Nataraja: The Hindu Dance Lord
By Deepak Bhattacharya
B N, E N, C N & BSP are dated art members on durable plastic. They being hailed as referral specimens by iconographers & dance exponents are taken as co-linear members as part of topical perspection methodology for better elucidation.
Co-lateral aspects arise when co-linear members are juxtaposed. Between the co-linear members numerous divinities are noted as onlookers, co-participants, etc. B N, E N presents a crowd, later evolved C N is sans the crowd. P N presents as many members as B N & E N but in a Kalingiya (clever & marvelous) manner amidst prasphutana (inflorescence) of lalit kala (fine art) with nikhuna nidarsana (immaculate indication) in golakar (circumscribed). Three aspects may be noted from histo-religio perspective, (i) Ganesha-Bhringi jodi (combination) in santulita stiti (balanced state ) (ii ) assembled saiva member divinities are engaged in fighting & rejoicing as a result of battle, non saiva members are on-lookers (iii ) Victory & re-emergence of Hindu way of life by giving to Ravana five faces which represent pancharatna of Buddha&rsquos way fig 2. The beholders eye & mind roams about in circles (swivels) as does an oddisi performer & beholder&rsquos. Nataraja being bindu (center point ) such mindful roaming is in relation to bindu.
Kalinga was a non-Sanskrit territory. Patanjali was a Sanskrit grammarian 30. Vishnu, Mohinee, other Hindu divinities, Siva kama sundari, Bhygrapada & Patanjali are mentioned in K P. In P N medallion alone Patanjali is absent which may be nidarsana of possible conflict with Patanjali, his times, thought & territory.
In nritya & in nritya murtis, pada bhangi (feet position ) is the most important aspect. P N shows both his feet on ground in kumbha pada (pot position) mode. Chatura pada (intelligent) is noted in B N & E N [ note – iii, iv & v ] Bhumistita-
kumbha pada is not encountered in cognate art of Mahar-Kannada-Tamil territory. In oddisi nritya, chatura pada pose are sub-classed as kunchita & ardha-kunchita pada (drawn & half drawn) 31. In the art of Parasurameswar & it&rsquos cognate group non divine figures do strike these poses fig 9. Feet pair in B N, E N & P N touch ground describing arcs at varied degrees in the vertical & horizontal plain in the overall class of bhumistita pada (grounded feet). C N describes utalita pada (uplift feet) thrown across the central line of the body. Utalita pada is not noted in the art of cognate group in Orissa, nor in B N & E N. Muyalaka \ apasmara purusha is trampled upon only in C N & its cognate school. Chatura may be conjectured as indigenous to Kannada-Mahar saili KMS kumbha may be conjectured as indigenous to Kalingiya saili - KS utalita as indigenous to Tamil saili – TS.
Suddha saivas invoke Siva in a kumbha (pot) 32. At Parasurameswar, a row of six kumbhas are sculptured as the base of Ravana anugraha murti on the mukhasala fig-6. Parasurameswar is a Pasupat shrine, pasupats have been referred to as siddhamtims & suddha saivas 33.
fig – 6
Nada (sound) emanates from vadya (musical instruments), both are intimately associated with the very term of Natraja. K P makes it very clear that Siva performed Nd first in the forest of Taraka & then again at Tillai (note – vi ]. Therefore nada aspect as associated with co-linear members needs to be discussed.