Yesterday we had a visual delight in the form of a Dance Ballet at Rama Rao Kala Mantap, T.Nagar titled “Siva Swaroopa Thandava Lahari” performed by Smt.Krishnakumari Narendran troupe. Music was scored by Rajesh Vaidya. The dance drama was about Lord Siva‘s divinity & his dance in the form of his Thandavams. There were five scenes or stories portrayed in the performance. To the benefit of audience like me, a brief story of the scene was read out in Tamil by Smt.Krishnakumari before the beginning of each scene. This really helped me to understand and explain it to my pestering 6-year-old son. I learned that the scenes are from songs and texts in Sanskrit and Tamil works such as ‘Tirumandiram’, ‘Tiruvaachakam’, ‘Sivanandalahari’ and ‘Sivapanchakshara Stotram’.
1. The first scene was about the greatness of the Lord and emphasised the importance of the word ‘Namasivaya’
2. Siva as the teacher in the form of Dakshinamurthy. Nrithya Jagannathan (the main dancer) illustrated the reason for sitting under a banyan tree with slokas from ‘Tirumandiram’ and ‘Tiruvachagam’
3. Adi Sankara’s ‘Sivanandalahari’ was done with the story of devas and asuras churning the ocean to get nectar
4. Ravana’s ‘Garvabhangam’ was excellent. The male dancer performed the role of Ravana very well, especially the scenes where he is in pain. I didn’t know this story in Ramayana so it was very interesting. The story goes like this “Following his conquest of Lanka, Ravana went to Mt. Kailash and was stopped by Nandi when he wanted to see Lord Siva. Ravana abused Nandi saying he is looking like a Monkey, Nandi curses him back saying his kingdom will be destroyed by an Army of Monkeys. Then Ravana attempts to lift the mountain, Lord Siva annoyed by Ravana’s arrogance, presses his little Toe on Mt.Kailash, pinning him painfully under it. To get out Ravana made a Veena with his nerves as strings, one of his head as the base for the Veena and composed songs praising Siva called Siva Tandava Stotra. He was then relieved and blessed by Lord Siva”
5. The fifth and final scene told us the story of Adiseshan taking the form of Saint Patanjali. The story goes like this “Adiseshan sees Lord Vishnu disturbed one day. On enquiry, Lord Vishnu narrates the story of how he and Lord Siva played out a drama in Tarakavanam. The Yogis, scholars and their wives lived in a village called Tarakavanam were very learned – they believed that a disciplinary life and moral living is all that is needed to attain enlightenment and there was no need to pray to Lord Siva or Lord Vishnu. To cure their arrogance on this matter, Mahavishnu and Siva came down to earth and tried to lure the saints, and their wives, at Tarakavanam. The elderly Yogis enraged sent one after the other animals such as tiger, elephant, deer and snakes to attack Lord Siva. Lord Siva won, and the Tarakavanam residents learned their lesson. Adiseshan after hearing this story did penance to Lord Siva to see this performance again. He was asked by Lord Siva to take the form of Saint Pathanjali and visit Chidambaram, which he does and sees Siva’s Thandavam”
Overall a wonderful experience, don’t miss it if you get a chance to see.
(My thanks to Bing Search and to The Hindu article for recollecting the names of the texts and works correctly)
Also published on Medium.