We had an overview of Bharata Muni’s Naatyashaastra in the previous article. We picked only one shloka from the 6000 that Bharata has written and analyzed its meaning. We have seen that just like all other art forms, dance too is governed by techniques as laid down by the shaastra. We also discussed the advantage of relying on shaastra and on classical heritage. [contextly_sidebar id="GATH9jaNSqdcTVbkcwVfxnQ2lL5IfCUY"] Shaastra is like the...
 
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We shall have a look at Indian dance from the perspective of shaastra and heritage (sampradaaya). Indian dance, just like other art forms and knowledge systems of India, is idealized. It mainly shows us how things ought to be and not how they currently are or how they appear to be. In other words, it helps us look at nature from the perspective of culture. Bharata Muni speaks of this at the beginning of the Naatyashaastra (1.107 to 1.123)...
 
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Shaastra is inevitable for the learning of any art form. However, it is also true that it is almost impossible to ‘teach’ an art. Any learning that can develop only through experience cannot be ‘taught’ using external means.  This can be better appreciated when seen from the perspective of Vedanta and Brahmaanubhava (the experience of the Brahman – the non-dual entity, Bliss in essence). We can use shaastra as a tool to kindle the artistic...
 
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Change is of two kinds – external and internal. Only when there is a harmonious balance between external and internal changes, activities associated with it can have a smooth flow. If one changes at a rate much higher than the other and if the two lose sync with each other, the whole system will face the danger of failure. Harmony will be lost and will lead to chaos. In most cases, such accelerated changes occur only on the external parameters,...
 
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The word ‘Shaastra’ means ‘to rule’ or ‘to govern’ and is derived from the root ‘शासु-अनुशिष्टौ’. ‘To govern’ means to protect like a king, and to keep everything that comes within his purview under control. However, this does not mean that shaastra is dictatorial, rigid and restrictive. Just like a forest protects a lion and the lion in turn protects the forest (popularly known as ‘vana-simha-nyaaya’), the shaastra and all the aspects that come...
 
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