Gurubhakti-Ratna Kumari Somashekhari
H.D. Paramahamsa Omkarananda Saraswati 

A Short Reflection upon the Common Features of
Two Ways to God-experience:
Indian Classical Dance and Music and Shri Vidya

(By Gurubhakti-Ratna Kumari Somashekhari)

“The whole universe is a manifestation of ANANDA.
OM is the source of all Arts and Sciences.
OM is the source of Rhythm and Movement.
OM is the source of Nritya, Dance, of Music, Sangeeta.”
Paramahamsa Omkarananda Saraswati

God is Beauty and Beauty is God.
Truth is Beauty and Beauty is Truth.
Truth, Bliss and Beauty,
Satyam-Shivam-Sundaram, or Peace, Bliss and Beauty, Shantam-Shivam-Sundaram are three faces of the all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful Divinity.

Indian Classical Dance and Music and the path of Shri Vidya beautifully suit together. They are even integral parts of each other.

Divine Beauty, Bliss and Peace are essential features in the Shri Vidya Upasana as well as in the Art of Indian Classical Dance and Music.

A real artist and seeker of the Truth is a worshipper of infinite, divine Beauty, a beauty, which finds its fulfilment only in the Beauty, which is the Divine, the Absolute, the Divine Mother Mahatripurasundari, the Sadgurudev.

In the same way, an Indian Classical Dancer and Musician should search and incorporate in his or her art this Divine Beauty, otherwise his or her art will lack its true essence.

Indian Classical Dance and Music is Beauty –
Beauty in inner Divine Feeling
Beauty in fragrant Devotion and surrender to the
Divine
Beauty in powerful, lively and ecstatic rhythm
Beauty in lovely, heart-touching melodies
Beauty in sweetness and purity of expression
Beauty in dignified and graceful movements
Beauty in colourful costumes and shining jewellery

One of the most striking similarities between the Sadhana of Indian Classical Dance and Music and the Sadhana of the Shri Vidya is the worship of infinite Divine Purity, Beauty and Bliss (Ananda), the Divine Mother Mahatripurasundari, and the incorporation of Her qualities in one’s heart, character and life.

A great Shri Vidya Upasaka, Sri T.V. Kapali Sastry, writes in his book, “Quintessence of Sri Vidya”:

“Whatever the path the aspirant follows, there are certain basic requisites for the Sadhana to be successful. The Goddess of Sri Vidya is the Mother of Beauty and Bliss, the Mother of Love and Grace. One who follows the path of Sri Vidya should be a worshipper of beauty and grace. He should reject ugliness in all its forms. He should not only shun the outer ugliness but also ugliness in thought, word and deed.”
(T.V. Kapali Sastry, Quintessence of Sri Vidya, page 21)

Real Beauty is only possible, if the “heart is beautiful”, that means if it is full of love, purity, understanding, peace and devotion. Outer beauty gains life, radiance and charm only through the “inner” divine beauty.

Purity, Beauty and Bliss (Ananda) are also the most dominant and touching qualities of a presentation of a Divine Indian Classical Dance and Music performance.

Like Indian Classical Dance and Music, Shri Vidya is a Sadhana; the true aim of both Sadhanas is to attain God-experience, Jivanmukti (the state of a living liberated man).

“Again, the ultimate goal of the Sadhana of Sri Vidya is Self-Realisation, the realisation of one’s Self as the Goddess Herself. This is the culmination of all paths, the consummation of all transformations.”
(T.V. Kapali Sastry, Quintessence of Sri Vidya, page 3)

“Such is the greatness of the Vidya of the Divine Mother that it is mentioned without any description or attribute. It is simply called Sri Vidya, Sri being a prefix to denote auspiciousness. It is the knowledge, the only knowledge that matters. The Tantric holds that knowledge about sculpture, etc. is no knowledge at all; Sri Vidya leading to liberation, moksha, is alone fit to be called as the Knowledge.”
(T.V. Kapali Sastry, Quintessence of Sri Vidya, page 4 & 5)

In the same way, only technical knowledge of Indian Classical Dance and Music does not help to gain the highest goal of life, Liberation or Jivanmukti. Indian Classical Dance and Music must be practised as a real Sadhana, a way leading to God-experience. Therefore the worship of the Divine with the aim of melting one’s limited personality into the Infinite, the Paramatman, must occupy the first rank. The Art of Indian Classical Dance and Music ideally lends itself to this aim because of its divine origin and also because this art was integrated in the sacred temple rituals since ancient times. The poojas in the temples were not complete without recitals of Divine Dances and Music for the Divinities. For all auspicious occasions performances of Divine Classical Dance and Music was a must. The pure Indian Classical Temple Dancers were educated to sing, dance, live, dress and behave themselves in such a beautiful, dignified and divine way, that they not only increased the devotion of the onlookers and pleased the Divinities, but they seemed to have transformed themselves into living Gods and Goddesses.

In the history of our great Bharat Mata, India, we come across so many saintly singers and dancers like Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Mirabai, Baijubawara, Tulsidas, Surdas, Tyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikshitar, Shyama Shastri and many many others, known or unknown, who have attained and expressed the Divine by their devotional songs and dances.

When this was possible in the past, then why it should not be possible today, too?

God is always present. He is not present less today than He was hundreds or thousands of years ago. God is omnipresent, all-knowing, all-loving. He can react to any form of worship by which we approach Him, why not also through Divine Dance and Music or through the practice of Shri Vidya?

I want to close my short reflection upon the common features of Indian Classical Dance and Music and Shri Vidya with an excerpt of a speech, which my adorable Sadgurudev Paramahamsa Omkarananda Saraswati held in Omkarananda Ashram Switzerland, after a dance performance of my dance students Bala and Radha. The children had performed a Bharatanatyam dance, describing the infinite Wisdom, Power and Beauty of the Divine Mother Shri Lalita Mahatripurasundari:

“The children have now applied God to life. They have described the nature of the Truth. What is the Truth? Truth is the source of all Divine Powers. You say: ‘GOD’. From where has God come? There must be something from which God has emanated. You say: ‘The world’. There must be something from where the world has emanated. You say: ‘Life’. There must be some source for life. You say: ‘Intelligence, reason, joy, happiness, peace, wealth.’ From where have all these come? Who is the Source?

“The children said in the song, in the dance, that that Supreme Light called Shri Devi, Shri Vidya, that Supreme Light is the Source of all Gods and Goddesses, all the elements, that the science speaks of.

“You may send satellites into the space, you may plant your flags on every planet, you may explain the theory of relativity of Einstein, you may work as the most skilled surgeon in the clinics, you may produce Beethovens and Bachs and Kants and Goethes. From where do all these come? By whom are all these sustained? Where are all these gone?

“That from which all these come, that in which all these subsist, that in which all these dissolve themselves, is the supreme Light – supreme Power – Shakti – Shakti is Power – Power of every kind – and Power of powers – Power in Power.

“This God, whom the children described through their dance, is supreme Beauty. It is Breath of Life. It is the quintessence of Existence – it is the pulse beat in my heart. It is the movement of my Intelligence. It is the Power in my words. It is the substance in the meaning of my words. It is the happiness which you are seeking for. It is the wealth which you would like to possess. It is all that is beautiful in nature. It is music. What is God? God is music. God is Shri Vidya. Shri Vidya is music. Shri Vidya is fullness of life.

“Life’s fullness lies in experiencing this boundless Light, which is everywhere.”

– Paramahamsa Omkarananda Saraswati
 

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