensure stopping corruption by coordinating and cooperating with both the government and civil rights groups and ensure to implement self checking mechanisms on all, and above all ensure that all the black money is traced with retrospective effect [as most of the black money hoarders must have activity diverted most of it by now with their contacts and trips to Switzerland] and brought back to the country and declared as a national asset.

Monday, July 11, 2011



There is a proper method of doing everything and if it is more advanced or sophisticated then the process, practice and performance everything has to be laser precision. The difference in sophistication is as between plucking a half broken nail or shaving a beard and a tumor inside the brain while both rituals involve cutting a part of the body in the latter it is very very complicated and the process has to be undertaken only by an expert with experience. In fact neuro surgery is the only field where you need to be 100% perfect even at the first operation.
Similar is the case when handling Vedas, for, most of it contains esoteric messages beneath the outer shell of linguistic communication purportedly received by enlightened souls in spiritual trance and reported subsequently to those whom they deemed would be fit enough to remember the essence, not merely the rituals in which they were encapsuled, and record it for ultimate spiritual, mental and physical emancipation of human race at a time when humanity was not divided by differences of religions, culture, nationality,race,political ideologies etc.
As such they are universally applicable for spiritual well being of any human being subject to existence of certain conditions if understood in proper perspective. No religion has any exclusive right on them nor is there any need to label it as a part of any religion; it is just plainly useful for human beings and the environment as a whole.
Human race has managed to or managing to understand only one out of its three essential parts, namely the physical aspect, the other two being the mental [made of consciousness, psyche, intellect etc] and spiritual [which includes everything –good, bad and ugly, that forms part of life]. Now in this process of evolution of understanding of majority of human race barring a few exceptions, there is an advancement of understanding the physical aspect of human beings and therefore many people across the globe belonging to different religions, various nations and many cultures have seen the benefits and accepted the usefulness of YOGA and PRANAYAMA [breathing exercises] as for the other two mental and spiritual even in the place geographically and culturally where these Vedas have emanated only a minority are interested and bothered to know and learn from the Vedas and out of this minority only a very miniscule minority have some real knowledge and there are a few who have mastered some aspects of these two and they are present around us to guide and help us in various ways let us allow them to do so without spoiling them by making cults out of them.-BALAYOGI
Read the article below
Vedic Chanting -- a Perfectly Formulated Oral Tradition -- Dr. S.

Our tradition believes that the Vedas are the breath of God Himself!
With that belief, our Rishis exercised enormous care to preserve the
Vedas in its original form without the infiltration of any errors.
Especially in the absence of writing, and through only an oral
transmission from father-to- son or teacher-to-disciple, for
thousands of years, this is an accomplishment of unimaginable
proportion! Considering the vast magnitude of mantras contained in
the vedas, such a preservation, with built-in safeguards, is mind

It is believed that the complete benefit of Veda mantras could be
achieved only when the following conditions are met:

o Correct pronunciation of letters (words)
o Correct duration for utterance of letters (words) -- and,
o Correct intonation of letters,

Our Rishis prescribed several fool-proof methods to correctly recite
the ved mantras.

Six ways of recitation were considered incorrect and they are:
One who chants in a sing-song fashion, who chants fast, who nods his
head up and down without actually raising or lowering the pitch, who
reads from a book, who chants without knowing the meaning, and who
chants in a feeble voice, are considered incorrect .

They believed that altering the pitch even (without any change in
words and duration), might lead to diametrically opposite effects, as
related in the story of Vrtra who, instead of killing Indra, got
killed by Indra by just a change in the intonation alone of the
mantras chanted by Vrtra’s father, Tvashta.

The rules of correct pronunciation and articulation of sounds are
given in the Vedanga, known as Seeksha. Seeksha deals with varNa
(letters), svar: (pitch); [there are essentially three svaras,
namely, anudatta (gravely accented or low pitched), udatta (high
pitched or acutely accented), svarita (circumflexly accented)]
maatraa (duration -- a prosodial unit of time); balam (strength or
force of articulation); saama (uniformity); and santaana:
(continuity) during recitation.

Our ancestors devised unique methods to protect and maintain the
basic Veda mantras in its original form through various patterns and
combinations of recitation. The basic mantra is called vakya or
samhita paatha which is a full sentence. Splitting them word by word
is known as pada paatha, which gives the knowledge of each word to
the student.

Next is krama paatha, where the first word of the mantra is added to
the second, the second to the third and so on, until the whole mantra
is completed. This method enables the student not only to know
individual words but also how to combine words in recitation and the
changes in svara that occur as a result of such combination.

Both Pada and Krama methods of chanting retain the natural order of
words of the samhita paatha and so, are known as prakrti or natural.
For example, if we take sentence consisting of six words a-b-c-d-e-f,
in samhita paatha, it will be chanted as six separate words a, b, c,
d, e and f in pada paatha will be recited as a-b, b-c, c-d, d-e, and
e-f in krama paatha. Actually, a reciter proficient in chanting in
the krama format is honored as a kramavit !

In addition, they devised eight other combinations which do not
follow the natural order, and are known as vikriti or artificial
order. The vikritis are given in the following verse: They are,
jataa, maalaa, sikhaa, rekhaa, dhwaja, danda, ratha and ghana.

Among these only jataa and ghana are prevalent (or, only !) practices
in the Krishna Yajur Veda which is mostly predominant in the South.
In Sukla Yajur Veda, which is mostly predominant in Banaras and in
the North, (the Madhyandina and Kanva schools) all the eight vikritis
were practiced.

However, today, there may not be any scholars at all who might know
all these vikritis Jataa (braid) paatha In the above example, the six
words in the line, when chanted in the jataa format becomes, a-b-b-a-
a-b; b-c-c-b-b-c; c-d-d-c-c-d; d-e-ed-d-e; e-f-f-e-e-f and so on. As
can be seen, the forward-reverseforward arrangement of words resemble
the way ladies braid their hair, and so this practice of chanting is
termed jataa!

Two types of maalaa (garland) exist: a)krama maalaa and b) pushpa

This is simialr to krama paatha in that two-word units with the
characteristic overlapping are the foundation. sikhaa (top knot) is
similar to jataa except that, instead of two words being repeated
forwards and backwards, three words are linked. Recitations in rekhaa
(row), dhwaja (flag), dand (staff), and ratha (chariot) are more
complex and the reader can refer to Wayne Howard [2] for details.

Mention can be made here that there are three of ratha, namely,
dvipaada (two wheels), tripaada (three wheels) and catuspaada (4
wheels). Each wheel corresponds to a quarter verse (paada) of the
text. Among these, dvipaada chatuspaada varieties are the ratha types
most widely cultivated today.

Ghana (bell) paatha
This is one of the most popular format of recitations and requires
years of learning and practice by the student. A scholar proficient
in recitation in this format is honored as a ghana paathi . Here the
arrangement of words take the shape of a bell.

For example, the group of words a-b-c-d-e-f mentioned earlier, when
chanted in the ghana format will be, a-b-b-a-a-b-c-c-b-a-a-bc; b-c-c-
b-b-c-d-d-c-b-b-d; and so on.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


F our of our sense organs
A dorning our anatomy
C utely placed between the
E arlobes,
F ires freely
A ll sorts of emotions,
C ommunicates in many ways and
E xpresses our inner self.
F athom its
A ctual
C ommunications, there
E merges a whole lot of information.
F urrow beneath its
A natomy, its beauty is less in
C omplexion and more in
E xpression
A llow freely
T he face on
T op of your neck , the
I ndex of
T he mind to
U nleashe all
D eeply held , both dear and disgusting
E motions and express them.
A ttempt
T o
T ake the
I nner meanings of
T he
U ndeclared
D eeper
E xpressions from the face
Some interesting trivia about face many of which you won’t find on the net
1] Evidences of application of phrenological principles are found in EGYPT,BABYLONIA,INDIA,CHINA AND GREECE .In fact there was an expert called ZOPYRUS who examined the face of SOCRATES and stated that he had several vices. All those around SOCRATES mocked at ZOPYRUS but SOCRATES said he was right and that he had all the vices mentioned but overcame them through reason.
2] As per JEWISH kabbalists, secrets teachings were not imparted to those who did not have requisite facial features.
3] According to HRISHIKESH DUBEY the Vedic scholar in his very interesting book MYSTERIES OF VEDIC FACE READING, which I finished reading some months back, Vedic physiognomy lays down clear indication that the face brings out the nature, character, personality, intentions and the whole destiny of the person

4] In THE DYNASTY OF RAGHU by kalidasa he writes in Seventh canto. Aja's marriage.--While the suitors retire to the camps where they have left their retainers, Aja conducts Indumati into the decorated and festive city. The windows are filled with the faces of eager and excited women, who admire the beauty of the young prince and the wisdom of the princess's choice. When the marriage ceremony has been happily celebrated, the disappointed suitors say farewell with pleasant faces and jealous hearts, like peaceful pools concealing crocodiles. They lie in ambush on the road which he must take, and when he passes with his young bride, they fall upon him. Aja provides for the safety of Indumati, marshals his attendants, and greatly distinguishes himself in the battle which follows. Finally he uses the magic weapon, face.

5] Shakuntala is sitting right outside the house, sage Durvasa known for his anger comes visiting in the ashram. Lost in her thoughts, Shakuntala fails to acknowledge his presence. He gets infuriated and curses Shakuntala saying that the one whom she is thinking about will forget her face.
Some interesting quotes about and on face
3] Some people, no matter how old they get, never lose their beauty - they merely move it from their faces into their hearts.- Martin Buxbaum
4] A good face is the best letter of recommendation.- ELIZABETH I
- Elizabeth I
To get words to describe different types of faces

Saturday, July 2, 2011



Words are the products /result of human thinking,understanding,culture,religious practices etc that's why in English you don't have the opposite of sin there is no exact word in English for 'punya'.Still worse you don't have a verb for birth in English whereas other European languages have it.If you are interested in reading further about English as a language its strength and weaknesses read this link and the links it leads to all written by me in some magazines long back's why I would suggest that the best use of language is to use different languages according to the subject or context and the comprehending capacity of the readers or listeners,though this is very impractical but this is the best possible way to overcome the cultural barriers inherently embedded in any else can you convey exactly in any EUROPEAN language concepts like 'naal kizhyamai pakaradhoo' or even simple items like 'kolam'.for latestdevelopments in technology use English but when discussing spiritual matters i think the best language is Sanskrit as spirituality itself is a multi-layered and multi dimensional aspect of life mostly mystical ,abstract and esoteric to most of us ,i mean the not fully realized souls trying hard to grasp the intrinsic significance of life and all that is intrinsically connected with life and its inner journey in an environment not so conducive to its comfortable journey. Even for life the word 'JEEVAN' brings in multiple connotations connected with life rather than merely a physical anatomy moving around with breath.The beauty of Sanskrit is it facilitates perception as per the different scales of observation [ -point number two] as explained below in my recent blog post of GURU DATTATREYA 'I would like to quote a wonderful and worthy observation from a wonderful blog maintained by my friend Mike Magee [don’t miss to see his page] about some aspect of Sanskrit language “One of the unique but mysterious features of the Sanskrit language is how many words can be used at three separate and distinct levels of thought. Even whole verses have this remarkable feature. It is one of the factors which have made translation into other languages so difficult. The difference presupposes three groups of people. First there is the literal meaning intended for the householder or worldly man, and a guide to better thought and action. The second is the meaning on a higher level intended for the mumukshi or hungry seeker for God. Here the same words take the reader from the mundane level to the higher level, and the implications. The third is the meaning intended for the soul who has attained or is nearly ready to attain liberation”. This literally leads to both correct, crystal clear meanings and also gives room to those who pander to chaotic and callous interpretations, more so in spiritual texts, I stress spiritual texts, not religious ones, wherein there are always many esoteric intrinsic meanings which unravel only to the enlightened souls and not necessarily to a linguistic scholars or academic thinkers or even intellectual giants.