Before putting pen to paper of my understanding on the light of wisdom -a Dance Ballet performed by the artists of MGI on the eve of the Deepavali festival, I thought twice before sharing my views with my readers, but however I thought of keeping in mind of the verse of the sacred scripture of the Yajurveda “Tanme Manaha Shivasankalpam astu”– let noble intentions flow from this mind of ours.
On that dark illuminated night, everyone was hurrying to enter the portal of the MGI auditorium, so as not to be late in watching the great Ballet. Great personalities were welcomed with due respect and others sneaked unnoticed sideways with a booklet entitled the Light of Wisdom. I received one too. Actually it was a booklet of acknowledgements and little has been said of the Ballet itself except the story of the great epic Ramayana. While waiting for lighting ritual to take place, my thirsty eyes caught sight of the word light which immediately reminded me of the symbolic meaning of light and darkness which played the central role in the interpretation of Conrad’s novel “the Heart of darkness”. The story of the novel reads that Marlow who thinks that he possesses light, sends his representative Kurtz to give light in the so-called dark place in many ways… Everyone is in search of light but is plunged in darkness. Light tends to express a positive affirmation while darkness carries the negative sense of chaos. These opposites exist within a bewildering pastiche of good and evil, strength and weakness, truth and falsehood. There is light because of darkness as Ben Franklin put it ‘what is so dark about light” ? It is dark as the spiritual part is lost. Some socio-cultural organisations celebrate deepavali as “jalsa ki Raat”. Bollywood actors are called to perform. In the rural areas alcohol and non-veg are consumed. The politicians give futile speeches on light as if there was no light before the arrival of Shri Ram to Ayodya. So, I thought watching the ballet would surely enlighten my knowledge about the wisdom of light.
While waiting for the show to begin, I went through the booklet and I was intellectually deceived as for the same old tradition-rooted stereotyped messages in English were being conveyed to people to enlighten them on the festival of light and I was quite pleasantly surprised that such persons of great wisdom failed to mention a single verse from the Sanskrit text concerning Deepavali. I even got a kick in the teeth by reading an interesting saying of Martin Luther king on the back front page of the booklet. I let a half ridiculed smile appeared on my face. My neighbour frowned at me, thinking what’s so funny about the booklet ? With the little knowledge that I have in Sanskrit I think that “Tamaso ma sat gamaya, tamaso ma jyotir gamaya Amrityo ma amrytam gamaya” would have been more appropriate in this context. “Lead us from untruth to truth, from darkness to light and from mortality to immortality”.
Music and mathematics
The show started. I was observing the different way female and male dancers moved in the dance, establish the idea of the gender roles and expectations of a society. In the Ballet, the female dancer moves slowly and in a controlled way, playing up on their feminity. There was also a lot of focus on the movement and shape of their hands, further demonstrating their gracefulness and gentleness. In contrast, the movement of the male dancer exhibited his strength and masculinity, with bigger movements (leaps and cartwheels) and mobility. The female is thus hyper-feminized and the male hyper-masculinized. Through analyzing just one aspect of the dance – the body movements/choreography, it is evident that patriarchy still exists in the society, where the female is thought of as the vulnerable and submissive one, in need of ‘protection’ offered by the dominant male. I felt for a moment that somewhere there was a fusion and harmonious blending of the spirits and talents where the yawning gulf between the dancers and the onlookers was bridged by an uninterrupted flow of the coordination of thoughts and feelings. But this expectation endured a premature death. As the ballet went on, a decrease in the vigour and force was felt and a proper synchronisation was lacking. Some of the artists lacked confidence. At the end, they seemed tired… The audiences were cold in their reactions.
But however, I fervently believe that there was a singular phenomenon called music which has a knowledge relationship to human biology, mind and behaviour and this Music saved that night. It was well tuned and the ballet gathered a bit of momentum.
I cannot refrain myself from talking of Pythagoras who said that Music is one of the dependencies of divine science of mathematics, and its harmonies are inflexibly controlled by mathematical proportions. The Pythagoreans averred that mathematics demonstrates the exact method by which Good is established and maintained. He also recognised the profound effect of music upon the senses and emotions and Pythagoras did not hesitate to influence the mind and body with what he termed “musical medicine”. But Good and Bad are nowhere but within man as it is said the study of mankind is man.
Actually, in symbolism the body is divided vertically into two halves, the right half being considered as light and the left half as darkness. For those unacquainted with the true meanings of light and darkness, the right half is denominate spiritual and the left half material. Light is the symbol of objectivity ; and darkness is of subjectivity. As life precedes light, its only symbol is darkness, and darkness is considered as veil which must eternally conceal the true nature of abstract and undifferentiated being. According to me the body of a man must not be considered as individual but only as the house of the individual, in the same manner that the temple is the house of God. So we have to dispel the darkness of ignorance and lit the light from within to attain the wisdom of light. This should have been the message.