Tag Archives: Future

NATYA – a simple formula for success

25 Oct

On Vijayadasami day (Oct 22, 2015), considered auspicious for Vidhyarambham (initiation of learning, of all kinds, including performing arts) in Bharat, Swamy was invited to be one of the chief guests for a classical dance event. While Swamy doesn’t have any claim to be associated with dance in any way (he at least actively listens to many kinds of music, including the classical, and even sings & plays percussion instruments, though not formally trained in either), he chose to accept the invite as a mark of respect for the tremendous amount of effort that goes into learning an art or craft (or even sport for that matter, which Swamy has witnessed up-close-and-personal as he’s been part of the quest to raise Jr as a sports – Chess – champion) by all beings involved – the learner (usually an eager child), the learned (the teacher, trainer, coach or Guru, who trains many eager children), the learning enablers (usually parents and a few near & dear) and the learning itself, which is an excruciating, arduous & invariably long process that inevitably consumes a significant part of the childhood. But on any day, Swamy would gladly vote for children spending time learning a performing art, craft or sport, instead of wasting long hours pointlessly in rote learning.

wpid-20151022_181121.jpgThe event Swamy was invited to was a Salangai Puja, to mark the elevation of learners of classical dance from beginner to intermediate level, by letting them wear the salangai on their legs (around the ankle) for the first time, after a few years of learning the basics of classical dance – Bharatanatyam, in this case. The learners will continue to learn for a few more years under the Guru before they can do the Arangetram, i.e., first (typically public) solo performance, announcing to the world that s/he is ready to perform the dance independently anywhere.

SP31Four children – Adhira, Shailaja, Shivadarshini & Srujana – from Siva Natyalaya (the popular dance school of Mrs. Bhuvanadevi Karthikeyan located at Madambakkam, near the famed ancient Shiva temple) were elevated by their Guru to the next level on Vijayadasami & Swamy was one of the chief guests (the other two – Mrs. M.R.Lakshmi & Mrs. Krishnakumari Karthikeyan – were eminent persons from music & dance arenas respectively). This blog post is an excerpt of Swamy’s speech at the salangai puja (not his first public speech but certainly the first at a performing arts or cultural event).

NATYA – a simple formula for success

SP4Swamy’s speech at Siva Natyalaya’s Bharatanatyam Salangai Puja (சலங்கை பூஜை) event in Chennai on 22-Oct-2015 (the speech was in Tamizh தமிழ், which Swamy is quite conversant with, as it happens to be his mother tongue தாய்மொழி)

Namaskaram. After seeing my profession on the invitation (in chaste தமிழ், no less), you must’ve been wondering about what I really do for a living and what relationship do I’ve, if any, with dance!

பிரகாஷ் ராமஸ்வாமி – முழுமை வழிகாட்டி, மனித உள் ஆற்றல் கண்டறிதல் மற்றும் பேணி வளர்த்தல் வல்லுநர் 

SP14I too have wondered the same way about the dance part, as unlike the other two chief guests here – one from the classical music world (learning from none other than the great Semmangudi himself) & the other from the classical dance world (whose grandfather learned from the legendary Balasaraswathi), I’ve nothing to do with dance. Music has been a part of my Life but dance not so much. But as I also write (blogs now, books soon), it’s natural for me to ponder about things and wonder about connections between seemingly unrelated things. When I thought about me & dance, it dawned upon me that there indeed is a powerful connect. And that is Adiyogi (Swamy pointed to the bronze Nataraja statue on the stage that was decked up with flowers for the auspicious occasion).

SP2As someone on the spiritual path for the about 6 years now through Isha yoga, we’re deeply reverential to Adiyogi. Shiva is considered the first yogi in the yogic culture. Incidentally, he also happens to be the Lord of Dance, i.e. Nataraja. His famed dance is the Tandava – in Ananda & Rudra forms – and he’s also known as Thandavakkon in Tamizh because of this. So, now you know the connection between Swamy and dance (the audience chuckle). 

SP9Once that became clear, I’ve thought about what to say in this forum, where eminent persons from music & dance arena are there and children are performing the traditional Bharatanatyam dance beautifully with able guidance from their Guru & the accompanying musicians. Since children are familiar with formulas in many subjects they learn at school such as maths, physics & chemistry, it would be appropriate to give them a simple formula for achieving success in their quest to become eminent classical dancers. And that simple formula is NATYA. Very easy to remember (as the term itself means dance) and hopefully to follow & practice as well.

SP10N is Nada. Nada means sound. The universe that we’re part of is said to have originated from sound –  the primordial sound AUM. Recently, NASA scientists have managed to make the sound of Sun audible and it incredibly sounds as AUM (which isn’t surprising for our ancient culture as the many sages & enlightened beings have figured it out many centuries ago). All Creation is said to be just sound and the creator is also known as Nada Brahma. For dance too, the basis is sound. We’ve seen how beautifully the word Pankajam in a song was depicted as blossoming of lotus by the children. When we hear the word (sound) and see the depiction through gestures or mudras (movement or expression), we can connect with it easily and can comprehend better. 

What’s critical in this relationship is the alignment – between sound and movement in the case of dance. It could be something else for other types of Life pursuits. Alignment with a source, principle, goal or purpose. If your action is in alignment with a purpose, the result will be beautiful and the expreince will be joyful.

SP12A is Agnostic. In these turbulent times of religious intolerance, agnostic is a very sensitive world. But agnostic doesn’t just mean non-believer. It also means someone who is not biased – towards good or bad, like or dislike, progressive or regressive and so on. Shiva is also known as Aghori, someone for whom nothing is ghori or horrible. He accepts everything as it is. The people surrounding him are always depicted as demented beings, but he loves them the same way he would love any other being. He’s as comfortable being in the graveyard smeared in ash, wearing skeletons as he’s in his magnificent Somasundareswara form (worshipped in the famous Madurai Meenakshi temple, in Swamy’s home town). That’s why he symbolises Life the way it is. 

As a learner of dance (or anything for that matter), you shouldn’t be biased towards one or the other. I like this adavu or I don’t like that jathi. This song is more beatiful to perform than that song. I prefer that accompanying person to this one. Your focus should remain just the dance itself (performance or action). And you’ll just accept everything else around it as it is. Nothing is good or bad, no likes or dislikes. Everything just the way it is. That’s being agnostic.

SP21T is Transendence. Loosly translated (as Swamy was speaking in Tamizh – a far deeper, more delightful & meaningful classical language), it is elevating oneself from the present state to a state that’s many levels above or beyond. In the yogic path, it is achieving the state of Samadhi – an eternal state of bliss, which enlightened beings are said to be in, all the time. 

In dance (or any performance or action), Transendence is not just for the dancer (to go from a learner to a spectacular performer) but for the spectators too (going from hmmm to wow). You should reach a level of performance where there’s no stage, no accompanying artists, no spectators, not even the dancer but just the dance. That kind of a dance would bring tears flooding from the eyes of anyone blessed to be present. Tandava certainly would’ve done that to the sages and celestial beings who may’ve witnessed it, as Tandava is the dance of transendence. Both at cosmic and atomic level as creation is also known as the dance of Shiva.

SP28Y is Yearning. Not earning, which unfortunately is the focus of many star performers in any performing art today. Without yearning for something, it’s not possible to achieve the state of transendence. The sages who’ve become enlightened have performed yoga or tapas for many years. The saptarishis have spent not one or two but 84 years in preparing themselves to receive the grace of Adiyogi, who after observing their diligent preparation has become the benevolent Adi Guru (first Guru or Master) as the benevolent Dakshinamurthi to transmit his yogic knowledge to them, several thousands of years ago.

SP23As a dancer (or anyone performing a purposeful action), you must have immense interest and expend tremendous effort to be someone that people line up to see, not because you follow the principles of dance to the T but because being part of your performance lets them transcend to a different level. That’s how you’ll be known as a Balasaraswathi, Rukmini Devi, Padma Subramaniam or Alarmelvalli. In classical music, Bho Shambho belongs to Maharajapuram Santhanam. One can’t think beyond Madurai Mani Iyer when it comes to rendering Ka Vaa Vaa. Suprabatham is synonymous with MS. The same holds true for Kanda Sashti Kavacham and Sulamangalam sisters. Such astonishing levels of achievement is possible for you too, if you truly yearn for it.

SP17A is Absolute. Adiyogi is depicted as either an ascetic in a blissed out state of meditation or ecstatic state of tandava. He’s not partially in either state but absolute in both states. Whenever you perform dance (or any other purposeful action), your intent, focus and intensity has to be absolute. Such a state is not possible if you are performing for others. The performance or action will naturally flow from within and encompass all those who are touched by the performance or action in some way, only when it is absolute. If every moment of our Life is absolute, there’s no other choice for us but to be joyful.

So, that’s the simple formula of NATYA
Nada – action in alignment with a purpose.
Agnostic – accepting Life the way it is, without any kind of bias.
Transendence – elevating oneself & others from the mundane routine to an eternal state of bliss.
Yearning – immense interest and effort to achieve peak performance.
Absolute – intent, focus & intensity to achive transendence.

SP35Nataraja’s (Shiva in the form of Lord of Dance) dance Tandava is said to depict or embody the 5 thatvasSrishti (ஆக்கல் அல்லது படைத்தல்), Sthiti (காத்தல் அல்லது பொறுத்தல்), Samhara (அழித்தல் அல்லது மாற்றல்), Tirobhava (மறைத்தல் அல்லது மாயை விளையாடல்) & Anugraha (அருளல் அல்லது விடுவித்தல்).

It’s easy to see the NATYA formula is directly associated with the 5 Tandava thatvas (தாண்டவ தத்துவம்). But if I start explaining that now, the organisers may open their Netrikkan (third eye), as we’re running out of time. So, let me conclude by requesting you to use the NATYA formula for success in your pursuit of Dance. May Nataraja’s Grace be with you for a purposeful Life of dance overflowing with Joy.

The following is an extension to the speech (not shared at the event due to paucity of time), connecting the dots between NATYA & Tandava.

SP29Nada = Srishti (creation or Shiva as the source of creation) – Life of creation (humans inclusive) in alignment with the creator.
Agnostic = Sthiti (existence or Shiva as the preserver of creation) – Accepting Life the way it is, without any personal bias.
Transendence = Samhara (transformation or Shiva as the transformer of creation) – Elevating oneself (& others in one’s presence) from the mundane routine to an eternal state of bliss
Yearning = Tirobhava (maya or Shiva as the master who plays with the ignorance of his creation) – Having immense interest and willing to expend any amount of effort to know the Truth or purpose of Life.
Absolute = Anugraha (enlightenment or Shiva as the Guru who benevolently enables one to achieve and remain in the state of eternal bliss) – Having absolute clarity of intent/purpose, total focus and burning intensity to achive self-realization.

SP34As there is Nada Yoga (yoga of sound), there is also Natya Yoga (yoga of dance or movement). Dance, when performed as an offering to the ultimate (Shiva as Nataraja) and not as a mere performance, has the potential to let the performer transcend to the state of bliss. Just the way being in the mere presence of a realized being (like Sadhguru) can elevate a seeker to a different state of Life experience (beyond the known physical, limited to the five senses), being present during the perormance of a dancer whose dance is an offering to the Lord of Dance can and will let the participants transcend to a different level of experience – akin to being present during Nataraja’s Tandava itself.

NATYA(Oct-15)May Adiyogi’s grace be with you to immerse yourself in and experience the joyful dance of Life!

@PrakashSwamy

Be Joyful & Spread the Cheer 🙂

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Swamystery in 2014!

31 Dec Realization

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for Swamystery blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,100 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Journey of Life!

15 Dec

Patti1When Swamy held his frail grandmother in his arms, like a child, Life had indeed come a full circle. She had, somewhere in the long lost past, proudly held him in her arms, as he is her first grandson after all – a fact that hardly registers in her fragile mind now!

It’s just incidental that two events – both anniversaries – were celebrated by his extended family on that day. While his maternal grandmother’s 80th birth anniversary was more symbolic (she’s obviously too frail to last the long ritual), his cousin’s son’s 1st birth anniversary was an elaborate ritual, held on the same day at the same place. While physically being part of the event, Swamy’s mind started racing ahead (as usual, as you may say, dear reader), pondering Life, the chaotic and totally unprepared way we live it and, inevitably, Life the way it is, i.e., the way it is meant to be lived!

SwamyHome_FlowersA bud blossoms, petals untie themselves from the tight embrace to bathe in the mellow dawn light and the flower in full bloom, wafting in the gentle breeze, brings an impromptu smile on the face of anyone who cares to see. By dusk, the flower has departed the plant and falls on earth, to be part of the process of creation all over again. Other than plucking it to decorate either our mane or a deity, we hardly shed a tear when it completes its mere daylong Journey of Life.

Gardening1A seed gets buried into earth, sprouts a branch with a few leaves, sprawls into a tree with many branches and leaves offering shade (and even fruits) to all or grows into a plant yielding a crop. A tree’s Life is much longer than the humans, who, of course, will remorselessly axe or saw it off. A crop yielding plant’s Life is much shorter, depending on the type of crop it yields and the greed of humans who harvest, sell and consume that crop. Other than relaxing on an ancient rosewood chair in the patio, relishing rotis made from the finest wheat along with piping hot korma made with freshest veggies and sipping the choicest Chamomile Green Tea, we hardly spend a moment thinking about the plants and trees that yielded all those we cherish and relish, during their months of years long Journey of Life.

Manasarovar26Water evaporates into air, pours back to embrace earth as rain, gets stored in ponds, wells or dams, and is eventually used by humans in some form. Despite the fact that it fills most of this planet’s surface (and most physical life forms), it doesn’t seem to brag about how deep, far and wide it is. On the rare occasion it gets really upset, it reminds how frail we humans are, in the form of a torrential downpour, raging flood or all consuming towering wave called Tsunami. Despite its sheer magnitude and magnanimity of keeping every Life form alive, we hardly bother to wonder about Water, in myriad forms all around us, during or after its short or long Journey of Life.

Mylo_Maggy1A pup slips out into this big bad world, rolls on the dirt (or carpet), suckles, wags the tiny tail and starts playing as soon as it can stand and move around. Whether it’s a stray on the roadside getting pelted by humans or a pet cuddled at home by the same silly humans, it doesn’t have a problem with playing – on its own or with anyone who cares. It grows, probably gives birth to more pups and eventually leaves this thankless human infested world in 12-14 years. Most animals do the same, with varying age spans, if the 2-legged descendents of apes with a grossly overrated 6th sense, let them last that long, depending on whether they’re on the hunting and/or eating list. Other than eating most fauna and caring for a few (pedigree pets that come with bragging rights or caged beasts that are a paid spectacle), we hardly bother to think about most of them, during or after their human-controlled Journey of Life.

JumpA baby sneaks out from the warmth and safety of mother’s womb – naturally or otherwise, cries, suckles, marvels at any and everything around, bewitches everyone with a pristine toothless grin, charms all and sundry with meaningless babble, crawls on all four, rises on two, falls and learns to walk and run, eats and grows, loses its priceless childhood by being forced to study for half a lifetime by stupid adults (What Say Doting Parent?), learns to work and make a living the hard way, falls in love with a fellow human, gets into a relationship, raises its own family to continue the cycle for at least another generation, grows old, falls sick and dies one fine day, which isn’t that different from any other day.

Death2Despite the fact that this is how the supposedly evolved human species lived for many a millennia, we still make such a fuss over a perished fellow human – near, dear or otherwise, cry and mourn and try hard to remember the departed, long after they’re gone, even if we haven’t bothered to pay much attention when they were alive. We even celebrate the mourning year after year, even if the departed human hadn’t a clue about Life the way it is, during their long pointless lifetime.

Flowers2It’s the flower’s nature to blossom and it does so with ease, time and again, not bothering about who smells its fragrance or smiles at it.

BuddhaUnderBodhiTreeIt’s the seed’s nature to grow into shade giving tree or a crop yielding plant and it does so with ease, time and again, not bothering about who rests in its shade or relishes food made from it.

Manasarovar11It’s the water’s nature to evaporate and pour back and it does so with ease, time and again, not bothering about how it’s used or who uses it.

PepsiSIt’s the pup’s nature to play and it does so with ease, time and again, not bothering about who cares to feed it or chooses to play with it.

Monkay1It’s the human’s nature to feed and grow physically, not learn much despite studying for long, try hard to live for and please other humans, ignore all other beings that share this tiny planet, remain oblivious to the Purpose of Life and die without realizing what the Real Dream of Life is really all about.

Every flower will blossom, waft in gentle breeze, spread the fragrance, feed the bees, spark a smile and fall to earth.

Every seed will sprout, yield a crop or offer shade, provide clean air to breathe and get uprooted or become part of earth.

Every drop of water will be part of a well, pond, river or ocean, will evaporate and pour back to be part of earth.

Every pup will play, dig, roam freely, be loyal, love unconditionally, protect and perish to be buried in earth.

Puppy_PotpourriNone of them bother about what their ilk will think of them and try to live differently trying hard to leave their own mark in the sands of time, because they understand Life the way it is and are thankful to be a part of it – however short their lifespan is. They just go about their lives, being in the present, not bothered about past or future. In fact, without studying hard for long, they just seem to instinctively know that Present is Past in Future!

Cosmos2From bud to flower to fallen petals…

From seed to plant to fallen leaves…

From droplet to stream to vapour to fallen raindrop…

From pup to dog to fallen animal…

From child to youth to adult to fallen body…

the cycle of Life just goes on and on….

20120625_143222Until one learns to listen to the song of silence, see the luminance of darkness, smell the fragrance of nature, taste the nectar of love and feel the throb of energy in stillness. That’s when one breaks beyond the limitations of the five senses that tie one to that which is, i.e., all that’s manifest and traverse a different path to realize that which is not, i.e., the unmanifest, also known as Shiva*!

Sadhguru_Quote3Every human has been endowed with the ability to comprehend Life, make decisions to enrich the way of Living Life and embrace it fully by including all fellow beings as a part of the joyful Dance of Life.

Trying to hang on to some glorious (according to each, obviously varying from person to person) past and daydreaming about an unknown future, the Wise Fools let the gift of present slip out slowly and steadily, failing to Light Up this Life. A few transcend the timid mind to dream big, expand their horizon, enjoy playing the grand Game of Life and even inspire and enrich fellow human’s lives. A handful, realize the Truth and become one with Endless Beginning called Life, erasing the imaginary boundary between the creator and the creation and offer Boundless Grace for all Beings!

Thinking2Alas, most humans remain entrapped for many lifetimes in the bubble of Life Matrix, fail to learn the A-Z of Life, spend enormous effort and time on pointless pursuits and events such as the Middle of the Endless Beginning, have limited or no understanding of Life the way it is and hardly appreciate the wonderful opportunity to go from Ordinary to Extra Ordinary.

Irrespective of whether you’re shaken or stirred by this Mjolnir blow to wake up from the Absurdity of Existence slumber, you may do well to remember the LaaSting Truth of Life that Birth isn’t the starting point, Death isn’t the destination and all the events that happen between Birth and Death aren’t milestones in this enchanting Journey of Life!

Dhyana1Life was, is and will be, until it chooses to recycle time to start all over again (this one’s the 84th such cycle, aka Rudra’s Roar, and this will go on till 112, says Swamy’s Master Sadhguru). We – quite possibly the dumbest species that keeps boasting about an extra sense than all fellow beings – are just passing by, in the umpteenth journey that we call as a lifetime. Yet, we choose to remain ignorant of the magnificence of Life in this lifetime too (who knows how many we’ve been through and how many more we’ll be through), letting the bubble last, entrapment continue and ignorance darkness keeping us sealed in the mortal envelope.

Swamily_GardenThe mellow light of dawn beckons…

The vibrant blossom of flower smiles…

The chaste green sprout of seed dances…

The pristine drop of water sparkles…

The nonchalant play of pup enchants…

Flowers3Life throbs all around, beside, above and beyond us in countless myriad forms, shapes, sizes and hues. Not expecting anything from us, but just inviting us to be an active part of it – not knowing, doing, wanting or needing but just being.

It’s up to us to wake up from the prolonged ‘i’coma, dear fellow humans, for the time has come to see, listen, smell, taste, touch and comprehend Life the way it is, be truly joyful inside out and enjoy – along with all fellow beings – this enchanting Journey of Life!

* Shiva = Shi+Va = That Which Is Not (as told by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, a realized Master and founder of Isha Yoga, the spiritual path followed by Swamy and many seekers like him).

.

Swamy_ACC_SignatureBe Joyful & Spread the Cheer 🙂

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Present is Past in Future!

5 Mar

Image

When Life recycles Time, the Present becomes the Past in the Future.

Yet we linger in the past, long enough to waste the gift of present, by when future has sneaked past unnoticed.

Past can be a point of reference, but it is pointless to bookmark it and keep on revisiting.

Life is all about present and that’s why it is also known as a gift. Accept it gracefully and share its joy with others.

Living beings with one less sense than us – like my two tail wagging daughters for example – can teach us a thing or two about living in the present.

Animals live life one day at a time, in absolute harmony with nature, until they rest in the bellies of people who eat them or in mother earth, who with her eternal grace accepts them for what they are and recycles them into another life form.

Plants live life without a sense of time, for many of them can live long enough to see many a generation of us. Unless of course they’re chopped at the prime of their life, sawed and crafted into a piece of furniture we proudly own. That too despite giving us a bounty of fragrant flowers and juicy fruits, without asking for anything in return.

We fail to live by wasting the limited lifetime available in strategizing about the future, tactically planning the present and operationally analyzing the past. Trrrrrrrrnnnnnnggggggg… the alarm goes off – yet another missed day! 

Stop day dreaming about future and start living your dreams in the present. It is worth living, without an iota of doubt.

For the goal obsessed, one day at a time is a good short term goal to start with. One moment at a time will be the long term goal worth aspiring for.

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