Over the dales and hill-tops they aviated. Over the mountains and forests they traversed. Throughout the cities, townships and village hamlets they perambulated. Both of them observed the sufferings, penuries, pangs of grief and worries of man-kind. Famine, poverty, diseases, and unnatural deaths they witnessed. Wars, sieges and exodus they witnessed.
“Why do you look frustrated and agitated Parvati?” asked Lord Shiva.
“My Lord, why do our creations undergo so much agony? Why do people commit suicide, particularly the well educated intelligential?”
“Agony and ecstasy are the two inevitable parts of human life, my dear…”
“But what is the remedy?”
“By inculcating a sense of humour in them and introducing a medium of entertainment for them, we can do that.”
“Why don’t you do that?”
“No. It is not my duty. These qualities are to be instilled by birth. It is therefore the duty of Lord Brahma.”
“Why don’t you instruct him accordingly?”
“Yes. There is a point.” Agreed the Lord.
As the Lord remembered, Lord Brahma appeared before him instantly. After the customary salutations mutually, Lord Shiva asked:“Lord of creations,” addressed Lord Shiva: “We appreciate and admire the punctilious beauty of your creations verily.” “Thank you, Lord.” “But what precautions have you taken in the character of human beings to carry on their life happily?” “Lord,” replied Brahma, “I have instilled wit, intelligence, cleverness, greed, lust and selfishness in them so that their life becomes vibrant, dramatic and interesting.”
“What have you done for their entertainment?”, asked Lord Shiva.
“I have thought about it well and inbuilt in them, except a few, a fanciful ability to spread gossips, concoct baseless allegations and stories, black-mail the rivals with character assassination etc.”
“These are very bad.” Opined the Goddess.
“These are the dark part of some of the characters. What we should desire is the entertainment and enjoyment of the populace.”
“I am out of wit in these areas, my Lord.” Replied Brahma in humility. He continued with caution, “May be my wife is the fittest persons.”
“Request her audience then.”
When Goddess Saraswati appeared on the scene, Lord Brahma took his leave.
“Pranam Bhagwan.” Goddess Saraswati registered her respect.
“Pranam.” Lord Shiva reciprocated the salute.
“Goddess,” addressed the Lord, “What is your idea of providing some recreation to human beings?” “That would be fabulous, venerable Lord.”
“Please chalk out a plan then.”Accordingly they gave formation to sixty-four artifacts. Of these, classical dances and classical music were the predominant items. Drawings, paintings, sculptures, etc. were classified as fine arts.
In the branch of classical music, seventy-two Melakarta Ragas (Janaka Ragas) and their innumerable Janya Ragas were established. The whole branches of music was composed of the variations of seven notes – Sa-Ri-Ga-Ma-Pa-Dha-Ni-. Of these, Goddess Saraswati, Hanuman and Narada were made the originators and promoters.
In the branch of classical dances, many varieties comprising Natya (Satvic Action) and Nrita (Dances) were classified. Among the artifacts of Nrita; Chatula, Lasya and Thandava were the main pieces. Lord Shiva became the composer and propagator of these dance forms. The third variety being rigorous in tempo and application the Lord created was Thandu. The style in which Thandu was practiced was known as Thandava. Lord Shiva is worshipped throughout the world as Nataraja, king of all arts.
– KK Shanmukhan
( To be concluded )