Why do I choose Natya?
People wonder why I dance. ‘Why dance if it does not fetch you an income?’ they ask. Others find it odd that I should feel energised after dancing rather than exhausting myself completely. Some of my well-wishers feel that I should concentrate more on singing rather than dancing because it is easier to carry on singing during old age. These are the reasons that have led me to introspect hard and write about my compulsive need of dancing!
Natya chose me!
As a child, I was drawn to dancing just as naturally as a little bird is lured to flying across the sky. Sometimes, I wonder if a secret magic fires me up to this form of art from my previous births. While my mother herself wanted to learn dancing but sadly could not, she made sure that I, her only daughter, fulfil her long-cherished dream. Therefore, she arranged my tuition under the best Gurus in Chennai who were known to groom up their pupils by motivation and inspiration. Thus, I was privileged to receive the guidance of some of the greatest tutors of the time and thank Goddess Saraswati for her blessings. Music, the inevitable accompanier of dance, acted throughout my career as a worthy catalyst to keep me interested in learning it up too.
Independently, I love the practice of Natya, a field of Sadhana that impels the learner to expand the boundaries of his physical, mental and spiritual limitations.
“There is tremendous joy in acquiring knowledge and mastering your body. The aim of all knowledge and cultivation is seeking perfection. And in Hinduism, perfection is akin to God.”
A wise friend once said “There is tremendous joy in acquiring knowledge A wise friend once told me this. Interestingly, every aspiring soul feels an inborn craving for this perfection. Principally, dance requires the mastery and coordination of every part of the body, as also the cultivation of an inner discipline, to harmoniously interact with rhythm and feelings.
While dancing induces physical fitness, it also sharpens the mind to be naturally alert at all times. And even though the effect of beauty and mastery over the body are temporary, the knowledge of this cultivation is eternal.
Angika, Vachika, Aharya and Satvika abhinaya
Angika, Vachika, Aharya and Satvika are the four segments of Natya. The best part of the dance forms having its roots from Natya Sastra and other texts with higher ideals is that they give importance to Satvika abhinaya too. This requires one to train not only the body and mind but also the spirit. While we strive to put together the combination of perfect physical movements, music, costumes and props to create an impact, as artists, we also tend to grow inwards and the journey is beautiful and fulfilling.
In today’s world, where words like stress and depression are becoming commonly used terminologies, Natya is the total package for human growth and excellence.
In life, there are many things which cannot be measured. Love, affection, inspiration etc. Natya is such an invaluable experience. Hence, I choose to be a performer and no matter what other professional degrees, qualifications and jobs that I would need to take up intermittently to lead this life.
Even though I am away from my hometown Chennai, music and dance which make the spirit of Chennai, travels with me no matter where I go. Borders and oceans cannot stop this spirit from flowing. I am happy to spread this joyous spirit and to share the knowledge bestowed by the Divine to aspiring individuals.
Reason behind the name ‘Sri Aravinda Mudhra’
Sri Aravinda Mudhra’s “mudhra” is derived from Mudhraalaya, in tribute to the great teacher, Dr Lakshmi Ramaswamy, to whom I owe all my knowledge and inspiration. To her, who has believed in togetherness, the magic of dance and harnessed me to teach the art to the next generation. All institutions started by students of Sri Mudhraalaya are named with Mudhra, like Chandra Mudhra, Vijaya Mudhraa and so on. Sri Aurobindo’s teachings have always been a driving factor to me and also, my music Guru, Smt Padma’s name is also synonymous to Aravinda. Hence, there could not be a befitting name than Sri Aravinda Mudhra.