Thursday, March 1, 2018

Natya Yoga: The Science of Dance

All streams of education that took birth in India have the ultimate goal of spiritual enlightenment of the student. The primary purpose of education is to lead towards the union of our individual self (microcosm) with the universal self (macrocosm). Tagore reiterates this "The highest education is that which does not merely gives us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence." Classical Indian dance is a refined and comprehensive system of education with the same end goal. The practice begins with the training of the physical and mental to culminate in the spiritual.

In my opinion, no other form of education integrates at once the complete development of an individual. Training in dance not only cultivates all the faculties; the body, the senses, the mind but also awakens the sense of beauty, harmony and rhythm lying latent within us and found universally around us. No wonder why the knowledge of classical dance (natyaveda) is considered the ultimate knowledge (panchamaveda)!

na tat jnanam na tat shilpam, na saa vidya, na saa kala
naasau yogo, na tat karma naatye asmin yanna drishyate 
There is no wisdom, no sculpture, no stream of knowledge, no art,
no science and no action that does not find reflection in Dance. - Natyashastra 

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