Mythological Origin of Dance
The legend traces the origin of Dance to the Divine source where God themselves were Dancers. Bharata, author of the great treatise ‘Nãtya Shãstra’ (the only comprehensive encyclopaedia on dance, drama and music) has regarded the origin of Dance from Brahmã, the Creator (one of the eternal Trinity of God believed by Hindus).
According to him, Brahmã at the request of Indra and other Deities created the Fifth Veda by going into deep yogic trance and meditated on the essence of the Four Vedas alredy present.
- Rig Veda – the words or the lyrical content
- Yajur Veda – the gestures or the abhinaya
- Sãma Veda – music and chants
- Atharva Veda – sentiments and emotions
Unlike other Vedas, the Nãtya Veda could be heard by the Shudras. Its main purpose was to provide moral and spiritual truths besides pleasure and delight to ears and eyes of all irrespective of their caste.
With the creation of this Veda, Lord Brahmã instructed Bharta and his hundred sons/disciples to present the first dramatic presentation before Shiva. Shiva being inspired danced himself and Bharata desired to learn this dance of Lord Shiva.
Lord Shiva then taught the principles of this art to his devoted disciple Tãndu (Tãndav dance) and to Pãrvati (Lãsya) and thus the harmony of the masculine and feminine movements in the dance was blended symbolically. Bharata learned the art from Tãndu and Pãrvati (daughter of Himãlayas) brought the art from the heavens to teach it to the people of earth.