Music and Dance – The Elixir of Life
In Indian culture, Shiva is the master of dance, the beautiful dancer loved by all
‘Nataraja Nataraja nartan sundar Nataraja, Shivaraja Shiaraja Shivakami priya Nataraja’.
Once ‘Parvati and Shiva' were having a dance competition he would give a performance and she would follow.
‘Shiva and Parvati’ danced and danced and danced. Shiva dacned in different poses and ultimately he adopted a pose that Parvati could not do. You will find that pose in the Chidambaram temple, near Chennai in South India. But Parvati could not manage that posture, which became the immortal posture of ‘Nataraja’.
After Shiva came Sri Krishna. He brought dance to the level of the masses, to the cowherd boys and girls and graze and milk the cows. Krishan was illiterate. This man who is supposed to be the master of the Bhagavad Gita had no schooling at all, just like Swami Niranjan.
Swami NIranjan never went to school. He lived incognito during his childhood and adolescence with the cowherd boys and girls. There he used to dance and dance and the girls used to dance and dance. That dance has become immortal in Indian history and is called the ‘Rasalila’, the ‘Cosmic Dance’, the ‘Celestial Dance’, and the ‘Divine Dance’.
We call it the dance of ‘Purusha and Prakriti’, the dance between ‘Ida and Pingala’. We have given it so many names. Sri Krishna danced and the ‘Rasalila’ has become immortal.
Krishna and Shiva were masters of dancing, they were perfect dancers. Shiva’s nataraja and Krishna’s rasalila were missing from Indian life for two or three hundred years, when men and women were not allowed to interact with each other. We are born free. We want to be free. Dancing is our right and singing is our soul. That is the only time when we can be happy. Otherwise we are dancing after money, we are dancing after the bottle, we are dancing after this and that. And that dance is full of tensions.
We do not subscribe to cultures that prohibit singing and dancing. Music and dance are the elixir of life. Everyone must allow their children to learn music and dance at home. We must all learn to sing and dance. See how good these people from the West are at singing and dancing. Their timing and rhythm are perfect.
Their knowledge is one hundred percent although it is our culture which has come down to us from the ‘Sama Veda’, one of the four Vedas. During the dark times two to three hundred years ago this gap between boys and girls widened and they were prohibited from practicing this beautiful art. As a result today boys and girls are afraid of each other.
We want our children to learn mathematics and science, but life in society and family should be full of music. There is no harm in learning English or Chemistry but children must sing and dance. Dancing and singing develops the body and mind – their spirits will soar.
If parents sing ‘Kirtans and Bhajans’, children will also follow suit. If you sit and chant kirtan or Ramayana, your children will definitely sit there with you and participate in that chanting too. This would be the beginning of a very good culture in the family, one in tune with our ancient culture and civilization. Singing and dancing is not a new culture of Indians.
Swami Satyananda Saraswati