Wednesday 18 August 2021

The Immanent and Immaculate One - The Eastern Eye: Column by Dr.Utpal K Banerjee

Satyam Shivam Sundaram was a thematic Kuchipudi solo performance, presented online, by Dilip Diwakar, a Kuchipudi artist from Chennai and the senior disciple of Guru Sailaja. The theme of the presentation was a holistic appreciation of Shiva, as stated in the introduction: "Understanding that eternal reality which causes the Satchitananda. The Linga Purana states, 'the non-characterized is the root of characterized'. This characterized is endowed with the senses, which are of five -- color, smell, taste, sound and touch, and is called as Prakriti or Pradhāna or Shakti. On the contrary, that which is devoid of everything is the non-characterized, called the Purusha or Shiva, which is the substratum to the Prakriti. From this union comes the intellectual identical self, Atman/Brahman, the inside/outside. In turn, this trifurcates as 'truth, consciousness, bliss', 'Sat, Chit, Ananda', leading to Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram, the sublime nature of Lord Shiva." After such a profound introduction, one approaches the performed narrative with some trepidation, expecting a comprehensive enunciation of various manifestations of Shiva as visualized in sculptures through the ages, as very briefly mentioned above. In an over-70-minute presentation, one is occasionally left wondering whether he got a thorough initiation from his choreographer and mentor into this prerequisite. And one does wonder as to which Shiva iconic form allows him to don a thoroughly feminine makeup: complete with garish red lipstick, elaborate eye decorations and even using copious alta (red lac-dye) under both feet, to re-imagine the austere masculine countenance of Shiva!

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