Twenty-five: Nataraja and the Beginning

H with Shiva Nataraja, Lord of the Dance (Bronze sculpture, 12th Century, Tamil Nadu) Victoria & Albert Museum.

H with Shiva Nataraja, Lord of the Dance (Bronze sculpture, 12th Century, Tamil Nadu) Victoria & Albert Museum.

We studied Sargam today in our Bhakti & Nada Yoga class, with our guest teacher Hiroyuki Matsuhisa. I did a quick Google search yesterday and thought we were going to sing scales. That we did, and explored body movement around it- and we learned so much more. While it may sound totally New Age- the whole Universe is packed into these Scales. Look it up. Each note has some sort of significance and a story. It's like the Universe and Time in seven notes. Do means something, Re is a prayer, and Mi is buckling down. Fa is not a long long way to run, but Father energy, let's say. It's a folk story in an octave. Daphne, who created and is leading the Bhakti Immersive is Maria von Trapp in yoga clothes. I was one of twenty some-odd children, starry-eyed and finding song for the first time.

Hiroyuki told us a story of sound and Creation, his voice quiet, calm, the cadence of his speech lento, making all of us lean in closer.  He told us how the Universe started out with a sound. That how some say the sound was OM, and how for others it began with "the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Again, sound at the very beginning. He then shared something that felt like a secret- that what came before sound was movement. And what that dance looked like can be seen in Nataraja- Shiva as the lord of dance.

"Nataraja represents encompassing all 'creation, destruction and all things in between'. The Nataraja iconography incorporates contrasting elements, a fearless celebration of the joys of dance while being surrounded by fire, untouched by forces of ignorance and evil, signifying a spirituality that transcends all duality." (source: the Internets.)

I thought of the Nataraja bronze that little H ran to when we visited the V&A in London. And the joy and fearlessness that she becomes through dance. Then, and now.

H, at 3. The music moves through her. 

H, at 3. The music moves through her. 

Akiko Mega