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Experience of Advaita Through Bharatanatya Marga by Dr.Chethana Radhakrishna

Conference on Oneness- Advaita in Arts, Music, & Dance: Experience of Advaita through Bharatanatya Marga by Dr.Chethana Radhakrishna. The paper was presented in the Conference on Oneness, jointly organized by Indic Academy and Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth (CVV) that was held in Chinmaya Eswar Gurukula, Adi Shankara Nilayam, Veliyanad, Kochi between 15th and 17th October, 2019.

It is a common belief that dance is merely a form of entertainment. Here in this presentation, Dr. Chethana clarifies how it is in fact a personalized way of Advaita. She opines that dance symbolizes detachment from all earthly connections. It is also the responsibility of the performer to allow the well informed audience, to get a feel of this spiritual transformation. In their shared involvement, the dancer and the spectator are both released from worldly woes and experience the divine joy of the art with a total sense of freedom.

Dr. Chethana goes on to elaborate on contribution of various modules of Bharatanatya Marga like Alarippu, Jatiswaram, sabdam, varnam, padams, Tillana, Shlokam, Mangalam, etc. towards achieving oneness with the Divine.

According to Advaita philosophy, if we continually contemplate on Self, which in itself is Divine, this single thought would in due course replace all distractions. The pure consciousness that alone finally remains is God. Even though the mind wanders restlessly , involved in external matters, and so is forgetful of its own self, one should remain alert and remember that the body is not the self; and should constantly contemplate on  turning the mind backwards to its primal state.

These are the very same transformations a spiritually bent dancer may undergo through the performance of a Margam. Or we can say that this Margam is a symbolic representation of spiritual transformation of a soul to experience oneness as elaborated on in Advaita, concludes Dr. Chethana. 

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