Secrets of Lasya and Abhinaya. Divyatha Arun: a lonely bright star among the mediocre K.J.Sarasa’s Bharatanatyam students? Bharata natyam careers.

After watching 20 or so of her mostly mediocre or outright bad students in the past few years, the only thing that urged me to go and see her programme was the picture of her dancing with Shanmugha, K.J.Sarasa’s senior assistant, that my daughter discovered in The Hindu last year. “If he was dancing with her, she should be really good”, she exclaimed. And she was right!

Shanmugha understands very well who is good and who is not so. His schoolmate’s – Jayalalitha’s – government awarded him with a title in 2000πŸ™‚ K.J.Sarasa has a lot of political connections in both parties, so if you need a government or other title, go and join her school, pay your fees, show a bit of sychophancy and the title is yours.πŸ™‚

It was not a surprise that the mediocre dancer, Subanjali Sadgurudas, who danced (very primitive choreography) before Divyatha, had the mini hall of NGS fully packed with the social circles of her gurus, the Narasimhacharis. The senile voice of the Narasimhachari was probably not too inspiring. Vasantha looked at him as if he was a senile idiot. He did look so. How can Vasantha Narasimhachari look like as if she were his daughter??? What is the secret of her youthfulness?πŸ™‚

Less than 50 people watched Divyatha. The better the dancer, the fewer the rasikas?πŸ™‚

As soon as Divyatha started, I realized, “Aha, now we are watching some serious choreography!” Usually Sarasa’s students dance some simple (boring!) pieces, but this time it looked really complex. In most, if not in all, schools, some items are for beginners, some for the middle level, and some are for the advanced, so you can very easily tell if the dancer is “advanced” or not. Divyatha is very advanced, and has already opened her own Bharatanatyam school in Coimbatore.

Divyatha will impress you at once with her elegance, her perfect araimandi and excellent angasuddhi. I noticed that some dancers do not have this ability to capture instantly their rasika’s minds. Divyatha has a pretty face, perfect figure and is extremely agile, and fully performed every pose, very sculpturesque! Although as far as flexibility goes she could not fully bend (for example, while lifting her leg) in a couple of instances, but even then it was not as bad as Ranjani Murthy‘s awkward stiffness. (Unfortunately, lately, Divyatha’s dance looked more and more like a male Kalakshetra dancer…😦 )

I think that from her guru’s point of view, Divyatha’s technique was very good. This girl had an excellent control over her body, and her steps are very crisp and her laya is superb. Her poses were so excellent because she carved them in her mind and only then let her body assume them. This mental “pre-shaping” is a sign of mastery. She bent her torso effortlessly, swiftly and fully in every direction!

She also displayed a mastery over the dancing space too: even though NGS’s mini hall provides the dancer with hardly 9 sq metres of floor, she used this limited space remarkably well. I think it shows her experience. Very few dancers can do it.

She stooped a few times in a Nataraja-like pose, arching her back – have you ever seen such a pose? Curious… Sleeping Nataraja? Still I was a bit surprised that she lifted her arms stiffly upwards (in Kuttadavu), in a clumsy way, and occasionally she did not complete the left turn fully, unlike the right turn (again in Kuttadavu). Is it Kalakshetra, or what???😦

My friend V.R.D. told me that K.J.Sarasa’s students, even the girls, are notoriously bad at mukha abhinaya. Primarily, they lack the expressiveness, the richness, the depth and the subtle details. For example, although both the girls’ schools are formally “Vazhuvoor”, Krupa Rajul Shah in her depiction of the Vamana avatara’s episode was far more subtle, deep, delicate and detailed, and her expressions changed each other much more seamlessly (seen very well in the portrayal of Bali).

It is interesting that both the girls’ interpretation of the Vamana story was so different from the classics. In the original story, we are told that Vamana put his third leg on Bali himself and crushed Bali to the nether or the Patala loka(underground world), thus helping the Gods out. In Divyatha’s and Krupa’s depiction, we see Bali taking off his crown in amazement and adoration of Vamana, and then Vamana blesses him with his foot gently! Wow! Bali is transformed and his life saved! πŸ™‚

Portraying asuras are an interesting area where most dancers fail miserably. While it is easy to show a rakshasa, it is hard to depict an asura. Asuras, in their outward appearance, manners, and behaviour are often indistinguishable from the avatars. The difference is very subtle, and frankly speaking, I have not seen a single dancer who has succeeded perfectly in this kind of depiction. Dancers are so shallow nowadays! Cheap!

Divyatha should read the dice game story, meditate, and understand that Sakuni’s expressions and reactions did not look like a cherri boy’s from Chennai! And Yudhishtira was perhaps more noble, self-contained and refined than what Divyatha showed us. As we do not see any living (real) high-ranking kshatriya’s in the cherri-dominated Madras of Kali Yuga, the dancers’ imagination (and the purity of mind) is the only source for their depictions. But why then portray Bali as if he was a saint???

Ok, Dussasana did treat Draupadi in a rough way, but I am not sure Draupadi felt and behaved in that way. Draupadi was a highly noble woman, she did not behave in a hysterical manner perhaps… Well…

There were 2 typical errors that took away from the perfection of Divyatha ‘s mukha abhinaya. One was the screwing of eyes, and the other error was the smile’s sudden fluctuations (jitters) when the corners of the mouth move unexpectedly down and then suddenly up again and then down and then up. As if the dancer was unsure of whether to smile or not to smile! Divyatha was not as bad here as Urmila Sathyanarayanan and her students. When Urmila is dancing, she demonstrates, “Hey, am I not funny: now I can smile, you see? Now I don’t. You see?” Very coquettish. It is as if the dancer shows that she is not serious at all. The rasikas get the impression, “Huh! This girl is not for real: she is just pretending!”

Divyatha should understand that a smile is when your mouth’s corners are up, not down! Don’t you get a funny impression when you see someone’s lower lip move over the upper teeth?πŸ™‚ Or when the lower jaw moves slightly back?πŸ™‚ Occasionally, this is what this girl did.

Both Divyatha and Krupa were brilliant at conveying the supreme power of the Vamana; Divyatha was superb too in the prayer pose when the song dwelled on invoking Krishna… Krishna… Krishna… Divyatha’s soul is stern, and its power is quite concentrated. She actually understands tapasya more than self-surrender. Unlike most women. Divyatha’s voice is very powerful and vibrant like Arjuna’s voice on Kurukshetra, but I would prefer that it should be more tender, sweet, mellow and warm.

Krupa could learn from Divyatha the lasya ways in angika abhinaya and nrittas. Lasya is much more demanding. From a purely physical point of view, it implies moving not only with a wide range of speeds but, most importantly, a wide range of accelerations (Chitra Visveswaran’s students try to do it to some extent). It is a wide range of accelerations and decelerations that brings out the depth of the angika abhinaya and makes your ntritta intricate and graceful and captivating and professional. Without a wide range of accelerations, you will look like a primitive American robot dancing or doing aerobics. These accelerations lend life and emotional hues to every body movement. And this is what made Divyadha’s angika abhinaya and nrittas so vibrant and graceful.

Perhaps Divyadha can learn some abhinaya from Vani Nagarajan?πŸ™‚ After all, Vani’s mind is not focussed on medical studies.πŸ™‚ And Vani is much less inhibited. Sarasa, like a bad tailor, thinks that everyone’s clothes have to be stitched like a one-size-fit-all uniform: without measuring the poor client’s body.

Sarasa has not had the time yet to pull the ready-made clothes of the wrong size onto the little Vani. Vani does not understand that, in the future, she will be expected to lie a lot and wriggle her face while uttering heaps of flattery for the cherri VIP’s in order to get “opportunities to perform”, titles, and to “succeed in the Bharatanatyam career”. Our life’s experiences leave a deep imprint on our faces. Our disappointments, sufferings, tragedies… This creates a crust, or a shell, through which an adult dancer’s soul’s light cannot penetrate. When I first saw this shell, I was shocked. Very unpleasant.

Divyadha appeared to be preoccupied with one thought, “What impression am I making on the rasikas?” If you look at the dancer after the performance, it is very common to see the dancer’s face displaying 1000 more expressions than they do on the stage. Why do the dancers restrict their expressiveness so much? Because the guru tells them, “You have to do only like this”, “This expression is a mistake”, “That expression is wrong”. This over-correcting suppresses the dancer’s spontaneity and creativity. The Hindu says about Anita Sivaraman, “Srikanth has imparted the aesthetics of the dance style to Anita without curbing her innate enthusiasm.” Anita is lucky that her gurus do not “curb” her individual ways of expressing herself! Unfortunately, most of the gurus are too restrictive (some even introduce it as qualitative abhinayam!), and some gurus (pisacha type) even take delight in killing their student’s expressiveness. They feed on their students’ vital energy. Don’t allow them access to any children or students, and they will die in a week’s time. These people only look human. Two legs, two arms…

“Bharatanatyam careers”!

While she has visibly improved from the last year, I wonder how she manages her medical career. Jyotsna Jagannathan was very happy when she was able to finally – after her marriage – renounce her doctor’s job (still keeping the “Dr.” in her invitations). Jyotsna Jagannathan‘s soul’s urge prevailed over her rational mind’s choices. What about Divyatha?

She proudly announces her MBBS. But…. If you break your leg, would you choose to be treated by a surgeon who tries to impress you by telling you that she is a professional Bharatanatyam dancer who works full time as a software engineer who got a Master’s degree in psychology, and that she dedicates all of her free time to playing cricket on a professional level????

Would you like your house to be constructed by an architect who tries to impress you by saying that he has a PhD. in zoology, M.A. in Greek philosophy, Diploma in acupuncture, and has authored many books on Carnatic music??? It is an unpleasant surprise that most highly talented Bharatanatyam dancers think that Bharatanatyam is merely a “timepass”, or an expensive hobby – like golf! Divyatha is of course quite stupid and very young. Let us hope she grows wiser, like Jyotsna did.πŸ™‚

As Natya Shastra states the qualities required of a female dancer narthaki, “Women who have beautiful limbs, are conversant with the sixty-four (!!!) arts and crafts (kala)… are known as female dancers (narthaki)” . 64!!!

How can anybody nowadays dare call herself “a classical danseuse”? We are sure medicine, business administration or computer science or sewage management are not among these 64 subjects. These 64 subjects (such as the vocal and instrumental music, etc) are related to natya, and enhance the dancer’s performance. We are pretty sure that, had anyone learnt these 64 arts and crafts, she would be making much more money today than a doctor, business manager or a software engineer!

12 thoughts on “Secrets of Lasya and Abhinaya. Divyatha Arun: a lonely bright star among the mediocre K.J.Sarasa’s Bharatanatyam students? Bharata natyam careers.

  1. the author says: “show a bit of psychophancy and the title is yours”

    I think it’s spelt “sycophancy”. Do tell us a little about your education? Which school did you go to?

  2. It is not true and realistic. When i was a kid, i saw scores of fellow pupils finish their arangetrams before me because they had the money. When i went for CCRT scholarships, i saw many fellow applicants with much better recorded music, much more authentic pieces to perform and much more original temple jewelry..When i watched people perform with live music, i saw how much they cost, i saw how much a good guru costs, i saw how expensive dance was when me and my mom stitched my first dress out of two pattu pavadai cloth pieces and borrowed cheap jarigai. I am good at a lot of the 64 arts you are talking of but even to start performing, i needed to pay 500 rs. per recording to my gurus. It is not easy to think of a career, at least when u do not have a provider. And now, that i am a comfortable grad student earning much more than what my dad did in a year, I still cannot leave everything and concentrate on becoming a dancer. Given a choice i would want to pursue dance as a career….but not a lot of people have choices that fortunate. Dance is expensive. There are no patrons for the art unless u commercialize it and run it like a business caring no more about gaining knowledge and perfecting skills.(about which u would write another blog perhaps :)) It has a insecure future unless you mass train students and make money out of them, which in turn is what u suffered of. It is a vicious cycle. There is a reason people say Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati are not compatible with each other. 😦

  3. Never expected such extensive and detailed comments.
    Subha, you have just got a summer break?πŸ™‚ Harry Potter finished?πŸ™‚
    I think this is you:

    Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati are not compatible with each other

    Total nonsense, my dear. All these are supposed to be harmonized and established in the human system. Remember how the conflicting devas all run to ask Brahmanaspathi for his judgement?πŸ™‚

    Saraswati – in the lower abdomen area.
    Lakshmi – in the heart area
    Parvati – in the head

    Human souls are made up of different proportions of these main 3 deities. For example, Vivekananda was a Vibhuti of Shiva, very intellectual gentleman, eh?πŸ™‚
    The composition that would make a great dancer needs the dominance of the lower centre, but the other 2 should also be adequately developed.

    i saw how much a good guru costs

    Frustrated nonsense. I know many good gurus who teach for…. FREE (their most talented students only) !!!!!!!
    Dance is expensive if you don’t want to do the shopping. Personally, I am not so lazy as to buy the first thing I see.

    There are no patrons for the art

    Show me a worthy dancer without patrons, and I will find a patron. Why don’t the “dancers” learn a bit more (or at least look into the mirror!) before complaining that nobody supports them??? If only some “dancers” spent as much time on learning dance as they have spent on studying physics, maths, etc.!

    unless u commercialize it and run it like a business caring no more about gaining knowledge and perfecting skills

    If you cannot make money from dance, don’t say that others cannot either. Yes, I understand, you are a scientist, not a business person.πŸ™‚

    I am good at a lot of the 64 arts

    To be “very good” means to be on a professional level and to be earning MONEY in this field. Of course, even if you are only “fairly good” at molecular physics in the USA, you can earn VERY BIG salary by the Indian standards. To the “middle class American”, the medieval devadasis look like paupers, failures, waste… Hmmm… Why were people much more content with so fewer material possessions in those days, eh? Well, not everybody is very greedy these days, eitherπŸ˜‰

    If you are excellent at singing, are you as good as… ?
    If you are excellent at painting, where do you sell these paintings?
    If you are excellent at theatre, how many professional theatre groups have invited you to perform?
    If you are excellent at movies, why are you not as famous yet as Steven Spielberg?
    If you are excellent at swimming, where are your medals?
    If you are excellent at playing chess, where are your prizes?
    If you are excellent at badminton, trekking and hiking, no wonder you have no time to spend on practising Bharatanatyam!πŸ˜‰
    If you are very good at networking (read talking), no wonder you can write so well.πŸ™‚

    If you have time to read Harry Potter, have you had time to read the Puranas?

    In the end, I want to say that – at the time of your death – you will NOT be thinking of the exciting art of imaging colloids or your father’s salary…. You will remember something else: the brightest experiences of your soul.

  4. 1. Yes, i would like your comments on my dancing..
    2. Yes, thats me. And no i have not got a summer break. I am running experiments and reasding your blog on the side. And i finished Desparate Housewives recently.πŸ™‚ I dont read anything more than onceπŸ™‚
    3. My comment about parvati, lakshmi and saraswati is pretty valid. I am not talking about the embodiment of their satva, raja and tama gunas in the human body. I am talking about money devaluing knowledge. knowledge devauing power and power devaluing the former two. You agree with me when u criticize the gurus for weilding their power at a bharatnatyam competition…..you agree with me when u write about spending $100000 on a one on one class with alarmel valli…I know a lot of good gurus who would teach for free too…but everything comes with a price……one about your freedom of thoughts and actions…

    if i were to choose between being inbebted to a very good guru (in terms of knowledge) and therefore loose my freedom of choosing (say) the decision to find myself a husband (!) or sycophancy in their political games, i would rather be able to pay for my classes and maintain an okay profile and not hate my guru…

    Art world is complex. There is only so much balance that u can strike between being polite, right and respectful at the same time.
    3. You are right. Not many of us have time to practice dance or go through the granthas and i am not citing this as a excuse either. That is why i do not claim to be not wrong ever. It takes a lots of guts (or a solid financial background) to be able to get in the game and establish yourself, find yourself a godfather and still be able to keep yourself away from the politics. I dont have the guts to risk all that for a future that may or may not pay.

    4. I know the sham when i write stuff on group pages or smile and say “thank you” to a man who has absolutely no idea of how i danced and still congratulates me. Thats why i said, in my other post that critics do a job that people like me are not very good at doing. come out with the truth. Does not mean we dont realise the truth.

    5. Times have changed. Devadasis were very good at everything they did because also including devotion and interest (well, you never know that. They could have as well done it because they were chosen to do that and never given an oppurtunity to be anything else) , they had time and money. They were not playing a game wherein they had to find out whether or not pursuing bharatam would lead to you ending up hating the moment you made that decision. They were not risking anything and more importantly they didnt need to have permissions from their parents, teachers and husbands (kidding) to have a career in dance. Thats what they were meant to do. I am not sure they chose to do it. Now, we need to clear debts, provide for family, get married, bear children, prove you are not an idiot by getting marks, and prove u are not a bigger idiot by choosing dance as a career when u are AIR holder (all India Rank). Its my deicison to take ultimately whether and how much i need to prove to other people. But it is not as simple as getting tutored under a guru all day and practising. Your allegations of not practising are valid for a dancer who is exclusively being taught by a guru for hours and the dancer is disrespecting the hours put in by the guru and rasikas to see a performance ,by not doing well. In a world, where people are striving to being fed and still have something to remember by when they die, trust me (not all) but some are doing their best.πŸ™‚

  5. Ok, I will email you my comments. Do you want them very spicy or mild?πŸ™‚

    I am curious what made you want to read Desparate Housewives?πŸ™‚

    parvati, lakshmi and saraswati…I am talking about money devaluing knowledge. knowledge devauing power and power devaluing the former two.

    The higher centres are supposed to govern the lower ones. Besides, power and knowledge are 2 petals of Ajna chakra, so I don’t understand what you meant when you wrote all that.

    I don’t know who was teaching you about Parvati, Lakshmi and Saraswati!😦 Lakshmi is related to the money power only in the sense that beauty attracts, and the beautiful attracts money too. However, how much money you control depends on how much control you have over sexual impulses in yourself AND outside yourself. Want an experiment? Take a cat in a sexual longing, and try to cure it instantly.πŸ™‚ You can bring the poor cat to Kalanidhi and tell her that this cat is ready to teach virahotkantitha in Kalanidhi’s school.

    The asuric people and spirits will tend to misuse their powers and knowledge. I am sure if Subha were in Brahma’s or Shiva’s shoes, she would have never given all those idiots so much power and knowledge, eh?πŸ™‚

    if i were to choose between being inbebted to a very good guru (in terms of knowledge) and therefore loose my freedom of choosing (say) the decision to find myself a husband (!) or sycophancy in their political games,

    You are quite indepentent, my dear.πŸ™‚ (America, America….πŸ˜‰ The real independence, though, is the independence from the influence of (someone else’s) thoughts that rush into your head, and the desires that enter your heart. These outsiders are to be kept outside. The real independence is the independence from one’s ego. But so far Subha does not even know how (and from where) her thoughts come into her head, who sends them, and why she is feeling like this today, and like that tomorrow. Subha is a slave.

    I am yet to know of a guru who would deprive the students of the freedom to find a husband!!!!πŸ™‚ As for sycophancy… I always say that even if your guru’s personal qualities are poor, you can still get the best out of your guru by focussing on learning dance, instead of paying too much attention to other people’s weaknesses. No guru will force you to take part in their political games. If you show your keen interest and enthusiasm in learning the dance, the guru will focus on it too. How you view people will mirror in how they will treat you. But your ego is so big, my dear!πŸ™‚

    I know the sham when i write stuff on group pages

    I am wondering why in the past 2 days I am getting a lot of visitors from Facebook….πŸ™‚ What did you write about my blog there?

    Now, we need to clear debts, provide for family, get married, bear children, prove you are not an idiot by getting marks, and prove u are not a bigger idiot by choosing dance as a career when u are AIR holder (all India Rank).

    Really? I know a lot of idiots who got excellent marks. Surprisingly, our life’s “successes” are very often our soul’s failures. I don’t think everyone NEEDs to join the mad social rat race. One will find it easier to resist the outside social pressures as long as one is happy pursuing one’s inner vocation.

    So, are you on AIR?πŸ™‚

    how much i need to prove to other people.

    Yes… I suspect the devadasis did not feel like they need to prove anything to anyone. Happy people were they, eh?πŸ™‚

    In a world, where people are striving to being fed

    Oh please! Do all those overweight Americans indeed feel like they are starving until they drive their own Porsche?πŸ™‚

  6. Well, if you want to talk about being what enslaved by ego means, then that is a different philosophical debate that i do not want to get into. Maybe if you start a new thread on what enslaved by ego means and why do you think it is bad.

    you can send your comments, as you like. I respect people who have more knowledge than me. No matter what their disposition or personal shortcomings. Someone once told me, “How you view people will mirror in how they will treat you”.:)

    We tend to move away from the topic of discussion when we start the endless cycle of offense and defense on personal choices. All i was trying to say was to me, expecting young dancers to not do anything other than dance (and its 63 sister branches) is completely unrealistic. It is not the general black and white case where a dancer is not respecting/understanding/willing to work on the nuances of performance (as laid out by Natyashastra, of course!). I agree there are a lot of kids (yeah, i am old now) do not understand the sactity of the art form but those who do, do so under circumstances very different from what the devadasis had. And it is as much worth appreciating, as the ridiculing of those who put up a dismal show and worse, do not realise/admit that they did.

    p.s. Wasnt facebook a good touch?:) It increased your popularity…and thanks to you made sure random people watch my video. (personally, i think every bit of knowledge should be on the internet. it should be free. like Linux. Only the able can learn from a vdeo. And if they can and want to, they should! All this propreity over compositions, choreographies and audio rights just makes things a million times difficult for people who cannot afford it)

  7. “enslaved by ego means”: you constantly worry about yourself, your daily needs, your future, your career, your relatives, your children, your …, your…., your….(and so on).

    A liberated soul follows its aspirations, and leaves everything else for God to take care of (he – or she (God is the Mother too) – can care about your real (not imaginary) needs much better.

    expecting young dancers to not do anything other than dance (and its 63 sister branches) is completely unrealistic.

    I know many schools where children do not follow the standard curriculum. And many “Vedic” or similar schools do tend to focus on many of the 64 Vedic arts (I don’t know how they recruit teachers for “Spells & Charms” subject, though, but this subject is very practical, don’t you think?πŸ™‚ .

    Wasnt facebook a good touch?:) It increased your popularity…and thanks to you made sure random people watch my video.

    Your visitors may indeed be random, but most people reading my blog are specifically searching for Bharatanatyam-related stuff.

    every bit of knowledge should be on the internet. it should be free

    Well, it would be nice, but what business model should the professional dancers adopt then?πŸ™‚
    Let me tell you that those people who can afford to watch your videos on the Internet will find no problem paying Rs.700 a month as a dance tuition fee.

  8. what abt wrinkles on sangeetha’s post. there are more physical factors affecting skin. wat u say is right to only an extent- that of beauty. u will look beautiful and attractive at 80 if u follow wat u say. wonder how spiritual is actress Rekha. or did u not see wrinkles in Shirdi Sai Baba’s photo? BTW i just saw a beautiful pic of his – original full body closeup- in hyd.

  9. oh, wrinkles!πŸ™‚
    what I meant was, for example, if someone’s corners of the mouth are bent downwards, this is a sign that this person is chronically frustrated, focussed on the darker side of the world. Personally, I try to keep away from such people, as they often behave like vampires (draw your vital energy).

  10. when i said random, i meant people i dont know.

    let me see. Professional dancers would adopt the business model of presenting the art in its full vigour to a live audience and their manodharma on a standard traditional choreography in a concert building the mood and transcending people to the intended rasanubhava. You cannot learn from a video what you can learn from a guru. But a video can teach a lot of able people who dont have a very good guru. or make them see how and what and why are thigns different. Forget video, how about sourcing all dance audios, sahityam and meaning and leve interpretations and choreography to grow more. Businesses dont run on secret knowledge. They run on innovative application of knowledge everyone has. if you want a more touchy argument, keeping knowledge to yourself does not do any good to it or you. It is selfishness and THAT is a business model. U ll end up like microsoft instead of apple.

    A liberated soul follows its aspirations

    Yes. I am not liberated if i worry about my parents and children. I am liberated if i go on like a crazy man writing poetry and leave the needs of my family to fate (or God according to you). Barathi might be a great poet but if i were his wife/daughter, i would hate him. Do i want to be so selfish to do that? No. Are u liberated enough to not write the truth under anonymity? No. Everyone draws a line somewhere. That does not make them enslaved by ego. Not even you.πŸ™‚ (i want to add the line “i am tempted to say that to you” but keep deleting it)

    p.s. it is so hard to be like you and ridicule the other person. I try really hard to do it at least to you, but end up feeling guilty. How do u do it? I am so spineless…:)

  11. Businesses dont run on secret knowledge.

    What are commercial secrets and patented technologies then?

    keeping knowledge to yourself does not do any good to it or you.

    Most stingy gurus do it under a (totally valid) pretext that they can only pass their knowledge to those who are capable of receiving it.

    Barathi might be a great poet but if i were his wife/daughter, i would hate him.

    I am sorry, but by “liberated” I meant “jivanmukta” (very precise term). Not every “great poet” would qualify. Of course, liberated people tend to cause a lot of inconvenience to their relatives (Arjuna killed thousands of them!πŸ™‚ And, again, not every liberated person has a perfect mind and harmonious relations. It is a long battle against one’s ego in one’s mind, prana and even body. It is really just a start of the battle, often quite frustrating.

    Are u liberated enough to not write the truth under anonymity? No.

    People who reply in affirmative to the question “Have you ever passed on any unverified information to others?” are big liars. Personally, I think I am a professional liar.😦 (After you have seen the REAL reality, you cannot take seriously anything in this world, so it is like a dream, like a child’s play). I confess that a couple of sentences I wrote on this blog were based on some indirect and quite unreliable data, but in this particular case I did it because I wanted to achieve a certain goal. Well, you cannot say that Krishna was not innocent when he stole the butter but tried to lie about it!πŸ™‚

    But the way, if you don’t lie for 25 years, every word you say after that will come true.πŸ˜‰

    it is so hard to be like you and ridicule the other person

    Because I ridicule myself much more harshly. You cannot laugh at anything until you can detach yourself from it.
    Curiously, among all the dancers I know, there is only 1 woman who can riducule herself (like “How ugly I am looking here and there!” or “How stupid I am!”) in the presence of not only her friends but merely her aquantances too. She is like a child, takes things easy, and is a very happy person.πŸ™‚ She is very smart and beautiful, by the way.

    I try really hard to do it at least to you, but end up feeling guilty. How do u do it? I am so spineless…:)

    I am so paaaaaavam, am I not?πŸ™„

  12. Dear Ashwini,
    These are my views on one of your posts in 2008 January on K J Sarasa and her students.
    1. Looking at the first paragraph of your review, the first thing that strikes one’s mind would be – talent or ‘gnana’ does not matter any more. Mere public relations/using Guru’s fame and name and trust to one’s up coming alone triumphs. ‘Kali Yuga’ has its own impact on the world!! If you really thought one’s thala, raga and abinaya gnana and ability to execute them correctly in different capacities would tell you if he/she is a good, accomplished artiste, you would not wait to see Divyatha dancing along with Shanmugam to call her a capable dancer. ‘Tell me who your Guru is, I will tell you how good a dancer you are’ is the universal saying, but looks like the saying has to be re-written – ‘tell me who’s dancing with you, I will tell you how good a dancer you are’.
    2. If Guru K J Sarasa had used her political connections both sides, she would have been offered Padmasri in 1999, Padma Bhushan in 2003 Padma Vibhushan in 2007 and Bharath Rathna in 2011. If she had lobbied further, she would have had her chances of being a recipient of Nobal Peace prize at the age of 85. one should be proud of an illeterate who barely knows how to sign a cheque leaf and has achieved so much by dedicating all her life in teaching and making her students known all over the world, and stop giving loose comments on non – existing political connections, just because the former CM was her student and she recieved awards from the current CM during his earlier regime.
    3. Boring pieces: Can you define a boring piece? The most boring piece can be made most exciting by a dancer, if he/ she has the ability to do so. The one cherishing dance and has ‘it’ in the mind and soul would not call any piece, a boring one. Today, people have forgotten traditional pieces and find it very modern to call them boring. Complex rythm patterns and foot work can be competetive but not very interesting (if u make a mistake in one place, the whole pattern gets screwed up). Simple rhythm patterns always fall with neat executions. Thats Sarasa’s style! That does not mean the teacher is uncapable of composing complex rhythms. I think it is the dancer’s chioce of items for a performance and you should not Generalise that Sarasalaya is short of good pieces. May be u haven’t witnessed a lot of good programmes. Shanmugam’s repeated performance of Bho Sambho, Swami naan undhan Adimai since last century and Amour would have lead to this comment, i guess.
    4. Mukha Abhinaya – It is Globally accepted that the vazhuvoor style has the most graceful mukha abhinaya – not too sharp, not too vague. I agree that there may be flaws in the abhinaya parts in all dancers, again this should not be generalized. There are many dancers who have won the appreciation of authentic critics in the field for their Mukha abhinaya. Why ask a friend?
    Lastly, the students (seniors and juniors) think that they are blessed to be part of Sarasalaya! The school, even today charges Rs. 150 per month for classes, for which full justice is done.The school or the teacher does not believe in sycophancy. The art in Sarasa and her efforts speak for herself. There is nothing to prove!

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