Manipuri may be described as a dance form which is at once the oldest and the youngest among the classical dances. Seemingly free and unbound governed only in a limited manner by the poetic line and the melody, a long waning metrical system, it is in fact rigorously structured and its easy fLowr and spontaneity is its outer form w-hich makes for a smooth commtuiication but is not to be mistaken for simplicity.

By: Diksha Sharma

Posted on: 29/11/2020 View : 228


Manipuri may be described as a dance form which is at once the oldest and the youngest among the classical dances. Seemingly free and unbound governed only in a limited manner by the poetic line and the melody, a long waning metrical system, it is in fact rigorously structured and its easy fLowr and spontaneity is its outer form w-hich makes for a smooth commtuiication but is not to be mistaken for simplicity. What is identified as the stage art, Manipuri is only one fragment or section or the outermost layer of much larger and deeper complex tradition wdiich has many layers of civilization and culture going back in time. Its contemporary vitality is the result of its being integral to the life of community at large. Although a full and comprehensive history ofManipur has yet to be written, it is clearfromthe fragmentary evidence, both ofthe records ofManipru and elsewhere as also from secondary evidence of other literatures of India, that thisjewrel of natural beauty lying in the hills ofthe north-easten borders ofIndia has attracted from times immemorial people from different parts ofthe country and from other parts ofthe w-orld. The small valley and the adjoining hills have been the home of many tribes and groups of people. Amongst these are those known by the generic terms Nagas (including the Maos, the Tankhuls, the Kabuis); besides there is a w-hole group ofpeople known by another generic term called the Kukis. Other tribes and groups ofpeople with different ethnic individuality are known to the region. In the valley are the Meiteis. By some accounts, their antiquity" can be traced back to the Vedic times, by other accounts, this valley was the home of the famous Chitrangada with whom Arjuna fell in love. It w-as perhaps also the home ofthe ancient tribes described in the Mahabharata especially the Kiratas.

Whatever the heritage ofthe group of people whether traced back to the Vedas or the Mahabharata or to the more recent times manymigrationstookplace from India ranging from Gujarat, Bengal to Orissa. Some w^ere the result of the Vaishnavite movement wdiich spread in this part in the 17th and 18th century. Today the Meiteis are distinctive groups known for their beautiful lifestyle, their refined rituals and their variety" ofskills ranging from w-eaving to basket-making to w-ood-w-ork and above all their enchanting dances. Commonly wrhen people speak about Manipuri dance or Manipur, they elude the one level or one aspect ofthe large variety- ofMeitei dancing w-hich coniesimderthe sub-category- ofJagoi or at best sankirtana. As iii the case ofKerala, in order to understand the tradition as dance called the rasa dances or the various types ofsankirtana one has to dig deeper to see the other layers of the performing arts of this region. Foremost amongst the preVaishnava traditions of the performing arts are the ritual dances. These, as in other parts of India, are man’s attempt to make or enact, in specific time and space the beginning of the cosmos, the creation and its ultimate destruction or devolution. . The Meiteis were divided into seven districts or clans called the Salais. Each of these had particular deity connected with the vegetation, the forest and the environmentThe Lai Haraoba is a typical example ofthe ritual ofa re-enactment of creation, the world and the cosmos through a period of a few days. Literally, it means the festival ofthe gods. It is performed annually by the groups ofpeople in themonths ofApril and May, although there are differenttraditions or varieties ofperforming theLaiHaraoba. Essentiallyeach ofthese follows a similarstructure. Todayfive differentvarieties ofthe LaiHaraoba are known and these are associated with different venues such as Kanglai, Moirang, Kakaching, Andra and Chakpa.

The festival begins with a procession going to a nearby river or a pond. Here the leaders of the village invoke the spirits of the waters. The leaves—one placed facing the sky and the other covers the first leaf. The ritual symbolises the emergence oflife from the eternal writers. Ritually, a seed is put within the two leaves. The procession retrums with a filled pitcher from the pond and the leaves placed above it. The procession with the leaders then installs, this consecrated pitcherwith leavesin a temporaryshrine. Symbolically, thisisthe comingtogether ofmatter and energy Shiva and Shakti. Then begins a festival lasting 10-15 days where each act of creation oflife on earth is enacted. The leaders ofthe festival are the male priests and the wmnen priests. From the moment ofimmersing the leaves in thewaterswhen the spirit ofthe godsisinvoked to the last, these human priests look as if consecrated and belong to another world. It is they, who throw" the flowers into thewinters or place the seedbetween the two leaves; in the second phase they invoke the quarters. These are the four comers ofthe State ofManipur. They involve the Lord of the Moirang—Thangjing—the Lord of north-west, the Lord of the southwest—Wangbaren; the Lord of the south-east— Morjing, and Koubru—the Lord of the northeast. Having infused life and invoked the directions, they invoke the beginning oflife. This stage is veiy important phase of the dance because through gesture the enactment of the creation of human life is presented. Two rows are made: each is led by the Maibi. A song describes very clearly the various stages of the creation of life, of the making of the various parts of the body and ultimately the making of man. In a subsequent phase through gestures again a house is built, through hand-gestures, bodily movement and the singing of a poetic phrase. When the house is complete there is the placing of the roof and then finally the dedication to the God. Thereafter is the installation again suggestively of the male and female  principle as nong-pokning-thon who perhaps represents Siva and Panthoibi who possibly represents Parvati.

Having created a hut and a thatched roof installed the duties, other functions of life are re-enacted. There is a sequence where through gestures is presented the sprouting of cotton seed, its plant and the weaving of the cloth. The cloth is too then dedicated to the gods. Fish culture is important to Manipur and therefore the next stage re-enacts life ofthe fish and the catching of a fish with a net. Later there is the enactment of different types of games and ultimately also wrestling, acrobatics and the presentation ofthe martial arts. . It is important to keep this sequence ofthe ritual enactment ofthe making and the unmaking ofCosmos in the Lai Haraoba festival because many patterns and choreographical designs knowntomany otherperforming arts ofManipur continue to be inspired by both the symbolism and the artistic forms which are seen in the Lai Haraoba enactment. Meiteis subscribe to a deity or one may call it a design or a symbolic Yantra called the Pankhanba. This is the age-old design of the intertwined serpentwithoutbeginning and end. Each ofthese functions ofthe life as also of the creation of the universe is executed through a highly refined choreographical pattern which moves in semicircles and intertwines patterns wiiere the beginning isthe end and the end the beginning. The intricate patterns of choreography of floor design wiiich wre see in Manipuri dancing are directly related to wThat is integral to the festival ofthe Lai Haraoba. The figure of eight is a basic movement ofthe body and choreographical patterns evolve out ofthis. Closely related to the Lai Haraoba sometimes even integral to the Lai Haraoba and at othertimes performed independentlyboth ritually and otherwise is strong and \lgorous tradition ofthe martial arts ofManipur. These are known as by the generic term Thangta. These martial arts are a parallel to the Kalari tradition or the KaHaripattyam of Kerala. In some ways, this tradition is more rigorously structured and ritually refined. There are different types of martial skills, sometimes performed solo and sometimes performed as duets and yet at other tune in groups. The solo dancer or the solo performer who wields either sword or shield invariably executes intricate pattern ofdesignsthrough the movements of his feet and his arms. In each case, the pattern is of the intertwined snake called Pankhanba.

In one number called Akao Thengon wiiich is amongst the nineThengous (ritual designsthrough spear) known to the martial artstraditions of Manipur, an intricate pattern of the intertwined serpent is executed in and around the space ofthe body ofthe dancer. Exactly asthe Maibis had invoked the life ofthe waters and the life of earth, the gods ofthe directions, the sky and the elements now7 the solo performer invokes all these through his sword and spear. The movements are breath-takingly beautiful The suppleness ofthe body ofthe dancer and his capacity for leaps,jumps, hops, covering ofspace is unbelievable. MANIFURI 69 Besides, these two, there are other traditions of the Manipuri or the Meitei performing arts which are hnportant for understanding what is considered as Jagoi or Rasa traditions. There were the traditions ofthe singing ofthe ballads. These ballads sometimes recoimt the stories form the Meitei Purana. Chief amongst them is the singing of the history of Khamba Thoibi to the accompaniment ofthe stirring times ofthe instrument called Pena. The story of the love of Khamba Thoibi is sung by a single artiste where the bow of his instrument becomes a prop for enactment. He sings, he plays the instrument and he performs. Alongside are the different types ofballad singing drawn from the Sanskrit tradition. These include the Wari Leeba (singing ofRamayana and Mahabharata) and Haiba Thiba traditions. The latter requires two singers— one who sings or recites words in Sanskrit and the other who provides the commentary. It will be obvious from the above that Manipur is the home ofthe dancers ofthe many Naga tribes, the ritual performances of the Meiteis, the singing and the recitation traditions and the traditions ofthe martial arts. It was into this rich complex of cultural traditions, the music and the dance, the ritual enactment of creation and the varied tradition of the martial arts and ballad singing that Vaishnavism arrived in Manipur.

Some seeds had already been sown ofVaishnavism in this partjudging horn the fact that a copper plate ofabout 763 A. D. mentions the words Sri Hari. King Khongtekcha is considered to be devotee of Siva and Devi. He also regarded Sri Hari as his supreme deity. This is not surprising because elsewhere in India the eighth and the ninth centiuies were the periods of a strong and pervasive Shaivite tradition with Devi worship. Between the eighth and the fifteenth century, there is certainly a gap. The next archaeological evidence comes only from a small temple attributed to about the fifteenth century in the region of King Kyamba. This small temple lies in the Vishnupur area ofManipur. It must have been an important centre of Vaishnav worship. Again, there is a gap of nearly 200 years before wre begin to find Vaishnavism in hill swing. During this period, many migrations also took place. The first ruler of Manipur initiated into Vaishnavism was King Pamheiba better known as Garib Nawraz. A powerful Icing, an able administrator, King Garib Nawaz came under the influence ofthe Ramanandi Cult It is said that he became the disciple of Shantidasa, a zealous missionary of the cult. Conflict, tension, wars, battles wrere not unknown. Whether through the sword or through the song, Vaishnavism took deep roots in Manipur. By the early eighteenth century. Vaishnav worship or more specifically the Krishna cult became strongly rooted. The forms of Bengali Kirtana, the literature and music of the followers of Chaitanya was popular. The son of Garib Nawraz w as a devout king known as Rajasri Bhagya Chandra. He followed his father and became a disciple of Narottamdasa of Bengal. The origins of many of the traditions of music and dance of Sankirtana and of Rasa are attributed to the genius of this Icing. The period of his rule, from 1763 to 1798, was one of great turmoil. He wns defeated in battles, was in exile and he re-conquered his land.

Whether in exile, living with the Icings of Ahom or independently, his mind and heart turned towards Krishna and Radha. Many legends are woven around his life and w7ork but most important amongst these is a legend about his seeking the rasa and the costumes of the rasa in a dream. There is more historical truth about his having made his daughter perform the role ofRadha in the performances ofthe rasa. Later his daughter renounced royalty and became a devotee of Lord Krishna. The traditions of the Krishna cult became even stronger and more popular during the rule ofhis successor Maharaj Chandrakirti in the nineteenth century between 1850 and 1886. Singing of the 64 Bhakti rasas of Bengal and performance of 64 sections of the Sankirtanas in the royal palace wus firmly established. There was a search for a new7 Padavalis. Poets and artistes w7ere sent to Navadeepa and Vrindavan. There was expansion ofthe music repertoire and a refinement of drumming. Alongside w7as a renewal of the festivals which punctuated the annual life of the people of Manipur. . On the one hand there w7ere the reasons which w7ere celebrated with great gusto and festivity. Each was related to a particular moment or episode in Krishna’s life. On the other w7as the life cycle of the Manipuri w7hich as elsewdiere in India wus now7 marked by a series of ritual performances; each provided opportunity for a different type of Sankirtana. The first and foremost amongst the seasonal festivals was and continues to be the Doljati'a coinciding with Holi of other pail of India. It is also called the Yaosang. Yaosang literally means a small hut for he sheep, perhaps this festivity around the Doljatra wus an amalgam or a true fusion of many strands in Manipur culture. On one plane, it wus the harvesting seasons, the season of the spring, the season of newT birth, of the making of new7 thatched huts, on the other it was the celebrations of the birth of Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya the great devotee of Bengal Vaishnavism. On the third, it wus related to the Puranic myth of the burning of Holika. In all cases, it wus the full moon of Phalguna and it wus and is the period wliicli celebrates the dance of Lord Krishna and the gopis at Vrindavan as described in the Srimad Bhagvata. Elsewrhere in India, especially Assam, ritual festivities are held on this occasion, thatched huts are made and burnt at the end of the festival. In North India the Holika is burnt and this is followed by the festivity of colour throwing or recognised popularity as the occasion of the Holi. In Manipur, the Doljatra, the Phalguna Purnima takes its own character w7hen the men and women join together to sing and dance collectively before the Govindji Temple.

This is the Sankirtana called lloli Pala. As in the case of the Lai Haraoba wdiere the festival ended writh collective dancing of young men and women alternately now7 also at the tune of Yaosang Festival, young men and w7omen dance together throughout the night weaving serpentine movements again recreating in floor patterns the design of the intertwined snake. This is the period of great festivity, of the finding of life partners and of the celebrations of the spring tune dance of Radha and Krishna. Later in the year, sometime around early part ofJune on the second day ofthe bright moon of Ashada is held the Rathyatra. The Rathyatra is most famous in Jagannath Puri. This celebrates the journey of the deities when they are taken out in a procession and installed in a chariot (Rath). Rathyatras are also known to other parts of India. Manipur assimilated the Jagannath cu t conventions and rituals but gave them a different form. Instead of the three chariots, there is a host of chariots which are taken out The deities sit on them, take their residence at another temple called Gundicha and return on the eighth day. The car is decorated by skilled workers who come from far and near. There is puja and singing by thousands of devotees and more join in when the procession begins to move. In the Holi Pala and during the tune of Holi, everyone sang Hari Haii Bol; now they sing Jai Jagannath Jai Jagannath. This festival is the occasion of a very important style of singing called the Khubak Ishai, which really means music with clapping. It is prescribed by large group ofwomen. The theme is Krihsna’s departure from Vrindavan to Mathura, in his mission to vanquish Kamsa. However, the narration is through the words of Lord Chaitanya and each ofthe women represent the yearning of the human for the divine. The Nupi t.e. the woman Khubak Ishai may seem a very simple collective dance of women but it is highly structured.

It is performed to vocal music and there is a minimal mime in the presentation. The presentation ofthe Khubak Ishai is an important component of the totality of Manipuri dance and some women artistes have become professionally skilled in the presentation of the Khubak Ishai. On this occasion, there is also another land ofstyle ofsinging called Jayadeva after the name of the writer ofthe Gita Govinda. The opening canto ofthe Gita Govinda, i. e. Dasaavatara. is sung in a very old style, perhaps a style which has something to do with other forms of Meitei singing. Not all the verses are taken from the Gita Govinda; many interpolations from other Padavalis are added. Other seasons, especially the Autumnal full moon, Sharad Poomima, and the Kartik Poomima, soon after Diwali provide occasions for the presentation of collective music and dance sometimes performed only through singing and at other tunes performed to the playing of the cymbals called KaHala either by men or by women. There is thell the life’s cycle ofthe Manipuri. The life ofHindu is marked by 16 Samskaras; in Manipur each ofthese stages or Samskaras is punctuated by the performance of a particular type of Sankirtana. SankiHanas are performed at Birth, at the first giving ofsolid food anna prashana when the ears are pierced, when the sacred thread is worn (Yagyopaveet), at marriage (vivaha) and at death and after creamation and on death anniversaries. There is no occasion when the Manipur community does not celebrate these important moments whether these are ofjoy or sorrow through music and dance. These Sanldrtanas, although collective ritual on one level are really the fundamental foundation on which the traditions of Manipuri dance have been structured. . To go back for a moment to history, we know that when the Ramanandi cult becamepopularinManipurthe style ofsinging calledBangadesh Pala orAribapala became popular. Although it is not known what is the original form of this Bangadesh orAriba Pala was in Bengal, in Manipur it assumed a new and a very beautiful structured form.

One has only to observe the performance ofAriba Pala in Manipurto be convinced thatthis Sankirtana is distinctive to Manipur’s artistic manifestation. It is no longerjust collective singing, it is in fact a highly structured choreography. It is performed in a mandapa which is constructed in a circular shape. Here first and foremost facing north sits the Sabhapati or the patron of the performance. On either side are seated his ministers. The Brahmins face inwards. Then enter a group ofperformers into this nat mandap where a centre has already been established. The group is led by a very experienced renowned performer artists Guru Ishei Hanba. A mridangam player is equally important. Then the second respondent group enters led by the Duhar. The seating, the execution and the sequence of the performance follows a pattern wThich is very clearly outlined and there can be no departuresfrom it. Closely observed whether it is a group of Anba Pala players or the later type of Sankirtana performers popularly known asthe nata sankirtana each ofthese executes a pattern ofdesign ofthe intertwined serpents through drumming, singing in slow; middle and fast tempos and chiselled movement patterns of the intertwined serpents. The whole group moves from one sequence to the other and ultimately the performance culminates in a crescendo of ecstasy. While one cannot make anv conclusive statements, but it would appear thatsome aspects ofthe Lai Haraoba tradition and some of the choreographical patterns of the Ariba Pala (or the Bangadesh Pala Ape) ofSankirtana fused in Manipur. Alongside evolved a new form ofSankirtana now called the Nata Pala, the wnrd Nat in this case meaning dancer, nartak, actor, abhineta. The beginnings of the Nat Sankirtana are attributed to the reign of King Chandrakirti by some scholars and to Bhagya Chandra Maharaj by others. Whenever this particular form ofSankirtana began and possibly it did begin with the devotee King Bhagya Chandra Maharaj, it w-as a further refinement ofthe Ariba Pala tradition. Today it is considered the most importantritual performance.

In fact the Meiteis call this a mahagagna as it lasts for nearly five hours at a stretch, begins with preliminary rituals, follows a rigorous structure, and culminates in a moment of great ecstacy. Like the Bangadesh Pala, the group comprises two teams. Usually, there are 16 artistes who enter the mandap ofthe enclosure. On one side is the main performer—the abhineta called Ishei Hanba, along with three other supporting musicians, dancers; on the other side another semicircle is made by the respondent dancer  player abhineta called Duliar. He too enters with his group ofsupporting artistes. Two players on the Manipuri Mridangam called Punga are most important. The entire group called Pala enters the Mandap where a centre has already been established by the placement of plantain leaf, a piece of cloth and with ritual objects surrounding it. After performing the preliminary rituals, called the Mandali puja, wdiich symbolically invoke the five Vaishnav saints—Krishna Chaitanya, Nityananda, Adhuta, Gadaghat and Sahrivats there is the announcement by the President ofthe assembly as in the case ofthe Ariba Pala. He announces that there will now be the invocation to the saints. Soon after the twro mridangamplayersstrike and execute amostintricate sequence ofdrumming. In counter distinction to other forms of singing in Manipur, the mndangam playing itselffollows a specific sequence ofragas. Each sequence ofdrumming is in a particular raga. Thereafter the chief dancer or the leader i.e. Ishei Hanba sings in a very slow7 tempo a melody which could be called an alap. This is once again followed by the playing of the mridangam as also a very balanced and controlled playing on the cymbals by the supporting group. This section is called the sanchar or the variations of the improvisations ofthe miidangam wdiich is punctuated by the playing on the KaHal or the large cymbals. These sections may be considered all as preliminaries of prelude to the main performance wdiich begins wdien Ishei Hanba or the leader starts a section known as sabha vandana i. e. salutation to the audience. Soon after he returnsto the Gum Vandana wdiich deals with the theme of the life of Chaitanya or Gam Chandra. Then is the presentation by the two groups of a series ofintricate metrical cycles, sung lyrics playing on the pim.

Sometime there can be presentation ofas many as 64 different types ofthe bhavas. The sections ofthe metrical eyele called the cachouba in a ‘8’ beat cycle, sometimes is also called the teen-tala achouba. This is followed by a teen-macha wdiich is in a 7-beat pattern or a 14-beatpattern called the Rajamel. Here, the main performer—the respondent the group, the mridangam player all execute together or separately the most intricate improvisations on the basic metrical cycle. The period ofrealisation almost follows wdien from the Rajamel the group moves on to the rendering, ofthe metrical cycle knowm as Tan Chepa set to a 4-beat cycle. Finally, there is the Menkupa set to a 6—beat metrical cycle pattern. In each ofthese, there is the playing of the drum, there is the singing by the main actor, dancer and the response ofthe second group led by the Duhar and the execution of choreograhical pattern by the supporting actors, dancers who play on the Kartals. All in all, the rigorousstructuring ofthe nata sankirtana, its sequence, its change ofmoods and its presentation ofthe different groups of the metrical cycles is a staggering piece ofstructured musical compositions and choreographical patterns. The lyrics or the songs are many; however, one single theme is chosen for elaboration for a particular sankirtana. The group may well choose only the theme of the nayikas and present the different moods of the heroine as that ofthe abhisarika or the lady going out for a tryst or another type like the mugdha, the quarrelsome etc. The dancers singly or collectively consider themselves to be the gopis who are yearning for the Lord. So no matter ofwdiich  theme is chosen, it is in fact only a performer who underlines the yearning ofthe human for the divine. The singing is marked by an easy flow through three octaves, high pitched singing which has pathos and compassion, ecstasy and pain built into it. At moments or climax and at moments of great ecstasy, a member ofthe audience pays obeisance to the centre by a dandavat pranam (prostrate). The actors, dancersrespond alsobyprostrating on the ground. The communication between the audience which sits around the mcindap and the performers within the mandap is complete. The atmosphere is charged and tears flow effortlessly through sheerjoy.

These sankirtanas constitute a system ofmetrical cycles, talas, techniques of very controlled and restrained kind, vocal music and drumming. There are sections of the Pala which have great delicacy and grace. There are others which are vigorous and masculine and which constitute the Tandava portions ofclassical Manipuri dance. Sometimes, dancers can execute movements which are remniscent of birds and animals, at other tunes there are men with women’s. Often many ofthe dancers or men both in the Ariba Pala as also in the Natan Pala are above 60 or 70 and sometimes 80. The performance ofthe Nata Sankirtana is a unique experience unparalleled to anything anywhere else in India. Here, as in the Ariba Pala, the choreographical pattern centres around the intertwined snakes or the figure of 8. Finally, then there is also another type of kirtana called the Dhrumel Here 14 mridangam players playing on the drums the entire sections of the Nata SankiHana. Understandably, the emphasis is on the intricate talas, the improvisations ofthe sanchar and execution of many types ofpermutations and combinations. Symbolically, the 14 types of improvisations or variations are dedicated to the saints beginning with Chaitanya and going to Nityananda and to the eightsadhus and the sixgoswamis ofYrindavail. The Dhrumel is also highly stylised and structured form of the performance understandably. This is also considered a gagna. While one cannot make any conclusive statements on the relationship of the earlier types of Manipur dance i.e. the Pre-Vaishnavite and Post-Vaishnarite, it is clear that the Vaishnavite traditions of poetry, music and dance were superimposed as a further layer on the vibrating highly sophisticated culture of the Meities. . We have referred only to a few ofthe traditions ofManipur dance. There are many more. It was from this complex that the rasa dances evolved. Indeed, one would think that the rasa dances performed only by women were the last of the performance sequences ofa much more elaborate ritual performance comprising invocations, singingthe execution ofthePalasfollowedbythe drumming complex. We referred earlier to the dream of Bhagya Chandra Maharaj when the rasa dancers came to him as a vision. While one may question the authenticity ofthis legend, one cannot ignore that Bliagya Chandra Maharaj laid the foundations of everything that we recognise by the generic term Manipuri dance. .

Texts Although there is meagre textual literature on Manipuri dance, mention must be made of Sangeeta Lila Vilas. Despite the fact that the manuscript has been the subject of considerable heated controversy in regard to its authorship, date and authenticity, its contents are significant for understanding the technique of Manipuri dance. On the whole, although it follows the Natyasastra tradition, it is no slavish imitation. There are significant departures. In this work, he defines tandava and lasya, which are not found in the treatises ofthe medieval period from other parts ofIndia. The tandava is divided into the chalanam and the gunthanam. Lasya is also subdivided into simitanga and sphuritanga. This classification is distinctive to this work and is followed to this day in contemporary practice. This classification ofNatya also differed from the classification known to the other treatises which have only divided the generic term into nritya and natya. The author divides it into rasaka and rupaka. The work rupaka may be identified as a variant ofthe dasa rupaka and the other natika and prakarana forms of the natyasastra tradition. The rasaka comes as something new. Although rasa is mentioned in the Natyasastra, it is not elaborately described by Bharata. The author devotes a full chapter to the rasaka and speaks in detail of the various types of rasa dances—the maharasa, majurasa, nityarasa, nirvesarasa or the kunjarcisa. He also speaks about the goparasa and quotes not Bharata as his authority but Gargacharya. Judging from these descriptions, it would appear that, in Manipuri not only the purely classical tradition of the Natyasastra but also the Puranic tradition of the Srimad Bhagvata have been blended. An authoritative sanction is thus given to the dance. In his discussion ofthe various angas and upangas, wre find a detailed account of the knee position and hastas. Significantly, hovrever, wre do not find a minute discussion of the various facial movements vdiich wrere dealt at length in the treatises of the South, especially those in Telugu and Malayalam. . A comparison of the textual description and contemporary practices reveals that by and large, Manipuri receives its theoretical sanction from this or conversely that the text reconstructs the theory on the basis of actual practice. It gives a comprehensive account of the chalis and the bhangis known to the dance style the gatibhangas as also the various types of chalans and sthanakas. All these are unique to Manipur. Other relevant manuscripts have been found, such as the Mridanga Sangraha. This wrork is attributed to Chandrakirti and contains extremely valuable details  of playing the particular variety of drum called the khol in Manipuri.

The other treatise, Sri Krishna Rasa Sangita Sangraha by Bhakti Sidhanta, was, perhaps, written earlier than the Mridanga Sangraha; it contains many of the lyrics to which the rasa dances are performed today. The Technique In technique, Manipuri is a far cry from anything we know in the other styles of dance. It has a flow and a grace which contrasts from the precision ofthe South Indian Styles. This impression of ease and fluidity, which is not a negation of precision, results from an unusual treatment ofthe body. The vertical line ofthe body is never broken. There are no deflections or sharp shifts from particular horizontalsutras asin Orissi or in Bharatanatyam. In fact, the bodymerely curves itself into a figure of 8. The positions attained are thus relaxed and controlled rather than sculpturesque. An effort is made to connect two parts of the body through beautiful curves. There are no sudden transitions from particular horizontalsutras asinOrissiorinBharatanatyam. Infact, the intertwined serpents (nagabandha mudra) as a basic motif, it is no longer possible to have a spread out, open position ofthe lower limbs so characteristic ofthe South Indian styles. The knees are kept close together, flexed in front, in what may be identified as the nata position of the knees in the Natyasastra tradition. The body is held upright, butwithout any tension. The torso once again is not treated as a unit, but is divided into two distinct parts above the katisutras, the chest and the waist. Neither unit is used singly because the bend ofany one part by itselfwould mean creating an angle. Thus, the chest and the waist, although moving in opposition, are always connected. The effect is ofthe slow drawing of a curve in the shape of “S”, but is never a simple bend. The neck and the head follow this principle but the head never moves horizontally as in Bharatanatyam or Kathak. Instead, it also executes a figure 8 in space. The arms and hands follow the pattern ofthe lower limbs and the torso. They too are never tense nor are they ever in acute flexion. They are held, in a naturally relaxed manner away from the body in a semicircular curve. Thewrists play an extremely importantpart in the movement ofthe hands and the fingers, because it is the wrists w hich give the movements of the fingers a unique fluidity.

A basic movement is the gradual closing in and opening out ofthe fingers, while the wuist attempts to execute a lateral figure of 8. The face isplacid andwithoutany exaggerated facial expressions.This controlled, but not unduly severe or austere, expression is sustained throughout the performance. What has been described here is however, restricted to the movements of the feminine type and may be described, in the language ofthe Govinda Sangita Lila Vilas as the simitanga. A deliberate attempt at limiting space and restricting movement is made here. In the sphuritanga, although greater freedom is allowed, it is once again within the definite limits set by the dancer. In the Lasya portions, even in the sphuritanga, the dancer does not and cannot lift her foot MANIFTJRI 77 away from the ground above the level ofthe knee. The release from the ground is invariably characterized by a sweep ofthe ground, a gliding movement almost touching the floor rather than a movementwhere the foot is lifted high above the ground. . The situation changes considerably in the tandava portion known for its agility, verve and high leaps, whether executed bywomen in the role ofthe child Krishna or by men in the numerous male dances of the region. The basic position in tandava is no longer the closed feet with knees bent in front leaving no space between them. Now7 there is nearly a four tala distance between the two feet and the knees are bent in front. Normally, this is the position of the pungcholam dancers who usually maintain this position practically throughout the number. In the tandava portions, the torso is occasionally treated as a separate unit and side-bends are frequent. There are many sitting positions and many spirals and turns known to the dance style, both in Iosya and tandava. In lasya, the sthanakas or various positions once again attempt to limit space and although wromen dancers change the level throughout a performance, there is hardly ever much space between the two feet. In the tandava portions, the sthanakas take the form ofpositions known asthe vrischika karnas ofthe Natyasastra tradition. Some ofthese are common Orissi and Manipuri. There are few7 leg extensions in the lasya or the tandava portions. The gunthanam described in the Govinda Sangita Lila Vilas in the context of tandava may be identified as the various sitting and jumping movements in tandava wdien there is comparatively little distance between the feet and the knees. Howrever, neither in the tandava portions nor in the lasya portions are hip movements allowed. There is one type of thigh or pelvic movement known to the dance style. It is an up-and-down movementrather than a side-to side movement, writh the shift ofweightfrom one foot to the other characteristic of styles like the Orissi. The up-and-down movement is achieved through knee dips and through a suggestion of a hop on the toe. .

The manner of covering space in Manipuri is expressive ofits grace and delicacy. The dancer coversfloorspace also in figures of8 and then the foot islifted to cover space, it invariably touches the ground by a slight toe movement rather than flat foot orthe heel. The kunchita foot orthe agratalasanchara foot ofthe Natyasastra is seen repeatedly in this dance style. Many ofthe complex dance movements are derived from a dexterous use ofthe kunchita foot. The Movements The dancer begins with the movements known as the chali. The chali need not be identified with the chari ofthe Natyasastra, but it is definitely a movement wdiich suggests basic ways of wulking and covering space. The dancer moves firstto the front and backwith hands held horizontally atthe chestlevel and then moves these hands vertically in an up-and-down direction. She then covers 78 INDIAN CLASSICAL DANCE space in side ways walking, ending by weaving circles and spirals. In these basic movements, thevarioustypes ofbhramaiis are introduced, the two distinctvarieties being the uplai and the longlai. The uplai and the longlai have been identified by some scholars as the bhava bhramari and bhramari ofthe Natgasastra. We may understand these lais whether in Icisya or in tandciva as wags of covering floor space; usually, it is sideways movement followed by a semicircle. They are the finale ofthe dance cadences and are often executed in multiples ofthree as in the tihai ofthe other dance styles. Sometimes, a spiral movement in vertical space is executed, where the dancer treats her body like a screw and weaves a spiral vertically from a higher level to lower level. While doing so, the dancer also takes a circle or a spin. This very difficult movement has a graceful fluidity, sometimes mistaken for imprecision. The achongba ofjumpingmovements are characteristic of the tandava portions ofthe dance. . The basic movements of the chali are connected together to form the various types of parengs.

The parengs are perhaps parallel to the tirmanams of Bliaratanatyam. for they are cadences ofmovements in a given metrical cycle. The metrical cycles are very many and in-beats and the cross-beats are complicated, requiring a high sense ofprecision. .All the la is are used in parengs and different types oftalas, are employed, especially the rajmela, the seven beats (rupaka), 15 beats (panchamsvari) and the 16 beats (tintala). Three bhangis are attributed to king bliagya Chandra Maharaja and two to his descendent. King Chandrakirti. The fust three bhangis, and the bhangi pareng achongba, the Vrindavan pareng and the khurumba pareng are known as the lasga cadences. They are used in common rasa portions of the dance. The three other bhangis have a common adjective gosthci which stands for the tandava bhangis. They are used by actors while presenting the character ofKrishna in the rasa dances. Three such bhangis are prescribed, namely the gosthci bhangi pareng, the gostha khurumba pareng, and the gostha khurumba pareng. The last one is rarely performed and seems to have gone out of vogue. . With such an elaborate system, it is not surprising that the dance has a highly complex technique of movement and tala. The dance is not restricted to solo ntunbers. Manipuri is perhaps the only classical style in which we find exquisite survivals of compositions, such as the hallisaka, the charchari and other forms mentioned in classical Sanskrit literature. Group formations mentioned in the Natgasastra have been lost to other classical forms. One comes across some survivals in folk forms, but Manipiui exhibits, in a well-chiselled fashion, the many types ofpindibcmdhas described in the Natgasastra. In the rasa dances, we find that all the four types ofpindis mentioned by Bharata can be seen. We also see that other group formations mentioned in later texts find a place in the different ntunbers ofthe Manipuri dance. . The Repertoire As will be obvious from the account of the complex history ofManipur and the evaluation ofdifferent genres, the repertoire ofManipuri is extensive. Ifwe take into account the innumerable festivals, the Sankirtanas, the singing styles and the larger variety ofparticipative community7 dances known to Manipur and still practised, the repertoire inmodemtermswouldbe considered tobe inexhaustible.

Only for purposes ofunderstanding although no hard and fast rules can be made, one maydivide the repertoire ofManipuri dancesintothree orfourbroad categories. This would not include the whole group of dances which one would call tribal or folk. The first group would comprise the prc-Vaishnav dance forms or dance rituals. These would include whatwe have already described in the Lai Haroaba and the presentation of singing and enactment of the stories of Khaba Thoibi. Closely related to this group would be the Thang ta or the martial ritual dancers ofManipur, all thesebelong to pre- Vaishnav state ofManipuri culture. The second group would constitute the dance and dance music sections ofthe variousjatras in Manipur. TheHoli Pala the Khumbak Ishei and other numberstodaypresented on the stage are part and parcel ofthese seasonal festivities. So also isthe popular Thabala Chongbi which is part of the Yaosang dances. The third .group would constitute the different types ofSankirtana traditions. We have referred to only the Ariba Pala and the Anuba Pala, i.e. the Bangadesh Kirtana and the Nata Sankirtana, but there are others such as the Manohar Sahi and of course the Dhrumel. Part and parcel ofthese Sankirtana wasthe group dancing, the various types ofwalking or group forms executed either through clapping or through the playing ofsmall cymbals called Manjira or large cymbals called Kartala. A fourth group may be considered for the ballad forms which have both a vocal as also a miming aspectto them. Among these would be the presentation through solo duet rendering in the forms known as the Wariliba, the Haiba Thiba, etc. A most important part of Manipuri repertoire is recognised by the generic term Jagoi. At the artistic level, one may consider the Jagoi as the main type of art dance. It is somewhat difficult to have a definitive meaning of the word Jagoi which literally only means dance. Nevertheless, perhaps one could understand this term and the group of number or repertoire that it represents as those sections of music and dance from amongst the Sankirtanas which could be presented outside the ritual parameters. Perhaps itwas with thisin view thatthe traditional gurus of Manipur have divided the Jagoi into several sub-categories such asthe Pungalola Jagoi, the Motkanba Jagoi andjust Lila.

There is a frirther subdivisionwhich ismadeby adding the adjectivesNupa orNupi—Nupa standing for man and Nupi for woman. Amongst the further divisions are the Cholam, the Kartala Cholam, the Mridang Cholam, the dance ofthe ghosta lila (also called the shanshenba Jagoi), and the spear dances. There are varioustypes o(cholams, and the differentvarieties ofthe kartalis. The cholams are both lasya and tandava. Those belonging to the feminine group are the cholams ofthe small cymbals, namely, the Manjira cholam and those ofthe tandava type are the Kartala cholams with large cymbals. The dance ofthe Pung which is performed by men. may be said to be the highest achievement. The 80 INDIAN CLASSICAL DANCE dance may be executed by a solo performer or by a hundred men. The range of sound which can be produced through the pung has to be experienced to be believed. Perhaps, among percussion instruments, there is no other mridanga which can command the same range of communicative sound as the pung. There are other cholam dances too, such as the duff cholam and the kanjira cholam. Amongst the kartali dances are the clapping items performed only by women known asthe nupi khumbak ishei and the nupa khumbak ishei. These are group dances in which a number ofinteresting group formations can be seen and the dance is built on clapping ofhands at crossrhythmstobe basic rhythmplayed by the accompanyingpung. All the cholam and the kartali dances are pure nritta. There is no abhinaga, nor isthere any song accompaniment. Originally performed in the context oftheRathyatra, these numbers are nowperformed independently as part ofstage repertoire. Like the cholam and the kartalis, the thang haiba and the takheiv saiba, or the sword and the spear dances, which belong to the tandava category, have now become part ofthe artistic repertoire. Originally, these were performed either in the context ofritual magical performances or as a sequence in the Lai Haraoba. When incorporated as an artistic number, these are called thangtajagoi. These are vaguely reminiscent ofthe kalis of Kerala and are purely martial dances.

The Nupi Jagoi or the women’s dance mentioned above is the graceful variety quite distinct from the tandava type of dancing which is divided into two main sub-divisions-the firstBhangiJagoi, and the second PunglolJagoi i.e. thatwhich is performed only to the mnemonics ofthe Pung the Manipuri Mridangam. The BhangiJagoi is marked by seriousness ofpurpose, a slowtempo and a very careful delivery ofmovements which are controlled and restrained. It comes under the category ofwhat we have called the smitanga In contrast, the Punglol Jagoi is executed in a fast tempo or in old three tempos like the three kala tirmans of Bharatanatyam. Hie mnemonics have a particular tempo, a metrical pattern and a repetition ending in triplets ofthree. All these .should be considered both of the male and the female as pure abstract dancing without mime or abhinaya. Thisisthe nritta repertoire ofManipuri dancing. Itmust, however,be remembered that none ofthese numbers are dissociated from the repertoire which we have mentioned in the context ofthe sankirtana and thejatra dances. Rasa It is only when we come to the rasa dances of Manipur that the richness and dexterity ofboth nritta, pure dance and abhinaya, mime ofthe Manipuri style is evident. Although the rasa dances are closely related to the presentation ofthe Nata sankirtana in the Govindji Temple and on specific occasion the sankirtan precedes the presentation of the rasa. The rasa dances have a structure and  technique which can distinguish them from any other type of dance in Manipur. The rasa dances ofManipur are lyrical, narrative andnotdramaticunlike Kathakali. Nevertheless, the compositionboth literary and musical have rigorousstructrwing comprising vocal passages, percussion, pure dance, mime, all ofwhich is similar to the structuring of a full Kathakali play. Bhagya Chandra Maharaj or King Jai Singh is considered the composer ofat least three ofthe four rasa dances known to Manipur. As in the case ofthe other dances whether these are the sankirtanas or the Lai Haroaba, the rasa dances are also performed on particular occasion and in particular season. .

First and the foremost isthe VasantRasa for the frill moon day ofHoli. While men perform the holi pala and there is the season ofthe Dol yatra, women perform the VasantRasa. The VasantRasa or any other rasa is invariablypreceded by the Natapala or the group of men dancers who play the drum and sing. Thereafter there is the presentation ofa particular raga in this case, Vasant Raga bywomen singers nowr called sutradhari. Here the singing setsthe tone ofthe presentation of the rasa. A particular mood is invoked and the players and the audience become prepared to transport themselves into the world of Lord Krishna in Vrindavan.Thereafter, there isthe descriptionofVfindavan sungby the sutradhari and followed through dance by a group of young dancers. . The nextsequence is Vaishnav Vandana. The most exciting part ofthe rasa is the entry of the young Krishna, normally played by a young girl. Thereafter is the presentation ofthe main theme in the case of Vasant Rasa. It isthe theme ofthe gopis playing Holi with Krishna. At one moment, Krishna decides mischievously to put powdered colour in the eyes of Radha. This leads to the next sequence where Radha seemingly rejects Krishna. He implores her. He pleads with her. Then the union follow's, the gopis surround the pair, the yugul roop, and there is the culminating or prarihna. . The Kunj Rasa is somewhat simpler. It is performed sometime in August coinciding with what is known as the full moon or rakhi or rakhi purnima: The theme of this rasa is drawn from the Srimad Bhagvata. It revolves round the mutual hide and seek ofRadha and Krishna. The rasa is performed in a special group and it recreates the dance ofthe gopis with Krishna. A thud rasa called the nritya rasa which was perhaps created by Maharaj Chandrakirti in the nineteenth century can be performed at any time. Here dance rather than the story or the theme is more important The libretto is chosen from the poetic wrork called the Govindalila Amritam written by Shri Krishnadas Kaviraj.

Here the sequence is different. It begins with the Krishna Abhisar and the waiting of Krishna and preparation for the gopis and Radha to be drawn to his flute. Some people believe that this rasa is mentioned in the PadmaPuranawhere the nritya Idas ofLord Krishna are described. Most important and impressive, however, is the Maharasa created by Bhagya Chandra Maharaj and presented in the precincts ofGovindji Temple on Kartik Purnima. This is easily the most refined  and chiselled complete artistic composition with a beginning, middle and an end. It begins as in the case of the Vasant Rasa with a prologue of the nata sankirtana, the entrance of the sutradhari, the singing of a rags, in this case Kedar, the description of Vrindavan, the Vaishnav Vandana, the Krishna Abhisar, the mandali sajana, the song of the gopis, the presentation of the Bhangi pareng the dance of Krishna, the dance ofRadha, the atma samarpana, the offering, the prarthna and finally the arti. . The Vishnu Purana, the Srimad Bhagvata Purana vividly describe the dance of Krishna with the gopis. Initially, Krishna commands the gopis to return to their homes and their families. The gopis do not listen and entreat him to dance with them. Krishna begins to dance with the gopis who believe that their partner is Krishna, but in fact it is only an illusion. In between Krishna also disappears. He re-appears. All this provides for great variety in choreographic pattern singing, in dance and the role ofRadha. The role ofRadha is played a seasoned dancer and a singer. Radha does not play a part in the Vishnu or the Bhagavat Purana. It is only the later traditions which combine the story ofthe Bhagavata Purana and the love of Krishna and Radha of the Gita Govinda. It is this assimilated form of the two stories which is strung together in a single theme which constitutes the libretto of the Maharasa of Manipur. The Maharasa provides immense scope for the high order of singing, excellence in very restrained manner and excellence in the presentation of higly intricate pure dance passages, i.e. the Bhangis. . Besides these rasa dances, there are the lilas.

The enactment of Krishna childhood with his mother Yashoda or with his companions. These lilas also constitute an important part of the repertoire of the Manipuri dance. Tire gostha lila recreates the play on Krishna and Balarama; Krishna and Yashoda, and the dances ofKrishna with his companions. The main singer for the gostha lila is a man and not a woman. In the presentation ofthe gostha lila, other lilas of Krishna such as the killing of the demon Dhenuka and Bakasura, etc. are presented. In the ulukhala rasa, the birth ofKrishna, Putna vadh, etc. including makhan chon are presented. When we compare this repertoire of the rasa dancers, the four main rasa dances and two gostha lilas we realise that the inspiration of this repertoire comes from all that we know of the rasa and the lilas in Vrindavan. Transported to Manipur, it acquires a new-chiselling, a new sequence, a new interpretation in spirit and ethos and the ultimate goal is identical. The Vaishnavite fervor lives and vibrates in the hearts of every Manipuri and truly through the rasa dances and the presentation of the lilas Vrindavan is created in every heart in far off Manipur. On one level of these dances are community shared with full participation ofthe performers and the participators. On the other are their sophisticated pieces of opera with libretto musical scales, ragcis, talas, giving enough scope for pure niitta abhinaya and the combination ofboth singing and dancing. IfKathakali perfected in the hero types, Manipur seems to have perfected in the heroine Apes but all through the MANIFURI 83 configtu~ation ofthe myriad moods, transitory states, there is only one dominant mood which is evoked. This is that ofKanina, compassion. Ifthe concept ofthe state of elevated, uplifted, aesthetic experience through music and dance has to be experienced one must participate in the presentation of Maharasa in the precincts of the Sri Govindji Temple or be of attuned heart in a Sankirtana presentation.

The singing and the drumming, the variations ofthe tempos, the patterns of rhythmic permutation and combination, the slow and doubling and tripling of tempos with breathtaking smooth transitions and the execution of the movements called the bhangis all accumulatively lead to a state of ecstasy. Ecstasy for he wiio performs, ecstasy for he wiio responds and is of attuned heart. From this body of the large rasa dances, the gostha Mas, the moods of kanina, compassion, affection vatsalya etc. emerged smaller numbers. Thee wrere creations of the gurus of the last century. Among these, the most important being wras the late Guru Atnobi Singh. Sometimes, he abridged rasa for purposes of stage . At other tunes, he chose lyrics from the Gita Govinda or from Yidyapati’s Padavali or the works of other poets of the Bhakti school and presented them as short numbers. This presentation is largely solo. Exactly as a presentation ofby a sole Bharatanatyam dancer.

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The Place of Peace

THE rush, the turmoil, the hurry of modern life are in everybody's mouth as a matter of complaint. " I have no time ' is the commonest of excuses. Reviews serve for books ; leading articles for political treatises ; lectures for investigation. More and more the attention of men and women is fastened on the superficial things of life ; small prizes of business success, petty crowns of social supremacy, momentary notoriety in the world of politics or of letters - for these things men and women toil, intrigue and strive. Know More


Aspects are an important part of modern astrology. As the planets move in their elongated orbits around the Sun, they form various angular relationships with one another, using the Sun (or Earth) as the center. Know More


Each sign of the Zodiac is represented by a planet. Here are the Planets and some of what they mean: Know More

The Natal Chart

The Natal Chart is a map of your life, at the time of birth its like taking a picture of the planets, the universe stopped at that moment in time. It is what the niverse has to say about who you are and what you may become. Know More

seven Basic Chakras

There are seven basic Chakras in our bodys.Each has a location, a function, an influence, color and many other things.They are the seven centers of energy in the human body. Know More

Attitude of Appreciation

An attitude of gratitude means making it a habit to express thankfulness and appreciation in all parts of your life, on a regular basis, for both the big and small things alike Know More

Forgiving Other People

Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself. It is not something you do for somebody else. It is not complicated. It is simple. This includes forgiving other people situations and likewise yourself. Know More

Spiritual Thinkings

Spiritual thinking asks us to devote to a different way of thinking than we have been educated and conditioned to do. It is a way to think promoting ... Know More

Spiritual Cleansing

Spiritual cleansing is a process utilized in psychic readings to dispel damaging energy. A lot of people feel that negative energy surrounds us and it responsible for a lot of difficult things that occur within our lives and psychic reading or tarot reading may help. Know More

Be Good To Yourself

You will remain with yourself for the whole life Treat yourself as you treat other people. Do not be so hard on yourself. Chances are you wouldnot tell others that theyare fat, ugly, lazy, dense, un-needed, and so forth Know More

On Some Difficulties of the Inner Life

EVERY one who sets himself in earnest to the living of the Inner Life encounters certain obstacles at the very beginning of the pathway thereto, obstacles which repeat themselves in the experience of each, having their basis in the common nature of men. Know More

Enjoy Exercise

The advantages of exercise are undeniable. It step-ups circulation, flexibility and staying power. Exercise helps to determine mood, weight and sleep and is a central component to living a lively life. A few individuals are lucky enough to have a natural joy for exercise. For everybody else, exercise is a joy worth cultivating. Know More

Spiritual Life for the Man of the World

THE Rev. R. J. Campbell, M.A., who presided, said : In introducing the lecturer to a City Temple audience it is not my desire to indulge in personalities which might be embanassing to her, but I feel it is due to ourselves to say that we recognise in Mrs. Besant one of the greatest moral forces of the day. Know More

Spiritual Thinkings

When youre able to have positive thoughts regardless what is going on – when you are able to see the higher power in all individuals and in all situations – you are well on your way to spiritual health. Know More


Lord Shiva is to all men all things. His universality and adaptability have preserved His place in the hearts of men for millennia. The elemental Lord of the Wind, He personified the cataclysmic forces of nature and was the Lord of Destruction. Know More


The origin of Shiva Ratri, the night of Lord Shiva, is related in a fable. In ancient times near the City of Light, Varanasi, there lived a violent and cruel hunter. Whilst hunting in the woods one day, he killed so many birds that he had trouble carrying them all home. He grew tired from the weight of his catch and was frequently forced to stop and rest. Know More

Get Rid Of Your Bad Habits

Your health and weight is decided by your eating habits.If you ask individuals what's the significance of habit, many will give bad habits the difficult press, and say they're negative processes that individuals do again and again, like smoking, gambling, over eating, and procrastination. Know More


Yoga means union of man with his Higher Self. It is an ancient discipline that can be traced back as far as the third century B.C., when the forest dwelling ascetics broke away from the traditional material values of society, and sought to free them selves from the chains of karma. Know More

Towards Mental Purity

There are a number of simple rites the performance of which will free you from inner impurities. From generation to generation our forefathers performed them and earned happiness and contentment. We must follow in their footsteps. We do not have to go in search of any new way of life, any new doctrine or belief. Know More

Making all Creatures Happy

In the past, apart from these, our ancestors did puja to the gods, fed guests and performed vaisvadeva which rite is meant for all creatures. You must have some idea of these rites even if you do not perform them. I will speak to you about vaisvadeva. Know More


Every family must perform puja to Isvara. Those who find it convenient to do so may conduct elaborate types of puja after receiving proper initiation into them. Others need perform only a brief puja, not lasting more than ten minutes or so. Office goers must offer at least this brief worship. The sacred bell must ring in every home. Know More


Truthfulness means mind and speech being well integrated. The wise say that speech being at variance with the mind is untruthfulness. Know More


A MILK-MAID used to supply milk to a Brahmin priest living on the other side of a river. Owing to the irregularities of the boat service, she could not supply him milk punctually every day. Once, being rebuked for her coming late, the poor woman said, "What can I do ? I start early from my house, but have to wait for a long time at the riverbank for the boatman and the passengers. Know More


The River Ganges, more than all other rivers, has inspired the hearts of the Indian population through the Ages. The uncounted millions who have prayed on her banks and bathed in her waters from the source to the sea, tell the colourful story of India’s spiritual quest. Know More

How to Control the Mind

What is the obstacle to one-pointed meditation.The answer is the unstill mind. All problems are caused by the mind, by the desires arising in it. It is not easy to control the mind and keep it away effectively from desire. If we ask the mind to think of an object, it seems to obey us for a moment, but soon it takes its own course, wandering off. When I speak to you about meditation and tranquillity, for a moment your mind will perhaps become still and you will be happy. Know More

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