So many Journeys by dancer Geeta Chandran (with Rajiv Chandran) is the maiden offering of the new
Publications Division at Niyogi Offset Pvt. Ltd.
When we scanned several manuscripts to select which would be our first publication, there
was no doubt in our minds that this was it! Original writings on an exquisite classical dance that placed
tradition in the contemporary context, and a vast collection of visual images!
To this treasure-trove of word and image, we enjoined the vision of two brilliant young
graphic designers, jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra. The book you are holding is the culmination of the
dreams of all the creative persons involved in the project.
As its publisher, we wish to record that it has been a special privilege for us to be able to
publish this book of Geeta Chandran’s writings. It is an effort that we are extremely proud of, and we
hope that all categories of readers will find this volume thought provoking. Its contents, design and
production should make it a book to be cherished.
Human life is an accumulation of several journeys; Journey; Journeys from the unreal to the real, from
the finite to the infinite, from suffering to happiness. Due to these abundant variables and the sheer
variety of human nature, these journeys take different paths, through different vicissitudes.
The cognitive seekers know the absolute truth as objective. Some will work their way through
the subjective creativity to the cosmic “I”. Others feel and relate to the absolute, uniting the subject and
the object in a blissful dance. The journeys through all the paths should lead one to a blissfully complete
experience. However the path of jnana-knowledge and karma-action negate each other in the form of
subject or the object respectively. The path of feeling pre-supposes an “other” to relate to; hence it
becomes a superior experience. Vedic wisdom, having carefully analysed and grasped this reality,
concludes that: THE ULTIMATE REALITY/EXPERIENCE IS RASA.
Rasa the culmination of Vedantic metaphysics, serves as the starting point for
aesthetics. Na hi rasadrte kascid arthah pravartate (Natyasastra of Bharata 6/1). Rasa is the essential
life-blood of India’s culture body!
How does one taste/experience this rasa? It is possible only if that transcendent rasa reveals
itself. The evanescence of rasa moves it from the realm of the unmanifest to the manifest. “Whose body
movement (angika) is the phenomenal world, whose articulate expression (vacika) constitutes all verbal
expression, and whose ornaments (aharya) are the moon, stars, etc., we bow to that energetic (sattvika)
Siva.” (Samgitaratnakara of Sarngadeva 7/1)
The Process of experiencing rasa and then expressing it gives birth to all of human artistic
creativity, all of our visual and performing art forms. Intangible reality is made tangible. Those who
enjoy this rasa are alone capable to communicating that aesthetic experience to others. Thus the
sastra-code of aesthetics is born. Rasa is embodied in the sastra, which is further personified as the
The human self is able to experience rasa only through the senses and when it comes to
expressing that experience, again, the self is dependent upon the senses. The art form of dance is more
sensual than others, since it encompasses other related art forms like music, literature, painting etc.
The metaphysical sensual dance launches a dancer in the domain of the infinite spirit. The
body dances, and through its rhythmic postures, movements and expressions it obliterates itself. In fact,
the dancing soul and the body merge to become one seamless dancer. The abhivyakti-presentation
transcends the vyakti-person. Rasa now dialectically moves from the tangible to the intangible. There, in
the realm of infinite lies the uninterrupted celebration of ananda-bliss; the locus where the limited
enjoyer-self then identifies with the cosmic-self.
GEETA CHANDRAN, through her tapa-concentration and sadhana-search, makes this
possible. Her journeys from being a student to artist-dancer, from performer to a teacher, from
mathematics to rasa, from the voice of herself to the songs of Krishna, are all very devoted and
beautiful. The essence of her journeys may be summarized in the words of Rupa Gosvami
(Bhaktirasamrtasindhu 1/12): “The highest devotion is that of dedicated service to Rasaraj Krishna; if it
is rendered aesthetically, is devoid of desire of anything else, and is unobstructed by scholasticism and
vested interest, completely free of all limitations, dedicated to Him; pure service with the senses to the
Lord of Senses, is the ultimate devotion.” Geeta, dance on…
Shrivatsa Goswami, Acharya, Caitanya Prema Samsthana, Vrindavan.
About Anjali the Journey of a Dancer
The Journey of a dancer and her bonding with her art over a period of time is complex. Each dancer
forges her unique link with the art. Even though artistic intensities and sensibilities may vary, every
dancer relates to the dance in her/his own way and finds her/his own individual balance.
There are many journeys involved. In the course of these journeys there are times when one
feels extremely charged and inspired and then there are those other moments when one agonizes full of
pain, those trying times. The body has its inevitable ups and downs. However, through all this, the
dancer’s trained mind is critical to keeping the balance. Since the dance form is in its key essence a
solo art form, it is not unusual to feel lonely at times. But then again, it is dance that comes to the
rescue. Though the dance performed is subjective, it is that very dance and only the dance - which
defines the dancer.
Most of what one views on stage as the end product is the outcome of a long and arduous
process. How much one rejects to arrive at what one really wishes to say! This process to me has been
intellectually stimulating, always challenging and enriching. What is amazing is the interpretations of
the dance that dancers are trying to arrive at today. That they are able to contextualize their art and
address diverse audiences is a truly remarkable endeavour.
It is in this context that one began putting down on paper what one felt at various times during
these many journeys. Sometimes one felt the need to react to a particular situation or one’s perception
of reality. Sometimes it was important to clarify a certain viewpoint to oneself.
This book weaves together all these stray impressions encountered in these journeys through
dance. Some of the articles may well be disjointed, some may not say anything new, some are intensely
personal and biographical. Since these were written at various points in the journeys, readers are
encouraged to approach this volume like an artist’s diary or album.
This is firmly not a scholarly book on dance; I have no pretensions of being a scholar nor am I
a writer; merely a classical dancer who loves her dance and takes immense pride in the fact that I had the
opportunity of learning this wonderful art form and have continued to experience great joy and
satisfaction in performing it and sharing it with widening audiences.
These musings are my offering to the Muse whose blessings have - and continue to - suffuse
me…prodding me to flap my wings any which way I wanted…and undertake so many journeys!
North Indian Music (292)
Original Texts (63)
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