Arattarangetram Sixth Episode Part III – Devil’s advocate

0:00 – Devil’s Advocate – “Do you have to believe in God to come across as a bharatanatyam dancer?”

Talking points

  • What is Bhakti?
  • Devotion towards God and devotion towards artform
  • Is belief irrelevant?
  • Spirituality and Religiousity
  • Is it a Journey?
  • Mythology: Just an interesting story?
  • Experience in life and dance
  • What can be a per-requisite?
  • How does an atheist see Bharatanatyam?
  • If one does not believe in God, are you being dishonest on stage that makes an audience believe in the character?

37:55 – Answer to Episode Part II question “Which famous dancer was born in 1936?”

Congratulations to Lavanya Rajagopalan for giving the right answer!!!

39:44 – Final wrap with “Life of Pi”

2 thoughts on “Arattarangetram Sixth Episode Part III – Devil’s advocate

  1. Comment Moderated
    The politically correct ramblings on the issue of faith and their fallacy are better understood in light of this:
    Invisible powers behind acting

    The difference between a good actor and a bad actor is that the good actor mimics the “original” character much more faithfully, sometimes to the point of becoming possessed by the occult spirits (see more details in the paragraph on Satvika abhinaya), because many of the characters are actually living entities (Sattva is what gives them life) , and not merely some figment of weak human imagination that is devoid of Sattva.

    Among the actor community, there is a phenomenon of “He wears a mask and his face grows to fit it” . He cannot tear the mask off his face: it becomes one with it. Even after a film shooting is over, a good actor sometimes can’t get rid of the “new personality” living in him, moving his mind and body. Whether it is good or bad depends on what spirit it is. Sometimes it takes over the actor’s everyday life and dreams so much that he loses his real identity.

    The “secular” “dancers” are as long as they declare themselves as “Christian” and try to depict such “character” as Rama as merely a “mythological (literary) character” as if he was no more real than Harry Potter. There is no harm in portraying Harry Potter in any way you like because there is no Harry Potter to bless you or curse you. Gods, asuras, rishis and everybody else don’t care if some dancers portray them inadequately, but they will react strongly when the dancer comes too close to the “original”. Bharata Muni’s “100 sons” (disciples) achieved such a great mastery of portraying gods and rishis, but then they started mocking at them (undeservedly, in the rishis’ opinion), for which sin they were sent down to earth as Shudras.

    Now you understand why initially took away the land for ‘s “temple”: he was not convinced that her “dancing” has any spiritual power behind it. Eventually, the lofty idea of “a temple” was watered down to merely a “resource centre” dedicated to Ilango Adigal .


  2. Hey guys since i found your topic where bit interesting and that too on god!!! here we have got some views about and god and dance.

    Since dance (bharathnatyam) is performed at temple in ancient times. So the starting point of dance is before we start questioning about “is really religion is needed?” let me share what is religion. i guess harry potter was not made in chidambaram temple.

    Every living thing in the world will do 4 things.Eating, sleeping, mating and defending. One extra fitting comes with human being is religion. That is the difference. We are not cats or dogs without the religion living for only sense gratification.

    Accepting and assuming that we are human being. So we have religion! And so we have bhakthi.Bhakti means “devotion,” or “devotional
    Service or “pure love.” to the god. So our ancient intellectuals have 16 kinds of upacharams that is rituals to show their love. Music & Dance is one of those.

    So dance should be only for devotional service. That is the purpose. No matter how dance is restructured or reconstructed but it is meant or god. May be I can put it in different way. Without bhakthi,,,it is not only the only on the dance technique but also offer to the Supreme god. Then it is not complete. Devotion towards God leads to devotion towards art form that’s makes absolute.

    Sad thing is we are talking about bharatha muni’s natya shastra and taking words from it but you are neglecting words from Mahabharatha and can easily believe rama and krishna.they were the two great epics not just mental speculating stories. An epic is a record of history always.I believe that gandhiji brought us freedom from british.he initiated sathya graha !! Dont you believe!?

    bharathanatyam purely ritual meant for spiritual experience. That means you should do pooja for god (dance ritual) to understand the spiritual science. Since Veda has authority to tell these kinds of spiritual practices we cannot reclaim again for our own ideas.

    If you do not believe in enlightment and moksha then you are lowest of the mankind. Whatever knowledge they are proud of, that is maya, and the basic principle is they’re asuras, atheists.(Na mam prapadyante mudhah written in bagavat gita – since you practice and watch bartahamuni natya sastra based bharathanatyam i very kind to offer some words from gita)

    Since you accepting and say “we are all incomplete and searching for the complete” with our limited fund of knowledge we cannot come to conclusion. May be if we search for something which is complete lot of peoples falls apart. After many many births one can devote himself to god. Try with the religion specially Vedic culture is recommended.vedic religion is not meant for any “isms”(hindhu muslim,christians etc.,)It sees only the living entities.

    More over bharathanatyam is not meant for all! Especially not for atheists. May if you look baharathanatyam as story telling.thats right.this dance for has the background of bhagavatha melam .it is purely story telling about the god. it is performed for peoples those who always want to engage with the gods sevices.bhakha always consider to be engage in devotional services to god of any type(dance).

    Since you said we have so much freedom we can do what we want! Like a knife have two uses. Either you can use to cut the jack fruit or kill the person. Same way if your natya/nrithya vidya is for god it is devotion.if your natya/nrithya vidya is for art alone it is can fill up that xyx with self satisfaction art growth,your principle of looking at dance etc.,etc.,but one thing you should remember bharathanatyam(one of the 16 hospitalities given to god) performed in places other than temples is meant for temples.

    If you are confusing about doing a abhinaya because may be you lack bhakthi!if you know god you can easily know the human emotions because we are part and parcels of god. If one does not believe in God, are you being dishonest on stage that makes an audience believe in the character?

    God is not interesting story but the interesting truth. I want to share some lines again:

    Devotee: Srila Prabhupada, I read in one of your books that one way we can learn about God is through a process called anumana. What is that?

    Srila Prabhupada: Logic. For example, as soon as we see a machine, we know there must be an operator of that machine. This is logic. You cannot expect the machine to work without an operator. Similarly, this material nature is a machine and the operator is God. Even though you cannot see God, by logic you can know He exists. This is human reasoning.

    But the atheistic scientists will not accept this simple argument. Even an ordinary typewriter cannot work automatically; it requires an operator to push the buttons. Then how can this big machine of the material nature work without an operator? What is this nonsense!

    The scientists say, “There is no God. Everything is working by the forces of nature.” But what is nature? Nature is simply a machine, just as our bodies are machines. The operator of the bodily machine is the soul, and the guide is the Super soul, Lord Krishna in the heart. As soon as the soul goes away from the body, the bodily machine stops working. And the same is true for the machine of the material nature. It does not work without an operator. But the so-called scientists have no common sense to understand this logic. Therefore they are rascals.

    Hare Krishna!

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