In India, as well as in every ancient civilization, Mother Goddess was at the centre of religio-philosophic and cultural traditions. Fortunately, even today India worships Mother Goddess in a separate festival of 9 days called ‘Navratri’, literally 9 nights of Devi. In every part of Indian sub-continent people worship and celebrate Goddesses with love and faith. Devi is responsible for Creation, Cosmic Existence and Liberation, therefore the three attributes of the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh are inherent in Her alone. Known to millions by many names DEVI is: Saraswati Goddess of Learning, Lakshmi bestower of prosperity, Durga slayer of evil forces, Bhadra – auspicious, Vidya - wisdom, Kshudha - hunger, Trupti - satisfaction. Every aspect of mini and mega microcosm is permeated by Her. She exists in a state of SWATANTRYA i.e. depending on nothing and no one, rather the universe exists by virtue of dependence on Her. The primordial cosmic energy is worshipped as the Divine Mother, who sets in motion the wheel of manifestation. She bestows her healing spirit into the womb and regenerative energy of female of every species. Every atom of space is imbued with Energy = Oorja = Shakti i.e. reason for creation to exist. Through interpretation in narratives, songs and enactment, Dr Sonal Mansingh in a riveting presentation highlights this concept a number of selected texts from religious scriptures, myths, and legends are juxtaposed with contemporary issues. Sonal Mansingh’s mission of reinterpreting sacred texts in secular times is also an old tradition in India. From Bharata in his Naatya-Shastra to Adi-Shankaracharya and Vivekananda all have explained the beauty and true messages contained in our legends. Sonal Mansingh is a proud inheritor of that great tradition.
At once a Concept of Divinity yet so human, God who is THE GOD beyond all names and forms; He is SHIVA the auspicious. Popular visuals of Shiva usually show the peculiar attire of snake ornaments, matted hair sporting the Moon crescent and waters of the Ganga springing forth. The figure seated in yogic meditative posture or dancing as Nataraja the Supreme Dancer. SHIVA is also represented in the form of Linga, the Axis Mundi, the pillar of virile support of Creation. SHIVA is also a householder and has a family. He is invoked as ideal husband to Goddess Parvati and loving father to two sons Kartikeya and Ganesha. Numerous myths and legends talk about his innocent benevolence towards all, regardless of the real motive of their devotion to him. All contradictions and opposites resolve in this Concept called SHIVA. The Naatya-Katha is one of the most effective ways to address some of the more popular yet intriguing aspects through dance and music, narratives and stories, retold and reenacted for the contemporary audiences.
The Concept: In the galaxy of divinities worshipped by Indians, the name of Shri Krshna rings many bells. His name alone sends tingling vibrations of delight and joy. The enigma of this divine human has not yet been unraveled except in allegorical and metaphysical terms. Saints and poets have written and sung extolling his form and beauty, his life and deeds. Seers and sages have been given the benefit of his Darshan in their deepest meditation. Men and women, old and young, rich and poor, people in every corner of India and the world have opened their collective hearts and offered him their prayers, aspirations and complaints. He is also synonymous with the principle of Cosmic Law Vishnu maintaining the balance between diverse and mutually antagonistic forces. He is known by many names; all pointing to the centrality of his function; as the many-tiered Reality, the upholder of Creation. Lest all this remove him far away from our daily mundane reality, he is to be seen and understood in the many human dimensions. On offer this evening are some of the most known and loved episodes from Krshna’s life. The Katha: Sonal Mansingh is trained in Bharatanatyam, Odissi and Orissaan Martial art Chhau also in classical music systems of Hindustani, Carnatic and Odiya. She offers a stunning flow of incidents from the life and deeds of Shri Krshna embellished with her own singing, acting and dancing. Story –telling is an ancient art in every part of the world but in India it acquires extra dimension when Sonal Mansingh interlinks narrative stories, parables and legends with music, philosophy, symbolism and dance movements. Touching upon a wide range of issues pertaining to environment, ecology and social mores she is able to convey the inner messages and communicate a sense of harmonious beauty.