This is a continuation of our previous post “Some historical snippets of Bharatanatyam – Part 1“.
In the 1977 issue of the Journal of the Madras Music Academy, there is an essay titled “Dance Music and the Contribution of Nattyacharyas to Karnatic Music”by the Bharatanatyam gurus K. P. Kittappa Pillai and K. P. Sivanandam. This was delivered in Tamil as Dr. V. Raghavan Shashtyabdapurti endowment lecture.
Disclaimer: I have attached the link to the pdf of the lecture as part of this post. I am not really quite sure of the copyright, although the website had no mention of it anywhere. So, I will remove the document if anyone points to any copyright infringement.
There are some interesting and important points of this lecture. I have tried to summarize them below:
1. Among the 64 arts, Bharata sastram is highly ranked.
2. I do not know which Thiruvilayadal puranam, but it seems in one of them mentions “பாவமோடு ராக தாளமும் மூன்றும் பகர்ந்திடு முறையினர் பரதம்”. Meaning that Bhaavam, Raagam and Taalam, all three make Bharatam.
3. Bhaavam – It is a divine power and in a human’s life an art that can invoke and/or suppress feelings/emotions in an instant is most needed.
4. The meaning of lasyam is to perform abhinaya while sitting!
5. During the Sodashaupachaara, devadasis depict 16 different hastabhedas and in front of the sannidhi offer a sloka, thus marking the pushpaanjali.
6. Ten Types of Adavus: Tattadavu, Naatadavu, Kudithamettu adavu, Jaadi adavu, Tattumettu adavu, Mei adavu, Arudhi adavu, Mettadavu, Nadaiadavu and Mudivadavu, each having 12 variations making a total of 120 adavus.
7. Margam format starts with
- Melaprapatthi – Trikala Mishra Jaathi Jampai talam
- Todayamangalam – Jaya Janaki Ramana
- Sabhavandanam alias Alarippu – Not based on any Ragam
- Shabdam – Usually in Kambodhi and Ragamalikai
- Varnam – The padavarnams are also known as Chowkavarnam
- Padam, and
It does not mention the Mangalam and the Slokham performed as the finishing part.
Lakshana’s of the Dance Teacher/Guru:
- Should have learned dance at an young age.
- Should have mastery over Tamizh, Telugu, and Sanskrit.
- Mastery over music and musical instruments such as Mridangam.
The first composition was “Navaratnamala” consisting of nine keerthanas as Gurusthuti to their Guru Muthuswami Dikshithar. They used the mudras such as “Guruguha”, “Guruguhadas”, “Guruguhabhaktha”, “Guruguhamurthy” as a tribute to their guru, whom they belived as the incarnation of Lord Muruga.
In the composition “Maya teetha swarupini” in Mayamalavagowla ragam they end it as “Maguruguha swamiki ne dasudaithi”. In another Keerthanam they mention “Saadileni guruguha murthini ne Aanaadanunti namminunu” indicating their devotion to their guru.
Their compositions include many jathiswarams, 20 Shabdams in Misra Chapu Talam, 50 Varnams in Roopakam and Aadi Talam, and 15 Swarajathis. For each varnam and Swarajathi there were Sahityam in both Tamizh, Sanskrit and Telugu. They have also composed 10 Dwadasha Ragamalikai consisting of 12 ragas. Also, numerous padams, javalis and thillanas.
A question asked by the authors to ponder: Why the other Kritis of Tyagaraja and Syama Sastri were not choreographed, even though they are contemporaries of their guru, Muthuswami Dikshitar?