|AHYMSIN NEWSLETTER, ISSUE - March 2017|
Rasasvada – Taste of Bliss
by Dr. Prakriti Bhaskar
I would like to begin with a few lines I wrote on the folder designed for the first dance-yoga intensive program at SRSG, Rishikesh – INDIA (22nd-28th February 2017).
An invocation to the guru lineage & my beloved masters Sw. Veda Bharati ji …Sw. Ritavan Bharati ji :
When the showering of blessing and love fills one’s heart to the brim, then an overflow is inevitable… An ‘overflow’ is what I’d like to call this whole experience. A soft, subtle, sweet fragrance of my guru’s love and grace that infused and changed the very alchemy of all that I had learnt and taught throughout my life.
What followed during the next 7 days was an extraordinary and overwhelming experience of an ‘awakening’ …
I have trained in one of the most ancient forms of classical dance (Bharata Natyam) since my childhood. Close to 45 years- which is the most part of my life!! My earliest experience of ‘Silence’ came through my dance as a sense of stillness within. I often wondered why I wasn’t bubbling with excitement but rather felt contented & rested after a physically demanding practice / performance? Over the years I realized that this special experience was like a prayer to me and I came to believe that dance was a deeply spiritual process. I also felt its deep connection with yoga though I had never studied it and I continued to remain intrigued and curious …
Until I met my spiritual master Swami Veda Bharati ji who put together all the pieces of this jigsaw puzzle.
I was initiated into the Himalayan Yoga Tradition which is a “Dhyana” tradition. All practices were meant to take one into a silent meditative state…. a state I had glimpsed through my dance fleetingly. The sudden unveiling and unfolding of the various hidden layers revealed dance as a very powerful meditative process. A serious discipline of the body-mind-emotions that is camouflaged behind a very enticing, alluring and captivating formal technique. To be able to pierce and penetrate this most sense-engaging structure and reach its spiritual core is the greatest challenge for any practitioner of the arts. And I know that it is the Grace of my master that unveiled its true nature to me. What followed were a series of impromptu lecture-demonstrations whenever I was at the ashram ….the Gurus presence being its very source and inspiration! These eventually crystallized into the ‘Dance of Transformation’ – a dance intensive workshop Body, Mind & Emotion Awareness.
For 30 years I have taught, lectured, and shared this beautiful art form with students and connoisseurs of dance. It was what I had learnt and internalized through my practice. But this dance-intensive workshop was unconventional as the participants were not the usual dance-students or connoisseurs (rasikas), they were seekers (sadhakas). It was a new and unique opportunity for me to share not my knowledge of dance but ‘my experience’ of dance as meditation with this very special group of sadhakas who were aged between 20-70 years!
The canvas of Indian classical dance is vast and exhaustive. The challenge was to create a structure for the program that would allow me to share its very essence (RASA) through the beauty and grandeur of its form. Such a teaching is very subtle and almost intangible. So the structure had to be loose and flexible. For preparation I decided to listen to Swamiji’s lectures on art and culture titled “God in Theatre” and they became the inspiration and the foundation for me to explore during the program.
On the first day, after an auspicious beginning with the Guru Pooja, we sit down for the 2 minute meditation. As I open my eyes, seated in front of me in rapt attention are sadhakas, their eyes gleaming with the enthusiasm, curiosity, and joy of 5 year olds! A sudden unexpected wave of love and joy surges within and words start to flow… the content partly prepared and mostly spontaneous!! For the next 7 days the lectures just seemed to flow one into the other. That’s all I remember!!!
On introspection I realize that this sharing has been a very special learning that will stay with me forever. A firsthand experience of what true sharing/teaching was all about… Simply an effortless flow of Loving Presence – an exchange of synergy in which both the teacher and the taught received guidance from the Guru lineage.
The male principle (YOGA) and the female principle (DANCE) merged into one… the polarities beautifully integrated as ARDHANARISHWARA.
ARDHANARISHWARA – Dance of the Divine
With Love, Joy & Gratitude... In service of the Guru lineage
(Photos by Jay Prakash Bahuguna)