CHENNAI: Many ask me ‘how you can mix spirituality and social services’ and I reply ‘how can you separate the two’. Those who wish to sincerely serve society must be spiritually pure, says Kamala Krishnamoorthy, trustee, V Narayana Iyer Memorial Trust. Morality and spirituality form the foundation of the services rendered by the trust formed three decades ago.
Recently the trust presented ‘Sharanam Vraja’, a musical dance depicting the nine different routes of devotion. The title refers to ‘destination where you go’ which implies that every soul yearns to merge with the lotus feet of god which is the ultimate aim of bhakti. The puranas cite the nine ways of devotion — sravanam (listening), keerthanam (singing), smaranam (contemplation), pada sevanam (worshiping His lotus feet), archanam (to worship), vandanam (prayer), sakhyam (to be friendly), dasyam (to serve) and atma nivedanam (total surrender).
A thematic dance show with portrayal of lofty values through art is a great idea as we are losing tolerance and direction in life, says Urmila Sathyanarayanan, senior dancer who presented dasyam through the bhakti of Tulasidas towards Lord Rama. Mohiniattam doyen Gopika Varma says it is important to sustain our classical art through such programmes and can be passed down generations. She narrated pada sevanam through stories of Ahalya and Bharatha.
A skilled dancer Lakshmi Ramaswamy showed her talent in smaranam of Lord Krishna and Prahalada’s thought of Narayana. The concept of archana was taken by Kuchipudi duo Padmavani and Kishore Mosalikanti through Thiagaraja krithi ‘Ela Nee Daya Raadu’. Gayathri and Balagurunathan brought out how shravanam (listening) can whip up the devotion, while Jigyasa Giri, a Kathak dancer, focused on keerthanam.
The presentation of nine forms of bhakthi in a dance musical with Rajkumar Bharathy as the composer was elevating. It integrated various music styles into one harmonised fusion. The programme brought out the cultural aspects of classical dances. Through such pursuits, we would leave behind the roots of our cultural heritage for the future generations.